The beauty of sum­mer pro­duce is that meal options become more abun­dant with very lit­tle effort. Life activ­i­ties rule. Exces­sive time in the kitchen is counter to the casual vibe we all desire.

Lucky then that fresh herbs, toma­toes, squashes, corn, avo­ca­dos, and let­tuces lay a foun­da­tion for sat­is­fy­ing one bowl or one plate meals.

Pro­tein addi­tions (eggs, poul­try, meat, fish, tofu or grains) enhance an already quick fix ensem­ble of col­or­ful and tasty veg­eta­bles.

Grilled or roasted arti­chokes, egg­plant or sweet pota­toes boost inher­ently good char­ac­ter­is­tics. Their smoky or earth­i­ness traits stand up to any culi­nary scrutiny.

Secret weapons like a very good Bal­samic vine­gar or honey-​whiskey glaze build more depth and dis­tinc­tion. Hardly any prepa­ra­tion is due when sim­ple and high qual­ity ingre­di­ents are in the bag.

Nec­es­sary to the din­ner math prob­lem is find­ing the right dance part­ners. Know the likes and dis­likes of the eaters. On-​hand raw or pre-​cooked veg­eta­bles is key to keep­ing things sim­ple. Plan, pre­pare and exe­cute. At the farmer’s mar­ket or gro­cer, seize the chance to stock up on key fresh ele­ments for at least three to four meals at a time.

Look at sum­mer toma­toes a bit dif­fer­ently. How many ways can they per­form? Roasted and stuffed is one. Fill them with other cold salad ingre­di­ents. Tuna or quinoa are great tomato stuffers.

Next dish, slice toma­toes and shin­gle with a soft cheese, with olive oil and vine­gar. Salt and pep­per com­plete the dish with a tear or two of rus­tic French bread.

Keep work­ing the tomato show until the last gaz­pa­cho bowl is in cue. Next in rota­tion is sweet corn. On or off the cobb, this sum­mer candy works into sal­ads, sal­sas, casseroles and mash ups. Beans, sweet onions, and spices boost corn to a full on culi­nary expe­ri­ence.

One ingre­di­ent done five ways is a cat­a­lyst for inven­tive and new prepa­ra­tions. Rethink the sta­tic approach to what a sum­mer meal should be. Define the plate with read­ily avail­able, hum­ble ingre­di­ents.

Cucum­bers, cel­ery, straw­ber­ries and sweet pep­pers have inher­ent cool­ing prop­er­ties that take the siz­zle out of hot sum­mer days. Cap­ture their best side by pair­ing them with spreads, flat­breads and herbs. Nuts, cheeses and dried fruits push the enve­lope in any num­ber of inter­est­ing direc­tions.

No fuss. Uncom­pli­cated. Keep­ing it sim­ple with straight­for­ward fresh food ingre­di­ents is life made easy.

To read the full Mar­ket Report, includ­ing this week’s mar­ket update, see below or click here.