Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hurricane Salad

Just before Sandy hit us full strength, I went out to the garden to pick some fresh produce in case we were inside for a bit. The wind stole my hat twice, and stirred the lettuces and herbs into a mixed Sandy salad even before I could pick them, entangling the delicate new leaves into nearly inseparable clumps. It was an experience akin to what Dorothy might have had, if she stopped to bale some hay and not proceeded straight away to Professor Marvel's trailer.

I picked more than I needed, not knowing how the fragile vegetables would fare when the real winds picked up, and brought them in.  They were younger than I might have otherwise harvested them, small, tidy leaves still succulent with youth.

As with most cooking you do with superior ingredients, vegetables fresh from the garden don't need much -- a drizzle of olive oil here, a dash of toasted sesame seeds there. The trek to the garden was the most arduous part of the whole affair. (Disclaimer: asparagus was not my own, but a fine snag from the local IGA, grown in someone else's yard.)

Stuck in by the fire as our house kept the howling wind just beyond reach, I cleaned and chopped and cooked a greener than green dinner, baby bok choy, tiny radishes, salad --  nearly two days without power, cats and dogs and kids underfoot. Though I didn't understand it when I braved the wind to gather them, this fall festival of greens not just sustained us, but reminded us: a glimmer of hope the rain would stop, wind might abate, and the greens, resilient, would again spring from the earth and nourish us.

Our thoughts are with all who have lingering trouble from the hurricane.

Radish Jar

Pick small radishes with stems and leaves still attached. Clean if necessary and put in water in a clear jar or glass. Serve with coarse salt.

Mixed Salad
I do this with whatever greens are on hand, chopping herbs and churning them in. A sprinkling of nuts, grated cheese, drizzle of nice vinegar and/or oil, and you've got it made. This one happens to be:

4 cups torn greens (frisee, arugula, cress, mesclun)
3 Tablespoons chopped herbs (mint, cilantro)
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup grated queso
pinch coarse salt
drizzle of Persian Lime olive oil
drizzle of Pomegranate vinegar

Toss together, serve.

Sauteed Baby Bok Choy with Ginger and Garlic

1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 Tablespoon grated ginger
6 cups baby Bok Choy, sliced 2 inches thick
4 cloves garlic, slivered
toasted sesame seeds

Heat oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Turn heat to medium and add garlic, stirring until translucent. Add ginger and a pinch of coarse salt, stir together.

Add bok choi and stir until combined, Cover and let heat through, just until greens are wilted, about 5 minutes. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Steamed Asparagus with Egg and Lemon Zest

2 bunches asparagus, woody ends removed
2 eggs, hard boiled
Zest of one lemon
coarse salt

Prepare a large skillet halfway filled with water. Heat until water boils.

Add asparagus and cook until just tender -- time will vary depending on the thickness of asparagus, but stalk should be crisp, just wilted. Strain water.

Transfer to serving platter. Grate egg over the top, then grate the lemon zest over that and add a pinch of coarse salt. Serve.