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Archive for May, 2011

PostHeaderIcon BBQ Root Beer Sauce a Winner!

BBQ Root Beer Sauce…..New Twist on a Common BBQ Staple!

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2/3 Cup ketchup
  • 1/3 Cup root beer
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

To make the sauce: In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the garlic, chile powder and cumin. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Whisk in the remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside.

PostHeaderIcon Fresh Asparagus Gratin Style!

Gratin of Green Spring Vegetables

Adapted from The Farm Market Cookbook
Serves: 6

  • 1 large bunch Asparagus
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup thinly sliced Spring Onions (white and tender green parts)
  • 2 packed cups finely shredded Cabbage
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/3 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 TBSP grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 cup fine dry Bread Crumbs
  • 2 TBSP Butter, chilled


Preheat the over to 350º F. Lightly butter an 8-cup gratin or a 10” soufflé
dish. Snap the cut ends off the asparagus at its tender point and cut the
stalks into thin slices. Lay the asparagus in the bottom of the prepared dish.
Pepper to taste. Disperse the onions over the surface, then the shredded
cabbage. Press the vegetables down as level as possible. Stir the salt into
the cream and pour over the vegetables. Mix the cheese and bread crumbs and
scatter over the top. Use a vegetable peeler to scrape the butter into thin
shards, then place them on the crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes.

Serving Suggestions:

Use as a luncheon dish, or as an accompaniment to a simple poach or sauté of
fish filets.

PostHeaderIcon Grilling Season Tri-tips and Tricks!

Tri-tips for your grilling season

Always use more charcoal than you think you need. If you have heat left after your finished throw on a few extra vegetables for sandwiches, salsas, grilled ratatouille and simple salads. There’s nothing worst than not having enough heat to give that good sear to the foods you’ll be cooking.

The fire waits for no one. Keep an eye on your coals and use them at their best. Coals are perfect when they have an even white ash around them. No black unburnt coal and not too much red hot burn. A general rule is:

  • High heat (500 degrees) you can hold your hand 6 inches above for 3 seconds
  • Medium high heat (400 degrees) 5 seconds
  • Medium heat (350 degrees) 7 seconds
  • Medium low heat (325 degrees) 10 seconds
  • Low heat (300 degrees) 12 seconds

Use an instant read thermometer to check doneness – always check in the center of the thickest part of the item. Chefs rarely do this because they know by touch if something is ready but if you don’t cook hundreds of meals a day here are a few guidelines for cooking outside on the grill or indoors.

  • Chicken and turkey-breast 160-165 degrees
  • Beef, lamb and duck 115-125 degrees rare, 125-130 medium rare, 135-145 medium, more than that a waste of time
  • Veal and pork 135-145 degrees
  • Fish – this is a tricky one. Good quality tuna just needs a sear on all sides but in general the temperatures can be the same as for beef.

Always create two temperature zones on your grill. You build a nice big charcoal fire in the middle of the grill. Once the coals are white hot you push the majority of the coals to one side of the grill. If you are using a gas grill you put one side on high and the other on low. This gives you two heats to work with and lessens the chance of flare-ups and burning.

Don’t over crowd the grill. A fire is like a living thing, it needs to be able to breath or it will tire and go to sleep. Allow air to reach the fire so it will stay alive and happy.

Don’t move the food around all the time. Let it sit and color then move it to the slow heat side of the grill. I try not to turn anything more than once or twice. Depending on size and shape.

Place wet onion skins on the coals under meat or fish to add a wonderfully sweet smoky flavor

Use lemongrass, rosemary, sugarcane, wild fennel and other types of flavorful branches to use as skewers for meat, fish and vegetables. They add flavor and interest to anything on the grill.

Always build a fire to have a hot side and a warm side that way you can “mark” on the hot side and slow cook on the warm side. This maximized flavor and prevents burning. Once items are “marked” move them to the warm side and cook cover with the grill dome. This allows the to pick up more smoky flavor.

Make a brush by tying rosemary and other herbs on a chopstick or skewer of some type and use this brush to “mop” or apply marinades and sauces to grilled items. This adds both flavor and romance to you BBQ.

Large pieces of meat (like a pork roast) can be rubbed with garlic, spices and herbs, rolled in aluminum then pre-roasted in the oven until tender before finishing on the grill. When finishing I like to place the roast on the slow side of the grill, place wood chips on the hot side and cover with the dome so the meat gets a good smoky flavor.

Keep an open bottle of beer or wine next to the grill so you can pour some on the fire if it flames up. It adds flavor as well as keeping the fire under control.

Always start cooking the largest and longest cooking items first and moving them to the warm side of the grill to finish. This way everything finishes at the same time.

Never place cooked items back on the trays that the raw food was on. You want your friends to have good memories of your party!

Add A Touch Of Class To Your BBQ

To add a touch of class to your BBQ put fingerbowls out on the table. Fingerbowls are dishes of water with lemon or lime slices floating in it. Guests can dip their fingers in and squeeze the citrus to remove the grease and sauce from their fingers. To add a little aromatherapy add a splash of orange flower or rose water to the bowls.

Good Things To Have Around When Grilling

  1. Good quality long handled spring –loaded tongs.
  2. Large wide spatulas for fish and other items that tend to flake
  3. Hot pad or dish towels
  4. Long handled pastry brush for sauces and marinades
  5. Bamboo skewers – soaked so they don’t burn
  6. A good wire grill brush
  7. Plenty of zip lock bags – to use in place of bowls for marinating (saves on clean up time) and for storage of leftovers.

PostHeaderIcon Pop, Pop, Pop It Up Restaurant Craze!

Everything’s coming up pop-ups.   As with food trucks, this form of guerrilla cheffing borne of economic need has become a global phenomenon. Equal parts dinner party and dinner theater, a pop-up refers to a dining establishment that is open anywhere from one to several nights, usually in an existing restaurant or other commercial food establishment.

The impermanent nature of pop-ups means no real overhead or utilities, and little food cost and labor. They’re not enough to sustain chefs financially, but are instead a great way for them to make a name for themselves and draw some income in between (or during) gigs. Pop-ups also give chefs a chance to stretch themselves, stylistically or ethnically, although some prefer to let local ingredients shine. Most pop-ups give props to sustainability by sourcing product from local farms, which is part of what gives these fly-by-night operations such a wonderful sense of place.

The term pop-up originated in San Francisco, with the restaurant Lung Shan, in the city’s Mission District. Most days, Lung Shan is a nondescript Chinese restaurant that does a hum-drum business, but two days a week it metamorphoses into Mission Street Food, a serious restaurant with serious chefs cooking for serious customers. Such an arrangement creates a venue for aspiring young chefs, who can ply their trade without the monumental investment that starting up a restaurant normally entails. Pop-ups not only provide a stage for talented chefs but inject needed lifeblood into struggling restaurants whose kitchens are underused much of the time.

San Francisco has long been an incubator for innovative ideas involving food, so it’s no surprise pop-ups are, ah, popular there.  The pop-up trend–which now applies to boutiques, galleries, clubs, coffee houses, and bars–has gone national. Los Angeles, San Diego, New Orleans, Chicago, New York, Boston, Portland (Oregon), Miami: all popular for restaurant pop-ups.

Tip: Due to the nature of pop-ups, the best way to find them is to Google the words, “pop-up restaurant, ____ (city).” You can also go to Pop up Restaurants for news. Get popping!

PostHeaderIcon 10 Perks 4 Going on a Walking Food Tour

Walking food tours are more than just food.  They are more than just walking.  Food tours are beneficial to every single ticket purchaser and here’s the top 10 benefits in case you are considering booking a food tour for your next fun adventure!

1.  You are guided by a trained (and more than likely foodie) who has a passion for sharing inside tips, stories and history along every step of your tour.  You won’t find their knowledge in the guide books!

2.  You have the opportunity to go behind the curtain and see unique restaurants, eateries and shops that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do if you just came in for a bite.  Many times meeting personally with the executive chefs and or owners!

3.  You will be walking off many of the calories you consume.  Most food tours are at least 1.5 miles or more in distance. Eat and exercise all in one package!!

4.  You won’t get lost wandering off the beaten path roads and neighborhoods since your guide is an expert of the area.

5.  As a ticket purchaser, you will be receiving coupons for future deals and savings from the locations you will be stopping by to have tastings at.

6.  No waiting in lines.  Each location is expecting you on the tour.  Your food is ready the moment your group walks in the door!

7.  You won’t be feeling hungry by the end of the tour…….the tour tastings provide enough food for a nice lunch.

8.  You will learn so much about the city you are touring, even if you live there!

9.  You will be meeting people from all over the world on your tour.  It isn’t just locals who go on the food tours.

10.  You will be able to tell your friends all about your food tour experience, something probably many have never experienced before.

PostHeaderIcon Who’s Going for the Cherry Bing?

Just when we’ve had our fill of citrus and the apple bin is beginning to bottom out, the most wonderful event happens. Cherries, the first of the early spring fruit, begin making their showy appearance.

Farmers grow several varieties of sweet cherries here in California. The first to arrive are Burlats, a cherry used to help pollinate Bings. They are smaller and softer than Bings. Next to arrive are Brooks, which look like a cross between a Bing and a Rainier. Bings show up around the end of June, followed by Rainiers.

By far the most popular and most anticipated, however, are Bings. They are the largest of the cherry varieties and have a dark, mahogany red color. Rainiers are slightly smaller and have golden skin with a pink to red blush.

The Bing season is short so when the cherry sign goes up at the produce stand near your farmers market don’t hesitate to get in on this amazing fruit while it is available. The best way to enjoy them is fresh, right off the stems. Yum!

Fresh cherries will keep about two to three weeks in cold storage. No matter what type you buy, they should be firm with bright green stems and should look shiny. They are loaded with lycopene, which scientific studies have linked to improved heart health, vision and immunity and also a reduction in cancer risk. Some studies show that cherries might have a positive effect on arthritis pain as well.

Think about buying extra for freezing. It’s easier to use frozen cherries if they are pitted. First rinse them under cool, running water and use a cherry pitter that works like a paper punch. If you don’t have a pitter, you can use a sharp paring knife to slice the cherries in half. Twist the halves apart and remove the pits. To freeze them, just place them in freezer bags.  Frozen cherries make awesome smoothies. Simply toss them into a blender with some other fruit and a splash of soy milk and blend until smooth.

Chocolate-dipped cherries

Who says chocolate-dipped strawberries should get all the glory? Cherries are wonderful with a little dressing up.

If you have a pound or two of fresh cherries, you’ll need about six ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, white chocolate or milk chocolate chips and 1/2 teaspoon of shortening. The shortening is optional, but it does help prevent the chocolate from crumbling when it sets up again. Wash the cherries and dry them thoroughly with paper towels. Save any cherries without stems for another use. You can remove the pits before dipping or leave them in. If you use a cherry pitter, remove the pits from the side so that the stems stay attached.

Place the chips and the shortening in a heat-proof bowl. Place the bowl over hot, not boiling water, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the hot water. Stir the chips with a wooden spoon until they melt.

One-by-one, hold the cherries by the stems and quickly dip them into the melted chocolate. Place the dipped cherries on a foil-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate is firm.

Dipped cherries should be stored in the refrigerator and used within two days. Note: If you did not pit the cherries before dipping, you should let your guests know before serving them.

Source: California Cherry Advisory Board

PostHeaderIcon Spring Bloom Event Lucero Olive Oil

Lucero Olive Oil’s First Annual Spring Bloom Event

Grab your picnic baskets and join the Lucero Family for a day at the Mill.

Lucero Olive Oil proudly announces our First Annual Spring Bloom Event on Saturday, May 21st. Come and celebrate the olive bloom with a picnic and a tour of the groves guided by Dewey and Bobby Lucero.

Visit with friends and family and learn more about the olive bloom. If you’ve never seen an olive tree in bloom, here is your chance.

The event starts at noon at the Lucero mill and tasting room and will wrap up at 7 PM. In addition to tours of an olive grove there will be guided olive oil tastings and mill tours, a kid zone and the picnic.  Local artisan food vendors, Pedrozo Dairy and Cheese Company, Tin Roof Bakery and Bianchi Orchards, will be there offering their wares.  The horse and wagon grove tours start at 1:00pm and 2:00pm where Dewey and his Father Bobby will explain the bloom and answer questions about olive culture.  Each tour will include a demonstration of how to plant an olive tree. Tours will begin at the mill, travel to the grove then return to the mill at the end of the tour.  Space is limited so make your reservation early by calling 530-824-2190. The picnic with the Lucero Family starts at 3:30 and if you forget your lunch Billy’s Real Local Food will be offering BBQ’d food for purchase. The Tom Drinnon & Dueces Wild band will be filling the air with live music between 3:30 and 6:30.

Lucero Olive Oil is the result of four generations of farming and producing olives in Northern California. The rural community Corning, “The Olive Capital,” has some of the oldest olive trees in California, and many of these century-old trees continue to flourish in the Lucero family groves.

2120 Loleta Avenue
Corning, CA 96021
(530) 824-3067


PostHeaderIcon Raley’s Grape Escape Upcoming Foodie Event in SacTown

Local Roots Food Tours & Sugar and Spice Specialty Desserts are teaming up June 4th as one of the 100 participants in Raley’s Grape Escape Celebration!

Now more than 200 award-winning California wines come to the cosmopolitan, urban setting of downtown Sacramento. Pair that with some of the region’s best local cuisine and you have an amazing culinary experience.

Tickets are on sale now……don’t be the last to plan an amazing evening of food, wine and fun!

When: Saturday, June 4, 2011, 4-7pm

Where: Cesar Chavez Plaza (Downtown Sacramento) Who: Over 100 regional Wineries & Restaurants

Tickets: $40.00 in advance online, $50.00 at the door

Save $5: When you buy your ticket at any Sacramento area

Raley’s or BelAir Store

Raley’s Wine Club: Sign up or log in to www.raleys.com to get an

exclusive guest pass permitting 1-hour early entry to the event.

Make a Night of it: www.RaleysGrapeEscape.com for special

Hotel & Restaurant deals.

Restrictions: Must be 21 years of age or older to attend.

PostHeaderIcon The Wisdom of the Radish

The Wisdom of the Radish: And Other Lessons Learned on a Small Farm tells the entertaining, enlightening (and often humorous) tale of our first year of farming vegetables in Sonoma County.  http://wisdomoftheradish.com

The inspiration for the book sprang from desire to share the nitty gritty details of what it’s actually like to try to grow and sell food for a living. We love reading great books like Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma and Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, but felt like there also needed to be a book out there that told the story of local food from the perspective of the people behind the farmers market stalls, and in particular the perspective of young, inexperienced farmers like ourselves–who will be the future of food in this country. And now that it’s all finished, if we may say so, the book is a great read for anyone who grows food or is interested in knowing where their food comes from–especially the farmers market shoppers among you.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to start farming? Not just as an experimental hobby or an idyllic-daydream, but as a down-to-earth lifestyle change where you put your economic future on the line? If you’re at all like Lynda Hopkins was just a few years ago, you’re a suburbanite who knows little, if anything, about growing produce or taking care of farm animals. Yet Lynda and her then boyfriend (now husband) did what many adventurous young couples have done in recent years — they started farming.

In The Wisdom of the Radish, Lynda shares stories from her first year as a newbie farmer. And let me tell you, it’s far from idyllic.

Her stories aren’t very romantic or glamorized, but they are thought-provoking and honest. Crop failures, unpredictable weather, and animal predators may seem like bad news, but thankfully those aren’t her only stories. A steep learning curve is aided a bit by the advent of the internet. Perhaps the most meaningful story woven throughout the book is her growing acceptance of what it means to belong to the farm — how tending to the plot of land and routinely caring for the animals roots her, grounds her, and transforms her sense of identity.

The greatest plus to this book? Lynda Hopkins’ storytelling. She’s gifted. Really gifted.

PostHeaderIcon Tour De Cluck…..Who’s In For Great Fun?

Back by popular demand, the second annual Tour De Cluck: A Bicycle Chicken Coop Crawl offers the chicken lovers and chicken curious among us another opportunity to visit a variety of our fantastic Davis, CA community’s chicken coops. Saturday, May 14th!  This bicycle paean to poultry will benefit Davis Farm to School’s work to support local food in a healthy school environment.

The coops featured will be presented as a self-guided tour in neighborhood clusters (coop loops!) all with nearby access to Davis’s extensive network of bike paths and bike lanes. Timed to coincide with “May is Bike Month”, our cycling coop visitors will find roving bicycle support and some limited emergency repairs provided by “Davis Bicycles!”, so dust off that bike and ride!

In addition to the egg-cellent Chicken Coop Crawl, The Tour de Cluck will feature presentations by backyard poultry experts to inform your chicken decisions, from breed selection and feeding options to coop design and construction! Also returning, the hugely popular Tour de Cluck Art Exhibit and Silent Auction! Here you will find the chicken and farm-related art and other tantalizing items of your poultry and local agriculture dreams. In addition, it’s never too early to begin practicing your cluck, bawk and cockle-doodle-do for the Kick-off Clucking Exhibition. We suggest you begin forming your flock now.

For questions, comments or further information, contact info@tourdecluck.org or visit www.tourdecluck.org

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My husband and I took the Food Tour today, 9/26, and were thoroughly impressed,not to mention stuffed! Tonya and Sandy were great, the food and drinks were delicious and plentiful, and we learned alot about Murphys and the food. All the owners were so gracious and knowledgeable.
Brenda Graffis, Murphys

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