Salsa, gazpacho, ratatouille, oh my! It’s my favorite season for eating.
We’ve had just enough sun to ripen tomatoes and draw eggplant out from their purple haze. In a few weeks richly hued peppers will also star in our market show. Summer snacks like homemade salsa take just a few minutes with no cooking! Gazpacho and crusty bread makes a satisfying dinner on a warm summer night. For those cooler evenings, we get in western Oregon, chop your farmers’ market treasures and stew-up some ratatouille. All of these keep well for lunch during the week too.
What to get at our markets:
Tomatoes – Select a variety of colors and sizes to get a range of flavor and texture.
Eggplant – As summer heats up farmers will have more varieties of eggplant. Try the smaller white and purple striped ones for a change.
Sweet Peppers – You can find green bell peppers now – which are great for stuffing with ground meat, mushrooms and a mix of vegetables. By August farmers will have plenty of red, yellow and orange peppers.
Hot Peppers – Grab the small green Padron peppers to quick-fry for a great appetizer. Each week the heat will go up with more varieties.
Cucumber – Yummy in the dishes above and a staple for added crunch in your mixed greens salad.
Zucchini – Not just for quick bread anymore, but that is a good idea. Shred and steam then smother with tomato sauce or slice the long way, coat with oil and grill.
Onion & Garlic – Keep a lot on hand, it lasts. Put these aromatics in … everything!
Cilantro & Parsley – Excellent in salsa, pesto and anything else with a Mexican or Mediterranean direction.
Basil, Oregano & Thyme – Fresh herbs make a world of difference in any dish, salads included. Bundle with stems and all then drop into soups and stews.