Saturday, August 30, 2008
I've really been trying to use up all of the food in my kitchen before buying anything else, what with textbook purchases, school supplies, studio art material fees, and all that new year financial rigmarole. This can lead to some odd combos, and, frankly, some boring dishes that aren't very blog-worthy. I'm sure I can rhapsodize about some childhood memory of cold cereal, but I doubt the pictures would turn out very well.
Sometimes, however, necessity is a mother, and really interesting dishes come out of the random things that are left behind in the fridge and pantry. I cranked out a fingerling, edamame, and goat cheese salad with an Asian citrus vinaigrette - and it was anything but boring! This salad definitely started off as a big mix of odds and ends, and - with the help of some strategic condiment use - became a pretty cohesive dish that was really tasty. The leftovers were even tastier - a big plus!
A week ago I purchased some early, sweet fingerling potatoes from the farmers market. I love how the little tubers hold their shape, so I usually reserve them for dishes that require whole potatoes or pieces - saving the big "ugly" guys for mash or bread. While I'm understandably drawn to fingerlings because of their tiny size and creative shapes, not all little potatoes are created equal. New potatoes, the homogeneous little round guys, are actually regular potatoes harvested before they are fully mature - which means they often don't get the chance to develop a full, earthy sweet flavor. Fingerlings, on the other hand, are often heirloom varieties breed especially for their flavor - which, admittedly, makes them kind of strange looking and anything but uniform - but they are so much more flavorful.
Another wonderful thing about fingerling potatoes is how quickly they cook. I threw this dish together during a lunch break on a hectic day - definitely not a time for an elaborate recipe. I roughly chopped the potatoes into pieces and covered with water, and brought them to a boil and let them simmer for ten minutes. While they cooked, I rinsed some frozen organic edamame from a local frozen veggie purveyor - Cascadia Farms - a co-op of farms in the Pacific Northwest.
I chopped some sweet local onion and lemon basil from my garden, and mixed a dressing of rice vinegar, sesame oil, dark soy sauce, and a squeeze of orange juice. After the potatoes cooled, I mixed everything together with some fresh goat cheese from the farmers' market, and drizzled with more dark soy sauce (which is totally different than regular soy sauce - it's thick and sweet - I found mine at a local Asian market) and fleur de sel for an extra crunch and burst of flavor.
This salad was so refreshing, with great contrasts in textures. I loved how the lemon basil created a citrusy kick, similar to lemongrass or lime leaves in Thai cooking, and will be experimenting with the herb in a more traditional Asian dish, maybe a pot of Tom Kha Gai or a noodle stir fry.
I'm about to head out the the farmers market again, and I'll try to restrain myself. The blackberries have been looking SO good this month, and it will be hard to resist. Have a great weekend, and eat well!