Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saved by Salsa Verde and Claritin: an unlikely but pleasant combination.

Summer is finally here. Our garden beds are bursting with green life and the herbs are spilling out of their pots and onto the porch, where Sammy lays panting contently in the warmth of the sun. Besides a bit of wind, the sky is bright blue and completely void of clouds- a perfect day for a bike ride.

So off John and I go, he on his spiffy-and-shiny fixed-gear Bianchi, me on my laid back, 1964 Schwinn Cruiser (an oldie but a goodie). We make it about 1 mile, before I start sneezing and hacking and my eyes and nose itch so bad that I feel like screaming. Apparently summer is here, and so are my allergies. I try pushing through anyway, stubbornly pedaling against the wind. But my sneezing gets so bad that my tongue feels like it's swelling up, and with that, we turn around and sadly head back towards the car. On our way home, I am grumpy and defeated, and I know that the only way to boost my mood is some allergy-medicine and dinner, in that order.

(Below is a drawing John made of my bike. She's a beauty, ain't she?)

A few hours and a dose of Claritin later, I am in the kitchen, doing what I do best- lusting over the food I am about to cook. Besides nearly sneezing my head off today, I also managed to pick up some lovely produce from the Farmer's Market in town. Bright green and leafy rainbow swiss chard, enormous sugar snap peas, and some amazingly fragrant and heady China Rose garlic- the perfect component to some yellow corn and fingerling potatoes previously purchased at the grocery store.

In no time at all, I begin to feel like myself again, chopping and mincing and stirring and tasting. The swiss chard is sauteed with garlic, salt and pepper, olive oil, and a bit of lemon juice and zest; the snap peas are also sauteed, on a higher temperature, with some garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper as well, cooked until they are slightly soft but still retain their crunch when bitten into. The corn is prepared simply, boiled and then rubbed with butter, salt and pepper. And the whole meal is rounded out with the fingerlings, which are halved, placed on a baking sheet, drizzled with olive oil and salt, and roasted in the oven (at 425 degrees) until their skins are slightly wrinkled and golden (about 20 minutes). But the real star of the show, is the salsa verde that is poured over the fingerlings when they are still warm from the oven. The fingerlings are then tossed, immediately speckled with garlic, red chili pepper flakes and parsley.

Full belly and allergy-free, I find myself considerably more at peace. I can't tell whether this is because the Claritin has officially kicked in, or because I've just eaten the whole bowl of fingerling potatoes; but either way it seems like something to celebrate about, so I do, curled up on the couch with a glass of wine, a good book, and my dog at my feet.

Salsa Verde for Potatoes:

This recipe is adapted from the food blog 'Orangette'. The original recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of capers, which at the time of making this, I did not have in my possession. I made it without them, and it tasted divine- but if you would like to add the capers, by all means, go for it! And, if you don't, I can vouch that the salsa will absolutely be just as delicious on your potatoes.

  • 6 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch of red chili pepper flakes

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a whisk. Let sit for at 15-30 minutes, so the flavors have time to blend together.
  2. Pour over hot potatoes, and add more salt to taste if needed.

1 comment:

  1. you had me dancing to your words when you said chopping and mincing , stirring and tasting ... i began snapping my fingers and and getting into the rhythm of your cooking and even I started to feel better..... Those potatoes ..... yes yes yes...... Ahhh what a picture ..and i love the picture of your bike