Monday, June 29, 2009

early summer eats

As usual, the night's menu revolves around what is fresh in the garden. Lately there's a lot of peas: sweet peas and snap peas. The snap peas are tempting for a crunch right off the vine, but cooking them every so slightly really brings out the sweetness. I generally put just a little oil on the fry pan and get it good and hot; sauté the snap peas briefly, sometimes with minced garlic, and then toss on soy sauce. They're good in a salad, and of course in a stir-fry with other things over rice.

I remember clearly the first time I tasted fresh sweet peas out of the pod. I was in junior high and ironically my classmate from Manhattan shared some on our end-of-the-year school outing taking the boat around the island. I was skeptical at first as the cooked peas my mother served were only surpassed in vileness by the cooked spinach. But these were a totally different thing, and the beginning of an awakening to fresh vegetables.

The sweet peas go well into a spring tabouli. I don't even cook the little ones but mix them into the still-warm bulghur. The basic recipe I borrow from The New Moosewood Cookbook, but then I vary the vegetables.
1 cup bulghur
1 ½ cups boiling water
1 tsp salt
black pepper, to taste
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Add the boiling water to the bulghur and cover and let sit 30 minutes or more. Mix in the other ingredients above. Then the recipe says to refrigerate before adding the vegetables, but that might be a more essential step when tomatoes and cucumbers are to be added. This time of year, I don't necessarily refrigerate at this stage, but toss in the peas, and some parsley and maybe mint. Dill, why not? Whatever I got that seems suitable. A few chickpeas are nice. Green onions, yes!!

Tonight are a lot of collard greens. Torn from the stems and cut into ribbons; add them to the garlic saut̩, and then liquid Рthis time broth from the hambone that had been secreted in the freezer for months. Some are added to tonight's black bean soup; and the rest saved for another day in the freezer.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

White clover is blooming in the lawn and even my mother noticed how beautiful it was on this rainy day, which otherwise she considered a miserable day since it rained all day. She remembered how she picked the clover for her mother when she was a little girl. I told her I love the rain. I got out a lot of the dusty house plants; the philodendron and ivy, spider plant, begonia and peace lilies; and spread them out on the patio in the light rain. Walked around the garden, knowing I didn't have to do any planting or even bother weeding today. Wait til the rain stops. Time to admire how lush the plants look in the rain. Picked the swelling peas and a bulb of fresh garlic.