Food Journal Meal 1, Week 6 (Food, Ethics and Sustainability)

Beet & Spinach Salad

…with local goat cheese to which I added some sauteed sage from my garden. There is some of that wonderful NW Heritage bacon on there and pecans from the bulk bin at New Seasons. No idea where those were grown or how far they were shipped to get to Portland. I could have used some local hazelnuts that I have in the freezer (Freddy Guys – they are a wonderful stall at the farmer’s market), but I wanted to stay true to a salad I used to crave from the best restaurant in Nashville – Zola’s. They encrusted their beets with pecans and breadcrumbs and pan seared them, so I did that with a few of the roasted beets and then just put the rest of the beets on naked and sprinkled toasted pecans on the salad. I’ve got to admit, tho, the encrusted beets texturally and tastewise were worth the extra hassle and calories of pan searing. Yum! The beets were such a good deal, too…this is the tail end of the season, so they are smaller (more tender and sweet!) and I got an entire bunch of at least a dozen beets for $2! And that included the beet greens, which I’ll cook later this week as a great side dish. I can spend a lot of money at the farmer’s market, but I can also find some great deals. The coolest part of the salad was the greens – I’d bought some Oregon baby spinach at New Seasons, we had some arugula from Trader Joes (pre-packaged, probably from a farm in California), but the piece de resistance was some miner’s lettuce that I found at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday. I’d first had this at a fancy dinner at the Farm restaurant- it has a great texture, rather thick leaves with a mild taste, and is just beautiful to look at (almost a shame to eat). I’ve sourced some seeds to plant at my house, so maybe this time next year I will be eating a salad of miner’s lettuce that I grew myself! Apparently it is considered a weed to many farmers, and it grows well in this part of the country as a local wildflower. I went hiking several weeks ago and was convinced that I was seeing it on the side of the path (not convinced enough to actually taste it), and after doing a little research, I’m sure I was right. I would like to explore more of the “wild food gathering” that seems to proliferate in this area…I know you can get some great mushrooms and fiddlehead ferns due to the weather conditions. I just need someone in the know to show me. The avocados were organic Californian and perfectly ripe. The salad needed that soft, creamy texture to balance out the other crunchiness. Oh, the dressing on the salad was hazelnut oil that was made in France and that I brought with me from Nashville, organic maple syrup which was a Costco purchase and was trucked down here from Canada, and Tobasco – the original hot sauce from Avery Island, La. I like using the Tobasco brand because I’ve met the folks who run the business and it is the main employer in that rural town in Lousiana. It made for a sweet-hot dressing that started a slow burn as you ate. A fantastic meal that I enjoyed tremendously – full of iron (and salt), the fattening elements were presented in moderation and didn’t leave me feeling like I’d had a rich meal. Husband says “awesome”.

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