We found Oscar while helping my mum out in her garden on Memorial Day Weekend.
I asked him if he would be willing to participate in the Memorial Day Frog Jumping Contest, but Oscar politely informed me that he is not a frog. He is a toad.
I know a losing battle when I see one, but I’m currently in a fight with bok choy. Despite my aversion to its texture, I love bok choy’s flavor. My former favorite way to have it was in a coconut sauce with cod and sticky rice. But since our household has added fish to our current unapproved list, we’ve been really strapped on ideas for bok choy. (Stir fries. Incessant stir fries.)
So when bok choy came in our farm share this week – for the second week in a row – I sighed a big sigh. It seems only to work with Asian flavors, so I paced our five-foot-long kitchen trying to come up with a non-stir fry Asian meal until I was dizzy, and then remembered an old favorite – peanut noodles!
Peanut noodles are remarkably easy to make:
- bunch of scallions (and if you like things garlicy, a clove or two of garlic) sauteed in sesame oil
- peanut butter – about 1/3 cup
- soy sauce – 1/4 cup
- hot water – 1/4 cup
- cider vinegar – 1 tbsp
- touch of honey (100% optional)
- red pepper flakes
We took scallions out of our window garden, and cooked them up with bok choy from our share, and then dumped the rest of the flavors in while cooking some noodles on the side. Uber-delicious, and even better as leftovers.
It has been correctly pointed out to me that I in fact do not know a losing battle when I see one… nor, perhaps, believe in losing battles. Nevertheless, despite this victory, bok choy seems to be winning the war.
Who says cucumber sandwiches have to be an upper class treat? Notorious for their place next to afternoon tea, cuke sandwiches have a nasty reputation for gracing the tables of the elite. But, as cucumbers came in this week’s share, along with this dazzling pile of delicious –
- a head of lettuce
- bok choy
- swiss chard
- snap peas
– we have decided to prove that afternoon tea comes in many forms. I’ve long since ditched the crustless, white bread, triangle-shaped cucumber sandwiches, and adopted a simple rendition of cucumber slices on buttered toast doused in salt and pepper, which in the painful 99° weather this week, was heavenly. Paired with a glass of water with extra cuke slices in it, we managed to fend off the heat for at least the extent of lunchtime.
Tea on another day perhaps. A day significantly cooler.
Apparently radishes are nature’s easy lay, because every week we manage to get some. I love the bite of radishes and find them delightfully sweeter when they’ve just been plucked (is this innuendo getting old, or what?) than when you just pick them up at the supermarket. But as delicious and aesthetically pleasing as radishes are, especially amongst all the greenery, eating radishes in salad week after week begins to be taxing.
So someone recently suggested sautéing radishes to me, which had never occurred to me, but turned out to be a welcomed relief and really likable! We were naughty and sautéed them in butter instead of olive oil, but we figured for our first attempt, we’d be dirty about it.
… That was the last one, I promise.
Our effort is to increase farming and gardening in the city by planting our own window garden and supporting rooftop gardens, urban farms and farmers markets. But sometimes we can’t help but escape to where the farming and gardening already is. Especially in the summer, the two of us find ourselves sneaking away to help family members with their gardening projects, and spending oodles of time hidden in the country jumping in lakes.
It’s likely that we’ll be posting a handful of things that look decidedly un-New York this summer. But we will continue to bring farms to city folk. For our first un-NY offering is a “foot by foot” garden project that we lent a hand to and think can offer ideas to apartment dwellers on how to grow a reasonable amount of food in a small amount of space – like a window.
My mum started a garden this year where she diligently divided her planter up with rope to section off 12″ by 12″ spaces and plant within each square.
She’s growing lettuce, swiss chard, beets, peas, broccoli, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, strawberries, various herbs, and other glorious goodies!
Despite our teenie-weenie apartments, we all have one foot to designate to greenery. So grow stuff!
(Keep it up, Mom.)
For those of you who aren’t near a garden of your own, here’s a sneak-peak at how the summer crops are progressing in our window.
On May 11th —
On May 19th —
On May 29th —
On June 7th —
And I’m pleased to say that as of five minutes ago, our window garden looked like this!
Still awaiting the arrival of our tomatoes, but they’re surely trying. And as this morning I had chives from our garden in eggs from our CSA for breakfast (!), I’m thinking I can be patient and await our upcoming treats. Seems to be working thus far.
Our CSA is finally here! And there was a lot of spastic celebratory dancing on West End Avenue this Wednesday evening as a result.
Rather than collect our share bi-weekly or go through the process of pairing with an anonymous CSA member, we decided to rope our friends Tyler and Brittany into splitting a share this year. I think they’ll agree it was a good decision.
In just our first week we accumulated a whoppin’:
- head of lettuce
- broccoli raab
- huge (but not genetically mondofied) radishes
- and this year: EGGS!
We uncontrollably nibbled the minute we were inundated with farm food, but managed to control ourself enough to try some concoctions. Like! Wrapping strawberries in the surprisingly peppery arugula for a gnarly Ratatouille-like explosion (think cartoon rat, not tomato and zucchini). Very enjoyable and highly recommended.
Below is our complicated exchange of vegetables on the street corner – less highly recommended. Soon to find a better solution.
**It should be noted that right after this photo was taken a wide-eyed little boy walked by us, gawking at the 6-foot-4 Tyler, while the kid’s mother whispered to him, “Go ahead, honey, say hi! Say hi to him!”
We all think you’re Superman, Tyty. Each and every one of us.
And so, the season begins!