I read a lot of cookbooks. I mean a lot, a lot. I read them for fun, like novels, taking in the stories and beautiful photography, for research, looking at the science of how ingredients blend together and what I can create on my own, like poetry, how the components all marry together on a plate just so and for work, helping me pick the perfect book every month to review for the Just Food monthly column I write. I wouldn’t say I’m the authority, but I have some opinions.
It’s no secret that I’m a cookbook hoarder. Every time I try to “declutter” my collection I end up tossing one or two books, only to replace them with another three or four. But it’s the cookbooks that stay in my collection, the ones with dog-tailed pages and olive oil spilled across the pages that hold a special place in my heart. After owning it for just a few weeks, The New Greenmarket Cookbook easily earned a treasured place. Written by Gabrielle Langholtz, the book features 100 recipes that celebrates each and every season.
If you look hard enough there are still just a few peaches left. I almost overlooked them at the Fort Greene Farmer’s Market last week, mistaken them for another variety of apples among the already half a dozen or so other bins. Between canning, crisping and just straight out eating, I feel like I’ve gotten my fill of peaches for the summer. But when the last of a harvest is about to leave you for almost a full year, somehow you find the need to buy just a few more.
Loving the brightness of the red onions against the muted carrots and greens
Summer gives me food anxiety. Every time I go to the market, not matter if it’s been a day or a week, there’s something new. I’m now spotting peaches, apricots, sweet corn, hot peppers, lemongrass and so much more. The pressure of wanting to buy everything, knowing that there is only so much my husband and I can consume before it starts to spoil is almost too much to handle. Winter’s easy. There are a finite amount of greens and root vegetables to choose from, plus shelf stable items, making it easy to create a menu. But summer meals are based off what looks good. It’s very hard to narrow down a dish when everything looks so good.
It just isn’t spring without asparagus. I slept in a little last Saturday. I knew I had to get to the greenmarket early to guarantee the freshest produce, but with the weather being extra soggy, I figured an extra hour wouldn’t really matter. Boy was I wrong. Note to self: Greenmarket shoppers are hardcore. Rain, sleet, snow or torrential downpour. They’ll be there, especially during the early weeks of spring where a bunch of green asparagus or rosy red rhubarb is like a blinding ray of sunshine among an otherwise grey day. So if you want the good stuff, you better be there bright and early too.