California cuisine seems to be enjoying renewed attention in the UK, not only for its multicultural fusion-cooking, but for its creativity with seasonal, interesting produce – thanks no doubt to our current interests in more adventurous vegetable cookery.
When I think of ‘California cooking’, I instantly think of what grows in that immensely varied landscape with its huge range of microclimates — and of my own salad days playing with it all when I cooked in Berkeley and Palo Alto, and had a Meyer lemon and fig tree in my garden. Almonds, avocados, artichokes, garlic… plums, grapes, boysenberries, loganberries… cornsalad, chervil, sorrel, nasturtiums….
And not just a rainbow of vegetables, fruits, herbs and edible flowers, but goats-milk cheeses, organic lamb, wild quail, fish from the Pacific…. We had salads most days, and grilled everything from baby leeks to oysters over mesquite perfumed with fennel and bay. It seemed there were endless possibilities to produce anything under that almost endless sun, and to do almost anything with it. It was enough to give any young cook the fever. [Read More…]