Saturday, April 05, 2008

Spring in My Step, But Not in My Mouth

I can't get the spring rhythm going.
We went out for cleaning supplies yesterday; that must be a positive sign. (I didn't say when I was going to start using them.)
I keep seeing pretty little vegetable starts for sale, but I mostly refrain from buying them because... I don't know why.
Oh, I do know why. I know that I will be giving the local, organic seedlings at the farmers market a thorough look-see tomorrow because they're local, organic, and for sale at the farmers market. In my book, that beats all (sorry upscale local, organic nursery whom I still love and will still buy my chicken poop from, even though!!! Even though my compost heap looks like really good, brown, juicy, flaky, nutrient-rich dirt, and I will be scooping bits from it really soon).
So, the garden is ready to go, as soon as the plantlets are procured. Tomorrow, possibly. That's a good sign.
But the cooking.
Let me ask you, is there spring cooking?
No, I don't mean Easter or Passover. Lovely feasts, and they do manage to be seasonal... though this goy gets a little twitchy over the Passover turkey (which tells you I am a dope who only eats turkey once a year, if that often).
But normal kitchen cooking: Spring favorites?
Asparagus, yes. Eggs, yes. Spring onions, yes. In fact, we've eaten all that good stuff this spring, so maybe I'm not as off track as I feared.
But the other day we accidentally bought a couple of beautiful tomatoes. Pretty, but not summery, and that was the mistake. Do not jump the gun.
We tried to treat the tomatoes in a gentle springlike manner with hard-cooked eggs and baby lettuce. Still. Not good enough.
I've got to stop stirring up the backyard dirt for a couple of hours and think about real spring food.
I think it should be easy. I think it should be gentle.
What do you suggest?


Zoomie said...

When I think of spring foods, I think asparagus, artichokes, strawberries, English peas, new potatoes and carrots and lamb. Sounds like the makings of a great spring stew with strawberries (they finally are smelling and tasting real) & creme fraiche for dessert? Or lamb on the barbecue with veggies skewers one the side? I know you two eat less meat, so maybe just a nice spring veggie stew with garlic mashed spuds on top?

namastenancy said...

have a theory that cleaning supplies have to "age" a long time before you can use them. Sort of like wine except not drinking (ewww). I buy my supplies and line them up in a very neat row. That really should be enough, right? Besides, cleaning is overrated. No grave stone ever said "She went out with a clean house."
Now food in the fridge - that's a different matter. Sorry about the tomato fiasco but you can always make tomato chutney or roast tomatoes or add them to curry. Or - if they are green enough- good old Southern stand by of fried green tomatoes or green tomato pie.

Zoomie said...

Ooh! Ooh! new idea, how about spring onions or green garlic in the spud/carrot mash, instead of mature garlic?

kudzu said...

Think spring cheese, like fresh new ricotta from Bellwether or St. Pat from Cowgirl, or organic fromage blanc from anyone. Fresh, fresh baguette. Radishes. Watercress and baby spinach leaves. And pea pods to shell right at the table. And Champagne and strawberries. And invite us all over!!

Kalyn said...

Lamb for sure, but for some reason today I'm thinking about deviled eggs.

cook eat FRET said...

are asking

that's like me asking you about the country music songwriting market...

btw - passover turkey? this jew never heard of that one...

Anita said...

I dunno about you, but we're all a-twitter that the pastured chickens are back at the market. Avocados, cardoons, asparagus eight ways to sunday (every sunday). shuna would tell you 'rhubarb'.

And strawberries, though I will wait a few weeks. Peas soon, too.

dancingmorganmouse said...

Pea sprout risotto

Michael said...

Way up north (Tartu), we finally got to see a few fresh strawberries at the market. Very cool to have that sweet, sweet feel on the tongue as you stroll by the snow piles!! In my rather tattered old book this contrast is what makes spring spring!

pea said...

its no fair that you actually have spring produce in *spring*! the east coast will not see decent strawberries, asparagus, peas, etc. until next month, if then...what really says spring to me though, is a ramp and farm cheese omelette. in the meantime, i am consoling myself with rhubarb in every format.

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: I've had everything on your list except strawberries and peas. We almost bought some lamb for stew the other day, but we had enough food on the premises already. Sigh... Maybe rhubarb?

NamasteNancy: Hah, my cleaning supplies (some of them) have quite a "vintage."

Zoomie: Oh, right, I have to look for spring garlic at the market! I loves it.

Kudzu: Ooh, that's lovely. So easy and elegant. This time of year, the cows are eating tasty grass, and their milk really tastes better... cheeses should be sparkly soon.

Kalyn: I think I'll have some more lamb before the season ends... And you probably know about me and my pickled eggs (no need to devil them)!

ceF: Claudia from NY, let me introduce you to my friend Cynthia from Columbus. Turkey at every seder. Don't know why, but you have set me free.

Anita: I know. It's like I've got a lot of nerve complaining about my diet. It's probably more of an appetite thing. Anyway, I don't ever cook rhubarb, but after Shuna's divine panna cotta, I'm thinking about it! But no more on the cardoons, eh? :(

Morgan: I love that!! I want some.

Michael: Strawberries and snow? OMG. I could never imagine! Grab all you can; it sounds dreamy.

Pea: I'll trade you spring bounty "on time" for a taste of ramps! I know what they are, and I know a few local chefs import them for their menus... But I'd just love to go outdoors and collect a few for myself. :)

cook eat FRET said...

those ohio jews... what the hell do they know?

Zoomie said...

Pea, I loved ramps when I lived in Western New York - spring was always fun as we'd pick them from our woods at the back of the lot!

peter said...

Asparagus, peas, ramps, fiddleheads, nettles, garlic chives. Plus lamb, bunnies, and trout.

Our ramps are coming up... a week or two to go.

Heather said...

I'm dying for fava beans and morels, but haven't seen any yet.

Stacie said...

i dunno, spring rolls?

peter said...

And FYI, we never had Turkey at Seder dinner. Gefilte fish, matzoball soup, lamb, and yelling (which, in my family, was less painful than the singing, and much funnier.)

Mary Coleman said...

When in doubt, eat chocolate.
Works for me!!!

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Anna Haight said...

Artichokes. My mother always made lamb with mint sauce for the spring holiday in fashion. I saw some pretty looking sugar snap peas, and English peas in Whole Foods the other day... think I'm going to give in and pick some up next time.

cook eat FRET said...

peter - i totally appreciate your last comment. i grew up in a family of screamers. looking back - i wouldn't have had it any other way. it was colorful and all above board.

the whole jewish thing was great as a kid... being that i'm not observant or religious in any way now - but there was no guilt - no fear - it was more "this is who you are - we are jews - they didn't kill us - let's eat".

katiez said...

Green garlic and new potatoes - together or seperate.
As to those supermarket tomatoes - fry'em!
Oh, and artichokes...mangetout...
I'd feel more like spring if we could stop lighting fires for more than 1 evening in a row...
When you get the cleaning sorted you can come and do mine... please...