Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summer Vegetables--an appreciation

I interrupt my blathering-about-England posts to share my present appreciation for summer vegetables. It is possible that my present status at day 13 of a 16-day solo parenting-in-the-summertime adventure has warped my perceptions (I have no idea how single parents--especially those with sole custody--do it, particularly not with a teenager who is riding the roller coaster of hormonally induced emotion.). I've hardly spoken to an adult face-to-face in the past two weeks, other than my son's piano teacher and the farmers at the farmers's market. So yes, I got a little weepy today when my son played "In a Sentimental Mood" (which he played this Spring and I had assumed he had already forgotten--such a beautiful, gentle piece and such a surprise when most of this week has been "I'll play the damn B flat, E flat and A flat scales and their related minors but I'll make sure you know that I am not enjoying it!" Who knew that piano scales could be such an effective way to communicate rage?) And the tears welled up again in gratitude when I sat down to this lovely plate of summer vegetables with accoutrements for dinner.

It isn't a fancy meal but it made me very, very happy. It's just kale, new carrots, corn and an allium of your choice (this time, a shallot), sautéed up and then splashed with sherry vinegar. But this simple preparation brings out the minty-sweetness of the carrots, the bright pops of the corn and the sturdy earthiness of the kale in a way that keeps me grounded. This is the third time this week that I ate it--that's what happens when you buy a big bunch of Tuscan kale and another huge bunch of new carrots at the farmer's market and you are only cooking for one (the girl critter will eat some of the carrots raw, but not cooked.) It's quite a lot of kale and carrots for one person to go through, but thankfully, I am happy to eat this combination until it is all gone (two or maybe three more meals, I'm thinking.)

Here's the general formula for the vegetable sauté (in per-person quantities. If you are lucky enough to be cooking for more than just yourself, then adjust quantities accordingly):

Take one large shallot, or about a quarter of a medium sized red onion, and slice it up. Sauté in some olive oil and then chuck in a good handful of new carrots that you've scrubbed and then halved or quartered lengthwise. Keep the heat at about medium and stir them occasionally while you cut the kernels off a cob of sweet corn and wash, stem and shred coarsely about five large Tuscan kale leaves. Sprinkle the carrots and shallots (or red onions) with a little salt and pepper and some chopped up fresh thyme if you have it (and don't worry if you don't), then put in the de-cobified corn. Give it another stir and go slice yourself some baguette. Then dump in the shredded kale, stir again and go decorate your baguette (I went with goat cheese on two slices and sharp cheddar on the other two). Drizzle about 1T of sherry vinegar over the kale and stir. Go arrange the baguette and some olives on your plate.  Pour yourself a glass of red wine because God knows you are going to need it to get through this evening's emotional antics once they inevitably arise when you are too tired to think. Then stir the kale and give it a taste--add more vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. When the carrots are tender crisp and the kale has softened, pile it all on the plate and go hide in a quiet place and enjoy the taste of summer.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Looks really great and I'm inspired to try it.