Closed but Ruminating
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Because of the way the holiday fell and because of a staff baptism (see photo to left), we are taking a little longer holiday than normal. This has given us time to clean the kitchen really well, to paint the bathrooms and replace worn out equipment. I have caught up on two months of inventory, and am spending time at my parents home in New Bern, North Carolina. This morning I went with my father to the farmers' market here. There were lots of baked goods for the holiday, Christmas greenery, and a fair amount of fresh produce. It was all winter stuff, but it is just enough milder here that you can grow most of the brassicas from November until warm weather. There were radishes, turnips, turnip greens, mustard greens, and the prettiest collards I have ever seen. They are amazingly fragrant when freshly cut. A bell choir from the Prebyterian church provided background music.
I love cold weather vegetables. We serve collards all year round, of course, (Despite, I must add, my great -grandmother's admonition to never ever use them until after the frost.), but sweet potatoes, rutabaga, brussels sprouts and parsnips are definately seasonal. My favorite of these is celery root. It has a crisp, fresh flavor. One large celeryroot will provide quite a lot of salad. It will grow well here when planted in the fall, but you do need to look out for nematodes. I can never quite convince the public on this one, though. I've put it on the menu in several guises. Presently it's julienned (with a carrot for color), tossed with shredded country ham and dressed with mustard and lemon juice. The first thing I had to eat, the first time I visited France, was a little plate of celery root remoulade that I got out of a vending machine on the train from Spain. I've always remembered it fondly.
posted by Bill Smith at 3:23 PM