ELC Day #15- Cherry Tomato Salad

How could you possibly want to come home from a place that looks like this:

with fantastic nephews like these:

and after a hike that takes you here:

Let’s be honest.  Mondays are rough.  Mondays after 5 amazing days in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on Lake Superior are really rough. There’s laundry everywhere, 150+ emails in my inbox, and nothing in the fridge. It’s 10:00 p.m. and this post is still not finished. Another 10 pounds of tomatoes waiting in the garden to be taken care of and a real sense that I left more than my ambition in Eastern Standard Time–my heart really belongs with the Great Lakes.

When I was 8 or 9 on my first family vacation to Lake Michigan, I told my parents, “When I make my first million, I promise I will buy you a house on the lake.”  My first million…apparently at the time I was certain there’d be more than one! Either way, leaving my favorite places on the lakes–Duluth, Mackinac Island, Split Rock–always feels like I’m leaving the place I feel most at home.  I love the history of how Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin were shaped by the Great Lakes industry, prosperity and potential.  I love that you can surf off Park Point but not worry about a mouthful of salt water.  But mostly, I love that all of life’s tough questions don’t seem so tough when you’re at the lake. What difference am I supposed to make in this world?  What is beyond what we have here? Just how am I going to make that first million anyway?   When I’m at the lake, the tough questions matter less and I am more forgiving of myself for not having the answers.   For now, it is where I live my best life.

And now for the food.  Did I mention there’s nothing but tomatoes to eat here?  Another test of the Eat Local, America! Challenge. What can a locavore make late on Sunday night after a long weekend, without a trip to the farmers’ market or co-op?  How about a cherry tomato salad? Fast enough to feed a tired kitchen partner (who gratefully drove the entire way!), yet full of summer flavors.  Try this spread on a bagel with cream cheese or use the leftovers for grilled bruschetta. Even better: pack it in the cooler for a picnic at Lake Superior.

Cherry Tomato Salad 


4 C. cherry tomatoes Homegrown (Heirloom varieties are gorgeous in this dish!)
1 green onion with top, finely chopped Homegrown
2 Tbsp. sunflower oil Smude’s Sunflower Oil, Pierz, MN
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped Homegrown
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning

1. Wash and dry tomatoes, removing any stems or debris. Cut in half once and place in a small serving bowl. In a separate bowl, combine oil and seasonings. Drizzle dressing over tomatoes and toss to evenly coat. Serve immediately or chill 1-2 hours for stronger flavors.


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