Sunday, May 1, 2011
Where have you been all my life?
May 1 was all I could have possibly hoped it would be. Sunny, but not too hot, with time for gardening, cooking, and ice cream. The cooking included some of my own greens, which is always exciting. The seedlings I planted back in February are doing great under their row cover, I've got potatoes and shallots coming up, and the chard that over-wintered will need its own zip code soon.
Photo from about a week ago; they're double now!
I love summer, but I think this might be my favorite time of year. After waiting through the long winter (and they're always long, even when the weather isn't brutal) there are flowers everywhere. Getting back into the garden is still a novelty (as opposed to August, when it's disgustingly hot and less of a novelty...except for the tomatoes, of course) and I gladly spend the entire day kneeling in the dirt, even if it's just for mundane clean-up tasks.
Today, I planted four new (to my garden) kinds of lilies: Sorbonne, Royal Sunset, Richmond, and Cherbourg. Lilies are a new obsession of mine; during the winter I was ogling the multitude of gardening catalogs I get each year and the lilies just kept catching my eye. We have eight different kinds here at the house now; I hope they'll put on a lovely display!
Those who know me well know that the Cherbourg lilies were a given once I knew they existed. Cherbourg was one of the stops of the Titanic, and I'm a bit of a Titanic nerd. (Titanic, gardening, cooking, and reading: could my husband have a nerdier nerd for a wife? Oh well, his yard looks good and he eats well!)
In the midst of all that digging, I occasionally ran into the house, scrubbed my hands, and made breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lunch was grilled hot dogs, but not just any grilled hot dogs. I signed us up for Pine Street Market's Meat of the Month Club, and this month we received plain hot dogs, poblano hot dogs, and Italian sausage. The plain hot dogs were incredible (we haven't opened the others yet)! Even if you don't do the M.O.M. club, do yourself a favor and order some of these dogs for a special cook-out this summer.
For dinner, we had Jamie Oliver's slow roasted bone-in pork shoulder, with carrots and potatoes. (You can find it here: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/pork-recipes/bone-in-shoulder-roast .) The recipe calls for the skin to be left on, so that you can make crackling. Oh. My. God. Where has crackling been all my life? I don't think I've ever had it before, and heaven knows I shouldn't have it again anytime soon, but I'm in love. I served it up with a mix of swiss chard and sorrel from my garden, and spinach from our CSA. (I skipped the gravy for the meat, and I threw the potatoes in to roast when I added the other veg.)
And now, I'm going to sleep.
Mixed Greens with Warm Bacon* and Onions
10 cups chopped mixed greens with water still clinging to them, such as swiss chard, spinach, sorrel, or others that cook quickly (this is probably about 1 1/2 pounds of greens)
1 tbsp olive oil
3 strips of bacon, chopped
1 onion, sliced in half lengthwise and then sliced into 1/4 inch pieces lengthwise (or whatever, really)
--I used the onion that was in the pan with the pork roast, sliced it up, and added it once the bacon was
1-2 tbsp white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat; add olive oil, onion and bacon. Cook until bacon is almost crispy. Spoon off all but 1-2 tbsp fat, and add the vinegar to the pan. Stir to kind of emulsify the oil and vinegar, and add the greens and salt and pepper to taste.
2. Cook, tossing the greens with the "dressing" until the greens are just wilted. Serve immediately.
*As always, you could omit the bacon, up the olive oil, and use mushrooms instead. It would be equally good, and I'm thinking it would be divine with trumpet mushrooms.