Saturday, January 20, 2007


Anna invited us to post about terroir. Local flavor. The taste of the earth where you live.
I thought about it, and I fell into a blasé self righteousness: Hah, terroir is so damn easy in Marin.
Then I went to my vendor at the Marin Farmers Market, and asked: Is this stuff local? I'd recently read that some of their stuff was grown down south; something I didn't know before now. Yup. He said, "It's from our southern operation, mostly, except for the chard."
Ooh. That changes things.
Think about it: I'm buying produce from Star Route Farms, a Bolinas-based farm, and... well, if you don't ask, you don't know that the produce is not local. Ask!
My take on it, though, is that I want to support my local farmer, even if he (she) has to farm off the local grid. And so I did.
(Details: Little Gem lettuces, golden beets. Not local.)
Still, I wanted to participate in Anna's "terroir" challenge. So despite all the vegetables, which are not local, I more than made up with serious, super, local terroir in the form of a dressing for the veggies: Wine, honey and butter.
Come on! Has anybody ever put a butter-based dressing on salad? Well, I did, and it was superb.
My thinking: Nothing is more "terroir" than wine. My Pey-Marin Pinot Noir
is totally local, and a fine wine it is. We drank a little glass with our salad, and my mouth detected local minerals (I hope I don't sound like a total flake) — it was like tasting the natural residue of my county. In a good way.
OK, then. I reduced down some wine by at least half, and then stirred in some local honey — and I'm going to go on record as saying I think you can't get a lot more local than local honey. Man does not intervene to create this fabulous product. Enjoy.
Finally, I kicked up this wine-honey dressing with some local butter. I have two choices of local butter in my foodshed (heh), and I think the tastiest is Clover... But I chose Straus today because it's in my county.
And so I made this salad, and it was — OMG — really wonderful. Really.



Tammy said...

Butter? In salad dressing? Is that legal? Wait, how much butter? Melted, right?

Well, now this changes everything.

anni said...

Oh my stars! At first glance I instantly recognized those beautful golden wedges of delicate beets.

It brings back memories of my first taste of these golden orbs. Roasted to deep amber and drizzled with cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil with a shy kiss of balsamic vinegar. A sprinkling of fleur de sel and a smidgeon of fresh herbed chevre. An earthly delight....Nanu . . .Nanu.

Anni :-)

Derrick said...

I might assert that honey expresses terroir more obviously than wine, especially in California, where the grapes tend to be overly ripe and the cellar treatment tends toward the oaky.

cookiecrumb said...

You tell me, Tammy. You went to cooking school!
Yeah, melted into the reduced red wine. It does congeal a bit on the lettuce leaves, but the flavor is -- illegal!

Anni: Easy to roast beets; don't even have to peel them first. I left mine in the oven a lot longer than I intended, and they just got richer and better. Cranky wants more, today. Already.

Derrick: Thank you for that! I don't like cosmetics on my wine. And I deeply admire you for appreciating local honey.

Tea said...

"tasting the natural residue of my county."

Just don't let me catch you out in the back yard licking the dirt. That's when I stage the intervention.

Salt is one thing, dirt is something else entirely.

Catherine said...

that salad looks awesome! I wish I was eating that right now!

Great piece on the locals. I must get my hands on that wine.

Dagny said...

I haven't had the Straus before and usually buy Clover. Thanks for the info about the honey though. Although I love the stuff from the woman up in Sebastopol, I see that this other one I can actually buy here in Berkeley. I'll have to give it a try.

cookiecrumb said...

Hey, Tea: Yep, I'm nutso. Probably a bad choice of words. A few weeks ago I described some Champagne as tasting like Alka-Seltzer. (I need an editor?)

Catherine: This wine's for you! I buy it at Mill Valley Market. (This salad's for you too. I forgot to mention that the cheese was Cowgirl Creamery Pierce Point.)

Dagny: I hate to get all new-agey, but I swear, using local honey in my diet (I stir a small spoonful into my tea every morning) is statistically congruous with a steep decline in my hay fever.

Greg said...

Mmmm...Butter in salad dressing? Now you got my attention.Butter does make every thing mo. better

rachel said...

I've been into trying new honeys lately. I'll have to order some.

I've heard the wines from Marin County are awesome! Hopefully I can find some Pey-Marin Pinot Noir near me.

cookiecrumb said...

Rachel: I recommend you look for local wine. I don't know what Florida's up to (I remember bringing an entire mini California wine cellar to Winter Park in the trunk of our car...). But Marin wine might not make you happy -- especially at the price.
Honey - now, you can order that online (and you can order Pey-Marin online, so never mind what I said). I've heard outstanding things about Hawaiian white honey. Even so -- try your local stuff.

Pattie said...

I'm with you on the honey, Dagny. See FoodShed ( posts on local, raw honey and lots of other local food and issues.

By the way, I especially like that term, terroirism!