Happy Sunday, my lovelies! What a bright and golden morning in Berlin!
Here, it’s an every-block occurrence to stumble upon an adorable bio-markt with baskets of fresh, green herbs and crisp apples flanking the grocer’s entryway. (The matter of my apartment’s border-location in the posh, artsy Prenzlauer-Mitte neighborhoods is a different story altogether. In many—if not most—other places throughout this second-most populous city in all of Europe, food-markets hawking ecologically-grown produce exist as a rarity, if at all. Environmental stewardship might be a benchmark of the new-agricultural revolution, but so is food-justice, and nothing defies the concept of sustainability more than only a wealthy, educated minority having easy access to healthy, organic fruits and vegetables. But this is a different cultural and economic narrative entirely, within which I admit my own, relative privilege—as well as conviction in contributing my voice to the true democratization of food production and distribution.)**
That said! Don’t you just love the delicious snap of spring asparagus? Inspired by New York Times‘ food-columnist Mark Bittman’s recent ode to these gorgeous, earthy spears, I staked them out at my local bio-markt. Asparagus is considered a regional delicacy in Northern Europe, and Germans take it seriously. Cool. I can hang with that. It’s certainly preferable to the country’s equally-lusty relationship with bratwurst!
Preparing asparagus is blessedly simple. Chop off the bottom-inch of the stalks, as they tend to be too tough for taste. Then, a splash of water and thimbleful of olive oil in a hot pan is all it takes. When cooking, always throw-in the sturdiest vegetables first, saving the darling delicates, like spicy arugula greens, for the very end. Heat these leaves just long enough for them to wilt. Into the mix, I also tossed a handful of golden-flax seeds, which not only lend a decadent nuttiness to a dish, but also act as a binding agent when cooked.
I plated my asparagus and arugula with fresh, chopped tomatoes that were so straight-from-the-farmers’-market-oh-my-god-good that I wanted to kiss the ground, thanking the soil and sun for its ever abundant blessings. And, instead of salt, I topped everything off with some lick-your-lips green olives.
Thank you, world; I love you and your ways. xoxo, abs
PS: If you’re interested in reading more about food-security, I encourage you to peruse journalist Michael Pollan’s website and oeuvre–if there’s anybody who has written more thoughtfully (not to mention prolifically) about the industrialized food system, I don’t know who it is. I tend not to obsess over boys, but Michael Pollan is one fellow for whom I possess the highest admiration and awe. His work as a writer and activist makes me proud to inhabit this planet along with him.