Here’s what’s happening in the garden this week:
My daughter’s sixth birthday present, a weeping mulberry, is starting to leaf!
The citrus blossoms smell divine!
The grape leaves are sprouting.
And Anna and Dorset Golden apples have started to grow.
I picked this watercress from the vegetable garden.
I didn’t really have any great uses for it (other than watercress and butter tea sandwiches–and who eats them?), so I’d let it grow all over the place. It was choking my little sweet pea seedlings and creeping into my spring onions. I was hoping for some inspiration…and then it arrived! I was looking through “Plenty,” the fabulous new vegetable cookbook by the London chef, Yotam Ottolenghi, and came upon his recipe for Green Lentils, Asparagus and Watercress. I was thrilled. In the Cuisinart, I whipped up the watercress with garlic, parsley, olive oil and red wine vinegar and, when the lentilles du Puy were cooked, I tossed them together. Later that night, I tossed the lentils with cooked asparagus and more watercress for dinner with friends. Ottolenghi serves the salad with pecorino or Manchego, but I chose to serve it with creamy burrata. It was perfect!
(FYI, our next course was halibut cooked in parchment with sliced kumquats and spring onions–both from the garden–a bit of olive oil and some orange juice. I forgot to add thyme, which it really could have used. I served the fish with a lemon risotto and we drank a lovely vin gris of pinot noir, brought by our friends, from Robert Sinskey Vineyards.
For dessert, we had this chocolate bunt cake from the Bi-Rite Market’s Eat Good Food cookbook, which we topped with scoops of blood orange gelato.
It had been a warm day and the evening was mild. We had dinner on the porch, where the scent of those citrus blossoms occasionally wafted by.)
Spring, I’m thrilled to announce, has arrived in Santa Monica!