Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fresco Summer on Main Street: Farmer's Market & Italian Cooking Class

One of my summer favs is Farmer's Market!  I gather and collect every single color of fresh veggies into a basket and take them home to create some el fresco dinners.  There is something beautiful about creating meals from raw, local, fresh foods... straight from the farm soils to our dinner table!

 Caprese sandwiches are an easy fix for those summer nights when you would rather be playing jacks and marbles on the driveway with the kids instead of lingering in the kitchen.

Easily layer a slice of provolone cheese, sliced garden tomatoes, and fresh basil on sourdough bread.  Drizzle with Italian dressing.  Slide in between your panini grill and ta da! A fresh, incredible sandwich appears. ;) 

This next one is a Summer Squash Corn Chowder from Cooking Light Magazine.  It was very delicious!

The kids and I make a trip downtown nearly every week to gather our fresh Farmer's Market treasures, weaving around people, watching belly dancers and jugglers, and listening to the happy live music in the long sunshine.

Oh...and the fresh flowers are the BEST part.  They're the highlight of my little homemakin' housewife rockin' week!

Lately, I've been hooked on great big, gigantic dahlias!  I pick different colors to take home every week.

Immersing yourself in the heart of your town will add a layer of charm to your day to day life.  Take a summer day to explore an area in the streets of your home that you usually just pass on by.  Many unknown good times are waiting to be discovered by YOU. 

Also on Main Street is one of my favorite restaurants, Il Bistro.  
It is owned by native Italians who really know their stuff! 
Their food is REAL. 
Il Bistro makes their own homemade pasta and they sell it in their pasta and bakery market. 
 Il Bistro offers a unique variety of cooking classes.  My mom and I recently had a girl's day out and attended their summer veggie class.  It was simply DiVine. 

 Before our class began, we were treated with caffeinated goodness as our chef taught us some kitchen secrets. 

 After we learned little lessons, we gathered in the kitchen with aprons on to begin our day!
We experimented with beets...
 ...chilled beat soup with dill.

We used some gorgeous squash for a variety of dishes...

We made veggie paninis...

...homemade pasta raviolis filled with corn and shrimp, and more!

The experience was absolutely worthwhile and I'm looking forward to our next class!  I encourage you to find a local cooking class at your very own special corner restaurant.  Most of us prepare meals fairly often, and taking a class adds the extra boost and passion into the monotony of life.  I hope you're able to find a class nearby.  

Please share if you've atteneded
cooking classes before 
and how much you 
love, loved it!

Find some excitement in your life, 
because it's a beautiful life, 
created for a beautiful YOU.  
If you're not loving life,
then you're not really living life.

This post is linked to: Under the Table & Dreamin, It's a Blog Party, Think Pink Sundays LambAround, DIY ShowoffSeasonal SundaysMet Monday, Making the World Cuter, A2Z Tips & Tutorials, Lettered Cottage How To, Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy, Tip Junkie, Get Your Craft On, Home Decor & Organizing, Outdoor Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Blue Cricket Design, Whatever Goes Wednesday, Transformation Thursday, House of H, Tablescape Thursday, Show off Your Stuff, Strut Your Stuff, 36th Avenue Show and Share Day, Foodie Friday, Frugal Friday, I'm Lovin It, Tickled Pink, Friday Flair, Design Dazzle, eighteen25.,  Be Different Act Normal, Funky Junk Interiors, Weekend Wrap Up


caveman said...

The dishes you brought home from the Summer Veggie Class were really good!... Wait a second... You mean they had other classes, besides Veggie Class? You mean I could of had desserts, or even better, chicken stuff? Hmmm. Maybe you should go back and try another!

Farmers market marks a truly festive time. I love coming home from work and listening to the chatter from three excited boys and one excited girl. It reminds me how perfect my life is.

The Tuscan Home said...

One word ~ YUM!! Once again, your photos are amazing and I loved what you wrote at the very end, and so true! XOXO ~Liz

Jane said...

Chris is such a romantic!

Love farmers' markets. My fave was the downtown market in Dallas. The watermelon farmer always spent time with the boys, explaining the ins and outs of growing melons...and how to pick a ripe one. Here, we have markets in almost all the surrounding communities. And they are on different days...

Your caprese sandwich sounds so delicious. Think I'll have to make that tomorrow...Marty will be working in the home office. He'd like that. But I think I'll use the fresh mozzarella I bought today...mmmmm.....Maybe I'll pull out my pasta machine, too.


My name is Riet said...

What a wonderful and delicious post. I agree fresh food comes best from the market. That Italian cooking class looks and sounds perfect.

extreme personal measures said...

Your pics are great! I miss framers markets. We have nothing like that here.

Stop by and link up at


for What’s Cooking Wednesday!

❀~Myrna~❀ said...

Fabulous Pics , Now I am hungry !

My Outdoor Pics

Jenny said...

What a beautiful post. My husband and I have a wood-fired pizza oven in the backyard. I am sooo going to try roasting veggies in there. I have no idea why we've never done that before.

Blondie's Journal said...

What a delicious post, Lisa!! I love planning my meals around a bounty of fresh vegetables. Our farmer's market will be ending soon so I try to go as much as possible. The Caprese panini looks lovely and tasty!

I have taken a few cooking classes...I love the great company and all the tasting!! ;-D I would recommend them to anyone!

Hope you are enjoying your week!


Mildred said...

Wow! Loved your post! So many yummy things here!
Thanks for sharing your wonderful shots too;o)

¤ Happy day ¤

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

Ugh... it's much too late for me to be looking at delicious photos of food. Wonderful photos - my tummy is rumbling!


Simple Daisy said...

Oh my goodness....everything looks so wonderful!!!! Cooking classes....how fun:)

Teri said...

The Caprese Sandwiches look amazing. What a great, delicious,meal. I linked to you from Foodie Friday. Thanks!

Vivienne @ the V Spot said...

This looks fabulous! There's nothing like cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Here from Think Pink @ Flamingo Toes. :)Have a great week.

Lynn said...

The market and cooking class look wonderful! Sounds like you had a great time:@)

Snap said...

Wonderful post. I love Farmers Markets. Thanks for the chowder recipe ... l really like chowders and especially like this one without a potato! Looks like cooking class was indeed, divine! Keep enjoying life! Have a fun week!

Anonymous said...

I'm so there with you when it comes to farmers markets, especially this time of year when Maine produce is at it's peak. That would have been enough but adding a cooking class, well, that's perfect.

Anonymous said...

I'm so there with you when it comes to farmers markets, especially this time of year when Maine produce is at it's peak. That would have been enough but adding a cooking class, well, that's perfect.

Nikki said...

I am suddenly very, very hungry!!!

The Tablescaper said...

Everything looks soooo good! Great to have you being a part of Seasonal Sundays. Sorry to be so late in getting to visit.

- The Tablescaper

Tarah said...

Italian cooking is exciting. Getting to know the spices needed for a dish is challenging. You might need some Italian porcelain where you can display the food you prepared.