Wednesday nights have become my favorite night of the week. It is still a school night, so social invitations are rare and, after picking up my panier, I am ready to pour a glass of wine, turn up the music and get cooking.
(lettuce, carrots, white asparagus, radish, chard and cabbage)
While in Nepal, I missed two weeks of vegetables. Thankfully, the panier people allow us, if we are out of town, to substitute a double delivery at a later time point for missing a week here or there. So, although I was sad to have missed the first week of spring strawberries (so good), I received two weeks of double paniers, including a two bags of cherries (even tastier) this week. Fresh fruit karma was restored.
(more lettuce, artichokes, cucumber, cherries, spinach and spring onions)
Apparently I was not quite ready for my vacation to be over after returning to Paris in mid-May and I made a spontaneous trip to Amsterdam last weekend. Unfortunately, the chard and lettuce from the first week’s delivery were sacrificed in the name of good fun. This meant that, when considering what to make this week, I had to take into consideration the white asparagus, radishes and carrots that had been waiting patiently from the week before. Thankfully, cabbage can wait a while and this slaw (+ radishes) is quick to make and a welcome addition to any meal.
(I am still amazed at the quality of my iPhone4 photos – however it does not have a setting to control for blurring due to twitching from dessert excitement)
After receiving a dinner invitation that I never refuse, I postponed my planned cooking extravaganza by one night. After a mouthwatering and homesickness-alleviating meal of ribs, baked beans and slaw (everyone was using up the previous week’s cabbage), we decided to break out the extra cherries for dessert. Rather than eat them straight, which had been the fate of the first bag, these were pitted and macerated in Jack Daniel’s and sugar just long enough to whip some cream and bake a quick batch of drop biscuits. A new favorite dessert was born – whiskied cherry shortcake.
The next night I dug in and conquered my fear of risotto with great success by following Camille’s excellent step-by-step tutorial. Upon her suggestion, I made my own stock from the woody stems of the white asparagus, carrots and a few of the spring onions. To garnish, I stirred roasted asparagus tips, spinach and parmesan cheese into the creamy rice that had been simmering with spring onions and lardon (thick cut, smoked bacon). It was a perfect meal for a cool spring night, smooth and warming, yet still tasted like Spring. I have a few basic recipes that I go back to again and again, just changing the garnishes and fillings (gratin, quiche) and now this risotto will be added to that list. It is the perfect template with which to try different vegetable/meat/cheese combinations, easy enough for a weeknight dinner and the leftovers are even better for lunch the next day. Winning!
I was on a culinary roll (probably due to a late afternoon coffee), so I did not stop with just the risotto. Using another go-to recipe, I also made a quiche with carmelized spring onions, lardon, spinach and goat cheese.
Between the two dishes, I was set for meals over the next several days. Or at least well prepared for unexpected visits from neighbors and friends.
Anyone in for dinner next week?