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Plate as the canvas

March 16, 2010

As I sat down to dinner last night on a well-worn and stylish BoConcept couch, I became inspired, to play with my food. While my dinner companion was happily eating leftover spag bol, I had prepared a salad and cheese course of Irish cheddar, drunken goat and Point Reyes blue. I looked down at the striped vintage plate that sat in my lap. I was in mid chew while a new episode of Project Runway played in the background. I then realized I needed my camera.

Contained in the canvas was a composed spinach salad of fresh strawberries, leaning against pre-washed leaves and crisp steamed asparagus knowingly stacked high, as if participating in a game of jenga. A golden yolk balanced on the fork. Point Reyes blue and Irish cheddar sat along side multi-grain wasa crackers. The drunken goat had been nibbled away while I was in the kitchen. Have you tried drunken goat cheese? Well it’s incredibly good. Alone.

I was enthralled by this yolk as I had soft-boiled the eggs accidentally. And as I peeled back the thin shell, the white of the egg began to pull back with it. What was left was the solitary yolk. Golden, pliable, soft, almost clay like, smooth and buttery.

I looked down again at the plate and was inspired by the colors of the palate. The vibrant green of the asparagus stalks. The textured, lipstick-red of the sliced strawberry. The creamy white marbled cheese speckled, with a bit of blue. Like yogurt swirled with fresh blueberries the two colors beginning to bleed into each other, equally. And the yolk perched atop high like a well fed chicken balancing on a farm fence ledge. A slight orange hue to the yellow like butterscotch candy  lightly sprinkled with ground black pepper. If it was a crayon in a box of 100 it’d be called Farm stand Tequila. The yolk that is.

I usually paint outside the lines. And usually, I’m not one to play with my food though sometimes you get inspired, in the most curious ways and then your ideas begin to breed new possibilities in fun ways. Hopefully they taste good too.

I am thinking of making a tart now with a wasa cracker crust, asparagus mousse, fried strawberries,whipped Point Reyes blue. Though the yolk will remain the same. I have also  contemplated with the idea of a Quiche, but that seems so predictable, in the best way possible and that might be o.k…but I like more than o.k. And then there’s always a pizza. I like pizza, pizza is good. I just don’t know if I can duplicate the art of blistered crusts which is done so well at one of my favorite pizza haunts, Cipollina.

Or is it perhaps possible, that this salad wants to be left alone…. And that’s when I know a salad is just a salad, and only as good as the sum of its parts. And sometimes all you need is a really fresh and simple salad. With really good cheese and preferably a glass of Jeriko.

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