Friday, May 4, 2007

Arugula Blossoms


Before I went to culinary school, I worked in the fashion industry. It was never a perfect fit, but a wonderful stepping stone to finding my place cooking and writing about food – and something I stumbled into, quite literally, when a foot injury ended a fairly brief and inconspicuous dance career.

Regardless, fashion’s what I did for the 5 years after I left dance, and I managed to see quite a bit of the world, cleaning everyone else’s plates along the way. Too chic to eat? Come sit by me.

I also became close friends with my boss, whom I’ve mentioned before, and our friendship quickly transcended the office grind. Was it when I plead our crew’s way through customs in Jamaica and tracked down missing models in Marseilles? Was it when she nursed me through food poisoning in Rio and took me in for a summer like the urchin I was? However it happened, we became family. “She’s my wife too!” my friend ribs my husband every time we see her.

And so, when she called on me earlier this week and asked if I might help her on a job for old time’s sake, my answer was yes. It’s been 4 years since I saw the inside of a fashion magazine office, and I must say it’s lovely to be back at work with her for a few days.

Though we can’t help laughing about the differences. Yesterday she breezed in, as effortlessly stylish as ever, and I threw open my door with a mouthful of the arugula blossoms I’d discovered at the Windfall Farms greenmarket stand earlier that morning.

I couldn’t stop munching them throughout our meeting, though I felt rather bovine about the whole thing. I’m obsessed with the wild arugula I buy in great bundles at the Saturday market, so how could I resist when I spotted the little tubs of fragrant cream and yellow blooms?

They smell honey-sweet, and the flowers taste sweet too – especially the cream-colored ones. The unopened buds deliver a great verdant crunch, and the tender stems are peppery slivers of heat. It’s 3 snacks in 1, and we agreed it was a little like swallowing spring. I scrambled the remaining blossoms with some eggs for a quick lunch before my friend rushed off to her afternoon appointments. After all, a good wife wouldn’t let her go out into the world on an empty stomach now, would she?

Check the Farmer's Market Locater for sources near you.

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