Cut up half a cantaloupe. Wash a handful of basil leaves, tear them up, and sprinkle them over the cantaloupe. Squeeze half a lime over everything.
Put a cup of dried lentils (green, brown, or puy lentils are best – the red lentils will fall apart) and three cups of water in a pot. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat until the lentils are done. This will take about thirty minutes.
Local ingredients: Potatoes, garlic, fava beans, fennel, rainbow carrots, purple cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, and alpine cheese.
Nonlocal ingredients: Butter, salt, and vinegar. And we really could have gotten butter and vinegar at the farmers market.
The technique: Bring a small pot of water to boil. Shell the fava beans. Wash and slice the potatoes, and skin and chop up the garlic. Saute the garlic in butter, then add the potatoes.
Wash and slice all the other veggies while the potatoes cook and the water comes to a boil. Be sure to give the potatoes a stir every now and then so that they don’t burn.
When the water comes to a boil, dump in the fava beans and cook until they’re tender. Fresh fava beans don’t take very long – they cook up just like lima beans. I think 2-3 minutes is probably enough time for them.
Drain the fava beans and add a bit of salt to both the favas and the potatoes. If you’d like to turn your purple cabbage pink, serve it with a little vinegar.
It really is possible to eat entirely locally, or nearly so, if the right infrastructure is in place. New York has a huge network of farmers markets throughout the city, many of them year-round. There’s one by our apartment, and another by my office, which makes it easy to pick up eggs and vegetables, or whatever else we need from a local source.
Ironically, it’s much easier to eat locally year-round in New York than it was when I lived in rural Michigan, which is prime farm country for all sorts of things. Th local food supply – farmers markets, community supported agriculture, locally produced wine and beer – is plentiful and varied all summer long and into the fall, but things get a lot more sparse in the winter.
It’s not so much that there’s literally nothing local to eat, or that one can’t possibly grow or store local food for the winter. Winter squash, carrots, beets, and apples will keep for a long time, and some of the hardier greens (think kale) will keep going even after it starts to snow.
I think the problem has more to do with a disconnect between farmers and eaters over the winter: most people assume that nothing grows or overwinters in Northwest Lower Michigan, the farmers markets confirm this assumption by shutting down after Halloween, and the farmer-eater connection goes dormant until spring.
If I’ve been a little quiet lately, it’s because Jerry and I have been moving. Moving furniture, moving books, painting bookshelves, drilling holes, finding studs (the kind in the wall, of course), sealing cracks, and scouring the oven.
So far, I’ve learned:
1. That it is possible to push a large wardrobe through the streets of Manhattan on a dolly, but that it is not advisable to do so for 35 blocks.
2. Guerrilla glue is useful if you break the legs off the wardrobe while pushing it over potholes.
3. A kitchen cart is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.
4. If you see something you like at Ikea or Bed, Bath, and Beyond, you can probably find it on Craigslist.
5. I do not like moving heavy objects.
6. Plants really do make everything better.
7. If you put a plant in front of a mirror, it’s like you have two plants.
More moving photos after the jump.
It helps you get out of bed faster.