Sunday, September 19, 2010

What's Good Now with some help from Ned Ludd's Jason French

It's raining.  I had big plans for the day to break out my long neglected 4x5 and go take some very artful pictures of some big oak trees I found on Sauvie Island to work on my Sauvie Island picture collection.  But, the rain stopped that and I had nothing else to do for the day.  My solution to this Saturday blah?  Food, of course.   Specifically, beets.

Ever since our friend Tiffany introduced my family to the magic of buttered, roasted beets a couple years ago, we look forward to the end of summer and the new beet crop with enthusiasm.  Red beets.  Golden beets.  Big beets.  Little beets.  They are all good.  Cubed.  Sliced.  Whole.  Grilled.  Sauted.  Oven roasted.  It's all wonderful.  In salads.  As a side dish.  Topped with crumbled goat cheese.  Simple with butter and salt.  Complicated in a gratin.  We love them.

Then, while driving to the Pumpkin Patch Farm to do some shopping, I had another idea.

What Jason French Thinks is Good Right Now
A couple months ago we ate at  Ned Ludd on MLK and really enjoyed it.  The food was very good.  They deserve the attention they've been given by pubs like the New York Times and GQ.  And best of all, we got to spend some time talking with owner Jason French.  Jason is passionate about seasonal food and local sources.  He even uses Oregon olive oil from Red Ridge Farms.  It was great to hear the stories of a working restaurant and their adventures with local sourcing.

But today what I was interested in was his opinion on what is good right now.  I was thinking beets.  What was he thinking?  I gave him a call to find out.

We both agreed this is a shit year for tomatoes.  His other suggestions were a surprise.

Melons are coming on late this year and they are extra tasty.

Egg plant and hot peppers.  Jason notes that the skins are thinner on these fruits this year, and that makes them better.

Cucumbers.  They're just really good right now.


Some ways that they are using these ingredients in dishes at Ned Ludd:

Melon, House Prosciutto, Sea Salt appetizer
Mixed Greens, Cucumbers, Radishes, Simple Vinegarette salad
Lamb Loin Chop, Spuds, Eggplant, and Pepper Agrodolee dinner

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