Author Archive | Edible East Bay

Grilled Potimarron with Salsa Verde

This Italian style salsa verde can be made with any combination of herbs. “Don’t be afraid to experiment.” —AP

1 fully mature potimarron, cut into wedges
1 medium shallot, minced
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves only (about 2
cups), finely chopped
½ bunch mint, leaves only (about ½ cup), finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 anchovy fillets, minced
1 tablespoon capers, drained and minced
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

To make the salsa verde, combine the minced shallot and vinegar in a small bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. In a food processor, combine the parsley, mint, garlic, anchovies, and capers and process until combined. Add the shallot-and-vinegar mixture. With the machine on, slowly pour in the olive oil until incorporated. Season with salt.

Grill the squash until soft and serve topped with the salsa verde. Serves 4.

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Potimarron with Almonds, Garlic, and Aleppo Pepper

A good way to use semi-mature potimarron. Even at full maturity, potimarron has a tender skin that does not need to be pared away.

1 potimarron, cut into wedges
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups slivered almonds
1 tablespoon garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil
Pinch salt
Pinch Aleppo pepper
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 lemon, sliced
Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preheat oven to 350°. Toss potimarron with olive oil, place on a baking sheet, and roast until the wedges have softened and started to brown (about 40 minutes). Toss almonds and garlic in
the canola or grapeseed oil, place over parchment on a baking sheet, and roast until lightly toasted.

Remove from oven and toss in a bowl with the salt and Aleppo pepper. When the squash is fully roasted, place on a serving dish and top with the toasted almond mix, a pinch of parsley, and a slice of lemon. Grate some Parmigiano over the top. Serves 4.

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Potimarron Jeune in Tomato Sauce

“The possibilities on this riff are endless. Try it with any summer squash variety.” —AP

Several potimarron jeune (or summer squash), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large Italian eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces of an oily type fish, such as yellowtail,
tuna, sardines, or mackerel
2 cups tomato sauce (arrabiata, puttanesca, or with herbes de Provence)
3 ounces oil-cured olives or a really garlicky aioli

Preheat oven to 350°. Toss the potimarron and eggplant cubes in olive oil, place on a baking sheet, and roast until the cubes have softened and started to brown (about 40 minutes). When they
are nearly done, start grilling the fish. Place the tomato sauce in a sauté pan and add the roasted squash and eggplant cubes, stewing them all “à la minute.” Divide the mixture onto 4 serving plates and top each with a piece of grilled fish. Garnish with the olives or aioli. Serves 4.

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Black Futsu in Green Curry Sauce

At Sea Salt, they love black futsu for the “fudge-like” texture of its golden flesh, which has a rich taste resembling hazelnuts, and for the edible skin that gets somewhat crisp when roasted.

1 large black futsu squash, cut into 1-inch-thick half moons
6 tablespoons butter
Salt
½ medium-sized onion, chopped
1 two-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
2 stalks lemongrass (Cut away and discard the green portions and then bruise the remaining portion with the back of a knife before slicing thinly.)
3 green apples, peeled and diced
Zest of 2 limes
2 tablespoons green curry paste
2 cans coconut milk
½ cup cream (optional)
1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
(Reserve a few whole sprigs for garnish.)

Preheat oven to 350°. Clarify 2 tablespoons butter and use it to coat the squash segments. Lay them on a baking sheet, salt lightly, and roast until the squash is soft and its skin is crisp. Meanwhile, melt the rest of the butter in a saucepan and sauté onion, ginger, lemongrass, and apple until soft. Allow to cool and then pureé in a blender or food processor along with the lime zest, curry paste, coconut milk, cream, and cilantro. Just before serving, gently heat the curry sauce while arranging the roasted squash slices onto plates.… Read More

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WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A BLACK FUTSU?

futsu

By Cheryl Angelina Koehler
Illustration by helen krayenhoff

Should you find yourself blessed with a specimen of this uniquely beautiful winter squash, you might do exactly as I did and place it on the kitchen table to admire for several weeks. Then you might give it to an artist friend to paint. And sometime later, when it has cured to a rich chestnut color, you might finally eat it.  My black futsu, as illustrated above by Helen Krayenhoff, was one of several mysterious heirloom Cucurbitaceae maxima brought back from a September visit to Baia Nicchia, a 9.-acre farm in the Sunol Agricultural Park. The head of this farm is Fred Hempel, a geneticist best known for his tomato-breeding program. Fred has something of the mad scientist about him, and he seems to have created a vortex into which an assortment of renegade growers, seed-savers, and chefs have fallen, captured by a shared fascination with the multifaceted aspects of nature.

Fred is also impatient. Throughout the long Sunolian summer, he was picking samples of immature winter squash and sending them off with his chef friends for culinary experimentation. They found that some work perfectly well as substitutes for summer squash, and even offer new and interesting flavors and textures.… Read More

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Mostaccioli con Mandorle

Honey Cookies Filled with Almonds, Cocoa, and Anisette From My Calabria: Rustic Cooking from Italy’s Undiscovered South (Norton, 2010), by Rosetta Costantino with Janet Fletcher, © 2010 by Rosetta Costantino and Janet Fletcher.

Used with permission.

In a discussion about her book, Rosetta mentioned that there were quite a few recipes, especially in the dolci (desserts) chapter, that her editor wanted omitted because they were deemed too esoteric. Indeed, most of the recipes that made the cut will be highly accessible to most people who enjoy spending quality time in the kitchen. But Rosetta seems to have found various ways to give readers a nibble here and there of the esoterica. In the headnote to this recipe, she explains that mostaccioli,

“Calabria’s most beloved holiday cookies” might also be “among the region’s oldest sweets, judging from their primitive nature.” She goes on to describe the most traditional version as being made with nothing but flour and honey that’s mixed into a stiff dough, rolled flat, and cut into whimsical shapes before being baked. “Calabrian children learn to suck slowly on these jaw-breaking cookies until they soften.”

As she describes the traditional decorating techniques, one starts to understand the degree to which Calabrians go in their hand crafting of food:

“Mostaccioli are never frosted but are charmingly decorated with hatch marks and tiny squares of shiny colored tinfoil that you remove before eating.Read More

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A LIFE IN FOOD MADE BY HAND

rosetta

Lessons with Rosetta Costantino
story and photos By Cheryl Angelina Koehler

We’re making orecchiette, a pasta shape whose name in Italian means “little ears.” It requires a deft hand, we discover, as we roll the dough into long snakes and cut thumbnail-size rounds, attempting to drag each one with the knife across the cutting board to create the delicate domed shape. As we work, Maria Dito, our teacher’s mother, comes by with a critique in Italian (understood mostly by her hand signals), showing us how our little ears are a little too fat and not domed up in quite the right way. We continue our pursuit of perfection, working toward what eventually turns out to be a delicious orecchiette con cime di rape (little ear pasta with broccoli raab sauce), made entirely by hand.

“Made by hand” takes on deeper meaning for me a bit later in the class, as we are preparing the sauce, which starts with sautéing minced garlic in olive oil along with a couple of anchovies that we mash into the pan. I had learned from another cook some years before that the anchovy in the saute pan is the big secret of southern Italian cooking, so this is not the epiphany.… Read More

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Molly’s Chèvre

Adapted from Goats Produce Too! The Udder Real Thing, written and published by Mary Jane Toth.

If you’ve never made cheese before, go to the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company website, cheesemaking.com, where there are tutorials on every part of the process described here.

5 quarts goat milk
¼ cup fresh cultured
buttermilk
⅓ cup cold water
3 drops liquid rennet
Optional flavorings:
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Sterilize all tools and pots.

Heat the goat milk to 90°. Add the buttermilk, stir, and let the pot sit for 15 minutes off the heat.

In a separate bowl, combine the cold water and rennet. Add 3 tablespoons of the water-rennet mixture to the goat milk. Stir for 3 minutes, cover, and let rest for 12 hours at room
temperature.

Cut the resulting curds into ½-inch cubes and stir gently for 10 minutes to release the whey.

Let rest for another 12 hours at room temperature.

Drain in a hanging sack of cheesecloth until volume of curds is ⅓ of original size.

Mix in salt, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning, or experiment with your own flavorings.

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Goats!

goat

Coming soon to a back yard near you?
story and photos By Jess Watson

I press my forehead into the side of Prima’s warm belly, looking down as

I concentrate on the first pull, struggling to break the seal. A stream of hot goat milk from each teat skitters the test container and threatens to topple it. I check the smell and consistency of these first pulls to monitor Prima’s heath and the safety of her milk, then set it aside.

Prima is fully occupied on the other end of the milking stanchion, chomping away happily on alfalfa, corn, oats, barley, flax, and seaweed. I pull the stainless steel milking pan into position and, grabbing both teats, get into my milking rhythm. I love the dense ringing sound of the milk against the side of the pail. It changes in tone depending on the accuracy of my aim: One long descending note from my left hand, two short bursts of sound from my right.  I emerge from the milking shed 10 minutes later, feeling victorious because it looks like she gave six cups of milk today, and I worked for those last drops.  If you’re here with me, you know this is not the bucolic setting of a western Marin County farm or Central Valley dairy.… Read More

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Blueberry Pickled Fish

Any meat or fat that is stored in blueberries will become pickled, developing a unique color and flavor within a few days to a week.  Clean and gut some fat trout or whitefish and then hang it to dry for three days. Hanging and drying are necessary to toughen the fish so it won’t fall apart.

Cut the fish into 2- by 4-inch pieces, removing any bloody or spoiled pieces. Mix this into a large bowl or jar filled with blueberry juice or juicy blueberries (fresh, or stored from last year). You’ll need enough juice so that the fish is completely submerged and can be easily stirred.

Keep cold and stir gently each day. It will be ready to eat when the color goes all the way through the fish. To check, cut a piece and see if the center is purple.

Eat the berries, juice, and fish all together as pickles with a meal, or with sugar for dessert.

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