Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

Ah, summer. Welcomed in over Memorial Day with cookouts, good friends, and sunny weather, it’s a season of bounty in most of the States. In North Carolina, summer came (and often comes) early: the farms and gardens here are already flush with zucchini, peaches, blueberries, tomatoes, and even peppers.

I, however, skipped my market trip this week in favor of a long weekend visiting dear friends in Madison, Wisconsin.

As seems to be more and more common for me, I spent a lot of my trip observing not just the city itself, but the food. And let me tell you. I was pleasantly surprised by what Madison had to offer.

Just two blocks from my friends’ apartment, the crowds at the city’s largest farmers market were rivaled only by the huge quantities of locally produced food. At first glance, the market here looked like Durham’s two months ago: green spears of asparagus, waxy baby onions, and the first tender snap peas covered the tables.

But there were also treasures not easily obtained in the Bull City.

One would think that local market-goers would tire of cheese in the Nation’s Dairyland. But no… many booths, each of them packed with customers, purveyed cheeses aged for years and curds made only hours before (some of which may or may not have returned in my backpack with a small ice pack). Even beyond the tiny white tops of the farmers market, it was clear that Madison loves its food.


Double Cheddar Broccoli Soup

Spring has most definitely sprung in North Carolina. And from the looks of Facebook statuses from friends across the country, it has sprung in many other places, too. It’s a time for swapping socks for flip flops, coats for t-shirts, and huddling in a blanket for lounging on the balcony.

But I also love the rainstorms. The thunderheads that roll in over the afternoon and burst into lighting and rain as night falls.

These nights call for cozy. These nights call for soup.

Soup is pretty easy cooking. Some of my meals literally seem to use every one of the dishes in my kitchen, but soup pot’s got my back. It’s totally cool with me spending the rest of the evening watching West Wing instead of cleaning up from dinner. The cutting board, on the other hand, gets quite a workout.