summer loving

Oh, you know me, Miss Always Needing the Next New Thing, Miss No, I Don’t Want To Make That Flawless Recipe That We Loved Again, I’ve Already Made It. But this Sunday, the Union Square Greenmarket got the better of me, and I dug into the recipe archive and admitted that there were three recipes that if not made again, it would be a crying shame. And there will be no crying in the Smitten Kitchen, okay? (Not when there is enough shame about what ever happened to those leftover brownie bits from Friday, ahem, at least.)

orange cherry tomatoesafternoon delight

Because the tomatoes are in season, and if you’ve never taken a thick slice of an knobby and goofy-colored heirloom tomato and laid it on a piece of whole wheat sourdough miche and topped it with a few drops of fruity olive oil and some flakes of sea salt and sunk into a chair on your first bite, overwhelmed by the revelation of it, I want you to close your browser window, shut off your computer, and go out right now and do it. Or at least sometime very soon. You are owed this, I promise. I want you to have it.

purple carrotsceleryred peppersorange and white carrots

Eggplant is also in season, as are zucchini, carrots, radishes, peaches and other stone fruit and berries and onions of every variety, and although we were just going to walk through Union Square and see what struck us, I should know after all these years of knowing me that this would be a mess. I am incapable of leaving a farmers’ market with anything less than way too much stuff to carry home.

hot peppersground cherries

Sunday night, we revisited the Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad, and my god, if possible, it was even more incredible with farm-fresh vegetables.

eggplantchopped eggplantbarleymediterranean eggplant and barley salad

For dessert, as promised, I went back to the sauced berries from the Summer Berry Pudding that had left me swooning, skipped the soggy bread and poured the goodness over an angel food cake slice from Whole Foods, which until I get my own tube pan, is a fantastic substitution for homemade. I’m always impressed with how moist they get it. This might be my new, preferred, not-too-bad-for-you summer dessert.

at first i was sad to cook all these downuntil i tasted that soupiness

And last night, oh baby, last night I roasted as many baby roma tomatoes I could find with small basket of red cippoline onions with olive oil and sea salt and cracked pepper until they were blistered and wilted and scraped this whole mess with every last iota of juices over a few cups of white beans with a chiffonade of basil on top and then I fainted with joy, only coming back to for long enough to run a heel of ciabatta loaf through what was left at the bottom of the bowl. Roasted Tomatoes and Cippoline Onions Over White Beans isn’t my favorite summer dinner in the whole entire world for nothing.

cipollinitomatoesroasted tomatoes with white beansroasted tomatoes with white beans


And also: Thank you so much to all of you who have emailed and commented with suggestions for what we should do in Napa. I have written down every single one, with a little tally for how many times they’ve been voted for! Our plans are starting to come together, but what we could still use–if you don’t mind me leaning on your some more–is some suggestions for off-the-beaten-track, smaller wineries, which seem more our speed. As a repayment, I will drink a glass in every one of your honors. Okay, fine, that would be deadly. But I am thinking of bringing the laptop and uploading pictures throughout the weekend of the trip that you sent us on. Hooray!

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46 comments on summer loving

  1. Yum! I made the zucchini and almonds as a main dish with oven roasted garlic rosemary chicken as a side (I thought you’d like that) last night. It was SOOOO good. I have a juilienne peeler – because my mandoline sucks – and had zucchini strips that were about 12 inches long. B ate two servings of healthiness and wants it for dinner again soon. I think I’m going to add a touch of balsamic vinegar next time too.

  2. M

    Here’s my recommendations: First and foremost, stick to the Silverado Trail instead of the main highway 29. It is much less touristy, better wineries, and I think much prettier. Rutherford Grill is great for lunch (bring a bottle of vino – no corkage fee!), Auberge du Soleil for a fancy dinner or just a glass of wine or champagne cocktail to see the gorgeous views, Mumm Napa Valley is excellent if you like sparkling wine (and they have a great outdoor patio), Stag’s Leap and Clos du Val wineries are fabulous. I could go on and on…. :)

  3. RA

    Enjoy Napa! This will be yet another vicarious experience for me, as I have yet to develop a taste for wine. Sheepish look on my face.

    Also – do people look at you strangely when you take pictures at the farmers’ market? Because I feel like very self-conscious in restaurants when I take out my camera, which results in quick, flashless pictures. Or do you just disregard any weird looks? Anyway, I like this tiled look you’ve been doing lately; more pictures for my click!

  4. I don’t know what’s better – the photos or the mouthwatering recipes. My very favorite part of my job is that it’s on Broadway just north of the greenmarket…so I get to walk through three days a week. Joy.

  5. mk

    mmm, Duckhorn is one of my faves. I like Rombauer too. And basically anything in Sonoma. I’d recommend heading up to the Anderson Valley if you have time, stopping for lunch at JimTown and enjoying the drive. …if you are on the 29 side, I love Rutherford Grove. And St Supery too! Yum.

  6. Jelena

    So yummy. I just got back home today and I can’t wait to go to the market. However the oven seems to be a bit wonky, the temperature is off. :( So I might have to delay using it.

  7. Erin Kermanikian

    Off the beaten track winery –

    Stoney Hill. It’s in St. Helena. I just popped open a bottle of Chard. (irritating abbreviation is because I can never spell it right – ug.) last night and was thinking about what a wonderful place it is. It’s up in the hills, you need an appointment but they grow the grapes and make the wine there – its all whites, except for the bit of red that they make for themselves. A very nice woman with a tiny black shaggy dog will walk you around and a winemaker will give you a sip from a syringe takend right out of a barrel of a cloudy crispy unfinished wine that is shockingly tasty – you don’t actually have to drink out of the syringe – he squirts it into a glass for you. You taste wine in a gravel courtyard of a great modern home up in the hills overlooking a beautiful view of the valley – By far my favorite place to visit. You need an appointment – and good directions.

  8. Erin Kermanikian

    I forgot to mention Regusci – They are up off the Silvarado Trail – It’s a bigger place but they have really great reds and wonderful olive oil – when they’re not out.

  9. Anonymous

    I haven’t read all of the other suggestions, so apologies in advance for any repeats…

    If you can, you should check out the Di Rosa art preserve. It’s 200 + acres of beautiful landscape with art tucked away in odd places, plus a small but interesting gallery. I believe you have to take a scheduled tour, though, to see the grounds.

    Around the corner from Di Rosa, the Artesa winery is built like a bunker into the mountainside. When you reach the top of the driveway you have beautiful sweeping views of the valley. The tasting cost us about $11, and the tempranillo was delicious. I am very much not a wine person, though, so I can’t compare Artesa to the general Napa scene. The property has a modern feel – lots of steel and glass.

    Finally, I second (third and fourth) the Ad Hoc recommendation. Every other Monday night they have a fried chicken special served with lime-buttered corn and cup cakes.

  10. E

    If you like port, you MUST go to Prager Port Works in Napa – it’s a quirky little place that is amazing! There is a petite syrah that knocked our socks off as well. Here’s the link to the site if you want to check it out:

    Arrowwood winery in Sonoma had some great stuff as well.

  11. jill

    Man, do I miss that greenmarket at Union Square. I used to live right near it and spent ridiculous amounts of time browsing around the vendors’ stands… People here in DC rave about the one near my apartment at Dupont Circle, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the Union Square greenmarket. Days like this make me miss NY – in a really good way. Thanks for sharing the Union Square love.

  12. Sarah

    I made the eggplant & barley salad tonight (tho had it warm since I was in a hurry to head back to work, urgh) – thanks! I loved it and my non-eggplant eating husband even thought it was good!

  13. Nell

    I have a soft spot in my heart for Frog’s Leap — love the wine, and (a couple years back) the place was really charming. I’d like to check out Quixote Winery for the architecture. But you’ll have a fabulous time anywhere you go!

  14. Sterling Vineyards has a tram that takes you up the mountain to the winery. Clos Pegase is across the street, designed by Michael Graves, with some great art. Hess Winery has a fantastic art collection, it’s like drinking in a museum. Niebaum Coppola has the orignal Tucker car and lots of movie memorabilia from Francis Ford Coppola- plus, it’s the old Inglenook estate, a winery once famous.

    J Vineyards has a fantastic tasting menu with the wine, well worth the cost of the tasting. Domain Chandon has a nice restaurant to sample their sparkling wines with. Ggrich is my favorite winery, because I love oaky chardonnays but the winery isn’t much to see at all. Just buy a bottle and enjoy, and spend your time at Mondavi winery, which gives a great tour.

    Have fun!

  15. yum yum YUM! The roasted tomatoes and cannellini beans sound totally amazing. I’m with you on the tomato love, all the way. Last night, we ate on the balcony and contemplated the fact that in our house we currently house 5, count ’em, different kinds of tomatoes. One better than the next. Yes, bring your laptop, pleeeez! More pix for us ;)

  16. SLO

    Some off the beaten path wineries to consider …these all need appointments:

    JARVIS: 1-800-255-5280

    Other thoughts (although it very much depends on what you like to drink):
    Cakebread: 800-588-0298

    Flying Horse Winery
    (707) 965-1600

    Heitz Wine Cellars
    (707) 963-3542

    Helena View Johnston Vineyards
    (707) 942-4956

    Long Meadow Ranch
    (707) 963-4555

    Opus One
    (707) 944-9442

    Have a wonderful time and can’t wait to see/hear all about it.

  17. I love, love, love the roasted tomatoes and onions over white beans recipe. Actually, I probably have been making it once a month and, even though nothing was in season, I made it on New Year’s for a dinner party I was throwing and everyone loved it.
    Also, it’s one of the few recipes I’ve found that my boyfriend loves even though it doesn’t have meat or excessive amounts of cheese!

  18. Jim

    Oh, wow… those photos are stunning. I think I have to make the first one my desktop, I’m torn between drooling and just enjoying the colors.

    Have fun in Napa!

  19. I am simply IN LOVE with all of your photographs! You rock! I hope you have a great time grilling – you totally earned it!!! :) Keep us posted, so we can live vicariously through you!

  20. Aleona

    Now I understand where the apron with Debochka is coming from! Your husband is Russian! Just read an article about Russian zakuski and it all became clear.

    I discovered the site by chance and when I saw your picture in apron with Debochka written on it I was slightly confused. Read about you one more time, no indication of being Russian…

    Anyway, Love the site, Love the writing and Love photography!

    Well done to both of you!

  21. The tomato, onion and white bean dish sounds fabulous! For an extra garlic hit, what about mincing a small clove and tossing the beans with the garlic and a drizzle of olive oil while the tomatoes and onions roast?

  22. Shondra

    One more suggestion on wineries….in Glen Ellen (a little town near Sonoma) there is a fantastic winery called BR Cohn. Off the beaten track, very cute and great wine. My husband and I got married there a year ago and it is a beautiful site.

  23. I used to live in the Bay Area, and frequented the Wine Country.

    Please do take a detour and check out the Anderson Valley.
    It’s beautiful country, takes you through apple orchards and the funky little town of Boonville. I wish I had the name of the winery we’ve been to, but it’s hard to miss as you come around the bend. Peruse the website and you’ll find it. Delicious, drinkable wines. Great prices. Nowhere near as touristed as the wineries you’ll find along Hwy. 29 or even the Silverado Trail.

    On your way up, however, make sure you make a stop at the Oakville Grocery (, which is a sort of a mandatory stop for Foodies.

    And finally, as always, your photos are pure, evil food porn. Sigh.

  24. Alyce

    recommendation #1: talk to helenjane
    #2: taylor’s refresher to eat
    #3: supery, frog’s leap, coppola (small, small, big)

    have fun!

  25. floridagal

    I was wondering if you had/knew any of the strawberry recipes. I see the grocery stores full of strawberries and want to make something but cannot think of anything!
    Any ideas?

  26. I have been a lurker for some time, but thought I would put my two cents in on your Napa Valley question. I grew up in Calistoga. I haven’t read the past comments, so sorry if there are duplicates. Here are some wineries:

    Cakebread Cellars
    Hetiz cellars
    Grgich Hills Winery – great wine
    Newton Vineyards (appt only)

    Bistro Jeanty for the de Creme Tomate en Crute – it is out of this world.
    Oakville Grocery is a good place to grab a sandwich for a picnic.
    For Mexican food try Villa Corona in St. Helena.
    Taqueria Rosita in Napa is also good.
    I also liked the Wappo Bar & Bistro in Calistoga.

    The St. Helena Olive Oil also has great stuff – nice gifts and great oilve oil.

    We moved 5 years ago, so I hope these recommendations are still good…Have a great time.
    I love your blog and you photos are fantastic!

  27. I have to second the Cakebread mention (their wines are just lovely, and the facility is small and easy to take in if you have just a short while) — about Cakebread, though, it’s easy to miss on the road, so make sure that you’ve got one person solidly navigating!

    And I also second the mention of Sonoma County — most of those wineries are “off the beaten track,” and head to downtown Santa Rosa for some lovely food at Syrah (

  28. Deb, too!

    For dinner tonight, I made the roasted tomato/cippoline onion/white bean dish. Oh. My. Goodness. My vegan stepdaughter and her fiance loved it, and my meat eating husband and son are ignoring their steaks and slurping up the juices. I was SO looking forward to taking the leftovers for lunch tomorrow…..not looking too promising. *Sigh*

    Awesome recipe Deb….Thank you!!

  29. Tried the barley salad on Sunday, sans olives (which I don’t like). It was delicious. Added tofu to it at lunchtime today and feasted again. Great recipe.

  30. Tea

    Had to come back months later with a report on the roasted tomatoes and beans, which I’ve now made twice and are just incredibly delicious. Made a double batch so that I could give some to my brother and sister-in-law (with two small kids they’ve forgotten that food doesn’t come out of the freezer section) and now my brother is in the dog house because we went off and finished them without sharing with his wife.
    Yes, they are that good. Thanks–definitely a keeper (and the ensuing family drama is just an entertaining bonus:-).

  31. Amanda

    Deb, I don’t know if you even look at this anymore, but the link to the Roasted Tomatoes and Cippoline Onions Over White Beans is broken. I realize this is the same comment as #41, but I thought I’d let you know again. Sorry to be a pest.

    1. deb

      Use the magnifying glass icon on the top right and a search bar will appear. It’s subtle but I think the search results are much better now too. Hope that helps!