Sweet Springtime

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I adore the month of June--the sweet smell of honeysuckle (my favorite aroma), fireflies, and fresh, flavorful, new minted produce. (The best thing I've ever read about honey suckle was by Judith Kranz who wrote something like: "honeysuckle is the pure distilled essence of longing."I forget from year to year how all i want to do this time of year is cook and bake with the exquisite produce that comes into season. Last week I did a posting on green garlic which I got at the wonderful Union Square Farmer's Market. On that same day I enjoyed the day neutral strawberries which are a cross between strawberries and fraises de bois--poignantly vibrant and sweet. I did have an unfortunate experience with a large box of other strawberries that had no flavor what-so-ever but turned them into a smoothy with last years' peaches and plums from the freezer and tangy goat milk yogurt. It's amazing how they actually dominated after adding honey and lemon juice which brought out the hidden flavor. True one can now buy duck eggs at Whole Foods but they taste hardly different from chicken eggs. The goat cheese and yogurt stand, however, had free range duck eggs--the yolks orange and the scrambled eggs I made from one of them so flavorful I started thinking about the pasta I'm going to make with them and anchovy mayonnaise. (See what I mean about abandoning all other activities. Yesterday, in Hope, I ran over to my friend Maria Menegus's farm to pick up some freshly picked cherries for my father's annual cherry pie (this one for his upcoming 96th birthday!). We do have a small cherry tree but here's the full extent of what the birds left for me. Maria gave me heaps of treasures from her garden: little new redskin potatoes, pristine spinach, golden and red beets, strawberry rhubarb, and the most delicious strawberries I've had in years. I ran home and in the two hours I had before leaving for NY cut and stored all the produce, made 4 ounces of the rhubarb into a compote (2 1/2 minutes in the microwave), chilled it and served it as dessert with large scoops of strawberry ice cream, and Maria's magnificent strawberries. Heavenly!