Simple spring stuff

May 7, 2015



The roadside produce guy has set up shop, ensuring me that spring has indeed sprung.

Much as I love the Farmers’ Market, some of my food dollars go to the produce stand that sets up at the old Citgo station site on Highland, west of WalMart/Brown’s Lane/Fazzoli’s. Because sometimes I want something in between Saturdays, or I want something that’s not quite yet in season here in Northeast Arkansas.

The stand opened sometime in the past week or 10 days, and I stopped by yesterday. Picked up new potatoes, zucchini and yellow squash for under 10 bucks, total. The proprietor pushed the tomatoes, which were quite nice-looking and professed to be “Florida vine-ripened.” I demurred, saying I’d wait for the locals. He sang their praises, and told me, “Pick you out one, and you can have it for a dollar.” So I did.

I came home and texted Child A, “How much do you love me? More to the point, do you love me enough for me to make you zucchini fritters?” She allowed she did, and we settled on zucchini fritters and creamed corn, from corn I’d frozen last summer. I would have sliced tomato; she would not, because she’s a weird child and doesn’t like fresh tomato. Go figure.

I grated the three small zucchini, added a sleeve of crushed Saltines, a couple of eggs and some half and half, and let the mixture sit for a bit. Got corn out of the freezer, dumped it in a skillet with some butter, let it thaw, and added a splash of half and half; let that simmer. Fried the fritters, sliced my tomato.

The corn was perfect. I continue to marvel at how much like fresh it tastes, and I look forward to putting up lots more corn this summer. The tomato was — acceptable, I guess. Certainly better than a grocery store tomato this time of year. It had a good taste, but that mealy texture a tomato gets when it’s refrigerated, which I guess these were for the transport from Florida.

Better’n nothing, though. I’ll have the rest of mine in a BLT later on today. Which will likely be a BAT, as I have avocado, but do not have lettuce. That’s better, anyway.

The fritters were disappointing. I think it had to do with the saltines. I had used some off-brand saltines, not Nabisco or Zesta. I think I’ll have to go back to the regular saltines for the next batch.

All in all, though, it was a completely acceptable warm-up to spring cooking, which ideally involves doing as little as possible to top-quality, fresh vegetables and letting the flavors of the food shine through.

Tonight, I think I have a package of pork chops in the freezer, and I’m thinking those with the new potatoes and squash-n-onions.  I might get ambitious and fry up some cornbread. Or not.

Nice to get an early jump on veggies. The problem  — now I’m wishing for okra, which I won’t get until significantly later in the summer. A summer dinner, though, of fried okra, creamed corn, purple hulled peas, squash-n-onions and sliced tomatoes — just feed me that for my last meal before I die. And don’t get in the way between me and seconds. Or thirds.

I can have that meal about the Fourth of July, and will have it at least once or twice a week from then through the middle of September, and mourn the components when they’re gone. I think I may try to get some okra in bulk this year, and freeze it.

I may need to be looking for a larger freezer, too.

What summer goodies can you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em just not wait for?



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