Before I talk about my recent market visit, I would like to address the terrible weather that has recently taken its toll on Ontario and Eastern Canada (tornadoes and a hurricane, respectively). My thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by these disasters. The ‘Kitchen Tip of the Week‘ I coincidentally posted last week talks about how to tell if stuff in your fridge is ok after a power outage. After the Ontario storms we lost our power three times so the information was timely for me as well. I hope everyone stays safe and healthy during these trying times.
Meanwhile, the farmer’s markets continue to thrive and this past weekend was the best I’ve seen this summer. The stands were overflowing with local bounty – corn, melons, peaches, peppers, blackberries, raspberries, zucchini, garlic,onions, blueberries… the list goes on and on. The notable exception was tomatoes. There was one stand with a few cherry tomatoes, some plum tomatoes and a few field varieties but it was pretty meager overall. I’m beginning to think that we might not get many good tomatoes this year. We’ll see in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a delicious dish using cherry tomatoes, try my recipe for Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta. Roasting the tomatoes enhances their sweetness so even mediocre tomatoes will become rich and flavourful. If you are lucky enough to find good tomatoes, try a classic Caprese Salad – it’s a summertime favourite that can’t be beat.
There were all sorts of different melons at the market including bitter melon, yellow watermelons and muskmelons. One of the farmers was giving out samples of her watermelon and muskmelon so I asked if muskmelon is the same as a cantaloupe. She said that they’re similar but not the same. I did some research and the answer is … somewhat confusing. Technically, cantaloupes aren’t grown in North America but most vendors label muskmelons as cantaloupes. They look and taste very similar so they can be used interchangeably in recipes. A classic way to serve muskmelon/cantaloupe is to wrap chunks of the melon with cured ham such as proscuitto or serrano. The salty meat paired with the juicy sweet fruit is an irresistible combination. It makes a great hors d’oeuvres for cocktail hour with a cocktail or glass of sparkling wine.
Other Fruit and Vegetables
Corn is king right now so take advantage of the brief season while you can. Epicurious.com has over 200 recipes using corn or you can search the archives on this site for all corn recipes. Peaches are also at their peak – check out a new recipe using peach juice: Peach Sangria. Another popular recipe from last summer is Peach Chutney – it pairs really well with chicken and pork.
It always makes me a little sad to know that the tremendous abundance of local produce will be almost completely gone in a couple of months so we need to enjoy it while we can!
Until next week…