Sunday, May 31, 2009

Spring Greening

The growing season is off to such a fast start, it's hard to keep up! Not only did the Southern Belle bring me another bumper crop of lettuce, cilantro, and pac choi yesterday, but I also foraged chickweed at the Farm yesterday and harvested more herbs at the Renaissance Man's garden this morning.

I've got plans to dry a large quantity of herbs and greens over the next few days, but that doesn't alter the fact that I still have a good deal more produce that needs to be eaten.

So I spent a little time today finding fresh ways to enjoy these foods.

One of my favorite snacks for warm weather is a yogurt-based dip from the Middle East called borani. (Since I've seen variations from a number of ethnic cuisines, I won't attribute this to any specific one.) Using drained plain yogurt, I mixed a refreshing spread from a number of local items: radishes and dill from the Southern Belle's garden, chickweed from the Farm, garlic from last year's farmers' market, and some of last year's dill salt. With a few walnuts for crunch, this creamy delight makes the perfect sea for a humble melba toast's headlong dive.

For lunch, I decided to make soup in order to use up the last quart of vegetable stock. I started by sauteing slivers of leek in olive oil, then added cubed new potatoes, the last of the shredded zucchini from the freezer, and a smidgen of dill before pouring in the stock and some lambs' quarters and letting it all simmer for a good long while. I ladled some into a soup bowl, sprinkled a little goat cheese on top, and tucked in. For not using a recipe at all, I ended up throwing together a light but rich, hearty but not heavy, refreshing springtime soup.

I'll still be eating plenty of salads this week, but at least I'm able to create a little more variety with this early produce.

And I'll have that all cleaned up in no time.

Spring Greening Soup

2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, thinly sliced and slivered
6-8 small red potatoes, cubed
1 tsp minced fresh dill
1/2 c shredded zucchini (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1 c leafy greens (wild edibles like lambs' quarters are ideal)
1 qt vegetable stock
1 tsp minced fresh dill

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the leek and saute until fragrant. Add potatoes, 1 tsp dill, and zucchini, and saute another minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add greens and stock, bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer for half an hour or so, until potatoes are tender.

Garnish with fresh dill. Serve warm.

Serves 4

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