New Leaves

You guys? Do you see that adorable bean sprout up there? We planted that! That's growing on our property. Can you tell I'm an excited first-time gardener?

On the first Summer Friday of the year, I'm basking in this 80-degrees-and-breezy, sun-coming-down-but-not-without-a-fight, time-to-eat-and-write-outdoors weather. I'm in my garden, surrounded by future meals of my own making popping out of the ground. I'm sitting at the aqua-stained wooden table Jon created right here with his own two hands, and I'm eating a plate of crispy-skin everything-bagel-spiced salmon with a big mound of lemony microgreens. Families around me are playing Latin music and cheering on the guys playing bocce ball at the park down the block. (Me: "Would you call that 'down the block' or 'up the block'?" Jon: "I don't know. 'Over there'.")

Home sweet home. ♥ Corona Sweet Corona. 

I'll never forget these first eight housewarming months huddled indoors, gradually turning house into home, but I'm more than ready to take a summer-long break from cooking heavy comfort food. It's time to turn over new leaves, and that starts with eating more of them. CSA season is here and I'm overjoyed to get back to subsisting on fresh and green.

My love picked up our first share of Brooklyn Grange produce last weekend, right in time with some of our own first plantings becoming ready to harvest. The result was a week of delightful meals made from seasonal somethings, including our first dinner for two in our own outdoors. 

Local food is touched by human hands and that is the point. You are loving and serving the hands that feed you.
— Vicki Robin

what we were given

& what we've made

Jon ate up all the mustard greens before I even made it home from the cooking class that kept me from joining him at the farm. The scoundrel! Simply dressed and devoured. 

I got him back by stealing the toy choi for myself. I sauteed it until it was crispy on the edges then doused it with lemon and had it on the side of pan-seared salmon. (I don't cook fish often but I've been having intense ocean cravings lately. I think I ate seafood every night for 4 straight nights during my business trip to Boston a few weeks ago.) 

We passed up on lovage in exchange for extra broccoli rabe. Everyone has their favorite bitters! We had ours sauteed with lemon and garlic over a bowl of red quinoa. Stringy veg and tiny grains were a winning combination in flavor, but not for Jon's crowns. (Tongue wins over teeth, I guess?)

We did up our radishes in one of our tried and true styles, braised in a shallow pan in water and vegan butter until they soften. Ate these together with fresh sourdough bread slathered with a quick chive butter.

Chives were a true all-star this week. They went on everything we made, from morning bread with labne to Jon's first go at an Uzbek classic, plov. One of my favorites was a simple chive vinaigrette I'd clipped from Bon Appétit (recipe here) that we drizzled over a big bowl of torn head lettuce, chives, and radish microgreens from the farm, some chopped parsley, and our first little harvests of homegrown spinach and mixed greens. (They claimed to be microgreens, but those babies ain't micro.) 

Herbs in the dressing beg for herbs in the salad, too.
— Bon Appétit, on the beauty of doubling down

I'm losing my mind a little bit looking at the list and realizing I don't know where our mint is. My absolute favorite of herbs, where is she?! Trust I'll be rummaging through the fridge for it as soon as I hit Publish. 

And somehow, somehow, we didn't immediately demolish our arugula supply this week like we normally do. But it will not go to waste. If you're looking for ideas, check out my one-day-maybe-famous-who-knows Armenian Arugula Wrap recipe. One of the best combinations that ever sprang to my mind. 

The sun's gone down since I sat to write and now I'm left typing by the flickering light of Citronella. This weekend, I'm setting out to celebrate Middle Eastern cooking. Sunday I'll be making a feast for my friends, including a delicious muhamarra that I learned to make in my ICE cooking class last weekend. On our Monday off, I'll be showing a friend from work some favorite spots in Queens to snag spices and coffee and pomegranate molasses. And then I'll be back at the table, of course, to write about it all. ♥