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27 May 2013 @ 08:39 pm
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Bok choy blossoms with tempeh and basil

You’ve probably used bok choy is a few dishes from stir fries to salads to braises and can appreciate it’s slightly bitter flavor. Coming in a variety of sizes it’s an easily recognizable vegetable that was once considered exotic but can now be found in any grocery. Yet recently bok choy blossoms could be found at the Galleria Farmers Market in San Francisco which many people may not be familiar with. With stems and leaves that resemble broccoli rabe, the blossoms are frequently used in salads but this recipe treats them like their broccoli cousins. Adding tempeh rounds things out for a healthy vegan main course dish that is low in fat and a great source of vitamins but also has some crispiness. . Serve with rice or noodles for a whole satisfying meal.
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Lemon pasta is one of our “go-to” easy meals that we have been making for years. It’s quick, uncomplicated and relatively healthy. Normally we serve it during hot weather, but with Meyer lemons being plentiful at Bay area farmers markets, it seemed like a perfect time to make it. The citrus and herb flavor just makes us feel like spring is all that much closer.


We try to keep it fresh by not getting trapped in a set way of making it. Sometimes we use parsley, other times basil and yet others tarragon. Sometimes we use spaghetti, other times linguini or sometimes even penne. We also make sure to add more grated Parmesan than some recipes might suggest to make sure we get a creamier sauce. Adding some diced chicken rounds out the dish for a full meal but leave it out if you want to serve this as a first course. You can also add toasted walnuts if you want to make it a fully vegetarian meal. It also fares well the next day if you need to bring something for lunch to work.
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12 February 2012 @ 10:09 am
11 February 2012 @ 08:59 pm
Citrus season is upon us again with plenty of options to choose from. Satsuma oranges are available at most farmers markets along with Meyer lemons. I snagged a couple of bags of both of them impulsively at the Monterey Market in Berkeley last weekend. The original intention was to treat them like preserved lemons, but in the process of researching if anyone else had done that, I came across Nigella Lawson’s Clementine Cake. I liked the way it used the whole fruit and nuts as the basis and decided to use the satsumas this way.

As usual, I tweaked the recipe a little. I used a full pound and a half of satsumas, replaced the almonds with pan-toasted hazelnuts and added a teaspoon of vanilla to the batter. After the cake was out of the oven and cooling, I wanted to find a way to, for lack of a better phrase, ice the cake. I made a quick syrup by boiling the juice and zest of a Meyer lemon with 1 cup of sugar. After using a skewer to poke several holes through out the cake, I poured the hot syrup over the cake and let it soak in over night.

One note. Do not ignore the fruit during boiling and make sure they’re constantly covered in water. My first attempt resulted in several wasted oranges when I got distracted and came back to a blackened dry mess in a pot that practically needed a sand blaster to get clean again.

Despite that, I dropped the cake off in the break room at work and came back at lunch to find the plate empty except for a post-it note that said “Thanks!!” The empty plate was all I needed to see to know it was a success. The post-it note was just overkill.
While running through the Ferry Building Farmers Market this weekend, we stopped into the San Francisco Fish Company inside the building since really have been trying to eat more fish. The issue with fish though can be that many varieties are expensive. We were happy to see that they had fresh sardines available since we’d been wanting to use them somehow for a while. The best part was that four whole sardines were only $3.20. We’ve bought cups of coffee that cost more.

Many people only know of sardines out of cans or the occasional feeling like one while jammed into a muni train. Yet fresh sardines are not only a flavorful and healthy additions to your diet (lots of omega-3s), but Pacific Sardines are considered a “Best Choice” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch. So you can not only eat them for your health, but also knowing you’re doing the right thing by the ocean.

fried sardines

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28 January 2012 @ 08:10 pm

366_027, originally uploaded by kitchenbeard.

22 January 2012 @ 12:07 pm

366_022, originally uploaded by kitchenbeard.

08 January 2012 @ 09:39 pm
Persimmon Bread

This time of year, you’re likely to spot little orange globes at the farmers markets and vegetables stands next to the oranges like satsumas and bloods. Looking like a cross between a tomato and an orange, persimmons have lovely tannic flavor that does beautifully in some savory foods and even better in sweet preparations. Last year we made a ton of persimmon curd that we spread on everything from cookies to toast to eating greedily out of the jar while standing in front of the fridge. This year, we picked up a few at the Heart of the City farmers market between Christmas and New Years intending to use them up in holiday gifts. We never quite got around to doing that so this week we really needed to use them up. We made more curd but still had a few persimmons left over.

So we started researching recipes and settled on a persimmon bread recipe from Epicurious that pulled out the stops in terms of comforting foods. As is often the case, we made the recipe ours a little bit by swapping meyer lemon zest for the orange zest in the recipe, using five spice powder in place of just cinnamon, and we also added a ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract on a whim. We were very pleased with the dense and moist cake like bread that was the result. It was delicious right out of the oven with butter but it made us dizzy with pleasure with the curd. We even sprinkled some left over ground hazelnuts on top for a really satisfying crunch before it dawned on us that we had intended to share this with others and needed to stop eating it all.

Make sure your persimmons are ripe here. They should be so soft that they feel like they’ll explode if you squeeze too hard. If yours are under ripe, place them in a plastic bag with an apple on a sunny windowsill for a few days and they’ll ripen faster.

This article also appears at http://www.examiner.com/food-in-san-francisco/perks-of-persimmon-season