Tutti Frutti…

Lucky Peach Issue #2

Wandering Kinokuniya bookstore in theory shopping for others (tis the season) I discovered ‘Lucky Peach’ a quarterly food and writing publication.  Attractively matte, this could be pretentious second issue is a McSweeney’s collaboration with chef David Chang  (yes of Momofuko fame), writer Peter Meehan and the production company responsible for ‘Anthony Bourdain:No Reservations’.  I know this now thanks to Google the verb.

My reaction has been one of infatuation. Based on the $58.00 asking price for copies of Issue #1 listed on Amazon I’m not alone.  A subscription costs $28.00 and yes, I’m going to.   Quirky, arty, high and low food culture, food photography, recipes, commentary, and travel all with a hearty helping of humor makes for a good read, one to keep out of the recycling for the time being.  My of the moment favorite portion of the current issue is a page of artist designed ‘fruit stickers’ just waiting to be used.  I both want to hoard and share them.  Easing into the sharing thing with a visual or two, keeping the sticker for the time being.


For more about ‘Lucky Peach’  here’s a link to an article from The Atlantic.   http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/06/2011s-best-new-food-magazine-david-changs-lucky-peach/240804/


Wake up and smell the (McDonald’s) coffee…

Amidst being haunted by the images filtering out of U.C. Davis this week another set of visuals impacted what for some is an iconic (the reporter’s choice of word) breakfast item.  When I think iconic breakfast,  dishes like eggs benedict, joe’s scramble, or french toast come to mind.  Don’t forget the side of bacon.  However, what has  been  newsworthy is the Egg McMuffin pictured below in all of its fineness.

The Egg, or in this case Egg and Sausage McMuffin has been flooded with attention because of a video capturing  the conditions of the factory farm that supplies McDonald’s with their eggs.  These conditions are nothing like the sunlit mythical old timey farm portrayed in their commercials.  Footage which is as unappetizing as it gets was filmed with a hidden camera at one of our largest national egg producers.  You can get a glimpse of it here at this link, 20/20 Sparboe Farms.  What’s intriguing is that both McDonald’s and Target (another retailer supplied by Sparboe) have dropped the supplier and in the case of Target pulled the eggs from their ‘grocery’ section.  Given the volume of eggs needed probably another ‘farm’ where the chickens never see daylight is in the works, but hopefully one where some basic standards are met.  Or, you can just skip that Egg McMuffin.


Preview of coming feathered attractions…

Today is a frightfully annoying stereotypical Monday.  Much started, less finished and suddenly it’s time to pick up the boy from school.  The boy whom with which I had to have a conversation regarding what constitutes a legend.  In other words the difference between legendary and infamous and how that might translate into the short attention span world of 7th grade.  As it turns out he’s being greeted or crowned with the nickname legend.  This is not due to his Lacrosse skills but rather his ability to get five detentions within the span of 15 minutes last Thursday.  Yeah, it’s apparently like that.

My day off from the parenting gig this weekend was Sunday and it was spent helping out (well I plucked feathers from a wet, dead hen) butchering and documenting the transformation of two hens into delicious chicken stock as well as crock potted chicken stew at Garden Girl Farm.  I’m thankful for friends in helping with the restoration of my sense of humor and sanity.  I don’t know where to start so will leave you with this teaser.  One of these images does not fit, or maybe it’s that two don’t.

vintage jewelry advertisement

what's inside your chicken

vintage jewelry advertisement

Romanesco me…

First documented in the 16th Century in Northern Italy Romanesco broccoli or cauliflower is an edible flower that lets just say has been around for some time.  Visually surreal with a short growing season and mild flavor look for it now at your farmer’s market.

I’ve got some growing in my front yard which to date the deer have left alone but I know where to get more should they choose to indulge.

Romanesco broccoli

More visuals and information in the LA Weekly blog,  http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/2011/02/farmers_market_romanesco.php

Pick it up…

It’s easy to set aside the Farmer’s Market when the weather is less than but it’s also one of my favorite times to go.  The crowds have dissipated and all those veggies that were hated as a kid are in season.

wild mushroom tart
















One of our local chefs lists a few of his favorite Ferry Building finds at  http://www.7×7.com/eat-drink/market-watch-what-namus-dennis-lee-will-cook-winter-produce

Happy Thanksgiving…

Big Gay Al































Big Gay Al is a resident of Garden Girl Farm.  I’m happy to report that because of his delightful personality he is on permanent reprieve from our annual fowl tradition.  The rumor is that my Thanksgiving host has ordered an Heirloom Turkey from the Healdsburg Farmer’s Market so I can stop eyeing those wild turkeys that I see roaming off of Lucas Valley Road.  I’m responsible for a savory wild mushroom tart which makes me think I’ve got the good deal.  A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and your beloveds or at the very least the family that you chose to move far, far away from.

Lay off the green beans…

slightly altered branding

I’m sure there were canned green beans way back when in my childhood.  Thanksgiving, the day of excess and thanks certainly had its share of green bean casseroles complete with the crispy onion topping right out of yet another can.  This tradition might want to be reconsidered.


Just the facts ma’am…

I’ve got friends that won’t let me choose a film because no matter the effort it’s bound to be disturbing on some level.  There’s a brevity in the social media realm that was brought indirectly to my attention this weekend when a friend who knew “just the facts” of butchering mean bunnies observed that perhaps one should be uneasy because I was seemingly unaffected by the experience.  This could be the ebb and flow of my communication, the perception of time constraints, of stepping into anything deeper than the obvious.  And there’s that character limit shifting the focus back to social media.


So yes, I participated in the butchering of two mean bunnies, “mean” being the determining factor in the selection of who became dinner.  Mean defined as pet at your own risk, chances are blood (and not the rabbits) will be drawn.  Intellectually knowing this somewhat helps rationalize the process.  I was after all a vegetarian for twenty plus years.  Not a strict one, there was fish included in my diet and I also had the indulged in the occasional slice of prosciutto because there was and is nothing better than a slice of melon or fig wrapped in the substance.  It was more of a taste versus moral stance on my part.

Participated in that I’m an observer, a witness.  My camera functions as a politically correct prop, the way a cigarette used to do at a party.  There was not queasiness, just slight free floating, a bit out of body anxiety steadied with yes, the camera. This works for me in large crowds too.   I somehow felt it important to see it through start to finish.  A sliver of comfort stepped in when the rabbits were half skinned as then they resembled something I was familiar with the cliche of tastes like chicken.  Steaks, chicken and fish, we all are used to seeing in the grocery store.  There’s no shock value there it’s like overdosing on an excess of action adventure films.  We become immune to the violence.  

Did I enjoy the barbeque rabbit hours later?  Not really, there was a certain unease but appreciation for how it got there none the less.

She’s a tart…

tomato tart

Scott, the husband of a friend gets within 20 feet of their kitchen and something delicious is going on.  Recently when a tomato tart appeared and was rapidly consumed I had to repeat the recipe for myself (yeah, the next day) although not with Scott’s customizations to it.  My heirloom tomato crop has been crap this year but there still seem to be plenty of cherry tomatoes which is what’s called for.  I did add some goat cheese because it was there in the fridge and skipped the nutmeg because I couldn’t find any.

The original recipe was published is Saveur, and here it is.  Thinking the addition of chanterelles would move it nicely along into Fall.  Enjoy and or invite me over for your version.

2  9″ x 11″ sheets frozen puff pastry,
thawed and chilled
1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
12 anchovy filets in oil, drained
and finely chopped
3 lbs. cherry or grape tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper,
to taste
1⁄4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh oregano
Freshly grated nutmeg

1. Heat oven to 375°. Fit pastry sheets side by side into a parchment paper–lined 13″ x 17 3⁄4″ rimmed baking pan, pressing pastry against bottom and sides. Trim inner edges of pastry sheets so that they form a seam in center; trim pastry hanging over sides of pan. Prick bottom of pastry with a fork. Line bottom and sides of pastry with parchment paper and fill with dried beans. Bake until edges of tart are golden, 25 minutes. Remove beans and parchment paper, sprinkle Parmesan over tart shell, and bake until cheese is melted and tart shell is golden all over, 15–20 minutes. Transfer to a rack; let cool.

2. Heat oven to broil and arrange a rack 4″ from heating element. In a large bowl, mix together oil and anchovies; add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Transfer tomato mixture to a rimmed baking sheet and broil, shaking pan once or twice, until tomatoes blister, 12–14 minutes. Let cool slightly. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomato mixture to the prepared tart shell; distribute tomatoes evenly.

3. Increase oven heat to 425°. In a medium bowl, combine the parsley, chives, oregano, and nutmeg; sprinkle herb mixture evenly over the tomatoes. Return tart to oven and bake until hot, about 15 minutes. Let tart cool slightly before serving.