Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Unexpected Consequences

Thanks to Owen at Tomatilla, I've been "forced" to be creative in the kitchen. As if this Eat Local Challenge weren't requirement enough, I've now concocted a dish that's not only local, but uses a set list of ingredients. Called Paper Chef, this monthly event dares us to make up a dish for August using dried chillies, peaches, edible flowers, and something local.
Well, a house (and patio) full of "local" I've got, but flowers and chillies?
At first I thought of making a spicy fruit salsa, but I figured I wouldn't be the only one to do that. Rummaging through the fridge I came up with some Cowgirl Creamery clabbered cottage cheese that was nearing expiration. And suddenly I remembered that silly ladies' luncheon salad from the 50s, peach halves stuffed with cottage cheese, nestled on lettuce leaves.
That meant I could make the peaches the centerpiece, not just a topping.
I admit, I've used pluots from Sonoma in place of the peaches -- just got 'em Sunday at the farmers' market, and why waste 'em?
So: This is my salad. A bed of leaf lettuce from the patio (not quite 10 feet away), topped with sliced radishes from Star Route Farms in Bolinas (26 miles). Radishes are tossed with McEvoy olive oil (Petaluma, 20 miles) and a pinch of sea salt (France! So sue me). Atop this sits a nearly quartered, pitted pluot (maybe 30 miles), filled with above-mentioned cheese (Point Reyes Station, about 30 miles). This is sprinkled with dried, ground "paprika" -- it packs a bit of a punch -- from Happy Quail Farms in East Palo Alto (53 miles). And the crowning touch is wild fennel buds from the Mormon church parking lot across the street (hmm, 60 yards, max?).
I thought it would be a hodgepodge of flavors, but my mouth can't stop thanking me.
You're welcome, mouth.
And thanks, again, Owen.

11 comments:

Culinary Fool said...

I was the happy recipient of a bottle of freshly released McEvoy Olive Oil a couple of years ago. It was my first exposure and I've been a fan ever since - lucky you living so close!

~ B

cookiecrumb said...

Hey, you live on Bainbridge Island!? Man, how cool. I went to jr. high in Oak Harbor.
Can you not get McEvoy where you live? They sell online: http://www.mcevoyranch.com/buy/index.html
I bathe in the stuff. Though tonight for dinner, we branched out into Glen Ellen: The Olive Press. Pretty good.

cookiecrumb said...

Um, er, you don't live on Bainbridge Island, but you can see it.
Well, you're still lucky -- you have lavender.
:)

Jamie said...

Sometimes those "composed salads" from yesteryear are unexpectedly cool. I found a lima bean salad in vinaigrette in a cookbook my grandmother got for her wedding, and it has become a favorite around here. Yes, it has the dollop of mayo on top, but it's mayo mixed with horseradish. Rock and roll!

So what I'm trying to say is, it's a genre worth exploring, and you've given it a gorgeous modern twist.

cookiecrumb said...

Jamie: Thanks! I adore exploring old cookbooks; got a shelf-ful of them. I especially love the spiral-bound community efforts. (Yes! Dollop of mayo. You gonna blog the recipe?)

Jamie said...

I don't think the lima bean salad will make an appearance this month, since my lima bean crop has been, er, underwhelming (meaning that I have about five pods)! Darned deer, always "trimming" my produce! But I can e-mail it to you, and/or I can post it next time I make it...

cookiecrumb said...

J: You have deer! So do we, but in this townhouse, we're inside a fenced patio. What impresses me, though, is that you even have lima plants at all...
(Um -- I have ginger! Is that neat or what?)
xx

Jamie said...

Actually ginger would come in pretty handy right now. :-)

Jennifer said...

I love love love this! Sometimes simple is fabulous!

Thanks for taking part in Paper Chef this month.

sarah said...

wow - picture looks delicious! and good job on all the local local local!

cookiecrumb said...

Look, everybody! I have arrived. I got a comment from Sarah at The Delicious Life. xoxoxo
Thanks, Sarah. Can't stop thinking about that salad...