A cult may be born around this olive oil. Smooth and buttery, without a trace of green, this olive oil tastes like the sun shining on the Greek hillside from whence it arrived. An olives’ roundness still shadows the texture. It has a perfume redolent of wild thyme on a dry mediterranean day. Click to continue »
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Also called wild leeks, ramps are clearly the good news in a New England spring. The first green edible in the Vermont and New Hampshire mountains if you don’t eat skunk cabbage, ramps have historically inspired jubilance, so starved were northern climaters for the season’s first chlorophyl. Click to continue »
Hungry, gloomy, refrigerator-weary, I took my shopping bag to Willowrest today, and came home happy and hopeful. I chatted with Deb who works there, and found real spring lettuces and the ingredients to make a simple French lunch: a salad of these Essex-grown mixed greens and chopped D’Artagnan duck confit, tossed with my multi-use Caesar dressing from three blogs ago, bound with local Hardy eggs. Click to continue »
Portrait of a beautiful lunch to-go from Willowrest last week: roasted Asian salmon with vegetable chips (snap-crispy, taste like the actual vegetable, these are my new favorite snack, and available at Willowrest in small tubs), and sesame noodles. Click to continue »
This is the story of the cold cucumber soup that never was.
With the weekend’s first 80 degree days, my temper ordered me to the refrigerator for dinner ideas. Too hot and irritable to think imaginitively, I headed to the store with a list of ingredients for making cold cucumber soup, but when I got there my conscience reminded me that cucumbers wouldn’t be local around here for at least a month. So, maybe I would just switch the cucumbers in the recipe for those beets feeling so unwanted at the bottom of my produce drawer, the portion of my CSA share subconsciously labeled “trouble” because it meant peeling.
The next item on the cucumber soup list was buttermilk, but I was at Willowrest, our cute little market trying very hard to supply the most local ingredients possible, not easy in New England. So, instead of buttermilk I bought two cartons of beautiful Rhode Island full-fat yogurt.
The next thing on the list was lemon, and then a jalapeno, not New England natives. By then the Willowrest vibe had gotten to me, and I was freshly committed to strictly local possibiliites. Why was I shopping for lemons and jalapenos from Mexcio when I had an acre of mint in my garden and spring onions crammed in a plastic bag in the basement refrigerator, the portion of my CSA share I just didn’t know what to do with?
Why was I still shopping at all? I had everything I needed at home, except the yoghurt. So, having left my home fantasizing in my head about some mediterranean cucumber soup, I returned home excited to prepare Early Summer New England Borscht.
Amelia O’Reilly, the chef at The Market, had just expressed what I knew, but somehow still fail to completely integrate into meal planning: the fresher the ingredients, the shorter distance they’ve traveled, the less manipulation they require to taste good.
I cannot describe how delicious this soup was, and have made it three times since.
Here’s a recipe, should you want to give mine a try, but the most important ingredient is nearness. Use what is near you.
-About 3 large beets, or even 1 really large one and 2 smaller ones.
-1 cup loosely packed mint leaves
-one spring onion, chopped a bit
-2 pints very good yogurt; it really makes a difference
-2 tablespoons maple syrup
-1/8 cup olive oil (ok, no local, but it somehow pulls out the “garden” tastes here)
-approximately 3/4 cup water, or to taste. You decide how thin or thick it should be without watering the flavor. Much will depend here on the thickness of your yogurt.
-salt and pepper
Some mornings the tea spills, the weeds rule, and the fog won’t lift, but there is a recipe for curing any bad start: a cruise through the blog GoodMorningGloucester.
Your water bill may be too high. Your spot on the Rockport mooring wait-list too low, but there is no way you can feel anything but love for this part of the world once you’ve spent five minutes reading Joey Ciaramitaro’s take on Cape Ann, even if you’re reading from China.
A third-generation lobster dealer, who just happens to look like a J. Crew model with an iPad, (I can say that because he refers to me as “the H Bomb”), Joey is the happy force behind this amiable, rambling blog. Joey and his cousin, Frankie, run Capt’n Joe’s Lobster Co., “Lobster Dealers” is how Joey describes them, out of Gloucester Harbor. Their grandfather was Captain Joe. Credentials to comment on this city don’t get more legitimate.