June is june-ing all over the place, which means the vegetable box has returned!
We experienced a very mild winter in New England this year (although if you had asked me about it in mid-February, I would have scowled, cast my Reynauds-stricken fingers upon you, and proclaimed that surely atomic winter has descended upon us). I wonder what effect the lack of snow (or perhaps the capricious nature of our weather in general) will have upon vegetable harvest this year.
The first box exploded joyfully with green: Swiss chard, lettuce, bok choy, asparagus, and thyme, accessorized by magenta radishes and ecru mushrooms.
And here’s what I cooked:
I’ve been experimenting with sourdough lately, which means that I always have leftover starter in need of a project. Hence, this flatbread. The end product tasted fine, but the structure of the dough disappointed me. More work needed here, obviously.
Not to toot my own horn here, but these tacos were THE BOMB. I am rapidly adopting the opinion that all things can shine when under the influence of chiles.
The burritos above and the chicken below I delivered to the folks at my gym. Thank heavens for friends who will not roll their eyes too badly when I walk into HIIT training and declare, “I brought lunch.”
And now we reach the point where my challenge involving the box collides with my challenge involving the cellar. I retrieved this fabulous wine from its shelf: a 2012 Palmina Undici, 100% Sangiovese from three vineyards in the Central Coast region of California. I bought this bottle on my recent tasting trip and although it has only just reached its prime drinking window, I wanted us to try it now so, if we loved it, we could buy more bottles to seriously cellar while the wine is still available.
I should probably just open my wallet and tell the Palmina people to take whatever is in there. This wine really impressed me in the Palmina tasting room and none of the charm was lost at my house. The wine is less fruit driven than most California Sangioveses, and very much in line with an old world wine. Leather, tobacco, and rose petals on the nose transform into cranberry, orange pith, and minerals on the palate: juicy, but not sweet.
I served this with a simple pasta, cacio e pepe, and pan roasted asparagus and mushrooms garnished with bits of crispy prosciutto. The match worked very well: the char on the asparagus and the saltiness of the prosciutto held up nicely to the subdued fruit notes in the wine; the floral quality of the black pepper in the pasta melded easily with the rose notes in the glass. I imagine this wine would also stand up to barbecue or a juicy steak.
It feels good to have these vegetable cooking challenges again! I warn all of my friends to expect food deliveries from me over the next several weeks: The Unit takes himself off the Greece again so I (a) will have extra time on my hands and (b) need someone to cook for.
Signing off with the first track off the new Andrew Bird album, featuring the kind of awesome Fiona Apple. Bird’s melodies—alternately poignant and ebullient–express so often what I cannot articulate. I have spent hours getting lost in his previous albums. I feel quite certain I’ll fall into a rabbit hole with this one, too.