Last week I thought that the market could not possibly be more beautiful; apparently I was wrong. This weekend, man this weekend, it was as if the good spirits of good food opened up their precious jewelry box and poured their treasures on us.
... it was like someone poked a tiny hole on the rainbow of goodness and the rain came through, taking the colors with it, sprinkling the jeweled droplets on us.
... it was like a prism of Nature broke into a universe of little pieces and sprinkled the fields with tiny gems. And from it food grew.
I am running out of words here.
I've been thinking a lot about this recently. About how blessed we are to have such treasures. Yet, sometimes -- oftentimes -- we do not even notice. We run to the market to get things done, to take care of dinner, get a head of salad, a loaf of bread and perhaps a jar of honey, and preoccupied with this accelerated rhythm of our lives, we do not pay attention. We take the market for granted. Its wisdom, its glory and its abundance.
Do you know what I think?
I think that all this beauty is a little trick the market is pulling on us, a reminder of a sort. The market is asking us to pay attention. It is telling us to notice. Almost ordering. Because the blessings should not be taken for granted, because there are so many, so less fortunate.
... just a thought.
Split Green Pea and Garlic Scapes Hummus
This, by a long mile, is my most favorite hummus of all. It is fresh and garlicky, but in a soft kind of way -- the ultimate summer hummus. Enough said...
* 1 3/4 cups dried green split peas
* 12 garlic scapes stalks (a couple of more if you like extra garlicky taste)
* 1/3 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
* 1/3 cup tahini
* 3-4 tbsp champagne vinegar (or more, depending on taste)
Wash the split peas carefully in several changes of water, until water runs clear. Add the peas to a pot with about 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce heat, partially cover the pan, and simmer for about 50 minutes to an hour, until the peas are very tender and close to falling apart. Remove from the stove, drain and let the peas cool completely.
Wash the scapes carefully. Remove the very bottom ends (sometimes they tend to be quite hard). Place the scapes (together with bulbs) into a blender. Blend on high speed until the scapes are chopped finely. Add about 1/2 of the peas, and just about enough water so that the blade does not get stuck, and continue to process. Add half of the olive oil, tahini and about 1/4 cup of water and continue to process until smooth paste forms. Add the rest of the peas and the remaining olive oil, and again process until smooth. Season with salt and vinegar, and process again (if needed add a bit more water until the thickness of the humus is according to your liking.) Taste and adjust saltiness and acidity if needed.
Serve with kohlrabi and radish crudites.
Strawberry, Blueberry, Basil and Balsamic Salsa
* 1/2 cup blueberries
* 1/2 cup strawberries
* 1 tsp finely chopped basil leaves
* 1/4 cup good aged balsamic (or 1/2 cup inexpensive balsamic vinegar)
* tiny pinch of salt and pepper
If you are using inexpensive balsamic instead of aged, first prepare balsamic reduction. If you are using fine aged balsamic, skip this step. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain gentle simmer, and simmer, until the liquid has reduced to about half of its volume. Set aside and let it cool completely.
Wash and dry the fruits. Cut the blueberries in half. Cut the strawberries into dice, about the same size as blueberries. In a small bowl, mix the fruit, basil leaves, balsamic vinegar (or balsamic reduction) and a tiny pinch of salt and pepper. (Tiny means really tiny, like only a tiny sprinkle, you should not taste salt and pepper at all, instead they should do their invisible magic.) Mix well and serve.
I like to serve this salsa with: a) grilled pork chops, b) grilled chicken, or c) aged sheep and goat milk feta cheese.
Snow Pea / Snap Pea Quick Pickle
* about 14 oz snow peas, or sugar snap peas
* 1 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
* 1 1/4 cup water
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1 tsp fine grain salt
* 2 tsp mustard seeds
* 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
* 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
* 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 2 star anise
* two wide mouth pint jars
Wash the jars with soap and warm water and dry with a towel.
Wash the snow peas well and dry with a towel. In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar and salt, and bring to a boil. Simmer until sugar has been dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the stove and let the liquid cool.
Divide the mustard seeds, peppercorns, cloves, star anise and red pepper flakes between the two prepared jars. Pack the snow peas vertically into the jars, as tightly as possible. Pour the pickling liquid into the jars, leaving 1/2-inch space from the top of the jar. Close with the lids. Let the pickle cure for at least 48 hours before eating. Store the jars in the refrigerator and eat within two weeks.
Makes 2 one pint jars