I have food fetishes. There, I said it. I have been known to be difficult if a menu doesn't have sufficient produce type dishes. I'm not a vegetarian, I'm a Californian. Need I say more? Californians are the worst kind of food snobs.
While traveling last fall with my good friend cum design client Charlene, she saw the Food Beast come out at least once. We had just arrived after about 10 hours travel time to Cape Cod. I'd had nothing substantial to eat and was getting panicky. She took me to her favorite little breakfast place.
If you travel quite a bit and you have food fetishes you can size up a restaurant within 60 seconds of walking in the door. My antenna sent signals of calories and carbohydrates. The sweet and patient waiter told me in his Boston accent that because it was late in the season there wasn't a single melon or berry in the kitchen. How is November "late in the season"? I don't get this. November is melon season, how can you not have cantaloupe in November? Ugh! There it is...that Californian sense of produce privilege.
On this particular morning my menu acumen wasn't working. I ordered oatmeal feeling it was the safest alternative. Wrong. This batch had been sitting on the stove for a few hours and was a glutenous blob. I sent it back and ordered eggs. This time I was successful. With my hissy fit behind us, Charlene took me to the grocery store where to my supreme delight, we found produce. The week on Cape Cod was saved...I could go back to being mannerly.
Sunday night David and I grilled the wild halibut I had splurged on at Whole Foods. For those few of you who haven't shopped at Whole Foods, it's also known as Whole Paycheck. We grilled white corn on the cob and I made the previously mentioned tart and a wonderful, perfectly delicious salsa of peaches, red onion, lime juice, cilantro, avocado, and tomatoes. I've put peach salsas with fish before and it is so satisfying. There it is, that sweet and savory thing again.
To pass my Foodie Fetish test a food must look good, taste extremely good, be relatively easy to prepare, and be extremely good for you. I haven't read the Mediterranean Diet but I know it consists of fish, nuts, beans, and colorful fruits and vegetables. I like to imagine myself on the Greek or Italian coasts in summer, eating a Greek salad outdoors, lingering late into the night over a glass of cold white wine. My renditions of Mediterranean food include my roasted red bell pepper soup which is in the archives of this blog; a lovely shrimp cocktail with fat shrimp, lime juice, cilantro, red onion, cucumber, and avocado served in an over sized wine goblet;
and a favorite dish Jim would make us, a fresh pasta sauce of vine ripened tomatoes with garlic and olive oil. You quickly blanch the tomatoes with boiling water and remove the skins and seeds, drain, and heat gently with the olive oil and garlic. You can add a little fresh basil to this. The sauce is also fantastic over polenta. Dishes like I have mentioned today take prep time but not a lot of technique. The ingredients can be expensive but if you use seasonal produce you can shave costs. Trader Joe's has wild salmon in the frozen section for $8 a pound. Also, shopping at farmers' markets removes the middle man and allows more savings. Don't over buy. Produce, particularly in the summer, goes bad quickly. Plan to buy produce once or twice a week.
My shopping list...
organic free range chicken
Diestel free range turkey, ground
shrimp in moderation
fish I want to buy more often...
beets, in moderation
sweet potatoes, in moderation
bananas, in moderation
red bell peppers
carrot juice, I don't love raw carrots
peanuts, in moderation
garbanzo beans...love hummus!
brown rice, in moderation
whole wheat pasta, in moderation
whole grain breads
variety of vinegars
Mix ingredients well. With love and good intention, Shiree'.
Photography taken from http://www.saveur.com/