things topsy turvy & a new feature at cooking-spree
In earlier posts I’ve alluded to “things about to happen” around our house, but I can explain further now. First there was the joyous birth of our little Drew baby! And even a bit before, and a lot since, we’ve been preparing for a good-sized remodel – two bathrooms and our kitchen.Once work begins on the kitchen, things will get especially interesting. We have a gas grill, and a portable induction burner that’ll hold one pot at a time. And we’ll have boxes full of herbs and spices and plates and forks and knives.
How do I prepare for what has been described to me variously as “completely disruptive”, “awful”, and “just plain hell” (really?!) ? I accept that things will be turned on their heads for a while, and I’ll be here to document it. I’ll photograph the destruction and mayhem. I’ll play my part in this creative process, from demolition to gleaming completion. I know it’ll be challenging in ways I can’t yet know. But I’m thrilled! And I think I’m ready.
What will it mean here, on these bloggy pages? We’ll discover together. Smoothies? Salads? One pot wonders? Grilled seafood? We won’t go hungry, I promise!
One thing that will make this process less disruptive to food-lovers like us is that Spring is upon us and Summer is coming, and about now Farmer’s Markets are springing up all over the city and in the ‘burbs! Wooden stalls lined with fresh and gorgeous produce, bulging in bright ripeness! The choices we have are exquisitely exhaustive! So, one thing I can predict for the coming months is this: I’ll be carrying my basket to farmers markets, visiting with the growers, photographing fresh-from-the-farm fruits and vegetables and bringing a few choice picks home. Once a week I’ll share my trips with you. We’ll explore old favorites, never-liked and never-tried’s. Most of what will result will be simple, beautiful, and delicious. And since life around our house will be turned on its head for the next little while, it seemed only fitting to name this weekly feature something like
and so I have.
(but don’t be surprised to see a few vruits too)
It will be a veritable celebration of things with stems & seeds & roots!
Why not begin with a couple old standby’s and treat them freshly? It doesn’t get more basic than peas and carrots, right?
Well, it could…
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R a i n b o w c a r r o t , p e a & p e a s h o o t s a l a d
(about 6 servings)
1½ pounds rainbow carrots (various lengths makes it even prettier)
4 ounces pea shoots (see NOTE)
2 cups sugar snap peas
1 cup snow peas (optional)
¼ cup Meyer lemon juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup crumbled sheep or goat milk feta cheese
¾ cup mint leaves, cut into slivers
For protein, add either
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
2 cups grilled or poached firm fish, in pieces
1 cup cooked & shelled edamame (fresh soy beans)
NOTE on pea shoots – One market I go to stocks them regularly. You may find them at Farmers Markets or Asian markets too.
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Scrub the carrots gently in order to retain most of their bright outer color. With a mandolin or vegetable peeler, cut thin lengthwise ribbons to make about 4 cups. Discard ends or any tough cores. (What worked best for me was to lay the carrot on the cutting board, holding the thin end of the carrot in one hand and with the other, using a vegetable peeler and a bit more pressure than normal, peel from the small end to the large. I discarded both the first and last strip of each carrot since that was mostly peel.)
Put dark and light carrot ribbons in separate bowls of ice water and soak about 15 minutes to crisp them up. Drain in a colander and roll in kitchen towels. (or line a salad spinner with towel and spin.)
Go through the pea shoots, discarding thick or tough stems and tearing sprigs into 4- or 5-inch pieces.
Pull the strings from the straight sides of snap peas (& snow peas if using) and then thinly slice lengthwise.