I love food. And because of that, I became a locavore without even realizing there was a whole movement of people eating food straight from their communities – whether to reduce carbon emissions, keep money in the local economy or stay healthy. I just did it because the freshest food always tastes best to me, and you don’t get much fresher than something grown an hour away and picked the day before it’s brought to you. (Although stepping out to your patio and picking vegetables and herbs from your own little garden, is fresher, and we do that, too.)
Of course local, organic food can be a bit more costly than produce you can find in the grocery store. Luckily, my hardworking and equally food-loving husband was offered a job at the Portland Farmers’ Market. So he gets up at an ungodly hour for a Saturday and unloads a truck of veggies from Persephone Farm in Lebanon, Ore., and then sells them. So he makes some extra money, but the true payoff if that we can take home anything that’s still around right before the market closes.
So I’ve decided to document our attempt to work in as much produce from Persephone into our diets and thereby reduce our food expenses. I’ll post photos of meals, detail what ingredients are from Persephone Farms, tell which cookbooks we’ve used — or jot down the recipe if it’s one from our repertoire.
Summer Tomato Gazpacho
We used Persephone’s tomatoes, onion, cucumber, garlic and parsley, and basil from our garden. Serves 4.
5 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded (see note)
1 large cucumber, peeled and seeded
½ cup red onion
½ large red bell pepper
2 small cloves garlic
5 basil leaves
¼ cup parsley
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and black pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil
packaged croutons, optional
Note: To peel tomatoes, bring a large pot of water to boil. Slice an X into the bottom of the tomatoes. Have a large bowl of ice water nearby. Place tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until skin starts to peel off. Place tomatoes in ice water. Peel. Slice in half and scoop out seeds.
Place first seven ingredients (tomatoes through parsley) in the bowl of a food processor or blender. (This may need to be done in two batches.) Blend until smooth. Add balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and pulse a few more times. Divide among four bowls. Top with croutons and olive oil if desired. Enjoy!