Spread It Out

I said I wanted to use up what we have.  Mr. Savory gave me a skeptical look, but left me alone and went to sit outside with Olivia.

The nice thing about going on vacation a couple hours away to a rental house is that we empty out our fridge and pantry and bring whatever we think we might need with us.

Having just read the farmer's market chapter of In The Kitchen With A Good Appetite, Melissa mentions a technique she learned from an old boyfriend of coming home from the market and spreading out all your produce in a big bowl placed on your counter or table.  I believe his purpose was aesthetic (it looks so much nicer than in the fridge), but it works for me from a creativity standpoint as well.

Tamar Adler describes a similar practice, her thought being that you are more likely to get right to work cooking those colorful vegetables when they are right there in view, beckoning to you.

The other evening, our first real one after arriving, I took all our produce and cheese out of the fridge and arranged what I could in the biggest bowl I could find in this kitchen.  What didn't fit, I placed along the sides, so it was visible.  Granted, this was not a scene of beauty since most of my produce was in plastic bags and the cheeses were wrapped in white paper, but I could see what I had.

I stared for a few minutes and picked a starting point--fresh shelled peas.  They wouldn't work for a beach lunch and they didn't require turning on the oven in an already hot kitchen.

I remembered something about mashing peas and serving them on bread in An Everlasting Meal, so I put them up to simmer.  My vision was mashed peas atop toasted multi-grain baguette, with sliced boiled egg, shaved pecorino and mint leaves on top.

As I began to compose flavors and textures, I put away certain vegetables and the other cheeses. From what was left on the counter, I put together a salad of sliced Haruki turnips, black oil cured olives and sprouts.

We sat at our patio table with the dogs at our feet, looking up at the Cape May sky and ate our bounty from home.

Crostini with Mashed English Peas, Sliced Egg and Pecorino

Fresh, shelled peas, boiled until soft (I can never get fresh peas particularly soft...)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Hard-boiled eggs, sliced (about 1 egg per toast)
Baguette of your choice

Mash the peas as best you can with a little cooking water and olive oil added.  Pile onto toasts, place sliced egg and shaved pecorino on top.  Drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper on top.  Add torn mint leaves if desired.