Some quick things:
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- Asparagus is winding down. I can’t promise this is the last week, but it looks like it might be.
- Strawberries are a little more likely to stick around for another week, but if you haven’t gotten your fill yet, don’t waste any time!
- Bread schedule disruption: Fresh bread from mid-day Thursday through the end of the day on Friday. NO FRESH BREAD SATURDAY. (Next week, we’ll have Talking Breads fresh Thursday, and no fresh bread on Friday or Saturday.) We are well-stocked on frozen options.
- New this week: fava beans, sugar snap peas, fresh garlic,and garlic scapes. Cucumbers are here in greater force, though still pretty limited; red new potatoes flicker in, but in a teeny tiny quantity. Returning for encore performances are rainbow chard, spinach, and little gem romaine. Plus a whole lot more!
Scroll down for the full list of what we’ll have this week!
You know that feeling when you get home from vacation, something like one part relief to six parts let-down? Even though our “vacation” this week was just a couple of days, that’s approximately where I was yesterday afternoon. Also, since our time away revolved entirely around eating fairly decadent meals and the weather in Baltimore was a little too rainy to balance it out with our normal travel routine of spending all the time between meals walking around, I was really feeling like I need to eat some vegetables.
You know also how when you go away, even if it’s just for a couple of days, and you come home and look in your fridge, you can’t believe you didn’t do a better job of cleaning out your fridge before you left, while simultaneously feeling like it would have been silly to discard everything in the fridge because before you left you knew you were actually going to have to eat at home again in just two days? I was really feeling that, too.
But you know also how sometimes when you eat really good restaurant food, you come home feeling inspired to incorporate some of what you liked into your home meals? I was really feeling that one, too.
We ate a lot of good food. To re-cap — brunch at A Rake’s Progress on Sunday; dinner at foraged. on Sunday; seafood feast lunch at LP Steamers on Monday; dinner at La Cuchara on Monday; after-dinner tacos and cocktails at Clavel on Monday; early lunch at Artifact Coffee on Tuesday. Home again, home again, jiggity-jig.
Much of what we ate — and this is part of the point of going to restaurants, I think — is stuff that we would just never make at home. Like at foraged., the fried soft shell crab with green garlic puree and hollandaise. AMAZING, and not something I’m likely to tackle at home (though Dusty might, I suppose). At La Cuchara, all these little pintxos, which are basically slices of baguette with a couple toppings skewered to them with a toothpick. Nothing too fancy or hard, but it’s kind of like making sushi at home — not a crazy amount of work if you just want one kind, but gets insane quickly if you want any variety (and the variety is like 90% of the fun!). Or, also at La Cuchara, these amazing little croquettes that reminded me very much of croquettes we ate in Barcelona, which are rich and greasy enough that eating a couple is amazing, but they’re best made in big batches, preferably in a deep fryer, and eating more than a couple at a time is just, well, less delightful. So again, not a great food to make at home.
At A Rake’s Progress, though, Dusty got a “various grain congee”, which came with a variety of roasted veggies and, perhaps most notably, a lot of herbs. All different kinds of herbs. More than we would ever think to put it on one dish, and as full leaves, rather than finely chopped. But it was really good, and coming home feeling like I need to eat some vegetables, and feeling like, what’s all this stuff in the fridge?, and feeling like, I want to eat more of all that food, they all combined to become one enormous dinner salad.
I gathered up all the veggies languishing (or maybe just waiting) in the fridge — asparagus, radishes, fennel, kohlrabi, lettuce, pea shoots, and a slew of herbs. I asked Dusty to build a fire in the grill (still his domain), and shook some salt and Calicutts Garden Citrus over some chicken breasts. I had an Urgent Use tub of chevre in the fridge — it formed the basis for a dressing (with Keepwell vinegar and Susquehanna Mills sunflower oil, of course). We had a stale baguette we bought at the Baltimore farmer’s market (not nearly as good as a McGrath’s baguette). And we feasted — tons of greens; grilled asparagus and chicken; quick-pickled radishes, fennel, and kohlrabi; handfuls of whole-leaf or very coarsely chopped parsley, mint, dill, cilantro, and basil. On the side, grilled baguette, slathered with olive oil and sprinkled with salt.
Pulling together and prepping all those constituent parts was, I’ll admit, a little more time-consuming than I’m typically up for on a weeknight, but it fell so perfectly at the intersection of what I had, what I wanted, and what I needed, I’d do it again.
It was a good time to make some room in the fridge, too — there are so many wonderful goodies streaming in this week that I’m glad to have space in my life for them. I’m thinking about a Fava Bean Dip with Green Garlic and Goat Cheese, or maybe a fennel and fava bean salad (scaled down for two). I definitely need to work in a couple more rounds of asparagus because this is the last week of it, and I don’t think I’ve gotten my fill — maybe a snap pea and asparagus pasta? Maybe asparagus gremolata with whipped ricotta and baguette? And even as we say goodbye to asparagus, perhaps in celebration of the first garlic of the season, Little Gem Salad with Warm Garlic Dressing?
This time of year, you might start to think, the possibilities are endless. I’m really feeling that one, too.
P.S. I love fava beans. I’m super excited for them. I’m also appalled at the number of recipes that call for things like “four pounds fresh fava beans”. Shelling and then peeling fava beans is a little time consuming, and unless you love doing things like pitting cherries, I don’t actually recommend doing four pounds at once. Like, I would never aspire to make a fava bean dish for eight people. For the two of us, or maybe even us and two additional guests? Absolutely. For a dinner party? Not a chance.
Beans & Peas
- Fava Beans
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Green Curly Kale
- Lacinato Kale
- Rainbow Chard
- Lettuce Mix
- Little Gem Romaine
- Fuji Apples
- Rhubarb (not actually a fruit)
Onions & Garlic
- Spring Garlic
- Garlic Scapes
- Fresh Garlic
- Green & Red Cabbage
- Cucumbers (somewhat limited)
- Fennel Bulbs
- Mixed Beets
- Red New Potatoes (very limited)
- McGrath’s Original
- Sesame Original
- Irish Oatmeal Pan Bread
- Parmesan Olive Herb
- Cranberry Pecan
- Nutty Irishman
- Baguettes (frozen only)
- Many others available frozen