Posts Tagged ‘seasonal eating


end of plum season


The plums are near the end of their season.


Transitional fruits


Last tomatoes, first butternut; last melons, first persimmons.


yummy summer breakfast

One peach and one tomato, chopped; a bit of dried mint, crumbled; a drizzle of red-chile honey.


Pea shoot pasta

Even cooked, pea tendrils cling:

Pea shoot pasta


The amazing shrinking farmstand

It’s impossible to walk past the Neufeld Farms stand at our farmers market. There’s always someone urging you try their peaches, nectarines, pluots, plums, apricots, grapes… even in the winter. It only struck me today that the winter display is the same as the summer, only drastically reduced in size, by dehydration. And that they must work behind the scenes on that all summer.


When Kitchen Express and Cooks Illustrated collide

Turns out there was nothing wrong with the seal on my pressure cooker, but the pressure indicator inexplicably won’t stay up. This doesn’t affect the function (all of the beans still cooked quickly and nothing exploded), but it does make deciding when it’s safe to open the thing rather exciting.

I celebrated the lack of explosions and steam burns by using some of the white beans I cooked up to make white bean toasts, a fall recipe from Kitchen Express that works just as well in winter:

white bean toasts and cucumber soup

Mark Bittman’s recipe uses lemon juice and olive oil in place of the cream in the Joy of Cooking’s white bean paste. I left off the dried tomatoes that he suggests, since I only have smoke-dried ones, and I didn’t think that would coordinate too well with the rest of the flavors. I couldn’t be bothered to get out the food processor, so my potato-masher puree is more rustic than his, but my bread is more urbane. Why would I use a “peasant bread” when I love Noe Valley Bakery’s sour baguettes so?

But wait. What is that in the background? A totally unseasonal and unsuited to the weather chilled cucumber soup! Knowing my dedication to the joys of seasonal eating, you may well ask where that came from. I’ll tell you.

Yesterday I tested an unpublished Cooks Illustrated recipe for the first time. Even though I get their emails regularly, I’ve resisted until now because their editorial calendar keeps their test recipes so out of step with the seasons. I fell for this one because I figured the dressing on their cucumber salad would give me a good basis for trying to recreate this wonderful cabbage, cucumber, mint, jalapeño, and lime salad that Burma Superstar serves. I was right about the dressing, and I’m eager to try it with a cabbage I’ll pick up at the farmers’ market tomorrow. Meanwhile, the cucumber salad was just fine, though I was worried because the cucumbers I picked up at Whole Foods were big, seedy, and bitter.

The recipe served four, so I couldn’t finish it. Into the fridge with the leftovers! And tonight, out comes—cucumber salad in a lot of liquid:

That used to be a salad.

Immersion blender to the rescue!

Now it's a soup!

It was possibly better as a soup than as a salad. I can also see potential for it as a smoothie, or a granita, or a mixer. Come summer and small, sweet cucumbers, that is.


piggy peach risotto

Not even vaguely Tex-Mex, but still what we had for dinner last night. J-P decided to try the peach-and-pancetta version of this watermelon-and-pancetta risotto recipe that Eric Asimov posted in the Diners’ Journal a few weeks ago. It was good, but next time we will salt the rice as it cooks (we relied on the pancetta for salt this time), use more basil, and use a stronger stock (we used the powdered veggie broth we usually use for risotto, but a good chicken stock is clearly the way to go here). The flavorful bits were very flavorful and quite nice together, but the risotto itself lacked a little oomph.

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