Some quick things:
- Want to receive this list via email each week? Sign up here.
- All good things must come to an end — the egg and butter sales have wound themselves down, and we’re back to regular price on both.
- Cilantro, on the other hand, is a crazy good deal this week — $1.50/bag. Maybe a good week to make a cilantro/green garlic pesto to freeze in little cubes?
- WE GOT THE BUILDING PERMIT. We’re very excited. Expect to see Dusty at the stand a little less, as he dives into full-on construction mode (except on Saturdays, when he’ll definitely be at the currently-operating R&R).
- Asparagus is here in great enough force that I haven’t bothered with a link to reserve it. If you’ll be coming late in the weekend and will be devastated to miss it, though, feel free to send us an email just in case.
- New this week: Peppermint & rosemary; leeks; French breakfast radishes; arugula; ruby streaks mustard greens; full-size romaine!
- Happy Mother’s Day!
Scroll down for the full list of what we’ll have this week!
For the past couple of weeks, when I’m not telling people about my dad’s new book, I’ve been telling them about Abra Beren’s new book, Ruffage. This is sort of the same thing, because even though Abra doesn’t know it yet, I’m pretty sure she’s my new best friend.
Abra Berens is an on-farm chef in Michigan. She’s also been a regular restaurant chef, and a farmer herself. She grew up on a pickle farm (where they grew cucumbers, not where they made pickles). She believes in anchovies. She writes things like, “I try to buy organic. The environmental benefits of organic farming are important to me. I also believe that organic production makes economic sense for farmers and therefore is a more viable career choice. I also shop at a small independent grocery store where neither local or organic are reliably available because I fear what consolidation into a handful of big stores is doing to our distribution networks.” I want to tell her about Radish & Rye!
I also want to type out for you the entire rest of the intro to the “vegetables and how i cook them” section of the book. But then I also want to type out for the introductions for each individual vegetable, all thoughtful, playful, touching, and useful. I’d kind of like to type out the whole book for you, because I really think you should read it.
That seems like a lot of work, though, and like copyright infringement, so I’ll leave it at that and say that the narrative of Ruffage is as delicious as the recipes.
And the recipes!
The organization of this book is very similar to that of Chez Panisse Vegetables (and many others) — a section for each veggie, each prefaced with a little bit of info about the crop. Berens also gives tips on how to select and store, her tips — practical, concrete, and waste-averse — a testament to her farming background. She then lays out three cooking methods for each veggie, and, within each method, at least a few flavor profile variations. She opens with asparagus — it’s one of my favorite things in the world that asparagus so often comes first in a veggie-oriented cookbook, whether it’s arranged seasonally or alphabetically (this one is alphabetical) — and the three cooking methods for asparagus are pan roasted, grilled, and raw. The very first recipe is for asparagus stalks with anchovy-caper butter and fresh herbs. Oh my.
But if you don’t like anchovies? How about the same method, but with lemon, dill and parmesan? Or yogurt and shaved radishes? Or brown butter vinaigrette and mint?
The idea here, at least as I understand it, is to pick an ingredient — I mean, while you’re at market, pick an ingredient whose siren song of freshness you just can’t ignore — pick a cooking method, and get to it. Like many cookbook authors these days, Berens opens the book with an overview of a well-stocked and responsive pantry (someday I intend to write my own version of this), and she assumes that you’ll have some things on-hand. Some of them you will; if you don’t, there’s probably a variation you can make with what you have. Or maybe not — maybe all she’ll provide for that particular meal is broad inspiration.
I’d like to tell you about things I’ve cooked from Ruffage, but I think so far every time I’ve started something, I’ve wound up with a riff far enough away from the recipe that I don’t think it would be fair to assign credit or blame. But I’ve been eyeing the pork chops with garlic and kale relish, which I might do with spring garlic, but otherwise verbatim. Braised leeks are sounding pretty great, too.
But in the course of writing this missive, I got a reminder that while asparagus and leeks and radishes are the exciting players right now, we can’t forget the steady background players, the greens, both delicate and hearty. We’ve got a lot of them right now, thanks to the sunshine and rain and warmth, but one of the co-ops we work with just sent out an email pleading for anyone ordering to consider adding some head lettuce because the farmers have more than they know what to do with!
I’m now dreaming about dinner salad ideas — that one pictured above was pretty awesome — little gem leaves, yogurt & lemon dressing, toasted walnuts, and a showering of parsley and mint.* I also made a salad recently with shaved asparagus and farro, which didn’t involve any lettuce, but easily could have. A few days ago, Dusty made a sizable batch of Caesar dressing, so for days we had Caesar sides to everything, with every kind of green we have.
On the other hand, when I search Eat Your Books for lettuce recipes, a ton of them are for cooked lettuce. I did try lettuce soup once, and I love grilled Caesar, but…. I dunno. Do you have any cooked lettuce recipes you love?
*Inspiration for that little gem salad came from another new cookbook, Where Cooking Begins, by Carla Lalli Music (that name!), which I thought I was going to write about until Ruffage arrived a couple of weeks later. Where Cooking Begins is pretty good and a similar concept to Ruffage, but I find Ruffage more inspiring and Berens seems to understand seasonality and localness significantly more than Lalli Music. Interestingly, I was also recently reminded that the little gem salad bears a significant resemblance to one in Joshua McFadden’s Six Seasons, which is also one of my faves. If you like Six Seasons, I think you’ll really like Ruffage.
Spring Treats without a better category
- Baby Bok Choy
- Rainbow Chard
- Collard Greens
- Green Curly Kale
- Lettuce Mix
- Mesclun Mix
- Ruby Streaks Mustard Greens
- Green Head Lettuce
- Romaine Lettuce
- Little Gem Romaine
- Pea Shoots
- Fuji Apples
- Granny Smith Apples
- Lions Mane
Onions & Garlic
- Spring Garlic
- Sweet Potatoes (somewhat limited)
- French Breakfast Radishes
- Red Radishes
- Hakurei Salad Turnips
- McGrath’s Original
- Sesame Original
- Whole Wheat Pan Bread
- Cranberry Orange
- Nutty Irishman