It feels like spring has committed to the East Bay. Since early last month its been on and off with the cold rainy weather and the almost warm sun that we have most of the year. But the explosion of vegetables in the market over the last two weeks has been astounding. I really like the Tuesday Berkeley Market. Its pretty small, and very crowded. I sometimes get squirrelly because I am going to run into people I know and have to talk to them. (I am not cut out for urban living.) I asked the woman working the Four Sisters Farm stand when they would be getting in purslane. She told me between two weeks and a month. I am getting excited for the return .
I have some nettle vinegar steeping in my cabinet and I look forward to making purslane vinegar soon too. The nettle vinegar is for all sorts of things, but mostly for calcium. The vinegar breaks down the calcium in the nettle leaves so that its easily absorbed by the body. It provides 150-200mg of usable calcium per tablespoon. Its less than you get from pharmaceutical sources i.e. calcium supplements, but is easily used by your body. The purslane vinegar will be primarily for omega 3. I have been taking omega suppliments on and off for a while. I am quite down on supplements in general so I will be happy to have the vinegar in a few months. I would also like to get some cod liver oil, not capsules because there is a strong chance that the ones that are in the capsules have gone rancid and there really is no way to tell, as you cannot smell them.
I made roast chicken breast last night. It went off well. I had some itsy bitsy blue potatoes from Berkeley Bowl and spring garlic with the stems attached. I halved the garlic bulbs and lay them down in a small casserole dish with the potatoes. I put the chicken on top, smeared it with butter, lay some lemon slices on top and sprinkled it all with rosemary, salt and pepper. It was quite tasty. My favorite parts were the spring garlic bulbs and the crispy lemon slices. While that stuff was baking I chopped up the garlic stems and sauted them in butter. When they were all tender I added lemon juice and poured it all over lightly steamed asparagus. WOW! Tonight I am going to make flattened artichokes. My parents sent me some artichoke recipes and as it is the beginning of "there are so many artichokes" season, I am going to bust through them all.
I was disappointed today. I hadn't made yogurt in a month or two and my culture had gone bad. I brought it on the plane from New York in January. The yogurt I made with that culture was never quite right so I'm not that upset. It took 12 or more hours to set up and then it was way liquidy. So I'll keep up the search for a delicious yogurt over here. It think St. Benoit might work, I'll get some when I shop next week.
Oh, I decided to experiment today and I tied some lavender into an old sock and threw it in the dryer with my clothes. It smelled delightful. I am super allergic to chemical fragrances so I can't use any detergents that have smelly stuff, not even essential oils. Hopefully this won't give me contact dermatitis. I would love to be able to make my laundry smell pretty.