A What Will We Do Kind of Menu Monday

August 31, 2009 at 8:56 am

Rob Gardner

The doorbell rang Thursday morning.  I mean I think I heard the door bell ring.  My office lies far from the door, and I also had the radio on.  Doorbell?  I went to check.  With no one there, I though maybe it was my neighbor dropping off our CSA box.  We do take turns.  No box.  Instead, I heard, “is this where Molly lives.”  I corralled the loose dog.  That box, my wife picked up later in the day.  And instead of telling you about the next day of Molly’s follies, where she almost got darted by Oak Park Animal Control, let’s move on to that box.

Our weekly box contained corn and two pints of blueberries, and two bunches of kale because some farmer’s ears must have been ringing and beets with their greens, a host of red peppers, a host of cherry tomatoes, and a host of freshly dug potatoes.  Two days later, we went to the Oak Park Farmer’s Market and purchased more tomatoes, including a ton more cherry, green beans, patty pans, peaches and pears.  What will we do with all this food.

Saturday lunch we dined luxuriously on a big platter salad with heirloom tomatoes, three colors of peppers, rocket, radish, Parma ham and local cheese.  Sunday mid-morning, we dined just as luxuriously with blueberry compote poured over ricotta hot cakes and frittatas made with beet greens and summer squash, a side salad of heirloom tomatoes, plus my mother’s pickled green tomatoes, and Faith Farm’s quality bacon from Cassie’s Green Grocer (and boy did my daughter go through all that bacon).  These simple but luxe meals have been, and will be, about our only chances to dig into that CSA box and our other local foods.

For one thing, this week, my wife and I have a chance to dine in probably the hardest two tickets in town.  It should be Kuma’s for lunch today, Menu Monday, and then on nameless Tuesday, we have 730 reservations at Schwa.  For another thing, we have been sharing, and will share, with some good causes.  On Friday night we celebrated the fifth anniversary of Vie.  On Saturday, we honored the memory of an old time Hyde Park independent named Sam Ackerman.  Sunday, we honored and celebrated the work of Purple Asparagus at their Cork and Crayon’s benefit.  Tonight, we honor and celebrate the work of MikeG and the cause of sustainable fish at the Shedd.  Wednesday, I might be able to slip in dinner but I am committed to a meeting with the good cause of Seventh Generation Ahead.  I started this round of good causes with a potluck at Wild Tree Cafe in Evanston to hear about their co-op ideas.  And in between, the best cause of all, my honey’s birthday which included Blackbird and sushi. 

I cannot say we avoided our good food entirely for our good causes.  On Thursday, I brought to the potluck a fruit salad from some of our muskmelon and a few other softer things.  For the Sam Ackerman open house, my wife made a tart with peaches and berries.  With school in session, we have receptacles for our excess buying habits.  Of course school lunches means I can weave another Molly story into the post, as today the kids were supposed to get leftover frittata until Molly snagged them off the counter.  So, only one got that, the other got Roth Kase cheese in leftover Red Hen baguette.  They both get today, peaches and radishes, and the rest of the week they will eat of local fruits and veg.

Somewhere in there, my wife wants to make a pasta dish speciality of her’s, with cherry tomatoes and fried eggs.  It was supposed to be on the menu last week, but in a fit of noshism, one daughter consumed most of the cherry tomatoes, enough at least that the dish could not be made last week.  What can we do this week to get it on the menu?