Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fruit of our labor

Not everything in our garden has sprung, but the stuff that has is perfect!  There are tons of kale, several varieties of tomatoes in various stages of ripeness, peas, and a few types of cucumbers.

Since my colleagues didn't get any of the rose cherry cobbler and (being the honest lawyer that I am) I felt the need to tell my boss what I didn't bring in, I felt I owed them a batch of kale chips.  So I donned the headlamp and headed out the back door with a bucket and a pair of kitchen shears to pay my penance (no amount of hard livin' and debauchery can undo all those years of Catholic school).  As I waited for the oven to heat up, I threw open my spice cabinet and thought long and hard about how to season the kale chips.  Curry?  Harissa?  Jerk?  On second thought, if my colleagues were to be running around smelling of the stuff, maybe it ought to be something more accessible so that everyone would enjoy it -- all for one, and one for all!  Sea salt and garlic was the poison I picked.  A 50/50 mix of fine sea salt and granulated garlic sprinkled on scantly olive oiled kale pieces.  Divine.

Then I turned my attention to the harvest that Mr. Rose brought in.  The last of the peas from the second flush burst with fresh, green goodness.  We'd had yellow and red cherry tomatoes, but the black cherry tomatoes are new arrivals, with an unusually rich sweetness.  And the pickling cucumbers have so much of that grassy cucumber aroma, but packed in a shorter, stubbier and slightly less crispy body, that we couldn't wait for them to be pickled -- they had to be eaten tonight.
The peas were shelled and boiled till just tender.  The tomatoes halved and sprinkled lightly with the garlic salt from the kale chips, and the cucumbers were peeled and diced.  Everything was tossed in extra virgin olive oil and peach-infused white basalmic vinegar, finished with cracked pepper, then tossed down the hatch.  This salad didn't stand a chance.
Now that dinner's over, I'm refraining from nibbling away at the kale chips.  They must make it to the office because I cannot handle another moment in the confessional with my boss, nor can I imagine what the self-prescribed penance would be.

P.S. If you must work with a recipe, here's a rough one:

Fresh pea, tomato and cucumber salad (serves 2)

2 handfuls of shelled peas
1 cup of assorted cherry tomatoes, halved
1 pickling cucumber, peeled and diced
1-1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp peach-infused white basalmic vinegar
1/2 pinch sea salt
1/2 pinch granulated garlic
salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Put the peas in a small pot and just barely cover them with water, a pinch of sea salt and 1/2 tbsp of the extra virgin olive oil.  Bring to a boil and let simmer for 2-3 minutes, or till peas are tender.  Remove from heat, drain, and quickly drench in ice cold water.  Drain well.  Mix 1/2 pinch sea salt with 1/2 pinch granulated garlic and toss with the cherry tomatoes in a small bowl.  Toss the peas and cubed cucumber into the bowl.  Add remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and peach-infused vinegar.  Season with salt and cracked black pepper to taste.

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