Sunday, November 22, 2009

Seasonal waffles

One of the tastiest ways to eat more fruits and vegetables is to add them to waffles or pancake batter.

The spring waffle was full of nettles for fall, pumpkin waffles with caramelized apples.

Use your favorite waffle batter but adjust for extra liquid in whatever you are adding.

From Bella online a waffle tutorial.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chickpeas all seasons eating

Pakoras made with seasonal vegetables , tomatoes, green beans, cauliflower, and onions. The chickpea is very versatile and if you only use it for hummus you are missing out.

Using chickpea flour is traditional for fritters in India. Chickpea flour can also be used as a general substitute for wheat flour.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tomato, tomato, tomato

roasted tomato and garlic sauce, tomato -tomato pizza, roasted tomato and garlic humus
In Sonoma County it is still tomato time. Time to get specials on tomatoes for sauce or canning and time to indulge every tomato whim.

Roasted tomato sauce -heat the oven to 350 and put in a pan of tomatoes and garlic and roast for about 45 minutes --longer for caramelized brown bits.

I used this sauce for as the base for lots of things. If I have extra I freeze it.

Tomato-tomato pizza whole wheat crust -, roasted tomato and garlic sauce, and top with slices of fresh tomatoes (seed and drain them) and then a layer of mozzerella cheese (or the cheese of your choice -blue cheese would be very, very good.)

Humus is a welcome healthy snack. The base is fairly bland and a perfect platform for adding any flavor you like. The roasted tomato and garlic sauce makes a great humus dip.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fruit Cakes

No. Not that fruitcake.
Pear/Pecan cornmeal cake


* 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
* 2 large eggs
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup dry white wine)
* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup pear sliced into small cubes
3/4 cup toasted pecans

1 Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan with oil (can use butter for this too); line the bottom of the pan with wax paper or parchment paper, and brush the top of the paper with oil.

2 In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, 1 cup of the sugar, and wine until smooth. Add flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, whisk lightly to combine and add the chopped pears and pecans.

3 Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan; sprinkle the top evenly with the remaining 1/3 cup sugar. Bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25-35 minutes.

4 Cool the cake in the pan 20 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake to separate it from the edge of the pan. Invert the cake gently onto a plate, and remove the parchment paper. Re-invert the cake onto a rack to cool completely before serving.
Sprinkle powdered sugar on the top. Or poke a few holes and pour in the liquor of your choice from pear eau de vie to brandy.

Serves 8.

Apple walnut whole wheat cake

* 1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the pan
* 2 large eggs
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup cinnamon tea
* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup whole wheat flower
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 cups apple sliced into small cubes
3/4 cup toasted walnuts

1 Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan with oil (can use butter for this too); line the bottom of the pan with wax paper or parchment paper, and brush the top of the paper with oil.

2 In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, 1 cup of the sugar, and wine until smooth. Add flour, wholewheat flour, salt, baking powder, whisk lightly to combine and add the chopped apples and walnuts.

3 Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan; sprinkle the top evenly with the remaining 1/3 cup sugar. Bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25-35 minutes.

4 Cool the cake in the pan 20 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake to separate it from the edge of the pan. Invert the cake gently onto a plate, and remove the parchment paper. Re-invert the cake onto a rack to cool completely before serving.
Sprinkle powdered sugar on the top. Or poke a few holes and pour in the liquor of your choice from calvados to apple jack.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wax Beans

Wax beans, the milder cousin of the green bean. I grew up eating canned wax beans, finding the younger, fresh version was a revelation.

Several vendors at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market have them.

This is a salad of tomatoes and wax beans in a simple oil and vinegar dressing which makes it a perfect picnic food.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tomato Pie

It's tomato time in Sonoma County and I made a chedder and tomato pie.

single pie crust or pizza dough
six tomatoes early girls would be good
1 ounce procuitto
arugla or water cress
red onion
cheddar cheese
olive oil

Line pie pan with the crust of your choice.

Slice and the six early girls and set aside the juice and pulp.
chop the argula or watercress

heat the olive oil and saute the onion, once translucent add the procuitto,arugla and tomatoes. Heat through.

Line the crust with cheddar cheese and pour in the tomato, onion, procuitto and argula mixture. Top with more cheddar cheese and and tomato slices.

If using pizza dough heat oven to 450 and bake for about 25 minutes
Pie dough heat oven to 375 and bake for about 30 minutes

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blueberries at their peak - Sebastopol Berry Farm

With flavors that range from mildly sweet to tart and tangy, blueberries are nutritional stars bursting with nutrition and flavor while being very low in calories. Blueberries are at their best from May through October when they are in season.
Blueberries are the fruits of a shrub that belong to the heath family, which includes the cranberry and bilberry as well as the azalea, mountain laurel and rhododendron. Blueberries grow in clusters and range in size from that of a small pea to a marble. They are deep in color, ranging from blue to maroon to purple-black, and feature a white-gray waxy "bloom" that covers the surface serving as a protective coat. The skin surrounds a semi-transparent flesh that encases tiny seeds. from Wholefoods

Blueberries -- Antioxidant Superfood
Packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, these berries are also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them the top choice of doctors and nutritionists. Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory.
"Inflammation is a key driver of all chronic diseases, so blueberries have a host of benefits," says Ann Kulze, MD, of Charleston, S.C., author of Dr. Ann's 10-Step Diet, A Simple Plan for Permanent Weight Loss & Lifelong Vitality. When selecting berries, note that the darker they are, the more anti-oxidants they have. "I tell everyone to have a serving (about 1/2 cup) every day," Dr. Kulze says. "Frozen are just as good as fresh." Be sure to include lots of other fruits and vegetables in your diet as well. Remember too that, in general, the more color they have, the more antioxidants. from Web MD

The best way to freeze blueberries is in a single layer on a baking sheet. Dry them as well as you can first without bruising them by laying them on a layer of paper towels and covering them with more paper towels. Place them lovingly, and without crowding them, on the baking sheet, pop it in the freezer, and wait. Once frozen, pack the berries into appropriate storage containers and return them to the freezer. From Ochef read more

From the wineloverspage
Think outside the blueberry muffin and try savory sauces.
But that's what Ingredient of the Month is all about, my friends reminded me. Think outside the box. Contemplate the flavor and style of the featured ingredient, and let your creative spirit run free.
Fair enough. I picked up a couple of boxes of blueberries, ate about half of them right out of the box like popcorn. Then I looked in the fridge, hoping inspiration would strike. Soon enough, it did. A leftover chunk of duck breast, sliced into thin medallions and very briefly re-heated, made a fine base for a savory, spicy blueberry sauce, with no sweetening beyond the natural blueberry flavor. Crushed juniper berries added a remarkably compatible flavor complexity; lemon juice imparted a mouth-watering tangy note; a good strong dose of black pepper and just a hint of anise-scented Asian "five spice" and, finally, a dash of Cholula Mexican hot sauce to finish up with a touch of hot-sweet excitement.
It exceeded my most optimistic expectations, and even my long-suffering bride, who doesn't like fruit-and-meat combinations at all, had to admit that the dish was splendid ... and came back for seconds.

Where to pick your own in Northern California

As recently as 1997, California grew only 196 acres of blueberries but now it has about 4,500, which are estimated to yield more than 20 million pounds this season. That's still well short of Michigan, the nation's largest producer at 110 million pounds last year. But when California's plantings mature, its production may reach 50 million pounds, exceeding Oregon's, now the third-largest U.S. producer.From the LATIMES

Sebastopol Berry Farm
"Our family started the farm back in 1986 after purchasing part of the oldest blueberry farm in California - Green Valley. Some of the blueberry bushes are almost 100 years old. We started growing blueberries and over the years have expanded to include other berries. For almost 25 years, we have dedicated ourselves to growing the most flavorful berries. Sabina and Tarcicio Vigil, mom and dad, have put all their efforts into making the farm the best berry farm in the North Bay. We believe in clean agricultural practices and have been growing organic and pesticide free berries since 1986. Each family member has been active in contributing to our success - from deciding which berries to plant to selling directly to our customers at local farmers markets in Northern California. It's truly a family owned and run farm!
Where to find us?
We sell directly at the farm. Call ahead to find out what's in season and hours of operation. - 707.694.2301

At the peak of the blueberry season, you can also find us at the following farmers markets:
Tues - Napa (morning), Healdsburg (evening)
Wed - Santa Rosa
Thurs - San Rafael (Civic Center)
Fri - St Helena (morning), Cloverdale (evening)
Sat - Healdsburg, Petaluma, Davis, Palo Alto, Santa Rosa
Sun - San Rafael, Sebastopol, Menlo Park, Walnut Creek"

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Yummy yam salad

The word yam comes from African words njam, nyami, or djambi, meaning "to eat," and was first recorded in America in 1676.
There is great confusion between yams and sweet potatoes in the United States; most of the vegetables labeled "yams" in the markets are really orange-colored sweet potatoes.
Yam salad

Perfect for picnics
3 large yams
Olive oil, vinegar, red onion, red and yellow bell pepper, sorrel, water cress,
Peel and cube the yams –
Coat with olive oil and roast at 375 until just cooked trhough.
While the cubes roast prepare the dressing.
Small chop ½ of red pepper and ½ yellow
Put ¼ red onion, about ¼ pound of water cress (stems and all),and about ½ cup sorrel leaves in a food processer for a fine chop
Combine the peppers and onion cress mixture in a large baggie then add your favorite vinegar and oil dressing and let the flavors combine while the yams roast. As soon as the yams come out of the oven add the dressing mixture. The yams will absorb more flavor while hot.
Serve chilled
Another version is to run the yam mixture through the food processor for a smaller chop and put about spoonful on a lettuce leaf for a great appetizer.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

This week at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market

Early girl tomatoes from Rhodes Family Farm, arugla and basil from Ortiz Bros, apricots and meyer lemons from DeSantis Farms, cucumbers from Bernier, squash from the Patch, saute green mix from Triple T and jack cheese from Spring Hill.

Spicy Peach Pasta Sauce

Saute peeled sliced peaches with the greens of your choice,I used argula. I added garlic and red pepper flakes. If you wanted to "beef" it up you could also add meat or fish at this point. Prepare wholewheat pasta - once the pasta is cooked add it and a small amount of the pasta water to the peaches and cook together for a few minutes.
Serve with parmesan cheese.

Monday, June 8, 2009

tomato pie

Chop fresh tomatoes with a bit of olive oil and garlic and spoon it over wholewheat flatbread, top with some parmesan cheese (or the cheese of your choice) Wholewheat dough is easy to make and is very versatile
Wholewheat dough is available in the refrigerator case of many grocery stores and Bobobli has a wholewheat option as well.

What's inside the box?

No box this year, but I am shopping at the Santa Rosa Farmers Farmers Market.
This week early girl tomatoes from Rhodes Family Farm, tangelos from DeSantis Farms, argula from Ortiz Bros,braising greens from Triple T, sweet white onion from The Patch, a red onion and garlic from Bernier and cosmetically challenged fruit from Nuefeld. and artichoke lemon pesto from Home Maid

Monday, May 25, 2009

Best Ever Greens Kale with cheddar and a hint of heat

At a recent party, I was parked near the buffet table and watched people take a tiny bit of a vegetable dish --and then come back for a lot more. I had to try it. It was creamy good with just a hint of heat. The dish was made from this recipe
and really what's not to like a stick of butter and a pound of cheddar cheese for two pounds of greens.

The woman who made the dish for the party said she had made it on other occasions using half the cheese and in my version I used even less plus I sauteed the greens in olive oil and used a couple of tablespoons of butter instead of a quarter pound. And it is still as good! I used kale from Ortiz Bros. Farms and a sage/cheddar from Spring Hill and it was a good.

For a special occasion use all the butter and all the cheese and it is the main course.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Nopales at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market

Hector of Hector's Honey
had fresh nopales and he and Jill of Crescent Moon farms were quick to offer cooking tips. They look very intimating but it turns out if you think of them like an armed zucchini they are easy to use. Raw they taste tart a bit citrusy and cooked the flavor is mellower. Either way quite good. Epicurious has some interesting recipes

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Fried Cauliflower

A recap from foobooz
Food and Wine magazine
featured a restaurant in Philadelphia serving fried cauliflower. I found a couple of recipes and tried two different methods one cooks the cauliflower and then fries it and the other is one step. There is not any difference in the final outcome. So just heat up some oil, break the cauliflower in florettes and fry away.

This is a recipe from the Leftover queen for a oven fried version.

Whatever method you use -it's good. I served mine with hot sauce. It's good hot or cold. I got my cauliflower from Triple T Ranch at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market

Monday, May 4, 2009


Morels from Oyster Creek Mushrooms at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market

These are wild morels picked on Mt Shasta. So far, I have had them sauteed and today I'm thinking about a cream based pasta sauce.

"Two mushroom hunters, Pat McConnell and her husband Owen McConnell, a retired psychology professor, helped found the Triangle Area Mushroom Club. They've eaten 20 to 30 different types of wild mushrooms, but the morels are their favorites. Owen is often called upon to identify wild mushrooms for the group.

"I can't tell you what a morel tastes like," Pat says. "It's absolutely delicious." The McConnells like to sauté their morels in butter with a dash of salt. She says they keep it simple because "the flavor is so fantastic, you don't want to miss it."

"I'm often asked what it tastes like," Burk says. "Well, it tastes like a morel because there's absolutely nothing else that tastes like a morel." from A Taste of the Woods

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Miners Lettuce

High in Vitamin C and A
Also called Indian Lettuce
The nickname comes from the 49'er goldrush - the miners ate the plant to keep from getting scurvy.

I stirfried a bit and used as a sandwich filling --good tasting and good for you.

from Edible Seattle "Miner’s lettuce is a beginning forager’s dream: It’s easy to identify (the leaf that grows all around the stem is a dead giveaway), tastes mild and pleasant and grows abundantly like a weed. Don’t go looking for lettuce, though. “Lettuce” is an unlikely description for this small plant. Growing about 4 to 6 inches tall, each skinny petiole is topped with a succulent pea-green “bowl” or “plate” turned to the sky, a cluster of tiny pinkish-white blossom popping out through the center; young basal leaves sprout out like heart-shaped paddles. Every part—from leaf to stem to flower—of the plant is edible and unlike many wild edibles, miner’s lettuce doesn’t turn bitter when it blooms.
Once you’ve spotted miner’s lettuce, you’ll have a windfall. It grows in fairly thick stands and harvest can be quick. The wild plant also self-sows readily, so while you’re always advised to go from patch to patch when picking wild edibles, you don’t have to worry about over-picking it.
Like all lettuce, miner’s lettuce leaves can be used raw in salads. Best used fresh and tiny, the succulent leaves are fairly bland and are almost indistinguishable from other loose-leaf salads. Its taste and texture bear nothing exotic, but miner’s lettuce brings with it the fresh, wild flavor of the outdoors and has a good crunch. The delicate blossoms also make a very pretty garnish. "

If you’d rather have miner’s lettuce close and at your disposal, grow it in your home garden. It is easily domesticated and seeds are available from many vegetable seed purveyors like Johnny’s Selected Seeds (Maine) and Territorial Seed Company (Oregon).

Related names:
See the more inclusive parent record Claytonia perfoliata.
See a list of other species in the genus Claytonia found in California.

Wetlands: usually occurs in non wetlands, but occasionally found on wetlands [U.S. Fish & Wildlife Svc.]

Elevation: between 0 and 6561 feet [Calflora 2004 (m)]

Claytonia perfoliata ssp. mexicana, a dicot, is an annual herb that is native to California and is also found outside of California, but is confined to western North America [Lum/Walker].

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dinner Party

Seafood Lasagne and Mom's wild blueberry pie hmmmm good
and started with lemon artichoke dip from Home Maid with a wholewheat baguette from Full Circle Baking. Salad greens from Ortiz Brothers Farm and salad dressing courtesy of Pavone Sage Vinegar.

The seafood was tuna caught locally and wild bay shrimp. I bought the seafood at Oliver's and even with the Wednesday senior discount, it would have been cheaper at Santa Rosa Seafoods at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market.

The lasagne has five layers noodles, seafood, cheese sauce, ricotta/vegetables, and shredded cheese. Cook the lasagne noodles(you can use no cook too), the shrimp came cooked and I shredded the tuna in the food processor and then browned it. The ricotta has an egg mixed in with sauteed chopped bok choy, capers,and preserved meyer lemon, the cheese sauce was half and half with parmesan,mozzarella.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My first radishes

"We seldom think of a simple radish as a source of nutrition. A close look reveals that it is largely made up of water (more than 90 percent) yet contains as much potassium as bananas and about half the ascorbic acid of oranges. Radishes are also an excellent source of vitamin C and folate and a good source of magnesium. Radishes are members of the mustard family."

These are literally the first radishes I've been able to grow. I've tried to grow them before with no success. This year, I used a large window box and was able to keep the predators far.

They were quite tasty in a form of the french breakfast sandwich

The original version of the sandwich
is salt, butter, french bread and sliced radishes. Use your imagination.

My radish plantation, the first harvest and radishes on wholewheat with butter and seas salt.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Shrimp sandwich

Shrimp from Santa Rosa Seafood (local), wholewheat bread, celery from Ortiz Bros., meyer lemon juice and a bit of cheese.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wednesday Market Treat

The Wednesday Santa Rosa market Ortiz Brothers argula, Parson's tomatoes and tiny fresh and local shrimp from Santa Rosa Seafood...add a bit of cheese from Springhill and a pasta (wholewheat of course)dish that is fast, fresh, local and seasonal.

Santa Rosa Farmers Market

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Risotto with bacon and collard greens

Brown the bacon with just a tiny bit of olive oil and butter. When the bacon is rendered, add the rice. Heat the the rice through until it turns translucent. Then add warm or hot broth (or wine) in small amounts, stirring until the liquid is absorbed by the rice. When it is done, add blanched, chopped collard greens and heat until the collards are warmed through. Other spices or flavorings you could add include garlic or ginger. It's fast and easy.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Flowering collard greens, stinging nettles and mache

Flowering collard greens, stinging nettles " (You’d have to eat a sink full of kale to get the protein in one serving of nettles.)
A handful of nettles provides more than 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, as well as a plethora of minerals that nettles absorb, spongelike, from the soil" and mache- at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market.
All three are super vegetables packed with nutritional value --and they taste good too.

It's easy to take the sting out of the nettles -a couple seconds in boiling water and the sting is gone. I used them in some eggs on the suggestion of the vendor Triple S ranch of Santa Rosa and they were mighty tasty --a mild sort of creamy taste. Then a put some in waffle batter --suprisingly good.

I used the mache in a salad with bacon. Mache is at the end of its current run in the market. The flowering collard greens are a milder and more tender taste then mature collards.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Adolescent Collard Greens

I braised them with a pork roast -- pulled pork Stanley Marcus style -chili sauce and coca cola (and I added apple cider vinegar) although he used that combo for beef brisket. I am a porkatarian.

With it a traditional cole slaw and chocolate chip cookies and my neighbors' kumquat mousse for dessert. Starters - smoked albacore with meyer lemon, jalapeno, garlic salsa and the next evolution of the peanut butter spread -this time with chipotle and bacon.

Wines: Simi Sonoma County Chardonnay, Kendall Jackson Savignon Black (Jackson Estates) and Rodney Strong Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc. The Rodney Strong wine caused the biggest stir because it came with a screw caps. I was surprised how much people did not like the idea of screw caps. This is a good article on screw caps and it seems more of what isn't known about the impact on long term aging - since cork permit some breathing of the wine.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Carrots --super vegetable

Take an interactive tour of the Carrot Museum and learn about Carrots the super vegetable. I got a beautiful bunch from Orchard Farms Stand at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market.

I made carrot risotto. Ingredients: olive oil, rice, one carrot ground in a food processor with lemon juice,1/2 a large jalapeno pepper and 1 clove garlic, one carrot peeled into strips with a vegetable peeler, 1 cup stock (vegetarian, chicken or beef) of your chocie. Heat the olive oil, add rice and ground carrot mixture and cook until the rice is translucent (usually between 5-7 minutes) add stock stirring and cooking until rice is completely cooked, add carrot strips and cook another 2 or 3 minutes. Serve with or without a sprinkling of cheese.

Carrots are easier to digest when cooked(except for juiced carrots.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My first tomato of 2009

A friend mentioned he had been buying tomatoes at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market from Parson's Hothouse tomatoes. He swore they tasted like summer tomatoes. I had to give them a shot. They are good. At $3.00 a pound they are also a good price.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Parsnips and Scarlet Cauliflower

Parsnips look, smell and taste a bit like a carrot crossed with parsley. I was until today a parsnips virgin cooking wise. I found this recipe on Epicurious but it had too much butter and milk and I didn't have any Brussel sprouts. I did have scarlet cauliflower, roasted garlic and roasted garlic oil. I boiled chunks of parsnips (I scraped off the skin rather then peeling.) Then I mashed the parsnips with the oil and garlic. I pulled the bit of scarlet cauliflower into pieces and sauteed it in butter and then mixed the two together. Pretty and good for you.

The parsnips and cauliflower came from Orchard Farms at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market

Drinking Meyer lemon drops made lemons from a neighbors tree.