Friday, April 24, 2009

Urban Farming, Chapter 3: Preparing for the Salad Days

Posted by on Fri, Apr 24, 2009 at 7:03 AM

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I first encountered arugula about 15 years ago, when I was sharing living quarters with a Cordon Bleu-trained chef whose idea of culinary heaven was a roasted chicken and a side salad of arugula tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and a scant shaving of parm. Served al fresco with a cheap bottle of ice-cold white, it was summertime perfection.

As a Londoner, she referred to arugula as "rocket," and she swore it was mildly addictive and would make our boobs grow. So we ate a lot of arugula.

I can't say the endless salad made me any more buxom, but I can vouch for arugula's being addictive. I've been hooked on its mustardy tang ever since.

As part of the ongoing effort to transform my less-than-a-quarter-acre property into a farm-let, I put out the arugula seeds last week, along with a medley of salad greens and some basil and cilantro. After a few generous days of rain, the tiniest of heart-shaped leaves are popping out of the ground in crooked rows. I like to think they are scouting for roast chicken and $6 chardonnay.

It remains to be seen whether the Foxes can sustain a chicken coop, but there's no shortage of cheap wine in the farmhouse fridge. When the arugula's ready in a couple of weeks, I'll be ready.

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