Sunday Jul 27 2008
Tasty Morsels: Lincoln visit yields inspiration for salad, appetizer dishes
By: Susie Iventosch
I only intended to write a few columns revolving around farmers’ markets and the bounty of locally produced fruits, veggies, meat and fish they bring to town. But, there are so many wonderful ways to prepare these foods the idea has no limits. In fact, when I spoke with Joanne Neft, owner of Persimmon Café, about the Little Fish Company, I also asked her to send me a couple of recipes from her menu. When they arrived in my “inbox,” it became apparent a trip to Lincoln would be necessary. So, my daughter and I went out this week and treated ourselves to a delightful hearts of romaine salad with a wonderfully creamy cilantro dressing. It was delicious, and left us just enough room for the tempting desserts. One must always reserve space in the dessert compartment! We ordered the Persimmon Café signature dessert, the Triple Crown Blackberry-Plum pie, and a huge piece of polenta cake. While diving into the pie, we snuck a little of the fruit filling as a topping for the cake, and that, too, was excellent. Neft uses plums from Granite Bay’s Otow Orchard and berries from Beauty Ranch of Lincoln in her pie. She also uses fresh local fruits in her “aqua fresca” juice drinks — a wonderful concoction of pureed fruit and water, made right on the premises. We sampled the Brenner’s peach and Beauty Ranch Santa Rosa plum drinks and they were fantastic. Persimmon Café sells these drinks by the quart for customers to take home. “They are excellent all by themselves,” Neft said. “But they’re also delicious mixed with sparkling water or better yet, champagne!” A trip to the Persimmon Café is well worth the time, but if you can’t go soon, here are a couple of delightful summer recipes that will tide you over until you can get there. Grilled Pancetta-peach skewers (appetizer) 8 four- to five-inch wooden skewers, soaked in water for several hours, or overnight 1 pound pancetta, large dice 2 large peaches cut into eighths Balsamic glaze (to make glaze, reduce one cup of balsamic vinegar over medium-high heat until reduced by two-thirds) Directions Place 2-3 pieces of both peach and pancetta onto skewer, alternating. Rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill on medium heat for one to two minutes per side until pancetta is cooked and beginning to caramelize. Serve with balsamic glaze drizzled over skewer. Have plenty of napkins on hand! Arugula salad with watermelon and balsamic vinaigrette This salad is beautiful served in a glass bowl with the contrast of juicy red watermelon and dark green arugula. I purchased a delicious, small round melon at Ikeda’s for this recipe and it was perfectly ripe and red. Salad ingredients 2-3 cups arugula leaves ½ cup pea shoots (available at Newcastle Produce) 2 cups watermelon, large dice 2-3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled ¼ cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted Gently toss together in a large glass bowl with balsamic dressing. n Balsamic Vinaigrette 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar ½ cup olive oil 1 tablespoon lemon juice Salt and pepper to taste Mix well in a small jar or container with a tight-fitting lid. Susie Iventosch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.