Saturday, May 19, 2007

Everything's cuter in spring

After dropping off my week's worth of fruit and vegetable waste with the compost lady, I was immediately plunged into a newly bountiful greenmarket experience. Tables were piled with asparagus - sold loose or in bunches - as well as rhubarb, tender-leafed spring spinach, and sweet-looking baby lettuces. And more vendors I recognize from last year have returned.

The predominant color is still green, and there isn't much variety (except for the potted herbs and extraordinary-looking flowers); one stand had some greenhouse-grown organic tomatoes which looked lovely, but at $5/lb. I decided to hold off. Neverrtheless, I picked up a lot of staples and a few exotics that I'm excited about this week. (Excuse the dark photo - my photo assistant had an appointment this morning and so couldn't help.)

May vegetables are better than May flowers:
2 lbs. asparagus
2 bags spinach
1 bunch red Russian kale
5 Winesap apples
2 zucchini
1/4 lb. mixed baby lettuces
1 lb. baby golden fingerling potatoes
1 bunch ramps
1 basket fiddleheads
Total spent: $36

I have absolutely no idea what to do with the fiddleheads, but I'm looking forward to them. I've eaten them once before that I can remember, years ago at an upscale Portland restaurant named after them, and don't remember being impressed. But they're so seasonal and considered so special that I imagine there has to be a way to make them wonderful.

Though I'd love to make ramps risotto for a third week in a row, I am going to force myself to be more creative. I've read about asparagus/ramp soup, which sounds lovely - I'm hoping to find a recipe. (Though this recipe for soup made with just the ramps does sound nice.) And this time, I've ensured I'll have enough of the thicker asparagus spears to use for that pan-roasted asparagus recipe from Cook's Illustrated - and I'll sautee the thinner spears.

The greens I'll used as usual - steamed or sauteed, added to every meal possible...though perhaps someday I can wheedle someone into getting me a Vita-Mix blender as a gift, and then I can add them raw to green smoothies in the morning! A girl's got to have a dream.

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