I like to cook seasonally, and, while I don’t have a garden (hello, super urban environment), I have two things: San Francisco Farmers’ Markets, and my mother’s abundant garden.
Of course, everything here is fantastic on its own, because it has so much flavor. If you’re bored with the way Nature produced things, however, I’m your (easily bored) (always looking to find new flavors) girl. Here are a few ideas.
You must try this Ginger-Lime Baby Carrots recipe. It uses furikake – I have no idea how to pronounce it, having never bought it before, but it’s necessary. It is $2.39 for a jar at my local Asian supermarket, and worth every penny. The seaweed and sesame seeds impart salt/umami to the dish, and the ginger/lime/cinnamon combination is sweet and spicy. Paired with the tender baby carrots…well, Adam didn’t get to try any and I’M NOT SORRY.
Note: I did need to use more liquid than the recipe called for, so be prepared. Also, prepare to strain the sauce if any carrot greens detach during cooking. They’re stringy and not pleasant to eat.
You could also use the carrots to make this carrot-ginger-miso salad dressing, which tastes great over sauteed “meaty” greens like kale, chard, spinach, and mustard greens.
Aside from garnishes, what the heck do you do with lemon basil? (If you’ve never seen or smelled it before, it has small leaves and smells exactly like a cross between lemons and basil. Creative naming!) I took the easy route and made a lemon-basil-spiked pesto, but if I had bought more, I would have made a lemon-basil sorbet, inspired by the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams Cookbook. Maybe next week.
I used Ina Garten’s recipe, cut down to 1/3 of the original – 4 cups of pesto seemed a tad excessive. For the basil, I used half regular basil and half lemon basil, and walnuts instead of pine nuts, because that is what I had on hand. It turned out beautifully – a mostly-traditional pesto with a sharp lemony kick.
I grew up with an apricot tree, but wasn’t particularly impressed with them as a child. Mom’s tree will be ripening soon, and since I’ve seen the error of my ways, I’ve been bookmarking apricot recipes to try. In the meantime, we found some rich, flavorful apricots at the farmer’s market.
Never one to be satisfied with the simple deliciousness of nature, behold my new favorite thing: apricots, drizzled with a little heavy cream (less than a tablespoon), a sprinkling of salt, and garnished with lemon basil. It’s sweet and savory, creamy, and just a tad herbal. You could probably do this with any stone fruit, and serve as an appetizer or dessert.
I haven’t tried this yet, but this apricot-whiskey cocktail recipe looks intriguing.
CHERRIES (THE SUPERIOR FRUIT)
Last year, I made a cherry ice cream by soaking fresh, super-ripe, pitted cherries in rye whiskey for several hours, pureed half, chopped the rest, and added them to a basic vanilla ice cream recipe. (Okay, maybe the +1 and I ate a few of those boozy cherries first. But.) I also made bourbon-cherry old fashioneds, and this chicken-cherry salad that requires you to fry croutons in chicken fat. NOTHING IN THIS WORLD IS MORE DECADENT AND DELICIOUS. Yes, that did require all-caps – try it, you’ll see what I mean.
Do you have anything from the farmer’s market or CSA that you’re not sure how to cook? Let me know in the comments – chances are I have a few ideas!