Mystery House



The Best Food of the Summer

Last week, I was too busy to blog.  This has been the case quite a bit lately; too busy to blog and too busy to read other people’s blogs.  So I’m a week late in reporting on our very best food experience of the summer, and here I am, trying to catch up.

Labor Day weekend.  The last hurrah of all that is State Fair and summer and school being out.  Lots of folks squeeze in one last summer trip.  We didn’t, but my dear friend Amy did.  Because she went somewhere very cool and got to relax and read books all weekend (instead of painting shelves), she couldn’t pick up her CSA box, and was sweet and generous enough to give it to me.  Amy is a really, really good friend.

So, off we went to the Mill City Farmers Market to pick up the box.  Well.  That place is just far too much fun.  Best farmer’s market I’ve ever been to, I’m telling you.  It’s just the right size, and all the growers and vendors have obviously been carefully selected.  We got purple potatoes, garlic sourdough bread, cheese, and the only truly good mini-doughnuts I’ve ever eaten.  I don’t normally like mini-doughnuts, but these were fabulous.  Missed out on the duck eggs, not realizing how quickly they vanish–won’t make that mistake again.  We picked up the CSA box, and also bought 20 pounds of canning tomatoes from the same wonderful organic farmers.

I didn’t can them, though.  (The tomatoes, I mean.  Not the farmers.  Maybe you figured that out.  Either way, I didn’t can the farmers.)  Nope.  Instead, I performed my favorite end-of-summer ritual.

Tomato Soup

I don’t know what you do for your end-of-summer ritual, but I make soup.  Tomato soup.  A giant vat of it, this time with homemade chicken broth from this amazing recipe.  No salt, which is good for my mom, the intended recipient of most of the tomato soup.  The broth simmers so long that it becomes incredibly rich with hardly any seasoning at all.  That took an entire day.  The tomato soup took the next afternoon.  And I was one happy, tomato-covered girl with a seriously messy tomato stove.  I love making the soup.  You can find the recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, Square Meals, by Jane & Michael Stern.

What did we do with the CSA box?  I’m getting to that.  We immediately devoured some charming little brown tomatoes with CSA basil and good mozzarella on the garlic bread.  I intended to take pictures, but that didn’t happen.  If I had abandoned the table to get the camera, who knows what the M.E. might have done, while left alone with my lunch?  Too dangerous.

That night we got some good tuna, seared it for about a minute each side in a very hot pan, and topped it with some of Francisco’s Salsa (which is wonderful) and avocado.

Tuna w Salsa and Avocado

In the CSA
box, there was a bag of lovely salad greens.  They were quickly munched
with homemade buttermilk dressing.  This homemade dressing thing is not
a big deal.  You can do it.  Whisk a little buttermilk with a small
amount of mayonaise, and a little cider vinegar and some s&p.  How
much?  I don’t remember.  Taste it.  Make it the way you like it.

Salad w Buttermilk Dressing

Yum.

Other days, we had tomato orgies and corn orgies and BLT orgies.  The CSA box was such a blast that I quickly emailed the Loon Organics people and got us on the waiting list for next year.  Already!  I didn’t forget!

That wasn’t the end, though, because the always-thoughtful Amy gave me something else special, too.  She went to Garlic Fest on another weekend while I was painting and going to hardware stores and getting covered with sawdust and pouting, and she brought me fancy garlic.  Amy knows how to cheer a person up.  Garlic is very, very cheerful.

I tried the Inchellium Red with a variation on my garlic shrimp recipe.  Absolutely delicious.  Great, mild flavor.  Mild, but interesting and different than the usual grocery store garlic.  I’d love to know where to find this variety all the time.

Good Garlic

It’s sort of mysterious that Minnesota grows 100 varieties of garlic, but you only ever see the same-old, same-old in the stores.  Where’s it all going?

This is what you do for garlic shrimp:  Chop up a lot of garlic.  More than you think you need.  Saute it in a little olive oil.  Don’t let it get too brown, because it will burn quickly.  Throw in shrimp (half a pound per person) and some thyme, either dried or fresh, whatever you’ve got.  When the shrimp is just done — which will take about 3 minutes or less, unless they’re gigantic — add some butter, s&p, and some fresh lemon juice, and stir till the butter melts.  Get it on plates quickly.  You can serve this with pasta, or sans pasta.  We were in a sans pasta mood that night.  Shocking, I know.

Garlic Shrimp

There were other adventures with the CSA box, but I think I’m done writing.  I’m getting hungry thinking about all of it.  So to Amy, a huge thank you and a big hug.  We really had fun.


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Comments

  1. * Ann says:

    There’s a garlic grower that comes a couple of times a year to the White Bear farmer’s market. I got 5 different kinds from him on his last time at the market this year. He told me how to grow it myself so I’m going to try it! It needs to be planted in the middle of September so I’ll need to get going on that soon!

    Posted 9 years, 3 months ago
  2. * cursingmama says:

    Hmmmm I think I’ve got some shrimp in the freezer just waiting for some garlic.

    Posted 9 years, 3 months ago
  3. * Kitt says:

    Nice! That’s a lot of soup you’ve got there.
    I made a big batch of tomato sauce last week, but its not nearly enough to last as long as I’d like. I’m hoping our frost holds off long enough for some of my many green tomatoes to ripen for more!

    Posted 9 years, 3 months ago
  4. * Kitt says:

    Nice! That’s a lot of soup you’ve got there.
    I made a big batch of tomato sauce last week, but its not nearly enough to last as long as I’d like. I’m hoping our frost holds off long enough for some of my many green tomatoes to ripen for more!

    Posted 9 years, 3 months ago
  5. * Cheryl S. says:

    Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard.

    Posted 9 years, 3 months ago
  6. * Guinifer says:

    It sure does make me happy to read your foody posts. Hmm – do you have the email to share for the Loon Organics people?

    Posted 9 years, 3 months ago
  7. * Amy says:

    I knew you’d like it! Glad you had fun. Might have to get that tomato soup recipe.

    Posted 9 years, 3 months ago
  8. * Amy says:

    I knew you’d like it! Glad you had fun. Might have to get that tomato soup recipe.

    Posted 9 years, 3 months ago
  9. * Lisa says:

    Mmmm…I miss the State Fair. My mom always swore that we had the best garlic in Minnesota. She’d ask me to bring some whenever we came for a visit.
    Off to look for that great tomato soup recipe.

    Posted 9 years, 3 months ago
  10. * bezzie says:

    Toss a clove of that garlic in the ground now and see if it sprouts next spring!!

    Posted 9 years, 3 months ago
  11. * Chris says:

    Yum – the tuna and the garlic shrimp look divine!

    Posted 9 years, 3 months ago
  12. * Carrie K says:

    Oh, yum. Looks like you’re stocked up for the Knitting Retreat held at your house this winter.

    Posted 9 years, 3 months ago
  13. * Carrie K says:

    Oh, yum. Looks like you’re stocked up for the Knitting Retreat held at your house this winter.

    Posted 9 years, 3 months ago
  14. * Lydee says:

    mmm, that tuna and salad looks yummy, yummy, yummy!

    Posted 9 years, 3 months ago
  15. * deb says:

    I’m weak with hunger already….

    Posted 9 years, 3 months ago
  16. * Dan Vera says:

    Wow. Where to begin.
    The soup sounds delicious. I was never quite a fan of tomato soup until my brother turned me on to it. That Stern cookbook looks great. I scanned through the index on Amazon. I might have to pick up a copy when I see a cheaper used copy come up for sale.
    Speaking of CSA’s, have you seen “the Real Dirt on Farmer John”? I might have to post about it on my blog but its a pretty amazing (and at times quite moving) film about a farmer in Wisconsin who loses his family’s generational farm and then manages to rebuild it and become the largest CSA provider to the Chicago area. Really a great film to watch (it’s a Netflix film). Anyway, the CSA thing reminded me of it and I just saw it so I figured I’d ask.
    Lastly, the garlic shrimp sounds SOO F&^KING tasty. Sadly the fere is allergic to shellfish so the whole “will kill my sweetheart” trumps the “dang that looks tasty.”

    Posted 9 years, 2 months ago


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