Spices and Seasons – Spontaneity

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Not being much of a mystery writer, I shall dispel all notions about discovering a new spice right away! No, spontaneity is not a new spice that you had not heard of, however, it is indeed about my style of cooking. And, for that matter it needs to be a key ingredient for anyone who likes to cook with a seasonal accent. Especially, if you wish to make that a combination of seasonal and local eating. The simple reason for this is that nature is not predictable.

IMG_1058It has took me some getting used to this concept the first year of working with garden produce, since you can never really plan what you are getting. Take for example, this year with all the rain, we have had a very wet spring.

Chances are people have not been getting a lot of the typical spring produce later in the season. The wet weather has been really great for the lettuce and herbs, so lots of greens and fresh herb salads. So, this year, particularly the past few weeks, these herbs and lettuce have been taking center stage on my table.

I think that this was the first really interesting weekend at the farmers market, just in time for father’s day! The markets were busy and full of life. I tend to frequent the Pleasantville Farmer’s Market, and love the fact that the market has evolved into a fun and festive place to be.

Sure it is still the go to place for your local produce, but now there really is a lot more, starting with local bread sellers, vendors that offer you a quick bite on the go, and my interesting find of the day (especially relevant for fellow spice lovers) was a spice seller. She had a collection of different chili powders and rubs amongst other things. Just perfect, for grilling season!

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In today’s healthy universe, making a connection between spices and flavorful healthy food is not a stretch. I had a whole bunch of additional errands to run, so I did not have much time to spend at the spice lady’s stall, but will definitely be doing that one of these weekends and then offer you the complete lowdown of what she carries.

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Out and about, I breeze through stocking up on my weekly provisions, hearing the sellers lament about some rain damage to their farms. I can certainly tell you that while the rain has been great for the herbs, it has certainly delayed the growing season. I have been cautiously eyeing our tomato plants, wondering whether they will do well this year.

IMG_1062Meandering through. I was able to happily stock up on a selection of spring veggies, loved their vibrant hues and am looking forward to having them grace my table as the week evolves. I found, chard, carrots, radishes and some lovely spring onions. And, spring onions will be taking center stage as I use them to dress up a potato salad for tomorrow.

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There is a beauty to a classic potato salad, in fact, it tends to be a lot like a classic black dress, which is almost perfect by itself, but, can certainly lend itself to being dressed up. Now, with this dressed up, potato salad… do the accessories of peanuts, herbs and spring onions work? Try it and let me know! The father in our house liked it and maybe it will work in time for your fourth of July cook-out.

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About Author

Rinku Bhattacharya, the Spices & Seasons blogger, is a daytime financial professional, who spends the rest of her time immersed in food. Rinku is the author of the blog, Spice Chronicles (formerly,Cooking in Westchester), where she shares her life experiences, original recipes that combine Indian spices with produce from her backyard and local farmers markets. Rinku is blessed with a gardener husband, who always surprises her with a prolific and fresh supply of produce to keep her creative instincts flowing. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past six years. Rinku is also the author of the Bengali Five Spice Chronicles an award winning (Gourmand 2013) cookbook, that highlights and offers many simple Indian recipes off the beaten path. Her second cookbook, Spices and Seasons, uses the approach in this column and marries Indian flavors with local and seasonal produce. Rinku can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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