Just back tonight from Florida, and I succeeded in my two goals for this family visit/vacation: not getting sunburned, and not having to eat anything gross. (I also learned a lot about my grandmother and the town she grew up in, but that was an unexpected bonus.)
Somewhat to this snob's surprise, we had several good meals. Most involved locally caught seafood, including tasty grilled amberjack courtesy of my aunt, and blackened grouper. Both fish are Gulf of Mexico dwellers with mild flaky white flesh. I also ate blackened oysters from the Gulf, which turned out to be swimming in smoke-flavored (probably fake) butter and were mealy to boot, but that was probably the worst thing I had the whole trip. We also had the dependably delicious fresh-Mex at Cactus Flower Café, owned by friends of my aunt.
Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the "organic whipped spread" my grandmother now buys instead of butter. Yes, it is organic vegetable oil (from either corn or soybean). Ah, the irony: covered eloquently as usual by the Pollanator in the lead essay for last Sunday's New York Times Magazine, about the impact of Wal-Mart going organic.
But now I must revisit the contents of our first CSA box from Eatwell Farm, which I cooked before we left, mostly over Memorial Day weekend, which I spent cooking like a -- I was going to say Martha Stewart wannabe but that's not quite right. I guess like a person training for the Foodie Olympics. The box contained several things I had never eaten, let alone cooked before, such as beets, chard, and fava beans. Well, I have eaten beets but until recently I thought they were nature's equivalent of Jell-O -- that is to say, revolting. I hated their texture. And my only real association with fava beans is Hannibal Lecter's line about them going well with liver and a nice Chianti. Chard I get confused with kale.
The box also contained strawberries: strawberries that were so ripe as to be unlikely to make it to another day without getting mushy and off. I had been reading another CSA farm's newsletter for ideas about what to do with the fava beans I knew were coming, and I had run across a recipe for strawberries that spoke to me immediately. Strawberry margaritas! See, the Ethicurean (at least this member) also believes you should drink organically and locally as well.
Here's Terra Firma Farms' recipe for strawberry margaritas:
Remove the tops of 1 basket of strawberries and drop the berries in a blender. Add 1-2 shots of good tequila, 1 T. brown sugar, the juice of one lemon, and 4 ice cubes.
I garnished with mint from the garden, then pried the Potato Non Grata out of his office to photograph them. Then I swilled the fruity delicacy while preparing to roast my first chicken (a Rosie's that I bought to practice on should I ever get my hands on a chicken like the ones the Man & La Bitch are getting from Skagit). But more on that experience later.