Friday, February 27, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Salsify --salsifying

Once again Orchard Farms had salsify and I've had it three ways so far....
First I cleaned it and parboiled it. It's really good sauteed in a bit of butter and perserved meyer lemon peel. It's also excellent with chicken stir fry seasoned with worchestshire sauce and chili sauce. But my favorite so far --the salsify croquette with bluecheese --mashed 3 parts salsify with 1 part blue cheese and coated in some sort of crumb or flour and sauteed...yummmy!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Romanesco Cauliflower

I recently had uttapam at Dosa Restaurant in San Francisco.

The challenge to make uttapam at home. It's not difficult but there is a lot of time involved soaking and fermenting. There was a beautiful romanesco cauliflower from Orchard Farms at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market.

I made uttapam stuffed with romanesco --pretty good. Of course romanesco can be used in any cauliflower recipe. I also had it simply steamed with a bit of cheddar cheese and a splash of Pavone sage vinegar I think I am officially a sage vinegar addict. I spent the weekend figuring out sage vinegar cocktails --hmmm bloody mary!

Some romanesco facts

A bunch of cauliflower recipes

Monday, February 23, 2009

Dried Figs from Santa Rosa Farmers Market

The Neufeld Farms stand at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market has a wonderful array of dried fruit and they are happy to let you taste. I bought some wonderful dried figs --wonderfully moist and rosy. I stopped at Andy's on the way home and bought a local blue cheese with the Andy's label and made a blue cheese and dried fig open face sandwich on whole wheat.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Willie Bird Turkey Sausage and Blood Orange Panna Cotta

Oscar Night and plenty of good eats --pictured here a vegetable soup with Willie Bird Turkey Sausage and a blood orange panna cotta with strawberry raspberry sauce.
The turkey soup with locally made sausage was made by Susan Bailyn.
I had the strawberries and raspberries in my freezer and the blood oranges came from the Santa Rosa Farmers Market. Panna Cotta is literally Italian for cooked cream but a better description is really cream jello. Whatever you call it --it is pretty darn good - this version has sections from six blood oranges and the juice (except for the lovely color of the blood orange any orange will work well in this dish.) I also used some chopped chocolate as well. The sauce was just strawberries and raspberries run through the food processor.

Here is an explanation of panna cotta from Mark Bittman

And not all panna cottas are sweet - this for a savory one based on the French Laundry's cauliflower panna cotta

People were drinking Taft Street Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

Friday, February 20, 2009

Broccoli Rabe ..the mustard family and Pavone Sage Vinegar

No excuses for eating not seasonally and locally along the Russian River in Sonoma County, California. A big bowl of broccoli rabe from Orchard Farms -purchased at the Wednesday Santa Rosa Farmers Market and seasoned with Pavone Sage Vinegar (pineapple sage grown along the Russian River in Forestville.)

As a member of the Brassica (cole) family, broccoli rabe's kin include cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kohlrabi, Chinese cabbage, rutabaga, turnips and broccoli. Actually, broccoli rabe and broccoli are more like distant cousins many times removed. At harvest time, the only physical resemblance between the two is the unopened broccoli-like buds that form on broccoli rabe. It's closely related to the turnip and often referred to as a turnip green. It's also referred to as a member of the mustard family, which all Brassica are.

To make matters more confusing, broccoli rabe, like an aunt who marries often, has several monikers. This peppery plant is also called broccoli raab, rapini, rappa, Italian turnip, fall and spring rabe and broccoli de rape, among many others. Confusion arises when Italian sprouting broccoli is referred to as broccoli rabe. The Italians introduced broccoli to the United States almost 100 years ago, and sprouting broccoli (Brassica oleracea) is simply broccoli to us here.

I met Jane and Don Pavone mixing up a new batch of their award winning vinegar. They are a welcome addition to the Russian River artisan food community. Their vinegar won a gold medal at this year's Harvest Fair.

I sauteed the broccoli rabe and added some cooked cannellini beans and finished it with sage vinegar. Add a soft cooked egg and it could be the West County version of salad lyonnaise. Salad Guernnaise perhaps :)))

The PavoneSonoma web site offers interesting serving and recipe suggestions for vinegars as does this article from the LA Times

wine recommendation for the broccoli rabe: a pinot grigio is a good choice

The sage vinegar is also a good ingredient to use in cocktails

A sage vinegar Bloody Mary sounds great to me!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Is Salsify as good without sour cream and butter? YES!

When I told a friend about how wonderful salsify was she said --probably just the sour cream and butter. So I cooked up the rest --mashed it and used it plain with some jalapenos and onion as a pizza topping. Plain --it is still very very very tasty.
I left one unpeeled --didn't like that so much. And a number of sites have talked about the stickiness of salsify and how it stains your hands while working with it. I found if you rinse it well this was not too much of a problem. It does turn brown quickly if you don't but it in acidulated water although the color change does not change the taste --kind of like grated potatoes turning brown.

Beer with this: Anderson Valley Boont Amber

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Salsify really really really good.....

Food of the Week: Salsify
Although, uncommon to most Americans,
salsify has been a popular root among wellknown
characters. In 1982, John A.
Freeman called salsify [the] very special
survival vegetable . In addition, the root was
one of the favorite items in Thomas
Jefferson's garden.
Today the root is
popular in France, Russia, and Italy but is
fairly uncommon on the U.S. market. In rare
occasions it could be found on a local
farmer's market, or in a specialty store.
Salsify Facts
The Latin name of salsify is solsequium,
which means the flower that followed the
course of the sun. Salsify is a white to
tanned color root with a tender and mild
taste. The flavor has been described as
anywhere from asparagus and creamy
coconut to an oyster-like flavor.
Salsify grows for approximately 120 days to
a height of 3 feet and is either harvested in
October or kept in the ground until spring.
The root can be stored similar to carrots in a
cool environment with the green tops
removed to preserve the moisture of the
root. The greens can then be used in
The root is easy to prepare and can either
be roasted, baked, boiled, steamed, or
served au gratin.
Nutrition information (1/2 cup boiled):
Calories: 46, Carbohydrates: 11 g, Fiber: 2
g, Protein: 2 g, Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg,
Sodium: 11 mg, Potassium: 192 mg,
Calcium: 32 mg

Because of its nutritional value, salsify is included as a "Very Special Survival Vegetable" by John A. Freeman in his 1982 classic, "Survival Gardening".

Orchard Farms
of Sebastopol sells salsify at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market.

It said to have a slight oyster taste and is often called the oyster plant. Others say it is a combination of asparagus and artichoke and that may be closer to the truth. It is really good and easy to prepare. It has a very thin skin which easily scrapes away. I boiled it and made a puree with butter and a bit of sour cream. It was delicious and I will definitely purchase salsify again.

wine recommendation: Korbel California Champagne "Rouge"

Some additional recipes from foodDownunder

Happy Valentine's Day

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Breakfast Pizza and Citrus Dust

Whole wheat pizza dough, marinated artichoke hearts and a little cheese -baked for about ten minutes and then add an egg and bake for another five minutes and good to go.

We should all be looking for seasonings that are not salt but still add flavor. I tried drying citrus and grinding it. It can be used alone or in combination with salt.
It's easy and good. An excellent explanation from the Breakaway Cook. I used meyer lemons.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Still working on the better for you but still tastes good burger

Last summer I wrote about the blueberry burger This is the peach burger instead of blueberry, unsweetened peach chunks made into a paste and added to the ground beef.
Pretty good and juicy.

wine recommendation: merlot

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Hybrid Burger -part veggie part the real deal

Besides fried chicken, I also like hamburgers. This burger is a combination of ground beef, cannelini beans and mushrooms. The beans and mushrooms are cooked and ground before being added to the ground beef mixture. Form into patties and fry them up. I'm working toward a patty that isn't a meatloaf burger but has the texture and taste of hamburger alone. This is pretty good version. It is half beef, 1/4 beans and 1/4 mushrooms. Cook for less time then a regular hamburger as half the ingredients are already cooked. Another important factor is less bun to burger ration. I used the same whole wheat dough I use for my pizza. Adding a little cheese can't hurt. My pet peeve is a cheeseburger with the cheese slapped on and not to be gooey goodness for a real cheeseburger.

Wine Recommendation: old vine zinfandel

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Burdock Root

I'm trying to add new vegetables to my diet. So far Orchard Farms does the best job of bringing unusual and not widely available items to the Santa Rosa Farmers Market. Last week purple kohlrabi and this week burdock root. Looks pretty homely but it actually fairly easy to prepare. The skin is thin and scrapes right off. Raw it tastes like raw turnip or a very mild radish. Cooked it is sweet kind of like a parsnip.

I diced the burdock root and used it in a stir fry with brussel sprouts flavored with soy, thai fish sauce and sour orange juice. Pretty darn good. I shredded some and added it to a cole slaw --tangy. I also used the shreds in a simple pickle -water and vinegar boiled and then poured over the shreds. Wine Recommendations: Sancerre or Reisling

Nutritional Highlights

Burdock can be termed a health food simply by virtue of its high fiber and low calorie content. It is also a very good source of potassium and a moderate source of iron and calcium. (In 1/2 cup of the fresh root there are 180 mg of phosphorus, 50 mg of calcium, 58 mg of phosphorus, 1.4 mg of iron, 0.03 mg of thiamine and 0.05 mg of riboflavin.) But perhaps the most unique aspect of the root is its very high amount of inulin, a naturally occuring phytochemical that mimics the actions of insulin. According to one source, from 27% to 45% of the root is inulin and some people have found it an effective food to control hypo-glycemia and pre-diabetes conditions.

Medicinal Value

Burdock is a root that is found in Europe in Asia. It has many medicinal qualities and has been used in many herbal remedies. The root is sweet to the taste and has a gummy consistency. Traditionally, burdock has been used as a remedy for measles, arthritis, tonsillitis, viruses like colds, throat pain, and as a diuretic. In modern times, burdock is also used in oncology and to treat many other serious health problems

Two recipes
burdock pickle

Kimpira Gobo

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sour Orange and Sweet Limes

Sour Oranges are indeed sour! I got these at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market.
This is a great marinade from 3 Guys -Cuban. A mojito works fine for a drink.

This was my favorite Special Hot & Sour Orange Soup (Geng Som Pla) from Wine Recommendation Pinot Grigio

Sweet Limes are sweet! From Amy's Pickles

Another great recipe from for a thai style roast chicken.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I love fried chicken

I love fried chicken and am always looking for a way to justify eating it (and frying it up at home.) This version is boneless skinless breasts dredged in whole wheat flour and stuffed with mustard greens!

Wine Recommendation: Silvano Follador Prosecco Valdobbiadene "Cartizze" Superiore or a buttery chardonnay

Monday, February 2, 2009

February Santa Rosa Farmers Market

Besides Kohlrabi, the Santa Rosa Farmers Market has mushrooms, lots of citrus, hardy greens, apples, sweet potatoes and turnips.


February at the Santa Rosa, California Farmers Market has a lot of fun and interesting looking vegetables including both the green and purple kohlrabi. Kohlrabi is a good vegetable to purchase if you want to support increased crop diversity and have something good for you and that is very versatile.

Kohlrabi is a good source of vitamin C and potassium. It is low in both sodium and calories. One cup diced and cooked kohlrabi contains only 40 calories and 140% of the RDA for vitamin C. You can eat them raw --turnip-y, boiled, roasted just about anyway you can think of..

Here are a couple of sites with kohlrabi recipes. Cook It Simply also has advice on purchasing and storage

Fom Simply Recipes a very eclectic collection of uses

Just vegetables has another good list.