Choi sum

I wake up on farm workday mornings and lie in bed thinking of what to cook for lunch. I have particular limitations about what I consider a meal, and, soups aside, I usually feel compelled to incorporate starch or protein with the veggies. I made (whole wheat, perhaps not entirely authentic) steamed buns filled with choi sum at the last workday of 2009, but I decided to switch cuisines and make pasta today.

Choi sum is a variety of mustard, but the flowering stalks are the peccant part. They have an incredible flavor, without a trace of mustardy bitterness, but a full, savory deliciousness. Two weeks ago, they were just starting to bloom; today I got a big bowl full. The purple stems are beautiful against the green leaves.

I chopped them up while the onion was frying.

(Every single time I start to cook something at the farm, I start by frying onions in olive oil, and immediately I get appreciative comments.)

I decided I wanted a bit of bitterness, so I picked some other greens, too. (Here they are posing with the onion.)

I added the chopped greens to the pan with the fried onion.

And then I stopped taking photos of food. But I seasoned these greens with salt and dried, crushed chiles and served them with pasta. Somehow the cooking went faster than it usually does, so I then got out a largish acorn squash, peeled and seeded it, and cooked it in lots of olive oil, too, again seasoned with salt and chiles. And then I went and picked a couple of pretty lettuces and made a salad. We switched the workday to Saturday, which prevented Todd from coming until he reorganizes his own schedule, so we didn’t get his usual bounty. But there was lots of lovely bread, both beer- and corn-, and everyone got plenty to eat.

After lunch, a peacock was displaying for a peahen, but kept turning away from me when I tried to get a photo of him, so I had to settle for taking a picture of his butt.

And all of the geese and ducks took a field trip away from their pond, and then came back in a honking, waddling line, with the chickens and guinea fowl straggling along.