Thursday, June 28, 2012

Goodbye Strawberries, Hello Raspberries!

This week I visited the Arlington Farmers Market!  The Arlington Farmers Market is located in the Russell Common Parking lot and is on Wednesdays from 2:00pm-6:30pm.  The vendors include Busa farms, Dick's Market Garden, Globe Fish, Grateful Farm, Kimball Farm, and more!  This is a great market with a variety of vendors ranging from vegetables, meats, fish, eggs, and cheese.  I chose to shop at Kimball Farm this week. I have bought from them before, but what caught my eye this week was the mix of small tomatoes they had.  I bought a half pint of red, yellow, and kumato tomatoes to put in my salad this week.  For those of you who have not heard of kumato tomatoes, they are very sweet and brownish in color.  This is actually my first time seeing kumato tomatoes at a farmers market.  Finding all of these tiny tomatoes was so exciting to me because tomatoes are my most favorite fruit and I know it is not yet tomato season.  Some people think of seasons as winter, spring, summer, and fall, but I think of seasons, as vegetable and fruits, strawberry season, tomato season, etc.  And tomato is my favorite season!    

I also bought some strawberries as I was just informed that strawberry season is nearing the end and raspberry season is beginning.  So I bought both!  The raspberries didn't make it very far, but the strawberries went into the freezer with the rhubarb.  As soon as my lids come in, I am going to make some strawberry rhubarb jam for canning.  But that is a post for another day.  I also bought some tiny cucumbers, romaine lettuce, and a vegetable that I feel never gets enough attention, radishes.    

Radishes have a very spicy, peppery flavor when eaten raw, but have a very sweet flavor when cooked or roasted.  This week, I was craving their spicy flavor and ate them raw and put them into my salad with all the other fresh vegetables I bought.  I had some difficultly choosing a salad dressing to go with my radishes.  A lemon vinaigrette came into my mind and I had all the ingredients to make it, so I went with it.  I thought that the strong flavor of the radishes would go well with a citrus dressing with a little kick to it.  I made this as a side salad to go with my grilled steak tips.  It was very refreshing and delicious!  However, I would recommend sprinkling some cheese to go with this, maybe some Parmesan or Romano? 

Recipe of the Week:

Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Radishes in a Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing

Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
the juice of 1-2 lemons
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

1 Head Romaine Lettuce (or whatever lettuce you like!)
1 tomato or several grape tomatoes
1 Cucumber
1 Head of radishes

Whisk all ingredients for the dressing together.  Pour over washed and chopped vegetables and enjoy!  I stored the extra dressing in a small mason jar and put in the refrigerator for another day.  Notice the great colors of the tomatoes in the picture :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summertime and the livin's easy...

Happy Summer!  And welcome to my first blog!

This is my favorite time of year!  All the local farmers markets are just beginning to open up, and not to mention the abundance of strawberries!  On Saturday morning, I had a crew at my apartment ready to go check out one of my favorite farmers market, the Waltham Farmers Market.  I love to have company to go to the market with and maybe stop for an iced coffee after.  This farmers market is great because not only is it on a Saturday morning, which is fantastic, but it has great vendors.  Just to name a few...Dick's Market Garden, Bart's Farm Stand, Smith's Country Cheese,  and Caledonia Farm.  This week at the market the most abundant fruits and veggies were strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, radishes, and various herbs.  And as always, breads, cheeses, and meats.  The strawberries looked so good that we started eating them before we bought them.  I also bought the ingredients to make one of my husbands favorite dishes, cheeseburger salad.  A refreshing meal on a hot summer night, and it worked out that we had our first heat wave this week.

I highly recommend going to Smith's Country cheese and trying the gouda, both spreads and hard cheese.  And then maybe buying some bread to go with your cheese.  If you are having company over your house during the weekend, they will be pleasantly surprised.  They also sell one pound packages of hormone free ground beef, but you need to get there early because my mother will buy as much as she can.

This week, I also made a visit to one of my favorite farms, Springdell Farm in Littleton MA.  It is quite a ways from Boston, but it's worth the drive.  They sell beef, chicken, and pork (all grass-fed), as well as fruits and vegetables.  I went there hoping to buy some of there italian sausage, but they were out of it.  So they talked me into trying the breakfast sausage.  And when I say "talked me into it" all she did was mention that they had breakfast sausage.  There was no twisting my arm there.  I ate it the next morning and I'll more than likely buy it on my next trip there.  There were also many vegetables to choose from.  I bought some rhubarb, hoping to make a strawberry rhubarb pie in the near future, as well as red onion, spring onion, and garlic to toss in my salads throughout the week.

Recipe of the Week:
Cheeseburger Salad
By: Pampered Chef

1 small red onion, divided
2 tomatoes (I use one because my husband does not eat tomatoes)
3/4 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup finely diced pickles
3/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp yellow mustard
8 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cut the onion in half crosswise and slice into thin rings.  Cut the tomatoes into quarters.  Set onions and tomatoes aside.  Cook the ground beef over medium-high heat until no longer pink, breaking the beef into crumbles.  Meanwhile, finely dice the pickles.  In a large bowl, combine pickles, ketchup, and mustard and then add the beef.  To serve, arrange the lettuce on a large platter and spoon the beef mixture over the lettuce.  Top with cheese, tomatoes, and onion.  Enjoy!