Thursday, June 3, 2010


Ah, the dawn of summertime!  Time for the fans to come out of hibernation, sweater sets to go back in, letting the lawn furniture breathe and letting the oven have the season off.

Well, usually.

But as Oregon sets a new record, beating one set back in the 60's for rainfall, the winter gloom just won't go away.  Matt keeps having to cover the barbecue back up, after optimistically letting it breathe.  Thank god for stainless steel. 

By now I expect my counter to be overflowing with colorful cilantro, basil, jalapeno and bell peppers, early berries and technicolor tomatoes.  Instead, my cutting board is still looking like this.

Cremeni mushrooms, shallots and garlic cloves.  Delicious, yes.  But decidedly wintery.  I'd originally placed 'Pork Chops' on the menu to grill, but the persistent rain and chilly breezes kicking up from the west keep me planted inside.  I took a hint from my mom and found a deep, wintery Port finishing sauce from Williams-Sonoma.  This stuff is amazing, but I can't justify buying it for myself unless it's ended up in the blessed short-code basket.  As you can see from the price sticker, this was originally $15.99.  Sure, it's short-coded.  But it's also JARRED.  It's not like buying clearance brie.

I seared the pork chops before roasting in the oven, creating those coveted crusty bits that are so essential to good sauce.  After they were nice and browned, I stuck them in the oven and let the mushrooms, shallots and garlic get their turn in the pan.  I cut the sauce with light sour cream, cutting down on the intense concentration of finishing sauce and a lovely richness. 

As I waited for my potatoes and pork chops to cook up in the oven, I looked longingly out into the yard.  I wanted to be out enjoying fruity frozen cocktails, kabobs and cobbler.  I want ingredients that are fresh-plucked from the earth, not suited for surviving a long cellaring. 

Hey.  There is something out there.

My fledging lettuce, which I've been willing along as best as I can in the absence of nurturing sunshine.  I've abandoned my organic ambitions and bought a big, green, toxic can of SLUG BAIT, sprinkling liberally to fight the bastards that gobble my baby leaves with abandon. 

I started gently tugging at the curly endive, green and red leaf lettuces.  Extremely cautiously, after finding slug larvae in one.  So gross!  I hate, hate, hate the rain and its slimy thriving creatures.  I know it's so much less disgusting than the chemicals and junk that industrial food suppliers dump into lettuce, and that Barbara Kingsolver would roll her eyes at me, but the idea of some impromptu escargot in my homegrown salad makes me kind of want to buy stock in Fresh Express.  I washed the leaves about three times once I got in, then tossed with my favorite Oil and Vinegar Strawberry Black Pepper Vinaigrette, red onion and walnuts. 

They are pretty looking, though.  And tasted nice, too.  I guess, despite Matt's fears, they were ready.

Oh, and please, nobody tell him about the slugs.  He'd never touch home veggies again.

So this is eating seasonally.  Even when it's not the season you'd like.  Yes, it's pretty and pleasant and practical.  Just doesn't hit the sunny, summery spot.


  1. Your greens look fabulous. Much bigger than ours, guess I better check to see if slimy creatures are snacking on mine too. That might be why.

  2. I have heard (from a doctor treating a cancer patient) that washing veggies with a solution of 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar kills germs quite nicely. Then rinse with clear water and you have squeaky clean produce.

  3. Greg can totally relate to covering the grill over and over again...Oregon weather strikes again! Your greens DO look good! I love endive, too!