Monday, July 5, 2010

Blanched and Gingered Pea Salad

Today I am reminded that rain comes from a cloud, vegetables come out of the ground, and friendship is born out of adversity. The market was a quiet ghost town this morning, not the bustling crowd that we expected. I stood at the demo stand, quietly shucking peas, hoping that a few more people would gather before the 10:30 demo. I was tired. I was feeling shy. I was dressed too warmly and I was beginning to break a sweat.

The farmers market is a family run non-profit business. Larry, Sandy, and their daughter Rachel, are wonderful people and a true joy to work for. Even though all the chairs in front of my tent were empty, they just kept gathering equipment, as though preparing for a rush of people to come in and start demanding salad. The growers eyed me from over their shoulders. They have gotten used to me walking around asking questions, but still they seem wary.

"What are you cookin?" Asked one of the orange vested market workers.
"She's gonna cook you breakfast" Larry joked.
"I am doing a demo" I said "I'm going to make a couple of salads".
"oh" the man said "I was hopin it was bacon and eggs".
A light bulb went off over Larry. "We can do that, I'll go get the ingredients!" Larry said, and he rushed off.

As 10:30 approached, two friends came shuffling in. They sat down and grinned up at me, waiting for the private show to begin. Sandy handed me a microphone. The speaker wailed some feedback.
"hello?" my voice boomed, I cleared my throat.
"HELLO AND WELCOME" I shouted, pasting the words over my fear, blanketing myself with a cape of self confidence. My heart started to pound at a running cadence. People began to gather and fill up the chairs. Normally, people come and go in waves when a demo is going on, but today, with so few people around, to leave the talk would have been noticeable. Out of social obligation most people stayed until the end, and since we had an intimate crowd, I got to know them and they got to know me. Many of the people who gathered were runners, and we had a good time sharing running tips as well as cooking.

After the demo, Larry showed up with eggs, bacon, and cheese. Including the vegetables, I had everything I needed to cook something spectacular for the farmers. I was asked to make breakfast for every grower at the market. It wasn't something I had planned on doing, but I had a blast doing it. As we began our cleanup after everyone had been served, the farmers came over, one by one, to offer thanks. They brought peas, tomatoes, or cheese curds. Some of them just brought over a smile. I felt welcomed into their village, and felt I had an important role as a part of the community.

On my way home, a single dark cloud rained down, dumping heaps of water onto my windshield. A moment later I was driving on a dry sunny street. The change happened so quickly that I hardly had time to be upset about the rain.

I made this salad in honor of the farmers.

Blanched pea and gingered carrot salad
shell about 2 cups of Queen Anne or English peas
blanch them in boiling water (about 2 min) then shock in an ice bath to stop the cooking.
cut 6-8 small carrots into matchsticks.
Heat 1 Tbsp grape seed oil and 1/8 tsp salt
add 2 tsp mirin and carrot sticks
cook 2 min, then add 4 diced garlic scapes
add 3 green onions, diced.
remove from heat and mix with peas
add 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 cup finely chopped green or red lettuce

Christina's vote: "This salad helped me find my way"

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