Friday, August 13, 2010

These Are a Few of my Favorite Things...

It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over (don’t freak out – I said ALmost). As usual, the year is flying by. For me, this was an especially enjoyable summer as it was my first REAL summer in years. After being in the event plannning industry for quite some time, I got used to working every weekend and subesquently, missing out on a lot of fun summer activities – trips to the beach, the lake, Saturday morning brunch, etc. I’ve been at my new job just over a year (ok, so I guess it’s not really “new” anymore), and I tell ya- Monday through Friday ain’t so bad.

But I digress…

I’ve enjoyed the last couple of months so much that I wanted to share some of my FAVORITE things from Summer 2010. I hope you enjoy!

Farmer’s Markets

I experienced my very first Farmer’s Market at Pepper Place in May, and instantly fell in love. I know, so dramatic, right? But it’s true. Even though I had known about Pepper Place for years, it was the first time that my eyes were really opened to the amazing local farmers that we have right here in Alabama, producing some of the finest cheeses, herbs, fruits and veggies that I’ve ever seen/tasted. It’s got a cool vibe, with live music, chef demonstrations and people everywhere (dogs, too!). I loved wandering aimlessly around all of the booths, daydreaming about whatever recipe I would make with my goodies when I got home. I look forward to many more weekends at Pepper Place as the summer months come to a close, and anxiously anticipate the Harvest Market in the fall.

Roasted Tomatoes

Speaking of goodies from the market, I developed a newfound appreciation for my oven when I made a batch of these:

Slow-roasted tomatoes. I’d never roasted anything in my life (at least, not intentionally). Who knew that a hot oven and a couple hours could produce such a heavenly flavor? I’ve roasted many things since then (particularly loved some eggplant that I purchased at the Urban Cookhouse market), but nothing beats that first day, standing in front of the oven, impatiently waiting for the tomatoes to be perfectly caramelized, then standing over the counter and eating them one after another right off the pan, savoring the sweet, intense flavor (and not caring that I burned the roof of my mouth). They also make an easy and fabulous appetizer. Just roast some fresh garlic with the tomatoes and serve with crostini and fresh basil. Simple, but SO delicious.

The B.A.L.T.

Ok, so this is really two of my favorite things- my new favorite sandwich (everything good about summer rolled into one- local tomatoes, buttery avocado, Applewood Bacon and lettuce with mayo and classic white bread) and my new favorite restaurant, Urban Cookhouse (actually, make that three – I crave their fresh Strawberry Lemonade on a daily basis!). The restaurant started off with a bang and has been packed ever since. I love to see Birmingham supporting restaurants that are totally committed to the “farm-to-table” approach of serving food, and I partly credit UC with igniting my own passion to buy and eat local (hence telling Husband that we are never eating at “chain” restaurants again and him looking at me like I’d lost my mind). As their menu says, “Buy Local. Eat Urban.”

Canebrake Gouda

This creamy and delicious cheese from Wright Dairy Farm in Alexandria, AL is the perfect addition to your pre-dinner cheese tray or hors d’oeuvres menu. Better yet - pair it with a glass of wine and enjoy it for lunch, which is what I did (and not ashamed to admit I almost ate the whole block in one sitting. My sister helped).

Watermelon Mojito

This is the quintessential summer cocktail. It’s cool, minty, refreshing, delicious, pretty…need I say more? Oh yeah, it’s on special at Jinsei every Monday night. So you can get two.

I could go on, but I haven’t eaten lunch and I’m afraid that drooling over the keyboard cannot be a good thing. So it’s your turn! What are some of YOUR favorite things from this summer? Share with me!

No comments:

Post a Comment