My favorite summer activity is meandering through a farmers' market, admiring everything, and then picking out just what I want for tonight's dinner (and maybe tomorrow's, too).
No cookbook is required. The perfection and lure of summer produce speaks for itself.
I'm particularly lucky in that we have two farmers' market -- a "real" one, about 20 minutes away, and a fancier, gourmet version much closer. The gourmet farmers' market has the added attractin of sharing a parking lot with a Trader Joe's so I can dash in and buy any dairy products, condiments, dried fruits and nuts, or much less expensive cheeses to complete my menu. It's also a great place for bread and flowers.
These produce-driven menus tend to star fruits and vegetables -- sometimes we don't even bother with meat or fish. At other times, we'll have some grilled meat or seared fish as part of the meal, but it's usually accompanied by featured vegetables, salads, or salsas.
Here are a few of our recent menus.
Heirloom Tomato Stack with Fresh Buffalo Mozarella and Basil
Figs with Prosciutto (I can get the expensive San Danielli at the Cheese store in the farmers' market or cheat and buy a package of very good but much cheaper commercial prosciutto at Farmer Joe's.)
Roasted Peppers with Garlic and Parsley (we provide the garlic and parsley and some Balsamico and Olive Oil), served with Sesame Semolina Bread and Butter. This is a heavenly combination.
Zucchini Blossoms (stuffed with Ricotta and Parmesan), dipped in a Tempera Batter and Deep Fried. (If you're in a particularly decadent mood, you omight drizzle on some concentrated Balsamico or a bit of homemade Pesto.)
Romaine Hearts with sliced Chicken Breast and Caesar Dressing
A bowl of Fresh Peaches and Cherries
A FISH TALE
Sered Diver Scallops served with mini field greens and Balsamico Vinaigrette
Half Cold Lobsters with Mango/Watermelon/Mint Salsa
French Potato Salad (Julia Child's Recipe -- my Julia I cookbook automatically opens to this page)
String Beans steamed and dressed with sesame oil and Rice Wine Vinegar while still hot. Sprinkled with White and Black Sesame Seeds
Blueberry Crisp (crisps are my favorite way to serve fresh summer fruit without the work of a pie) with Vanilla Ice Cream
I'm really hungary -- and I have to plan a lunch for my daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter for tomorrow. I'll let you know how it turns out.