Thursday, February 23, 2012

Our last harvest of winter carrots have come up, now it's time to prep the soil and start thinking about the direct sown plants. Potatoes, beans, peas and squash will need to go down over the next month or two. Our mini-greenhouse is full of sprouts and seedlings - tomatoes, peppers, greens, etc.

It's so nice to be back out in the dirt - it may be a "false spring" yet, but damn am I enjoying it!

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Charcutepalooza. Today I start my duck prosciutto, and decide what to salt-cure. prolly salmon. yum.

Friday, December 17, 2010


The rains have finally come, and so my new fascination du jour is mushrooms. I have been spending my time off school tromping around in the mud and leaves and leafless poison oak in search of chanterelles, boletes, and anything that might be tasty and safe.

I've found a lot of unidentifiable(to me) "lbm's", or "little brown mushrooms". They are everywhere you look, and so many are really similar that it's best that a noob such as myself beware of them. I'm sticking to the ones I can easily identify and that don't have any really toxic look-alikes. Chanterelles are high on the list because not only are they prolific here in the bay, but the one false-chanterelle has an easily found distinction. The boletes are easy as well.

One of the more common poisoning culprits here is the Amanita Phalloides. I haven't yet stumbled across one of those, but I did come across his beautiful cousin Amanita Amerimuscaria (the Alice in Wonderland mushroom, american variety). The pics below are from my foray with GardenerBob on 12/17. He's helping me develop my eye for fungi.
Soon after this heavy rain we're getting this weekend I will be back out looking for more, and will be posting them throughout the season.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sundried tomato ciabatta.

With the seasons' end there was also an abundance of cherry tomatoes. Since they are a pain to skin for sauces and soups, I dehydrated a bunch and put them in some good olive oil to keep for awhile.
Well I got the itch to do something with them last week, so I made a simple ciabatta bread, and folded some of my tomatoes into one batch, and then did a second batch with the tomatoes AND some roasted garlic. Yum!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tangerine and lemon curds!

Not too long ago I took a really cool canning workshop (by Jess Watson of OaklandLocal), just to shine up my skills before I started canning again. It was really helpful in giving me the confidence that I needed to start experimenting on my own, as it's been a long time since I last canned. My first project at home was curds - I made lemon curd, and an awesome tangerine curd! So sweet but sooo good. Neither of them lasted long around here at all!

Since then I have all sorts of projects with canning, and hope to keep learning more. I'd like to find a way to integrate it with a foraging project, too.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

End of the season tomato soup.

It was just a couple weeks ago that we had the last tomatoes of the summer gardening season. To finish them up I made some Tuscan tomato and Bread soup!

I just blanched the tomatoes and peeled them, added them to some veggie stock with some garlic, salt and pepper. After about 20 mins I added some fresh herbs and a cut up half-baguette that had been sitting around for a day to thicken it up, then serve!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

late night dinner

I went to the local grocery store late Friday night, desperate for a spark of culinary mojo, which usually only takes place for me in the type of markets where it is simply expected that you will find fresh, organic, and local produce. I live in an area with such an abundance of local farmers markets, CSA's, and produce markets that my only real excuse for shopping in mega-chain-stores is that I simply didn't plan ahead. None of the more preferable option have late night hours, at least not out in Martinez.

All this being said, ended up with a nice little collection of lovely dinner components. We stlarted with a little bread and a surprisingly creamy goats' milk brie. Next came some simple baked sea bass, steamed asparagus, and a cold kale salad that I had prepared ealier.

I didn't cook or blanch the kale, but I did douse the kale with apple cider vinegar and work it in a bit to tenderize the kale. It got a quick rinse and I squeezed it dry, then added the roast butternut, pomegranate seeds, red onion strips, and some chopped almonds that I sautéed in butter with brown sugar and chipotle powder.

This salad was definitely one for the books, all seasonal organics for a fall salad to remember!