Saturday, May 30, 2009

Raising the Bar

How do you improve upon perfection? In this case, it's focusing on quality of ingredients.

My mind has been very preoccupied with the radish appetizer I made Thursday night for my spring dinner menu. Today I took it to a whole new level and turned it into lunch.

In a couple of short stops today at the amazing Mill City Farmer's Market and the incredible Seward Co-Op, I was able to procure certified naturally grown radishes from Burning River Farm, creamy chevre from Stickney Hill Dairy in central MN, and nutty hearty multigrain bread from Rustica Bakery.

Do not, under any circumstances, let anyone tell you that the quality of ingredients doesn't matter. From these few ingredients I was able to make one of the best lunches I've ever had. The radishes aren't bitter at all, they are almost sweet and when I sliced them on my mandoline they oozed out a little milky moisture showing how fresh they are. I cut the bread thick so the sandwich would be substantial enough for a meal and it's chewy texture was the perfect match for the crunch of the radish and the smooth creaminess of the chevre. Speaking of the chevre, it was so good I didn't even bother adding herbs or lemon juice as I usually do with goat cheese. I did add some snipped chives for color but I realized I had forgotten salt and pepper after I had eaten half my sandwich. It didn't even need it. That's how good these ingredients are.

Meals like this make me daydream that I live in Europe, I like to think that this is how they eat every day. I'm looking forward to continuing this local and seasonal trend as the summer of 2009 and lean all the way!

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