Hi. Still recovering from the weekend. So much movement! So many people. But in a good way. And in the aftermath, I do have this to share: a roasted cauliflower and ricotta spaghetti from Real Simple. So good, so easy. And perfect for using up the last of the tomatoes from the freezer. My goal for tomorrow is to get in this year's plants—grafted tomatoes and eggplants—from our friend Joe. Thank you, Joe, for being a more organized gardener than I am. 

In the meantime, things march on. The strawberries are still green but getting bigger, and the raspberries and black raspberries are forming tiny heads. The peas are halfway up their trellis, the arugula's ready to pick, and the rhubarb is already forming seed heads. And asparagus! I am almost sick of it.

I hope all is well in your neck of the woods.


This recipe is simple and tasty to boot. It serves 4.

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 pound spaghetti
2 cloves garlic, chopped
28 ounces of diced tomatoes
6 anchovies
fine-grain sea salt and black pepper
1 cup ricotta
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Arrange the cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and roast about 25 minutes, or until golden and tender.

Meanwhile, put on a pot of water for the spaghetti. Bring to a boil and cook according to the maker’s instructions.

Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, anchovies, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes.

To serve, put a serving of pasta in each bowl. Top with sauce, ricotta, cauliflower, and pine nuts. Taste and add salt as needed. Enjoy hot.


GREY BARN FARM // the local food report

If you have a moment, click on over here to listen to this week's Local Food Report on Grey Barn Farm. In a nutshell? Eric and Molly Glasgow raise cows on grass, gather the milk, have their cheesemaker Jacqueline Foster curdle it, and turn the curds into high-end cheese. Then they feed the whey to their pigs, which eventually get turned into pork. It's a pretty cool closed-loop system.

Oh! and Molly's a designer, and takes stunning photos of the operation, as you can see above and below.

Next week: we'll talk cheese!



The other day the girls and I were in the car, going to meet Alex at the Shack so that he could take over kid duty and I could go to work. Sally was dressed up so that she could "help" for a few minutes before they went home to have dinner and take a tub. As we were crossing Railroad Ave, she piped up from the back seat. 

"Sorry, Mama," she said. 

"Why are you sorry, Sal?" I asked.

"Sorry, Mama. You have two kids!" I asked her why this made her sorry. "Well right now Nora's a baby, Mama," she explained. "But when she grows up you're going to have two kids! Two kids is a lot of work."

I have no idea if she came up with this on her own, or if she overheard this sort of refrain from me or another adult. Either way it was a good reminder: two kids is a lot of work, and it is also exactly what I've always wanted. 

I told myself this story again this morning, after a night when Sally wet the bed and Nora spiked a fever and my Tuesday that was planned for daycare and working on a new radio show turned into a day that is sure to be filled instead with nursing and laundry and drying tears. But I have two sweet, healthy girls, and nothing is more important. 

I don't have long before Nora wakes up again. But before I go there's one more thing I'd like to share. The asparagus is up, and we've picked it twice. It is everything that winter is not: green, snappy, pungent. Blanched and salted and cut into two-inch lengths, then tossed with peppery arugula, creamy Parmesan, and a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice, it tastes like relief. I think spring is finally here, friends.


This is so simple it seems a bit silly to call it a recipe, but here it is. It really only works with very fresh asparagus—we cut it right before dinner, so the stems are still snappy and supple. 

a handful of asparagus spears (about half a bunch that would be sold in a store or market)
several handfuls of arugula (about 1/4 pound)
Parmesan, for shaving
juice of 1/2 lemon
good, strong olive oil (I like unfiltered best)
sea salt and pepper to taste

Cut the asparagus into two-inch lengths and place in a shallow saucepan with water. Bring the water to a boil and steam for 1-2 minutes, or until the asparagus is barely fork-tender. Drain and plunge into ice water.

Meanwhile, arrange the arugula in a salad bowl. Use a carrot peeler to grate Parmesan ribbons over top. Add the asparagus, squeeze the lemon juice over top, and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, then toss gently and serve at once.


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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.