Guess what time it is, sweet friends? GUESS.
Okay, you're stumped, I know. But really, really?! I am borderline-unhealthily-giddy whenever May rolls around because, dearest readers, THIS is the time for my favorite weekend event.
What am I ranting on about?
This is what:
Oh hello, beautiful heirlooms.
Did you miss me?
I longed for you. Pined, really.
Oh, dearest, sweet and crisp veggies.
Be still my heart.
Hello, quirky farmer's marketians. You make me smile.
Probably because I am one of you.
We are a special breed, we are.
Although I cannot sleep in folding chairs,
we are kindred spirits.
It is time.
I long for this day throughout the dead of Winter.
I pine during the early days of Spring.
I get restless when late April rolls around.
I shout for joy on May 1st.
I even do a little jig.
I'm a little weird like that.
this is my absolute favorite time of year- except autumn leaves
and the smell of freshly picked apples--ooh, nothing beats it.
But I digress.
Yes, early May holds a special place in my heart. Why? Because the fruits of our local soil make known their presence- and they make a bold, triumphant entry. I visited our local farmer's market Saturday morning and beheld the stark beauty of vibrant colors, happy omnivores sipping piping hot coffee, strolling with their babies in Bjorns and smelling the pungent goodness that is fresh produce & flowers.
Oh it was divine.
I never know what I will purchase when I leave the house (I know, I know, that's the #1 no-no when shopping anywhere). But really, I like to walk the aisles in search of inspiration, asking myself, Which herbs are singing to me? Which veggies are begging to be eaten? Which fruits look juiciest, most succulent? Which grains look heartiest and would taste best with a big slathering of canned apple butter?
Oh yes, inspiration abounds.
However there is ONE thing I always know in advance to look for.
One thing that marks the celebration of the beginning of the season.
One thing I crave for months and just NEED immediately when those
Oh the succulent, juicy, sweet-and-tangy, messy goodness of these seasonal fruits.
Incredible doesn't seem to do it justice.
Yes, that fits.
I need these immediately upon entering the market.
I scout for them, scanning each stand until I find the tomato lady- I haven't a clue what her name is but she's there every year and she always has an incredibly long line of avid tomato enthusiasts awaiting their plunder. She also sells seedless cucumbers, red and green bell peppers, and banana peppers but my absolute need is for her heirloom beauties.
I can taste them as I stand there impatiently, salivating as I think of my plans for them back home.
And I do have plans.
The very first thing I make is this salad. THIS is what I crave for months on end until I feel I just might burst with anticipation.
It's the signatory emblem of the beginning of summer.
This, my friends, is marinated tomatoes.
Now- normally I try to suppress my food snobbery but not here. You simply cannot use any other tomatoes. They must be home or locally grown, in season, ripe tomatoes. Please do NOT use the store-bought variety. They just defile this dish.
This dish shall NOT be defiled. Please, I beg you.
Please use fresh tomatoes and even better, heirloom, but really- any locally grown tomato will do. What are heirloom tomatoes, you ask? Here is the best description I could find. Basically they are special seeds that are, as the name suggests, passed down from generation to generation in a family- mainly because they have produced above-par produce.
But back to this dish.
It's a-mazing. And versatile in-the-sense that you may eat these babies on anything and everything you wish.
So let's get started.
-6 to 8 fresh, locally grown tomatoes
-red wine or balsamic vinegar
-salt & pepper
-fresh basil (not dried, the real deal)
- Slice up tomatoes in thick slabs, grab a round or square Tupperware dish, place one layer of tomatoes on the bottom, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, pepper, and chopped basil. Layer and do the same again, and again, until the tomatoes are gone. Pour 1/3 cup olive oil over top and 2-3 Tbsp vinegar. Secure top on the dish and turn upside down to mix through. Place in fridge for at least 2 hours.
That's it, my friends. It's the easiest thing in the world and gets better as it sits so let it chill a while. The measurements are versatile and can be altered to suit your tastes and preferences.
But truly, there is nothing better in the world than
this sweet sight:
Oh my, the smell of fresh basil is unparalleled.
Grab your ingredients.
My absolute favorite is simply grabbing a fork and eating
them straight from the dish with a good hunk of fresh bread n' butter.
But here is another way to eat 'em:
This was yesterday's lunch. A wrap slathered with pesto,
spread far and wide with spinach, a sprinkling of bleu cheese,
and, of course, lovely marinated tomatoes.
Those veggies are from the farmer's market as well.
Oh me, oh my.
How gorgeous is this spread?
I will take that.
Now, I beg you, go find your local farmer's market
and partake in some of the earth's greatest treats.
It'll change your life.
Or your cravings anyway.