To JT, one of the bright spots of winter is the delight of the winter garden.
John Broussard shared with JT some cabbage, turnips, cauliflower and broccoli from the garden at the detention center. John Vandersypen shared a cauliflower and some kale from his home garden. All were excellent.
Mrs. JT, not interested in cooking the vegetables with the old, tried and true methods, turned to Alice Waters’ cookbook from Chez Panisse, a San Francisco restaurant.
The first surprise was the turnips. JT’s past feelings towards turnips was “Oh! ….Hum. They’re okay.”
But, these were cut into eights, tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper, then placed in a 420-degree oven for about 15 minutes. They turned out crunchy on the outside and really tasty inside.
She steamed the cauliflower and broccoli about five minutes, being careful not to overcook them. JT thought they were great, a little much on the raw side, but good.
However, Mrs. JT found the cauliflower gritty, not quite right. In checking with Chef Waters she found she was supposed to soak the cauliflower in a bath of salt, water and vinegar to flush out any aphids in the flowerets.
JT thought – aphids this time of year?
Twenty minutes later she called JT over and said look at the vinegar bath. See the dead aphids. JT looked, and looked harder, then agreed that those could be aphids.
The soaked head of cauliflower was steamed and tasted much better she said. JT felt the safest thing to do was to agree. He did.
Next on the menu was the sweet potatoes. These came from Iota, Acadia Parish. They were small, about the size of your fist. Baked for 45 minutes until soft to the feel. They were sweet and tender, even without butter.
The kale was slightly steamed then mixed with quinoa, a grain from Chile.
Three years ago JT did not know what quinoa was, nor did he care.
He has since learned it is a “power food” and he finds it on the dinner table once or twice a week. It’s one of those foods one takes a small helping then spends the rest of the meal pushing it from one side of his plate to the other.
John Vandersypen’s perfectly good kale was mixed with the quinoa along with some mushrooms, put in a skillet, chicken stock added, and reduced.
JT was told it was the protein of the evening. Enjoy!
All in all, it was a great meal.
If you are not enjoying the fresh vegetables of this season, you are missing some excellent vittles.
After all this healthy vegetable talk, a nice juicy steak sure would be good!
On a more serious note, the tariffs have to be hurting the parish farmers.
Driving down Cane River the other day, JT noticed that soybeans were still drying in one field. And a closer look showed beans were starting to bud out, which means they were no longer saleable; so the crop is lost.
Without the tariff, these soybeans would have been exported to China. The void left by American soybeans will be filled by the on-coming crop from South America. It’s tough to be a soybean farmer this year!
Federal employees in Washington will probably get their back pay when the government’s “shut down” is over. The farmers probably will not.
Hopefully the government will help them somehow!