Satsuma mandarins...the perfect winter snack, gift, everything!

Satsuma mandarins...the perfect winter snack, gift, everything!
peel, eat, repeat

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Slow Food helps with school lunches

Join us for a community pot-luck picnic at Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek.This event is free!We are gathering in support of healthy school lunches. This is one of over 200 eat-ins being staged across the US on September 7 this year to send a message to Congress. As a national day of action, Slow Food is hoping to persuade our members of Congress to increase funding to school lunches and make a commitment to improving the quality of food served to our children every day.Bring your friends and family! For the month of September only,new donations to Slow Food at any level will provide a one-year membership in Slow Food USA. This is a wonderful time to join Slow Food and support good, clean and fair food.So gather with neighbors and others who share your views on feeding our children and have fun at Las Lomas on September 7.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sex in the kitchen and other summer treats

Peach and Lavender Jam
5 cups of ripe peaches, peeled and crushed up
2 tablespoons lavender blossoms, crushed
Finely grated peel from 1 large lemon
Juice from said lemon
4 cups sugar
1 3 ounce package of low sugar pectin
1 tablespoon of butter

Mix together the peaches, lemon juice and lavender blossoms. Measure out 5 cups and place in a large, non reactive heavy bottom pot.
Mix ¼ cup sugar with the pectin and stir into fruit. Throw in the butter. Bring to a hard rolling boil and add the rest of the sugar. Bring to a hard rolling boil and boil 1 minute more. Place in sterilized jars with new lids and process in water bath for 10 minutes. Whenit is particularly hot, which is most of jamming season, I like to close all the curtains, turn on all the fans and don my apron and nthing else to make my jam in a comfortable, non binding atmosphere.....yum.

Fresh Corn and Tomato Risotto
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, chopped fine
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 cups Aborio rice
1 cup white wine
7 to eight cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups fresh corn cut off the cob
1 cup chopped fresh heirloom tomatoes, your choice
½ bunch chopped fresh basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Manchego cheese for grating on top

In a medium saucepan, heat the stock. Heat olive oil in a wide heavy pan. Add the onion and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes and add the rice. Sauté the rice until opaque in color. Add the wine and let simmer for a minute. Add the stock a ½ cup at a time allowing it to absorb after each addition stirring constantly. The rice will become creamy. Taste occasionally to check for tenderness. Add tomatoes and basil and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with cheese. Serve at once.
Serves 4 to 6.

Eggplant, Summer Squash and Heirloom Tomato Tian
4 Japanese eggplants, peeled and sliced lengthwise and grilled
4 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise and grilled
4 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced crosswise
1 pound chevre, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
kosher salt

On 4 separate plates, arrange a slice of tomato. Follow with a slice of squash and then a slice of eggplant. Sprinkle with a bit of rosemary and add a slice of chevre. Repeat w/ remaining slices of vegetables and cheese. Sprinkle w/ olive oil and vinegar and season w/ salt. Serves 4.

Grapes w/ Fresh Pecorino and Basil
2 pounds assorted grapes, washed and cut in half
1 pound fresh Pecorino cheese, cut into small cubes
1 bunch of basil, chiffonade
3 tablespoons good olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Toss all together in a bowl and season w/ salt and pepper. Serves 4 to 6.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sun Gold cherry tomatoes promote world peace

Bright orange with a tiny radiating green tinge at the stem, tasting of summer memories while running a length of wet, slippery plastic on crabgrass, Sun Gold cherry tomatoes are the closest taste to a real tomato I have had the pleasure of savoring in recent years. Hands down first choice in the ground in spring and always the first variety to pop up volunteer style in my garden. Initial little yellow babies harvested never make it past the outside branches of the plant. Savored in the garden, hot, with long, guttural sighs, they will not make it into the house for a couple of weeks.

Once inside they grace everything we eat for as long as they produce well into fall. Lucky recipients of my food always wonder at the origin of the luscious little yellow tomato. Uninitiated ignorantly wonder at the ripeness or readiness of the yellow tomato. I laugh in private. Not to be confused with the yellow pear tomato, oh no. Sorry for you if you make that mistake at the nursery. It is like having your baby switched. Pears are mealy and watery, resembling a store bought Mexican tomato in winter no matter how ripe they get on the vine. I also planted a green grape cherry tomato along with a host of others this year. Green Grape runs a close second to the Sun Gold. Visions of big, fat heirloom tomatoes come to mind while devouring the succulent cherry Green Grape.

After you have had enough little cherry tomatoes sucked directly off the vine, it is time to tote in having some fun in the kitchen toying with your tasty little muse. Halve tomatoes and toss with cilantro, chopped jalapeño, tiny bit of garlic, some finely chopped red onion and lube up with some really good olive oil and rice vinegar, crack the salt and use this for grilled fish or chicken or silky marinated grilled tofu.

Tossed with some nice sheep’s milk feta, chiffonade basil, and a very good olive oil with a few cracks of sea salt, this base can used to flavor hot or cold pasta or quinoa, spread on croutons or lusty hunks of great bread or just spread on your body to be licked off by a willing partner. Add Greek olives, lettuce, pita chips and cucumbers tossing with mint, cilantro, lemon, cumin and olive oil for an astounding salad. Awesome by itself or with a sizzling spiced chicken breast, pulled off the grill with all the juices soaking into your salad creating this hot/cold yin/yang breathtaking, demanding a moment of silence, physically stimulating entrée. Be sure to share with a very close friend as the sun sinks and the crickets commence with the concert.

Just my thoughts on the dazzling little Sun Gold cherry type tomato.