I heart farmer's markets. Hubby and I made a trip to our local farmer's market this past Sunday morning. The market was bustling with people and bursting with abundant colorful harvests of summer. We picked up a few things, with no particular recipes or meals in mind. We selected our small bounty based on what looked most ripe and delicious! They had stunning large red tomatoes, a mountain of zucchini and yellow squash, fresh herbs, corn on the cob and perfectly sweet white nectarines that all made it into our bags along with small container of fresh made goats cheese seasoned with basil.
Both of us were recovering from a completely glutenous and indulgent meal from the previous day. See, we had gone to a new gourmet burger restaurant and started off with a truly evil appetizer called "Vampire Dip" which is served in a toasted bread bowl alongside hunks of fresh crusty bread and fried pita wedges. The vampire dip is a super cheesy, creamy concoction laced with an obscene mount of garlic (which we love) and diced artichoke hearts. It was insanely delicious. We devoured it and only a couple of hunks of bread and 1/3 of the bread bowl remained on the plate.
Then....let's just say I ate (half of) their famous 50/50 burger (50% ground beef and 50% ground bacon). Yes, ground bacon! That was a first for me. The burger was topped with avocado mash, pepper jack cheese and chipotle mayo all nestled between a warm, soft brioche bun. Wow. It was pretty tasty, but was almost too decadent. I think my tummy went into shock after all that crazy rich food. I shudder to think about the number of calories we consumed! I am certain we set some type of record!
Needless to say, we had been detoxing from that ridiculous meal for the next 24 hours and a light farmers market meal seemed like the right thing to do for the following night's dinner. As I inspected our farmers market haul I started thinking about fresh summer salads. And the trio of salads was born...
3. Tomato salad with basil, goat cheese and balsamic reduction
It was a delicious meal. Light. Refreshing. Yet satisfying (despite the absence of meat/protein). And healthy to boot! A chiffonade of basil tied all three salads together beautifully. Hubs didn't care for the shaved zucchini salad for reasons he can't quite put his finger on. Not to worry, I ate his portion. He did, however like the others. I really enjoyed all the salads and would make them all again. Though they all ranked highly in my book, my favorite salad by a hair was the shaved zucchini (went back for thirds), followed by the tomato salad (went back for seconds) and then the corn salad (also went back for seconds). Good stuff! And my conscience was magically cleared (after the dip and burger induced food coma), so I finished off my meal with a generous scoop of homemade strawberry ice cream. What's a meal without dessert?
Check back over the next several days to see individual posts featuring each salad and the recipes.
Have you been to your local farmer's market this summer? Let the market tell you what yummy dishes to create in your kitchen. :)