Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Citrus New Year

This is what we are having to celebrate the New Year --yukon gold potatoes, red onion, endive lettuce, ham,ruby red grapefuit in a bourbon-mustard dressing. Hot citrus is hot!

Winter time is citrus time...
making supremes

And general information on citrus

wine recommendation --fume blanc or Sauvignon Blanc

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Jerusalem Artichoke or sunchoke

The Jerusalem artichoke is very high in iron. It is a good winter vegetable
This is a list of recipes from

But the most sought after answer and least asked question is why are they also called fartichokes and what can be done about it. This article from the Garden Web addresses the painful reality of eating sunchokes.

These are Jerusalem Artichokes from the Santa Rosa, Ca farmers market. But they are available all over North America this time of year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Thomas Jefferson and Mac and Cheese

It seems there is some disagreement as to whether Jefferson brought mac and cheese to America. Whoever did it --good job! My mac and cheese has the kale/spinach puree and spicy pickled tomatoes in it. The pickled tomatoes are from my garden and a simple prep of rice wine vinegar, a little olive oil, cayanne pepper, cumin, mustard and jalapeno peppers, chopped rind of meyer lemon. Mix it all together and heat up and then let sit overnight.

Jefferson may not have brought mac and cheese to America but he did have wine with most meals. I think a nice zin with the mac and cheese would do the trick

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Budda's Hand

"Buddha's Hand from ideas in food

BuddhashandconfitureWe saw the Buddha's Hand in Fairway and for a change I was the one throwing caution and price tags to the wind by adding the fruit to our cart. It's an interesting citrus, known for its extraordinarily fragrant skin and for the fact that the pith is not supposed to be bitter. I've always wanted to play with it and so I jumped at the opportunity.

The first incarnation was this citrus confit. I used a mandolin to thinly slice the fruit. Then I blanched it to remove any lingering trace of bitterness in the pitch. I have to say though that the Buddha's hand lived up to its reputation for sweet, juicy pith. The bitter aftertaste was minimal and pleasant, although since we were using it for a dessert I blanched it anyway. Then I cooked it down with a pinch of salt in just enough 1:1 simple syrup to cover the slices. Once it was tender and translucent I took it off the heat and added a cinnamon stick for that extra something. The cooked Buddha's Hand was delicious, fragrant and melting, with an ethereal flavor that lingered on the palate and made you wish for just a little bit more. We paired it with chocolate and olives. There's still half a hand left, who knows what we'll do next."

Other folks are not so kind and suggest it is more of a novelty suitable for a centerpiece or aromatic.

Greens and Citrus

The Santa Rosa Famers Market is full of greens and citrus. Citrus is perfect for this season...bright and flavorful against the dreary winter. I made a puree..or jam or whatever using kale, spinach,parsley, apple, meyer lemon, jalapeno pepper and garlic which can be used any number of ways.

First I roasted the garlic in 1/4 c olive oil--then sauteed the kale, parsley, apple, jalapeno and spinach in the oil with a cup of water...10 minutes covered and ten uncovered. Add the juice and skinned sections of one meyer lemon. Puree in a blender or food processor. It's good just spread on bread or as a pizza topping. Also good as a pasta sauce.

Even more Santa Rosa Farmers Market

Santa Rosa Farmer's Market 12/27/2009 more

Santa Rosa Farmer's Market 12/27/2009

Monday, December 22, 2008

Heaven and Earth

This is a great dish for winter and while this version uses bacon..almost anything including soy with work..just in the proper form.
It's basically, mashed potatoes, apples sauce and bacon for a little added umph!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Meat as a condiment - broccoli soup

Broccoli soup made with white beans, jack cheese,a tiny bit of chicken, beef and chicken stock and to give it some depth chipotle peppers.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Meat as a Condiment

The minimalist weighed in on this subject as did Chef Mary Jo McMillin

It's about moving meat from the center of the plate and making it a side dish or to add flavoring.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Meat and Fish are seasonal too!

Fish and meat have seasons just as vegetables do.

This is another list.

Kitchen Basics
Seasonal Buys at the Meat Market

You may have noticed during the summer months that roasts, stew meat and short ribs were priced at a more reasonable price than in the seasons just past. By the same token you'll notice, now that we're firmly in winter's grips, steak prices have dropped by 50% or more. Why? Because meat, especially beef cuts are seasonal purchases. The cuts we crave at present (roasts, stew meats, and short ribs) are in higher demand with cold weather. Steaks, which are primarily served grilled are no longer 'in season'. Luckily, in the South, we can grill nearly year round. We take full advantage of steak being bargain priced.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Vegetable Pave ala Thomas Jefferson

Vegetable paves are easy and reheat well. I made mine with turnips, potatoes and collard greens and for something extra a layer of chicken just for flavoring. This is a good explanation of the concept.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

last tomato update

Almost the end of the year..and still eating tomatoes from my they with a breakfast pizza

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

lentil soup inside the box

I'm making soup for a neighbor's daughter who is recuperating from surgery...something light but tasty. I have bok choy, turnips, potatoes, garlic and tomatoes. I sauteed the turnips and potatoes in olive oil, same for the lentils...combined everything and added a two cups of water and some corn and put in the oven for 45 minutes. For a finish I added just a bit of cooked chicken as a condiment and heated it through.

I also made a caramelized onion, blue cheese and apple tart.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The last tomatoes

The last tomatoes. These are lemon boys. So far --some are ripening, and I pickled some and I may have to do some experimenting.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Santa Rosa Farmer's Market

Lots of variety and things you do not see in the supermarket --kohlrabi, cactus, celery root,jicama and all kinds of squash.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Seasonal Eating!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The last week -Week 25

The last box..peppers, delicata and acorn squash, summer squash, lettuce, bok choy, collards, dino kale, red Russian kale, basil.

I am very sad the CSA is ending. It has been an adventure in vegetables and the human experience has been the best. Brandon and Brian have been great and I wish them both the best in their next great adventure. My box buddy Allen has been wonderful and I am sure we will stay in touch.

The big question for me is what to do next in terms of keeping up being a seasonal eater.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Pomegranates are a wonderful tree (shrub?.) In the Spring they get wonderful red flowers and then the fruit! Information on growing Pomegranates from the backyard gardener.

Pomegranates are messy but worth the effort. There are a lot of elaborate recipes but just the combination of flavors is the right balance.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Week 24 (the penultimate box)

week twenty four. ONE WEEK LEFT!!
November 11th, 2008

Box> lettuce, squash, bok choi, dino kale, red Russian kale, potatoes, radishes, peppers, garlic

Dear friends and family of Sol Food Farm. How are we today? Brian and I are just swell. Yours truly just got back from a week visiting home and preparing myself for the big move back. That’s correct folks. Brandon Pugh has had his amazing California experience and is now heading back to the homeland to start my own project, Delta Sol. This farm has been a dream of mine for a while and at last the time has come. I will be farming the land that I grew up on and will be one of the only vegetable producers for miles around. Memphis is where my markets will be and my mom is already working on my CSA membership. I will be back around my family and am ready for this next step. Thank you all for being so supportive of us young farmers as we figure out how this all works.
Have no fear for the present Sol Food Farm for once again there will be some new folks around. Not 100 percent sure who but we will make sure you know as soon as we have the okay.
Lots of love and a friendly reminder that we one week left ya’ll. Holy cow.

Basic vinaigrette.
2 tbsp cider vinegar or 3 tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp dry mustard or 1 tsp Dijon
½ tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
6-8 tbsp olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk vinegar or lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper until salt dissolves. Slowly whisk in oil. Alternately, combine vinegar or lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper in a covered jar and shake vigorously until well combined; add oil and shake until blended.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


The American Wild Persimmon is worth the forage but takes skill. Persimmon Pudding is dedicated to preserving the wild persimmon.
The Haachiya persimmon has to be completely ripe or it is very puckery.

The fuyu persimmon that looks like a squashed tomato the most consumer friendly. Edible over a longer period of time and easierto use.

"Why Eat It

The persimmon, with its beautiful, brilliant orange-red glossy skin, arrives in markets just as summer is ending. Nevertheless, it hasn't become as popular in the United States as it has in Japan, where the fruit is widely cultivated and as eagerly consumed as oranges are in the West. Though there are native persimmon trees in the United States, the varieties that Americans eat were brought here from Japan in the late 19th century (and are now grown mainly in California). Persimmons are well worth trying not only for their exceptional flavor but also for their beta-carotene; they also have some Vitamin C and potassium."
Everything you might ever want to know about persimmons.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pears, Potatoes and turnips

pears, potatoes, turnips - I have all those things and I saw this recipe on Epicurious -

It sounded wonderful --but I only needed for far fewer people and with a lot less butter. I roasted two pears split and seeded, two potatoes cut in quarters and two turnips (small) cut in half and one fresh slightly hot pepper. Roasted in 450 oven with a little olive oil until everything was soft enough to mash.. Really Really really good. There is no picture because it got eaten before I could take one!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

a peak inside another CSA box

This is potatoes, a melon, tomatoes and more persimmons from a CSA near Petaluma.
People who came to celebrate last night brought lots of food and then no one ate much. Plus the gift of the peak inside another box. I have to figure out how to preserve a lot of this.

Week 23 is lovely to look at ...

The warm days of October are having a wonderful impact in the beginning of November.
Challenge of the week --what to do with a persimmon ..particularly one that is not particularly ripe.

Squash Squared Soup

I made this for our election day celebration:Acorn Squash, Kale and Apple Soup Recipe
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 acorn squash
1 tart apple, peeled, cored, chopped
Orange juice
3 or 4 summer squash 1 bunch kale
3/4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth if vegetarian)
chipotle in adobo
I think the key to this soup is roasting the vegetables until they have some crispy bits and including the bits for a smokey taste.
Heat oven to 450 . cut the summer squash and onion into a rough chop, half and seed the acorn squash and then roast until soft –also coat the garlic with olive oil and roast with the vegetables. Once soft, let them cool. Scoop out the acorn squash and combine everything in a food processor a rough puree. Add the chipotle at this point – a very little at a time- until get the “spice point” you want. Puree away.
Kale – remove tough stems and blanch for a few minutes until bright green. Drain and cool. Add to the puree of squash and puree –there will still be fairly large flecks of green.
Combine the puree of squash/kale with 1 cup of orange juice, and the chopped apple. Depending on how thick you want to the soup add 2-4 cups of stock. Let simmer for about 45 minutes. A lot of these types of soup benefit from making ahead and reheating.

Bell pepper/basil relish
1 large Roasted bell pepper, 1 bunch of basil, fresh garlic, lime juice
I also served blue cheese and sour cream as adornments.

One of my guests said it was great -- made my day!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Grapes - good eats and an underutilized ingredient

Most cuisines have examples of cooking with grapes - from curried chicken salad (or uncurried as well) to sole Veronique. Aside from eating them plain - are grapes worth the effort to make a part of everyday food?

Nutritional value of grapes

This is a great looking recipes and story about cooking with grapes...pork tenderloin with roasted grape sauce.

Pickled grapes are wonderful too. The first time I made pickled grapes --a little too much on the spicy hot side! But they are great as a condiment and a cocktail nibble.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I could've had a roasted grape!

There were beautiful grapes in the box this week and the neighborhood is littered with walnuts I found this recipe for roasted grapes. I adapted it -
grapes roasted with limoncella and spice roasted walnuts served over pears.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Notes from Sol Food Farm -week 22

WEEK 22. hootie hoo!
October 28th, 2008

Box has: summer squash, lettuce, garlic, basil, bok choi, top bunch collards, heirloom collards, red Russian kale, dino kale, tomatoes, broccoli

Week twenty two update:
Our buddy George is out of town this week in Italy for the Slow Food Conference. Some of you might recall Laura Neale was the Sol Food Farm representative two years ago. She went, had a blast, and made out with a random Greek fisherman. Farmers from all over the world convene in Turin, Italy to eat, talk and celebrate their local specialties. This year was George’s turn. He owns Earthworker Farm and sells at several markets throughout the county. While he’s gone we are taking care of his tomatoes, getting them out of the field and into your hands. Thanks a bunch George and we hope you are wooping it up over there in Italy.

Kale chips
1 tblsp apple cider vinegar
1 tblsp salt
3 tblsp olive oil
2 bunches kale

cut kale into 2 inch pieces and mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Place on baking sheet and put in oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes or

White Beans and Collard Greens

A friend sent a tasty sounding recipe...for cranberry beans and collards from the NYTIMES

My version....white beans, Italian sausage, collards (blanched first), dino kale (blanched first) and broccoli (also blanched)

Crockpots are great --and you can usually find ones in good shape at garage sales.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Week 21

twenty one. fun. from the Fellows at Sol Food Farm
October 21st, 2008

Box: spuds, basil, bok choy, lettuce, broccoli/eggplant, apples, garlic, squash/tomatoes, chard.

Well the big news on campus is that our dear friend Leo is coming up for a visit tomorrow. We really just cannot wait to scream and shout with him and call him names. As you may or may not know he has been living out in New York working on various farms and cooking at a fabulous local restaurant. He’s here through Saturday and you can catch him at the Occidental Farmer’s Market this Friday evening. He’ll be signing his new book, How to be loud and obnoxious. He is really good at it. JUST KIDDING! We love him.
As you can see, there is lots of bok choy in the box. We know you haven’t had it in a while and so just wanted to really give you a great bok choy experience. Bok choy can be steamed, stir fried, and tossed in a super crunchy salad. It’s a nice addition to any dish for it’s fresh crunch. Thanks everyone for being so super. Super duper.