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Perfumed Matsutake Rice

From Urban Forager: Matsu=Pine, Take=Mushroom by Anthony Tassinello

3 cups Japanese rice
3 cups water
2 or 3 small “number one” matsutake
1 abura-age – fried tofu (optional)
¼ cup sake
¼ cup soy sauce

Begin by washing the rice in several changes of cold water, repeating the process until the water becomes clear. Drain the rice thoroughly. Add rice and water to rice cooker and let stand for 30 minutes. In the meantime clean the mushrooms of all loose dirt using a firm brush or paring knife. You may peel back a bit of the thin outer layer if overly dirty. Using the large holes of a box grater, shred the mushrooms lengthwise into long strands. Alternatively, if using your hands, pull apart into small rough pieces of the same size. If using the optional fried tofu, cut into strips. Add the mushrooms, tofu, sake and soy sauce to the rice cooker, cover and follow manufacturer’s instructions for cooking.

Serves 6 as part of a larger meal

Resist the urge to treat matsutake in a western style cooking fashion (i.e., sautéing or frying in fat) as the essence of the mushroom will be lost and will result in a bland, tough dish.… Read More

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Zucchini, Two Ways

 
As the weather warms up, zucchini and other summer squash are plentiful at local farmers’ markets. Chef Maria Capdevielle, a cooking instructor at Kitchen on Fire, shares two of her favorite zucchini recipes to enhance your summertime meals.
 
Roasted Zucchini with Mint Pesto
 
For the pesto:
½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
½ cup loosely packet fresh mint leaves
1 large clove fresh garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  
For the zucchini:
4 zucchini
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon pepper
 
To make the pesto, process all the pesto ingredients together in a food processor or blender.
 
To make the zucchini, preheat oven to 400°F. Thinly slice zucchini lengthwise, brush lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle lightly with salt and black pepper. Roast 25 minutes, tossing halfway through. Alternatively you can grill them one minute on each side. Remove and cool. Spread about 1 teaspoon of pesto on one side of each grilled zucchini slice; roll up and serve.
 
 
Zucchini Blossom Fritters


 
Chef Capdevielle recommends these fritters as a perfect summer appetizer.… Read More

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The Fork’s Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Toma, Peach Chutney, and Basil


Makes 4 sandwiches

Peach Chutney:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
4 firm but ripe peaches (about 1½ pounds), pitted and cut into 1-inch chunks
½ teaspoon salt

Sandwich:
8 slices whole wheat sourdough bread
8 ounces Point Reyes Toma, shredded
4 ounces Point Reyes Fresh Mozzarella, drained and pulled apart
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
4 tablespoons butter, softened

To make the chutney: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and sauté for about 30 seconds, until they begin to pop. Add onion and sauté until translucent, 3–4 minutes. Stir in sugar, vinegar, ginger, and pepper flakes. Cook until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Add peaches and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fruit is tender and a thick syrup has formed. Stir in salt. Remove from heat.

To make sandwiches: Spread four slices of bread with a tablespoon each of chutney. Distribute Toma and mozzarella evenly over chutney. Finish with fresh basil. Press remaining bread slices firmly on top. Butter outside of the top and bottom slices of bread.… Read More

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Citrus Braised Fennel

From the story What’s in Season? Fennel by Barbara Kobsar

This recipe come to us from Bay Wolf Restaurant in Oakland, where monthly menus highlight the season’s prime ingredients, often following traditional uses from the regional cuisines of the Mediterranean. Michael Wild, founding owner and executive chef, confirms our accolades for fennel and dedicates a whole month to this versatile vegetable.

 

citrus-fennel-22 fennel bulbs
Chopped zest and juice of 4 oranges
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
2 tablespoon honey
2 thyme springs
1 cup white wine
black peppercorns
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut fennel into ¼-inch slices, coat with olive oil and season well. Arrange in a single layer in an ovenproof dish. Roast the fennel for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, in a saucepan bring to a boil the orange juice, vinegar, honey, thyme and black peppercorns. Bring to a boil and reduce by half. Strain the orange juice mixture and pour over the fennel cook for another 20 minutes.

Remove the liquid left to a saucepan and reduce to a glaze, then pour back over the fennel.

Can be served hot or room temperature.

Serves 8

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Tian of Fennel and Kabocha 

From the story What’s in Season? Fennel by Barbara Kobsar

This recipe come to us from Bay Wolf Restaurant in Oakland, where monthly menus highlight the season’s prime ingredients, often following traditional uses from the regional cuisines of the Mediterranean. Michael Wild, founding owner and executive chef, confirms our accolades for fennel and dedicates a whole month to this versatile vegetable.

Bay Wolf Chef de Cuisine Louis Le Gassic

Bay Wolf Chef de Cuisine Louis Le Gassic

2 bulbs fennel cut into ¼ inch slices
½ kabocha peeled and seeded and sliced into ¼ inch slices
1 small red onion sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
4 tablespoon grated Reggiano

Toss the cut fennel, kabocha and red onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Place into an ovenproof baking dish and drizzle the water throughout the dish. Put into a preheated 350-degree oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the fennel and kabocha are soft.

Top with breadcrumbs and Reggiano. Return to oven and bake until golden brown. Serve hot.

Serves 8

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Squash Blossom ‘Poppers’

Photo by Cheryl Koehler

Photo by Cheryl Koehler

By Barbara Llewellyn Catering and Event Planning

12 unopened squash blossoms (edge of tip removed)
½ cup cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup goat cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoon each: chopped chive, parsley, thyme, dill
½ teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt

for batter:
4 egg whites beaten to soft peaks
½ cup milk
½ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt

Mix cheeses, cream, herbs and salt and pepper together with a whisk until creamy. Fill a pastry bag and pipe in cheese mixture (approx. ½ tablespoon) into each blossom. Push tip with finger to seal.

Mix flour and milk, add salt. Gently fold into egg whites. Dip filled blossom into batter and fry in oil (350 degrees) for 2 minutes or until golden. Drain on paper towels.

Sprinkle with lemon zest and parsley and serve warm.

Barbara Llewellyn Catering & Event Planning
434 25th St., Oakland
(510) 832-1967
www.BarbaraLlewellyn.com

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Tajeen of Artichokes

chair-across2

From the story: Exploring Culture and Conversion Through Food by Anisa Abeytia

This makes a nice weekend lunch.
6 artichokes, spiky tops and stem trimmed and rougher leaves peeled away
2–3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons paprika
1­– 2 teaspoons salt
1 whole onion, sliced

Place all ingredients (except onions) into a ceramic tajeen or stew pot, tossing until the artichokes are well coated. Pile the onions on top and add enough water to the pot to reach halfway up the artichokes. Cover and simmer for 1–2 hours in a tajeen or 45 minutes to 1½ hours in a stew pot.

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sautéed zucchini with caramelized fennel and onions

chair-across2

From the story: Exploring Culture and Conversion Through Food by Anisa Abeytia

3 pounds zucchini, sliced
1 whole onion, sliced
2 large fennel bulbs, sliced
2–3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
Salt

Heat a deep pan with a lid on medium heat. When it is hot add in the coconut oil. Add in the onion, fennel, and pinch of salt. Simmer uncovered for the first 15 minutes. For the last 15 minutes cover and add salt to taste. Once they are done remove to a dish and keep warm. Sauté the zucchini in the onion and fennel juice and cover for 5–8 minutes. Place the sautéed zucchini on the bed of caramelized onions and fennel.
Serves 4–6

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Andy’s Pickled Verdolagas (Purslane)

From Jessica Prentice’s Seven Stars of Summer 2016

Andy Renard, Three Stone Hearth’s self-dubbed French Pickler, recently began culturing purslane to sell at our shop.

AndyExtAndy’s father’s family is from Guadalupe in the French West Indies where purslane is called poupier. As a child growing up in Missouri, Andy liked finding this mucilaginous vegetable (think nopales and okra) while weeding the garden with his mother. They would prepare it for the evening’s supper by lightly blanching it, then cooling and tossing in vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. When Andy moved to California, he discovered this childhood favorite at the farmers’ markets, although here it was called purslane. His pickled purslane was a love-at-first-bite experience for me. The meaty leaves hold up to brine with their pleasant saltiness and acidity.

Andy and the others in Three Stone Hearth’s “fermentation and preservation circle” have come up with cultured versions of purslane to reflect many parts of the world where this plant is enjoyed. This pickeled verdolagas (purslane’s Spanish name) features Southwestern spices.

—JP

two 2-quart Mason jars
6 tablespoons Celtic sea salt
2 quarts non-chlorinated water
½ pound purslane
1 bunch scallions, sliced into ¼-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 teaspoons coriander seed, toasted
2 teaspoons cumin seed, toasted
5 or 6 sprigs fresh oregano
¼–½ teaspoon red chile flakes (to taste), or, when in season, slices of fresh red peppers such as New Mexico chile

Wash the jars in hot soapy water, rinse, and air dry.… Read More

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Elderflower Chive Fritters

From The Regal Elder – Part 1 by Kristen Rasmussen

Photos by Kristen Rasmussen

Photos by Kristen Rasmussen

The batter for this savory dish contains lemon zest and chives, which add complexity without overpowering the floral qualities of the elderflower.

Makes 40 to 45 small fritters.

Batter1About 10 medium to large elderflower heads, broken up into 40 to 45 small florets
1 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch instant baker’s yeast
6–8 fluid ounces sparkling water
½ tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
¼ teaspoon sea salt, divided
2 tablespoons diced chives, divided
Grapeseed oil for frying
Ponzu for dipping (optional)

Whisk flour with yeast, 6 ounces sparkling water, lemon zest, and ⅛ teaspoon salt until combined. Batter should be runny (similar to pancake batter) and will start to fluff up from the yeast. If batter is not runny enough, add more sparkling water. Gently whisk in 1½ tablespoons of the diced chives.

Pour grapeseed oil ½ inch deep into a frying pan. Heat to high.

Dip florets (one at a time) into batter, shaking off any large clumps of batter, and fry in the heated oil until golden brown. This should take about 1 to 2 minutes on the first side and another 30 seconds after florets are flipped.… Read More

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