Eating local: Vegetables and cheese are easy, but Malibu eggs save the day

During the first two days of my one-month local-food challenge, I ate almost solely fruits and vegetables. At Tuesday’s dinner of sautéed local kale and a salad of local beets, local goat cheese, and local lettuce, a hungry family member commented that it was not actually a meal, but rather just two side dishes, and that this “whole locavore thing” was not going to last. Determined to prove him wrong, I bought a dozen eggs from Trancas Canyon Nursery for $5 and I whipped up a quick frittata for dinner.

If one combined a nursery and a petting zoo, Trancas Canyon Nursery would be the result. When you enter through the front gates, it looks like a regular nursery, albeit overrun with cats and the occasional sleepy dog, but through a second set of gates there is a menagerie of chickens, ducks and bunnies. The nursery is under construction but you can still buy eggs every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

At Malibu’s Saturday Farmers Market, I bought some zucchinis; two went into a raw zucchini salad, and I wanted to put the leftover zuke into a frittata. I also had some red onions from a family friend’s garden so I threw them in too, along with a red bell pepper, and a creamy Soledad Goats’ goat cheese. Soledad Goats, in Mojave, has not only rescued goats, but also sheep, pigs, horses, and foster dogs. When prompted, they can talk more about their pets than their cheeses, which run from $6 to $8 and are incredibly delicious.

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For a salad, I was a little stuck. I had local lettuce and olive oil, thanks to the Malibu Olive Company, but no vinegar for dressing. The Malibu Olive Company was founded by Robert Jaye after Emilio Estevez told him at a party to expand his olive groves and press his own oil. Not wanting to disappoint Emilio, he did just that. You can now purchase his oils at PC Greens or Malibu Seafood for $25.


Scouring my pantry, I found an almost forgotten jar of preserved lemons made out of lemons from my tree. Preserved lemons are one of my favorite condiments and extraordinarily easy to make (they’re just lemons packed in salt), yet can be hard to find in Southern California. I like to make a big batch and store them in my refrigerator, where they will keep for years.

As the frittata was cooking, I diced a quarter of a preserved lemon, stirred in some olive oil, and tossed it with my lettuce. In little more than half an hour I had a local dinner, and a full and happy family.


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