Headed to the farmer’s market this weekend? Here is some inspiration (and delicious recipe ideas) from a fellow foodie and UCONN Husky, Julie Busque. The warm weather and variety of local produce is still abundant so take advantage now and get out to those markets now! To find one near you, check out Local Harvest.
I have a friend who eats to live. Then you have me…I live to eat and enjoy my food – preferably doing so with friends and family. For me, it is all about the experience of creating memories around a meal, whether it is eating a home-cooked meal with family or going out to dinner with friends. Fortunately my affinity for food is a healthy one due to my mother raising me and my two sisters eating nutritious well-balanced meals.
For a foodie like me, the Coventry Regional Farmers’ Market is a cooking and eating extravaganza – and a healthy one at that. You can buy everything you need to make a healthy summertime meal with farm fresh unprocessed ingredients. You also get to enjoy the experience of walking around the outside market with friends and family. This makes for a very pleasurable Sunday in the summertime.
Last weekend, I enjoyed shopping at the Farmer’s Market with my friend George (a fabulous gourmet chef in his free time), my older sister Shell (also an amazing chef in her spare time), my two-year old nephew Brady, and my two-month old niece Analise (check out the baby-wearing picture – I love being an Auntie!!).
I tasked myself, my sister and my friend with creating a healthy dish using only local ingredients. George told me he had decided on hot sausage and pepper sliders. I quickly reminded him that this was for a blog about eating healthy. He convinced me that his sliders would not be your typical processed fat-full sausage and pepper sliders. George had carefully selected a lean (90% fat-free) nitrate-free all natural spicy pork sausage from Madewell Meats balanced by organic heirloom peppers and a lime balsamic glaze. It you’re going to have sausage and peppers, this is the way to do.
I had my heart set on making something with heirloom tomatoes. I was inspired by Ayla’s recent post about tomatoes (lots of vitamins and low in fat). To top it off my older sister had a big bowl of ripe tomatoes from her CSA (also check out Ayla’s post on why you should join a CSA). And the theme of the market was Connecticut Heirloom Exposition. Tomato season is in full swing in New England.
And so I walked through the market contemplating what to make with my big bowl of bright red heirloom tomatoes. My decision was made for me as soon as I walked past a farm stand with fresh basil bunches so fragrant I was immediately transported to the rolling hills in Tuscany. With blissful memories dancing around my head, I decided I would make one of my favorite summertime dishes, a simple pasta dish with tomatoes, basil, lots of garlic, salt and pepper, and olive oil. This time I opted to change up the dish after I shopped some at the market and found a delicious lemon olive oil and fresh spinach linguine from the market.
George and I had made our decision, so now it was up to my older sister to complete the meal. She decided on salad with fresh cucumbers just picked from our parent’s garden and shallots from the market – another simple, yet full of flavor, summertime dish.
We enjoyed our day together shopping for ingredients fresh from the farm, trying the food at the Market (the samples are one of my favorite things about the marketing), cooking and then of course enjoying the meal we created together. Add all that with a glass of Ballet of Angels Wine from Sharpe Hill (all things in moderation, of course), a beautiful summer evening as well as a few more loved ones (my fiancé, brother-in-law and another friend had decided to join us), and life is wonderful.
Shell’s Cucumber Shallot Salad
1 large cucumber (thinly sliced)
3 small shallots (thinly sliced)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Layer cucumbers and shallots in bowl alternating between the two. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over cucumbers and shallots. Let for sit for about a half hour before serving.
Not Your Typical Hot Sausage and Pepper Sliders:
3 medium-sized assorted heirloom bell peppers (sliced)
1 large white onion (sliced)
2 tangerine peppers (sliced)
1 glove garlic (minced)
3 tablespoons lemon olive oil (plus extra for bread)
2 tablespoons lime balsamic vinegar
1 pound Madewell Meats ground hot all natural pork sausage
1 French baguette
Salt and pepper
Form sausage into one and a half inch patties (about six patties per pound). Slice baguette into two-inch pieces. Brush olive oil on each side of baguette. Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant. Add onion and peppers and sauté until onions are translucent. Stir in balsamic vinegar and heat until a glaze is formed over the onions and peppers. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Heat grill to 350 degrees. Grill sausage until there is no pink inside. Heat baguette slices until lightly browned on slice side. Make sliders. Place sausage patty, peppers and onion between two slides of baguette.
Julie’s Tomato-Basil Pasta
Servings: ~7 to 9
1 pound fresh spinach linguine
5 garlic cloves (minced)
1 cup basil (loosely chopped)
4 medium to large tomatoes (chopped)
3 tablespoons lemon olive oil
Salt and pepper
Cook pasta according to directions on container (or if you opt for making your own pasta then follow the directions). Make the sauce while pasta is cooking. Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for about five minutes. Add basil and cook until fragrant (about two minutes).