The best thing about summer: Tomatoes!

Finally! My tomato plants are producing lovely bite-size red ones, and slightly larger yellow sungellas. Mostly, I just throw them straight into salads, but I also like to do this marinade, which gives them kind of a sauce. It can be eaten as is or thrown over lettuce, pasta or other grains, like farro or quinoa. It captures the best of summer!

Marinated tomatoes

  • 2c mixed small or cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/3c olive oil (I used the VOM FASS orange!)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 cup mixed chopped herbs (Basil, parsley, oregano, thyme, tarragon, dill all work)
  • Zest of one lemon & a generous squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into half rounds
  • 1c fresh mozzarella balls (Or feta or skip it)

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And one bonus recipe for those of you looking to use a common CSA vegetable: fennel. Chipotle-marinated pork tenderloin with fennel salad. Served it with dill baby red potatoes and corn on the cob with cayenne/lime juice/feta and of course, butter. The pork was flavorful, but not too spicy, for those of you with Minnesota palates 🙂

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Trio of dill salads

First off, a confession. I committed murder for this week’s recipes. Beet murder.

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My least favorite thing about beets is that they are messy to prep. But fun, if one takes the right attitude! 😉

Quick and easy this week while we were at the lake — and attempting to use up the misc share vegs and some lovely dill. I ended up doing a simple lettuce salad with beets, goat cheese and dill, just some of that fab EVOO and balsamic to dress, carrots (threw into a tinfoil packet on the grill while brats cooked and more dill+butter to finish) and cucumber sour cream salad. This one was the highlight–super easy, fresh and healthy.

Creamy Dill Cucumber Salad

1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
Salt and black pepper
3 medium cucumbers (about 1 1/2 pounds)

Halve each cucumber lengthwise, peel and scoop out seeds. Slice into 1/4-inch rounds. Whisk the sour cream, vinegar, sugar, dill and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Add the cucumbers; toss to coat. Serve chilled. Note: cucumbers have a ton of water in them. Meaning if you don’t like watery salads, you’ll want to sweat the cucumbers first by tossing in salt and letting them sit for an hour or so. Rinse, then toss with sauce. I didn’t find this step necessary since we were eating right away. This salad also called for shaved red onion. No thanks, said the boys.

PS I don’t know about you, but I am itching as my tomatoes start to ripen now….this is the best month of the year!

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Special ingredients=easy flavor

Especially in summer when fresh local produce is so bountiful, I love finding ways to showcase those flavors with as little work as possible. My friend Tamra, who owns the VOM FASS store at MOA, showed me some spectacularly wonderful olive oils and vinegars to do just that. Some of the uses are expected–a quick and easy salad dressing or drizzled for bread–but it’s also possible to use these flavored oils and vinegars as sauces. She even suggested adding the bright, citrusy Calamansi balsamic to bubbly water….yum!

I wanted to highlight the Chili Fig Balsamic Vinegar this week with grilled pork chops. First, I marinated boneless chops in 1/2c orange juice+1tsbp salt+1tsbp sugar+chopped rosemary for about an hour. Matt grilled them alongside some bell peppers, and zucchini/yellow squash from our CSA share. Goat cheese polenta served as the starch. The kicker to this meal was the orange olive oil I drizzled over the vegs to complement the pork, which got finished off with the chili fig balsamic. This is a restaurant-quality, weeknight-friendly meal!

I love these products because they help us make eating healthy easy, check out VOM FASS online for tasting events and more recipes. Thank you Tamra! 🙂

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