Posted on: August 21, 2013 Posted by: Cole Ruth Comments: 0

This morning the Uber Chef shot me a one-word text: Market?

I’ve been away awhile – NYC, Philly and then Michigan – so my kitchen is void of fresh produce and let’s face it, as expensive as it is, the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market is one of the most lovable things about L.A. Especially with the Uber Chef as your escort.

While I was away I interviewed a number of people for an article I’m writing on potatoes in Sweden. One person I interviewed told me about the potato diet. Yes, I thought it sounded crazy, too. Then I did some research and it turns out Mr. Elofson is not the only one out there preaching about the potato.

As we approached the market, my focus was narrow. I was going to buy only potatoes. Then Chef stopped at the vendor selling gorgeous and perfectly ripe pink-speckled pluots. Of course I had to get some. Then we passed the folks selling fresh ginger and, well, I’ve never worked with fresh ginger. Then the black “Indigo” tomatoes. Finally, we stopped at the potato vendor and I bought some some potatoes, too.

Scrounging is the new foraging
I told this story before, but it’s been so long that I’ll tell it again. There was a time when I used to travel a lot for work. I wish I had a photo of my fridge back then. Usually it contained a jar of mustard, a carton of eggs and a couple styrofoam take-out containers. I often had vanilla ice cream in the freezer because I was away so often that milk would spoil. I started using ice cream in my coffee. Around that time it became possible to order grocery delivery over the internet and I began scheduling a small assortment of necessities to arrive the day I got home and then pick them up from the doorman.

Meatball sub savory bread pudding

One time I bought a Philly Cheesesteak from the place around the corner as my last meal before leaving town. I couldn’t eat it all, so I stuffed the other half in the freezer. When I returned from that trip, I had to turn around and go on another one the next day. This was before the time of the delivery service. I opened my fridge and stared despairingly at the near-empty shelves. Then I opened the freezer and saw the Philly Cheesesteak.

People don’t believe me when I tell them how good this was. I chopped up the Philly Cheesesteak, layered it in a mini-pie pan that had been a take-out container, mixed the eggs with the ice cream, poured it over the Cheesesteak and baked it at 350 for 45 minutes. Voila: savory bread pudding.

I live in a different world now. Though I was away a month, my fridge is chock-full with homemade mayo, relishes, pickles and jams.

But guess what I made when I got home? It just so happened that I wisely shoved half a meatball sub from the new Pork Belly’s sandwich shop in the freezer the day I left.

Pluot quesadillas
In my post college years I ate a lot of quesadillas. I was a vegetarian for nine years and that was one of the easiest, cheapest foods I could make. I made hundreds of variations. Which may have been too many, actually. I haven’t ordered or made a quesadilla in a long time.

After returning from the market today, I continued my attempts to use up the items left in my fridge. Among the items I found a small hunk of Midnight Moon goat Gouda. I took two tortillas out of the freezer and breathed new life into them by steaming them. Then I grated the gouda, sliced the pluots, diced a bit of fresh ginger and grated pepper over the top. I took out some jalapeño jelly in case I wanted heat, but that quesadilla was absolutely perfect without it.

The potato diet will have to wait until tomorrow.

Pluot, fresh ginger and Midnight Moon quesadilla
Pluot, fresh ginger and Midnight Moon quesadilla
Pluot, fresh ginger, Midnight Moon
Pluot, fresh ginger, Midnight Moon