Rainbow Chard at the Farm Stand

When Highway #17 to Santa Cruz gets backed up with the summer beach traffic I jump off and take Summit Road to Soquel San Jose Road. It winds through the redwoods and drops down to a clearing of horse farms and planted fields. On one of these trips I discovered Everett Family Farm.

Everett Family Farm

Everett Family Farm

This tin shed is filled with the bounty of those sunny California fields. This week I walked in to find the largest tumble of tomatoes I have ever seen! As you know, I have plenty of tomatoes – but not this variety. The price was right so I bought a few pounds. I added some onions, scallions, and fresh eggs to my basket.

Tomatoes!

Tomatoes!

What really caught my eye was the beautiful collection of chard and kale.

Greens

Greens

I picked out a beautiful bunch of rainbow chard and squeezed it into my already full basket. I decided to quickly sauté the chard and scallions as a side dish to the fish I served that night. Begin by cleaning and drying each leaf carefully.

Washed Chard and Scallions

Washed Chard and Scallions

Then chop the greens into bite sized pieces.

Chopped Greens

Chopped Greens

Heat some olive oil in a pan add the scallions and the stems of the chard – sauté until they are softened. Now add the greens and toss until they are wilted. Season generously with salt and pepper – splash with some good quality olive oil before serving.

Cooked Greens

Cooked Greens

©All content property of Renee Fields and Farmer’s Market Table

Insalata Caprese

Sometimes the most simple dishes prepared with high quality ingredients are the best. I am not here to teach complicated techniques or use hard to find ingredients. My goal is to help inspire home cooks to enjoy fresh, beautiful and healthy food. It is easy to eat this way every day.

It is tomato season again. My garden is overflowing with ripe tomatoes and basil. There  is nothing more simple to prepare in this season than an insalata Caprese. If you don’t have a garden, don’t worry, most markets have beautiful heirloom tomatoes and bunches of fresh basil. You’ll need to go shopping anyway because you will need some nice mozzarella or burrata cheese, good quality olive oil and, even though it’s not traditional, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Here are my basil “trees” that have gone a little to seed. I pop off the tops of the basil plant and fill a vase with the fragrant buds. Then I carefully pick healthy looking leaves to wash and use.

Garden Basil

Garden Basil

I am growing several varieties of tomatoes this year. These are Sun Gold tomatoes and are delicious and sweet.

Sun Gold Tomatoes

Sun Gold Tomatoes

I also have Early Girl, Juliet and Pineapple tomatoes growing out of control.  I like to mix up the tomato variety in my salads. Slice the larger tomato into rounds, and quarter the smaller tomatoes – leave some whole too. Slice the mozzarella into rounds or tear it for more texture. If you are using burrata cheese place it in the center of the dish and cut into quarters to be shared. Distribute the basil evenly over the salad so each serving gets a little. Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil, squeeze lemon juice then generously salt and pepper.

Insalata Caprese

Insalata Caprese

Serve with a crusty loaf of bread.

©All content property of Renee Fields and Farmer’s Market Table