The Best of Summer

Asian eggplant at Sai Vang-recipes below

I wrote the words, “The Best of Summer” and then nearly took them back because I could say that of the market every week.  But at this point in August, while the stores are ready to sell you autumn at the cost of ending your summer, the market cornucopia begins to overflow.

Driftless Organics returns to the market this week with sunflower oil and wild blackberries. (Their Facebook fan page has a link to making your own elote/sweet corn.  Fan pages are public; no account necessary to view and enjoy.)  Sweet corn is still abundant at Pleasant Springs Orchard, Jean and Romy Statz, Flyte Family Farm, Natalie’s Garden, Prairie Farm Produce and Vree Farm, so when you fire up the grill for something savory from Pecatonica Valley, Jen Ehr, Hawk’s Hill Elk Ranch or Jordandal, try the corn Hispanic street fair style.   (Jordandal’s Facebook special last week was a discount on pepperoni!)

What’s for dessert?  Door County Fruit has  peaches  as well as apricots and cherries, but get to the market early (their jams and jellies are yummy too); watermelons, cantaloupes, muskmelons, apples (Green’s and Primrose Community Farm, the Statz’), blueberries, raspberries and blackberries (Jen Ehr,Phia Yang, Flyte Family Farm, Epelgaarden, Pa Vang, who still has a few strawberries also)….so much fresh local goodness, why do you bother with a sad jet-lagged fruit like this?

Early bird gets the worm, but the late shopper wears a better smile

If you prefer to have someone else do the hard stuff, see Honey Bee Bakery, Madison Sourdough, Murphy’s, Stella’s or Ethel Ann’s Savories and Sweets; John sent us a Facebook alert that they are bringing fresh peach muffins to the market; at Potter’s Crackers, Nancy has some yummy ideas for cheese, fruit and cracker combinations, and the cheese vendors, Edelweiss, Dreamfarm, Schroeder’s and Murphy‘s are just a brief stroll away.  While you’re considering the possibilities, the WCM vendors invite you to enjoy a complimentary cup of coffee at the Information Tent.

Be sure to visit Bruce at Edelweiss and congratulate him on his successful entries in the American Cheese Society Competition: brick muenster, 2nd place and cellar aged Gouda, 3rd place.  (There are 1676 entries from 258 companies, so this is quite an accomplishment!)

The market is open no matter what the weather

Really busy week coming up? See RP’s Pasta for fresh ravioli and tortellini with a sauce from Don’s Produce or try a  Tomato Mountain salsa with Gitto Tortillas. (Their labor issues solved, Tomato Mountain is now at the market weekly; check out their Facebook page; it’s very cool.)  Or dress your  fresh lemon-pepper linguine with a sauce made from Sugar River Dairy’s plain yogurt, garlic and basil and top with shaved smoked sausage from Hawk’s Hill Ranch, Pecatonica Valley, Jen Ehr or Jordandal.  See Adrian  at Yum Butter for an Asian inspired nut butter that makes a delicious pasta sauce.

Matt's Wild Cherry Tomato at Blue Moon Community Farm

There’s nearly every vegetable available  in the market now: Black Earth Valley has fat red sweet peppers; Real Foods specializes in a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes; carrots, beets, onions red/white/yellow/cippolini, cucumbers, fat or svelte, snap beans and delicious Asian long beans, garlic, cabbages and summer squash.  Whew!  Did you bring some help to carry all these good things to the car?  If not, ask your vendors…the parking is so close and easy that they can often tote your purchases for you.

Don’t forget the flowers! Country Bloomer’s bumper crop of lisianthus was gone before 10 am last week.  Kelly Lor, Pa Vang, Natalie’s Greenhouse, Prairie Farm Produce, and Ka Vang all have food for your eyes and soul.

packing up to go home at Prairie Farm Produce

Making a Meal of the Issues?

There was shocking news this week about the quality and composition of imported blended honey (banned in Europe) flooding the United States market, proving again–as if we still needed this lesson– that you get what you pay for.  Ask your market honey vendors, B’s Honey and Bonde Bee about where the fruit of their bees comes from.

Here are a few good ideas for lunchbox creativity, not that we’re going to worry about back to school issues just yet.

And here’s Mark Bittman in a TED talk speaking sense about what we eat.

For those of you growing a future foodie this summer, here’s that NPR article about breastfeeding and baby’s palate.

Chef Kevin Appleton from Vom Fass


Thanks to everybody who stopped by to taste the goodies composed by Chef Kevin Appleton of Vom Fass. He’s promised to send the exact recipes, but his Summer Slaw is easy to put together:  Remember that he prefers a 2/3 oil to 1/3 vinegar proportion in a vinaigrette; then whisk in 2-3 ounces of soft goat cheese to emulsify the mixture, salt and pepper.  (Chef Kevin was using  apple vinegar and olive oil)  He shredded/julienned one medium green zucchini, one cantaloupe, one sweet red pepper and tossed with the dressing.  The cantaloupe was the surprise ingredient and every taster loved it.

I didn’t catch exactly what the chef put into the second salad-the one with the scrumptious fig vinegar-so we’ll have to wait for the email.

Tomato Cheddar Pie

A fast, biscuit crust savory pie that travels well


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or Sugar River Dairy yogurt)


  • 2 pounds large ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 2 1/2 cups coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar (8–9 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (1/2 ounce)
  • 1 scallion, trimmed, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornmeal

For crust:
Whisk first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in butter until coarse meal forms and some small lumps remain. Stir in buttermilk and knead gently with your hands until dough forms. Wrap dough in plastic and chill for 1 hour.

For filling:
Lay tomatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with 2 layers of paper towels. Place another 2 layers of paper towels on top of tomatoes. Let stand for 30 minutes to drain.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Roll out dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to an 11″ round. Remove top layer of plastic wrap. Invert dough onto pie dish. Carefully peel off plastic wrap.

Toss both cheeses in a medium bowl until evenly incorporated. Reserve 1/4 cup of cheese mixture. Whisk scallion, mayonnaise, dill, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

Sprinkle cornmeal evenly over bottom of crust, then top with 1/2 cup cheese mixture. Arrange 1/3 of tomatoes over cheese, overlapping as needed. Spread half of mayonnaise mixture (about 1/3 cup) over. Repeat layering with 1 cup of cheese mixture, 1/2 of remaining tomato slices, and remaining mayonnaise mixture. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese mixture over, then remaining tomato slices. Sprinkle with reserved 1/4 cup cheese mixture. Fold overhanging crust up and over edges of tomato slices.

Bake pie until crust is golden and cheese is golden brown, 35-40 minutes (check crust halfway and tent with foil if it’s getting too dark). Let pie cool at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours before slicing and serving.


a chilled summer soup hearty enough to stand alone with a crispy garlic ciabatta from Madison Sourdough on the side; drizzle with a Vom Fass olive oil! (They’ve got the sherry vinegar too)

  • 3 pounds ripe halved tomatoes
  • 3 toasted, chopped 4x4x1/2″ slices white sandwich bread
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 4 smashed garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Serrano ham or prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • Chopped hard-boiled egg

Squeeze seeds and pulp from 3 pound ripe halved tomatoes into a strainer set over a large bowl. Press solids to release as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Core and chop tomatoes; add to bowl.

Combine 3 toasted, chopped 4x4x1/2″ slices white sandwich bread, 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds, and 4 smashed garlic cloves in a blender. Pulse until chopped. Add tomatoes with liquid to blender in batches, puréeing until very smooth. Add 1 teaspoon Sherry vinegar. With blender running, gradually add 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Purée until emulsified and frothy, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and more vinegar, if desired. Chill until cold, about 2 hours. Season to taste again with salt and vinegar.

Divide soup among small bowls or glasses. Garnish with thinly sliced Serrano ham or prosciutto and chopped hard-boiled egg. Drizzle with more oil.

(recipes adapted from Epicurious)

Web Extras!

*This article from The Kitchen Window at NPR is fun and includes  recipes entitled the  Last Appetizer Recipe You’ll Ever Need and Not Your Mother’s Snickerdoodles!  (Many other yummy ideas too.)

*You might assume that Williams Sonoma would have a beautiful blog…here’s an Asian eggplant recipe as only the kitchen experts can do it at One Perfect Bite.

*From All Day Long I Dream About Food blog comes this recipe for baked eggplant chips with garam masala that I can hardly wait to try.

*I’m looking forward to seeing the movie “The Help”…here’s the caramel cake recipe everybody’s talking about.  (Maybe we can get Ethel Ann’s on to this for us!)
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