How Summer Produce Can Inspire an Entire Meal

Kitchen Diaries: Kate in New York City

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It's the end days of summer and even though I'm pretty excited for fall (soups! sweaters! cider!), there's one thing I will absolutely miss: gorgeous produce. Strolling through the grocery store this week, I had zero idea what to make for dinner. Luckily, the glowing August produce inspired a great meal.

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This summer I decided to forego my CSA in favor of a little more flexibility in my schedule. In its place, I've relied on farmers markets and even grocery stores as a go-to source for the local, summer produce I've come to expect. While the farmer's market is ideal, it's not always convenient for me. I love strolling by the tables leisurely and chatting with sellers on a Saturday, but when it's Thursday evening after work, maybe Whole Foods is the next best thing to keep the hangry at bay.

This week I stopped in my tracks at the sight of a luminous display of cherry and grape tomatoes. I had been wandering the aisles for dinner inspiration, and here it was. Yes, I would make tomato something. After further wandering, I picked up sweet corn, serrano peppers, red onion, and a lime to create a sort of salsa to top...something. Tacos? Fish tacos? I must have looked like such a space cadet drifting around the store, trying to pull together something edible and vaguely impressive. Eventually, several items made it into the bag and were loaded onto a crowded subway ride home.

One hour later, the ragtag group of ingredients somehow transformed into crispy fish tacos topped with corn and tomato salsa and a chipotle aioli (which was not even homemade, just a total impulse purchase in the fancy condiment aisle).

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Whoa. How did we get to this place with the delicious tacos? What started off as a dinner with few possibilities turned out to be one of the best meals I've ever made. The smoky chipotle aioli paired perfectly with the heat of the serrano peppers in the salsa and the crisp of panko crusted fish. It's almost like I planned it that way, right?

Do you ever shop and plan for dinner this way?

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Kitchen Diary: Kate in New York City

(Image credits: Lucy Hewett; Kate Gagnon)

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