I don’t know about you, but the onset of spring and summer always makes me crave simple meals that let me focus on the deliciousness of fresh, seasonal veggies. In Madison, there are ample opportunities to purchase just such produce. Two of our farmers’ markets opened this past weekend, including the one I most often attend: the West Side Community Market. Although it’s nowhere near as large or happenin’ as the Dane County Farmers’ Market (it’s difficult to outshine the largest farmers’ market in the country, one that surrounds Madison’s gorgeous capitol building!), I love the west side market because it’s nowhere near as crowded and it’s closer to where I live. So S and I made a point of stopping by this past Saturday, where we picked up a modest selection of produce, including two big, beautiful golden tomatoes.
When it came time to make dinner, I knew I wanted something simple that would let us savor the tomatoes, not drown them in sauce or hide them in a jumble of other flavors and ingredients. So I sauteed lots of garlic and a dash of red pepper flakes in a bit of olive oil, cooked up some whole-wheat fettuccine, chopped up one of the tomatoes, and then tossed the tomatoes and pasta in the warm, garlic-infused oil and topped it all with some freshly ground black pepper. With a simple side salad, it was the perfect way to celebrate spring and its bounty of fresh produce.
Simplicity at its finest.
What simple meals do you enjoy? I’m sure I’ll cook lots of beautiful, simple dishes this summer, because S and I have purchased a CSA share! I split one with my roomie two years ago, but didn’t get one last year. I’m very excited.
This summer I’ve been positively swimming in fresh, local, organic vegetables. The roomie and I have an every-other week CSA share from Primrose Community Farm, and it’s been totally worth the investment (especially since my HMO paid for $100 of it!). We pick up our shares right at work because so many of our company’s employees take part in Primrose’s CSA program. It’s often the highlight of my week; even though Primrose sends out a newsletter letting us know what we’ll find in our share, seeing the beautiful veggies in the flesh (as it were) is always a treat. And then there’s the added drama – will my share fit in one reusable bag, or will I have to stuff some veggies in a paper bag? Will the paper bag tear?! Will my veggies make it home in one piece so that I can chop, slice, roast, sauté, and devour them?!?
Somehow, they always do. And somehow, I always find myself surprised – over and over again – at how delicious simple meals can be when fresh-from-the-farm produce is the star.
Share and share alike.
Although the pictured share might be a little smaller than our average box, it’s still fairly representative of the variety of produce we receive. Mmm, heirloom tomatoes.
There’s almost nothing easier than chopping up a bunch of veggies, throwing them in a pan with some spices, and settin’ them in the oven for an hour or so until they’re tender and ready for devouring.
Spirals in the sun.
Except, perhaps, tossing some pasta with chopped tomatoes and a handful of basil for a light, clean lunch.
But then again, sauteing a generous portion of green beans with cayenne pepper and various other spices is also not going to wear you out.
Holy pink, Batman!
And neither will savoring with a sweet pink watermelon slushie on a hot day.
…I’m going to be oh-so-sad when this growing season ends and my shares stop comin’. Mighty, mighty sad indeed.