Peach and Pecan Salad

July 27, 2010 § 2 Comments

As a rule, I am starving by the time I get home from the Dupont Farmer’s Market on Sundays. This past one was certainly no different, except that I was feeling slightly virtuous, and maybe a little nostalgic for my Sweetgreen free salad days.

My seemingly superfluous purchase of the Toigo peaches came into action when I remembered Sweetgreen’s recent blog post about their seasonal salad featuring peaches.  I had the romaine from New Morning Farm, found a bit of cheese and some leftover london broil from a weeknight dinner, and suddenly lunch was formed.

This uses 3 of my market purchases (romaine, basil, a peach), some pantry staples, and leftovers. Throwing out leftovers gets crazy expensive.  Find ways to reintegrate them into your meals so its not boring. Steak or chicken on salads or in pasta is an easy way to use it up.

I realize many of you will think a recipe for a salad is a total cop out, but before I worked at Sweetgreen I was a hopeless salad disaster.  I could cook and bake, sure, but when it came to constructing a simple salad, everything ended in tears and me cursing the poor decimated greens. So for all you salad disasters like me out there, this recipe is for you.

Peach and Pecan Summer Salad

1 small head romaine lettuce

1 firm yellow peach (Toigo Orchards)

3-4 oz London broil (or any kind of protein really, if using at all)

1 small handful pecans (not local, but have a huge bag in my freezer from last year. can’t let them go to waste.)

1 small knob goat cheese

4 big leaves of basil (I used the free purple basil I got from Tree and Leaf)

4-6 leaves mint (I picked this from the growing-like-a-weed mint patch at my church. super frugal.)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp white balsamic vinegar

Salt and Pepper

In a big salad bowl, whisk together the olive oil and white balsamic.  Chop the romaine, wash well and dry in a salad spinner. Add the romaine on top of the dressing in the bowl (layering it this way will keep the salad from getting soggy).  Put the pecans into a dry skillet and toast for 3 minutes, being careful not to let them burn. Roughly chop the pecans, let cool a bit, and add to salad.  Slice the peach into wedges and add to salad. Chop basil and mint together into small pieces and add to salad. If using, cut steak into bite size pieces and add to salad. Add a big pinch of salt and pepper.  Toss all together gently when ready to eat. (If you are making this in advance, keep untossed until ready to eat.)

Enjoy with a glass of cold rosé wine- like perhaps Saint Roch Les Vignes from Côtes de Provence.  Its available at my favorite wine store in DC, A.M. Wine Shoppe on 18th St and Wyoming in Adams Morgan.

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Snow Days FAIL Confession

February 15, 2010 § 2 Comments

Ok. Eating local food with 5 feet of snow on the ground is HARD.  It’s hard even imagining that things grow out of the ground when you can’t SEE the ground.  That’s no real excuse, I know…  I should have planned better, I should have stocked up on more food when I knew the storm was coming. But I really just didn’t think there would be quite this MUCH snow, or that it would affect DC for so long (yeah, thanks DC, for not plowing anything.)

I did pretty well, but I’ve been feeling guilty all week about my non-local indulgences.  So, in the spirit of transparency (and absolution), here is everything I’ve eaten while tumbling off the wagon.  

Snowpocolypse 1, last weekend– I was trapped (though not unhappily) at a friend’s house in Glover Park from Friday night to Sunday afternoon.  There was zero local food in his house and naturally I forgot to bring anything, so over the course of the weekend I had some Barilla pasta and tomato sauce, toast, Bob’s Red Mill oatmeal, and lots of French Champagne (not apologizing for that one).

Being the gentleman he is, he went out into the storm to forage some food for me, and though Whole Foods was closed, he managed to find the only barbeque joint I’ve ever heard of that uses local and sustainable meat- Rocklands BBQ.  As it turns out, Rocklands is also repped by Sweetgreen’s fabulous PR maven, Dusty Lockheart, and she told me the owner, John Snedden, buys many of his animals from 4-H kids at the county fair… and, as a former, 4-H kid myself, that is about the best thing I’ve ever heard. And the bbq was really good (being from Texas, I’m a harsh critic).  Ok aside from the meat I did also have a heaping portion of decidedly NOT local mac and cheese. I may have detected a Velveeta sauce (so tasty, so close to being flavored plastic).

Then I went into my first week at Sweetgreen. For the most part it’s pretty easy to eat locally at Sweetgreen (though soon you will hardly be able to NOT eat locally there, muahaha!).  We already get lots of local fruit and veggies, and all the chicken and turkey is sustainably raised around Gettysburg, PA.  The salads are easy. It’s the Sweetflow that gets me.  Sweetgreen’s tart frozen yogurt is just SO GOOD, and I’m already addicted.  But right now I can’t claim it’s made with local ingredients. In the next couple of weeks we are switching over to a custom Stonyfield blend made with their plain organic yogurt. Stonyfield is an amazing company that has grown to massive success, and yet has managed to stay true to their mission of supporting sustainable family farms.  The vast majority of their milk comes from Vermont, and I’m telling you right now… Sweetflow is about to be added into the “exceptions” column with coffee and chocolate. It’s now non-negotiable. If you want to know why just come try some. 

Other times I fell off the wagon because I just couldn’t help it- 

UrbanDaddy.com DC launch party at the W Hotel- 1 bacon wrapped shrimp (Thailand wrapped in nitrates), 1 lobster roll (Maine lobster, sot so bad), 1 veggie roll (first time I’ve had rice in months), and again… lots of French Champagne.  Food aside, someone please tell companies that are coming in to assert themselves as an authority on the local art and culture scene to STOP importing art and culture from elsewhere for their parties.  This was the DC launch party, and they had a DJ, a rock violinist, and a music entertainment group ALL shipped in from NYC.  **Dear UrbanDaddy, I know it’s hard to believe, but we actually LIKE it here. If we wanted to live in New York, we would. Please stop treating us like Manhattan’s bastard step child. Love, DC.**

My friends Matt and Hillary’s engagement party- It was a great party but a rough night because of some relationship drama (nothing to do with the very happy couple. Just my own, naturally). I drank lots of single barrel whiskey and had a few nuts and shrimp to avoid getting piss drunk. 

International Wine and Food Festival- Nic and I did a really fun live stage demo at the Fest of our new Winter Market Quinoa (coming soon to Sweetgreen), and I think we did pretty fantastic- even though we were right after Jose Andres, and no one can compete with than man onstage! Our quinoa salad included Firefly Farms Allegheny Chevre (MD), Mr. McGregor’s Mushrooms (NJ), sweet potatoes from Lois’ produce (VA), and micro beet greens from Lakeville Produce (DE, I think?)… but quinoa is definitely from South America (though organic), and I’ll bet the raw beets and red onions we used are from California or something.  But it was so good I ate like 5 lbs of it (and then some again for lunch today…).  I’d say it’s about 75% local… but I’m going for 95% at the low end.  I’m going to tweak that recipe so that the only thing not totally local is the quinoa, which will be organic sustainable. And then sometimes I might switch it out for some local wheatberries. Just for kicks 🙂

I feel like there have been a few others here and there also.  I guess it hasn’t been so bad overall… but I haven’t felt as in touch with my food as usual this week, and my body has noticed.  It’s been a fast and furious first week at Sweetgreen, and with the snow and it being the middle of February and everything… I just felt a little out of control.  I’m vowing to get back on track this week.  I bought a bunch of meat and poultry from Bev at EcoFriendly today at the market, so that will have to make up for the lack of vegetables coming out of the ground.  Veal cutlets, young chicken, and pork loin, oh my!

Not that this week is going to slow down or be any easier! We are opening our 4th outpost, Sweetgreen Logan this Friday… and we are adding 2 soups and 3 sides (which we are calling The Market).  It’s going to be AWESOME.  But I’ll likely be at work way past dinner time for several days. 

So far, life as the Sourceress is pretty freaking fantastic. Now I just have to remember to get myself some local food as well as the restaurants! On to week two..

Fantastic First Day at Sweetgreen

February 9, 2010 § 3 Comments

It seems as though a lot of people wanted a little green freshness in their life in the midst of this blizzard, because my new Sourceress job picked up quite a bit of buzz today! 

Washington Business Journal- “Sweetgreen Takes Locavore to a New Level”

Tasting Table- “From The Source” (including my favorite things at the market!)

Amanda over at Metrocurean gave Sweetgreen some Twitter love, and we got several calls at the office from excited people who read the article and were thrilled we are moving to an all-sustainable menu.

I am a very lucky girl to be working at such a fantastic, socially responsible company.  I felt like I’d already been there for months when it was just my first day!

We are pressing forward at full speed to have as much local food as humanely possible ready to go for the Sweetgreen Local Circle opening on February 16th!! Get excited- we are!!  I am in talks with Firefly Farms, EcoFriendly Foods, Tuscarora Co-op, Atwater’s Bakery and many more wonderful local food producers to make sure we are serving the most delicious, community inclusive, sustainably grown food around.   

And the Sweetgreen salads are soooo good. Check out the all-local salad I made for lunch today.

Mache, beets, butternut squash, roasted mushrooms, watermelon radishes, turkey and goat cheese, plus roasted purple potatoes and onions from last night’s roast chicken (with bread from Bakery de France and an Honest Tea).

SO. GOOD.

The Sweet(green) Life

February 8, 2010 § 3 Comments

Well, the secret is out!

Friday was my last day at DC Central Kitchen, and Monday I will start work at Sweetgreen, a young start-up fast-casual restaurant concept with unlimited possibilities. After learning about what I was doing at DC Central Kitchen with local food sourcing, the 3 vibrant young founders courted me into their company as their first Sourcing and Sustainability Manager (or, as I have been jokingly calling myself- The Sourceress.  It caught on with the SG team and has kind of stuck! It makes me smile. hehe.)

It’s hard to believe my incredible luck at finding the one company in DC (and maybe in the country) that is so committed to local and sustainable food that they have created a position solely dedicated to sourcing it.  Eeeee!! How FUN is this going to be?? I love that I will be really supporting my local farmers (with 3 restaurants and 3 on the way in DC, I’ll have a lot of purchasing power), and I’ll be bringing healthy, sustainable food to an even wider swath of Washingtonians.  I was successful in bringing fresh, local produce to homeless shelters and low-income areas.  And it’s great that high-end expensive restaurants are buying local food, and even better (for me!) when mid-price places like Saint Ex and Commonwealth do it…. but to have a fast-casual restaurant with several locations buy all local food is pretty impressive- if I do say so myself 😉  They are way ahead of the curve in most areas of corporate responsibility and sustainability, but I want to help Sweetgreen really emerge as a leader in the local food movement and show that not only is it the responsible thing to do, but also a profitable way to do business.  

I am beyond excited at the possibilities with Sweetgreen, but leaving the Kitchen was difficult for me.  It was my first real work family.  I’ll always be grateful for the support of Robert Egger and Mike Curtin- they are the reason I was even able to discover this path for my life.  Both of them have been incredible mentors, and I intend on keeping them, and the DCCK family and mission, a big part of my life. 

I’ll be posting on the Sweetgreen blog about once a week as well, and probably cross-posting here.  Follow what we are doing over at SG at www.sweetgreen.com.  

xoxo erin

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