On Your Mark, Get Set: Whack-a-doodle-doo!
By Marlena Simon
When I was asked to do a spot for RecipeRelay I was so excited. Not only was this an opportunity to create a dish from someone else’s inspiration but to be able to pass the baton to the next person and hopefully inspire them as well. Charlottesville is a local and organic food paradise, I can pretty much buy everything locally except for dry goods, but even flour, spices, and other things are becoming more available. Right now there are so many fruits and vegetables available I thought it would be a breeze – until I got my recipe to relay. Allison lives in London and all of the ingredient items that she was using, like snap peas and fava beans, had come and gone last spring. Here I thought it would be so easy… but when crunch time came, I was faced with a bit of a challenge.
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Allison had used fish and I considered using some locally farmed trout that we have around here. However, I have recently heard such terrible things about the polluting of waters through fish farming that I decided to stay away. I am not trying to say our trout is polluted, I just don’t know enough about it. Fortunately for us the item I was left with was cheese. We have some incredible local cheese makers here. Gail Hobbs Page is an amazing chef who left the kitchen for her goats and started Caramont Farm. She makes a wide variety of goat cheese from firm to soft. I decided that would be my highlight and I would just have to wait for my CSA pickup to finalize my menu.
I am a member of Radical Roots community farm; they bring shares of organically grown vegetables to one of our local city markets every Wednesday. It works out well for me because it is across the street from my weekly milk and egg share pick up with Silky Cow. The Caramont Farm cheese, although it sells at many grocery stores, is only available at market on Saturdays. I really want to support the farmers (and cheese makers) as best as I can and I feel that giving my money directly to them is better than driving an extra trip to the big grocery store. So, planning one extra stop as I walk to Saturday’s market, is worth it. I was hoping for some of the delicious beets I’ve been getting recently in my CSA share and thinking it would pair well with some goat cheese but as luck would have it there were no beets this week. With all of my initial ideas not coming through I still had a basket full of ingredients and was excited to make it work. Where to go from here?
While I was trying figure out where my recipe was headed, my friend called to invite me to a “Whack-A-Doodle-Doo” party. For all of you who may not be familiar, this is a rooster killing party. I know this is the part where you might think “Ugh, Gross” but if you aren’t willing to face your meal, don’t eat it. I had to bring a dish to the party and I knew that I would only want to eat something vegetarian after the grisly chore ahead. In my CSA share I had received a beautiful bag of green beans and I immediately thought of salade chevre chaude, something I ate almost everyday when I visited France. I had everything for an incredible salad in my basket and as I headed home.
See you Thursday for a completed recipe sans chicken á la Whack-a-doodle-doo!
Marlena Simon lives in Charlottesville, VA with her husband and two children. She loves food and sharing it with friends. She grew up with a mother who was an amazing cook and taught her many things, most importantly to savor every bite.