Monday, June 22, 2015

Why Russia?

Wild Food Week One: SPRING ZING

Joined a wild food CSA. First shipment from Acorn Kitchen includes this: Spring Zing which clearly is a kimchi item.

We were at her stand at Thornes Market last Tuesday.  Carly gives me an armful of stinging nettles, a Black Locust Flower Cordial and a jar of Grape leaves. Among other things.

The Black Locust Flower Cordial "must be consumed this week as its fermenting" she urged and the grape leaves will be ready to eat in September according the yellow label.

The nettles stung and when Carly offered me more, I blanched. But once upon a time Carly fed me the most delicious bear neck I have ever eaten so I take what she gives me.

I get home. I tear open the Spring Zing not because I'm such a huge Kimchi fan, I can take or leave random fermented bits of veg, but because I had no other food at the time. I'm house sitting and plant watering for a buddhist. An ascetic diet of hemp hearts and tea prevails. So I hold the jar of wild food, this Spring Zing in my hand, and contemplate its contents:

LOCAL Cabbage, Carrots, Daikon, Tumeric, Ginger, Horseradish, Hot Peppers, WILD Leeks, Dandelion roots, Burdock Roots. Please Keep Refrigerated. 

Upon opening the jar, my mouth waters. Spring Zing somehow smells like the inside of an Italian sub shop. Upon tasting said Zing, my mouth smiles at the memory of my first "Italian." It was summer in Maine. Biddeford in a working class town near the water where lobster rolls and Italian subs full of thinly sliced peppers, onions and pepperoni, one or two pickles and olive oil and some red wine vinegar were on heavy rotation.

This plant based version of an Italian sub or "Italian" is the epitome of that food. Not sure if the WILD Leeks are the culprit or the Burdock Root or the preponderance of Hot Peppers and tumeric but Spring Zing satisfies like those subs used to.

Friday, June 5, 2015

If you're in Spokane, get the Crab Louis

Davenport Hotel Lobby, Spokane WA, Mary A. Nelen

The Davenport Hotel is known for: Crab Louis Salad named for founder Louis Davenport; first hotel in the country to have air conditioning; hotel staff was at one time required to wash, dry and press dollar bills before handing change to customers.

Today a lobby bathed in light from a glass atrium includes original statuary. Furniture is arranged in conversation under a Mission and Spanish style coffered ceiling. The Starbucks coffee station maintains a respectful distance.

At 10:08 a.m., there are twelve copies of USA Today in a neat pile on a marble counter in the lobby. A woman at the Business Center ducks into a small alcove to wash her hands three times when asked to mail some postcards for a guest.

Crab Louis Salad is still on the menu

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Wait for the White

Dear LocavoreLady,

Is white asparagus a better choice than green? I'm having an all white party and am thinking of including white asparagus.  

Signed, White in Worthington  

Dear White in Worthington,

Plan far ahead for that party. White asparagus is a result of growing the plant under cover. It's a thing in Europe and The Netherlands and some consider white asparagus less bitter than green. Looking for white? You won't find it here. Grow your own. Asparagus plants take several years to come up. Put your plants in this year and expect to harvest in 2019. When that spring of 2019 rolls around, (if the weather behaves), keep an eye out for shoots. When they appear, cover with straw or dirt. By June, if you don't experience blight or some other plant related disaster, you may be the proud parent of white asparagus. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Dear LocavoreLady,

How do you get asparagus stiff and bright green for eating? Ice or what?? I'd like to serve asparagus to my guests as "finger food" but when I cook asparagus and then put it on ice, it doesn't seem to shock them. What should I do? 

"New to all this,"  New York 

Dear "New to all this" 

All you have to do to shock asparagus is to tell them you're pregnant. Kidding! Fresh asparagus needs very little cooking to produce bright green spears that will have a nice crunch. To shock asparagus, dip spears in a shallow pan of boiling water ever so briefly (one minute for thin spears, two for fat) and use slotted spoon to transfer to a bowl of ice.  Serve with aioli or olive oil, salt and pepper. Enjoy!