Monday, July 11, 2011

Buy Local

It's a great time to be a Long Islander.  The farm stands are all brimming with fresh produce, colorful, bountiful, and bursting with flavor.  Excursions to these venues also offer spontaneous surprises on the dinner table.

Tonight I made roast salmon with a creamy mustard sauce, farfalle pasta with homemade pesto and chopped plum tomatoes, and the farm stand's contribution: a medley of sauteed squashes with garlic and fresh herbs.  As the slices of squash browned in the pan, the aroma was comforting and enticing.

Yesterday we snacked on local blueberries and grilled local corn on the cob with dinner.  If you are fortunate enough to live in an area with farm stands to browse, take a ride to them at least once a week, see what looks good, and plan the dinner menu around your purchase.  Summer is prime time for fresh corn, tomatoes, summer squashes, peppers, eggplant, herbs, berries, watermelon and peaches.  Local is always fresher, because the provisions have not had to be transported across the country.  Many farm stands carry other locally-produced foods, such as cheeses and honey.  While you're browsing, there are often some fun, whimsical items to dress up your patio, deck or garden.

Another plus to being a Long Island dweller: the wine scene.  The entire twin forks are peppered with vineyards and, as with produce, I feel good about supporting our local growers, thus making the effort to pour locally-produced wines with dinner.



4 zucchini, sliced into quarter-inch slices
2 yellow summer squash, sliced into quarter-inch slices
4-6 small pattypan squash, sliced into quarter-inch slices
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large saute pan on medium-high heat. Add all the squashes and saute, allowing the slices to start browning. Add minced garlic and continue to saute until squash is very tender. Stir in the herbs, season to taste with salt and pepper, continue to saute for another minute, then serve.

4-6 servings

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