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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Man, it's hot, isn't it?  Actually, as cliche as it sounds, to me, it really isn't the heat--it's the humidity.  How long could this go on?  The weather reports are the same day after day after day.

I was feeling the heat this weekend, as I cooked up some goodies at two farmers' markets.

On Friday, I was cooking at the Ottsville Farmers' Market.  Wow, it was stifling.  And standing next to a grill for 4 hours made it even more toasty.  Still, it was a lot of fun.  Met a lot of nice people and got to use some of the wonderful stuff being sold at the market: eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, melons, pork sausage and much more.  I don't know how the heat affects crops, but there seems to be an abundance of incredible produce. 

On Saturday, I joined the folks at the Plumsteadville Grange Farmers' Market for the first time.  It felt much cooler--maybe because it was earlier in the day and because there was a nice breeze for most of the time.  More friendly people, fun activities, crafts, etc.  And again, a bunch of delicious, fresh produce was available for me to cook with.  It's so easy to cook when you have great tasting ingredients.  You don't have to do much to them--just let their flavors shine.

One of the easy dishes I made at both markets was a simple Caprese salad--tomato, basil, fresh mozzarella, salt, pepper and some good extra-virgin olive oil.  Mix it together and enjoy.  To me, that's what summer tastes like--flavorful tomatoes, sweet basil, creamy cheese.  So refreshing and delicious.

Check out my previous post to find out when I'll be doing more farmers' market demos.  Hope to see you there!

To change topics quickly, Mary Beth and I went to see a great (and hilarious) production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Muhlenberg Summer Music Theater.  They always do excellent professional shows and this one is no exception.  And, like I said, it is a riot.  Try to catch it if you can. 

We stopped at Carrabba's Italian Grille in Allentown for dinner before the show and was pretty impressed.  I've heard that, for a chain, they have good food and it's true.  We both had a very fresh salad with our meals.  MB got a Caesar and I had a Mediterranean (with olives, fennel, etc).  She had seafood cannelloni and I had 2 chicken dishes (together as a sampler).  Well done, tasty and pretty reasonable.  Our service was good, too.  After MB debated about (and then decided against) getting some of their garlic mashed potatoes--they didn't come with her meal since she had pasta--our server brought us a big bowl of them to share, free of charge.  They were tasty, too! 

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