Author Archive | Edible East Bay

Porcini-braised rabbit with pappardelle, fava beans, and natural broth

This is a recipe that we at Luka’s have used with Jones Family Farm rabbits. It takes advantage of tasty spring ingredients like fava beans. —RM

4 rabbit legs (with thigh pieces)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, small dice
2 celery stalks, small dice
1 yellow onion, small dice
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 ounce dried porcini
4 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup white wine
8 cups chicken stock
1 pound fava beans, shelled
½ pound pappardelle pasta
½ pound fresh porcini, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 tablespoon butter
Lemon juice (to taste)

Season rabbit with salt and pepper. Roast on a sheet tray at 375° for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Heat olive oil in a medium braising pot over medium-low heat. Sauté rabbit until golden brown.

Remove rabbit and set aside, and then sauté carrots, celery, onions, and garlic for 5 minutes. Add dried porcini and herbs and then deglaze the pan with the wine. Add rabbit and chicken stock, then bring to a simmer over low heat and cook for about 1 hour or until meat is tender.

Remove meat from the stock. Strain stock, discard vegetables, and reduce stock by a third to intensify flavors.… Read More

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Spring 2010

City Slicker Farms
Taco Grill
Barlovento Chocolates
Blue Bottle Coffee
Merritt College Landscape Horticulture and
Permaculture Design Programs
Beyond “Museum” Gardens
By Jesse Kurtz-Nicholl
Biagio Artisan Meats
By Rick Mitchell
Asian Vegetables
By Barbara Kobsar and Cheryl Koehler
Recipes using Asian vegetables from
The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook
By Pat Tanumihardja
Seven Stars of the Season
By Jessica Prentice
with Maggie Gosselin and Sarah Klein
A Family History in Rice
By Elizabeth Linhart Money
A Tale of Dim Sum
By Mia Buchignani and Melissa Schilling
From Farmers Markets to Supermarkets,
Rethinking What We Throw Away
By Rachel Trachten
In Praise of Compost
By Thaddeus Barsotti
Meet the artist: Artist Shari Arai DeBoer uses watercolor, printmaking and mixed media to evoke visual stories in her fine art and illustration work.
While plant life, everyday objects, and personal stories inspire much of her fine art, she also finds great satisfaction in interpreting other people’s concepts in her illustration work.
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In Praise of Compost
By Thaddeus Barsotti


In my early days of farming I went through a phase of harvesting crops and immediately planting new ones without amending the soil. The results were decreasing yields and declining crop health. It was a good lesson, and helped me understand that the true challenge of organic farming is to find a sustainable method for giving the ground what it needs to produce the crops that feed our people. What comes out of the ground in the form of fruits and vegetables ultimately must go back into the ground.


One of the most important elements required to grow healthy crops is nitrogen, so this is the basis of my farm’s fertility program. Organic farms are only permitted to apply materials that occur in nature; anything that has been chemically altered from its original form is not permitted. This rule eliminates synthetic nitrogen from use on organic farms, leaving compost, properly composted animal manures, products derived from ground fish or seaweed, and processed animal byproducts like chicken feathers as acceptable fertilizers.  I don’t enjoy using the animal byproducts, and so I rely mostly on composted food scraps. This compost originates from your green waste, and compostable items from food-service industries.… Read More

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The Road to Zero


From Farmers Markets to Supermarkets,
Rethinking What We Throw Away
by Rachel Trachten


Covered from head to toe in plastic bags, a hideous creature lumbers slowly through the farmers market in Jack London Square. The monster stops to chat with shoppers, complimenting them on their reusable bags or asking why they haven’t brought any. The creature likes to mention that the costume represents the average number of plastic bags-500-that most people use in a year.


Discarded plastics typically end up in landfill or oceans, contributing to modern horrors like the estimated 100,000 marine mammals that die each year trapped or sickened by the plastic litter, or the mountain of debris-twice the size of Texas-floating in the Pacific Ocean. The man who first came upon this trash heap, Captain Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, summed the problem up succinctly: “We’ve created a throwaway society.”


Consumption as a Way of Life


Such shortsighted practices were not always the American way. During World War II, for example, not only were food items strictly rationed, but the government also urged Americans to conserve and recycle every scrap of rubber, metal, and paper. At the end of the war, when manufacturers needed a way to keep the economy strong during peacetime, they turned to disposable products and planned obsolescence.… Read More

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Leave No Scrap Behind



A Tale of Dim Sum
story and photos
By Mia Buchignani and Melissa Schilling


“The flavor is incredible. It’s just hard to get past the texture”—Shawna


Dim sum. It’s a recessionista’s Champagne brunch fantasy: The flavors and textures of Chinese cookery pair perfectly with sparkling wines, and most dim sum joints in the East Bay don’t charge corkage, so you can bring your own bubbles! What’s more, dim sum places are open on Sundays, and are inexpensive, so you can bring a crowd. The dim sum table won’t be a vegan paradise, but there are enough options for vegetarians and pescatarians that no one will go hungry. For the foodie adventurer, dim sum offers up the Extreme! Challenge! with some texturally unique culinary treasures. Get ready to open your mind to chicken feet and thousand-year-old eggs on the way to some new ideas about eating. With the right balance of an open mind and empty stomach, dim sum could very well become your go-to genre for the times you just don’t feel like cooking or spending every last cent you have.
A Brief History and Description
Dim sum, whose name is Chinese for “touch the heart,” is a culinary practice with a deep cultural identity.… Read More

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A Family History in Rice
By Elizabeth Linhart Money


In late 2003, Martha Stewart told her viewers what Japanese and Japanese Americans already knew: Koda Farms, situated in the dusty heart of California’s Central Valley, produces the best sushi rice on the market. Far from the Asian river deltas where rice was domesticated 10,000 years ago, Koda Farms is hardly the place one imagines such venerated grain would be growing. A modern American operation, it has produced medium- and short-grained rice for over 81 years.


I’m at Koda Farms in South Dos Palos, about an hour southeast of Tracy, looking at a fleet of trucks moving across an expanse of fields punctuated by warehouses and a grain mill. The brother-andsister team of Robin and Ross Koda share with me their concerns about GMO rice, and discuss the difficulty of marketing outside the commodity system.  The farm has gained the loyalty of customers as far away as Japan, as well as that of locals in our Asian communities, who treasure Koda’s medium-grain Kokuho Rose and short-grain Sho-Chiku-Bai varieties.  But all accolades aside, Koda Farms is defined by its history. The perseverance, ingenuity, and optimism of previous generations have turned every adversity into advantage, making this a uniquely American success story.… Read More

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Asian Vegetables


At this time of year, when the popular summer crops, such as corn, beans, and tomatoes are nowhere in sight, our East Bay farmers markets are overflowing with leafy greens. If the hand-drawn signs say bok choy, choy sum, gai lan, gai choy, mizuna, or tatsoi, you’ll be looking at Asian varieties of the Brassicas that were discussed in our last issue of Edible East Bay. They’re still in season now and for much of the year, and they all make wonderful additions to any Asian-style stir-fry dish, while the more tender varieties will add a peppery flavor to your salads.  In this issue, we want to take a look at some of the items you may find sitting alongside those Brassicas at the farm stalls manned by Hmong, Lao, or Mien farmers who come up from Fresno with their wares. Most of these farmers arrived in California as political refugees between 1978 and 1998, escaping the destruction wrought on Southeast Asia by the Vietnam War. These groups have been lauded as especially capable farmers here in the U.S., bringing up productivity in an era when small family farms were in perilous decline across our nation.… Read More

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Biagio Artisan Meats
By Rick Mitchell


Chefs like to feed the romantic myth that they personally pluck their eggs fresh from the nest and shake the morning dew from their produce, but in reality busy urban chefs have little opportunity to get out to the market, let alone to the farm. Instead, the market comes to them with daily deliveries of produce, meats, dairy, dry goods, and everything else from the food chain’s middlemen-the distributors.


The great bulk of all the food consumed in America is delivered by regional and national distributors (such as food services behemoth SYSCO), who in turn source their products from the nation’s largest farms and ranches.  The system ensures consistency in both quality and quantity, but small farmers competing to sell their bounty of heirloom produce and heritage-breed animals have little access to these distribution channels. For them, getting the product to market requires the help of a local distributor willing to work with what may be limited quantities or uneven supply in order to bring superior products to the chefs that require them. While her job may not have the romance of the chef ‘s or the farmer’s, without the local distributor, urban dwellers wouldn’t have access to the diverse array of local products that they currently enjoy, and family farmers would have to scratch out whatever living they could from farm-direct sales.… Read More

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Beyond “Museum” Gardens
By Jesse Kurtz-Nicholl

With so much news coverage of Michelle Obama lately, you would think that gardens are the answer to all of our public health problems. In addition to the “White House” garden, you’ve got the new “People’s Garden” at the USDA building in Washington, DC, and Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack and his wife cheering the establishment of gardens at the capital’s elementary schools. These efforts are not without merit, and are worthy of the plaudits they receive from those in the food movement and from the general public. I similarly applaud states that implement such legislation as California’s “Garden in Every School” initiative, especially when it is supported with some funding. However, it’s like the old proverb, “give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach him how to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” Those wonderful intentions without substantial follow-through are “paper tigers” against the environmental and health issues that face our public with regards to the food system, most notably: food insecurity, obesity, loss of bio-diversity, and environmental degradation. Gardens that exist as exhibitions only to be looked at and talked about will not move us anywhere close to where we need to go.… Read More

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2009 local hero award winners

The results are in. Here are the Edible East Bay faves from our 2009 poll.

Local Hero: Farmer/Farm
City Slicker Farms
by Max Cadji

In 1943, Americans planted more than 20 million Victory Gardens, growing one-third of all the fresh produce consumed in the U.S. The emerging movement to bring home food production back into the mainstream draws frequent comparisons to the Victory Gardens, but this time, thanks to efforts like those at City Slicker Farms (CSF) in West Oakland, the gardens are not just appearing behind white picket fences in suburbia. They are sprouting up in side yards, patios, cracks, crevices, and paved lots across urban America.

Larry, the newest “BYG” or backyard gardener with CSF, says he loves anything green, from arugula to collards. In late fall, I visited with him as he planted a final crop of hardy dino kale and collards in his two-box raised-bed backyard garden, where he also has four types of mustard as well as beets, radishes, spinach, and about 10 different herbs. He plants the new starts with a giant serving spoon and waters them from a halfgallon milk jug he fills over and over again from the kitchen sink. This is Larry’s first garden and he is still figuring out when crops go in, asking, “Is now the time put in tomatoes?” He offers me “a plate,” as he calls his vegetarian cuisine, and explains how he hopes to grow a good portion of his own greens and root vegetables to supplement the produce he is able to buy at the Mandela Food Co-op in West Oakland. … Read More

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