LAKE MACBRIDE— In 100 degree temperatures the walk to the garden to pick yellow cherry tomatoes and basil for dinner didn’t seem hot. Perhaps I am adapted to the unseasonably hot weather… intensified by climate change. We can’t recall the last rainfall. According to the state climatologist, “Iowa temperatures averaged 72.1° or 0.6° above normal while precipitation totaled 1.57 inches or 2.63 inches less than normal. This ranks as the 7th driest and 65th warmest August among 141 years of records.” It has been exceptionally dry in Big Grove. However, life goes on, and having a house guest provides a special reason to used locally grown food to prepare meals for the table.
That we would have a salad was determined when a co-worker at the farm carried a crate full of freshly picked lettuce from the field to the cooler yesterday morning. Mixed greens, washed and spun dry, topped with zucchini, cucumber, orange bell pepper, red onions, wedges of red tomatoes and sliced carrots were topped with a dressing of choice. Balsamic vinegar and olive oil with salt and pepper is my favorite.
We also served pesto pasta. During early summer I made and froze half a dozen jars of pesto, using various ingredients. Slicing the yellow cherry tomatoes in half and putting them in a small bowl along with a chiffonade of basil leaves, I cooked six cups of bow tie pasta to al dente. The pasta, tomatoes and basil, half a pint of pesto and a roughly measured cup of Romano and Parmesan cheese were mixed thoroughly in a large bowl and served alongside a one-inch thick tomato slice topped with kosher salt and strips of fresh basil. A simple late summer feast.