24 March 2020
Potato-Leek (and all Leek’s friends) • Mixed Lettuces with Edible Flowers and Lemon-Fennel Dressing • Levain Rolls • Orange-Almond Biscotti
Well, we made it through the first week. I had a couple of bad days over the weekend, with my worry levels through the roof, but I’m back on an even keel today, thank goodness. How about you all? I hope you’re all adjusting to this crazy situation we’re all in.
It’s certainly going to be challenging to cook for the next few weeks. What happened to all the food in the stores? Maybe you guys aren’t going to need me anymore, because apparently everyone is suddenly a fan of home cooking. No beans, no rice, no pasta…thank goodness for the farmer’s market!
Adriana (Tomatero Farms) had a spot-on set-up this weekend, with all the produce behind a barrier. One gloved employee would walk down the line of vegetables, pulling what each customer wanted; at the end, a different gloved employee would take the money. This way, no customers touched the produce, and the person who was touching the money never touched the food.
Our other favorite farmer, Tim, hasn’t been at the market for two weeks. I texted him last night to make sure he was okay. He and his family are healthy, but they’ve been busy in their own area (Auburn) and over the mountain in Reno. Here’s a clip of him on the news.
Although it feels much healthier and safer to be at a farmer’s market rather than at a grocery store—fresh air, good circulation, traceable chain of production—there were still other shoppers who just can’t seem to keep to a six-foot distance. I was dodging and weaving, backing away from people all over the place. My neighbor thinks I should carry a 6-foot-wide parasol to maintain a healthy perimeter; Poppy has the idea that everyone should wear Dickens-Faire-style hoop skirts. Six feet, people! Back the heck up!
Whoops. I got carried away there for a moment. Back to the soup of the day, potato-leek. And not just leek, but all their allium friends: garlic, yellow onions, and green onions. The aromatics are sweated gently in olive oil, so they let out their natural sweetness. I put in a bit of white wine to balance the sugar, and then the vegetables were cooked together with potatoes for a simple and comforting soup, just what we need right now.
We have Adriana’s beautiful lettuces for the salad: red butter, Little Gem, and green leaf, and I made a blender dressing with whole Meyer lemons and lots and lots of fennel greens. The dressing is a beautiful spring green color—because guess what, folks? It’s spring. There’s also a sprinkle of calendula petals and a few borage flowers, to emphasize the fact that no matter what’s going on with us humans, the earth is still spinning, the seasons are still changing, and nature’s having a grand old time without all our pollution and noise and traffic.
There are biscotti for dessert. You can eat them on their own, but they’re more delicious dipped in something: after-dinner coffee, a bedtime cup of tea, or even a glass of red wine. Not overly sweet, they’re full of toasty almonds and chopped candied orange peel.
I hope you’re all staying healthy and (relatively) sane.