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Pickles, Bananas and New Recipes.

13 Jul

So, finally, pickling cucumbers and fresh dill are available at the farmers’ market. I bought 6 cucumbers and they fit perfectly into one of the quart jars that came with my new canning kit. I added some garlic, peppercorns, tumeric and coriander seeds. We’ll see how it turns out! They lovely jar is sitting on top of the fridge fermenting and the rest of the dill is happily displayed in a vase in the living room. Now everything smells like dill.

Also, today, someone sent me a link to an interesting article about bananas: What’s the Carbon Footprint of a Banana? I still don’t expect to eat them on a regular basis. Bananas have never been high on my list of favorite fruits – but now I won’t feel as  bad for that occasional slice of homemade banana nut bread that one of my (evil) coworkers insists on bringing in.

Recipe Update: Last week was a bit of a failure with my recipe experiment with it being a short work week (due to the fourth of July) and 3 evenings of being social and out of the house. I did get to make one recipe from Greens, Glorious Greens and another from an online source. I know, I know. “Online” doesn’t count as one of my cookbooks. BUT – it was really good!

Pasta with Leeks and Greens. An excellent vegetarian recipe – especially topped with cheese.

Flourless Brownies: Seriously though. This is a recipe provided on the Whole Foods website. It’s made with black beans instead of flour. Makes a fabulous, nutritious, cake-like brownie.

Next week’s recipes: Well, right now I’m having a look at The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines. The recipes are a bit more on the… adventurous side.  But, since we have a local variety, I am thinking about the Sardine and Macaroni Salad and also the Garbanzo Polenta.


Reporter’s Notes: Food Safety

6 Dec

Reporter’s Notes: Food Safety

“Here’s another item for President-Elect Barack Obama’s to-do list when he takes office in January: food safety. Especially imported foods. Recent scares over melamine-laced cookies from China and salmonella-tainted Mexican jalapenos have raised stark questions: Who’s monitoring the safety of imported food? And does the system work?”

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The Search for Local Food: Roy’s Restaurant

10 Sep

A few months ago I started doing some research online hoping to find Bay Area restaurants that supported local agriculture and had seasonal menus. One of the restaurants that I found in my search was Roy’s, located in the Soma neighborhood of San Francisco.  With phrases like “a tempting combination of exotic flavors and spices mixed with the freshest of local ingredients” on their website, I was looking forward to seeing what the place had to offer.

Now if I had truly done my research, instead of having just a brief look on their website weeks ago, I would have noticed a couple of things.

  1. Roy’s is a chain with multiple locations in 10 different states.
  2. Their menu is decidedly more exotic than local.

I did not look at the menu until we were seated. The only vegetarian option on the entire menu was a green salad.  When asked, our server (who I will talk about in detail later) presented me with a completely separate menu for vegetarian dishes. I thought it was a bit strange that this menu was not automatically presented, but it was a pretty nice menu.

First, we ordered the Ponzi Pinot Gris from Oregon. A lovely crisp wine that went well with all of our dishes.

For appetizers, we had a very interesting Kobe Beef wrapped around Dynamite Crab, Tempura Asparagus & Avocado and (from the vegetarian menu) a Wild Mushroom and Truffle Risotto. The risotto had shredded shiso leaves which gave it an amazing flavor.

My Entree was the Sea Scallops with Purple Potato Gnocchi and my S.O. got the Monkfish with vegetables in a curry sauce. This is where things got a bit weird. Though visually stunning and cooked to perfection, the flavors of both dishes seemed a bit confused. The scallops were wonderful and the gnocchi as well but they did not seem to work together as well as I had hoped. The monkfish in curry sauce was very nice, but the vegetables seemed to makes no sense at all.

The desert – a chocolate souffle – was wonderful.

The one really good thing I can say about this restaurant was that the service was amazing. Our server immediately told us that he helped with the wine selection and would answer any questions we had about any of their menus. I asked him if they had any local produce, meats or fish. The non “exotic” produce was local, but none of the meat or fish on the menu. I also asked him a couple of times if he could find out what some of the ingredients were and was happy to do so. The staff was very attentive, friendly and professional without being pushy. A+ on that!

So, based on the flavor of dishes, the variety of local food available and the service, I give Roy’s 3 Purkle Stars. I would visit this place again, but not on a regular basis! It is a bit too expensive, too confused and has a high carbon footprint – even for a restaurant.

California and Water

15 Jul

I’ve been thinking about water a lot lately with the drought and all of the fires that are still burning around the state as I type. I am not the only one thinking about this, of course, and there’s a great, locally produced 30 minute program about the future of water in California:
State of Thirst: California’s Water Future
“Are we in danger of running out of water? California’s population is growing by 600,000 people a year, but much of the state receives as much annual rainfall as Morocco. With fish populations crashing, global warming, and the demands of the country’s largest agricultural industry, the pressures on our water supply are increasing.”

Sharing the Purkle…

22 Mar

So last night my significant other made the main course for dinner. In my opinion, it’s the best thing he’s ever made and wanted to ‘share the yum’ with the rest of the world. Or, at least the people that read this blog.

Red Snapper with Capers and Mushrooms
This recipe gets 4 Purkle Stars
  • 2 lbs Red Snapper (I bought ours at Whole Foods)
  • 6 Portabellini mushrooms sliced, (8-10 brown mushrooms would also work well)
  • 2 Tbs capers (or so)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Tbs white Balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cut the snapper into 2 inch thick strips. Place in skillet (already warm with olive oil) with mushrooms and add the rest of the ingredients. Keep in mind that aside from the fish and mushrooms, I guessed on the amount that was used as the information was not written down and I was busy with friends and drinking the rest of the white wine. Adding a bit at a time and tasting along the way probably won’t hurt. The end result should be a perfectly cooked, flaky fish and mushrooms that have absorbed all of the liquid.

This was served with a nice salad! I wasn’t smart enough to get a photo!

An “Asian Delight” Christmas

23 Dec

This year I have decided to make a Japanese meal for Christmas. But really it’s a mixture of various Asian cuisines. I’m also throwing in some traditional twists. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out. We’re also using mostly local ingredients. Too bad they don’t grow cranberries around here…

Here’s what I’m making!

Cranberry Apple Cider (with Orange)

Steamed Sponge Cake with Cranberry Honey Glaze

Korean Seasoned Potatoes

Goma Ae (Spinach with Seasame)

Shrimp on Sugarcane Skewers

Vegetable Tempura

Deep Fried Chestnut Balls with Cranberry Sesame Soy Dipping Sauce

Ebi Maki (Shrimp Roll)

Daikon Salad

Sustainable fishing info on the go…

8 Oct

I saw a link to a post on about the Blue Ocean Institute offering information via sms and mobile web for those interested in checking on the status of certain fish stocks. My phone doesn’t like dealing with those short sms numbers but I was able to use the mobile webpage just fine!

sms to 30644 text FISH + the fish you are curious about

mobile web =

Original Grist post: