Monday, June 6, 2011

The season in me

I am beginning to embrace my compulsion, excessive behavior. In truth, I have no choice, as it is right in front of me everyday. I am bolting out of bed daily, of course putting up coffee first but once brewed, I head down to the gardens, spilling coffee along the way, to pluck any weed that sprouted overnight. Then I proceed to inspect each individual leaf for clusters of deposited eggs, caterpillars, or any other leaf cutter that has not taken refuge with the dawn’s light.
I am waiting to be able to truly start harvesting my meals, unfortunately for me, that will have to wait. Happily, this love affair I am having with dirt and the life that has taken hold in it has not tarnished the thrill of heading to a Farmer’s Market and hearing the siren’s call of another’s bounty. An added bonus is that I am in an environment that is new for me, the Atlanta area, and the timing is different. The years spent breezing through the markets of the Northeast gave me a good idea as when to expect something’s arrival. With the first week of June not yet clicked off, I have secured fragrant peaches, green beans, beets, and freshly dug-up garlic all ahead of my set calendar. Though it is the scapes from the garlic I was glad to see. Granted, I am a few weeks into the season for these unopened garlic flowers and if I were up north I would just be seeing the first of them. Fortunately, they were not too beyond – meaning ready to flower rending the stalk very fibrous, better for an infusion into vinegar. A buck’s worth down here gave me plenty for tonight and tomorrow’s playtime.

I know it is not the novelty of being the moment in the market, as I am an old hat at that, that is fueling all this enthusiasm rather it is the combined newness of unfamiliar markets and the comparison to the land I am actually working that has invigorated my wonder in the nature of things.

Potatoes with Green Beans and Garlic – yields 4 to 6 servings
Approx. 2-pounds new pounds – cut into 1-inch cubes
2-tablespoons olives
1/2-pound greens beans – de-stringed
1/4-pound garlic scapes
1-tablespoon Texas tarragon leaves – roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 350-degrees.

Toss the potatoes with the olive and season with salt and pepper. Place the potatoes in a cast iron skillet and cover with aluminum foil. Place in the oven and cook for about 45 minutes.

In the meanwhile, cut the beans into 1/2-inch pieces and roughly chop the garlic scapes. Place them in a colander.

Bring a full kettle of water to the boil (about 2-quarts), and once boiling pour directly over the beans and garlic scapes. Allow the water the drain through and the beans mixture to cool in the colander.

Once the potatoes have cooked put the beans, garlic scapes, tarragon and potatoes in a work bowl and tossed to combine. Serve immediately, or at room temperature.

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