Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Year & the Sustainability I Seek

Looking back on 2012, it’s been a great year of adventures featuring local vendors in the Bay Area, with a few recipes thrown in for good measure. Thanks for your time and attention in reading my blog! As the New Year approaches quickly, bringing us hope that life will continue in a grand manner, we must also prepare for an uncertain future. I will be taking a new focus to my blog, one that supports a more sustainable lifestyle. I want to be the living example that I continuously write about. I will be steering my life towards creating a backyard homestead. In 2013, I will be raising chickens, growing more of the food I put on the table, making more preserves, smoking meats, drying fruit, and hopefully using the natural resources of the planet, like collecting rain water. This ‘new’ direction has been germinating slowly with each new book I read on sustainability, each new farmer I interview, each new vendor I feature. I will post my experiences of this backyard homesteading lifestyle, and hope to throw in a post or two on Sonoma & Napa County organic wine making too! We must support each other on this journey to manifesting sustainable lifestyles, ones more in balance with nature, more conscientious of our impact on our resources, and finally one that brings hope to the future generations. Happy New Year 2013, Be well and may all blessings be yours and ours.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Little Shop Artisan Box Interview

This special holiday podcast features gourmet foodie boxes from Little Shop Artisan Box. All local delicacies hand made by food artisans of the Bay Area!  Listen to Tarabud speak with Maricela Yee, through the Soundcloud podcast below.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Native Juice Co. Interview

Tarabud interviews Native Juice Co. owner, Nicci Fish at Grand Lake Farmers Market, Oakland, California. Hear about the freshest juice and smoothies, sourcing from local organic farmers, in Oakland and San Rafael Farmers Market. Business model with sustainability at it's core!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. Interview

Tarabud interviews Jill Giacomini, of Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co., at the Grand Lake Farmers Market, in Oakland, CA. Enjoy this episode of cheese goodness coming from the North Bay!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Nana Joes Granola Interview

Check interview of Michelle Pusateri creator and owner of Nana Joes Handmade Granola at Grand Lake Farmers Market, in Oakland, CA. Healthy and delicious!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Okra & Black-eyed Peas Dance

Lately I have been reading The Food Rules, An Eaters Manual, by Michael Pollan, and have taken to heart that we cook and eat more complicated than we need to. This book reminded me to eat simply. Among some of the highlights: eat fresh foods that are minimally processed, eat with others, enjoy every bite, eat at a moderate pace, eat as much as can fit in both your palms. I will add another old world rule from my grandmother as she always reminded me: eat your food sitting down. She hated when I stood in the kitchen and ate, and probably thought I was missing some important conversation at the family table, where everyone came home for a large midday meal. While modern American lifestyle is not fortunate enough to have this family luxury, we can still find ways to make eating and mealtime enjoyable, like cooking your own farm to table food and sharing lunchtime meals with cook workers, whenever possible.

This simple meal of black-eyed peas, potatoes, with fresh tomatoes and okra on the side, is inspired by my reading. I have only recently become an admirer of the okra vegetable, upon mastering the cooking off of its slimy consistency. Also, I learned that okra is wonderful for normalizing cholesterol and sugar levels, and has the multiple benefit of eating a fibrous plant. From my experience, cooking in an iron skillet really enhances the flavor of okra and is a must for any home cook. Likewise, black-eyed peas have tremendous health benefits. They are an excellent sources of fiber, protein, potassium and iron. For this recipe, I pre-soaked in filtered water for a couple hours. This shortens the cooking time considerably, and somehow maximizes their nutritional benefits.

Ingredients black-eyed peas dish:

1 cup of b lack-eyed peas
1/3 cup of navy beans
4 small potatoes sliced
1 cup of chicken broth
2 cups of water
1/3 cup of fresh parsley
3 small tomatoes
1/3 cup of chopped white onion
1/2 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1 teaspoon of salt

First, put Blackeyed Peas and Navy Beans in a medium cooking pot with chicken broth and water. Turn heat to medium, and add onions, potatoes, and spices, making sure to stir ingredients. Once it reaches a rolling boil, lower heat and place lid on pot. The beans usually cook within 30 minutes or less if pre-soaked. If peas and beans start to look dry and are still uncooked, add some more water, allowing 10 minutes more cooking time. Add the parsley, and sliced tomatoes before serving. Stirring them in to beans.

Ingredients okra dish:

16 okras chopped into moons
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1/2 teaspoon curry
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1 handful of breadcrumbs (or crushed croutons)

First, pre-warm iron skillet on medium heat. Place olive oil and chopped okra in skillet. Add spices and breadcrumbs while sauté in olive oil. Cook until lightly browned. Add salt as needed. Okra is ready very quickly and should be made after beans are done.

Serve side by side together as one meal. This recipe makes 4 moderate servings.
Happy eating!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Baked Meatballs

Let's be honest all you meat eaters. 
Who doesn't love a good meatball with their sandwich or spaghetti sauce?
I thought I would surprise my husband with meatballs for dinner, as we have been eating very healthy for our hearts lately, with lots of tofu, okra, and oyster mushrooms. I say let's mix it up!
So infrequently I will throw in a dish with grass fed beef, locally grown. 
These meatballs have a fabulous balance of sweetness and savory.

Preheat oven to 375  degrees.

Main Ingredients:
1 lb of grass feed beef
1/3 cup of chopped white onion
1 tsp of Blackstrap molasses 
1 tsp of sea salt
1/2 tsp of cumin
1/2 tsp of paprika
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
A pinch of Santa Fe Peppers
A Splash of cream

For baking you will need:
1/3 cup or less of ketchup
1/3 cup of water

In a large bowl place all ingredients and mix with your hands.
Make small balls, rolling them in your hand. 
One pound will make enough to fill a 9x13 buttered baking dish.
Finally before putting dish in the oven, 
add 1/3 cup of water, and a dollop of ketchup to each meat ball.

Bake for 45-50 minutes (grass fed beef cooks faster than commercial beef). 
Make sure not to brown them, so they will melt in your mouth. 
 Drain the extra fat from baking dish with a large serving spoon. Enjoy with any dish you like!
This evening I happened to make a fresh tomato and basil sauce over spaghetti. 
Enjoy with family and friends! 
Blessed be the cows!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Achadinha Cheese Co. Interview

Listen to podcast as Tarabud interviews Stephen, vendor representing Achadinha Cheese Co., at the Grand Lake Farmers Market in Oakland, California. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mediterranean Chuck Roast

I love wine and olives, and so manifested the Mediterranean Chuck Roast (Prather Ranch beef) with my two favorites foods. I recently discovered how delicious Mauritson Pinot Noir 2010 is to drink, and well, yes, cook with! Exquisitely smooth and even tasting pinot grapes are wonderful for this dish. Try to find the small potato three color variety, that includes the purple potato from South America. These small potatoes have a power punch of flavor. Wherever possible, add fresh basil and oregano to enhance the entire dish. I found some fabulous sea salts at my local Oaktown Spice Shop. French Grey Sea Salt is suppose to have the highest trace mineral content and the least processed. Also, the Hawaiian Black Lava Sea Salt, has charcoal added to it, which is an absorber of toxins in the intestines. They are more like finishing salts, so add a pinch at the end when serving the dish. Mostly this dish in incredibly easy to prepare. Enjoy with family and friends for any occasion you need a hardy satisfying meal.

2 pounds of chuck roast beef
4 small onions. 
2 large tomatoes
2 zucchinis
1 1/2 cup of small potatoes, cut in cubes
1 cup of chopped kalamata and green olives 
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
2/3 cup of red wine
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon of garlic 
1 table spoon oregano
1 tablespoon of cumin 
1/2 tablespoon of lemon pepper 
1 tablespoon on agave 
1 tablespoon of sea salt  

 This dish can be cooked in a conventional oven inside a casserole pan with cover for 2.5-3 hours at 375 degrees, or in a crock pot 4.5- 5 hours on high. Add all ingredients  to meat in cooking container, except  for the fresh basil and zucchini. These will be added in last hour of cooking the dish. I do find, I prefer the crock pot as it will stew slowly over the hours and bring out complex flavors. Even though it is possible to leave a crock pot cooking without stirring the dish, I still like to give all items a turn half way through, for more even cooking. 
Serve in bowls, with a glass of red wine, and pieces of baguette to clean up plate in the end. 
 A toast to your health and mine! 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Big Paw Interview

Interview with Big Paw Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar, at the Grand Lake Farmers Market, Oakland, CA. You can listen with an easy click on the play button below.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lakshmi Lassi Interview

Tarabud speaks with Emi Fulea, owner of Lakshmi Lassi (Indian Probiotic Beverage), at Grand Lake Farmers Market, in Oakland, CA. See audio below

Monday, April 30, 2012

California Wine Country - Healdsburg, CA

Mauritson Ancestors
         The Golden Gate Bridge was built 75 years ago to more easily transport all the richness coming down the Redwood Highway from the North Bay. All the fresh dairy and eggs from Petaluma farms, and of course the wines and other berries that grew so comfortably in the temperate climate of Sonoma and Mendocino County (and still do), was the main reason for building that gorgeous bridge. Recently, I had the pleasure of crossing the bridge to enjoy the wine growing region of Healdsburg, California in Sonoma County, for a Passport to Dry Creek Valley weekend. This was an annual event featuring sustainable, organic vineyards and boutique wineries, and some amazing wine & food pairings.
Mauritson Vineyard
I had the fortune to be at the Mauritson Winery most of the day as I was their guest and volunteer. Mauritson Winery is  growing precious wine grapes on 310 vineyard acres spanning across Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley, and Rockpile Appellations (located near Lake Sonoma).  The winery is currently run by Clay Mauritson and his wife Carrie, present throughout the day overseeing the entire event from beginning to end. This winery goes back six generations to when Clay's ancestors first started growing grapes in 1868. Today Clay and his team of winemakers currently produce and sell, Rose, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Malbec, Syrah & Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir wines. This weekend was extraordinary as Top Chef Charlie Palmer was sharing his creations from his Dry Creek Kitchen and pairing them with Mauritson wines.
Views of vineyard
The guests came from far, hearing ravings about the food and wine pairings, making for full tasting rooms from the minute doors opened.  Upon entering the cellar, the delicate auromas of crushed grapes fermenting in oak barrels, immediately put one in the mood to sample. First they greeted guests with samples of the 2011 Mauritson Rose (Rockpile) their newest release, accompanied with Rose Verjus Sorbet, with a surprising pink peppercorn ganache at the bottom of the cone. Quite a delicate pairing.
Following that, guests were taken on a journey to the sea with Dungeness Crab Cakes, topped with an exquisite saffron remoulade, celeriac slaw including fennel, and candied grapefruit. These beauties were paired with a 2011 Sauvignon Blanc (Dry Creek Valley). Bottles were served very chill, which allowed the crispness to punch through, absolutely perfect with the crab cake appetizer. To many chagrin, I am untraditional about drinking white wine served chilled, as I prefer my wine room temperature. As my glass had more time to breath and be in the warm Healdsburg air, I was able to enjoy much more of the body and complexity of these white grapes.   
The longest lines were definitely for the mouth-watering beef brisket sliders, made with grass fed beef from Painted Hills Ranch in Oregon. I could hear the entire valley raving about these, and people often came back for seconds. These were served with an espresso BBQ sauce, red pickled cabbage, on a sesame bun topped with cornichon. These sliders were paired with an excellent bold Rockpile Zinfandel. To quote the experts:
On the nose, red fruit is complemented by earthen minerality and nuances of sweet oak and spice. Raspberry and baked fruit dominate the front palate giving way to a broad mouth feel. The tannins are supple and well balanced, exposing the richness of this wine. The finish is prototypical of Rockpile: long and focused. Full bodied with balanced acidity…”

Beef Brisket Sliders
I was very sad to find out that their 2008 & 2009 Petit Sirah was sold out! But I was able to acquire a 2010 Charlie Clay Pinot Noir, which made up for the loss.     
After a trip together to the Hospice Du Beaune in 2005, Charlie Palmer and Clay Mauritson decided they wanted to make a Pinot Noir together as great as the ones they had tasted - Charlie Clay Pinot was born.  With grape combinations from Palmer Vineyards and their new acquisition of vineyards from Russian River Valley, it was a match made in heaven as the cliché goes. Thank goodness they took the up the challenge. Here is how the experts describe the 2008 Charlie Clay Pinot:  
“Starts with a complex nose of bright red fruit, minerals, spice and well-integrated French oak. The cooler growing conditions of 2008 are apparent in the raspberry and strawberry fruit on the front palette and the bright acidity on the finish. This wine still has lushness in the mouth feel, with soft, yet structured tannins...
I highly recommend the Passport to Dry Creek Valley event, held once a year; you just won't regret a minute of this valley's splendor. It was a fabulous day at the Mauritson Winery, and I look forward to more delicious harvests in the future. A toast to your health!