Sunday, October 7, 2007

A Romantic Just Food Dinner

On her Penelopedia blog, Penny recently issued an appeal to her readers to become owner-members of Northfield's community co-op, Just Food. (I was one of the first 200 members, before the store opened.) Penny points out that, with its wealth of produce from local suppliers, Just Food helps to promote a "sense of place in the food system." I like that about Just Food, but I also like the fact that it's as close as I can come in Northfield to the Thursday market in downtown Kenilworth, which we visited nearly every week last year. The market featured a large produce tent, artisan cheeses and breads, and (best of all), a fishmonger. Britain is, of course, an island surrounded by the sea, so the fish and seafood we were able to get in Kenilworth was fantastically fresh and varied. My favorite "local" items were the famous mussels from Conwy in Wales, a firm white fish called John Dory from England's south coast, an amazing sea vegetable called samphire (also known as sea asparagus), and the remarkable European sea scallops known in French as coquilles st. jacques.

Just Food brings in fresh seafood on Fridays—not as fresh or as local as the seafood available in England, but still a treat. Yesterday, I bought half a dozen scallops and was able to reproduce one of the best meals I made in England with ingredients from the Thursday market: scallops with fettucini and roasted red pepper cream sauce. It was simple: I made the sauce according to the recipe, heated it up, and tossed it with the cooked linguine; I pan-seared the scallops with a little olive oil and white wine, then placed them on top of the fettucini and poured the pan drippings on top. All of the ingredients came from Just Food (except for the white wine, of course). A simple green salad with a homemade dijon vinaigrette, a glass of prosecco, and candlelight made the meal complete—perfect for a quiet romantic evening.*

I made a full recipe of the sauce, which was too much for just Clara and me, so I reserved half of the sauce and today I added it to a cup of vegetable broth to create a delicious cream of roasted red pepper soup. It would have been a perfect lunch on a cooler autumn day, with some crusty bread or rolls.

*The boys were out all evening at the Ben Kweller concert at St. Olaf.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like the perfect night in :)

Northfield's co-op sounds great too. Wouldn't it be good if it were easier to put into practice the 'think global act local' motto, particularly when it comes to eating, and I might add drinking ;)

Jim H. said...

Next time there's fundraiser for the UCC or the Historical Society or the Arts Guild, you should auction off this dinner.

I'd bid and bring the wine.

New Poem: "Phrasebook"

My poem " Phrasebook " has been published online in Ergon: Greek/American Arts and Letters .