I have been uncharacteristically absent from this space and my loyalties were torn. I felt my own self imposed pressure to produce, to write a worthwhile essay, weave a tale of food and culture and snap some beautiful pictures, but I had to pause and be present here in the moment in my family's life
S was here for spring break with his British college roommate and in between their brief overnight, weekend trips visiting S's high school friends, I was present. I made them a different type of a pancake each morning. The British roommate said 'it is quite nice' (insert a British accent here) and then one morning I made crepes and he said 'that's what we call pan-cakes' (again insert a British accent with a pause there in the pan-cakes) and S and I in unison said 'but it's French.' Forgive us but we couldn't help but pounce, the opportunity was too luring. The Brit smiled
I had the case of the copperhead, or it might have been a fox snake, but it does not sound as dangerous or life threatening. Though it does not have a rattler, it does rattle, and scared the life out of me and the exterminator's who was here at the time. He insisted they do not take care of snakes. Someone suggested if the snake had slanted eyes it was poisonous, if round it was harmless, but heck who's going to directly stare at the cold blooded reptile.
Nature decided to plot against me and the exterminator was here to take care of the mud daubers, dirt daubers, dirt diggers, mud wasps or however you choose to call them. My bee problems were far from over. Then there are these aggressive big fat ones with furry yellow in the middle, approximately two inches long, that decide to get suicidal and plunge right towards me every time I step out of the house. I am living right out of a cartoon.
J was under the weather so I muddied many pairs of shoes moving the hose to give the grass seed a good soak, as good as our well will allow. Took out the recycling and trash and dragged it all the way back down the driveway to the garage and in between sprinted and squeezed in some squats. Luckily I am not surrounded by many neighbors as it was not a pretty sight, me running, flailing my arms. Watched the dog so he won't escape down the rain drain and be lost into oblivion while all along working on some research, recipe testing, articles and few opportunities that arose.
I was telling someone recently my life isn't glamorous, I just find glamor in the mundane, the every day life.
Speaking of glamor, this elusive vegetable, the artichoke, is a show stopper. I wished I lived in Northern California or along the Mediterranean to get the very freshest specimens. The baby artichokes preparation is relatively easy and the results are luxurious. Grace your Passover or holiday table with this dish, it's so delectable. Both artichokes and fava and other beans are luckily are now in season. I used lima beans as I had some frozen.Inspired by a fish recipe I saw at Al Hashulchan magazine in Hebrew.
Baby Artichokes and Lima Beans in White Wine, Moroccan Meyer Lemon Preserves, Saffron and Capers Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
Dozen of fresh baby artichokes
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup of fresh or frozen lima or fava beans
2 slices of Meyer lemon preserves*, finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon capers
Pinch of saffron
2 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves
Salt to taste (need very little salt if at all)
1 slice of Meyer lemon Moroccan preserves, roughly chopped
Leaves of fresh thyme
Follow Saveur's Trimming Baby Artichokes photo gallery and directions. As artichokes are prepped halve each artichoke lengthwise and sprinkle them with the juice of 1 lemon, coat well so they won't oxidize much.
On medium heat, saute the shallots until soft, add the artichokes, lima beans and the rest of the ingredients . Add more wine or water if necessary if sauce thickens too quickly. Cook for total of 20 minutes or until artichokes and lima beans are soft. Garnish with additional capers, fresh thyme leaves and 1 chopped slice of Meyer lemon Moroccan preserve for color.
*Cook's note: Since the Meyer lemons are so much more delicate than the regular lemons, if you make a jar of the Moroccan preserves today it will be ready for use within a few days, just in time for Passover. You can also buy them in Mediterranean grocery stores or just use lemon juice instead.
Suggested Passover Menu:
Hybrid Haroset on the Fly
Matzo Ball Soup
Golden and Red Beet Tartare with an Apple Cider and Dill Vinaigrette
Smashed Majestic Purple Potatoes
Lamb Shoulder Roast
Flourless Fudgy Chocolate Coconut Cookies
Apple Peanut Passover Cake