penne, cucumber, garlic, scallion, dill, purple radish; melon


Ten minutes before I started this meal, although I knew it would involve pasta, I still had no idea in which form, or what the sauce would be. I began assembling it in my head by thinking of all the tomatoes I had on the window sill, plus the small sweet peppers and cucumbers in the crisper, and I weighed the hypothetical ‘expiration dates’ of each vegetable. In the end, because I actually had 2 kinds of cucumbers (one the gift of a farmer friend), and because I decided the peppers and tomatoes could all hold on a little longer, cucumis sativus won the toss.



Then I almost included a few of the little peppers, or one tomato or more (heirloom or cherry), but went the more minimal route, trusting in the drawing power of a good cucumber combined with a few good herbs and spices.

Yes, the pasta dish was entirely improvised.

  • two sliced garlic cloves from Norwich Meadows Farm sautéed in a large, enameled cast iron pan in a little olive oil until beginning to become pungent, a tablespoon or so of dried fennel added, stirred, allowed to heat for a minute, 2 sliced red scallions from Hawthorne Valley introduced and stirred, sautéed until they had softened, some crushed dried Sicilian pepperoncino from Buon Italia added and also stirred in, 2 handfuls of half inch-slices of small Persian cucumbers, already sautéed in another pan (large, black cast iron) until thy had begun to brown, tossed in and mixed with the other ingredients in the large pan, 9 ounces of a Rigatoni (made with an organic hard durum whole wheat, ‘Senatore Cappelli’) from Foragers Market which had been cooked al dente, tossed in and stirred, some chopped dill from Keith’s Farm tossed in, everything mixed and divided into 2 bowls (there was more than enough for a second helping for each of us), tossed with homemade sautéed breadcrumbs which had been ground up from the heels of a variety of great breads, sprinkled with purple radish micro greens from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • the wine was an Oregon (Willamette) white, Kings Ridge Pinot Gris 2014

There was a dessert, also improvised, but requiring almost no decisions.




  • half of a small Snow Leopard melon (a small honeydew variety, with firmer flesh) from Norwich Meadows Farm, along with halved black California figs from Whole Foods