My particular panier subscription is an annual deal, including 40-some-odd weeks of fresh produce (minus the spring, summer, and winter holidays, clearly). If I am out of town at any other time, I can elect to stop my delivery for a chosen week and get a double-dose of veggies the next time around.
I had planned to be in Tunisia for two weeks in late June as part of a workshop between our laboratory and collaborators in Egypt; however, with political tensions on the rise, our trip was cancelled at the last minute. Unfortunately, once changes have been made to the panier pick-up schedule, they are not reversible at the last minute. Sadly, this means that I missed out on the one week of cherries this season. The next week, though, I received an epic amount of produce (the photo above is 1/2 of the loot): six artichokes, two heads of lettuce, two large cucumbers, several zucchini, many, many apricots and two bags of waxy potatoes.
I have finally ‘discovered’ greek yogurt. Consider me a convert – I could (and maybe do) eat that stuff morning, noon and night. It was the perfect partner for those apricots for breakfast (remind me to do this the next time I get stuck with interminable quantities of kiwi). In order to not let any of my take go to waste, I also established a dinner routine – steamed artichokes and salads every night for a week. Don’t get me wrong, I love the ‘choke, but let’s just say that we’re taking some time apart after this binge.
With the first half of the zucchini, I decided to try my hand at making Ratatouille. For the first time, I actually looked up a recipe for this quintessential Provençal dish. Turns out, it is quite similar to the vegetable stew I have been making for years. Cleary, no one can deny the deliciousness of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and zucchini stewed together, nor the irony of me going immediately out to buy even more vegetables to make this dish. It was warm and hearty directly out of the pot, but was even better a day or two later, making for great weekday lunches.
With the remaining squash, I could not wait to make this pasta. Ann’s post perfectly captured the sense of comfort that food can bring when all else seems unsure and out of control. As I had been feeling a little overwhelmed with big decisions and overwhelming to-do lists, her simple, filling recipe made a perfect weeknight meal. Her trick of using egg + parmesan + a bit of pasta water to make a quick binding ‘sauce’ has now become commonplace in my kitchen for any vegetable-based pasta dish.
Cucumbers just don’t do it for me – most of the time they are just soggy and bland with very little redemptive value. Because of this, I am normally at a complete loss for what to do with them, let alone in excessive numbers (for me, two is excessive). Enter this recipe – not only did it use both potatoes and cucumbers, but it was an easy sell. In tzatziki form, I could eat innumerable cucumbers and love every minute. I was not disappointed. Not only did I find a go-to dip that I am excited to bring to every BBQ, football game, and picnic in the near future, but in combination with the potatoes, a few green olives and feta, the salad jumped to the top of my favorite summer foods list. I had to stop myself from eating it with a wooden spoon, directly out of the mixing bowl. Later I just pretended that all that cucumber, dill and yogurt made it a perfect (if not supremely healthy) choice for lunches in the emerging summer sunshine.