Tag Archives: San Diego

San Diego’s Specialty Produce: Vegetables Galore!

SpecProdVeg
One of the difficulties that arises when I cook is not being able to find particular ingredients.  Most often, the item is one of a few featured in a recent issue of a food magazine I enjoy, and because the content is seasonal, one would believe that finding those ingredients might be easier.

Unfortunately, it isn’t true, and when it comes time for me to cook something new, I have to drive to several stores to find what I’m looking for — if I can find it at all.  When I am able to locate that one special ingredient, I’m left wondering where it was grown, and by whom, annoyed that most often, it isn’t from anywhere near San Diego.  Thankfully, I have a new venue to track down those one of a kind ingredients when it comes to fresh fruit or vegetables:  Specialty Produce.

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit Specialty Produce and tour their facility in Middletown, an industrial sort of neighborhood relatively close to the airport and downtown.  It’s a bustling place where employees are either wheeling unique merchandise through the warehouse, or monitoring phones and computers taking orders from local chefs and other merchants.

Here was finally a place I could get chervil, or purslane, or chanterelles when no one else has them.  And there’s a great section with produce from area growers with items I’ve never seen before — like Red Frill Mustard and Watermelon Radishes.  It was like being in a candy shop when you’re a veggie lover like me — the only drawback is that one can only purchase so much fresh food and still be able to enjoy it within the next day or so.

The best way to utilize this great San Diego resource if you’re an avid home cook like me is to check out what’s in stock using their website.  It will tell you not only what’s in stock, but what’s in peak season and at the height of quality.  Nutritional information is also available which is something I always keep my eye on.

Along with the mustard and radishes I mentioned above, I brought home Black Kale, Yellow Foot Chanterelles, Green Garlic, Oro Blanco Grapefruit, and some cute little Hauer Pippin from Windrose Farm in Paso Robles.

Oh the fun I’ve had cooking with this food…

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French Toast Paradise Style

 

One of my favorite things to do on a weekend morning is go to breakfast.  It doesn’t matter where.  Just the opportunity to get up and out on a gorgeous day to enjoy good food, company, and then go for a walk afterwards seems decadent at this time of year.  My husband’s nearing the end of his busy season, so months of hard work will be slowing down, allowing us to think about getting out and enjoying the weekends once again.

We’re fortunate, because there are a number of excellent places to enjoy a good breakfast within a five minute drive of our house, with the much needed walk afterwards including spectacular views of the Pacific Coast, complete with crashing waves, sea gulls, and a few palm trees thrown in for good measure.  As strange as it may seem, we don’t often take advantage of our proximity to this, and so have to remind ourselves to join the throngs of tourists who always seem to be present.  Surprisingly, it works quite well, and after indulging ourselves, we promise not to let too much time pass before we do it again.

It will definitely be something to look forward to with today being the last weekend morning that my husband will be going in to work.  And on days like today, that means that having a great breakfast at home is a close second — a breakfast inspired by Brockton Villa, one restaurant that is very near by.  It sits high above the water on a cliff in what used to be the old summer bungalow of a physician from Brockton, Massachusettes.  It’s open and airy and features a massive fireplace in the main room made with huge stones rounded by years of wear from running water and dotted with iridescent abalone shells.  It serves three meals a day and bustles with business all year long.  One of the more popular breakfast dishes served is the Coast Toast.  If you’re someone who enjoys French Toast, this would be one of the most rich versions I’ve tasted. Ironically, I’ve never eaten Coast Toast at the restaurant because they’ve graciously shared the recipe for years.

Although I’ve made Coast Toast many times, I’ve never quite been able to bring myself to include the 1 qt. of whipping cream the recipe requires.  Yes, I said 1 qt.  What makes this version of French Toast so tasty is that a souffle-like texture is achieved.  The toast is light, fluffy, and melts in your mouth.  As much as you may want to save it for a special occasion, serving it on a sunny weekend day will help to make an ordinary day feel quite special.

To view the original recipe, click the link above and scroll down.  And then consider my version as well.

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