Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Lettuce Entertain You
Tonight was the first of many nights to come, I predict, where time will enter our dinner calculations in a large way. You see, we pick up our farm shares on Tuesday, a problem in that Wednesday and Thursday nights are my night to work late, and are often Nate's nights to work late -- and working late the two nights after delivery means that it's going to be very catch-as-catch-can when it comes to making dinners out of our grab bag of veggies. Unless, of course, we get very good at predicting what we'll be getting on Tuesday by Saturday or Sunday, so we can shop for the appropriate ingredients in advance.
So, since Nate wasn't going to be home until 9 tonight, it was my lookout to prepare the dinner. I stopped by Whole Foods for some supplementary supplies and got home by 8, and dinner was ready by the time Nate came through the door on time. How did I accomplish such a feat, you ask? Easy -- I made the world's simplest dinner: a pot of soup. Lettuce soup, actually, to use up some of our immense amounts of greenery. I modified a recipe I found on Epicurious, borrowing liberally from my grandfather's delicious (but highly fatted) lettuce soup recipe: Chop up a cup of onion, along with two cloves of garlic and some garlic scrapes. Saute in a drizzle of olive oil and some butter. Add three-quarters of a teaspoon of coriander (we had no preground coriander, so I had to mash some seeds with the mortar and pestle), salt and pepper, cook until soft. Add one potato, peeled and cubed, then 8 cups or so of lettuce and three or four cups of stock. Boil covered until the potatoes are soft, then puree all. Season with additional salt and Worchester sauce, then add a pat of butter and a splash of milk. Garnish, a la my grandfather, with sliced radishes.
We ate the soup with some cheeses (blue, goat and cheddar) and pate with bread. A lightish supper, but not bad. And it used three of our CSA ingredients! So that was a plus. Dessert, as per usual, was some of the strawberries with yogurt and granola. So far, I'm very happy with the quality of the strawberries (slightly tarter than I'm used to, but red all the way through instead of white and dead-looking) and the garlic scrapes. The lettuces are nice and varied (although to be honest, having them in a soup is perhaps not the ideal way to evaluate their natural flavor), but I am pertubed by the radishes. The radishes I remember from my childhood (my parents -- hi Mum and Dad! -- loved radishes: we grew them in the garden and they were in every single blessed salad I ate from 1983 to 1987) were crisp and almost juicy: these are gummy and squish a little when I cut them. They have a great peppery bite, but I find their texture to be suspect.
Tomorrow will be a true test, since Nate will be home even later and I will be left to my own devices. We have escarole, bok choy, some greens, some of the aforementioned gummy radishes and the basil plant left to be used, plus a garlic scrape and a half. (The kale is already earmarked for Friday's dinner.) Hmmm. We have some eggs -- bok choy, escarole and radish scramble?
I might need to give this some more thought.