We managed to make it to the farmers markets at the Collingwood Children's Farm this weekend. I love the farmers market, partly because I can buy potatoes by variety from the lady who grows them and knows lots about them, and partly because I can also find the occasional weird thing that I would never see in a greengrocer (even a good one!). Like these.
These odd stalky-looking things are cardoons. Cardoons are similar to artichokes in flavour, and they're also both thistles, but cardoons are the stem rather than the flower. A chat with the grower gave me an idea of what was involved in their preparation, and a flick through a few recipe books when I got home found a helpful section in Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book. Basically, you peel off the outside stringy bits and simmer them in acidulated (lemon juicy) water until tender. You can then do whatever you like with them, like fry them in olive oil and garlic, crumb them and turn them into cardoon chips, roast them in the oven sprinkled with parmesan... In my daughter's words: Um-num-num-num...
This week's menu plan:
Monday: Roasted fennel, cardoon and olive pasta (and it was good, too! Cardoons really are rather yummy)
Tuesday: Pumpkin & feta fritters (a sleep-deprived parent and child meant this one didn't happen. Pizza anyone?)
Wednesday: Coq au vin (Masterchef mag #4, p. 118, hoping the leftovers will kick-start the freezer stocking process that might get us through the first few weeks of dual parenthood...)
Friday: Salmon, chickpea and lemon frittata (Masterchef #4, p. 48)
Saturday: Beef bourguignon (from freezer)
Sunday: Soup (from freezer)
Hopefully the menu plan will be more indicative of what we're actually eating for the rest of this week...