Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Summer Simplicity

A Happy Heirloom

When I first started this blog, I thought I could only really post fancy, complex, full dishes. As I have progressed and learned more about the kind of blog I really wanted to write, I have come to realize that things don't need to be elaborate or fancy to be blog-worthy. And as I look through some of the pictures I have taken of super simple dishes, I thought, "Hey, these deserve their moment in the spotlight, too!" I mean come on, just *look* at that tomato. What fancy thing could I possibly do to it that would make it taste better than it does straight off the vine? 

So this post is a brief celebration of seasonal simplicity- a few of my favorite things that can be created in a matter of minutes, but can make you do the happy delicious dance just as much as something that takes an hour. 
*You may also note that these items are pretty tomato-heavy. We went a little crazy with the tomato plants this year, but in the best way. We have heirlooms, red grape tomatoes, yellow cherries, lemon boys, and san marzanos. I add a handful of tomatoes to nearly every meal and no, we are actually not tired of them yet ;)

Tomatoes, jalapenos, lodi apples, and fresh mint- quite the backyard bounty!

When I pick a giant bowl of these gorgeous tomatoes, I can't imagine doing anything that would take away from their natural sweetness and acidity. A majority of the time, I just chop up a combination of what is on hand. The heirlooms are fruity, as are the yellow cherries- although the cherries have a hint more acidity, and  the red grapes are bright with a great crispy bite to their skins. 

So let's go through some of my favorite options. In putting together this post, I ended up with 3 tomato items and one blueberry thing. All take about 5 minutes and make you feel like summertime. (Yes, you can feel like summertime). 

How gorgeous are these?

Let's start with the simplest.
- Tomatoes. Slice.  Salt. I prefer maldon or other flaky salt if you have it. The crunch of the flakes is so satisfying and the pop of salt with the crisp tomato skin is the perfect combo.
- Good bread. This was a fresh farmer's market rye. We were feeling fancy that day so we used Kerrygold butter. Mmmmm. 
And that's it. Fresh in-season tomatoes, salt, bread, butter.

The simplest

Just a hair more complex
- Fresh ground pepper
- Chopped fresh basil
- a drizzle of good olive oil. Like the kind you want to dip bread in... or just dip your finger in. It should be clean and fruity, or maybe even a little spicy. You can go crazy with some infused oils here if you want a little something extra (see what I use on the eggs below)

That's it. I serve this alongside eggs for breakfast, or even just on their own with some fresh toast and creamy butter. It also goes with pretty much anything you could think of for second breakfast, elevensies, lunch, dinner, or fourth meal. 

Still pretty simple

Moving it up just a notch
This one involves actual heat and cooking, so it is technically a bit more "difficult". Tyson isn't the biggest fan of scrambled eggs (even though I rock a soft scramble), so I make him his requested over-medium egg. The egg is seasoned with sea salt and fresh black pepper, and laid over a piece of toast (that same awesome rye, in this case). 

I mentioned infused oils above. This particular morning, I drizzled the bread with a Wild Dill olive oil that I got from Seasons here in Bethlehem, PA. I was so pleasantly surprised (as was Tyson) by the incredible level of dill flavor. That, plus the tomatoes tossed with salt, pepper, and a standard fruity olive oil made for a full-on-punch-you-in-the-face-with-summer breakfast. 


Then I did the same thing for myself, but with a soft scramble instead of an over-easy egg. I wish I had had some chives or green onions on hand, but man...even without, this breakfast was rockin'. I would eat this all day, e'ry day. 


And one non-tomato item:
Ok here it is: Summer as represented by blueberries. What does it involve?

-Toast. We love Ezekiel bread. It is so hearty and nutty, and makes you feel full and satisfied.
- Nut butter. This was an all-natural peanut, but almond or any other nut butter would be equally lovely.
- BLUEBERRIES. We live 5 minutes from a pick-your-own berry farm.  If you have yet to experience a fresh-picked blueberry, STOP  YOUR LIFE. Whatever you have going on, just put it on hold. Go find blueberries. And no, not the pint at the local grocery store. They won't give you what you need. You may not even know you need this, but trust me- you do. Fresh blueberries are an entirely different experience from what you get in a store. It's like each fat little berry is its own full fruit-yeah, I know that sounds silly, but try one and then tell me I'm wrong. 

....Where was I? Right. Blueberries. Fresh ones. Pop them on top. 
-Final touch- local honey. Drizzle that goodness over the top like a sweet icing on a toaster pastry. We initially started purchasing local honey because a) we like supporting local merchants and b)they cure allergies!

Ok, so it turns out the second reason is not actually supported by science. But we still like supporting local merchants and our honey lady has cool chickens we get to see when we go by her farm, so we're gonna keep doing that. 

Well, these are a few of my favorite summertime preparations- they're nothing fancy, they just focus on really beautiful summer items and respecting the natural flavors of those items. I hope you try and enjoy them. I'll keep collecting some of these favorites and I'm sure I'll be back with more before the summer is out!

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