Friday, March 27, 2009

Salad Shmalad

I had the pleasure of enjoying a lovely stroll to the ferry building, otherwise known as food heaven, this past Wednesday to gather groceries & some tasty eats. This is my happy place, much like a good song, the ferry building can instantly dig me out of the darkest's magical (see right for those of you non-SF dwellers). After visiting my friendly Golden Gate Meat Company butcher & acquiring a 6 lb pork shoulder, which for future reference will easily feed 5 people 2 full meals and then some, I head to Boulette's Larder. While I'm always intrigued by the top notch ingredients collected from far & wide at the Larder, I have an overwhelming urge to jump in the open kitchen & jazz hand it up a bit. Little stiff, but that's beside the point (there is a point...promise). My conversation with the slightly stiff lovely lady at the register was as follows...

S: Hi! What do you have that would be veggie & delicious for lunch (I had been on a meat heavy, so it was a designated veggie day)?

Lady: Well, the carrot soup & mixed greens would be a good option.

S: (ummmm...mixed greens? SNOAR) Hmmm...I don't usually go for the mixed greens.

Lady: They ARE the best greens. Picked yesterday, served today.

S: Ohh alright (reluctant as all get out). I'll try the carrot soup & the mixed greens.

Pay, wait, walk back to work, and settle in at my desk to enjoy my seasonal & alleged super-fresh lunch. As I unwrap my unbleached paper-wrapped 100% compostable basket of greens, I am thrilled to find the explosion of bright green & purple beauty. My first (and last) bite was equally as exciting. Actually, I do not believe I have ever enjoyed a salad the way I enjoyed this one. Simple fresh greens with a variety of bitterness & flavor, some parsley, fennel frawn, & a simple olive oil & lemon dressing. Perfectly salted. Delicious. The lady, while slightly stiff, did not lead my astray. My point being...the key is in the freshness!
I know, I know...not everyone lives in a place where such freshness is readily available, but I'm convinced we can find it...sometimes it can even find us! Check it out:

CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) are popping up around the country (Sconi friends & family...there are actually quite a few at your disposal) providing fresh seasonal ingredients from your local farmers. Some colder climates only offer partial year programs, but it is a wonderful way to support your local farms in season & enjoy fresh ingredients (mostly) for less than what you would pay at the grocery. There are several different set to your door, pick up locations, prepay, pay by delivery, etc. This site will tell you all about it & help you find a CSA near you. It's a great alternative if a delightful farmers market is not within reach on a regular basis.
Sign up & say good-bye to the shmalad salad!

Word on the street is that our maple leaf loving neighbors to the north have recently given birth to the first cheese specific CSA! Pretty genius, eh?

The carrot soup was delicious as well, as expected. Just in case you were curious.

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