Lesser Known Produce Viand

7.14.07 bastille day viand . “lesser known produce” or … what do you do with THAT?  . annotated menu .


0. Entry Ritual/Amuse Bouche … Fig-Pomegranate Tapanade with Chevre on Crostini… growing up we had two fig trees in our back yard. aside from making a terrible mess, they produced the most wonderful fruit (so much we had to give bagfuls away to all our friends and neighbors). unlike traditional savory tapenades whose flavour focuses on the olive, this amuse takes advantage of the sweetness of figs and the tang of pomegranate creating a dense, fruity spread.


1 White & Spiked Gazpacho … We have come to associate Gazpacho with tomatoes while in its countries of origin (Spain & Portugal) Gazpacho is traditionally a cold, bread-based soup. Tonights version is inspired by Southwestern Cuisine. It is unusual because it uses mostly green ingredients: grapes, cucumbers, cilantro, scallions, and jalapeno. Almonds & cream provide body and give it a light color.


2. roasted eggplant & sautéed lambsquarter. we love roasted eggplant. the secret is use a lot of oil and cook it forever… lambsquarter is a wonderful wild weed. it’s very mild; you can eat it raw (tastes like spinach) or cooked (doesn’t take long!)


3. vine leaves stuffed with wild rice and apricots … grape vine leaves are the beautiful wrapper most commonly found in mediterranean cuisine. this particular variant admixes the traditional rice filling with Royal Blenheim apricots and a lovely feta (straight from the greek deli!) to give us a savory, sweet munchie. these particular apricots (and those in the cake below) come from See Ranch in San Luis Obispo and will only be with us for one more week.


4. Kristen’s favorite BLD (Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner) sandwiches… Kristen was one of the first people we taught to cook, and this sandwich is her favorite food which crystallizes simple, seasonal cooking. heirloom tomatoes on great bread with a little parmesan (reggiano from Bay Cities Deli), basil leaves from our plants, maldon sea salt, and fresh ground black pepper.


5. EGGs&PLANTs …  purslane is another great weed; it almost looks like a succulent. weeds usually contain more intense nutrients than cultivated vegetables, and it helps the farmers to buy them since they grow them for free…  this salad is just hard boiled eggs, purslane, Persian cucumbers. dressing just rice wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.


6. Pork Loin Stuffed with Figs, Olives and Almonds … Figs are finally in season! This dish is of Catalan influence where the combination of fruit and meat is common. The pork is from Rocky Canyon Farms in Atascadero, CA. You can find their products at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market on Wednesday and Saturday, and the Hollywood Farmers’ Market on Sunday.


7. Tomato Cornucopia … Picked fresh from the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market this morning. Side by side tasting of eight types of heirloom tomatoes: Crazy zebra, green zebra, cal-trans, ox heart, cherokee, persimmon, brandywine and pineapple. The darker the tomato, the less acidic and more sweet. I guarantee this week you’ll be at one of the markets looking for your favorite.


8. Cheddar Corn Buttermilk Biscuits with roasted peppers …  we learned to make our own butter with raw cream from the farmers market, then wondered what to do with the leftover buttermilk. apparently soaking the flour in the buttermilk makes it lighter and easier to digest. unfortunately hot cows make less cream, so organic pastures was sold out before we got to it today. the biscuits have fresh corn and cheddar cheese from Jersey Hill, a small calironia cheesemaker who sells at the farmers markets.


9. Grilled Peaches kissed by Chipotle & Vanilla … Grilling usually does not come to mind when I’m thinking about what to do with the abundance of summer fruit. It offers an interesting taste twist, especially when preparing fruit with spices usually not considered “suitable” for a desert, such as salt and chile pepper. This dressing uses fresh serrano as well as chipotle and green chile powder from New Mexico. (Chipotle is a dried, smoked jalapeno). The smokyness of the chipotle nicely off-sets the sweetness brought to the dish by the vanilla bean and fruit.


10. Apricot Raspberry Chocolate Truffle Cake …this yummy dense chocolate cake started as a last minute birthday cake for a friend of mine and has since become my signature. despite that, i’ve never been able to replicate it. the first time i made it, i glanced through 6 recipes, picked bits i liked and hoped for the best. here’s hoping tonight’s goes well!