True, the past weekend led to rather lofty expectations for this week, but the cold rain the past few days has put me in a funk— even as I was reluctantly expecting this ugly weather to rear its head; it is Spring, after all.
So, rain, I’ll make you a deal— you take care of fertility, etc, and I will tromp through the puddles, etc, but can we please see some asparagus & radishes & soft fresh herbs? The Columbia market is tomorrow (besides Sunday, of course) and I’m going to wake up early and investigate in the cold sunshine. I will probably literally gasp if I spy those slim green stalks, or rosy pink radishes; I will probably faint upon seeing the delicate red of the season’s first berries. I am really sick of gazing upon pale carrots and humble potatoes. Oh, yes, but I will take some waxy baby potatoes, please! All the better for tossing with capers and lemon, or with green beans and olive oil and garlic— alternately, with snap peas and mint and maybe some young onions. With the haphazard mixture of blue skies & heavy rain we’ve been getting, I’m banking on a harvest, from some farm, soon.
Other than that, there is only the coming weekend to look forward to, despite the relative shortage of sunshine it’s predicted to grant us. But there are promises of pizza in Brooklyn with Aimee—the warm sun last weekend kind of rerouted our pizza desire; we went, of course, for the wonderful tacos.
In fact, last Sunday, while the sun still shone, I ventured back to Brooklyn to immediately revisit La Superior, with its lovely red interior that achieves perfect measures of both youthful stylishness & Mexican hole-in-the-wall simplicity. My intentions were pure: chicken with chipotle sauce, pork slow-cooked in banana leaf, peppers & onions cooked until tender with a gentle blanket of cream. Yet, it was Sunday morning (12:45 pm, to be precise) and eggs + beans beckoned from all corners of the menu. When I asked her opinion, the tall-glass-of-water waitress sat down across from me and smiled knowingly- “Huevos Motulenos” she said, and I trusted.
It’s a good thing. Made up of the modest combination of fried eggs in a pool of soupy black beans, the plate defied expectations and was, in a word, sexy. The mess beamed up at me; it was spiked with a deep, warming pepper sauce, speckled with spiced ham, and balanced by split green peas, which lent their earthy sweetness to a wonderfully savory dish. Sticky-tender slices of caramelized plantain offered a rich punctuation, a warming roundness. Brilliant!
Thankfully, the weather has been fair in my kitchen at home as well:
Creamy borlotti beans in a salad with savory, floral marjoram, intensely delicious roasted sweet potato, chile, olive oil, and oregano.
Farro with roasted Italian hot pepper, salty, cool fresh mozzarella, arugula, and olive oil.
A batch of Italian salsa verde, which was lovingly spooned over smoked salmon with a wedge of lemon; the rest was dolloped atop soft scrambled eggs with a bit of ketchup— it was perfect.
To be honest, the mornings have been the hardest. I stand aimlessly in the kitchen— Oatmeal! No…yogurt. Wait, no, oatmeal! But, by evening, the comforts of humble late-winter food has it all making sense. What’s one more batch of spicy cabbage than another bowl of happiness, after all? Tomorrow, there is the market, and I will contentedly wait.
(It’s chilly today, but fresh as a daisy. How I love you, sunshine. You make life easier. Everyone: remember to look up at the sky sometimes, ok?
"The Sun woke me this morning loud
and clear, saying “Hey! I’ve been
trying to wake you up for fifteen minutes.
…I know you love Manhattan, but you ought to look up more often.
always embrace things, people earth
sky stars, as I do, freely…”
—from ‘A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island’ by Frank O’Hara)