Monday, July 6, 2009

Getting My Groove Back

I've been so busy lately, mostly with work, which inevitably means eating badly, overspending on restaurant food, and feeling generally uninspired on the rare occasion I do cook.

But one day recently, I decided to stop at the farm stand on my way home from work. Rows and rows of blackberries, sweetpeas, and corn, all so colorful and tempting, all called my name and recited this little speech, "Diana! I cost three times as much as the stuff you find at Safeway, but I am so worth it, and even though I come from questionably local sources and may have been picked a week ago, you should -- in fact you must -- BUY ME! By the way, you NEED to buy WAY more of me than you or even you and your three brothers and two parents can possibly eat before I go bad, which I may or may not have already started to do!"

And so that is what I did; I bought a bunch of vegetables that were not at peak season and cost me a pretty penny. But they were in fact worth it, because with them I made this gorgeous salad (and, fortuitously, the corn tasted like mid August corn and even the tomatoes were good) and sort of Got My Groove Back. For a spell, anyway. I suggest you replicate this, especially in a few weeks when summer vegetables are reliably both good and cheap.

Recipe: Fresh Corn and Other Summer Veg Salad

The corn makes this. Serves 6 as main course. The leftovers can be used in an excellent frittata (below).

1/2 lb. green beans, ends removed
6 ears corn, shucked
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1 (16 oz.) can blackeye peas, drained and rinsed
1/4 C olive oil
juice of half a lemon
pinch salt
pinch pepper
pinch sugar
some combination of herbs: basil is great, perhaps essential; I also used parsley and a bit of rosemary from my struggling herb garden

Fill a soup pot halfway with water; set it on the stove to high heat. Bring to a boil and add the green beans. Boil for about 8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Have a bowl of ice water ready, and remove the beans with tongs or a slotted spoon to the bowl to prevent further cooking. Add the corn to the boiling water and boil for two minutes. Remove and let cool. Meanwhile, chop the green beans into one or one-and-a-half inch pieces. When the corn is fully cooled, remove kernels from the ears. Stir together the beans, corn kernels, tomatoes, cucumber, and blackeye peas. Stir together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and sugar and drizzle over the salad you plan to eat. Toss in the herbs.

And if you still want more...

Recipe: No Longer Very Fresh Morning After Frittata
Makes two servings.

1 T vegetable or olive oil
Leftover salad veg
5 eggs
Some kind of cheese -- about 1/4 C, shredded (optional)
Herbs (optional)
More salt

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Heat the oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat. Add whatever leftover salad veg you have, and stir around. Add some salt. Reduce heat to low-medium and cook for about 5 minutes. Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk together. Pour eggs into pan and let cook another two minutes. Sprinkle in any cheese and/or herbs you are using. Add some more salt and some pepper, and then transfer to the oven. Cook until eggs are puffed up and slightly browned, about 8 minutes.

No comments: