sweet fig and creamy chèvre
When's the last time you had a dinner party? Forget the mess, it doesn't matter. Forget the complicated stuff - all you need is some good cheese and fruit, fresh steamed or grilled veggies, crispy chewy bread, quality olive oil and flaked sea salt. Add some meat if you like.
Forget that you don't have time, because this is about making time. Are you going to remember that Sunday afternoon you cleaned out the pool, or the afternoon you had everyone over for an impromptu long lunch?
chèvre and fig starter with bresaola
This may be the easiest, most delicious dinner-starter you've ever put out there on a wooden board. You do nothing, really, but sit back and sip your wine and watch your party guests self-assemble and devour the food - tart and creamy chèvre, sweet chewy figs. It's my kind of appetiser for my kind of dinner party, the one where everything is so simple that you actually get to enjoy hanging out.
All you need for this is chèvre - plain, herbed or ashed is fine - and quality dried figs, halved. (And by "quality", I mean dried but not tough). Go organic if you can, it does make a difference. Add strips of salty bresaola or prosciutto and wrap! Cheese on fig or cheese on fig wrapped in meat, depending on how you like it.
It's all about time, really. And you have it.
In an article titled “ The Organic Fable ,” New York Times columnist Roger Cohen had some pithy observations about the popularity of organic food, including this one: “Organic has long since become an ideology, the romantic back-to-nature obsession of an upper middle class able to afford it and oblivious, in their affluent narcissism, to the challenge of feeding a planet whose population will surge to nine billion before the middle of the century and whose poor will get a lot more nutrients from the two regular carrots they can buy for the price of one organic carrot.” Here’s a suggestion for a new tradition at Roble Hall: Ditch organic agriculture, begin taking advantage of modern technologies to boost yields, and commemorate that decision each year with an event called “Two Carrot Day.” (It could be co-sponsored by Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education .)
The third important benefit of organic farming to the environment is its lower emission of carbon dioxide. Haas and Kopke’s study compared carbon dioxide emissions from organic and conventional farming. The CO 2 emission of organic farms is only 40 percent that of conventional. Similar results are derived by other researchers: an anonymous study found the ratio of CO 2 emission of organic farms over that of conventional farms to be 34/100. Rogaski duplicated Haas and Kopke’s study and he found the percentage to be 52 (Shepherd et al. 53). The lower levels of CO 2 emission in organic farms is mostly due to fewer energy inputs because fewer fossil fuels are burnt. Organic farms are usually smaller than conventional ones, and thus the average energy input per area is smaller. Therefore, the energy saving feature of organic farms is another aspect of its environmental conservation.