Green Sweetness

There is a sweetness to the mid-summer palette of crops. The sweetness comes from the greenness. It comes from the sun and the plants. The reward for enduring the intolerable humid heat of mid-July is the green treats I find while “sidewalk foraging” at farmers’ markets.  Sugar snap peas are one of these coveted finds….

AS COMMON AS A CRISP RADISH

There are those items in our daily routines that are simply there all the time and we barely notice – like the breeze that comes in the window above my home desk. At summer farmers’ markets, it is radishes that are virtually always evident. They might be easy to overlook if they weren’t such a versatile…

STRAWBERRIES AND MASCARPONE

The “wow” moments of shopping at farmers’ markets come when you try a  sample at a grower’s table that you think you have tasted dozens, maybe hundreds of times before,  and the morsel you just tried makes you re-evaluate every previous bite. Strawberries in June, straight off the vine picked shortly before arriving at the…

FIRST, ASPARAGUS

How appropriate that the first major crop to appear at spring farmers’ market comes from a Greek word meaning sprout.  The appearance of asparagus has signaled the start of the growing season since ancient times.  The simplicity of its preparation can also provide a guidepost for us sidewalk foragers as we gather items for solo…

LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE

Think of something you have long enjoyed eating. Then, think of the person who might have prepared that for you and how the two, the person and their joy of that food, are so intertwined. In mid-May, on Mother’s Day weekend, many equate comforting food with mothers and grandmothers.  Have you asked that person, whether…

A HORIZON OF HARVESTS

The horizon is widely visible on these days in early May when there are still no leaves on the trees. The tips of the branches are greening up. The dampness of the winter thaw is still in the air. The shadows of the bare branches on the sidewalks barely move in the still air. It…

SPRING HOPES

The calendar can play tricks on those of us who live in northern climes.  The astronomical landmark of the equinox on March 20th only teases us into believing that spring has begun here in the temperately tenuous Upper Midwest of Wisconsin. The equinox usually brings a sloppy, melting mess when snows mix with rain to…

The Versatility of Cole Slaw

Cole slaw can often be that overlooked dollop of crunchy veggies on the side of a sandwich or Wisconsin fish fry, if you are fortunate enough to know of that coveted tradition. Slaws, and their many variations, can become welcome mates in the quest to provide variety in “the craft and finesse of cooking and…

Salad Days of Summer

Simplicity seems to be a buzzword in so many facets of lifestyle advice from minimalism to meditation. As I walked among the rows of farmers market stands last Saturday morning, I reminded myself how uncomplicated and gratifying mid-summer food preparation and eating can be, even for solo meals. The crisp crops are delicate from their…

Grilled Cheese: Solo Simplicity

There are few items tastier and friendlier to solo eating than a well-made grilled cheese sandwich. OK, I’m biased. I live in “the land of cheese,” Wisconsin.  Most of us likely think of white bread and American cheese as the classic grilled cheese. Yes, I suppose. But, we’re grown-ups now and can use better breads…