Nearly every weekend this summer has included a trip to my cousin’s farm. Will and I have carefully selected the farm-fresh and mostly organic produce and coveted it all week long. There were overflowing pints of blueberries that Will would finish before the day was out and tiny, sweet orange cherry tomatoes that would burst as we bit them. And then there was sweet corn, so crisp and sugary that we’d consume ear after ear.
But, as my cousin’s husband said this weekend, the season is quickly coming to an end. When we drove over to the farm on Sunday, we found giant, ripe, just-picked heirloom tomatoes and brilliant other tomatoes. Plus, several varieties of onions, gigantic cucumbers and other goodies.
With winter fast-approaching, we bought about 10 pounds of seconds tomatoes — ones that didn’t quite pass muster but are perfect for fresh marinara. We also bought several of the perfect red tomatoes and an heirloom. I immediately started dreaming of what to do with the lovely globes of goodness. The seconds were destined for marinara (more on that later this week . . . it was a lengthy process). The regular, ripe, perfect tomatoes I have tucked away for gazpacho (along with the cucumber and a red onion), which I will tell you about another day. But the heirloom, oh the heirloom. The gnarly, imperfect, gigantic heirloom was my wild card. Would I slice it and eat it bit by bit? Or perhaps transform it into something else.
But while flipping through a Barefoot Contessa cookbook, I found my answer. An heirloom tomato salad with blue cheese dressing. Ina Garten’s recipe didn’t quite meet my tastes (too much mayo . . . heck, mayo in general! ew!), so I worked out my own vinaigrette version.
Coincidentally, did you know that September is an Eat Local Challenge month? I am taking on the challenge this time. After a summer of doing my best to eat locally (and prepare for winter to do the same), I am ready to nudge my eating local forward with a solid footing for winter. So my challenge this September is to buy, prepare and store local produce for the long New England winter that will be here before we know it. I’ll be sharing my progress as I go as well.
Now. Onto the recipe.