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Posts Tagged ‘Recipes’

PostHeaderIcon Old Black Magic Does a Number on Garlic!

Black garlic is a type of fermented garlic used as a food ingredient in Asian cuisine. It is made by fermenting whole bulbs of garlic at high temperature, a process that results in black cloves. The taste is sweet and syrupy with hints of balsamic vinegar or even tamarind. Black Garlic is prized as a food rich in antioxidants and added to energy drinks, and in Thailand is claimed to increase the consumer’s longevity. One interesting use is in the making of black garlic chocolate. In the United States black garlic entered the mainstream in 2008 and has become a sought-after ingredient used in high-end cuisine. Black garlic is great for your health—it’s loaded with nearly twice as many antioxidants as raw garlic.
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PostHeaderIcon What’s Up with Heirloom Produce?

Purple carrots, white strawberries and cucamelons?

No, I’m not going crazy, I’m talking about heirloom produce. I’m sure that you’ve heard of heirloom tomatoes, but what does the ‘heirloom’ prefix mean? An heirloom plant or vegetable is a crop that was commonly grown during earlier periods in history, but is not used in “modern large scale agriculture.”

More and more Farmer’s Markets are offering Heirloom produce. The heirloom seed market is growing rapidly as well. Many website offer a large variety of seeds for you to “grow your own” heirloom produce. Everything from black corn, chocolate colored sweet peppers and Merlot lettuce. (yes it’s deep wine colored!) One specific heirloom variety watermelon is a cucamelon. It is a light green fruit whose flesh is white, crisp and crunchy with a lemony tartness. The flavor is similar to a cucumber. People chop them up into summer salads or add them to a simple salsa. I personally eat them like pretzels or chips! Just add a tiny salt and pop them in your mouth! Delicious.

Food should be fun, interesting and enjoyable. Adding color, shapes and new varieties of produce is a simple, easy and great way to develop your palate and knowledge of food!  Why bother with heirloom vegetables? Well, first of all, they’re something different. Who expects a blue pumpkin or a yellow tomato? Second, the taste. You might be surprised by how much more flavorful an heirloom vegetable is when compared to one of its modern equivalents. Third, most respond very well to organic treatment. This isn’t surprising, since most were developed long before chemical agriculture became the norm! Fourth, it maintains biodiversity. You never know when we’ll need those genes carried by heirloom produce.

Some heirloom veggies may seem quite odd by modern standards. We get so wrapped up in our expectations of what a certain type of vegetable should look like that we tend to forget that it took a while to breed our modern food plants to the standards that we now enjoy. For example, did you know that some heirloom cultivars of pumpkins are red, white, and even blue, rather than the standard orange? Similarly, carrots can be red, white, or black, and round instead of cylindrical. While a few unusual versions of both vegetables have made it into the modern seed catalog, they’re rare.

What about a simple, delicious and easy heirloom carrot recipe?

***Try and find some different sizes, color and shapes of the carrots for extra flair!

Ingredients:
3 tbsp butter, melted
2 bunches heirloom carrots, scrubbed
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 large sprig fresh thyme, leaves only
salt and pepper to season
2 tbsp honey
1. Preheat oven to 400º. In a medium roasting pan, toss the carrots with butter, shallots, and thyme and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Place pan in oven and toast, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender.

3. Remove from oven and drizzle over honey. Toss to coat. Season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.

Want to eat healthy and look like a professional chef while serving “heirloom” produce?! Try:

Heirloom Tomato and Eggplant Gratin

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 pound baby Italian eggplants, peeled and sliced into rounds 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick
4 thyme sprigs
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 pound goat cheese, coarsely crumbled (1 cup)

1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Brush a large oval baking dish with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Arrange the tomato and eggplant slices in a single layer of overlapping concentric circles. Scatter the thyme sprigs on top and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil over the top. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the eggplant is barely tender and the tomatoes have exuded their juices.
2. Uncover the gratin and bake for about 25 minutes longer, or until the juices have evaporated and the vegetables are very tender. Sprinkle the goat cheese on top and bake for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I suggest your next trip to the Farmer’s Market you should ask the vendors if they have any delicious recipes or “new’ heirloom produce for you to try!

PostHeaderIcon Provencal Summer Dish Using Farm Fresh Summer Squash and Tomatoes!

We are in peak season for summer squash and juicy tomatoes.  Chefs are putting their skills to the test and coming up with some very delicious, healthy and creative dishes using these two key farm fresh ingredients.  This Provençal summer dish is delightful as a starter or as a side dish with fish, chicken or cooked grains.

FRIED SUMMER SQUASH WITH TOMATOES and BASIL

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 pounds medium or small zucchini or other summer squash, thinly sliced or diced (depending on what shape squash you use)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound ripe tomatoes, grated on the large holes of a box grater, or peeled, seeded and diced

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 to 2 tablespoons chopped or slivered fresh basil (to taste)

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a wide, heavy skillet. Add the zucchini. Cook, stirring or shaking the pan, until the zucchini is lightly seared and beginning to soften, three to five minutes. Remove from the pan, and set aside.

2. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan, then the garlic. Cook, stirring, just until fragrant — less than 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes. Cook, stirring, until the tomatoes have begun to cook down, about five minutes. Return the zucchini to the pan, add salt and pepper to taste, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until the zucchini is tender and translucent and the tomatoes have cooked down to a fragrant sauce. Stir in the basil, and taste and adjust seasonings. Remove from the heat and serve hot, or allow to cool and serve at room temperature.

Yield: Serves four to six.

Advance preparation: You can make this a day or two ahead of time. Keep refrigerated, and reheat gently on top of the stove. The dish is also good cold, doused with a little lemon juice.

Nutritional information per serving (four servings): 111 calories; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 10 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 20 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste), 3 grams protein

Nutritional information per serving (six servings): 74 calories; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 3 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 7 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 13 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste), 2 grams protein

Martha Rose Shulman is the author of “The Very Best of Recipes for Health.”

PostHeaderIcon Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread….Look Out Nutella!

Once you have tasted Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (aka Nutella) you simply can’t put it down!

Homemade Nutella is great as a dip for fruit, spread onto your favorite bread, or, let’s be honest, eaten straight with a spoon.

Add it to Mascarpone cheese and spread onto sourdough with a couple slices of ripe bananas…..grill both sides for an amazing sandwich!

Total time: 20 minutes
Servings: Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Note: Use good-quality cocoa powder, such as Scharffen Berger.

2 cups raw hazelnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons hazelnut oil, more as needed
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts evenly over a cookie sheet and roast until they darken and become aromatic, about 10 minutes. Transfer the hazelnuts to a damp towel and rub to remove the skins.

2. In a food processor, grind the hazelnuts to a smooth butter, scraping the sides as needed so they process evenly, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the cocoa, sugar, vanilla, salt and oil to the food processor and continue to process until well blended, about 1 minute. The finished spread should have the consistency of creamy peanut butter; if it is too dry, process in a little extra hazelnut oil until the desired consistency is achieved. Remove to a container, cover and refrigerate until needed. Allow the spread to come to room temperature before using, as it thickens considerably when refrigerated. It will keep for at least a week.

Each tablespoon: 109 calories; 2 grams protein; 8 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 9 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 13 mg. sodium.

PostHeaderIcon Jicama’s Unique Flavors Perk up Recipes!

If you usually hustle past the jicama in your market’s produce section, it’s time to learn how to make the most of this mysterious-looking root. Jicama, a brown-skinned, turnip-shaped tuber native to Mexico and South America, has white flesh that’s crisp, juicy, very mild, and almost sweet. A member of the bean family, the plant’s only edible part is its root, as the leaves and seeds contain a mild toxin. The root, however, is a fiber-rich find that’s also full of potassium and vitamin C.

When you find it in your farmer’s markets look for firm, dry, slightly shiny jicama roots without bruises or shriveled skin. Store whole jicama roots in a dark, cool place, like a cupboard; they’ll last a bit longer there than in the refrigerator. Unpeeled jicama will stay fresh in the fridge for up to two weeks.

To prep jicama, first remove all of the skin with a sharp vegetable peeler or paring knife, then slice the flesh as desired. Bonus: Jicama doesn’t turn brown or become soggy after cutting like avocados or eggplants.

Crisp jicama makes a refreshing addition to crudité trays and salads, and can sub for cucumber in sushi rolls. Like water chestnuts, jicama will stay crisp in quick-cooked dishes like stir-fries or sautés.

Jicama is underused in cooking — a real shame, since it’s such a wonderful root vegetable with a crunch, crispy texture. This salad (which is more akin to a “slaw”) highlights the best of the jicama’s characteristics and makes a nice side for any fajita or grilled meat.

JICAMA SALAD RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 large jicama (about 1 ½ pounds), peeled and coarsely shredded
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely shredded
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, julienned
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon ground pure ancho chile
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine the jicama, carrots, onion, and pepper. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the lime zest, juice, oil, honey, and chile. Pour over the vegetables and toss. Add the cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate about 30 minutes before serving.

Serves 6-8

Note: If you want to go with a more fun and varied texture, add a chopped avocado, cut slices of an orange, or even a couple of chopped tomatoes just before tossing.

PostHeaderIcon Fresh Berries Make Delicious Fruit Syrups

There are some delicious berries and melons at the markets and stores right now…think outside of your recipe file and try these delicious fruit syrups.  Take advantage of their natural sweetness to sweeten your pancakes, crepes, ice cream and other fruit and veggies!

Homemade fruit syrup is easy and economical, It can also be very nutritious. Save your wine bottles for beautiful containers to fill with richly colored fruit syrups. Use them yourself, or give them away as gifts.

Instructions

Things You’ll Need

  • Fruit
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Stainless Steel Pot
  • Strainer

    1. Prepare your fruit. Berries should not need to be rinsed with the exception of strawberries. Cherries, plums or grapes can be rinsed. Citrus foods should be peeled. Just think ahead. If you are planning on using the remaining pulp for a jam or spread, then remove any stems or cores or pits. If you are discarding the pulp, then you don’t have to quite so much preparation.                                           2. Measure the fruit into a stainless steel pot and either crush or chop. Add one cup of water for every 4 cups of fruit. Put over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook until the fruit is soft and has lost its texture. If the fruit is non acidic, like blueberries, add a little fresh lemon juice for tartness.                                               3. Pour the contents of the pot into a strainer set over a large bowl. Pour back into the pot and add sugar, bringing back up to a boil. Skim off any foam that collects and boil for 1 minute.                                                                                           4. Pour into suitable containers and refrigerate. If you wish to preserve it for several weeks or months, use a hot water bath method of canning and seal. For those interested in keeping a little fruit in their syrup, just add a few tablespoons of the pulp back into the hot syrup.

  • Mint And Orange Syrup Over Raspberries

    • simple syrup (see above)
    • 1 small bunch peppermint
    • zest of one orange
    • juice of 1/2 orange
    • pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Turn down heat on the simple syrup once sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add mint, zest, orange juice, and salt to simple syrup.
  3. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Remove big pieces of mint and drizzle over raspberries. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Thyme And Lime Syrup Over Melon

Ingredients:

  • simple syrup (see above)
  • 1/2 bunch of thyme (still on twigs)
  • zest of one lime
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Turn down heat on the simple syrup once sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add thyme, zest, lime juice, and salt to simple syrup.
  3. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Remove big pieces of thyme and drizzle over melon. Garnish with a thyme sprig and gooseberries.

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

Instructions

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.

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