Late Summer Salad

I returned from all my travels this summer to find my tomato plants the height of small trees. The amount of ripe fruit on them ensures that I, along with my friends and neighbors, will be eating these beautiful tomatoes for months to come.

Tomatoes in Every Size

Tomatoes in Every Size

Today at the market avocados were $1 each and perfectly ripe so I bought five. Tonight I am grilling some cumin rubbed steaks so I naturally thought of guacamole – but extra chunky and as a salad.

Beautiful Ingredients

Beautiful Ingredients

Tomatoes, avocado, minced garlic, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper – that’s it.

Chopped

Chopped

Mix together – season to taste – and watch it disappear!

Guacamole Salad

Guacamole Salad

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Bali Hai

This summer I completed my own version of Eat-Pray-Love…the travel and food version. I have just returned from the most exotic place I have ever visited – Bali, Indonesia.

 

Bali

Bali

I had no experience with Indonesian food and wondered what I might learn from this trip. I was fortunate enough to join a very talented cook while he prepared a beautiful lunch for us. We had requested an authentic Balinese meal and he transformed some very simple ingredients into one of the most delicious meals I have ever had. He started with diced garlic, shallot, green pepper, red pepper and stir fried it in some oil.

Diced and ready to stir fry.

Diced and ready to stir fry.

Then he added purple cabbage, carrot and bok choy tossing it over high heat he added leftover white rice, paprika and some soy sauce. After some more tossing and seasoning adjustment – here’s the result:

Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng

Really delicious – then he tossed some cubed chicken breast in salt, pepper and chopped garlic. Arranged them onto bamboo skewers and grilled brushing with dark soy sauce.

Chicken breast for skewers.

Chicken breast for skewers.

Turning them into this:

Chicken Satay

Chicken Satay

Yum – Finally he took the legs and wings from the whole chickens he had dismantled for the skewers and browned them in oil adding red peppers, green peppers, onion, carrot, coconut milk and a magic curry packet:

Magic Curry Packet

Magic Curry Packet

We ate this way almost every day we were in Bali – amazing food.

Chicken Curry

Chicken Curry

And an amazing place.

DSCF0109

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Spanish Tortilla

My good friend Martha is an excellent cook. She has traveled the world and always has a unique dish or healthy way to prepare common ingredients. One of my favorites is her Spanish tortilla. This is generally served as an appetizer – but my teenagers love it for breakfast. I start with some small yukon gold potatoes.

Sliced Yukon Golds

Sliced Yukon Golds

Slice them evenly and thinly – about 1/4 inch thick. Add a healthy amount of olive oil to a non-stick pan and heat until it sizzles when a potato is added – don’t let the oil get too hot and smoke. If you choose, you can also add chopped onion. Cook the potatoes on medium heat until they can be pierced with a fork. Strain the excess oil into a ramekin – I use it within a few days for other potato dishes. Season with salt and pepper and dried herbs of your choosing. This morning I used some of those Herbes de Provence I brought back from France a few weeks ago. Make sure to use enough salt or the dish can be bland.

Cooked Potatoes

Cooked Potatoes

Now, mix about five eggs with a splash of milk, more salt and pepper and herbs. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the cooked potatoes.

Eggs

Eggs

Cover and cook gently until the bottom and the top of the tortilla is quite set.  Slide the tortilla onto a plate – place the pan upside down over the plate and flip the tortilla over – cook an additional ten minutes.

I slice it up and serve with their favorite hot sauce!

Spanish Tortilla

Spanish Tortilla

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A Meal in Provence

I have just returned from a fantastic trip to France. After accepting a generous invitation to join some friends at their home in Provence, I was unprepared for the staggering beauty that the countryside offers; lavender fields, vineyards, truffle trees and medieval villages set on green hills. The abundance of ingredients offered at the local open air markets made planning dinner a delight.

Provence

I would like to share one such dinner with you. The most simple ingredients were transformed by fire, a gratin dish and a beautiful view. I will let the photos speak for themselves.

Lamb Chops with Rosemary

An open fire made with gathered firewood was all this lamb needed.

Preparing to Grill

Two beautiful potatoes, sliced thinly, and arranged in a gratin dish with chopped tomato, olive oil and herbes de Provence. Okay – I put a little butter on them – it is France! Bake at 375 degrees until golden and cooked through. (Test with a fork).

Potatoes Ready to Bake

A cucumber salad with fresh tarragon added a bright and cooling component to the meal – sprinkle with olive oil and white wine vinegar.

Cucumber Salad with Fresh Tarragon

And the meal is ready! Bon Appetit!

A Meal in Provence

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