Garden Pasta

September 29, 2009

I just got back from a long trip.  Which normally would mean, head to the grocery store before we can make dinner.  But I had to water the garden…

In the garden, I grabbed two zucchini and three tomatoes, five basil leaves and a few sprigs of oregano. 

I win, no grocery store!

Garden Pasta:

Two cloves of garlic (from last weeks farmers market)
1/4 onion (from last weeks farmers market)
chopped basil (garden)
fresh oregano leaves (garden)

Dice two zucchini (garden) into small cubes and add to pan, sautee until zucchini is browned.  Reduce to simmer.

Dice two roma tomatoes (garden) and add to the pan.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.  Juice will form in the bottom of the pan.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over pasta. (dried pasta, from pantry)

Added bonus:
I had a 3 week old hunk of jicama from the farmers market.  Would you believe it was still good!  I shredded it and tossed with poppy seed dressing and dried blueberries.  Totally didn’t go with the meal, and wasn’t necessary cuz we had more than enough pasta, but it tasted good!


Magazine Farmers Markets

September 28, 2009

Sky Magazine. Delta.
Page 26, September 2009

Excerpt from Article: Farmers Markets.

It doesn’t get more local than this. Here, 10 stellar farmers markets that will help you go green- on your plate and for the Earth

#2 Los Angeles: Referred to as “LA’s Best Grocery Store,” this LA landmark is now celebrating its 75th year. Make sure to stop by Light My Fire, which sells thousands of hot sauces from around the world. Open daily.

Download Full Article.


Now, as I have never been to the LA Farmers Market, this post is by no means aiming criticism at this specific farmers market. I am sure it is a fabulous market and I am now more curious to visit next time I’m in the area. However, can we please take a moment to think about what the editor is trying to say? Let me repeat: It doesn’t get more local than this….hot sauces from around the world.


Alright, I realize that Delta’s in-flight magazine is not the NY Times. But since when is anyone allowed to use buzz words and hot topics to attract readers without actually considering their meaning? Oh wait, that’s right, I have a marketing degree, I know the answer to this question.

I have already deleted from this post angry sentences like “Can we please give the American (and international, this is Delta) public the respect of more than two consecutive, consistent statements?” and “No wonder Islamic leaders want to shield their flock from the West.” But I digress, and digress and digress.

Back to the topic at hand,
The pro’s and con’s of buzz words:

Pro: The word “Farmers Markets” is no longer associated exclusively with poverty or socialist Europe.
Con: The word “Farmers Market” is no longer associated exclusively with Farmers.
Pro: Its cool to go to Farmers Markets.
Con: Its cooler to buy touristy stuff at farmers markets a few times a year than to buy locally grown or produced stuff every week.

So, two lessons:
1. Not all things at farmers markets are local.
2. A lot of people still don’t get it.

 And finally, the challenge of the day, anyone in LA got a source for good LOCAL hot sauce?

Thanks for listening!

Signed: A business traveler who misses her farmers market.

Funk Town Farm Open House

September 11, 2009

Come out and join us for a Funk Town Farm Tour today at the Farm! Chill on a bale of hay, enjoy some famous Funk Town Zucchini bread, and rumor has it there might be goods on the grill!

We’re open 3pm – 8pm, behind the Regen Community Center at the corner of funktown3rd Ave and E 15th St. in Oakland.  There’s a blood driving happening in the community center, the Regen Cafe across the street will be open, and at sun down there will be an out door showing of Slum Dog Millionaire.

Hope to see you there!

Starbucks Napkin:
We’ve got good news. We removed the artificial trans fats, artificial flavors, artificial dyes and high fructose corn syrup. Now your food not only tastes better, it is better. We hope you enjoy the difference.

Really? Artificial flavors? You mean that pump of vanilla wasn’t vanilla? It was HFCS? So NOW what is it??

And was that in my egg muffin, too?

Oh and thanks for telling us 10 years later that we’ve been drinking crap the whole time.

Ok, I think it’s no surprise that we’ve known pumps syrup and shots of sugar in our coffee is bad for us. But, somehow, without it spelled out, we didn’t seem to think it was a big deal. Like choosing whole milk over skim. Not the same as choosing fake over real. First of all, it doesn’t taste better, and second of all, ITS NOT MILK!!

Perhaps its just offending to be told, “we fooled you! But it’s ok now.” Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…

Friends and Vegetables

September 8, 2009

This weekend, friends from all parts of the country got together to celebrate a birthday on the Monterey Bay.  With ten people at a beach house for three nights, we decided to share meal duties.  Our night was the first night, Friday night.  Having had a full day of work and trying desperately to leave the Bay Area by 5pm, I scrambled at 5:15 to pack a suitcase and create a time machine that would let me go by the grocery store and still get to Santa Cruz in time to make dinner for 10.

Huff.  I open my Oakland fridge and start grabbing:

A medium size bag of green beans (Farmers Market)
Two zucchini from the garden
Half a bag of okra (Farmers Market)
Three cobs of corn, cooked (Farmers Market)
5 Mild Italian Sausages (Whole Foods, Nor. Cal. Pork)
5 Heirloom Tomatoes (Farmers Market)
12 eggs (Trader Joes)
1 large red onion
5 small potatoes
1 clove of garlic
1 jar chicken stock
1 bag of farmers market mushrooms, mixed
3 limes (neighborhood tree)
3 large nectarines (Farmers Market)
2 gallons of Whole Milk (Straus, glass bottle, for ice cream)
1 small container whipping cream (Straus, glass bottle, for ice cream)
Off the shelf:  brown rice, 4 cups of sugar, a jar of pine nuts, a container of dried fruit.

Get in the car.  go. go. go.

The beach house was beautiful, mostly because it was full of friends.  I skipped the grocery store, willing the forces that be to multiply the loaves.

When we arrived, the group was gathered at the beach watching the foggy sunset.  My husband and I headed to the kitchen to start a weekend of good food and good people.

Here’s what we were able to contribute to the weekend’s menu from my Oakland fridge foraging.

Sausage Gumbo
Saute onions, and garlic in a big skillet, add sausage to brown (cut up into bite size pieces), squeeze all the lemons over the sauteing food in the pan.  Dice tomatoes and zucchini, chop up green beans and okra into bite size pieces, and add to pan to saute.  As the juices started to form, I added a bit of chicken stock until the pan could really hold no more food.  Then I put a lid on it (actually, another frying pan, we couldn’t find a lid) and let it simmer till the east coasters were done gazing over the pacific.

In a second pot, we made all the rice we could (about 4 cups), using chicken stock as well as water for softer brown rice.  (More chicken stock would have been better.)

Serve the gumbo over rice.

*I forgot the add the corn, so it went into corn salsa later:
Corn, cut off the cob.
1 large heirloom tomato, diced
1 cup of black beans, left over from breakfast (gallo pinto)
diced union
salt and pepper to taste

What about the nectarines:
Nectarine Crumble
Slice nectarines and put in a baking dish.  Cover with “crumble” and bake for 4o minutes.  For the crumble, crumble flour and sugar with cold butter.

And all that milk?

Vanilla Ice Cream:
3 cups of sugar
4 eggs
1 gallon of whole milk
1 small bottle of heavy cream
2 tbl spoons vanilla
1 tbl spoon rum

Whip egg whites into meringue, set aside.
Whip heavy cream, set aside.
Mix sugar with egg yolks and add about a cup of milk. Add vanilla and rum.  Fold in whipped ingredients and add to the churn bucket.  Add the rest of the milk, and pack the mixture in the bucket with ice and rock salt.  Start churning.  The best part of homemade ice cream at the beach is the free child labor.  My church has an electric crank, but I prefer to watch the children hand churn till they can’t turn the handle anymore or until the get distracted.  So after about 20 minutes of 3 to 5-yr-old churning, we had a thick but fluffy bucket of white snow.  The kids got a small bowl, the rest was put into the freezer to continue to firm up.  Served over chocolate brownies.