Healthy Eating Staples to Turn Your Local Produce into Meals

It’s okay, we all did it. Went for that last bag of Paso Almonds that was supposed to be shipped to your brother’s family but never quite made it out of your kitchen (or even into a bowl – we ate it straight from that gorgeous, slender bag.) And most of us did not ring in the new year with celery juice. We live in wine country. Enough said.
But now it’s January, and if you’re like us at the General Store, we use this as a time to recharge and renew. We spend hours looking at cookbooks in anticipation of the clean eating we hope to be doing to start the new year. Reading these reminds us how spoiled we are by the access we have to wonderfully fresh, local produce. It also gives us a chance to restock the pantry with some of the things we’ll need to turn that pile of lettuce into something amazing.
One of the books that we’ve fallen in love with is called Salad in a Jar by Anna Helm Baxter. It’s chock full of simple pictures of ingredients laid out in a really straight forward way, and salads that inspire. We ran into a few local ingredients from the store that came in handy when whipping up some of the dressings:
Stepladder Honey
The family at Stepladder has set their hives in their avocado orchards with access to citrus and sage. The resulting honey is smooth and delicate and not too sweet. It will make all the difference in something like Ms. Baxter’s Thai Pick Me Up dressing. It’s also nourishing in a cup of tea. We’re partial to our Good Vibes tea by Swan Sisters, and Spice of Life around the corner has lovely blends, too.
Fiery Garlic Olive Oil
Olivas de Oro makes this for us, and it packs a punch. You can use it to stir fry veggies, or as a shortcut when a recipe calls for garlic and chiles (as does that Thai Pick Me Up.)
Go Fish Seasoning Blend
Locally made by LeZ Ranch, we use it on a lot more than fish. It’s made with kosher salt, pepper, dill, lemon peel and coriander. We love it mixed into yogurt dressings, and – with a touch of mayo – it’s the perfect partner to grilled or steamed artichokes.
Maldon Salt
Made by a fourth generation family business in England, it’s hand harvested and delish. We carry Maldon salt in the store, and we also carry it in little jars to the store to sprinkle over lunch. If we had to choose the single ingredient we’d take over all others in the store, it would be this guy. (Sorry Garlic Rosemary Salt. We still love you.)
Cheers to enjoying Paso’s wonderful bounty, and may the new year bring us all around a table together.
The Team at General Store Paso Robles