Archive | Winter 2012 – Issue 16

Edible Gift Guide Winter 2012

Yep, our annual holiday gift guide is back and it’s bigger and better than ever. Maybe the holidays bring out our best or maybe the best just happens to be found in our very own neighborhood. You really could just close your eyes and point your finger anywhere on this list to find a treasure perfect for all of the local-food-loving folks lucky enough to make your gift list this year. Here in Edible Marin & Wine Country, it’s never been easier to be a very gifted giver.

EDIBLES…

It’s no coincidence that this category is our heartiest. Seems everyone’s a foodie during this magical season. Dig in!

We know the holiday season has officially begun when we start dreaming of Emporio Rulli’s signature panetonne. And judging by the demand (they bake over 9,000 pounds of the Genovese and Milanese styles of panetonne each December), we aren’t the only fans of these scrumptious Italian holiday breads. Crafted using recipes handed down to owner Gary Rulli during his apprenticeship in Italy, these gift-worthy breads are made with the finest flour, pure creamery butter, golden raisins, pine nuts and candied orange peels. The golden gems come wrapped in gorgeous foil all … Read More

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Keeping It Bright And Fresh: In Search Of Winter Vegetable Inspiration

Keeping It Bright And Fresh: In Search Of Winter Vegetable Inspiration

By Kirsten Jones Neff

Winter crops are the underappreciated superheroes of the garden. Parsnips, carrots, chard and kale . . . radishes, cabbage, collards, potatoes, onions and beets! These are all powerful plants.

They are hardy. They have adapted to the most difficult conditions, armoring themselves with sturdy skin, leaves and stalks to withstand harrowing weather through months of minimum sunlight. These warrior vegetables ride out the floods and the freezes and, in the end, they offer us their extraordinary nutrients and flavor. Plus, they don’t concern themselves much with how they look, which makes them all the more intriguing and uniquely beautiful.

Photo: Courtney Michalik, CourtneyMichalik.com

That said, it can be a little tricky to stay cheerful in January when it is dark at 4:45pm as you pick up your CSA box. The box is heavy, and you get that sinking feeling that when you lift the lid it will contain the exact same assortment—potatoes, onions, chard, collards, kale and beets—as it did the previous umpteen weeks.

We are spoiled here in California. Our expectations for color, playfulness and cheer in each and every day are very … Read More

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Fresh Starts Culinary Academy

Everyone is welcome at this table

Founded in 1974 by members of the interfaith community after a flood forced many of Marin’s previously invisible homeless population from makeshift camps along the banks of local creeks and streams into more public places, Homeward Bound of Marin seeks to “end homelessness with training, housing and support.” Its 14 current programs are the living embodiment of the proverb “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.”

Homeward Bound still provides much-needed housing for the county’s homeless, including overnight shelters, transitional housing and more permanent subsidized-rent housing, serving over 450 people each night. But since 2000 its main focus has been an ambitious, and highly successful, culinary training program and related social enterprises that are leading formerly homeless citizens into lives of self-sufficiency and personal pride.

Fresh Starts Culinary Academy, a partnership between Homeward Bound and the Marin County Office of Education’s Regional Occupation Program, offers food service training to up to 40 students each four-month term, year-round, in a new state-of-the-art training kitchen in Novato.

According to Paul Fordham, Homeward Bound’s deputy director since 2010 (he has been … Read More

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Truly Good Olives

Truly Good Olives

By Meagan Riley Grant

Organic curing proves well worth the wait

The town of Fairfax in Marin has made a name for itself in part by passionately taking the organic lifestyle to heart. If there is any doubt about that, the gorgeous newly opened location of Good Earth Natural Foods market will cure you—not only of doubts, but also of anything else that ails you. Just walking the aisles there makes you feel healthier.

Photo by Brooke Gray, BrookeGrayPhotography.com, courtesy of Sorelle Paradiso

Offering the best in local, organic and GMO-free foods and products has been the cornerstone of Good Earth’s business since 1969, so olive buyer Jessica Wilson found herself asking why they weren’t offering their customers organic cured olives at the new store’s extensive olive and antipasti bar. Given California’s booming local organic olive oil offerings, this seemed like a natural extension. Wilson immediately set out to source organic olives and, much to her surprise, the beginnings of her search turned up nothing. Nobody had a lead on an organic cured olive producer.

When you learn that conventional olives take only two weeks to cure, but organic olives take eight months to a year, … Read More

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Gluten-Free Treats For The Holidays

Gluten-Free Treats For The Holidays

The holidays are filled with delicious foods, especially baked goodies. So what to do if you are one of the great number of people who are gluten intolerant or sensitive? Avoid holiday gatherings altogether to avoid temptations?

No! Fortunately, a rapidly growing number of bakeries and grocers now offer gluten-free alternatives to a wide array of breads, cookies, cakes and pies, and all the gluten-free ingredients you need to make them yourself, so you, too, can enjoy special holiday foods without discomfort.

Siblings Marisa and Chad North opened Sans: A Gluten-Free Grocery in San Rafael in 2010 because they were tired of “doing without” because of their gluten intolerance. Their acute symptoms led to separate diagnoses of gluten intolerance relatively early in life, but they found that trying to find gluten-free products was a constant struggle—and not just substitutes for obvious gluten-containing items like breads and pastas. Gluten is in many foodstuffs that you would never suspect—like soy sauce!

Today Sans is as a one-stop shop for a huge array of gluten-free products and ingredients, as well as a café open on the weekends serving delicious prepared gluten-free foods. Stop by their B Street location … Read More

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Surfing Amber Waves Of Grain Part III: Bakers Rise To The Challenge

Surfing Amber Waves Of Grain Part III: Bakers Rise To The Challenge

By Robin Carpenter

“It isn’t bread that feeds you; it is life and the spirit that feed you through bread.”

— Johann Angelus Silesius (1624–1677)

“Bread deals with living things, with giving life, with growth, with the seed, the grain that nurtures. It’s no coincidence that we say bread is the staff of life.”

— Lionel Poilâne, French master baker (1945–2002)

Companion: “one with whom you would eat bread,” from the Latin companionem

Photo: Carole Topalian

Powerful movements have a flash point, a moment when the long-gathered fuel has dried to perfection and joins with the tinder, containing a tiny focused flame that has been passed from hand to hand and kept alive with puffs of hopeful breath. At that moment, fire leaps forth and potentiality is transformed into something living in the world strong enough and large enough for all to know it is real.

For over a century, the arts of growing, milling and crafting food from local grains were virtually absent from our foodshed. In this culmination of our exploration of the trinity of farmer, miller and baker returning to the heart of our … Read More

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Time To Rescue Parsnips From The Underground

Time To Rescue Parsnips From The Underground

By Georgeanne Brennan

Parsnips are an often-overlooked vegetable, but they most certainly shouldn’t be. Before the potato, a newcomer from the Americas, was introduced to European tables in the 1700s by the pioneering nutritionist Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, parsnips were the staple starch vegetable of Europe.

Parsnips are sweet and dense, with a slightly nutty flavor. A root vegetable, parsnips are creamy white with broad shoulders, tapering down to the narrow root tip. Perfect parsnips range from between five and 10 inches long and are at their peak in winter, when the cold weather has chilled the soil and sweetened the roots by converting some of their starch to sugar.

Personally, I find parsnips inspiring. They can be steamed, boiled, braised, roasted or fried, and are excellent no matter how they are prepared. Think parsnip fries with sea salt and parsley aioli, for example, or parsnip pancakes with fresh applesauce and sausages, or slow-cooked beef shanks with parsnips and chestnuts.

What would a plate of roasted winter root vegetables be without caramelized chunks or batons of parsnips nestled next to their close relatives, carrots? What makes a hearty shepherd’s pie even better? Combining parsnips … Read More

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A Date With the Browns

A Date With The Browns

By David Katz

My first taste of brown liquor came in the form of a Boston Sour, a whiskey sour with a dash of egg white to froth the top. My parents mixed them every year on Halloween, and served them to chilly parents in our New England neighborhood from an antique pewter pitcher on the front hall table. Naturally, we were a popular Halloween stop for children of all ages.

I cannot honestly remember whether my sample was sanctioned or surreptitiously slurped, but the aromas and flavors of that sip are indelibly imprinted. While my parents were primarily martini people, when fall and winter came around the odd bourbon or scotch would appear from our little closet bar off the kitchen, and an occasional brandy at the end of the evening.

Whiskey and other brown liquors always fascinated me. I have no idea why I was so drawn to them early on, but years later when I saw a small whiskey still in action, and watched barrels being steam-bent and charred, I was hooked. This primeval alchemy, translated by various cultures over hundreds of years, has given birth to a broad stylistic palette … Read More

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A Taste Of Place: Chimayó, Espelette And Windsor Peppers

A Taste Of Place: Chimayó, Espelette And Windsor Peppers

Story And Recipes By Georgeanne Brennan

Three peppers, three places, each with a discrete tale of soil and sun, of weather and the hand-raising of crops, of chefs who swear by the unique flavors, yet each with a different history.

Chimayó, New Mexico, is a small rural community in the Chimayó Valley outside of Santa Fe, where crops are irrigated by a system of hand-dug waterways fed from three high mountain streams originating in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains: the Rio Quemado, Rio En Medio and Rio Frijoles. Corn, beans, tomatoes and peppers—all the New World crops—are grown here, alongside some figs and apricots brought from the Old World by Franciscan monks, but it is the indigenous Chimayó chili that speaks of the culture of place, scenting the air and flavoring the food of the region. Native to these New Mexico highlands, the complexly flavored, medium-hot chilli is grown from seeds saved through generations, still retaining some of its wildness, and its heat can vary from year to year and, some say, even from plant to plant.

Only a few hundred yards from the famous Sanctuary of Chimayó, claimed to … Read More

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Escoffier Questionnaire: Tyler Florence

Escoffier Questionnaire

Tyler Florence

Photo: John Lee, JohnLeePictures.com

Restaurants: Wayfare Tavern, San Francisco; El Paseo, Mill Valley; Tyler Florence Fresh, San Francisco International Airport

What was your favorite food as a kid?

I grew up in South Carolina and anytime we got to go out for dinner I remember fried oysters and shrimp always being such a special treat.

What was the first meal you made that you were proud of?

I remember being able to make a really great grilled cheese when I was younger for all of the kids in the neighborhood.

What two adjectives describe your cuisine?

Fresh and clean

What book most influences your food, cookbook or otherwise?

Following chefs and their food on Instagram has become one of my new favorite things to do. It’s ever-changing and I can see what chefs are making all over the world. It’s very inspiring. In terms of cookbooks—I have hundreds of them and could never pick just one.

What chef do you most admire?

I love Jonathan Waxman—he is so talented, such a mentor to so many chefs, and someone that I truly admire. He has failed, succeeded, opened and closed restaurants and he is always so open … Read More

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