Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cooking from the Garden and Farmer's Market

Thus far, I've gotten only two cherry tomatoes off the vines in my garden. But, I've been buying big, beautiful, luscious tomatoes at the farmers' markets for a few weeks now (mostly generic early beefsteak types).

Last Thursday at the Farmers' Market in Westport, however, I bought my first heirloom tomatoes of the season--a few nice Brandywines. I knew I couldn't use them for a few days, so I bought them under ripe, and let them ripen up on my kitchen counter (you should never, ever refrigerate tomatoes). Yesterday, they were perfect and ready to go.

In the summer, I make a raw tomato sauce with pasta at least once a week. It's a perfect way to take advantage of all the flavorful, fresh tomatoes and to up my raw percentage for the week.

I must have at least a dozen different raw tomato sauce recipes, but last week in Westport, I also bought some fresh chevre from a vendor who makes his own goats milk cheeses from his own herd of goats. A walk out to the garden produced a colander full of fresh parsley and basil, and fresh garlic and extra virgin olive oil are constant staples in my pantry (being that I'm a nice Italian girl). So last night I whipped up a dinner of pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce with fresh Herbs and Chevre.

What made this dish even more perfect is that my son had a 4 O'clock piano lesson, so I didn't get home until after 5. But I prepared everything in advance, and when I walked in the door, all I had to do was boil the water, cook the pasta and toss. Easy peasy.

Raw Tomato Sauce with Fresh Herbs and Chevre

3 large tomatoes (preferably an heirloom variety like Brandywine), cored and chopped
1 to 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 ounces fresh Chevre
2 cups chopped fresh Parsley and Basil
1 pound whole wheat Angel Hair pasta

In a large bowl, mix together the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside, at room temperature, for at least 2 and up to 8 hours.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta. Cook until the pasta is al dente. Meanwhile, break up the chevre and add to the tomato mixture and mix in the parsley and basil.

Drain the pasta and add to the tomato/chevre mixture and serve.

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