garden state

I’ve found a new place to call home. This summer, I moved with my family halfway across the country, from the Midwest where I’ve lived for the last decade, back to the Northeast where I was born. We’ve landed in New Jersey — not exactly my childhood state, but very reassuringly close to the edge of the Atlantic ocean I’ve missed for so long.

I’m just coming out of the fog of exhaustion that moving brought on, which felt more physically grueling than I ever remembered. Is it my advanced age? There was a time in my life when I picked up and moved every couple of years without batting an eye. Of course, those were days when the tendrils that held me in place where like threads on the end of a baby onion; nothing like the roots that formed after living in the same house year after year, watching my children grow up.

The past few months have been chaotic, and the lack of an orderly kitchen space — not to mention the piles of boxes all around — left me unbalanced and out of sorts. It was until I managed to cook a few simple meals in the new house that I felt some control. Even simply chopping fresh parsley, heating some garlic with olive oil to put over a bowl of pasta made life seem peaceful and predictable again.

There is such a bounty of great food in this part of the world; I feel very lucky and excited at the abundance of beautiful fresh seafood, local meat and produce. In Essex County where I live now, there’s a farmer’s market every day of the week in each different town.

I’ll be getting back to my usual cooking and posting recipes here, but for now I wanted to share a taste of my recent trip to the market.

Talk to you soon!

Summer at the Farmer’s Market

I’ve been traveling in the Pacific Northwest over the past few weeks, but missing my blog a bit lately.

Here are a few highlights from my trip – some photos taken at the downtown Portland, Oregon farmer’s market, a place so full of fresh, pristine produce it makes my heart beat a bit faster. It’s not very often that I see such a huge array of locally grown, green leafy vegetables and ripe summer fruits like cherries, berries, plums and tomatoes.

It’s hard not to want to take a little bit of everything home!

Happy Summer…I’ll be back soon with more recipes.

Farm Fresh Summer Tomato Salad

Simplicity in a bowl – fresh ripe tomatoes
After a just one week here in Maine, I’m reveling in the peak of summer produce – what could be better? 

The weekly bounty

My Missouri friend Alanna (of A Veggie Venture), and Stephen Cooks, have been maintaining a virtual relationship with the folks at Wolf Pine Farm, a community-supported farm in southern Maine. In a simple twist of fate, it happens to be the very same CSA that my sister and brother-in-law belong to, and is always at the top of my list of places to visit during our annual summer trips.

As I helped L gather her weekly share, I couldn’t help thinking that summer is almost over – all the more reason to savor the simple, fleeting pleasures of sweet summer tomatoes.

Simple Summer Tomato Salad

Fresh tomatoes, in a a variety of colors and sizes
Extra-virgin olive oil, the best you can find
Salt
Finely sliced red onion, optional 

Serve the tomatoes in a bowl, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt. Stir in some sliced onions, if you’re feeling adventurous.

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