When it’s sweltering outside, especially for longer than just a day or two, deciding on what to make for dinner poses an extra challenge. The instant the oven turns on, the heat goes up in the house, too, with or without the air conditioner on. So, what to make when it’s too warm to even think about using the stove? After a quick trip to the farmers market, you can have all of the ingredients you need for an easy-to-make, refreshing summer salad.
This week, a trip to the Saginaw market yielded some delicious fruit, including sweet cherries from Rafael’s, grown right here in the Great Lakes Bay Region, and a red raspberry-infused vinegar—perfect for adding a little flavor as a dressing for a cool, light berry salad. A bit of honey and cilantro started the base for a crisp dressing to add some more flavor to the freshly picked vegetables found at the market, too.
The best thing about both recipes is that the ingredients can be substituted, mixed, matched, and changed based on availability of produce or preference. Add as much of something as you like, and as little of something that you don’t. Change the ratio of the dressings to be a bit less sweet or to add a hint of tang. Crumble some feta cheese on top, or maybe add a sprinkle of bacon.
Whatever you decide to pick up, your local farmers markets in Bay City, Frankenmuth, Kochville Township, Midland, Mount Pleasant, and Saginaw have all the makings of a yummy, chilled summertime meal waiting for you.
Basil and Berries
2 cups blueberries, whole
1 peach, diced
½ quart cherries, halved and pitted
4 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
3 – 6 tablespoons red raspberry-infused vinegar
Add fruit to bowl. Toss gently. Mix chopped basil to vinegar in separate bowl. Pour vinegar over fruit and gently stir. Chill and serve.
Cucumber & Tomato Salad
1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 medium-sized onion, diced
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Cilantro, to taste, finely chopped (with stems)
Combine vegetables in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil and honey to make dressing. Stir in cilantro. Drizzle dressing over vegetables. Toss gently. Chill and serve.
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