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Archive for June 18th, 2009

We have fresh local radishes and those salmon colored carrots, as well as about an ounce of fresh goat cheese.  The combination of these flavors–peppery, sweet, and earthy-tangy, will make a delicious salad to go with our pasta tonight.

radish salad

I sliced the carrot and radish into thin discs, tossed them with a spoonful each of red wine vinegar and evoo, and sprinkled them with salt and pepper.  I remembered that there was a huge chive patch out front, so I went out into the drizzle with my scissors and snipped a small bunch.  I snipped these right into the bowl, and then dropped in the goat cheese, and mashed it around a bit. Yum!

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How to cook kale?  There are many theories which involve long cooking and lots of water, but I prefer to saute it fairly quickly in a hot pan with a bit of olive oil.

Last night, I cooked purple kale.  I pulled large bite-sized pieces off of the stalk, and washed them in cold water.   Sometimes, as with spinach, I’ll grease the pan by cooking some small pieces of bacon or pancetta, then throw the kale in just before the pork gets crunchy.  I always use garlic, and have found that the kale gets most garlicky when several crushed cloves of garlic have been simmered in the oil for a few minutes, so that its skin is slightly caramelized.  After putting in the kale, you can put the lid on for a few minutes to steam it a bit, and when it gets wilty, leave the lid off and toss it with tongs.   I strongly recommend tongs, so that you can squeeze out the excess water before plating it.

Kale is also delicious when it’s tossed together in the pan with mustard greens and spinach.  Red pepper flakes are a nice addition at the end.

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My favorite way to cook asparagus is to roast it.  The caramelization that happens in the oven brings out the natural sweetness of this grassy green, and the dry heat softens the stalks without turning them to mush.

Preheat oven to 425. Roll asparagus on a cookie sheet in olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned but not shriveled.

Asparagus goes particularly well with the breakfasty flavors of eggs and bacon.  For a substantial side or light meal, you could roast the asparagus with bacon, pancetta, or proscuitto pieces sprinkled around, then dress it with a chopped eight-minute egg.

Asparagus is also great with a bit of lemon zest.

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radishes
After a stop at the Norwich Bookstore and Nana’s apartment, we went to the Hanover farmers’ market, on the Dartmouth green.  I’d had some pent-up desire for this kind of variety and plenty, and I went a little wild.  Jack and I ate half of the bunch of salmon colored carrots right away.
carrot

Then, after craning my neck to assess the competition, I settled on Fable Farm for my armfuls of kale, lettuce, and motley radishes.

fable farm

Then there was raw-milk cheese from Piermont, New Hampshire to sample.  I bought some of the manchego style “Manch-vegas.”  (Did it have that name because it was so over-the-top-flashy-flavorful?  It had to be followed by a full-bodied red.)

cheese

Strawberries!  Next weekend Cedar Circle Farm will have their annual strawberry festival, but we had to stock up before then.

cedar strawberries
There were sausages, pasture-raised chickens, eggs, breads and baked things of all sorts, fresh-squeezed lemonade, popcorn popped in an aluminum vat the size of a bathtub:

lemondae

beef pork

And asparagus.

asparagus I got a big bunch.  The vendor suggested grilling them, which we did later.  I usually roast them, and I have to say, I’m going to stick with roasting.  They were fine grilled, but they got a bit black.  It’s easier to control the cooking when they’re on a pan in the oven, rolling around in olive oil rather than errant flames.

Around here, it almost goes without saying that the produce, poultry, meat, fruit, and fungi are raised without the help of synthetic chemicals.  Here is a fiercely proud bastion of organics where the suggestion of doubt would be taken as an affront to the dignity of the farmer and her land.  The collective identity of this community, which is scattered across mountains and back roads, is strong in spite of, or because of, the old New England ethos of pioneering individualism and eccentricity that is summed up on New Hampshire’s license plates: “Live Free or Die.”

Jack, exercising his right to sit down wherever he wants to.

Jack, exercising his right to sit down wherever he wants to.

Later on, for dinner, we grilled sausages and the asparagus, sautéed the kale with some crushed garlic, sliced the walnut ficelle, and ate outside while the sun went down.

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