Saturday, September 5, 2009

The bounty of late summer

This is the time of year when the farmer's market is stuffed with vegetables. It gets to the point where I have a hard time choosing what to buy, because everything looks so amazing. But I knew that we wanted caprese this week, so I went for (among many other items) the tomatoes and basil, and fresh mozzarella from the Italian grocery next to the market.

First up we have beautiful Juliette tomatoes. They look like Romas, and I was told that they are similar - Juliettes also have (comparatively) low water content, so they should be great for oven-drying. I got a bucketful.

For caprese, you definitely need some basil. This is some of the prettiest basil I've seen all summer - huge, bright green leaves, and what an aroma!

Fresh mozzarella is expensive (around 11 dollars a pound), but so worth it! It's not chewy at all - it's soft, light, and incredibly fresh tasting. It really tastes like the milk it comes from.

Put all of this delicious food on a plate, and here you go! This eventually made its way onto what passes for a bagel here in KC, and made for a fantastic lunch.

As I told gingerrose tonight over dinner, I'm always conflicted over whether I prefer summer cooking or winter. I usually lean towards winter - I'm a stew kinda guy. I love meat, beans, roasted and braised vegetables, all that great stuff that comes with winter cooking. But sometimes you just can't resist summer's fresh bounty.

One last item: this morning at the market, I saw some peppers I'd never seen before. They were long, somewhat wrinkled, and the same dark green of poblanos. I inquired, and was told that they were called pasillas, were slightly spicy, and had a sweet, smoky flavor. I promptly bought several, and was even given two bright red serranos for free by an extremely friendly farmer. He told me that atypically, this year his red serranos were very sweet, and I should give them a try! I'm very much looking forward to it.

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