Thank you to everyone who came out for Long Grove Irish Days and made the festival a huge success! It amazes me that the stores have been part of the Long Grove community for almost 40 years. It means so much to us to see so many people come out and support Long Grove and participate in the festival. I finally made it to Galena Canning Company and I am so excited to try the fancy mustard, apricot-peach and fig preserves I bought. I’m still looking forward to checking out the new spot in town, Buffalo Creek Brewery. I’ve heard it’s fantastic.
How can it be that summer has already come and gone? As much as I love fall, summer is always over too soon. How I’m going to miss the warm, long days and all of the produce that makes dinner effortless. All of the outdoor cooking. Taking walks to the park or out for ice cream. All the things we only do during the summer in Chicago. There’s a part of me that enjoys sweater weather, apples and pumpkins, getting cozy when it’s dark out at 5:00 pm and perhaps most of all, the kids going to bed a little earlier (because I want to go to bed earlier too). Still, for the most part, I don’t get very excited in anticipation of fall, I’m too busy trying to soak up the last of the summer.
Last weekend was a good example of this. We had some friends over, hung out outside, went out for ice cream and mostly just tooled around the neighborhood. Sunday night my brother and father-in-law came over for dinner. Because Paul and I had both fallen asleep on the couch and didn’t wake up in time to get to the store before dinner, we cooked up whatever was left in the fridge. Which ended up being corn, sweet potatoes and chicken. Fortunately, my father-in-law arrived with some beautiful heirloom tomatoes from the Farmers Market. He knows the way to my heart.
Heirloom tomatoes are easily in my top ten favorite foods on earth. They taste just like summer and are guaranteed to be delicious even if you don’t do a thing to them. I will happily eat one over the sink with juice running down my chin just like a fresh peach. In this case, that might have been rude. I decided instead to make a salad.
I clipped some basil from the yard, found some feta cheese in the fridge and rooted around in my vegetable drawer until I came up with a single yellow bell pepper. This would be enough. I decided on a mustardy-lemony vinaigrette and got to work. This dish came together in less than five minutes and was such a beauty. I think it would have been equally good with blue cheese and chives in place of the feta and basil. It would have been good with anything because the heirlooms carried the day. I have one tomato left. I saved it to eat over the sink all by myself.
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Yellow Pepper, Basil, Feta and Dijon Vinaigrette
3 large heirloom tomatoes
About a fistful of fresh basil
1 large yellow pepper
3 ounces of feta cheese
½ shallot, minced
Juice from ½ of a lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 teaspoons honey
1 ½ tablespoons of dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix shallot with lemon juice and allow to sit about 20 minutes to take some of the raw edge off the shallot. Whisk in dijon, honey, and olive oil until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cut the tomatoes into rounds and plate on a large platter. Cut yellow pepper into small squares and roughly chop basil. Top tomato rounds with yellow pepper and basil and crumble feta over the top. Spoon dressing over topped tomatoes. Serve.