The Foodie Report
Ruminations on food, cooking in and eating out in our area.

It's entirely possible to be a vegetarian in Porkopolis. Pop culture reporter Lauren Bishop blogs about products, recipes and restaurants she's tried for others who eat meat-free. E-mail her at lbishop@enquirer.com.

Nicci King is an unabashed foodie and the Lifestyle/Food editor in The Enquirer's features department. She loves to discover new food faves, and she's on a daily quest to answer one burning question: What's for dinner? E-mail her at nking@enquirer.com.

Enquirer Weekend editor Julie Gaw tends to order the same dish every time she eats at a restaurant, but periodically ventures out to discover something new and fabulous. After living in China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand for more than 8 years, she craves tasty Asian food. E-mail her at jgaw@enquirer.com.

Food/dining writer Polly Campbell loves every quirk and secret of Cincinnati's food personality, and is on a constant lookout for something good to eat. Keep an eye out for her restaurant picks, or see how she's progressing toward becoming famous for her apple pie. E-mail her at pcampbell@enquirer.com.

Communities reporter Rachel Richardson is on a mission to prove vegetarians eat more than lettuce. She shares both her graduate work on American food culture and food-related news.. E-mail her at rrichardson@enquirer.com.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Miraculous salads

I have been eating the best salads of my life the last couple of weeks, just simple green salads with a few vegetables that are little miracles of deliciousness.

They are based on local lettuce, which is what makes them miraculous. Who could be growing good lettuce in this prolonged heat? A nice guy with a farm in Oxford called Locust Run Farms brings coolers full of lettuce to the tailgate market in Pleasant Ridge on Mondays. (I'm not sure what other markets he goes to) He has all kinds of varieties, from buttercrunch heads to crispy, iceberg types (Not tightly packed heads, but crispy leaves) and other very tender-leaved kinds--there's one with a funny German name that means "trout" he says--I can't remember the name right now--it's speckled like a trout. I buy three or four kinds and use a little in each salad. I've also been adding pea sprouts from the kids at the Eco-Gardens who sell at Findlay Market.

Then there are the wonderful varieties of salad tomatoes in all the markets now. Hyde Park market,http://www.hydeparkfarmersmarket.com/ especially, has farmers with every possible color and size. They give salads a blazing palette of yellow through orange and pink to bright red, are all really sweet.

Finally, I have found the most extravagant way to dress a salad, and I'm afraid I now have a rather expensive habit. Shoshannah Hafner at Honey mentioned to me a vinegar called Minus 8, http://http://www.minus8vinegar.com/which is trendy among fancy chefs. It's made like an ice wine from frozen grapes in Canada. It comes in a slender bottle and it costs $59.99. (though I've seen in cheaper online) Not quite as expensive as a super-good balsamic. I've been putting it on vegetables, I used some in a chicken salad, I added a little to a pan sauce, and it improved all of those things. But I'm most in love with it as a simple vinaigrette with olive oil on a green salad. It's so subtle, so full of flavor, and has no harshness at all. I'm going to have to give up some other things in my life to buy it. You can use a very small amount, and less salad dressing all together, too, since it's so flavorful. Buy it at Hyde Park Gourmet Food and Wine. www.hydeparkgourmet.com


at 1:31 PM Anonymous midwest transplant said...

Hi, Does anyone here bother to read the comments? Is there any use in commenting? Why have the comments if you don't really want the dialogue? I've been posting asking about restaurants that source organic food. I'm new here and pretty shocked to find that Nectar in Mt. Lookout is the only restaurant that appears to serve organic food. I figure I must be missing something. I figure this is supposed to be a gathering place of local food experts. I figure this is an important food topic. Why wouldn't anyone of The Foodie Report be willing to answer or explore this food issue? Thanks for your time.

at 1:31 PM Anonymous Schottzie03 said...

I've had that vinegar and it is AWESOME!! Great tip.

at 2:24 PM Blogger Stepf said...

We do read comments -- and comment back quite often, as you read. It's been a busy week, thus the blog is slow. I'm sorry! Fresh downtown (though it's just a lunch place) uses some organic produce. I honestly don't know of others, but I'm curious about the same thing! I know a lot of restaurants buy produce from Findlay Market, but I don't think most advertise whether it's pesticide-free. I'll look into it, midwest transplant. Until then, ask the farmers market vendors which restaurants they sell to.

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