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Feed Your Passion

th e d i sh

A Flight of Appetizers

By Carolyn Binder

Manchego cheese and quince paste squares on toothpicks, with thin slices of prosciutto and toasted pecans

T

Passion

his issue’s theme is Find Your Passion, and women like Jerrie Mock have been taking to the skies and leading the way, encouraging all of us to live fuller, more satisfying lives. As a food and garden writer, my feet are firmly planted in the soil, but I still found my passion: serving delicious food sourced as locally as possible—starting with produce from my own garden. The Big Bend is blessed with a temperate climate that allows Tallahasseeans to grow and enjoy a wide variety of produce year-round. We can pick gorgeous citrus and pecans from our backyard trees. Local farmers offer organic eggs, fruits and vegetables that are so fresh and tasty, they need little preparation to bring out the best in them. Our local bee keepers produce fantastic honey, and local farmers raise beautiful free-range pork and poultry. We have world-class oysters and shrimp from the gulf and award-winning cheese from Sweet Grass Dairy up the road in Thomasville, Georgia. And with the arrival of Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s in town, we have an ever-expanding array of choices on where to shop for quality foods. Appetizers are a fun and easy way to enjoy and share our beautiful local foods. When my kids come home or friends come to visit, I want them to literally taste Tallahassee, our seasons, and my love. I also don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen. So I might start with something really simple, such as Manchego cheese and quince paste squares (find quince paste near the cheese section in the supermarket) on toothpicks, with thin slices of prosciutto and toasted pecans on the side. Then I’ll make one or two other appetizers that highlight whatever is fresh from the garden or the market. Here are a couple of ideas for appetizers that feature the best of the Big Bend’s local produce. When preparing them, head to your local farmers market, fish market, and cheese shop before you hit the grocery store. You’ll taste the difference, you’ll save money, and you’ll be supporting Tallahassee’s passionate growers, artisans and farmers.

50  t a l l a h a s s e e

wo m a n

• F e b r u a r y /M a rc h 2014

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