Pea shoots, pea tendrils, pea sprouts…what’s the difference? Pea sprouts are the first thin stems that sprout after planting, are light green, and may or may not have leaves. Pea tendrils are the delicate, curly vines at the top of the stem. Pea shoots are the more mature stems with leaves and tendrils attached. Pea shoots are sometimes called pea tendrils, pea greens or pea tips.
Egg cookery can be intimidating. The perfect fried egg with completely cooked but silky whites and totally runny yolks. Beautifully round poached eggs with no craggy whites dangling off. Fluffy, barely golden omelets with a creamy yet adequately cooked center. Eggs can be a real trip. But they don’t have to be. Frittatas are your friend. They’re the lazy (ahem…impatient) cook’s omelet. They’re easy, they don’t require careful flipping or folding or just-simmering water, it’s easy to tell when the eggs are fully cooked, and you can do it all in one pan — that’s the kind of cooking I love.
I’m pumped. So very pumped. CSA season just started back up and my little veg head is exploding with organic veggie excitement! I may be slightly odd in that I’d much prefer to open a box of veggies than unwrap a birthday present…um, unless that birthday present IS a box veggies…and maybe it includes a bottle of gin, and some aged balsamic vinegar, or some smoked sea salt or fancy dutch-processed cocoa powder, or several jars of my grandma’s homegrown, canned tomato juice that I would totally use to make killer Bloody Marys with…whoa, settle down. Hmm, I wonder if you can register for organic veggies as a wedding gift. I’m already married, buuuuut….how freakin cool would that be to have one of those gift registry guns that you could take to a farm. I’d go nuts with the kale. Yeah, forget engraved towels…give me kale and tomatoes!
I digress. So, after some crazy weather, Laughing Stalk Farmstead is back to delivering me a beautiful box of fresh, organic fruits and veggies every other week! They started with a couple special deliveries of strawberries and rhubarb, but the full-on seasonal eating adventure has officially begun with a box that packs a powerful superfood punch…it’s a mean green veggie machine!
Rhubarb is one of those foods I’ve always been leery of. It kinda looks like celery, but people make pie out of it…huh? Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? Are you really supposed to eat it? Or is it just one of those foods that people “back in the day” happened upon, were hungry, and had to figure out a way to make it edible. To me, rhubarb is one of those weird ingredients my grandma used, mostly in pies or crisps. But is it really necessary these days? We have so much other incredible fruit available that rhubarb seems a bit…um, old school. Plus, it’s so tart and sour you have to add a butt-load of sugar just to make it palatable (yes, “butt-load” is a technical term in my kitchen).
Nonetheless, as suspicious as I am of these odd, pale green and blush pink stalks, my culinary curiosity gets the best of me. It’s in season and starting to pop up at farmers markets and through my CSA. So, what can I make with this stuff that ISN’T pie? When in doubt, add booze! I’ve made several flavored vodkas (cucumber, peach, hot pepper) and figured that was the perfect vehicle for this peculiar, in-your-face-flavored perennial…and it’s so darn simple, plus it makes a really cool gift! Here’s the gist: wash fruit or veggies, chop, add to jar, pour in vodka, let sit for a week, strain, get drunk…I mean, enjoy!
In my house, the dude is NOT the grill master, it’s this dudette (thumbs pointing at myself). Nothing makes me happier than sweating bullets in the hot Missouri sun standing in front of a flaming veggie-covered grate with my face about to melt off from the heat of the grill, tongs in one hand and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in the other. It’s pure joy. I get so stoked when spring arrives because one of my favorite things to grill is asparagus, I could eat mountains of it…and when you combine them with grilled portabella mushrooms, blue cheese, balsamic syrup, and garlicky pasta the birds sing, rainbows beam, and fairies flutter about doing a happy dance…at least that’s what happens in my head…what, too much wine?
Ok, let’s get it on! Grilling, that is.
Strawberries are just now coming into season. They’re a little later than usual because of the cold, rainy weather we’ve had. But they’re starting to arrive and I’m happy. I love strawberries. They’re just so darn pretty. Ruby red bulbs speckled with tiny yellowish seeds and green spikey leaves…they’re kinda punk rock. I like that.
I am usually very skilled at killing plants. Though my intentions are good and I try my best to keep them alive, they’d much prefer to croak than endure my underwatering/overwatering/too much sun/not enough sun/is this the right kind of soil efforts. If having a green thumb is necessary to sustain the lovely gifts of nature, then I’m all fingers. Until now. About a month ago I was given a gorgeous peppermint plant and somehow have been able to prevent the thing from succumbing to it’s Jaime-induced demise. In fact, it’s growing like crazy! So what’s a girl to do with all this beautiful mint? I decided to have a nice, little tea party. Mint-themed, and with gin. Heck yeah!
This salad highlights the transition from winter to spring by combining tangy, juicy oranges with tender, nearly-sweet emerald spears of asparagus. It’s the baton hand-off in the relay of seasonal life. Orange tips it’s hat in farewell while asparagus extends it’s arms in a welcome “Hello”…Spring has arrived!
I am a very lucky mother…my son loves spinach. It was the first veggie we fed him when he was a baby and he’s gobbled it up ever since. But spinach usually gets a bad wrap from kids…they say it looks gross and tastes weird. Well, they’re wrong. And sometimes you just have to look them straight in the eye and tell them that. “Hey buddy, you’re wrong, spinach is awesome, it’s a superfood!” Yeah, go the superhero route. And throw in the word epic, they’re saying that these days…totally.