All ‘chocked up!

Artichoke season is upon us.  I can’t help but pick them up these beauties from the farmer’s market. Partially because they still remain a mystery to me.  What’s one to do with that exoskeleton of tough scales?  I know, I’ll watercolor it!

I must admit, I am still mastering the art of artichoke carving and preparation.  But they will get my asparagus treatment, splitting them in half and baking them with a welcome smattering of garlic, lemon zest, parmesan and breadcrumbs.  I need your help, dear readers.  Please send me your favorite artichoke recipes!

Radishes & butter.

Terraces and cigarettes.  Rosé and the summertime.  Radishes and butter.  Radishes and butter?  Yes! As a Ranch-dipping American, this came as a bit of a surprise to me .  (How does one butter a radish?  Have the French found an excuse to dip things into butter now?  I admit to sneaking single-serving Country Crock packets under restaurant tables as a kid, but this is absurd!) In France, butter is the assigned spouse to radishes, with a sprinkle of extramarital sea salt just to keep things interesting.  Although everyone does it differently, according to mon mari qui fume, the butter to my radish, the radishes are cut into four parts which create the surface area for the butter.  The beauty of the pairing instantly makes itself clear; the smooth butter flatters the crisp, occasionally spicy radish.  Give it a try!  Anyone know where to get some Country Crock around here?

Even the kiwis are French!

I am a real foodie now!  I’ve started buying locally and seasonally.  Farewell, sweet bananas and pineapples from faraway.  See you sporadically!  However, I made a recent discovery.  Over Christmas vacation, we spent a few days at a friend’s cottage in the mountains near La Cévennes.  The only fruit in the house were tiny kiwis no bigger than my thumb.  And they were local, harvested just nearby.  I always assumed that kiwi’s acidity and zippy vitamin C meant their origins were more tropical than domestic.  But as winter fruit, they add a bit more variety to the apples, clementines, and grapefruits that fill the colder months.  But since Spring has sprung, I should scrap this watercolor.  It’s completely out of season!

Does this discovery come as a surprise to you, too?