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Eats Shoots and Radishes

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I had seen straw hats bobbing about town.  I had glimpsed some brave souls in white trousers.  I had spied some beautiful pedicured be-sandaled feet.  And yes, the birds were singing and the azaleas were popping but I wasn’t convinced that summer had arrived until Thursday.   Thursday was the first day of the Princeton Farmers’ Market.  Phew!  Summer is finally here.

To celebrate here’s a simple farmers’ market lunch: sliced radishes and pea shoots from Chickadee Creek Farm on a slice of  pain au levain from Terra Momo Bread Company, drizzled with olive oil or perhaps even slathered with some wonderful small-batch butter from Valley Shepherd Creamery.  I add a bit of Maldon sea salt and freshly ground pepper. The bright pink radishes are a perfect complement to the pea shoots which taste sweet, like peas.  But bread you say?  Aren’t you always railing against us eating too much white bread?  Well, yes, but everything in moderation, and the slowly fermented pain au levain is a perfect base for this summer open-faced sandwich. Local. Seasonal. Fresh. Delicious.

To hold radishes in the fridge, keep them in a bowl of water so the roots stay wet.

To hold radishes in the fridge, keep them in a bowl of water so the roots stay wet.

For those of you who remain unconvinced about radishes  — too peppery, too crunchy, too raw —  feel free to sauté or roast them to mute the peppery, crunchy rawness.  Sometimes I grate fresh radishes and toss them with orange slices, olives and mint.  Pea shoots can be added to a salad, or the next stir fry you make.   Get to your nearest Farmers’ Market and start experimenting!   Here is a website that can help you find the market closest to you.  The Princeton Farmers’ Market operates Thursdays from 11 am to 4 pm, Hinds Plaza.  See you there!

Nourishing Mothers

IMG_1175A quick pre-Mothers’ Day post to thank mothers all over the world for nourishing us in so many ways. Providing nourishment does not necessarily mean providing a meal.  Our commerce-driven society seems to have this all mixed up, with marketers often suggesting that home cooking is the same thing as mother-love.

Some of the most loving mothers I know do not cook at all –ever —  for their children or anyone else; they nourish their off-spring (and their other loved ones and friends) by Read more

A is for Artichokes (and also for Almonds)

IMG_1054Growing up, artichokes were a springtime treat, steamed and served with little ramekins filled with melted butter and lemon juice for dipping the leaves into before we scraped off all that artichokey goodness from the leaves with our teeth. Simplicity in itself. Eventually, I met my darling and was introduced to his mother’s sublime, steamed artichokes stuffed with a magical triumvirate of bread crumbs, parsley and garlic, lovingly laced with extra virgin olive oil.

“What about some Parmesan?” I would ask her, filled with ideas of improvement, “or even Pecorino, maybe some anchovies?”  To which her reply was a shrug, a gesture, the merest raising of an eyebrow to suggest ever so gently that this would be gilding the lily.

We have eaten our artichokes following my mother-in-law’s original recipe for many years, but recently I’ve been searching for a delicious way to enjoy these without all the bread-y stuffing.  Trust me, it is not without trepidation Read more

Supper Last Night

 

IMG_1007Sometimes you just need a friendly nudge to come up with new idea for supper. Last night, with two teenage boys in the house, both in training for crew, I was looking for something tasty and filling.  A dear friend had recently reminded me of a lovely, Indian-inspired, chicken kebab dish that we had created during a Good Food Naturally cooking workshop.   That, and a fun spin on Read more

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

 

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Hold onto your hats everyone,  I am going to come right out and say I disagree with T.S. Eliot …. April is not the cruelest month; that honor goes to February. Think of it; the dark darkness of deep December (which at least had some festivities to keep you going) is past, Read more

The Little Lunch

Image by Jana Bouc

Image by Jana Bouc

Time to put on your beret and your best gallic pout.  Okay, ready?  Let’s talk about breakfast, or le petit dejéuner as the French call it, literally translated as the little lunch.  Thinking of the first meal of the day as my little lunch changes the menu completely.   All at once a new array of savory offerings are on the table.  Gone are all those swoggy Read more

A Fishy Issue

Watercolor by Jana Bouc

 

Eat fish!  Don’t Eat Fish! It’s good for you! It’s bad for you!  Fish is great, long live fish! There is no more fish, stop eating fish! OH MY WORD, there is a lot of craziness surrounding this issue.   People are understandably confused which leads to food anxiety and that’s not good.   Let’s go through some of the major issues surrounding this fish problem and see if we can sort out some sensible guidelines:

PRO EATING FISH
There is general consensus that fish is: Read more

Garnish Away!

I was shocked, shocked recently to hear a friend say that she never buys parsley — “Why bother,it’s just for garnish.” Quel blasphème! She might as well have told me that you don’t need a little black dress in your closet. Without parsley, my fridge feels positively naked. Parsley is much, much more than a garnish. It is rich in Vitamins A, K*and C, as well as a good source of iron and folic acid. In fact, a cup of parsley has more iron than a cup of Read more

Ruminating on Ruminants

Image by Leslie Kuenne

The grumpy adolescent boy looked at the kale and quinoa on his plate and then stared me down with indignant brown eyes.  Mum, you’re going to have to choose between your cute little vegetables and me.  I’m a growing teenage boy and I NEED MEAT.

My own offspring was reading me the Riot Act. Never mind that I had been preaching the gospel of less meat, more lentils, less meat, more greens, less meat, more carrots, kohlrabi and cabbage.  Possibly because of all my preaching (he is a teenager after all) this progeny was begging for a steak, a hamburger, meatballs, OMG, Mum, SOMETHING with meat in it!   Since this is a kid who will happily munch on fennel, endive and sushi, I figured he wasn’t being finicky.  I put it down to a growth spurt and gave him some beef. Read more

Lemony Olive Oil Almond Cake

Lemony Olive Oil Cake

This is my go-to cake when I need to whip up something in a hurry…no pfaffing about with creaming the butter. It is dense and moist; lovely with a warm fruit compote, summer berries or a cup of tea. It works with either white whole wheat flour (a newish product from King Arthur’s brand) or whole wheat Read more