A Late Edition Menu Monday
If I did not have a bunch of stuff to do (not the least put things on our blog), I would have had Menu Monday up earlier today [ed. you mean tomorrow?], and if I had had it done earlier I would have called the column, “It’s Good to Be a Locavore This Menu Monday.” I mean I ran into Chicago author and food authority, Marilyn Pocius at the market. She said, “it will get better later in the year,” but I could not see how much better it could get. It felt great to be a locavore this past week.
I do not even think it rained too much when I was at the Oak Park Farmer’s Market. I pined for Wettstein duck eggs, the orange yolks look so nice fried next to asparagus. I settled for hen eggs as the Wettstein ducks took the week off. I got one basket of ultra ripe strawberries from Farmer Vicki’s Genesis Growers; then I sampled the range of strawberry varieties at Nichol’s, settling in on the Itaska. I got my first sugar snaps of the year from Vicki. I got maybe my last apples for a while from Skibbes. I got more rhubarb from Hardin because my wife wants to make more rhubarb and if that is not a good enough reason, I do not know what is. I did pass on any asparagus because we still had. I did not pass on cheese from Prairie Fruit Farm, replacing my weekly tin of fresh goat cheese with fresh sheep’s milk cheese, and also getting the largest chunk possible of the limited edition goat romano that I could not wait until Menu Monday to get the word out. And carrots, since I am Mr. Carrot, I got my first fresh (as compared to over-wintered) carrots, also from Genesis.
Really, honestly, I have resolved to show restraint at the market. I will never be Editor-in-Chief Morowitz eating only as much as buy/buying only as much as I eat, but I am trying to not, say, duplicate what came in the CSA box. Which means, of course, that the first thing I bought on Saturday was more strawberries. And more rhubarb. Still, on Saturday, I did not buy more lettuce, as the CSA box came with like two heads of leaf and one bag of babies, nor did I buy more bok choi, because I have a hard enough time using bok choi anyways. And really, I know the white “Hakurei” turnips from the box will be plenty good, there is no rush to buy more of those either. The box did come with a lot of fresh oregano that I really need to get a-dryin’, but as I will about to describe, a bout of Asian inspired dishes got me to buy some cilantro at the market.
There is no certain reason that bok choi has to be cooked Asian style, but when I find myself long on choi, I pretty much feel compelled. I built our whole Friday meal around a dish of steamed box choi with garlic. There was grilled local chicken with a soy-honey marinade; asparagus grilled and dressed with a scallion vinaigrette, and from our supply of napa cabbage that seems infinite, an attempt to make a Szechuan style relish (moderately successful). Friday’s leftover Chinese chicken became Monday night’s Chinese chicken salad with some of our lettuces, more of that cabbage and some of those carrots too.
What else will be on the menu this week? Last week’s pork neck and kale made a pasta sauce another night, so Italian of us, and some of that pasta remains. That might make a small meal. If we need a big meal, there are beans. See, my wife can not make a small amount of beans. When she makes beans, she makes beans. She made beans over the weekend, and she made cornbread over the weekend too. We can have Kentucky night. Do you think on Kentucky night we can fit in the kohlrabi, broccoli, green garlic, scallions, and radishes that also remain in the Bungalow. If nothing else, our meals will finish well. My wife continues to make the best angel food cake ever, and rhubarb compote right up there at least. She also made a rhubarb shortbready-crisp type of thing.
For this Local Family it is salads, Kentucky and desserts. What will be on your menus this week?