Wednesday, August 15, 2012

little moments of magic

On warm nights, we sit out on the little deck off our bedroom. We’re talking about buying an outdoor heater for the space so we can use it even more than we do. We read, or watch an episode of Friday Night Lights on a laptop– we’re midway through season 3 – or just sit and catch up. I saw my first shooting star last night, just as we were about to come inside. Alexi said he hadn’t seen one since he was around 8 years old. One of those little moments of magic that happens around us all the time, somewhere in the background, that I was lucky enough to witness this time.

I made my first and, likely, last batch of ice cream of the summer. It was well worth the wait. Nectarine. The scent of their cooking, in the process of putting it together, nearly knocked me out.

Our dinner was entirely comprised of vegetables.

When I was a kid, we ate home grown vegetables all summer; legendary sized cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and the like, thanks to Alaska’s midnight sun. Most of our back yard was garden. The rest of the year, most of the produce we ate was of the canned variety. The only fresh vegetables I remember eating in winter were in a salad of iceberg lettuce accompanied by tomatoes that tasted like nothing. Whatever produce was shipped to Alaska in winter was expensive, and not very good. One of the vegetable dishes we ate with some regularity in the winter months was canned green beans with canned new potatoes, and I loved it. (I think it’s safe to say this is the only canned vegetable dish I can speak about with animation, aside from canned spinach, and that’s another kind of animatedness entirely.) When I was deciding what to make for dinner, looking over the contents of my refrigerator, I took out the beans and the fingerling potatoes I found, remembering that dish.

Green Bean and New Potato Salad

1 pound waxy potatoes, such as red potatoes or fingerling potatoes
1 pound string beans, trimmed
4 ears corn, shucked
1 shallot (or 2 scallions)
small handful of fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper
optional: feta cheese

Bring two large pots of salted water to boil over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes to one and the corn to the other. Remove the corn from its pot after 5 minutes, reserving water, and let it cool. Return the water the corn cooked in to a boil, and add the string beans. Cook until their color changes from bright green to a deeper green, 3-4 minutes. Rinse the cooked beans under cold water until cooled. When the potatoes are tender, after about 15 minutes, remove from the heat.

Cut the corn off the cobs and put the kernels in a large bowl. Cut the potatoes into chunks, and add them to the bowl with the corn, followed by the string beans. Add the olive oil, parsley and shallot, toss, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more oil if it seems dry. Divide onto four plates; sprinkle with optional feta as desired.

Yield: 4 as a main course; 6 as a side


Denise | Chez Danisse said...

I feel like I could have a long conversation with you about these topics, Lecia. I'm growing my own vegetables, just a very small patch, after a four year hiatus. It's amazing how much the tiny space is producing. I've been in fresh bean heaven lately. We are growing green beans and the little farmers market here has had Romano beans, and purple as well as pale yellow 'green bean' type beans. So delicious! And our salads lately... Eating homegrown lettuces and cucumbers is something I'm really going to miss. Your succotash looks delicious and I like your idea of adding feta or olives. Cheers to fabulous fresh produce.

Clarice said...

This is beautiful. No matter how great or small my garden harvest, the daily ritual of tending and checking on everything feels so rejuvenating. I look forward to trying the recipe.

Katherine @ eggton said...

I love the color of the nectarine ice cream--especially because it surprised me. I was taken aback by the pinkness of it!

Lovely reflections in this post, as always.

KPiep said...

As a farmer through and through - even though my farm is as yet just a dream - I truly love and appreciate this post. I also have to add that it's still tough to go to the farmers' market sometimes w/o tears because of my deep family legacy of farming. It runs in my veins....

Francesca said...

This is a wonderful post! I loved reading a little bit about when you grew up Lecia. About the canned vegetables, the only type I ever had are tomatoes. I don't think you can even find canned vegetables in this country!