We gathered in Madison, Wisconsin to share a visit. My brother and his wife recently moved there and my longtime friend and Boo's godmother has lived there for almost 20 years.
On a hot Saturday morning we joined the hoards shuffling counter-clockwise around the capitol square to take part in Madison Farmer's Market. The summer produce was in full swing and as we discussed what we should get for the day we decided we needed a theme. "How about a Mexican theme?," our hostess asked. My brother said, "How about gazpacho?" Not Mexican but perfect timing; the heat wave had followed us up from central Tennessee and now, after 3 weeks of +100 degree weather we needed something to help us keep cool.
Back at home the cooks set to work and we ended up with a magnificent summer feast of fresh gazpacho, tacos, green salsa, sweet corn-on-the-cob and a pitcher of most luscious margaritas.
The evening capped an extraordinary visit of two families and old friends.
The taco plate was a bed of spinach with sautéed vegetables and chicken topped with queso, fresh tomatoes, cilantro, avocado and lime wedges. Served with home-made salsa verde which with just the right enough amount of hot to balance the lime on high-quality tortillas made these the best tacos I've eaten in a long time. (Which, admittedly, isn't saying much since Mexican food is unheard of in my corner of France. I DO NOT count the mini-shelf of Old El-Paso at the supermarket).
My sister-in-law elbowed her way to the corn table and came back with a HUGE bag of corn - 13 ears! Her reasoning: It was the best deal! In the end it was good because we ate more than two thirds. The corn was so fresh and sweet that for some no condiments were required.
I love gazpacho and always think of that scene from Almodavar's Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. I know that dates me but so what? My brother makes his soup the same as me - fresh tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, olive oil, flavorings and a splash of V-8.
Oh! The margaritas. Living in France I'm out of practise drinking cocktails. But after a couple of warm evenings in Madison with an expert maker I was hooked. How I miss them now that I'm back! This evening we made a pitcher and garnished them with fresh raspberries that the boys picked from the neighbor's vines.
Growing up, my brothers loved watermelon. I was never a big fan. My boys followed me and won't eat watermelon of any kind. However, my brother split open what was a magical watermelon. The colors were perfect and beautifully pure and it was summer in the mouth, seeds and all.