Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Eat Your Weedies

Since I haven't gotten to forage on the farm lately, I've been feeling a distinct lack of greenery in my diet. It takes a while for the cultivated crops of lettuce and spinach to start coming in, even with cold frames, while the wild edible greens seem to pop up early and fill the gap for us (if we bother to look).

So even though the Lady Bountiful sent me home yesterday with plenty of the first lettuce of the year, I still felt excited about toting home a bag of lambs' quarters, too.

Tonight seemed like a good night to pull out the greens and add them to a comforting pasta dish, after a drizzly trip to another farm, so I invited the Renaissance Man to join me for dinner.

I haven't had time lately to make more homemade pasta, so I ended up using whole wheat spaghetti from the store. But all the other major ingredients were local: some of the last garlic from last year's farmers' markets, oven-dried tomatoes, a sprig of fresh basil (broken off one of my new herb pots), and the lambs' quarters.

Like most of my comfort-food pasta dishes, once I had cooked the pasta I sautéed the garlic and added the tomatoes along with a hint of pepper, then tossed in the lambs' quarters to wilt them before adding the mix to the top of a pile of pasta and garnishing it all with a chiffonade of basil.

Add a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and there's dinner!

While the Renaissance Man teased me gently about eating "weeds" -- he patted my hand and told me, "We'll have to get you eating a little higher on the food chain next time!" -- he agreed that the resulting dish offered a fresh taste of spring and a satisfying meal.

I still have a large quantity of greens left, so I'm sure I'll be cooking with them in many ways as the week progresses. I may even try something like lambs' quarters pesto or some sauce. Who knows?

All I know is, I'm going to eat them up!

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