Saturday, January 24, 2009

How I Want to Eat + Pumpkin Soup Redux

Yep, that's mizuna and arugula taking the place of honor at the head of the post, 'cause, really, they rocked tonight's dinner (hee!  rocked... rocket... arugula?  No?  Anyone?  Bueller?)

It all started on Thursday, when I got an email from Van Cheeseman, from Flora at Bluebird Farms, down in Holly Springs, Mississippi.  He wanted to let his mailing list know that he'd be at the Brooks Museum this afternoon with assorted winter greens.  Now, I have heard that growing under something called a "cold frame" extends the growing season significantly, but I had no idea what such a thing looked like.  Edible Memphis Magazine to the rescue!  If you pick up the Winter 09 edition (should be free at various locations around town, or you can subscribe at, you can see for yourself what it looks like (kind of a greenhouse, but with plastic sheeting), and read a very nice interview with Van.  He is one of my favorite vendors at the MFM, and is always friendly and willing either to tell you how to roast the heirloom garlic you just (gleefully) bought from him or to enable your Green Zebra tomato habit.

His arugula is absolutely wonderful, no bitterness at all, and toned down on the peppery front, which is what usually turns me off to arugula (despite once claiming to roll myself in it, but that's a story only Zac, Eden and Maggie know).  Mizuna is a green often used in Asian cooking, and Van's has just the slightest mustardy taste.  I made a simple vinaigrette (olive oil+red wine vinegar+salt and pepper+chopped shallot) and dove in.  The salad was that good.

Oh, but I also needed to eat something more substantial, so  I heated up yesterday's pumpkin soup and pan-fried some pork chops from Barnes Farms in Medina, TN (juicy, and so full of flavor!).  Yep.  This is how I want to eat all of the time. 

I was also lucky enough to score some local eggs recently and I can't wait to use them.  French toast is in my future...

And finally, I leave you with the remnants of last fall's squash-a-palooza (Turk's Turban, spaghetti squash in foreground, some kind of large white pattypan in the back, acorn, and the now-soupified pumpkin).  Don't they look content?  Little do they know they're on death row.

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