Sunday, February 21, 2010

a winter salad

A week indoors, sitting fireside and watching the white-washed landscape for any little change - the re-appearance of a driveway, let's say, allows for plenty of time to make a grocery list.
And when one finally returns to that much-missed produce aisle - well, that grocery list suddenly seems laughably inadequate.
Even in deep winter, without the lure of sun-ripened tomatoes or blush-colored peaches, there is a jubilation in seeing fresh greens, perfect oranges, or the wispy fronds that top the crisp white fennel bulbs. The basket fills with all of the above and more - already satisfying a deep hunger, a real craving, for something more than sustenance - we need nourishment.
A cool, crisp salad always feels regenerative, and this salad, in particular, incites a reawakening, crunching under tooth like those first ice-crusted snowy steps out the door.

A Winter Salad

1/2 a bulb of fennel, a few fronds reserved
1 stalk celery
2 radishes
juice of 1/4 lemon
drizzle of olive oil
1 blood orange
a scattering of parsley leaves
a pinch of good sea salt
freshly ground pepper
a few slivers of shaved Parmesan

Using the very thinnest setting of a mandoline, slice the fennel, celery and radishes into a medium bowl. Toss with the lemon juice and a good drizzle of olive oil. Slice the top and bottom from the blood orange, and following the curve of the fruit, slice away the remaining pith and peel. Using a very sharp paring knife, liberate the segments by making a cut alongside each membrane that separates the segments. Add the orange segments to the salad along with the reserved fennel fronds and parsley leaves. Season with a pinch of salt and some fresh pepper. Divide the salad between to plates and top each serving with a few slivers of the Parmesan.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

a little holiday

Snow is a beautiful thing. Soft and quiet - it turns the night sky a pale pinkish gray and makes me feel a little giddy. We haven't had a winter like this in years, and I can't remember ever having two such massive storms fall back to back such as we've had this past week.
I'm lucky to be watching the flakes fall from inside my home, wood stove roaring, and tea warming on the stove top - keeping fingers crossed that the power does not go out (again).
Curiously, being house-bound in waist-high snow has the feel of childhood slumber parties, and the urge to spend more time than I care to admit in front of the television watching movies and indulging in ice cream (brrrrrr!) and other snackish bites is hard to ignore. It's a little holiday.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

26 and counting...

At last count - 26 inches.
And it's still coming.
Plenty of time for making a pot of soup.
(barley simmered with bay, steeped sun-dried tomatoes, collards, and a healthy dose of chilies)