Archive | Spring 2017

All Under Heaven

All-Under-HeavenMeet Madame Huang

Reporter Anna Mindess finds out how
a taste of pressed duck launched Alameda resident Carolyn Phillips
on a cookbook career

By Anna Mindess | Photos by Scott Peterson


I’m in the kitchen of Alameda resident Carolyn Phillips watching her practiced hands wield a wooden Chinese rolling pin to roll out disks of dough. She forms each disk into “a fried egg shape,” and with nimble fingers, deftly wraps each around a bit of sweet bean paste. Smoothing the buns, she places them into a bamboo steamer to cook. When the dumplings emerge, she carefully snips the tops of each to form bunny ears or hedgehog bristles, adding red dots or black sesame seeds for eyes and noses, gradually bringing the buns to life.

With these same hands that knead dough and shape bunny dumplings, Phillips also wrote and elegantly illustrated an impressive 524-page cookbook, All Under Heaven. The exquisite volume, with its 300+ recipes illuminating the 35 cuisines of China, came out in August, 2016. Within a few months, the book had drawn praise from critics at the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times, among many others.

Called an academic and a scholar for her thorough research and deep devotion to her subject, Phillips is anything but a stuffy know-it-all.… Read More

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Open Doors

Opportunity Brewing

At 1951 Coffee, refugees gain job skills and
employment as their stories are brought into view

Story and photo by A.K. Carroll


Above: Rachel Taber, one of the 1951 Coffee founders, at work in the shop.

Above: Rachel Taber, one of the 1951 Coffee founders, at work in the shop.

What would it feel like to be separated from your country, culture, and the only home you’ve ever known? Grab a cup of Algorithm cold brew or Verve espresso at 2410 Channing Way, Berkeley, the home of 1951 Coffee Company, and begin your own journey toward understanding the refugee experience.

Just opened in January, 1951 Coffee is a center for caffeine, community, and cultural awareness. Engagement begins as you pass through the door: Colorful lines that run at angles along the floor lead you up to the counter. Evoking public transport routes that bring many refugees to relocation sites, the lines bleed onto the back wall and guide you to a corner where icons and statistics describe the long and circuitous journey a typical refugee follows toward resettlement—a process that can take up to 17 years. A corkboard map of the world shows the homeland of each 1951 Coffee barista and ties a hypothetical story to an actual person who just made your coffee.… Read More

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What’s in Season?

By Barbara Kobsar

Choosing produce harvested at its peak is your sure bet for flavor and freshness.


At the market, arugula may appear under names like garden rocket, roquette, or rucola. Regardless of what it’s called, this leafy green offers some of the same heat and peppery flavor as its radish and watercress relatives. It grows year-round, but the milder months produce the ideal small, tender leaves, while summer heat encourages the plant to bolt and the leaves to become bitter. Enjoy it in salads, and consider substituting arugula for basil in pesto, sautéing to add to a pasta dish, or adding as a raw topping on pizza, soups, or vegetable dishes. Like other salad greens and herbs, arugula is best cleaned by swishing in cool water before spinning dry in a salad spinner. To store for up to five days, roll up gently in a dry towel, place in a plastic bag, and refrigerate.

Watch for the first strawberries and asparagus arriving back on the market scene this month. The local asparagus season lasts only eight to 12 weeks, while strawberries are harvested well into the summer.


Horseradish is a perennial root vegetable that can perk up mild spring salads, yogurt-based vegetable dips, and scrambled egg dishes.… Read More

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Forager’s Notebook



More than just a sprawling garden staple

Story, recipes, and photos by Kristen Rasmussen de Vasquez

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) grows everywhere—everywhere—in the Bay Area, as well as in many other parts of the world. Thriving almost year-round, it dies off only in very cold or very hot and dry conditions. Sprawling and iconic, nasturtium flourishes in parks and gardens, where it easily naturalizes, lending its vibrant colors to untended areas and attracting wild food enthusiasts like myself. I find that even entrenched wild food skeptics may be won over by this plant’s radish-like taste, as long as said skeptics don’t harbor an aversion to pungency akin to mustard.

nasturtiums-climbingNasturtium flowers can be bright orange, yellow, or red, with five petals connected to a single stem. The large round green leaves resemble thin, soft lily pads. Originating in Peru, the plant likely won a ride north by virtue of its visual appeal, easy propagation, and unique flavor.

Even if you think you might not recognize nasturtium in the garden, you have probably seen or tasted the flowers in a farmers’ market salad mix. I first took note of nasturtium in a culinary application when I worked in a restaurant that used the flowers to garnish Mediterranean mezze platters.… Read More

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Grow the Food Forest


Help create the Mother Orchard, a five-acre food forest in El Sobrante. Planting Justice is hosting volunteer days this winter and spring for individuals and groups to join in.

Planting Justice is known in the Bay Area for converting backyards and lawns into edible gardens and providing living-wage jobs for men who were formerly incarcerated. The group started building the orchard in 2015, and 600 trees are already in the ground: apple, apricot, avocado, currant, elderberry, fig, feijoa, peach, pear, plum, and pomegranate, with many more to come.

The food forest is part of a 10-acre property owned by the collective Wild & Radish, LLC, which also plans to build a wilderness refuge and residential ecovillage farm on the land. Wild & Radish has given Planting Justice a long-term $1/year lease to develop and care for the orchard.

Farm manager Andrew Chahrour says the organically certified produce they grow will supply mobile farmers’ market stands and a CSA fruit share offered at sliding-scale cost. Some will be sold to local restaurants. Plans are also in the works to incubate food co-ops that will use the fruit for pies, jams, and other products to sell locally.

At the orchard, volunteers are needed to help with planting, weeding, tree care, mulching, building compost piles, and starting seeds in the greenhouse.… Read More

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Liquid Assets

Brewer with a Cause

Bison Brewing’s Daniel Del Grande
builds supply and demand for organics

By Derrick Peterman


Dan-Photo_1EXTDaniel Del Grande became a brewer the usual way. An engineer by training but bored with his job, he turned his home brewing hobby into a new career, jumping at the chance to buy Berkeley’s Bison Brewing when it came up for sale in 1997. It’s a typical story that’s been repeated a few thousand times all over the country. But unlike most new breweries, Bison Brewing became a vehicle for creating change, and Del Grande is taking that beyond just the beer.

It started a few years after Del Grande purchased Bison and started playing around with organic ingredients. “I decided to put my money where my mouth was and prove organic beer was just as good as conventional beer.” He actively pursued USDA Organic Certification, becoming one of the nation’s first certified organic breweries. And then he turned evangelist: “Since 2003, it’s been my job to explain to the consumer why organic beer is important.”

The Why

What drives Del Grande is the impact organic brewing methods have on the environment. “For every grocery store that sells seven cases of organic beer a week, or a bar that sells one keg of organic beer a week, that creates demand for a farmer to convert a football field of land from normal farming to organic farming,” says Del Grande.… Read More

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sheepdog trials

Photo by Al Medvitz

Photo by Al Medvitz


March 31, April 1 &2, 9am–5pm
McCormack Ranch Sheepdog Trials
McCormack Ranch, 7680 Montezuma Hills Rd, west of Rio Vista

“That dog could use a little ‘baa-ram-ewe’,” one dog-trials veteran whispered to me as a reminder of the secret password the sheep divulged to Babe, the sheepherding pig in the movie Babe. I was at the event to do reporting for the article in this issue, and as a newbie to sheepdog trials, it had seemed best to signal my ignorance by admitting that everything I knew on the subject came from having watched Babe half a dozen times. To my utter amazement, everyone who heard that admission replied in exactly the same way: “Well then, you have a very good understanding of how it works.”

The one difference at McCormack Ranch is that no pigs will be competing: This classic show of ranching skills features more than 80 super-smart border collies moving sheep from field to pen.

Cost: $15 (kids 12 and younger are free). Lamb barbecue lunch on Saturday ($8 ) cooked by Chef Marsha McBride of the recently closed Café Rouge. For info and tickets, call Hope Cohn at 925.550.0566 or visit… Read More

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10-Plants-coverInterest in the local fiber and natural dyeing movement continues to grow, and for gardener and dyer Deepa Natarajan and nurserywoman and illustrator Helen Krayenhoff, it’s been an especially bountiful season. In addition to starting plants from seed, growing them in their East Bay gardens, and harvesting, storing, and dyeing with fresh and dry material, the two have found time to create a new handbook on growing and using dye plants.

Aimed at both novices and those with more experience, this simple guide includes helpful tips for starting dye plants from seed and growing them in your garden, as well as recipes for creating beautiful colors for fiber. Natarajan and Krayenhoff hope to inspire the gardener who has never tried natural dyeing and the dyer who has never grown their own dye plants. Among the ten plants covered in the guide are familiar garden favorites like artichoke (Cynara scolymus) and marigold (Tagetes erecta), as well as lesser known plants like Navajo tea (Thelesperma filifolium) and Mexican tarragon (Tagetes lucida). Book events scheduled this spring include a demonstration and book sale at Berkeley Horticultural Nursery on Saturday April 1 (

For more information and author contacts, find Deepa at and Helen at More

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Garden DIY



Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants
By Stefani Bittner and Alethea Harampolis
Published by Ten Speed Press, February 2017

Discover the surprising usefulness of petals and leaves, roots, seeds, and fruit in this beautifully photographed guide written by two local authors and just now out from our beloved local Ten Speed Press. Projects range from organic pantry staples to fragrances, floral arrangements, beverages, cocktails, beauty products, and more, all using unexpected and often common garden plants, some of which may already be growing in your backyard.

Among the 47 recipes are ideas and instructions for cooking up teas, infusions, vinegars, and butters using flowers and herbs like marigold, bachelor’s buttons, oregano, and anise hyssop; arrangements using crabapple, flowering basil, and blackberry prunings; and household and beauty products employing lemongrass and rosemary.

The authors are the owners of local landscape design firm Homestead Design Collective. Bittner is co-author of The Beautiful Edible Garden and Harampolis is co-author of the bestselling The Flower Recipe Book and The Wreath Recipe Book, and a co-founder/owner of the floral design company Studio Choo.
Meet the authors and learn more about the book at these East Bay events. (Check venues for details):

The Gardens at Heather Farm Park, Walnut Creek, March 10

Biofuel Oasis, Berkeley, March 18

Annie’s Annuals, Richmond, April 8|

Flowerland, Albany, May 3

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Contents Spring 2017



Grow + Dye
With a Little “Baa-Ram-Ewe”
Garden DIY
Grow the Food Forest
Old Fashioned Fun
Good Food Awards 2017















Thai Zucchini Noodles
Emerald Glow
Savory Oatmeal
Nasturtium Chimichurri
California Capers
Chipotle Pumpkin Soup Alchemy
Grilled lamb Chops with Rose Petal Sauce
Poached Lamb with Flageolet Beans, Artichokes, and Green Garlic Bread Sauce
Strawberry Shortcake





I have been creating art for three decades and practically every day for the past three years. I enjoy working in many mediums including pen and ink, watercolor, collage, printmaking, and mixed media. Art sustains me in a daily way—it is my meditation practice, my way to connect with others, and so much more.

Collaborating with Edible East Bay has been one of the highlights of my creative life. I appreciate how the magazine utilizes local artists, and I love the way food as subject matter reflects values, culture, politics, and other important issues.… Read More

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