As 2015 rolls in, new adventures await in your garden and kitchen. Learn how to grow your own little fruit tree, collaborate with tomato farmers, and sauté some chanterelles to perfection.
In This Newsletter:
● Oakland Restaurant Week: Jan 15–25
● Book party for Grow A Little Fruit Tree: Jan 16
● Baia Nicchia Farm offers memberships
for tomato-growing enthusiasts
● Cookin’ the Market and a recipe for Sautéed Chanterelles
by Chef Mario Hernandez
Eat Out for Less
Enjoy ten days of dining specials, with over 75 restaurants offering prix fixe menu options at $20, $30, and $40 per person. Oakland Restaurant Week, presented by Visit Oakland and Discover, is a part of California Restaurant Month, a statewide initiative created to encourage post-holiday travel to California. Info and reservations: here
Grow A Little Fruit Tree Book Celebration
Friday January 16, 7:30pm
2904 College Avenue, Berkeley
Ann Ralph and Mrs. Dalloway’s invite you to celebrate the publication of Grow a Little Fruit Tree. Fruit tree specialist Ann Ralph shares her secrets for keeping fruit trees small and easy to manage. Her East Bay workshops are available this month, just in time for winter pruning. Info: here
Calling All Tomato Gardeners
Baia Nicchia Farm is offering early access to their outstanding new tomato varieties. Fred Hempel and Jill Shepard started their Sunol-based organic family farm in 2006 to breed novel tomatoes for gardeners and small farmers. To raise funds for winter breeding costs and annual farm rent, they’re selling collaborating memberships to their seed business Artisan Seeds. The duo hopes that members will work the plants over a ten-year period, providing feedback on these new tomato varieties and how to best grow them. In return, members receive the best varieties before they’re released, along with additional seed. Memberships available until March 2015. Cost: $200. Info: here
Workshops in tomato breeding and tea blending are also available at the farm on March 5. Cost: $25. Info: here
Cookin’ the Market With Chef Mario Hernandez
The Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association (PCFMA) offers engaging cooking demos that show how quick, easy, and delicious it is to cook with fresh, locally grown ingredients. Developed as a pilot program in 2005 in partnership with Kaiser Permanente, Cookin’ the Market joined forces with the nonprofitFresh Approach in 2008. Demos are held at a wide variety of area markets and community events.
Cookin’ the Market Chef Mario Hernandez offers this recipe from The Order of the Fat Tongue, a group of farmers, chefs, artists, and activists who care about food justice and the local food system. In Japan, where Hernandez grew up, someone with a “fat tongue” concerns himself with the quality of food.
7 medium-sized chanterelles or ½ pound, hand torn into uniform sizes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, crushed in their jackets
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or a good quality extra-virgin olive oil to start,
and an additional 2 tablespoons for after the mushroom stock is removed
2 twigs thyme
1 small shallot, minced
Splash of lemon juice or vinegar
Parsley for garnish
If your locally foraged mushrooms were gathered in a rainy period, they can be full of rainwater and covered in mud, so cleaning and sautéing them can be tricky. Removing the mud with a brush or a paper towel will only frustrate you, so if your chanterelles are super dirty, clean with the spray nozzle on your kitchen sink or submerge briefly in a large bowl full of water, then rinse and dry with a lint-free dish towel.
Start by placing the crushed garlic cloves (leave them in their jackets so they don’t burn), kosher salt (to season and pull moisture from the garlic), and the extra virgin olive oil or butter in a cold sauté pan. (Choose a pan that’s large enough to hold all the mushrooms without crowding.) Heat slowly until you start to smell the garlic, then add the mushrooms. When the mushrooms have released a large quantity of liquid (about 3–5 minutes), remove them from the pan and set aside. Also, remove the garlic skins and discard. Turn up the heat and throw in a twig or two of thyme and some minced shallots, allowing the stock to reduce by half, then add a splash of lemon juice or vinegar. Pour the mushroom stock into a bowl and set aside, then add more olive oil or butter to the sauté pan. Return the half-cooked mushrooms to the hot pan and cook until desired doneness. Serve hot, garnished with minced parsley and the reserved mushroom stock.