Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Week Five--Here come the colors

Pay no attention to the poor picture quality, and focus instead on those gorgeous beets (the ones growing in my garden are maybe a third of that size now--maybe) the beautiful zucchini, pattypan and summer squash, more of those delicious crunchy turnips, and enough salad to keep us happy all week. Plus more baby bok choy and two big bunches of chard.

Louisa, of The Wednesday Chef, has a post up today all about CSA love, and it's worth checking out just to see what other farmers are growing and what another passionate home cook is planning to do with all the bounty. She's thinking, as I am, of trying a raw beet salad. There's a recipe in Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer that I've been wanting to try..well, forever. You just grate up the beets and toss them with a bit of lemon, olive oil, fresh dill and mustard seed.
It's worth buying the book, though--it has tons of successful, supremely easy recipes that are great for, duh, the summer.

And, sadly--no mangetout this week. I'm guessing my francophilic pea yearnings will have to wait until next year.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Mangetout, or, J'adore la sérendipité et le franglais

One of my (many) guilty pleasures is my (absurdly overpriced) subscription to the British edition of House and Garden. Now that the American version is no more, this magazine is my main source of shelter porn, and oh, it's good. In addition to the unspeakably fantastic interiors, I love the recipes in each issue. I love reading English recipes, and not just because every single one makes me think wistfully of how late in my life I discovered the brilliant Elizabeth David. Over There, all the veggies have names that are so much more poetic, it seems, than those we use on this side of the pond. Rocket? Courgettes? Aubergine, anyone? Arugula, zucchini and eggplant all taste fine, but somehow the alternate nomenclature makes them sparkle. I also find it funny that the English, Franco-averse in so many other areas, tacitly recognize the culinary superiority of the French in their choices of many of these names. (My mother took the same tack: when I was a kid, she decreed that eggplant would henceforth be known in our house as aubergine, hoping against hope that a prettier name might inspire me to try it. You know what? It worked.)

Yesterday, reading HG, I discovered the nom de cuisine that may be my favorite of all: mangetout. I speak French, and other than a literal translation ("eat it ALL") I had no idea what this could possibly be. The photograph accompanying the recipe (a super-thin Asian-style omelet wrapped around bean sprouts, bacon and the mysterious mangetout) didn't really help--whatever the unknown ingredient was, it had been slivered right into unrecognisable.

The answer (thank you, Google) couldn't be more seasonally a propos, and I am hoping that my CSA pick up this week will, once again, include a healthy supply of delicious mangetout--known here as the more pedestrian "snap pea."

Go fishing

I bought the delicious halibut I made this weekend at Guido's, but having just received my wonderful weekly fish bulletin from Rubiner's, now I know that I can make it again--for $3/lb. less. That's right, restaurant quality wild caught halibut is available for $16.95/lb if you preorder by Tuesday for a Thursday pick up.

What, you don't know what I'm talking about? Matt Rubiner, the Great Barrington cheesemonger whose store is beloved by local foodies, has expanded his offerings to include a wide, seasonal variety of extremely high quality fish and shellfish. From cod to cockerels, peekytoe to piballes, he's had it all, and so far, I've been more than delighted with freshness and quality. Email the store ( to get on the weekly distribution list--every Tuesday, you'll get a summary of what will be available; you call or email back (with a credit card number to guarantee your order) and pick your dinner up at the store (typically on Friday--this week, it's Thursday because of the holiday.) Run, don't walk. This is a tremendous resource for the Berkshire/Taconic region--and they'll even deliver.