Let’s be honest. Â Mondays are rough. Â 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.” Â 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. Â I love the history of how Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin were shaped by the Great Lakes industry, prosperity and potential. Â I love that you can surf off Park Point but not worry about a mouthful of salt water. Â 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? Â What is beyond what we have here? Just how am I going to make that first million anyway?Â Â When I’m at the lake, the tough questions matter less and I am more forgiving of myself for not having the answers. Â For now, it is where I live my best life.
And now for the food. Â Did I mention there’s nothing but tomatoes to eat here? Â 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? Â 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. Â Try this spread on a bagel with cream cheese or use the leftovers forÂ grilled bruschetta. Even better: pack it in the cooler for a picnic at Lake Superior.
Cherry Tomato SaladÂ
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.