Monday, August 1, 2011

Ahhh, Summer…

I love everything about summertime: sunshine and heat, grilling and swimming, day trips and good friends.  But the food.  I have to mention the food.  This time of year yields some of the most delicious fruits and vegetables that you will ever taste.  I’ve been fortunate to have this entire summer work-free while staying home with my newborn daughter.  I have seized the opportunity to hit up many of the local outdoor farmer’s markets in search of good produce and delicious treats. 

Last week I visited the PPL outdoor market and, although the vendors were sparse, I found a goldmine of heirloom tomatoes.  I happily handed over my cash for a few pints of the colorful and unusually shaped fruits.  I barely made it in the door before I was washing and cutting those beauties.  There’s something so refreshing and comforting about a sliced tomato sprinkled with kosher salt.  I don’t even need an olive oil drizzle, just a bit of salt.  Delicious!  With more tomatoes on hand I cut a few into bite-sized pieces and let them marinate with cubed farmers cheese in olive oil seasoned with kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, oregano and crushed red pepper.  I finished the last of that glorious salad this afternoon.  Magnifico! 

Today marks the start of my training for the Hershey Half Marathon on October 16th.  I have a few more pounds of baby weight to shed, so I’m incorporating cleaner eating for the first few weeks of training.  ‘Clean’ can be defined in a myriad of ways.  I decided to make my own interpretation of the word.  I’m going to focus on cutting out some (not all) of the red meat in my diet while increasing the volume of fruits and vegetables.  This should be an easy task considering all the fresh food markets during the season.  To ensure that the rest of last week’s tomatoes didn’t spoil I decided to make a delicious salsa to accompany the grouper I plan on making for dinner. 

Roasted Tomato and Black Bean Salsa

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Quarter four medium/large sized tomatoes.  Quarter a red onion.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper.  Toss together and place on a baking sheet.  Bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

Let cool.  Remove tomato skin and rough chop.  Place in bowl.  Rough chop softened onion.  Season with garlic powder (or use fresh garlic), kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper.  Add one 15 oz. can of rinsed black beans. 

I used ingredients that I had on hand.  Next time I will roast some fresh garlic and add cilantro.  I wonder what grilled peaches could do to this.  Hmmm…  Ahhh, summer!