As we were clearing the counters following our book club meal, our host reached into her fridge and opened a plastic bag to show another member the nettles she just picked in her yard.
Last week I mentioned them as if foraging was time out of mind. As if they wouldn’t show up until April or something. Poor me: glum about the lack of local produce; resigned to eating last year’s nettles preserved in local cheese.
Well. Our mild winter is yielding, I see (is it too early to say so?), and now the shoots are unfolding.
It’s funny when things happen this way. When I give up, something arrives.
My plan anyhow is to cook what I can until the full harvest. After last week’s sulking session and few cheese-and-cracker binges I shrugged and went and bought myself a whole heck of a lot of California.
Tomatoes, eggplant, red peppers. Yep. I used these and a load of other ingredients to make the bright ratatouille from Plenty. And since the recipe includes parsnips, I was able to nudge in something local – there are still some kicking about from Kirsop Farm.
In addition to the Ottolenghi book, which was a gift from my sweetie earlier this month, I bought two new cookbooks during my maiden voyage to The Book Larder last week. Making a pilgrimage to the all-cookbooks store has been on my Seattle to-do list and since I had the perfect excuse* to visit Fremont, I made it into a day trip.
I bought Suzanne Goin’s cookbook on the recommendation of a woman I met at a party who swears by her menus. A cauliflower dish awaits.
I’m excited about Roots and have been since it came out in the fall: first, because I attended Diane Morgan’s workshop on writing cookbook proposals at IFBC (food bloggers, have you registered?) and had a nice chat with her afterwards; second, because Hannah of Blue Kale Road owns this book and tells me the recipes are not only wonderful but help her branch out from her roasted-veggie rut when it comes to local roots. Living in the Pacific Northwest, I think it’s a great investment.
I’ll let you know how my root stock turns out.
In the meantime, I made enough ratatouille to last through to the weekend.
*To meet this little guy! He’s also my excuse for any and all lateness this week: