It’s always so poignant when it’s time to say goodbye to dear friends.
Tomatoes, oh how I will miss you so.
I decided bright and early to go Saturday morning to the PSU Farmer’s Market. I had provisions I needed for the upcoming week, and I wanted to make sure I got some of the best looking of the end-of- season’s tomatoes.
The market was just beginning to fill up and the weather was a very reasonable 72 degrees, perfect for strolling.
So many lovely things to look at in the market.
The berries were jewel-like and jammy in flavor.
All the the flowers were gorgeous but I found the dahlias this week to be particularly comely.
Everywhere I looked there was another item clamoring for my attention, produce peacocks vying for the most eye-catching appearance.
Like these carrots.
And these beets.
Isn’t the color amazing?
At one particular booth a crowd started to form around one end, and I walked over to see what had everyone so enthralled. I watched as everyone snapped Iphone pics.
No wonder there was such interest — there was something there I’d never seen at this market.
Both fresh tumeric and very young ginger.
I found so many things I absolutely had to bring home with me.
After trying each offering at Chop, I knew one of these salumi was definitely going to find a spot in my basket.
Abruzzo might be my new favorite salami in town.
I visited this vendor too, and tried every offered sample.
Spicy pickles? Pickled beets?
Yes and yes.
I ended up with a jar of the maraschino cherries.
According to the guy there, the fruit bathes in tarragon and vanilla-enhanced cherry juice (and no crazy red dyes) and they looked too plump and juicy to pass up.
I cannot wait to put one in my next Manhattan.
A bread purchase was a given, and Pearl Bakery was ready to do business.
So many tantalizing options!
I ended up purchasing one of their outstanding sourdough baguettes.
Such a beautifully blistered crust and the tangiest crumb imaginable.
And then there was one last stop before I hit up the stand with my favorite tomatoes.
I’ve talked about them before, but I can’t say enough good things about them.
I think that they were the first to produce a really great Montreal style bagel here (readers, correct me if you know otherwise) and they make excellent sandwiches at the market.
Hmm, should I go for the one with the pesto and heirloom tomato and bacon?
As amazing at this looked, I had to go for an old favorite.
Look at this one slathered with rich cream cheese, tart raspberry jam, and crispy bacon with lots of fresh arugula.
I sat on the steps of PSU and devoured the whole sandwich without saying a word to anyone.
It was me time.
Fully sated now, I checked out the last item on my list.
Gosh they were gorgeous.
The colors ranged from lemon yellow to canary, bright orange, reddish pink, scarlet, purpley red and a dark almost brownish purple.
The quiet bearded guy who sells them allows you to mix and match and buy as few or as many as you’d like.
I wanted them all, but ended up with just a pound.
Yesterday afternoon I decided I wanted to make a lunch that honored these little beauties.
Something that would use them to best advantage — a salad.
Clearly tomatoes were to be the star of this show, but I wanted a few supporting characters who would heft and crunch to the salad without stealing the spotlight.
Tomato – Cucumber Salad with Chickpeas, Arugula and Pistachios with a Basil – Feta Dressing.
I gathered the ingredients from the counter and the fridge.
I remembered that I also had some tomatoes and basil in my garden, so I nabbed those, too.
The dressing ingredients were thrown in the blender: a few basil leaves, some feta, a tiny bit of minced garlic, red wine vinegar and olive oil.
Lunch for two was served.
It was everything I’d hoped for — sweet, tangy, crispy, crunchy, and super healthy tasting. The occasional pistachio nut sent it to the moon and back.
Summer on a plate.
Are you too a tomato lover?
If so, get cracking on all those last salads, pastas, and BLT’s.
The tomato clock is ticking away– and there’s so little time left.
- For Dressing:
- 4 fresh basil leaves
- tiny pinch freshly minced garlic (optional)
- 3 Tbs. olive oil (or if you want it a little lighter, 2 Tbs. oil plus 1 Tbs. milk)
- 1 Tbs. good red wine vinegar
- 1 -2 Tbs. crumbled feta
- 2 C. cut or sliced fresh tomatoes
- ½ C. chopped English cucumber (about ½ large)
- ¾ C. garbanzos (I used half a can)
- 1 large handful fresh arugula or spinach
- meat of 12 pistachios
- salt and pepper
- Place all dressing ingredients in a blender and give it a quick whirl. Don't worry if it's still chunky.
- Place all salad ingredients in bowl and toss with dressing.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.