Thursday, April 28, 2011

this and that

In those first few days of warming weather, shoots and leaves begin to sprout in shades of green so vibrant they seem, well, almost...un-natural. While I'm plunking radish seeds into damp, freshly-tilled soil, a few rows over the sorrel and arugula are already making good on last year's investments. Tarragon stretches upward at an alarming pace and the chives already have their pretty purple blossoms. Tiny, perfectly ruffled burnet leaves appear, the oregano is a small bush on it's own , and that mint - it may just devour every living thing in its path this year... (I'm thinking mojitos and raita, tea and summer rolls are going to be abundant this summer) While these old friends are taking off, I've been snipping away - a little of this, a little of that - to eat, tumbled together in the salad bowl. Tossed with fingers, sprinkled with toasted sesame, a slight Parmesan dusting, and a drizzle of dressing - spring is here; get it while the getting's good!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Plodding along this week - rain every other day makes it hard to get things in the ground and I'm ready to see my own garden spring forward. It's been a slow, ease into spring this year, but at least the parsley's come back (sometimes it doesn't) and the sorrel and arugula are doing just fine. I've even spotted sprouts in the radish and chard rows. Our farmer's markets are just now starting up again - I snapped up some baby kale, scallions, salad greens and these local ramps. Which, if like me you didn't know existed until fairly recently, are a nice find at the market. Local wild (foraged) foods seem to be gaining popularity and I love coming across them. They're special - unique to our localities, only available when perfectly in season, hand-picked - often the kind of thing for which recipes are recited from memory, passed down or jotted on scraps of paper, origins murky or possibly unknown altogether. Though I suppose these days, you can find just about anything online... Pizza with Wild Ramps, Mushrooms and Sausage (another pizza - no rules - use whatever quantities you have on hand) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a medium skillet, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil over medium heat. Saute 1 link of Italian sausage (sweet or hot), casing removed and meat crumbled, with a handful of sliced mushrooms and a small bunch of cleaned, trimmed and sliced ramps for a few minutes, until the sausage is cooked through and the mushrooms have softened. Spread a ball of pizza dough out on a baking sheet (or free-form on parchment paper, if baking on a stone), spread a few tablespoons of pizza sauce over the crust, top with a crumble of feta and some grated Provalone. Distribute the sausage and ramp mixture across the surface and bake for 10-20 minutes, or until the crust is browned and the cheese has melted (if using a stone, transfer the pizza, still on the parchment, to the stone and bake, paper and all, in the same manner).

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Do you wake up hungry? I don't usually. It hits me a little later. I suppose I need to wake up a bit first, make a cup of tea, coffee, something, and rub my eyes into focus before I think about nourishment. Consequently I often eat at my desk on weekday mornings. Not ideal, but certainly not the worst spot either. Lately I've been grabbing a homemade muffin or filling a jam jar with a quick yogurt-y parfait (I don't like that word - parfait, it sounds too dessert-like for a breakfast, not sure what a better term might be, though).
The other day I was reading this article about mangoes and dreaming about the two I had sitting on the dining room table at home. I love a mango lassi and this recipe reminded me of that. When I got home later that day it struck me that one could easily use that gorgeous combination of mango and rose water in, well, a bunch of ways (wouldn't a jam be amazing?). Since I often make these jam-jar breakfasts with whatever fruit I have on hand, I tinkered a little with the mango and made myself breakfast for the next morning.

Mango and Rose Water Parfait
Peel and cut 1/2 a ripe mango. Combine the mango pieces, about 1 teaspoon of sugar (or to taste) and 1/8 teaspoon rose water in a food processor or blender. Puree until well-blended and mostly smooth. Layer in a half-pint jam jar with plain yogurt and homemade granola (I like Molly's - minus the chocolate). This made enough fruit puree for me to make two 1/2 pint jars.