Thursday, August 2, 2007

my kind of town

This weekend found us in the windy city and me wondering why the heck I hadn't moved there after undergrad... All the amenities of NY (without the quirkiness that I so love) and so much more affordable. Is that a faux pas to talk about money on a family site?!?! Well who's judging!

While I adore the comforts of home, the farmers market, the neighbors, the quaint neighborhoods that are unreplicable elsewhere--at least in the states, I was glad to see that the old city full of charm and mid-western hospitality was still kicking. And who knows, if I'm lucky I might be a resident again one day.

G & I took the architectural tour that I hadn't taken in at least 10 years and learned all about the old and new faces of the city. Seriously a magnificent place, and Chicagoans have unparalleled pride, that's indisputable, which certainly helps maintain a spectacular city. In fact, I would go as far as to say that there is no better place to be in the summer months than Chicago. There, I said it!

Enough about our travels and down to business!

We returned home in time for my favorite market day, Wednesday. While our fish monger isn't there on Wednesday, a bevy of other choices are available and the market seems to burst with vendors. Plus there is the added bonus of being a weekday which means the market is much more walk-able then Saturday.

I stocked up on newly plucked pears, sweet cherries, strawberries, peaches, and nectarines, and we are not talking about the gigantic pesticide pumped Schwarzenegger's found at most grocery stores! Then I added some summer squash, corn, chard, peas, peppers, and heirloom tomatoes. That should last us a few days!

Tonight I decided to use the remainders of my loot and add some new ones. Dinner was mahi mahi seared and simmered in a warm summer salsa. The salsa truly showcases the colors of summer. The mahi mahi sat atop whole wheat couscous tossed with some additional summer veggies.

If you are interested, read on for how it's done... if not, stay tuned for another post soon about this remarkable new book I received as a gift that I hope you will join me in reading, discussing and living!

First was a salsa of sorts with all the odds and ends:
corn off the cob,
red pepper,
yellow heirloom tomato (forgive me, I don't know the genus!),
garlic scapes and
avocado squash (if i haven't yet RAVED about this marvelously nutty and rich squash let me tell you now that you must try and find yourself one before the season has passed, a remarkable veggie!).

Saute onions and garlic, then add squash. After about 2-3 minutes add the rest, saving the tomato for last. Toss in some good sea salt, pepper and a few hot pepper flakes for good measure! Then saute for another 5 minutes and move the salsa to the outside of the pan to make room for the fillets.

I also used a bit of the sautéed onion, garlic, red pepper and corn in the whole wheat couscous that sat under the mahi mahi fillets.

Season the fillets with whatever you like. I use a little cayenne and old bay. It's a cop out but it's mighty tasty! Put the fillets in the 'hole' (see photo above left) and sear/simmer on each side for about 3 minutes. Plate the fillets atop a bed of whole wheat couscous and surround with your beautiful warm salsa.

This was another surprise winner and will certainly be revisited later in the season. Stay tuned for purple carrot bundt cakes. Yes folks, you heard it here first. If it's purple, I'm cookin it.

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