It's hard to believe that August is halfway over and fall is right around the corner. But summer vegetables and fruits are at their peak right now. With the markets fairly bursting with fabulous summer produce, I got inspired the other night to make dinner using everything I bought at my local farmer's market. Peaches, figs, tomatoes, eggplant, lemons, mint, and berries --they all came together for dinner. The abundance and variety of summer produce is so wonderful. It occurred to me that this menu would also make a great summer lunch. So here goes, a summer lunch (or dinner) menu that takes advantage of the fresh produce available right now!
Figs and Goat Cheese
Another great summer appetizer is figs served with softened goat cheese, no cooking required!
Blistered Eggplant with Tomatoes, Olives, and Feta
Next was an eggplant and tomato salad from the September issue of Martha Stewart Living. It was delicious and I loved how fresh and abundant it looked. And it couldn't be easier to make. You simply broil the eggplant which gives it that great "grilled" look. Then, after the eggplant cools down, you layer it with the heirloom tomatoes. Dress the mixture with olive oil, salt and pepper, and scatter parsley, olives and feta cheese on top. This dish is a winner.
It makes a fabulous first course, though if you add a couple slices of sourdough bread, it could easily be a main course. Go here for the recipe.
Linguine with Shrimp and Lemons
The main course was Ina Garten's Linguine with Shrimp, one of my favorite dishes to make in the summer. Sunny and fragrant with lemons, it makes me think of being on vacation in Greece. Go here for the recipe.
Meringues and Berries
And finally, dessert couldn't have been easier. I bought meringues from the bakery at Farm Shop, a restaurant in Santa Monica, and topped them with juicy strawberries and blueberries. Instant summer dessert!
I hope you are enjoying the summer. With fall right around the corner, August is a great month for taking advantage of the best produce at the farmer's markets and cooking easy and simple dishes. You barely need a recipe for showcasing these luscious ingredients!