I do hope everyone finds a comfortable way to bear the heat of this coming weekend. I know this extraordinary heat has taken its toll on my CSA farmer’s crops, though tomatoes are still plentiful. Last week’s pick up included two pints of mixed cherry-sized tomatoes that I decided to roast in the oven with a little salt, pepper, and olive oil for a couple of hours (at 250 degrees). Prepping the bitty ‘maters was simple. I just sliced ’em in half and spread them on a large, shallow baking pan, cut side up.
Next, get out of the kitchen for a couple of hours. You don’t need to be hanging around a hot stove in this kind of weather. When you come back, the teeny tomatoes will look something like this.
I’ve been experimenting with quinoa lately, and chose to mix about half of those roasted gems with some quinoa (1 cup uncooked quinoa, prepared according to package directions). The other half I threw in with some ravioli from Melina’s for a quick dinner one night.
I happened to have a cup of purple hull peas and decided to steam them (for five minutes), then toss the peas, roasted tomatoes and quinoa together in a large bowl, and ended up with a flavorful, colorful and healthful side dish (or vegetarian main dish, if you prefer).
This side dish can be served warm or cool. Cool is good. Cool is very, very good.
Some pressing matters at the igloo home base will be keeping me away from the farmers’ market this weekend. But you’ll be there, right? Here’s a bit about what I’m going to miss, and you’ll get to explore at the area farmers’ markets this weekend.
Beginning this Saturday at the Eno River Farmers’ Market in downtown Hillsborough each purchase you make from a market vendor will earn one raffle ticket entry for prizes available from local businesses that have partnered with the market. This special opportunity continues until Saturday, August 13th, when the prize winners will be drawn during Pepper Fest. If I were going to this market, I’d buy pizza dough from The Accidental Baker (one entry), tomatoes from Timberwood Organics (another entry), and some sweet Italian sausage from Fickle Creek Farm (another entry), to make pizza for dinner. One pizza = 3 raffle tickets. Sounds like good odds to me!
Figs can be found at Carrboro Farmers’ Market, Durham Farmers’ Market, and Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market this Saturday (and at many other area markets too). Another treat to try at Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market this weekend, are the Blueberry Chili Cayenne biscotti-like crackers from Kismet Crackers. Never heard of Kismet Crackers? Learn more about the attorney turned baker, and member of The Cookery, in this Herald-Sun article.
Western Wake Farmers’ Market celebrates Tomato Day on Saturday and some of the vendors offering tomatoes or tomato-related products include Ben’s Produce, Coon Rock Farm, Sunburst Tomatoes, Hillsborough Cheese Co.’s fresh mozzarella, and Annelore’s German Bakery will have tomato muffins, just for this special day. Oh, and if you’re a Town of Cary resident, be sure to read up about Western Wake Farmers’ Market’s efforts to secure a permanent location, and find a link to sign an online petition on their website.
On the topic of tomatoes, at Midtown Farmers’ Market (in North Hills) this Saturday you’ll find Tarheel Foodie ready, willing and quite able to share tomato preserving tips as well as a free package of herbs and spices perfectly suited for flavoring those fresh tomatoes. Midtown Olive Press will be present too. Stop in to learn more about the local shop that sells small batch flavored olive oils and speciality vinegars. They offer all you’ll need to make a wonderful dressing for a summertime chopped veggie salad.
Gosh. I’m going to miss a lot of good stuff this weekend. 😦 Don’t you miss it too! Enjoy your weekend, and do your best to find the shady spots wherever you venture.
I’ll see ya’ll at the farmers’ market again, real soon!