sour cherries

Summertime, and the Eating's Easy

In talking to many of you, this summer you've been experiencing a steady flow of visitors, out-of-town and otherwise. In between trips to the Space Needle, Safeco Field, and Pike Place Market, you're also working to come up with meals for these friends and family. Thank goodness it's summer, and the eating's easy.

A friend sent me these pics from her recent barbecue (visiting brother):

Grilled salmon in foil
Alongside potatoes and corn brushed in coconut milk and grilled

If your mouth doesn't water when you see these, something might be wrong with you. And these are all things you can grab at the Market, brush with your fat of choice, and throw on the grill.

When we had old friends who now live in Indiana show up, we threw Skagit burgers on the grill, opened a bag of potato chips, and chopped up a watermelon. Done.

It was our month to host the Supper Club I mentioned in an earlier post here and here, and as the hostess I chose the fourth "Summer Sensations" menu from Debi Shawcross's book:

  • Bruschetta with Goat Cheese and Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Herb Marinated Chicken
  • Quinoa Corn Salad with Mint Vinaigrette and Toasted Pine Nuts (or "Pine Puts," as the cookbooks mispells it)
  • Grilled Vegetables
  • Peach, Blueberry, and Raspberry Crisp with Dulce de Leche Sauce
The verdict? The bruschetta and quinoa salad were keepers. (Funny note on the quinoa salad: after listing the menu, Shawcross encourages her readers to become locavores and eat local, if only for a night. So...quinoa? I suppose some of her readers might be Peruvian Highlanders.) And if I had to choose between the bruschetta and the quinoa, I'd go with the bruschetta.
Therefore, I share with you this recipe, with Market-available ingredients marked with an asterisk (*).
Bruschetta with Goat Cheese and Heirloom Tomatoes
3 large heirloom tomatoes, diced*
2 garlic cloves, minced*
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly-ground pepper
1/2 c chopped fresh basil*
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 baguette, sliced into 1"-thick slices*
1 garlic clove, halved*
6 ozs goat cheese, softened*

In a medium bowl, mix together tomatoes, minced garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, and lemon zest. Set aside. (Leftovers of the topping are yummy on tortilla chips, FYI.)

Heat grill to medium-high. Place baguette slices on grill and lightly toast on each side. Remove slices from grill and rub one side with garlic clove. Spread about 1 tsp of goat cheese on each baguette slice. Top with a spoonful of tomato mixture.

Serve immediately. About 10 servings of two slices each.

Frankly, I could have made a meal of the bruschetta alone. And, if you haven't tried Tieton Farm and Creamery's offerings on Saturday, you're in for a treat. I'm betting their "Bianca" cheese would be awesome in this recipe.

Quinoa aside, we do enjoy such riches of local food that I'm not surprised everyone flocks to us in the summer. I only wish they'd brought some of their own local goodies to us! Our Indiana friends, for instance, told tales of the sour-cherry-picking extravaganza they enjoyed.

Hard at work at Lehman's Orchard in Niles, Michigan

Enough to make you weep
As if this weren't enough, the residual cherry juice is good for gout (just FYI)
Sigh. Who doesn't love summer?

Of course, if all this cooking, easy as it is, sounds too much, and you missed the sour cherries in Niles, Michigan, you can always take your guests to the Market itself and let them choose from our smorgasbord of goodies, both prepared and unprepared. See you all there!