July 18, 2011

Tomato Salad

Early this Spring I bought Chef John Besh's book My New Orleans simple because of the chapter Creole Tomatoes.  I couldn't wait for the farmer's market season to pick up the best varieties of tomatoes.  I was drawn not only to the recipes and photos in the book, but to the stories told with each chapter.

When the temperature today was in the high 90's, I knew I didn't want to turn on the stove for dinner. I took the wonderful, fresh ingredients from my trip to the Mill City Farmer's Market this weekend and made dinner.

I took the heirloom variety of tomatoes I purchased  and sliced them to create simple tomato salad. I seasoned them only with fresh ground peppercorns and a little Balsamic Vinegar drizzled over the top.  Not only was the plate colorful, it was packed with fresh flavors and the perfect light meal for a hot day.

While at the market I picked up ciabatta bread and herb goat cheese. I thinly sliced a the ciabatta, spread goat cheese and topped it with yellow and red cherry tomato and diced cucumber.

My salad tonight wasn't the exact salad that Chef Besh has in his book, but I will be making his recipe after my next trip to the farmer's market...Keep watching my blog, it will be worth the short wait.

Mill City Farmer's Market

One thing I love about Summer in Minnesota is the Farmer's Market. This past weekend I tried the Mill City Farmer's Market in Minneapolis.  I had heard great things about the vendors at Mill City from many of my MN Food Blogger friends and knew a visit was in order.  I was not disappointed in the least.

Mill City operates Saturdays, May 7th - October 15th.  8:00am to 1:00pm.  In addition to great food, Mill City offers visitors music and art.  Parking is at meters and local ramps.  For additional information: www.millcityfarmersmarket.org

My purchases included:
Variety of Tomatoes
Lacinato (Dino) Kale
Ciabatta Bread
Herb Goat Cheese from Singing Hills Dairy
Cucumber Lemongrass Water from Crepes by Spoonriver
Snow Peas
& a Bacon Brat from the Chef Shack

Another reason I chose Mill City is to visit the gals at the Chef Shack.  This well known food truck has been providing freshly made food to Twin Cities residents since 2007.  I started  following them on Facebook and Twitter ( @chefshack1) after reading about them in the book Food Trucks. In addition to their Sweet Potato Taco, which I have tired and would recommend, I was tempted by the Bacon Brat.  I topped my brat with their home-made bacon ketchup, onions, banana peppers and relish.

Tip: If you want to find where the local food trucks are and what is on the menu that day, follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

A few tips I have learned visiting farmer's markets:

  • Have small bills, it is easier to make change.
  • Don't be afraid to ask what something is if you are not sure.  You might miss out on something wonderful.
  • Want to try something new, ask the vendor how to prepare it.
  • Bring reusable bags.  While vendors provide plastic bags, it saves them money and is a green option.  

In addition to other local farmer's markets I plan on visiting the Mill City Farmer's Market again.  On my next trip I look forward to more wonderful food, music and picking up some fresh garlic.

To find other markets in Minnesota, including dates, times and location: http://www.farmersmarketonline.com/fm/Minnesota.htm This site will also provide links to other states.