Sunday, January 3, 2016

Making something out of nearly nothing

If you looked at my garden on this cold January day, all you would see is some blown-around cardboard and lots of straw. I've been steadily working to get plain cardboard down and straw piled on top in my on-going experiment to contain the weeds in my garden.

If you bothered to move back some straw in the far back corner, you would see the tops of green garlic poking through the earth. I planted 80 some-odd hard-neck bulbs back in November and with the mild weather of late, the young garlic has come up. Technically, it won't be ready for harvest until mid-spring, with the scapes coming along in June, and the final harvest of garlic bulbs in August.

But it is Sunday night and we have barely left the farm in over a week. Not much in the refrigerator. Earlier today, I unfroze a single halibut filet that I found in the downstairs freezer and I've been thinking about what I might do to it to turn it into dinner.

I was looking through my Sunday Suppers at Lucques cookbook this afternoon and happened upon a recipe for wild striped bass with farro, black rice, green garlic and tangerine. The photo was stunning, with its white fish, black rice, green garlic, creamy farro and bright citrus. In the book, Suzanne Goin, Los Angles chef and author, showcases meals from her restaurant's Sunday night, set-menu dinners. She organizes the book by season and this particular recipe is found under Spring. 

It is not spring. It is winter. But I remembered the garlic sprouts in my garden and so I set out to harvest some. While snooping around, I found the last little bits of thyme, a handful of parsley, some sprigs of mint and some baby spinach -- none of which had suffered from frost. Oh, and I found one small carrot still hiding out in one of the porch barrels. I was all set.

Once back inside, I looked in my pantry for some Chinese black rice. Came up empty, but did find part of a cup of wild rice, and it was black. I didn't find any farro, but did find some millet.

So, I'm planning to substitute halibut for wild striped bass, millet for farro, wild rice for black rice, spinach for pea shoots, orange zest for tangerine zest, and I'll throw in the carrot for some added color, but other than that, I'll follow Ms. Goin's recipe to the T.

And that's how I'm planning to make something out of nearly nothing. Bon app├ętit!

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