If you haven’t noticed, I am not a big fan of fast food or chain restaurants. I don’t generally eat at them and do not recommend that any of my friends or family eat at them. There are many reasons but the biggest is that they generally source their food from giant distributors. This means that it is usually frozen, pre-packaged and made from low quality ingredients. Even salad cannot be relied upon to be made fresh from local ingredients. Any food that needs to come farther than you can bicycle in a day is going to need to be preserved in some way and most of those ways are detrimental to the taste and usually your health.
There are a couple of fantastic exceptions. The Chipotle chain endeavors to source local produce and use natural and organic meat whenever possible. They have made it their mission and by doing so, have changed the way that their purveyors treat their animals and grow their food. The knock on effect is tremendous and should not be taken lightly. Essentially, one guy decided to make a change and that has carried on throughout the supply chain. That is heartening.
The other chain is a series of local burger joints in New York called Shake Shack. They are very particular about sourcing their raw ingredients. The beef is locally sourced and ground daily for them. The produce and buns are also locally sourced, organic and grown especially for the chain. Danny Meyer, the famous New York restauranteur of such wonderful restaurants as Eleven Madison Park and Gramercy Tavern owns the Shake Shacks. His attention to quality and detail is what has made him so successful and the Shake Shack is no exception.
This week I will be featuring food and condiments for a Memorial Day weekend picnic. This first recipe goes great with grilled lamb. It is light and refreshing and the fresh mint pairs perfectly with a lamb chop.
- 2 Cucumbers, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 Lime
- 2 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Mint, finely chopped
- Salt and Pepper
- Chef’s Knife
- Mixing Bowl
- Peel and chop the cucumbers. I usually quarter them and then chop them into bite sized pieces.
- Squeeze the lime and add the vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. You want the olive oil to be really tasty. I have some meyer lemon olive oil that works really well. It’s clean tasting. There only needs to be a trace. Use less if you are in doubt.
- Mix in the mint.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.