Tuesday, July 10, 2007

local eating part 1

Wow. To my newest reader and oldest friend {like, ever, seriously}, welcome! Zaatar, wicked addictive, so tell me where do you get yours and what do you do with it? I live in California now...my accent blends right in.

My oldest friend and I used to make cookies at my house, and answer the phone as if we were the only bakery we knew in the next town over {Quincy} making cookie orders for people. And we used to write books together too. And here I am, still baking and still writing, though not as much {of the latter} as I should be doing. Holding off for one more week until the visitors leave.

Today my mother and I went to the Tuesday Berkeley market and got fresh whole wheat pasta made with Vital Vittles flour, crimini mushrooms from the mushroom people, and a whole of of vegetables (summer squash, zucchini, salad greens, tomatoes, shallots, parsley and garlic) from the farmers (including Dirty Girl and Full Belly, though I'm not sure who else because we were in a foodie haze).

We were actually looking for that new heartthrob of mine, lemon verbena. In the July Gourmet there's a special section on ice cream and it features lemon verbena, and my mother became enamored with the idea of making lemon verbena ice cream...which of course I supported because lemon verbena is my new reason for getting up in the morning, and because this meant I'd have some birthday ice cream, which is half of the ice cream + pie equation. So after we stalked the market unsuccessfully for lemon verbena, I discovered she actually thought we were looking only for verbena leaves to blend with lemon flavored ice cream! Which made sense, after all, because she was seriously after this taste experience she'd never encountered and I wasn't sure how to react to that. How do you decide to want something you've never had? How does the initial obsession take root, and is it really worth the bother? Like foie, for me, or now, like the idea of making violet ice cream (which in reality would probably not taste like much of anything at all unless mixed with other ingredients, or would probably just taste flowery in that lavender sort of way, but which right now has got me craving).

After the veggie explosion, we went to the Berkeley Bowl for some Acme bread, morel mushrooms and more unsuccesful attempts to get some lemon verbena (the produce guy we asked had actually never HEARD of it and wanted to know if it was the same as lemon thyme).

We made a salad with the salad greens, shallots, parsley and carrots from an earlier Berkeley market trip and used some of that Stonehouse aged Balsamic and olive oil to dress it...their Balsamic doesn't have that syrupy pine tree taste that,come to think of it, mastic has. So I like it. Then we sauteed up the veggies, added some red wine from an earlier Napa trip and read about the farm bill while we waited for the whole thing to come together. It was tasty. Not very adventurous or unusual, but local and quite seasonal and easy.

Ici this afternoon was crowded. I got one scoop of the Santa Rosa plum sorbet and a scoop of the rose pistachio. The pistachios were candied, which was a nice touch, and the ice cream was very much rosewater...but were there actual roses, and if not, what made it pink? That one evoked a comparison, of course, to the Oleana days and the mastic ice cream, and the nougat glace. The Santa Rosa plum sorbet was a little tart, perfectly plummish, and the ideal consistency. The kind of sorbet I am never able to make myself. I made my happy ice cream eating face for a very long time, on the way there, and on the way home. I think I'm beginning to accept that ice cream is my thing. Perhaps at times I wish chocolate were my thing, or cakes (and I always thought cakes were more my thing than they seem to be),but I'm okay with it. Cookies are not my thing. Muffins, no. Pie, sort of,although fruit is not my thing. Ice cream, though? It always inspires.

1 comment:

shuna fish lydon said...

p.s. Mary Canales is looking for extra help at Ici... just a thought.

Ask me about the pink color n the rose. I know the answer.