Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Greens of Spring

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I've got on my green shirt and even painted my toenails green, now that it's sandal weather again. It's a great day to be outside in the garden, which is yielding a true bounty of gorgeous green veggies. The refrigerator is stuffed with bags of various kinds of leaves: lettuce, chard, broccoli rabe, bok choy, beet greens (and beets). Here's the first picking of beets, which I plan to roast along with some carrots and onions, with the steamed beet greens as the green part of dinner.
 We love arugula's rich color and lemony bite, so much so that when it's in season (very hard to find in stores, unfortunately) I like to finely chop the tender stems (to the right of the bowl below) and use them in place of celery in egg and tuna salads.

Here's that same bowl of arugula fancied up with chopped oranges and slices of red onion. I used my favorite "house dressing"; the recipe is at When there's fruit in the salad I like to use white balsamic vinegar in the dressing.

Change is in the air everywhere. When we moved to this house 13 years ago we planted three octopus agaves, which get very large; these are 4 or 5 feet across. Two or three years ago one completed its life cycle, sending up a huge flower spike (at least 15 feet high) that was soon covered with hundreds of tiny plantlets. Alas, that spectacular show marks the end of the mother plant's life cycle. A couple of days ago I noticed this one's begun the same process, 

as has the last one, though you have to look closely at the center to see the beginning of the flower spike. As they get further along, they look (briefly) like giant asparagus! One thing about these plants, they definitely go out with a bang, not a whimper, and put on a great show while they're doing it.

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