Saturday, July 25, 2009

All hail Mark Bittman.

A special treat this week from my hero Mark Bittman, food writer for the New York Times. Mark Bittman's moniker is "The Minimalist" -- he gives limited instructions for recipes, inexact measurements, mere suggestions for proportions, plenty of room for improvisation. In this article, published earlier this week, he writes 101 suggestions for summer salads. I love his style of writing, both in being concise and in letting the cook take control of the meal, rather than giving strict prescriptions of how to prepare food. He wrote a similar article last year giving 101 ideas for summer picnics. I refer to both of these often for inspiration, and recommend them highly.

This past week's cooking adventures included another pizza, this time using pizza sauce from Trader Joe's and mozzarella cheese instead of last week's goat cheese base.

On top is caramelized red onion, thinly sliced and sauteed veggie sausage from Trader Joe's, and a sprinkle of parsley. Great stuff.

Today's trip to the market included a few summer staples: sourdough bread, blueberries, peaches, corn, red onion and tomato. Finally, the tomatos at the market up here are starting to look decent, and all come from the field rather than the greenhouse. By next week, I expect the baby tomatoes (and hopefully the sungolds!) will be out in full force. As a treat, I picked out two portobello mushrooms from one of the specialized mushroom vendors. These mushrooms were pricey, but I think they'll be delicious either in a chipotle sandwich or in a parmesan portobello recipe from a recent copy of Bon Appetit. In addition, a new pick: garlic scapes, the tops of the garlic plant that grows up from the ground when garlic matures as the root. This will become a spicy, garlicy pesto this week. Look out for photos. Also, a few okra! Gotta keep my southern roots in check.

I loved laying all this produce out on the counter after coming back from the market. Summer purchases just look so colorful and appealing and absolutely natural. Truly a rainbow of food.

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