When I was a kid, the farmers market meant bushels of purple hull peas and tomatoes. Folks would buy things that they didn’t grow themselves and can. My grandmother kept her own garden that I helped with. I was not fond of shelling peas and even less fond of those huge green horned tomato worms.
Today a farmers market is essentially still the same thing, but there is a whole new flair at the downtown market. Fresh-baked, gourmet breads and pastries take up some of the tomato money. There are squash blossoms almost too beautiful to cook but too tasty not too. Bucket after bucket of beautiful cut flowers make the place as luxurious as the Peabody lobby. There are fresh herbs, potted herbs, jams and jellies, artists, and performers.
If you can’t wait to get your treats home, Cafe Francisco offers their fresh roasted coffee and pastries. McEwen’s on Monroe offers a variety of brunch items. My hands were too full of bags to take notes, but I remember seeing croissant sandwiches and stuffed tomatoes among other things.
Clearly my ADD hits full stride at the farmers market. The best part is unloading the car at home. Seeing your bounty spread out on the counter is a mix of excitement and “oh dear” while thinking of all the dishes to come.
Now my grandmother’s market had tomatoes — better boy, best girl, and maybe cherry tomatoes. Her market never had more than a half dozen heirloom varieties from a lady with 250 plants just starting to ripen. Another thing my grandmother never had was spaghetti squash. Yellow crookneck and that was it.
We’re big pasta fans. Aside from fancy shapes that we are not patient enough to make, we have completely given up on premade pasta, preferring instead to roll our own so to speak. Spaghetti squash is an interesting exception to our pasta making obviously. It’s homemade, but so nicely prepackaged too.
With spaghetti squash and such beautiful tomatoes, we knew what dish we had to make.
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- 1 pound heirloom tomatoes cubed -- regular tomatoes may be used
- 1/2 cup diced onions
- Fresh oregano
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds.
- Place the squash cut side down in a flat microwave-safe dish. A pyrex casserole is perfect.
- Add 1/4 cup of water to the dish and cover with plastic wrap.
- Microwave for 12 - 15 minutes. The squash will be soft when done.
- Allow the squash to rest for a minute before removing the plastic wrap.
- Using a fork moving side to side, comb the strands of squash from the skin.
- Saute onions in 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat until soft.
- Add tomatoes, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Saute five minutes. Push to one side of pan.
- Add second tsp of olive oil to empty side of pan.
- Add squash strands to the pan and saute for 1 minute. Fold squash into tomato mixture.
- Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan.