Saturday, June 16, 2012

Quote of the Day: exploding minds want to know

"I was glad of my strong hips and sound cage of ribs to save me from flying apart, so explosive were my thoughts."

 ~from Muriel Spark's Loitering with Intent

Not bad exploding, mind you, but the good kind. The OMG, there's so many amazing things in the world I don't know where to begin! sort. Just another reason to grateful for a sound body (helps keep my wild imagination in check). This mother intends to enjoy her weekend and hopes you are off enjoying yours. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Let Us Eat Lettuce

I've blogged about my love for Community Supported Agriculture ("CSA") programs before, and I'm thrilled that CSA season is here again! This year we're splitting a full produce share with my husband's parents, so we'll have garden-y goodness every week from now through mid-October. We've partnered (a CSA is a type of partnership, really) with a new-to-us farm this year: Equinox Community Farm.

First CSA deliveries tend to be mostly greens, so it was a very pleasant surprise that along with the anticipated Asian cooking greens (polkadotted with bug bites, but that just proves they're organically grown) and young garlic & scapes, Equinox also added purple kohlrabi and a container of the most succulent strawberries you can imagine. Also: lettuce. So. Much. Lettuce.

So let's talk about lettuce. As a vegetarian I'd had my share of lettuce-as-a-meal. Most often in the past I joined a group of family or friends at a restaurant of their choice and, faced with a menu of factory-farmed meats and cheese-laden pastas, ended up making do with a pitiful side salad (iceberg, carrot shavings, perhaps a mealy tomato slice or two). I quickly became a lettuce-hater. It was eaten by necessity but I took no pleasure in the green. (And yes, it's absolutely possible to hate lettuce and still be a vegetarian because there are a million non-lettuce plant-based foods in the world).

Since re-introducing meat back into my diet (we're going to come back to this in another post someday soon, but suffice to say I think my meat-eating days are numbered) I've ironically forged a new love for these first greens of the summer. I believe growing our own garden has had a lot to do with it (iceberg is banished from our property!); baby lettuces are amazingly delicious and so very easy to grow. Trying to choose seasonal produce has helped as well, since these first fresh-from-the-soil greens hint at all the amazing greenery soon to come from the Wisconsin earth. You don't get the same rush when picking-up a bag of pre-washed at the grocery store.

So lettuce is back on the menu, boys. But. OMG. So. Much. Lettuce. You cannot possibly eat so many salads (ok, of course you could. But I don't care to and neither do you, probably). What to do? You could let it sit in a bag in your fridge until it becomes a slimy goo and then toss it into the compost, OR...

You could make Lettuce Soup!

Sounds weird, I know. I mentioned that I was going to make this to some co-workers and the idea received a general thumbs down as far as mouthwatering ideas go. But I persevered (read: I had so much lettuce I was desperate) and tried it anyway. And, of course, since this is how these things go, even though I was worried it'd be disgusting it was the opposite. It was so delicious. SO. DELICIOUS. And now it's your turn to make it. Believe me, it's worth it, even though the photo I snapped with my iPhone doesn't communicate how good it is.

Adapted from a recipe of Emeril's:
Lettuce Soup
  • 2 Tbls olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced onion
  • 1 green garlic plant (use all the bulbs & the scape)
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried chives
  • 2 tsp dried tarragon
  • 2 heads of lettuce, washed & torn into pieces (I used a green lettuce & a red lettuce)
  • 3 cups light stock (vegetable or chicken)
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk (or heavy cream)
  • Any cooked or canned vegetables you wish to add (we used potatoes, carrots & green beans)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Heat large saucepan and add olive oil. When oil is hot add the onion and cook for a minute or two, then add the garlic. Cook until the onion is translucent. Add the parsley, chives, tarragon and lettuce and stir until the lettuce is completely wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the stock and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Using an immersion blender (or transferring the soup in batches to a blender or processor) blend the soup--use care, it's hot! Add other cooked or canned vegetables and warm through. When ready to serve, stir in the milk or cream and season with salt and pepper.
4 Servings.
We ate two heads of lettuce last night in the form of delicious delectable soup. Even Uli ate her fill. And no need to use the salad spinner, just rinse, tear, and add to the pot.

No more excuses for the slimy bags rotting in the fridge, no more complaints about being force-fed rabbit food. Lettuce soup will save you. Repeat after me now: when the CSA gives you lettuce, make soup! 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dear Stupid Person in Your Stupid Car:

Today your blue station wagon continued on when you should have yielded me the right of way. I was on your RIGHT. It was an unmarked intersection. I got there first. I had the RIGHT of way. But you were driving parallel to the major road and just decided to be a jerk about it.

Last week your red sedan failed to yield me the right of way at the same intersection. It had looked like you were stopping and so I started to go but then you didn't and I had to slam on my brakes. I would have honked but your dog was hanging-out of the passenger window and I didn't want to scare her because I'm not a jerk like you.

Last month you in your black truck failed to signal before moving over two lanes of traffic. I wasn't in any danger because I was quite a ways behind you, but I saw you and it was irritating. It's not like you need to conserve blinker fluid or anything (it's cheap! They only charge me $5/refill each tuneup.)

Also, another time you parked in front of our house almost all Saturday morning, and I prefer that no one parks there. Park in the driveway of whomever you're visiting, they're presumably not going anywhere because you're visiting them.

And another thing, I don't like your after-market illegally tinted windows. They make it look like you're trying to look like Somebody you're not (because, let's face it, this is Madison, and you're not) or that you're a vampire (which would be cool, but again, you're not).

Plus, we should have better public transportation and if we did you wouldn't irritate me so much because we'd all be zooming around on the lightrail but we don't probably because jerks like you won't vote for it. You want your stupid could-have-been-tax-money in cash because you want a vanity plate.

One last thing:  what kind of gas mileage do you get in town?

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