Tuesday, January 12, 2010
dried goodies from the golden state
i gotta say, there is one big thing i miss about living in southern california: produce come winter time. now, the csa has really brought up my produce standards and made me generally a much happier veggie and fruit munching person but here we are again: january.
when i was in santa monica the other week, i made it to the wednesday farmer's market (really, it's not to be missed). i say wednesday because there are multiple farmer's markets in santa monica all week long but this one is really la crème de la crème. lucky for me, i was there during peak persimmon season. although i didn't bring fresh ones back with me to ny, thanks to a gift from a lovely friend and my mom's willingness to give up said lovely gift, i found myself with some amazing freshly dried persimmons to bring home, as well as some other dried goodies. we're talking seriously high-quality (aka seriously expensive) items here. in addition to the remarkably sweet and flavorful dried persimmons, i had dried heirloom tomatoes and dried strawberries. dried whole, without any added sugar, the strawberries were like a sweet summer explosion in your mouth. the truth is that all of these things were so delicious, it was hard to imagine not snacking on them plain. however, it was the tomatoes that were really hounding me. i'm not usually one for dried tomatoes but i really wanted to incorporate these into something. it was hard to believe that their sweet concentrated flavor wouldn't benefit whatever they were cooked/mixed into.
while at the market, in between her fights with people that "no, they could not taste a dried perssimon, they cost $3 a piece!" i talked to the "fruit lady" about what one actually does with these amazingly precious tomatoes. after all, i didn't want to ruin the things by cooking them if i shouldn't. she explained a simple recipe: slice zucchini very thin and let it sit with some salt and lemon juice. the squash will sort of "cook" itself while marinating. then top the squash with the tomatoes, basil, olive oil and some garlic.
i went with yellow squash (the store was out of zucchini), parsley (i had some from the csa at home in the freezer) and couldn't help topping the mix with some parmesan cheese. i also let the garlic slowly saute in some olive oil on the stove, then briefly added the squash to the pan to warm it through, before mixing everything together. i placed the mixture on top of a bed of quinoa. yum yum yum. it doesn't get better (not to mention healthier) than this!