Archive | Fall 2012

Roasted Tomatoes

From Kassenhoff Growers,

September at Kassenhoff Growers often means abundant tomatoes.

This is how we keep them for future use in cooking.

Preheat oven to 450°

Sprinkle a pan with salt and pepper to taste. Cover bottom with some sprigs of fresh thyme. (We use our English thyme from the garden, but you could experiment with dried thyme or with other fresh or dried herbs.)

Cut tomatoes in half and place cut-side-down on top of herbs. Drizzle liberally with olive oil. Place in preheated oven and roast for 25 minutes. Lower heat to 325° and roast for another 25 minutes. Turn off heat and let pan cool in the oven. When cool, the skins will often just slip off.

After they are cool, the tomatoes can be placed, along with the oil from the pan, into a quart yogurt container for freezing. When you’re ready to use some, run the container under hot water until the tomatoes slip out, cut off what you want with a serrated knife, and return the rest to the freezer. Because of the oil content, the block doesn’t freeze totally solid.

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Grilled Watermelon Salad

From Lucero Olive Oil,

Serves 6–8

  • 1 medium-size watermelon
  • ⅓ cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (Try Lucero Arbequina, Miller’s Blend, or Ascolano)
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (try Lucero Traditional)

Cut watermelon into ½-inch spears. Place in a bowl and toss with ⅓ cup olive oil, then place spears on a hot grill and cook until lightly caramelized. Toss arugula, goat cheese, balsamic vinegar, and remaining olive oil in a salad bowl along with caramelized watermelon. Serve.

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Asian Pear and Watercress Salad with Sesame Dressing

From Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association,

Serves 6                                                        

  • 1 ½-inch-thick slice of fresh ginger, peeled
  • ¼ cup Asian sesame paste
 (or tahini)
  • 3 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon Asian chili paste with garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium Asian pears
  • 4 cups watercress, trimmed
  • 1 carrot, finely shredded

Process first 8 ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Peel pear and cut into julienne strips, then transfer to a bowl.
 Add watercress to the bowl, season with salt and pepper as desired, and toss gently.

Divide among plates, then drizzle with some dressing and sprinkle with carrot right before serving.

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Butternut Squash, Pear, and Leek soup

From Hillcrest Ranch Sunol,

Serves 4

  • 1 medium-size (about 2 pounds) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 large or 2 medium leeks, white and light-green parts only, washed and cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 2–3 ripe pears or apples, peeled (optional), cored, and cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth

Preheat oven to 400°.

Spread the squash, pears, and leeks in a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, stir to coat, and spread out evenly in the pan. Roast for 40–50 minutes (or until soft), stirring occasionally to ensure even roasting. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

Purée roasted vegetables and fruits along with the ginger and broth, working in batches so your blender or food processor is not too full. Pour each batch into a large saucepan. Reheat and adjust seasonings.

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Budín de Zanahoria (Mexican Carrot Custard)

This rich vegetable pudding combines sweet, savory, and tangy with a creamy texture that kids love. (My 3½-year-old gobbles it up!) And it works with many different harvest-season vegetables. You might want to make budín de camote (sweet potato), budín de maíz (fresh corn), or budín de calabaza (squash or pumpkin), depending on what you have handy.

  • 2 pounds or 2 bunches fresh carrots
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped piloncillo (Mexican raw sugar) or substitute brown sugar, Sucanat, rapadura, granulated palm sugar, or maple syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup sour cream (plus extra for garnish)
  • ¾ cup rice flour (can substitute white flour)
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375º.

Cut carrots into big chunks and steam until completely tender, almost falling apart. Transfer into another pot or bowl and mash with a potato masher, fork, or whisk.

Combine melted butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until sugar is dissolved or incorporated (I recommend using an electric hand mixer if you have one. You could also use a food processor or a whisk). Add the eggs and beat until thoroughly incorporated. … Read More

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Berkeley Horticultural Nursery Anniversary

coneJoin Edible East Bay in celebrating

Berkeley Horticultural Nursery’s 90th Anniversary!

And what better way to say “hooray” than with an ice cream tasting!

Saturday, September 29, 1–4 pm

Berkeley Horticultural Nursery

1310 McGee Ave, Berkeley

510.526.4704 •

Six fabulous East Bay ice cream, sorbet, and gelato producers will be on hand to make this a treasure hunt for new and scrumptious flavors. Almare Gelato, Fentons Creamery, iScream, Nieves Cinco de Mayo Ice Cream, Scream Sorbet, and Tara’s Organic Ice Cream will all be offering tastes of their wares.

Stop by the Edible East Bay booth at the west entrance for a chance to meet and talk to Cheryl Angelina Koehler, the editor of Edible East Bay. There will be plenty of free back issues of the magazine available.

Also look for Edible East Bay’s art and garden editor, Helen Krayenhoff, who is presenting a display of the art she has created over the years for Berkeley Hort. She’ll be selling cards, calendars, prints, and a book.

The event’s featured speaker (11am) is Colby Eierman, author of Fruit Trees in Small Spaces: Abundant Harvests from Your Own Backyard.

Live music (2–4) by harpist/songwriter Patrice Haan.

Come join Edible East Bay for a beautiful day among the greenery.… Read More

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Where the Elite Meet to Eat …

Where the Elite Meet to Eat …sandwich_1

What goes best with a Blue Bottle macchiato: Rosemary shortbread? Saffron-and-lemon snickerdoodles? A grilled steak sandwich with arugula and a tangy green smear of chimichurri on an Acme torpedo roll?

If you picked the steak sandwich, head to Blue Bottle’s Jack London Square location the third Thursday of the month between noon and 2 for the Belcampo Meat-Up. Something gorgeously, locally meaty is sure to be on the menu.

Each month’s Meat-Up features a single dish, made on site and inspired by one of the world’s great cuisines. It might be grilled beef kebabs rolled in flatbread with minted yogurt and carrot salad; a Moroccan-spiced roast beef sandwich; or beef chile verde with handmade tortillas and pickled vegetables. The one constant? The Belcampo Meat Company’s own grass-fed beef, from animals humanely raised on some 10,000 acres of pasture in the Shasta Valley near Yreka.  (Pictured above: A Belcampo grilled steak sandwich with arugula and a tangy green smear of chimichurri on an Acme torpedo roll.)

galsnsign_1 smPopularized through word of mouth and social media, the monthly pop-ups have been a mouthwatering way for Belcampo to build brand awareness. Established in 2011 by Eat Real Fest founder Anya Fernald and investor Todd Robinson, the company is headquartered in Jack London Square.… Read More

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Uncommon Exchange

Doug Reil gives Maria Myers the produce donated to Cafeina.

Uncommon Exchange

Doug Reil serves up a radical idea in food sharing

By Rachel Trachten
Photos by Nicki Rosario

If you’re looking for a tasty meal made from locally sourced produce this season, but are not quite up for Chez Panisse, consider Cafeína Organic Café, Bua Luang Thai, or Tay Tah Café in Albany, or Elevation 66 Brewing Company in El Cerrito. At these humble little eateries, you might enjoy something even “The Chez” can’t serve up: a dish made with hyper-local produce.

Yes, hyper-local. Think: grown within 10 miles.

The produce is being served at these spots thanks to a local activist and book publisher named Doug Reil. His “Garden to Table” initiative, launched last summer, is providing a way for home gardeners in the Albany-Berkeley-El Cerrito corridor to connect with local restaurants that might like to serve their produce.

And while this would seem like an admirable exercise in extreme locavorism, it’s actually more than that. Reil is interested in community-building, and he’s also conducting an experiment in alternative economy.

He got the idea when his company, the nonprofit North Atlantic Books, published Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein. Reil was struck by Eisenstein’s notion that our current economy, focused on money and growth, is unsustainable in the long run.… Read More

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A Look on the Sunnyside of Richmond: Sunnyside Organic Seedlings

sunnyside-0083_smA Look on the Sunnyside of Richmond:

Sunnyside Organic Seedlings

Pity the indecisive gardener, snared in the bounty of Sunnyside Organic Seedlings’ farmers’ market booth. Lettuces are easy: six different types come in each variety pack, each pert baby ruffled, frilled, or speckled in deepest magenta or new-leaf green. But then come the herbs, far beyond the usual parsley and cilantro. Is this the year to try lovage, which looks (and tastes) like a toughly aromatic celery? In springtime, hours could be lost just choosing between the 60 varieties of sturdy, quirkily named heirloom tomatoes. Move on to autumn’s kales and broccolis, chards and cauliflowers, and before you realize, you’ve picked out enough to fill up not just your own backyard but your neighbor’s, too.

Where do all these green treasures get their start? A place that too many Bay Area dwellers only connect with Chevron and crime: Richmond.

“Richmond used to be the salad bowl of the Bay Area,” Sunnyside founder Vernay ‘Pilar’ Reber tells me as we walk through the greenhouses on the seven-acre property she leases near the Richmond Parkway. Pointing out the 50-year-old wooden water tank still in use, she says that this land has been used for agriculture since the early 1900s, part of what was once an 80-acre farm growing sunnyside-0060_smlettuce and cabbage.… Read More

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A Produce Picker’s Companion


A Produce Picker’s Companion

Advice from two market farmers for gardeners and shoppers

by Helen Krayenhoff
Cut Paper Illustrations by Margo Rivera-Weiss

There you are in your garden admiring squash and melon vines that have taken over the entire territory. Some impressive fruits have developed, but are they ready to harvest? They are big, for sure, but they don’t look like the ones at the farmers’ market. You wish someone could help you make this vital decision…

And once your treasures are off the plant, how should you store them or otherwise preserve their freshness and flavor?

Or perhaps you’re at the market wondering which squash, which pear, which melon to buy for your menu of roasted winter squash soup, Asian pear salad, and melon sorbet. Or you’re looking at some beautiful, fresh black-eyed peas and okra for sale but you realize you know nothing about choosing or using them.

Two young farmers who sell at farmers’ markets reveal their tips for choosing, harvesting, and handling late-season crops. Whether you eat from your garden or from the farmers’ market, these guys have the know-how and are happy to share their knowledge.

pumpkin2PUMPKINS and other WINTER SQUASH

Harvest months: September through November

Chris Hay runs Say Hay Farms in Woodland and trucks his produce in to sell at the Grand

Lake Oakland market on Saturdays and the new Lafayette market on Sundays.

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