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Tuesday, May 08, 2007 


Google sustainability and you just might get it's new cafe, Cafe 150.
Lee Bassian, owner of Bassian Farms in San Jose, remembers delivering his naturally raised meats to Google back when the company still operated out of a garage.

"One time our truck got a ticket because it weighed too much for a residential street," Bassian recalled.

Google's now-famous philosophy of providing wholesome food at no charge to its employees dates from its inception, although the company took it to a new level last year when it opened Cafe 150, a restaurant at corporate headquarters in Mountain View that only serves produce and meats raised within a 150-mile radius. It's one of 15 restaurants at Google, with three more due to open this month.
There are some challenges....
...Tomatoes also posed a challenge, as Google employees wanted them even in the winter, when they're only available from warmer climates like Mexico.

To provide a substitute in sandwiches and salads, Keller salted and grilled persimmons, a deep orange fruit grown nearby that ripens in the winter.

"You couldn't tell the difference," he said. "In the summer, they began complaining when we didn't have grilled persimmons," Keller added. - Palo Alto Daily News
Sweet Potato & Jalapeno Bisque

Googlers favor this spicy, tart-sweet soup in the winter because it is chock full of nutrients. Created by chef Tony Castelucci.

2 pounds sweet potatoes
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 pound shallots, minced (about 1 cup)
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1/4 cup rum
3 to 4 cups vegetable stock + additional stock as needed
1/2 cup cooked white rice
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup creme fraiche
1/2 bunch cilantro (leaves and tender stems only), chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lime

Bake potatoes in a 400° oven until they are tender and can be easily pierced with a fork. Let cool.

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the shallots and saute until soft. Add the garlic and jalapenos and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the rum and cook for about 2 minutes, or until alcohol has evaporated. Add the stock and bring to simmer.

Cut the sweet potatoes in half and scrape out the flesh. Add to the stock, stirring, until the potatoes are broken up. Add the cooked rice. Remove from heat and, working in batches, puree in a blender until smooth.

Return the mixture to the pot, and place over low heat. Add stock as needed to adjust the consistency of the soup, then season with salt and pepper.

For the topping: Spoon the creme fraiche into a small bowl. Stir in the cilantro, lime zest and 1 teaspoon of the juice.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with a dollop of creme fraiche.

Serves 6 to 8

PER SERVING: 210 calories, 4 g protein, 26 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat (5 g saturated), 22 mg cholesterol, 490 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.


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