10 November 2011

La La Love You - LA's Bounty

I am in love with California's bounty. No dis on Seattle intended - after all, our homegrown tomatoes and state-grown apples are things of beauty. And the fresh salmon, flown in from Alaska, is heaven, one slab at a time.

It's just that SoCal's produce - much of which grows year-round - is fresh, delicious, plentiful.

Just look at the size of those shallots!

And artichokes!

It's also inexpensive! I really didn't believe farmer's markets were cheaper than (or even equivalent to) what I could get in a top-quality grocery store at home. I've had many a conversation about this, including a discussion with Angela from What's My Deal? But California is a game-changer. A trip to the farmer's market no longer leaves my wallet $30-40 lighter; here, we can fill our bags for under a 20-spot.

An even better deal is free-99. We can stretch our arms into the communal lemon tree in our apartment building's courtyard to pluck a ripe fruit anytime we need some zest. I see a lot of lemon bars in my future. In fact, I'm prepping to make a batch of David Lebovitz's whole-lemon bars this week for our new neighbors.

A current rave that brings this all together: simple salad. In my last post, I raved about the Olive Pit's 18-year balsamic vinegar, so luscious and aged that it drizzles like syrup over a salad. Paired with an equal drizzle of olive oil and a crack of pepper is all I need to top intensely dark green spinach and a harvest orange heirloom tomato for my favorite salad of the moment. (It's pretty great with chunked tuna and garbanzo beans for extra protein, too.)

This picture really doesn't do it justice. The green of that spinach was so dark, it was like a forest at night. I felt healthier just handling it.

This is what's on my table right now. I can't wait to discover new local gems - like the persimmon I've been eyeing at the store. Stay tuned!