Friday, May 30, 2014

Best of Both Worlds - Local Ingredients & Mediterranean Flavors

Finally, the sun is shining and I don't need a jacket (hopefully I did not just jinx things)!  I know I talk a lot about eating locally grown, locally raised food - It tastes better, stays fresh longer and it supports the local economy.  And what could I possibly mean by "stays fresh longer"?

A week ago, I made dinner for my family and my daughter offered to bring some greens from her garden.  She actually harvests all year round, but I digress.   Of course I said "YES!!!"  so she arrived with a big zip lock baggie of everything from mezzuna, baby spinach, young kale, mache, along with chives and ... well whatever else was poking out of the ground.   We didn't use all of it that night.  The salad you see above, is one I made last night - an entire week after she picked it.  I was hopeful when I opened the bag that I could salvage some of the greens.  Imagine my delight when every green leaf was crisp and fresh and tasty!

I think about those packages of Spring greens and "fresh" herbs that I pick up at the grocery store with "best before" dates that are a week out and am truly bummed out when they don't actually make it past day 2.   But if you think about it.   Vegetables and fruit are picked, then sorted, crated, picked up for shipment, shipped (often across a continent) to a more local distribution center, then shipped to a store near you, placed on shelves and... voila!   Not exactly fresh from the garden or field.  

I know....not everyone has a garden (or a daughter/friend who does and shares), but most of us do have a local farmers market.  Admittedly when I go to my market, my eyes are way, way bigger than my stomach.  I just can't resist all those glorious, fresh ... and very seasonal delights and so I buy more than the two of us could possibly eat in a week.    When I do that in a grocery store, I'm ashamed to admit, I throw out more than I use.  Produce from the farmers market, on the other hand, looks and tasted like I just picked it myself... even a week later.    Just food for thought... pun intended.  
And because you did read to the bitter end, here's the non-recipe recipe for the salad:
Fresh Greens from the garden/farmers market (use as much of a mix of young greens as you can)  mezzuna, mache, baby spinach, kale....
Fresh herbs (whatever your favorite are) this time it was cilantro, parsley, chives and a little fresh mint too.
Avocado chunks
A handful of crunchy nuts ( I used Kirkland brand Pecan & Cashew Clusters with dried fruit from Costco)
Your favorite vinaigrette.  I love variations on this one - often with some local Apple Cider Vinegar from Boates Farm, right here in the Annapolis Valley. 
As for the photo at the top of the post... local Nova Scotia lamb chops from Wood 'n Hart Farm with an exotic recipe ( Grilled Lamb Chops with North African Chermoula) from my latest cookbook acquisition - Mediterranean Cookbook (my review).  Global recipes + local ingredients = best meals ever!


giz said...

Pretty sweet to be harvesting year round. I can't even imagine it.

Ruth Daniels said...

I know! And we really do get winter here, but she has created some interesting ways to protect her bounty.

Nancy @ imadethisdish said...

The salad looks delicious, Ruth! Can't get any better to be harvesting year round for sure!!!