Someone Else's Farm

October 03, 2010

Catching Up

In other words: Week 13, Week 14, and Week 15 List, Suggestions, Haul, and What We Did With Some Of Our Good Stuff.

You’ve already seen the list and suggestions for Week 13. Here’s what we got, in the rain:

Broccoli, carrots, tomatillos, apples, tomatoes

Lemon basil, tomatoes, grape tomatoes

  • Macintosh Apples: half a dozen.
  • Lemon Basil: a big bunch.
  • Italian Flat Leaf Parsley: a bunch.
  • Baby Carrots: a baggie, the real thing, little tiny carrots that are that size and not cut down from big ones!
  • Cherry Belle and Easter Egg Radish: nope, although we weren’t sure at first.
  • Early Hakurei Turnips: a bunch. They look like little white radishes, which is why we were so confused.
  • Patty Pan, Zucchini, or Yellow Crook Neck Squash: two zucchini.
  • Tomatillos: a bagful.
  • Heirloom Tomatoes: four biggish ones.
  • Sungold Cherry Tomatoes: Not sungolds, but a pint of red grape tomatoes.

This came just as work started to get crazy for me. Probably the most notable thing we did with the produce from this week was a pasta dish that Casey concocted, with a sauce of tomatoes, zucchini, and parsley and lemon basil.

Week 14’s list, and what I picked up on 23 September:

Peppers, turnips, tomatoes, apples, greens, squash

apples, turnips, greens

  • Macintosh Apples: four apples.
  • Green Italian Basil: I wish, but no.
  • Green Kale: a big bunch. Of course.
  • Red Potatoes: a net bag full of spuds a little larger than salt-size.
  • Acorn Squash: three of the tiniest I’ve ever seen.
  • Patty Pan Summer Squash: no.
  • Heirloom Tomatoes: a bunch of smallish plum-shaped tomatoes, two large red bashed-up tomatoes that were unsalvageable, and a green zebra or something similar.

And also a bunch of peppers, some jalapenos and some sweet orange and pale yellow varieties. And for good measure, two batches of leeks from another farmer’s market vendor. Leeks grow in dirt, in case you wondered.

The newsletter suggested this week that we make kale with apples and mustard, sauteed baby patty pan squash with basil and feta, and linguini with basil, kale, and tomatoes. We did none of these. Casey concocted another fresh tomato sauce for pasta, which did not have kale in it but did contain peppers and (shhh!) an anchovy, which worked very well.

The Macs from these last two weeks, I made into apple butter. I’m not a fan of mushy apples, and I couldn’t think of anything else to do with these but they were taking up more fridge space than I could afford to give them. So I rinsed and stemmed them all, cut them into quarters, tossed them into a pot with a splash of water and the juice from a leftover lemon half, and let them cook until they were mush. (It didn’t take long.) I then ran the cooked apples through the food mill to get rid of the skins and seeds. If I’d wanted applesauce, I would have stopped here, but then I would have had to put it into jars and process them right then and there, and I probably wouldn’t have finished that until way too late at night. So instead, I put the applesauce in the slow cooker (there was about 3 quarts, based on the markings of the bowl I ran the food mil into), added sugar (both brown and white), cinnamon, nutmeg, and a couple of whole cloves until it tasted defiantly sweet and spicy, cocked the lid of the slow cooker just slightly ajar, and let it cook on low overnight, stirring whenever I thought of it. By morning, the applesauce had cooked down quite a bit and turned brown, and there was a rather thick skin on top. I stirred the skin back in, and let it cook another couple of hours. (The skin broke down and cooked in until I couldn’t detect any pieces of it. The cloves must’ve broken down, because I couldn’t find them.) During the last bit of cooking time, I sterilized four half-pint jars and simmered the lids to match. I had enough apple butter to fill the four jars plus a little more to eat on waffles right then and there. I processed the apple butter-filled jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. All four jars sealed, so we’ll have apple butter for the winter.

And finally, Week 15, the most recent pickup, again in a drenching rain:

garlic, greens, squashes galore, apples, peppers, turnips, radishes

greens, greens, garlic, peppers, squashes, apples

  • Cortland Apples: four.
  • Arugula: a bunch.
  • Collard Greens or Brussel Sprout Greens: a bunch of collards, I think.
  • Garlic: four heads.
  • Green Peppers: three.
  • Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers: three, that didn’t taste very hot.
  • Jalapeno Peppers: a handful of tiny ones. I hope that means they have some heat in them.
  • Cherry Belle Radish: a bunch.
  • Hakurei Turnips: a bunch.
  • Delicata Squash or Spaghetti Squash: we got three pale green pattypan squashes and another of what looks like the carnival squash from Week 12. Nothing looked like either delicata or spaghetti squash.

The newsletter noted that they grow lots of greens because “we need them and most folks love them.” As I’ve said before, we enjoy greens, but not in the quantities we’ve been getting them. Maybe it would be better if we had a bigger household. But they did give us a suggestion for traditional southern-style collard greens with a ham hock or smoked turkey leg, or cooked in soup, and an idea for using collards (and sweet peppers and cabbage and a few other things) raw as a wrapper with julienne-cut vegetables and a nut pesto inside. And the turnips can go into miso soup. I could go for that, and it’s definitely turning into soup season.

We have a baguette and both Brie and Vermont Butter & Cheese Company Cultured Butter, to go with the radishes. For the turnips, I’m thinking a Korean-style pickle, to eat with dol sot bi bim bop this winter. All the tomatillos and many of the jalapenos will probably become mole verde, which will go in the freezer for later.

September 16, 2010

New Recipes

Filed under: what we did — Tags: , , , , — M @ 15:15 PM

We made some new dishes this week with our CSA share. We even made two recipes for the same little squash!

The squash started out in a recipe from the most recent issue of Fine Cooking, for a braised acorn squash with rosemary. The squash was the little carnival or sweet dumpling or whatever it was, and the rosemary came from the next-door neighbor’s bush. Casey made it, we tasted it, and it was pretty much meh. We aren’t sure whether this particular squash variety doesn’t have a huge potent flavor to begin with, or if it wasn’t cooked as much as it should have been, but for whatever reason it didn’t float our boat. Instead, we put the wedges of (par-)cooked squash in the fridge for later, and went out for dinner that night.

A couple of days later, it was time to do something with the squash. I cut it off the rind, and cubed it. And then I cooked a pound of whole-grain shells (Barilla brand), mixed them and the squash cubes together with a cheese sauce that I zinged up with plenty of cayenne, and baked up a mac and cheese with squash. This worked well. My mac and cheese recipe is mostly from Cook’s Illustrated, but I never bother with a crumb topping. In this case, I topped the pan with caramelized onions, which worked really well with the dish. And although I’m not generally a fan of most whole-grain pasta, it worked fine in this dish.

We also found something new to do with mustard greens! This recipe came from the December 2000 issue of Fine Cooking (and I apologize for the locked link; I couldn’t find the recipe elsewhere.

Noodle soup

We used a package of sirloin strips that we’d found marked down at Wegman’s that morning as the meat, some somen noodles from the Asian market in Syracuse, and the mustard greens. We used some boxed chicken broth as the base for the soup, but next time we might try using some of the Thai broth to further Asianify the flavors with no extra effort on our part. We also think this would probably do well in a shabu-shabu type treatment with thin strips of beef, or possibly like some kinds of pho where very thin slices of raw meat are placed in a soup bowl and very hot broth is poured on top. Either variation would be a fun dish for the right kind of company!

And finally, last night I made mujadarah (or megadarrah, or whatever name you want to call it). We first had this dish at the Aladdin’s restaurant in Hudson, OH, with our friends Dan and Emmy. I followed Claudia Roden’s recipe, which I have in both her New Book of Middle Eastern Food and her Book of Jewish Food, and is also available on line. It’s basically lentils and rice, with lots and lots of caramelized onions. I used green French lentils, because I like the way they hold their shape when they’re cooked, and basmati rice, because I love the flavor and texture and it’s what I keep on hand. And caramelized onions are always good. Aladdin’s serves their mujadarah with a salad of tomatoes, cucumber, green onion, and parsley, with a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice. I did the same, except for the parsley because I didn’t have any and I forgot to get some when I went shopping. I even went so far as to get really good yogurt…which I then forgot about in the fridge. I guess that means we have it to eat with the leftovers this weekend. Oops.

September 11, 2010

Week 12 Haul

Filed under: pickup — Tags: , , , , , , , — M @ 08:23 AM

It rained on Thursday night. Here’s what I picked up, compared to the list:

  • Rainbow Chard: no. I’m not complaining.
  • Mizuna: I don’t think so?
  • Mustard Greens: Maybe. We got some kind of cooking green, but without a label I can’t tell exactly what it is.
  • Yellow Onions: yes, a double handful of little ones.
  • Sweet Green Peppers: 2
  • Hot Pepper Mix (Frying, Hungarian Hot Wax, Jalapeno): a few jalapenos and some bigger yellowish-green ones
  • Cherry Belle Radish: nope
  • Carnival Squash: 1, which looks exactly like last week’s squash.
  • Tomatillos: yes, about like last week.
  • Heirloom Tomatoes: yes, much less beat-up than last week, both plum and round shapes.
  • And also, a box of orange cherry tomatoes, and a few apples.

September 08, 2010

Tomatoes and Potatoes, Oh My!

Filed under: Uncategorized, what we did — Tags: , , , , — M @ 16:17 PM

We haven’t used much of what we got this week. But we have pitched several of the tomatoes and potatoes, as they went bad before we could use them.

Casey made some potatoes for breakfast over the weekend. He discovered that probably half a dozen of the little ones we’d gotten were mushy, and dumped them so we don’t get fruit flies. As far as the tomatoes, one of the slicing tomatoes was beaten up when we got it home, and had started to ooze by Friday morning, when I tossed it. Another looks about at that stage now. And three or four of the plum tomatoes went straight from green to black on the shoulders, without passing through any intermediate red stage.

The remaining tomatoes and all the tomatillos will each get made into a salsa, which will get shared with my bandmates tomorrow night.

The squash, we believe, is either a carnival squash or a sweet dumpling squash. We haven’t used it yet, but may bake it tonight since it’s quite cool and windy.

September 03, 2010

Week 11 Haul

Filed under: pickup — Tags: , , , , , , — M @ 16:17 PM

Here’s what we got this week, compared to the list:

Our haul

  • 1 bunch dinosaur kale: I think what we got looks more like ordinary green kale.
  • 1 bunch mizuna: This is the spiky-leafed green at the back, I think.
  • 1 bunch mustard greens: Rounding out the green selection….
  • 3 lb gold potato: Nice little ones, although three of them had gigantic bad spots and needed to be tossed as soon as we got them home.
  • 1 lb spaghetti squash: It’s not a spaghetti squash, but we did get another winter squash of some kind.
  • 0.5 lb tomatillo: In one of the bags. Hope these are as good as last week’s.
  • 2 lb heirloom tomato: Lots and lots of tomatoes. Some are slicing varieties, and one of those feels very much like a water balloon, it’s so ripe. But we also got a boatload of plum tomatoes, many of which are rock-hard and have pale or green shoulders.
  • 1 pint sungold cherry tomato: Nope. But we did get two zucchini that are not baseball bats.

In addition, at the market, we picked up some peaches (a mixture of white and gold varieties), which are ripening in a brown lunchbag on the counter. The farmer who grew them said that all his fruit trees are ahead of their normal schedule. We also got some poblano peppers, which are easily our favorite fresh green chile. (We also like them very much when they dry into anchos.) We also got a bunch of carrots, since we don’t have many carrots left in the house and I enjoy snacking on carrot sticks. And a big red onion, to go along with all the cute little bunching onions from the last few weeks’ hauls.

The squash, I’m guessing, we’ll probably roast later this weekend when it cools down, and scoop out of the shell and eat as a side vegetable. The potatoes, well, who knows? If they’re like most gold varieties, they’re good for just about anything, and we could parboil them and grill them or smash and oven-crisp them, make them as salt potatoes, turn them into a potato salad of some kind, eat hash browns for breakfast…the possibilities are endless. The zucchini could get julienned into “noodles” and eaten as such (spaghetti squash, anyone? ;-)), or baked into yet another batch of cake (without the glaze, so it’ll freeze well). As far as the greens, I’m thinking of taking at least some of them Asian, thanks to recipes from my friend Sharon. (Or maybe it’ll be soup weather this weekend?) The tomatillos are likely to become some sort of salsa verde, especially since we got both poblanos and red onion. Maybe we’ll keep this salsa raw, or maybe we’ll break out the pumpkin seeds from the freezer again for another batch of pipi├ín, or maybe even a mole verde.

Which brings us to those tomatoes. I have no problem using fresh ripe slicing tomatoes. I love them for lunch, sliced, with some kind of cheese and a sprinkle of fresh herbs if I have any on hand, and topped with a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar that’s been reduced to a syrup and maybe a bit of extra-virgin olive oil if I’m in an extravagant mood. But that treatment doesn’t work on tomatoes that are not perfectly ripe, such as the 2.5+ pounds of plum tomatoes. They’re getting a couple of days out on the counter, to see if that improves their condition at all. But I’m also leaning towards embracing their firmness and finding something to do that takes advantage of it. One possibility is a tomato gratin, with cheese and breadcrumbs and seasoning. These tomatoes may also work well for stuffing and baking, if there’s enough of a cavity inside to make it worth the bother. In any case, I’ll be keeping a sharp eye on all the tomatoes, and hoping I don’t start to see fruit flies invading the kitchen.

September 01, 2010

Summertime Eating

Filed under: what we did — Tags: , , , , , , , — M @ 12:27 PM

I wish we’d gotten the eggplant. That, to me, is the food of summer, along with tomatoes.

But instead, we got zucchini. I grated it and turned it into another batch of zucchini cake, this time with the lemon glaze. The glaze turned out to not add much, I thought, so next time I probably won’t bother. It’s certainly well worth making, even if the house is devoid of lemons. Casey thought it was just fine without the glaze, so I’ll be adding this to my zucchini repertoire.

And we got cucumber and tomatoes, which I turned into Asian gazpacho. The recipe is from Ming Tsai’s first book, Blue Ginger, and because Amazon lets you search inside, if you look for “Asian gazpacho” you’ll get to the recipe. I had basil and cilantro and jicama, and stole the mint from the next-door neighbor’s prolific herb garden. (That’s not totally accurate. I stole the mint, and then I phoned and asked permission.) The onion, tomatoes and cucumber came from the CSA. I am currently out of sambal oelek so I used sriracha instead, and for the chile I used a poblano. (I could have used one of those jalapenos that we didn’t get also.) Casey thought it was a little too spicy for his taste. I didn’t care for the mint, which I’ll leave out next time. I think it’s worth keeping in mind, but tweaking.

We also used up last week’s tomatillos. Casey turned them, the other poblanos, some garlic, some raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas), and other things into a pipian-style sauce. We ate it on a grilled pork tenderloin, cut into bite-size pieces which we wrapped in warm flour tortillas. We had a little bit of pork, and some sauce, left over; they’ll go onto a pizza tonight.Pork, green sauce, tortillas

And last night: homemade black bean burgers and salad (CSA lettuce, CSA tomatoes, store red pepper).

The calendar may say September, but it’s definitely still summertime here!

August 30, 2010

Week 10, with a rant

Filed under: pickup — Tags: , , , , , , , , — M @ 13:20 PM

What I picked up on Thursday (in the car, which did get home in time after all):

  • Green beans: a small bagful, about the same amount as the yellow beans from the last couple of weeks.
  • Cucumbers: one.
  • Purple eggplant: nope. Nor any other color of eggplant, either. Too bad, because I like eggplant.
  • Red kale: yes. Sigh. It’s already been washed, wilted, and frozen so we don’t have to think about it for a while. The same thing happened to last week’s kale.
  • Red leaf lettuce: a head.
  • Bunching onions: a lunchbagful. They weren’t very bunched.
  • Antohi and jalapeno peppers: nope. Neither. No peppers whatsoever.
  • Zucchini squash: a dinged-up baseball bat. Maybe it was used to bash up the tomatoes?
  • Heirloom tomatoes: three, none of which were in great shape. All the tomatoes we got looked rather bruised, as though they’d been bounced on the ground, or the container had been shaken. And one of them had a weird whitish top half that was much firmer than the rest of the tomato. By Friday morning, one was starting to turn black in the scar left behind where the stem had been. By Sunday, two of them had areas of rot and were attracting fruit flies, so I tossed them. The remaining one seems to be doing OK for now.
  • And, to make up for the stuff we didn’t get but were supposed to, maybe: some other greens that appear to be arugula-like.

The incident with the tomatoes reminds me of the last time I shopped at a market in Paris, several years ago. When you buy produce in a French market, the vendor will typically ask you when you plan to eat it. And then, the vendor will choose the items for you, based on your answer. If you plan to eat the tomatoes that very day, you’ll get tomatoes that will be extraordinarily juicy and ripe…and that are over the hill after 24 hours. If, however, you don’t think you’ll get to the tomatoes until the next day, you’ll get tomatoes that are a little bit more firm, but will be ready when you’re ready for them. Which gets to my point: it seems like some (nay, most!) of the produce we’ve been getting is all teetering on the edge of almost overripe when it gets to us on Thursday evening. Which is great if we’re going to eat it all that very night, but that never happens. In fact, most of the time, Thursday night we’ve already got other plans for dinner, and those plans don’t necessarily involve anything we pick up that day. The tomatoes we’ve been getting of late are definitely of the “must eat immediately” variety. Any chard wilts by Saturday morning at the latest, no matter how carefully we treat it. (The two consistent exceptions to the “must eat now” seem to be onions and green/yellow beans, which hold well in the refrigerator.)

The problem, of course, is twofold. First, we get lots of produce that needs to be dealt with immediately. And second, if we do in fact deal with all that produce immediately, we don’t have much produce left for later in the week, but we hate to buy more, knowing that within a few days we’ll be flooded again.

What I wish: more of each week’s haul was specifically things that will keep reasonably well, so each week’s share actually lasts through a whole week.

August 26, 2010

Week 09: What We Ate

Filed under: what we did — Tags: , , , , , , , , — M @ 09:56 AM

Or, more properly, “Week 09: What I Ate.” We had only one night together, before Casey took the car, his students, and their poster, and went to the conference I’d just come back from.

One thing we ate this last week:

Fried fish, ratatouille, mash

Fried tilapia, garlic mashed potatoes, and a vegetable stew with yellow beans (actually from last week, I think), zucchini, and red pepper. This actually happened before we picked up last week’s haul, so it was probably two Wednesdays ago.

Something else we ate last week:

That’s a bacon cheeseburger on a bun, topped with lettuce, tomato, and onion. The salad on the side is one of Casey’s family recipes, a sort of refrigerator pickle of cuke and onion in white vinegar with a bit of sugar. We ate burgers during our one night together. They were good.

Something else I ate this week: a Ming Tsai recipe for chicken thigh and yam curry, which I served over basmati rice. The recipe called for a banana, but I don’t like bananas and they give Casey heartburn, so we generally don’t have them around but even if we had, I wouldn’t have used one. I just left it out because I couldn’t think of anything else that would have both sweetened and thickened slightly. I also left out the bay leaves, because I forgot to include them (and I didn’t worry about it because the chicken stock was homemade and I know I included a couple when I made that). I didn’t have any Madras curry powder on hand, nor was I looking for something incendiary, so I used about half Penzey’s balti seasoning and half Penzey’s sweet curry powder. The curry used up one of our onions and a clove of our garlic. I had enough left over for a couple of lunches. If Casey had been around to share it with me, it would have fed both of us nicely. Next time, though, I need to remember to remove the skin from the chicken before braising. It always winds up rubbery and yucky, so I might as well not bother to cook it at all, and instead actually brown the surface of the meat itself.

Something else I ate this week: chard and sausage on pasta. One thing I’ve discovered about chard is that if we pick it up Thursday night, it’s wilted by Saturday, no matter what we do or don’t do to it. It still tastes fine on Monday, but needs to be used in an application where it’s thoroughly cooked and wilted even more.

Something else I ate this week: lamb at a friend’s house, with a quinoa salad enhanced by produce from her garden, and this week’s yellow beans. I wrapped them in a wet paper towel and steamed them like Alton Brown’s asparagus.

And last night: salad without lettuce, but with tomato, basil, cucumber, mozzarella, basil, red and yellow peppers, and chickpeas, with a drizzle of good olive oil and reduced-to-a-syrup balsamic vinegar.

To further gild the lily last night, I tried out a new recipe for zucchini cake. The recipe came from a cookbook I don’t own, but this recipe came to me through David Lebovitz’s blog. I’m always looking for new things to do with zucchini, and this looked promising. I particularly liked that the recipe gives mass measurements, which I find easier and more accurate than volume measurements. I do wish that the mass measurements extended to liquid ingredients, as well. I only felt like grating one zucchini, so I made half a recipe, which I baked in a loaf pan that I lined with parchment. Instead of toasting and chopping nuts and making the food processor dirty, I used some hazelnut meal from my freezer. I used some of the speculoos spice mix I’d imported from Belgium for all the spices. And I didn’t make the glaze, because I didn’t have any lemons, and getting one would have required a longer bike ride than I was up for. I think it probably would be nice with the glaze, but it works just fine without…for after dinner or for breakfast.

The watermelon is still in my fridge. Watermelon’s never been one of my favorites.

Week 09 Haul

Filed under: pickup — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — M @ 09:19 AM

Here’s what Casey picked up a week ago, when I was in Boston:

Watermelon, beans, greens, tomatoes....

  • Watermelon, Sugar Baby, 1 melon: I’m glad the “baby” in the name is accurate, and it fits in the fridge.
  • 0.5 lb Green Beans: What we got were yellow, not green. Half a pound doesn’t look so big.
  • 1 bunch Chard, Rainbow: you didn’t think they’d skimp on greens, didja?
  • 1 lb Cucumbers: This turned out to be one cucumber.
  • 1 Bunch Kale, Green: For the record, this particular batch of kale is not wilting quickly in the refrigerator.
  • 1 Head Lettuce, Red Leaf: Yup.
  • 1 Bunch Onions, Bunching: This week’s onions are larger than previous onions.
  • 0.5 lb Peppers, Green: One green pepper.
  • 0.5 lb Tomatillo: 8 good-size, still in their husks.
  • 1 lb Tomatoes, Mixed Varieties: a pint of orange cherry plus three baseball-sized slicing tomatoes, one with a good-sized crack in it.

I guess a pound of tomatoes weighs more than a pound of cucumbers or a pound of green peppers?

July 15, 2010

Hot. Again. Salad. Again.

Filed under: what we did — Tags: , , , , , — M @ 11:08 AM

Another hot and sticky day. We first thought about using some of the leftover calabacitas taco filling in a frittata, but that would have involved turning on the oven since neither of us is very good at flipping a frittata to cook the second side on the stove. Anything quiche-like would have the same issue. We thought about an outdoor fried rice, but that would have felt like too much work on a day when neither of us was inspired to do much. So instead we had another salad topped with some of the leftover cooked chicken. I added the feta crumbles that didn’t get eaten yesterday to the top of mine, and dressed it with some balsamic syrup. Casey remembered that the blue cheese dressing bottle doesn’t have a squeezy top, so he didn’t have to rescue his salad after the fact.

The salad used up all the rest of our CSA lettuce, as well as one of the two cucumbers. Because this wasn’t a store-bought waxed cucumber, I didn’t feel compelled to remove every last shred of peel. Instead, I just peeled stripes, and then sliced it into wheels, so that each round had a pretty pattern of green and white around the outside, and so that the rounds were easy to eat. I also used up the rest of the red pepper I’d started for Monday’s salad, some of the carrot sticks from Monday cut smaller, and our CSA tomato. (Note to self: while carrot sticks are very convenient to eat with one’s hands, they don’t work well with a fork. Next time you make a salad, start with a brand-new carrot and slice it thinly, either on the mandoline or with the carrot peeler.) We didn’t have an open onion, so I didn’t include any this time.

It didn’t look like much, especially compared to Monday’s salad, so I decided to add some asparagus. (My original thought for the asparagus was quiche, or something along those lines. Er, no. Not this week: see above.) I took about half of this week’s bunch, and steamed it. But I didn’t remember to do this soon enough for the asparagus to cool before we were ready to eat salad. So instead of putting it on our salads, we stood in the kitchen and ate it au naturel, stalk by stalk, as a first course.

We accompanied the salad with some of a loaf of Wegmans Tuscan garlic bread. It wasn’t anything special.

I’ve come to the conclusion that while I like salad, especially on hot days, the lettuce is my least favorite part of a traditional mixed salad. Even when it’s really good lettuce, it just doesn’t float my boat, especially when there are other yummy things in the salad bowl. The lettuce just sits there, not doing much, wilting under the dressing. Thus, last night I ate a little of the lettuce in my salad, but gave most of it to Casey, who appreciates it more than I do. Yet, there are other days when nothing sounds better but a pale, crunchy, cold, moist wedge of iceberg lettuce, to be held in my hands and eaten by plucking one leaf at a time from the outside of the wedge. Today is shaping up to be an iceberg-wedge day, but we have no iceberg. Alas.

One more quick note on asparagus. Last month, I thought I was being creative when I made the asparagus sort-of-carbonara with shells. Not long ago, I was looking through Faith Willinger’s Red, White, and Greens, an Italian vegetable cookbook, and what do I find? A recipe for asparagus carbonara! It was very close to what I did, with the major difference being that I used shells and the recipe calls for fettuccine. It goes to show that (a) there’s nothing new under the sun; (b) I think along the lines of at least one cookbook author; and (c) my choice of pasta shape is apparently not in line with Italian tradition.

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