U.S.of Arugula Winner

19 06 2012

Hello everyone!

We finally have a winner for “United States of Arugula” . Below you will find David Kamp’s email:

First, let me say how honored I am that the Cook the Books Club chose “The United States of Arugula” both as reading material and as cooking inspiration. I am one of those writers who has never become jaded about the fact that he gets to write for a living, and when I see people moved to action–in this case, furious food preparation–by something I have written, it compounds the joy I take in my work.

There’s not a clunker among these entries; I want to eat each and every one of your submissions, right now. But I have to single out the two goat-cheese-based entries, from Deb of Kahakai Kitchen and Eliot of Eliot’s Eats. Goat cheese is an important thing in my book and in my life. It still amazes me that it was only 32 years ago–1980!—that domestically produced goat cheese first became available to American consumers, and, even then, only to Californians who lived close enough to Laura Chenel’s Sonoma County HQ. Now, there’s literally not a day in our lives that my family does not eat goat cheese. We have it in our salads, on crackers, in eggs, on bagels, and so on. (True story: My son, when younger, kept an imaginary herd of goats.)

So: Runner-up is Deb, whose crostini with strawberries, baby arugula, and goat cheese are both beautiful to look at and imaginative in their harmonious but slightly off-center combination of flavors. (Sweet + peppery + creamy.) I also liked the fact that, because of the time of year it is, I was able, like Deb, to make these crostini with local ingredients from the farmer’s market, even though we live six time zones apart.

And the winner is: Eliot, for the smoked log of goat cheese. Probably the least aesthetically pleasing of the entries, looking, in its final state, like something removed from a patient rushed into emergency surgery after collapsing in abdominal pain. But this was the recipe that I read and thought “Good god, this is something I must try as soon as I am able!” Eliot’s recipe requires patience but otherwise couldn’t be more simple–and, better still, it invites all manner of variation. Best of all, it manages the noble feat of making fresh goat cheese, already one of my favorite foods, taste even better.

I see from the “About Us” tab of the Eliot’s Eats blog that Eliot is actually a pseudonym for a self-described “near middle-aged couple.” On the basis of their smoky, delightfully nuanced goat cheese, I think it is high time that this couple proudly go public with their identities.





8 responses

19 06 2012

I am sitting at my desk giggling—both out of excitement about winning (I can’t believe it) and due to your description of my smoked goat cheese—-something out of surgery??!?!?! 🙂 Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Debra (Eliot)

19 06 2012
Garden Update (and a winning post) !!!!!! « Eliot's Eats

[…] check out my winning post.    I was so honored that David Kamp, the author of the latest Cook the Books selection, The United States of Arugula, chose my post as the winner.   He actually read my blog […]

20 06 2012

Such an enjoyable book! Congratulations to Eliot for such a lovely and winning idea.

21 06 2012

Congratulations Debra! And thank you David.

21 06 2012

Good job Eliot guys and Deb – I seriously need to try your entries. Actually, this was a good reminder of how good all of them were.

21 06 2012
Can't Believe We Ate...

Congrats you two!!
Thank you David, for sharing your book and judging our entries!!
I love Cook the Books!

25 06 2012
Kahakai Kitchen

Always a bridesmaid, sigh… Just kidding! Congratulations Debra (Eliot) 😉 That has to be the most delectable goat cheese ever.

This was a fun round–so many great dishes. Thanks Jo for an awesome pick and David for writing it, and the judging of course.

28 06 2012
Tina Marie

Congrats Debra!! Loved your post on this book. I liked this book quite a bit.

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