Fresh Almonds

Lugs and lugs of freshly harvested Price almonds at Chris Hays’ farmers’ market stand a few Saturdays ago set me off and running on the topic of almonds.

Price almonds, a soft shell variety, at Say Hay's stand at my farmers' market.  Photo © by Rick Wise. Left click on the image to see it full screen.

Price almonds, a softshell variety, at Say Hay’s stand at the Grand Lake farmers’ market in Oakland, California.
Photos © by Rick Wise. Left click on an image to see it full screen.

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Steeped Chicken

The Cantonese  have a technique for cooking a whole chicken by briefly simmering then steeping it awhile to finish the cooking. Translated from the

A steeped chicken coming out of its aromatic bath. Photo © by Rick Wise. Left click on the image to see it full screen.

A steeped chicken coming out of its aromatic bath.
Photo © by Rick Wise. Left click on the image to see it full screen.

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Crepinettes

Crepinettes are sausage patties wrapped in caul fat. Their name is derived from the French word for caul, crepine, hence crepinettes, or little caul packets. They’re an old-fashioned, easy and fun way to craft homemade sausages for a casual get together, especially good in summer when it’s likely to be grilling weather.

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Spiced Cherries

Piquant and sweet spiced cherries, usually called pickled cherries, are a specialty of southwest France where they make a perfect accompaniment to the

Pickled cherries with a sprig of Greek bay leaves from our backyard. Photo © by Rick Wise. To see the picture full screen left click on the image.

Spiced cherries with a sprig of Greek bay leaves from our backyard.
Photo © by Rick Wise. To see the picture full screen left click on the image.

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Charcuterie-Style Potato Salad

Charcuterie-style potato salad features “new” potatoes with cold cuts and no mayo. It’s perfect picnic fare, outside in warm weather, indoors by the fire when it’s cold.

Charcuterie-style potato salad with country pate, soppressata, and English peas. Photo © by Rick Wise. Left click on the image to see it full screen.

Charcuterie-style potato salad with country paté, soppressata, and English peas.
Photo © by Rick Wise. Left click on the image to see it full screen.

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Avgolemeno Sauce

Following the theme in my previous post of the chicken and the egg together in a pot, here’s a similar savory, warm, and beguiling herald to Spring. Called avgolemeno, meaning literally egg and lemon, it’s a classic of Greek cooking that can be either a sauce or a soup.

Ingredients for avgolemeno sauce or soup:chicken broth, eggs, and lemon. Photos © by Rick Wise. To see a photo full screen, left click on the image.

Ingredients for avgolemeno sauce or soup:chicken broth, eggs, and lemon.
Photos © by Rick Wise.
To see a photo full screen, left click on the image.

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Stracciatella: Italian Egg Drop Soup for Easter and Spring Colds

Stracciatella gussied up with shredded dandelion. greens.Photos © by Rick Wise

Stracciatella gussied up with shredded young dandelion greens. See the ingredient list for more spring greens variations. Photos © by Rick Wise

Piping warm homemade chicken broth afloat with egg curds is a quintessential Spring soup–simple, pure, uncomplicated, refreshing, soothing. The nutritious chicken broth is the main point. Together with the egg, it’s a paen to new beginnings and a celebration of health in an elegant opening for a Spring party or a delicate-yet-filling bowl of protein for an invalid in need of bolstering  The egg curds, or drops, offer a subtle bit of “chew,” like tiny gluten-free dumplings.

Ingredients for stracciatella. For best results, the broth should be homemade, the eggs newly laid from pasteured chickens, and the cheese genuine parmigiano reggiano or another of the noble hard grating cheeses of Italy.

Ingredients for stracciatella. For best results, the broth should be homemade, the eggs fresh from an organic farmer, and the cheese genuine parmigiano reggiano or another of the noble hard grating cheeses of Italy.

Makes  2 to 3 servings

4 cups chicken broth

1 packed cup thinly shredded spring greens, such as dandelion, spinach, nettles, watercress, fava bean leaves, baby turnip greens (optional)

2 large eggs

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano or other Italian hard grating cheese, such as aged Asiago or Romano

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley

Freshly grated nutmeg

Kosher or fine sea salt, to taste

1. Heat the broth in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until beginning to boil. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer. If using greens, add them now and cook until wilted, abut 2 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. Add the cheese and parsley and whisk to mix. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the hot broth. Let rest without stirring for a few seconds while egg curds form, then gently swirl the curds into the broth. Season with a few grates of nutmeg and salt to taste and serve.