Thursday, August 25, 2005

Pay Attention: Ingredients

I've been observing this all month, and last night for dinner I tasted conclusive proof.
Local food tastes better.
It couldn't have been a simpler meal, and it's something we often have because of its simplicity and warm, comforting, earthy gooshiness: Baked potatoes with salt, butter, sour cream and chives.
The Sonoma sea salt arrived yesterday from SaltWorks, which is located in Redmond, WA. I am absolutely at a loss to give you any details about the Sonoma Gourmet company -- they have no web presence, other than a handful on online retailers, and the label tells nothing about it: no address, no phone number... only that the salt is produced on the West Coast of California from Pacific sea water "harvested in the USA."
Well, nonetheless. Beloved husband and co-cook and I each poked a finger into the bag. The salt is really nice tasting. Clean and pure, not strong or stinging in the throat -- kinda good!
So. We baked two enormous Yukon Gold potatoes from Peter Worsley's Farm in Inverness (Marin County). Opened them up and slathered them with Straus organic butter from Marshall (Marin County). Topped one half of each potato with Clover sour cream from Petaluma (Sonoma County) and the other half with whole-milk Saint Benoit yogurt from Bodega (Sonoma County). Sprinkled it all with chopped chives from my patio.
The good, clear flavor of the new salt was immediately evident, and it didn't wane throughout the meal. The potatoes were superb. The butter was not as buttery tasting as Clover's, but it's organic and comes from Marin -- and yet, it's farther away from our home than Petaluma.
The surprise was that the potato halves with the yogurt were twice as yummy as the ones with real sour cream. Less fat, twice the oomph. Imagine.


Sam said...

I am not entirely certain that St Benoit yoghurt would have a lot less fat than sour cream. Ibet if you strained it it would be even better on the potatoes!

Guy said...

Salt, love salt. One of the things I didn't get to do was show off my salts & peppercorns at the picnic.
Salt is fun.

cookiecrumb said...

Yeah, salt is fun. I have a salt collection too: Japanese, lotta cheese-eating-surrender-monkey salts, Hawaiian, Portuguese, hippie salt, kosher salt, gasp -- even some iodized salt. I smoked some in tinfoil in the smoker, but it just turned yellow.
Sam, I'd feel guilty straining it at that price, but I'd sure love it. We used to buy Pavel's in a quart-size tub but couldn't always get to the bottom before it turned green, so even at this price, I know we'll finish the SB every time.

Monkey Gland said...

As every your unceasing search for all that is good and local is an inspiration to us less mad than your o so mad self ;-)

I like Maldon Sea Salt. Crunchy Flakes. Yum

cookiecrumb said...

Yeah, crunchy flakes! That's one important salt I don't own yet. My reason? I have so many kinds of salt already in the pantry, I'm just waiting for more space.
Of course, my excuse for ordering the Sonoma salt is rock-solid, even if there's only a week left to go on this challenge. :-%
hey -- I thought you were off somewhere on a birthday orgy.
Nice to see you back.

Jamie said...

That sounds divine. No hope of local salt here, so I have been sneaking in pinches of my (as you so amusingly call it) cheese-eating surrender monkey salt. Mmm, French grey.

I have this fear that when I finally live in a place where I can get St. Benoit yogurt, I will blow my budget on it. :-)

Greg said...

Alton Brown did a show on salt. He showed a salt manufacturer in SF. I did a search and I think it is
That's within a 100 miles.

cookiecrumb said...

Yeah, Greg, that's the salt I've been using, in the form of Diamond Kosher. You ever see those evaporating ponds on the Peninsula from an airplane window? Creepy (and sort of enchanting) colors of red and I don't know what all. Go see some pictures