Posts tagged ‘salad’

May 12, 2009

An Ode to Sorrel

Now that sorrel is in my life…I will never be the same.
Spring will forever hold new meaning for me.

Sour Sorrel

Sour Sorrel

Best flavor comparison: baby kiwifruit
When I saw sorrel’s small, arrow-shaped leaves, I expected something akin to radish greens – spicy, earthy. When you bite into the leaves, however, the initial clean, watery taste is followed by a burst of citrus. Eric’s initial reaction, “What the…? Did it *!@#* a lemon?” If you don’t know what’s coming, sorrel will knock you off your feet.

We have been so enamored with sorrel’s fresh flavor, we haven’t dared saute it or puree it (two common ways it is prepared). Here I am, the salad hater, jumping at the chance to mix some fresh sorrel in with the salad mix and radish greens. On the first night, we threw together some greens, added boiled potatoes and topped it off with a blended balsamic/Dijon dressing and leftover chives. Fantastic. The sorrel plays so well with the vinaigrette, adding new dimensions to a simple salad.

Mixed Greens (with sorrel) and Potatoes with Sides of Asparagus and Morel Mushrooms

Mixed Greens (with sorrel) and Potatoes with Sides of Asparagus and Morel Mushrooms

Tell Me More…
Also known as Rumex acetosa, sorrel, according to is indigenous to England. Apparently sorrel is a slight diuretic, which after a long winter of heavy meats, potatoes and cheeses can have a nice cleansing effect. According to J. Benn Hurley,

Early Egyptians and Romans nibbled on fresh sorrel leaves after overeating, both for their soothing effect on the digestive system and for their diuretic properties. In North America, 200 years ago, sorrel was eaten as “lemonade in a leaf.” It’s a good source of vitamin C, and used to be taken to prevent scurvy.

Today sorrel is most commonly used in soups and sauces.
Sorrel Sauce
Sorrel Soup and Sorrel Pesto
Green Borscht

If these ideas don’t suit you fancy, take a look at these mouthwatering recipes:
Butter-Braised Radishes with Sorrel
Courgette (Zucchini) and Sorrel Fritters
Mariquita Farm also has several ideas (Sorrel and Goat Cheese Quiche)

May 8, 2009

Finding the Community in CSA

On Thursday evenings, sometime between 4 and 7pm, Rosie and I take a short walk to our CSA pickup location. It’s only six blocks away. When we arrive at our neighbor’s house, we head straight back to their open garage, where 8 white bins filled with the week’s produce are stacked on top of each other. With a pencil, I scratch “Mahollitz” off the list of family names, and transfer the greens from the reusable bin into my cloth grocery bag.

In this Photo: tatsoi, radishes, spinach, scallions, sorrel, Claremont lettuce, watercress, salad mix

In this Photo: tatsoi, radishes, spinach, scallions, sorrel, Claremont lettuce, watercress, salad mix

Inevitably, during this time Rosie and I meet someone new. Last week we met the young family who lives at our pickup location. A girl in her early teens was carrying a violin case. Her school-aged brother was clearly intrigued by my little Boston Terrier, but too wary to pet her. The littlest was a thumb-sucking, waddling girl. Dad was shuffling his family into the house, mumbling something about getting dinner started.

Yesterday, we met Betty. Betty thought Rosie was awfully cute, and wanted to know all about Boston Terriers. We chatted a little bit about radish greens, which I confessed to being unfamiliar with. She told me her daughter, with whom she shares her CSA, likes to saute them in stir fries. We said we would see each other next time.

These short experiences of connection with neighbors are just as life-giving as the food itself. Our friendships are small, nascent at best – but like all things in Spring, there is time to grow.

When I joined our CSA (community supported agriculture) through Vermont Valley Community Farm I was not only looking for great tasting food that supports a local economy and reduces gas consumption – I was looking for connection. Here is a quote from the Slow Movement website that resonates with me:

We are searching for connection. We want connection to people – ourselves, our family, our community, our friends, – to food, to place (where we live), and to life. We want connection to all that it means to live – we want to live a connected life.

Thankfully, eating locally provides several opportunities for connection. Eating locally, for me, is an act of cultivating community. I talk with the folks at my CSA drop off point. I return to the vendors at the Farmer’s Market and let them know how last weeks purchase went. My friends and I share stories of how to prepare ramps, or we rejoice in the appearance of asparagus at the Market. Food easily becomes the center around which we come together, and when it’s local – you don’t have to sit at the same table to share in the same sense of abundance.