Saturday, May 15, 2010

Spring Cooking

In Babara Kingsolver's book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, she writes about eating what is available locally by season. I agree with her premise although I don't think I could do what she and her family did for one year . . . almost 100% living off their land and what was grown around them. But there is something about Spring that brings out that longing for crisp vegetables and fruits that show up in the Spring and Summer. Also we seem to shift to more grilled meats and vegetables and more cold versions of soups.

This week we had seafood twice. One night it was a poached red snapper and another night a shrimp salad served with a crispy romaine lettuce. I've already written about how much chicken we have eaten recently and our plan was that we were going out to eat last night but I saw the first fresh corn in the market. I asked if it was dulce. The answer was, Si. So the plan changed in a flash. Ned grilled chicken breasts, I made a grilled chicken salad with the remaining head of the romaine and we had corn on the cob. The corn wasn't as sweet as the corn we will get before too long but it was really good. Next time I get corn I may make a sautee with the corn, serrano, green onions and garnish it with cilantro.

There are big piles of strawberries on tables in the Tianguis and I've been thinking about what to do with them. I'm looking for figs. We should start to see them before too long. The green beans have been wonderful and I've been lightly steaming them and making a salad with them. It is time for a vegetable and pasta salad. We are starting to get good radishes. Maybe a radish and cucumber salad. The mangos are big and sweet and ripe now. We have been eating them in fruit salads and salsas but I need to make a mango ice cream with a few of them. The avocados are ripe and really creamy. Perfect time to use them in an avocado soup. Oh, I wish they grew black-eyed or cream peas in Mexico. I love okra but you really have to look for it. I don't think they grow it here because the nights get too cool. Okra needs heat and more heat. But Spring always makes me think of okra and black-eyed peas.

Oh my, but I do get inspired when I go to the mercados and so many things look so seasonal and so fresh. Spring cooking is the greatest.


Sam and Bob said... are making me so hungry. You are such a great cook...should I say chef?

Everything you have mentioned I love. I have a wonderful corn saute recipe with balsamic. It is the best. All of our friends beg me to make it when fresh corn is in season.

We certainly miss SMA. We feel as though we are..."Torn Between Lovers Lovers"....what to do????

Billie said...

What to do???? Come live here full time!

You know I love the corn sautee recipe that I have but first I have to get my fill of just plain old corn on the cob....and that may take a while LOL.

jennifer rose said...

I’ve tried growing okra, but I’ve not even been successful enough to harvest more than a handful hardly worth frying.

Which brings me to my okra story. In the last century, I decided to prepare fried okra for a few guests who were coming over, buying up Walmart’s entire offering of about half a kilo. My friend Jeff and I worried whether that would be enough. When I proudly presented a platter of the fried okra, Guest No. 1 shrieked “That’s why I left the South!” and refused it. Guest No. 1, a Mexican who considered himself rather worldly, gingerly took a piece, savoring it with all the gusto reserved for eating a piece of fried mouse. Jeff and I looked at one another, breaking into giant smiles, knowing that we would have the platter all to ourselves. Don’t waste fried okra on the unappreciative!

Gloria said...

I love corn too. I prefer the white. We grow the white corn, it is not as tough as the yellow. I like to either eat it on the cob with a sprinkling of chili, lime, and s&p. I also just like to saute it, yummo. All the foods you've talked about sound delish! I bet your food is so good. Have a great Sunday Billie.

Chrissy y Keith said...

I love okra, but the rest of my family is so ho-hum about it. I only like it coated with cornmeal and fried in bacon fat. YUMMY.

Billie said...

I can see why some people would not like boil okra but can anyone NOT LIKE fried okra. I love it fried but I also love it cooked with a mess of cream or purple hull peas. And then there is okra and tomatoes. When we go to Houston in a few weeks, I'll get to do some of the cooking and I'll be cooking okra although Ned and I will be the only ones eating it.