The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

 Farmers Market Salad
Creamy Cilantro Dressing

On Sunday my friend Priscilla of She's Cookin' and I spent our morning and early
afternoon playing at our local Farmers Market in New Port Beach. Although the 
morning started off with Spring showers by mid morning the sky opened up to
show off our beautiful California sunshine. Of course neither of us remembered to
bring our cameras to show you this lovely Organic Certified Farmers Market, but
I did take some photos once I returned to my kitchen. 

My favorite find of the day were these gorgeous mulberries. When
I was a kid my grandparents had mulberry bushes along with some other
delightful fruit bushes and trees. Not having had these beauties since my
teens I devoured half the carton before I even had time to decide on 
what I wanted to make with all of my goodies.

With a little encouragement from Priscilla I brought home my first cherimoya.
Apparently these delightful guys will have the texture of a custard if allowed
to ripen to the point that just before they go bad. I think I will give that a 
try next time. For this salad however I had a just ripened  cherimoya and
the texture was similar to that of a firm ripened pear, and quite sweet. 

I intern encouraged her to try the loquats :) If you have never tried these
I encourage you to as well. As you can see by the photos they are small
deep orange fruits when fully ripened and have large seeds in their center.
They are sweet and slightly acidic, with a taste akin to a peach/mango mix.

And then of course my true passion...finding a new cheese! And this I did :)
Picnic’s Fine Foods has a booth at the market and carries with then several of
there beautiful cheese selections. I chose two aged selections, I know only two...
what was I thinking. But they were both fantastic.

A Beamster Xtra Old Gouda a hard cheese with a texture similar to a
Parmigiano-Reggiano. This a a cows milk cheese from Holland with a
crystalline/flaky texture with a creamy mouth feel. This cheese has a
clean taste with hints of toffee, whiskey and caramel.

Next we have Hook's 10 yr aged Sharp Cheddar  this one has a firm
and crumbly texture, also a cow's milk cheese. With an incredibly smooth
and creamy mouth feel and silky finish.

What you will need:

For the salad
Baby romaine lettuce
Wasabi arugula
Cucumber, sliced
Kohlrabi, peeled and sliced
Cherimoya, peeled and sliced
Loquats, peeled, seeded and sliced
Cherries, pitted and halved
Mulberries, stems trimmed off
Purple basil, torn
Edible flowers

For the dressing
4 ounces non fat Greek style yogurt
1/2 bunch cilantro
Juice one lime
1/2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
3/4 tablespoon sunflower oil
A touch of honey or agave
Salt and pepper to taste
Small food processor or blender

Let's get blending:

Place cilantro in blender and chop until very fine, add yogurt
and pulse until incorporated. Add lime juice and vinegar then add oil slowly
while blending until smooth. Season with agave, salt and pepper.
Note: You can add more or less liquids to adjust desired consistency.

Truffle Shuffle suggested a hard grated cheese like a Parmigiano-Reggiano
to top it off with. For next time :)

Here a few other delightful salads you should take a peek at...

Baby Greens with Mango, Loquat and Mango Sauce - She's Cookin'
Flower Showers, Spring Serenade, Gourmet Greens and Tangerines - Spicie Foodie
How To Make A Perfect Niçoise Salad - Honest Cooking

Alisha ~ Magic of Spice

May 2011 YBR

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