One of the many (manymany) benefits of the farmers’ market is the Technicolor burst of summer meals. The colors are brilliant, bright and arresting, drawing you in as they lie there.

Egg Salad
The substitute sunlight of nasturtium blossoms in a morning’s egg salad, accompanied by a midnight dark bowl of blackberries and blueberries.

Dill Salmon
The subtle greens of fresh dill contrasting with the pastel pink of grilled salmon and the earthy depths of cremini mushrooms (not to mention the inevitable nasturtiums on my salad).

Peaches and Cream
Honey-yellow peaches with burnished pink highlights half-hiding a billowing cloud of rich, white cream, freckled with cinnamon.

Blueberry Coconut Crisp
A big white bowl of blueberries, stewed until juicy and glistening, topped with crisp, toasted coconut.

My descriptions are no less purple than the fruit, but it’s hard not to let fly with superlatives when faced with such bounty.

Published in: on August 21, 2008 at 7:45 am  Leave a Comment  

A Year and a Day

What did we eat for lunch on June 23rd last year?


Reception Spread 1
Reception Spread 2
Homemade bread, compound butter, big salads of farmer’s market greens with raspberry-mustard vinaigrette, big bowls of berries, three kinds of cheese (including Gruyere, an aged goat and a tangy Brie-like cheese), a smoked salmon-pink peppercorn tart in an almond crust, and a three-layer fritatta, with a roasted red pepper layer, a spinach layer and a cheese layer.

And for dessert?
Wedding cake

Wedding Cake.

Wedding cake and lemon cheesecake

Specifically, an almond cake filled with mixed fresh berries and frosted with vanilla bean whipped cream and decorated with red currants and a lemon cheesecake topped with lemon curd and black currants.

And what did we have for lunch on June 23rd this year?
Anniversary lunch

Sea scallops wrapped in radicchio and pancetta, then grilled and served with a red lettuce salad from the farmer’s market.

The scallop recipe was beyond simple–sprinkle the scallops with salt and pepper, wrap each one in a radicchio leaf, and then wrap the leaves with a slice of pancetta. My slices were inexpertly wrapped at the butchers, and thus had unraveled. I ended up just wrapping it around and around and around each little radicchio bundle and securing the ends with toothpicks.

Who am I kidding–I used about 3 toothpicks per bundle. I am not good at food-skewering.

The grill caramelized the radicchio and infused the flavor of both the pancetta and radicchio into each scallop. In spite of the fiddly eating required by all the toothpicks, it was delicious, especially from our unaccustomed seats under our lawn umbrella (which we haven’t set up, sadly, since our wedding reception). Teacherman poured an Alsatian wine to drink alongside the meal–it reminded him perfectly of the wines from our honeymoon.

Lunch was wonderful, yes, but what did we eat for dinner? Last year, we didn’t eat anything for dinner. Our reception was still going on, and due to the enticements of the lunch board, we’d eaten too much of everything.

This year, though, lunch was elegant and austere. And so, for dinner:

Anniversary dinner

Chocolate-peanut butter cookies and chocolate-peanut butter ice cream. What’s the point of being a grown-up if you can’t do this sort of thing every now and then?

(I have to admit, though, that I don’t feel remotely like a grown-up. Even though I’m nearly 30, and even though I’m married, I still have to remind myself that I’m not a kid. Thus, of course, the ideal dinner of cookies and ice cream).

If you’ll forgive my sentimentality (and if there’s one day a year when one is allowed to be sappy, one’s wedding anniversary ought to be it): Here’s hoping that we always feel this ridiculously young, and that each anniversary is as lovely–and delicious–as this one.

Published in: on June 23, 2008 at 7:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Still and Yet

It is still much too hot.  I’m fully aware of the fact that my friends in Texas are sufferring temperatures to which the Midwest cannot dream to aspire (not that it would want to), but I’d still set our humidity up against theirs any day.  (95% humidity?  Couldn’t it just rain?)

As the degree of humidity rises, the degree of my patience lessens.  By this point I don’t want to spend more than 5 minutes making any meal, and no food substance should require the use of heat to render it consumable.  (When it’s 75+ degrees outside in the pitch black dark of night and one has to swim through the air, even morning tea is out of the question).

Unsurprisingly, I’ve been eating a lot of salads.  A big bowl, a few good ingredients, a little light chopping: dinner. 

Tonight was even simpler than usual.  No fruit.  No cheese.  No toasted nuts.  Into the bowl went about 5 ounces of baby spinach (torn into very small pieces), 1 fennel bulb (diced to microscopic size), 6 ounces of crabmeat and a dressing of lime juice, lime zest, champagne vinegar, vegetable oil, salt, white pepper, and a tablespoon of mayonnaise (because I had no desire to try to mess around emulsifying an egg yolk, but I still wanted the non-dairy creaminess of such an amalgamation). 

I tossed it all together, then sat in the coolest room in the house to eat it–mostly with a fork, but eventually with a spoon, when I got down to the bottom of the bowl.  The sweetness of both the crab and the fennel played off of each other–fennel isn’t as sweet as, say, corn, and it’s brightness and crunchiness elevated the richness of the crab.  The spinach was a chewy background for the strong flavors and the whole of the salad was very satisfying. 

I chased the meal with a perfectly ripe peach, so well chilled in the back of the fridge that it gave me brain-freeze.  Now, I should be able to get through the rest of the evening easily if I can just balance this bag of ice on top of my head. . . .

Published in: on August 10, 2007 at 7:26 pm  Leave a Comment