Wednesday, August 19, 2009

the august kitchen

My kitchen is a sauna.

On any given evening this month, you will find three of my four burners and one impossibly small oven in use. Jars are in the oven keeping hot, a pot of simmering tomatoes, pickling brine, or fruit of the day is bubbling on one burner, a small pan of hot water for sterilizing canning lids and bands is on another, and on the back, boiling and gurgling away, sits the water bath canner.
Batch by batch I'm pickling, jamming and preserving my way through all the irresistible edibles of the August garden...

...and stopping here and there to sample some things picked straight away.

A pretty post not long ago reminded me that there are bouquets of edible arugula flowers in my herb bed that I've been meaning to taste. I hadn't realized the flowers were edible until earlier this year when I saw intriguing bags of the dainty white blossoms for sale at the farmer's market, and I had forgotten about them entirely until Lucy reminded me.

Some just-unearthed potatoes from a friend and a few handfuls of spicy arugula and cooling burnet were on hand, and since the kitchen was already a steamy tangle of pots and pans, I thought, why not boil another kettleful of water? Let's have pasta.

Ziti with Potatoes, Arugula and Burnet
(adapted from Alice Water's recipe for Pasta with Potatoes, Rocket and Rosemary in the Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook and remembered from this post back in the spring)


2 potatoes, sliced in halve lengthwise, then into 2/3-inch half-rounds
olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves stripped, stems discarded
4 cloves garlic
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 Lb ziti (or other pasta)
1/4 Lb mixed arugula and salad burnet (about 3 cups), washed and spun dry
juice of 1/2 a lemon
a handful of fresh arugula blossoms

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the sliced potatoes with some olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread them in one layer on a baking sheet, and bake until golden - about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. (I found it useful to 'un-stick' the cooked slices from the baking sheet using a spatula soon after they came out of the oven).

While the potatoes cook, heat a pot of salted water for the pasta and mince together the garlic and rosemary.

When the potatoes are done, cook the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, heat a bit of olive oil in a large saucepan and saute the sliced onion for a few minutes, or until beginning to brown. Add the garlic and rosemary mixture and cook for just another minute. Add the sliced, cooked potatoes and toss to coat. Add the cooked and drained pasta and the mixed greens, stirring gently to combine and wilt the greens just a bit. Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice, tossing to combine. Transfer the pasta to a serving dish, scatter the arugula blossoms on top and serve.


Through My Kitchen Window said...

Your intro roped me in and left me wanting to read more Chelsea. What a gorgeous description of your preserving! I am left with images of you buzzing busily in your "sauna". Simply delightful. The pic of your pasta is really nice. It is breakfast here and I wish I had a bowl. It looks absolutely delicious. And fresh!

Jennifer said...

Aww. I wish I was around to help with all that preserving!

Chelsea said...

Mariana - I've a counter full of tomatoes to process this weekend; perhaps I'll have more to share on that endeavor soon; glad you're enjoying the description - I know you surely can relate!

Jennifer (Jen?) - Me too! Another pair of hands would be most welcome. ...And so would the company ;)

Jen said...

I wish I could be there too! I haven't done much canning this year - as most of our tomatoes are ka-put with the late blight . . . . I'll have to keep the arugula flowers in mind - I always till the plants in once they start bolting. See you soon!! (Jen from PGH)

Lucy said...

Oh, hello!

Now I know what to do with the rest of my blossoms.

Would love to be in your kitchen with you, noodling away with pots and pans. Lovely stuff.

Callipygia said...

Bravo, you show remarkable commitment to your beautiful produce. Your efforts will surely be appreciated in mid winter! V inspiring.

Chelsea said...

Thanks, all!