Friday, June 22, 2012

Washington Heights Salad

INGREDIENTS (serves two):

a hearty selection of fresh garden greens; we used baby lettuce, wild arugula, and curly escarole
a handful of yellow wax beans, blanched 2 minutes and then plunged into an ice bath
edible flowers of your choosing; we used arugula flowers and borage
sliced segments from one grapefruit
1/2 a small red onion, sliced very thin
1 large scallion, white and green minced
1 cup of canned black beans
1 cup grated Columbian-style queso fresca
the hank end of a baguette, diced, seasoned and fried into croutons in olive oil

a splash of olive oil
a dollop of mayonnaise
a few liberal shakes of garlic powder
a squirt of Dijon mustard
several dashes of chipotle Tabasco
a glug of apple cider vinegar
a squeeze of honey or agave
plenty of salt and cracked pepper

beer of choice

1)  Whisk the dressing ingredients together.
2)  Toss with the salad ingredients.
3)  Open a beer.  Enjoy together.


It seemed cruel to mention this tasty beverage since you can only get it on draft in the local NYC area, but since we managed to lay our greedy little hands on it, we wanted to shout out to Brooklyn Brewery's Gold Standard Export Kellerbier.  Our pal Kirk Struble of Amsterdam Ale House and Fourth Avenue Pub fame was slinging it on the Upper West Side yesterday, and it's always worth scoping out Mr. Oliver's Brewmaster's Reserve series.  Kellerbiers are unfiltered but with a nicely floral hop nose, and this version is mildly bitter with 100% Bohemian barley.  If you imagine that a hefeweisen and a pilsner had a love child and then married it to a pale ale, you'd be close to imagining what this beer is about.  If you have any desire to watch Garrett Oliver geek out about beergardens and this brew, hit up this video. 



Yes, granted Washington Heights Salad is a vaguely ridiculous name, but you can't eat any more locally than what you grow yourself, and I'm proud to say that 100% of the ingredients came from either our garden plot or the C-Town around the corner. That is staggering.  When Gabe and I first moved up here, we learned the hard way about the ghettoization of grocery stores in poorer neighborhoods.  We love living in upper Manhattan, but time was that our C-Town was good for:

--yucca root
--roots like yucca that are more difficult to identify
--taro root
--roots of many types
--really egregiously terrible meat and fish
--cheap beer

These days, you can get AMAZING (for us) things at our remodeled C-Town, including:

--actual fresh basil
--cheese other than queso fresca, and about 10 national varieties of the latter
--actual organic products of the canned variety
--free range eggs
--leeks (this blew my mind)
--bok choy (see above parenthetical statements)
--snow peas (mind: BLOWN)
--lettuce other than the always delightful iceberg variety

And also:
--really egregiously terrible meat and fish
--expensive beer
--a shit-ton of Fanta (pictured)

So, granted, there was a trade-off, but if I want tofu (and who doesn't occasionally?) I don't have to leave the neighborhood for it.  It's terribly difficult for communities to eat healthy when healthy products simply aren't for sale in the local grocery, and that can lead to all sorts of woes including childhood obesity and diabetes.  It's generally ethnic neighborhoods that suffer this problem, and despite the fact that you can get 15 limes for a dollar during the summertime around here, the shopping for comestibles still presents challenges.  But it's getting better all the time.

Things you still cannot get at my C-Town:

--a baguette
--organic meat, poultry, or fish
--meat, poultry or fish that looks appetizing
--meat, poultry or fish that I'd touch with a ten-foot pole
--meat, poultry or fish that I'd serve to anyone other than someone I was attempting to murder

One day, my friends.  One bright, far-off day.


saffron 77 said...

Always entertaining, and makes me hungry, even if not hungry. I am not a robot, but we shall see ! NO....not hungry yet, and turns out not a robot either ! Yeah. Later then, I may want to eat. May one (or me), substitute apricots for grapefruit, and use Apricot Ale since NYC is far,far away ?

Sovereign Associates said...

Did the Washington Heights Salad get its namesake from either of the two Uptown pubs mentioned? Either way, this sounds delicious. We'll definitely have to "tap" our local resources to give this recipe a try.