STONE’S SOUP CORNER
Churn up the fun
MAKING YOUR OWN BUTTER
BY JENNIFER CARDEN • PHOTOS BY MATTHEW CARDEN
“Modern” butter making is very little changed from the ancient methods developed by our ancestors for turning delicious, luxurious cream into solid “gold.”
The recipe was easy and simple: Let the cream culture overnight at room temperature, then put it in a barrel and whack the heck out of it with a stick until it turns into a solid.
Child’s play, right? Exactly. I don’t remember making butter as a youngster, but as a grown-up I’ve come to love the timeless fun of making butter at home with my daughter.
And you don’t need a barrel, or even a churn. It’s as easy as putting cream in a glass jar, then shaking it like mad until it turns into a solid.
I didn’t use cultured cream for these recipes, specifically because cooking with kids is often a spontaneous activity, and using cream straight from the market or refrigerator is just fine. If you are able to pre-plan, culturing the cream overnight (see the Cook’s Note below) before “churning” is a treat. Cultured butter has a tangy flavor missing from the … Read More
Teaching the Teachers
Slide Ranch Program Puts Power into Practice
BY NAOMI STARKMAN
TIR housing at Slide Ranch
Photo: Susanna Frohman, SusannaFrohman.com
Photo: Courtesy Slide Ranch
Standing in front of Slide Ranch, an organic farm and environmental learning center perched high above Muir Beach, former U.S. Army Apache helicopter mechanic Angela Leyba is a world away from her tours of duty in Korea, Bosnia and Afghanistan.
Placed as a farming intern at Slide Ranch through Slide’s partnership with the San Francisco Foundation and the Farmer Veteran Coalition, a national organization with the mission to mobilize veterans to feed America, Leyba beams about the farm and its animals. (Her nickname was “the chicken whisperer.”)
“When I got to Slide Ranch, I thought, ‘Where have you been all my life?’” says the vet, who attended culinary school after the army.
When we met, her internship was drawing to a close. Leyba told me she now wants to help other vets have the same experience and also hopes to open a farm-to-table restaurant.
Leyba isn’t alone in expressing deep appreciation for Slide Ranch, which occupies 134 acres in West Marin. Since 1970, the non-profit has connected many people of all … Read More
Greens & Grains Scramble
From Whole-Grain Mornings by Megan Gordon (Ten Speed Books, 2013)
This is the breakfast Sam and I probably eat most often regardless of the season. In truth, it’s usually a dish we whip up as a late breakfast on weekdays when we’re both working from home and most emails have been returned. It’s wonderfully versatile and allows you to use up any leftover grains you have from previous meals, folding in leafy greens for a bit of color. In that sense, think of it more as a template rather than a hard-and-fast approach. Any leafy greens and most grains will work, although I veer away from small, delicate grains like amaranth because they can get lost in the dish.
Yield: 2 hearty portions
4 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 green onion, white and light green parts, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping cup / 240ml well-packed chopped leafy greens (such as kale, Swiss chard leaves without ribs or spinach)
1/2 cup / 120ml cooked whole grains (wheat berries, farro, barley or millet)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Freshly ground … Read More
BY MARISSA LA BRECQUE
Photo: Marissa La Brecque
In our last issue, I gathered up the Escoffier Questionnaires of the past almost five years and regarded them as a menagerie, wondering what they would tell me when they were counted and compared. The stable showed that some questions had been answered so definitively that they needn’t be asked again.
In a spirit of continuing discovery, I have changed the EQ to cover some other things I would like to know. There is a beauty in the repetition of asking the same questions of so many, and that cumulative wealth is built into the structure of a questionnaire like this. But curiosity wins every time when I’m taking bets.
I put the first of the EQ Redux to Christian Caiazzo, owner and chef at Osteria Stellina in Point Reyes Station, because when I eat his food I want to know everything about him. Stellina is an expression of place. The Fellinian richness of personalities and tableaus in this town are all over dishes like the recipe below, with harvested nettles and quail eggs from Christian’s farm. It’s all so down to earth and so brazenly, joyfully … Read More
A Taste of West Marin
Culinary Tours Bring Appreciative Fans to Local Food Artisans
BY SARAH HENRY
Photo: Elizabeth Hill
Elizabeth Hill is living proof that vision boards—those colorful collages people put together to realize their dreams—actually work. Well, a vision board, encouragement from culinary friends, a lifetime of experiences and a lot of legwork reaching out to potential partners for her passion project turned full-time gig.
Hill is the founder of West Marin Food & Farm Tours, launched in the summer of 2012. In many ways she seems the ideal candidate to lead guests on a leisurely jaunt through this pastoral setting, long known for its agricultural bounty and geographic beauty, and increasingly known for its good grub.
She’s got the culinary pedigree: Straight out of Stanford, Hill ran Lizzie’s Cookies, a successful baking business. In 2011, she attended Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in Berkeley (also featured in this issue of Edible Marin & Wine Country), earning its natural chef certification. She is also an experienced educator: Hill received a teaching credential and a master’s in education at San Jose State and, in a former career trajectory, taught art, science and school gardening … Read More
Kathleen Weber, Della Fattoria
BY CHRISTINA MUELLER • PHOTOS BY STACY VENTURA
Della fattoria. These two little words are on countless handcrafted Italian products. Meaning “from the farm” or “made on the farm,” della fattoria implies a commitment to craft, to a place and to a way of life. For Kathleen and Edmund Weber and their family, Della Fattoria is all of those things. It is also the name of the breads produced on their multi-generational family farm.
It all started with eggs. On a swath of land in the heart of Petaluma, Edmund’s parents ran a chicken and egg farm from the 1930s until the late ‘60s. At a time when many families were scaling up their businesses, the Weber family decided to stay small. By the late ‘60s, the business was no longer viable and the Webers exited chicken and eggs.
About the same time, Edmund met Kathleen at a Santa Rosa Junior College drama class. “He was Harold Hill in Music Man and I was the Piccolo Lady,” laughs Kathleen. Married in 1965, the pair moved back to the Weber’s farm to help Edmund’s parents.
Struck with the bohemian bug, Kathleen and Edmund surrounded themselves … Read More
Farmers’ Market & CSA Directory
CORTE MADERA CERTIFIED FARMERS’ MARKET
Year round, Wednesdays, noon–5pm, the plaza at Town Center shopping center, Corte Madera, 415.382.7846
Downtown San Rafael Certified Farmers’ Market Festival
April–September, Thursdays, 6–9pm, Fourth St. between B St. and Cijos St., San Rafael, 415.492.8007
FAIRFAX COMMUNITY FARMERS’ MARKET
April 30–December 17, Wednesdays, 4–8pm, Bolinas Park, 124 Bolinas Rd., Fairfax, 415.999.5635
Gospel Flat Farmstand
Year round, daily, 24-hour farmstand, 140 Olema-Bolinas Rd., Bolinas, GospelFlatFarm.com
MARIN CIVIC CENTER FARMERS’ MARKET
Year round, Thursdays and Sundays, 8am–1pm, Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium and Civic Center parking lot, San Rafael, 800.897.FARM, AgriculturalInstitute.org
MARINWOOD COMMUNITY FARMERS’ MARKET
Year round, Saturdays, 9am–2pm, Marinwood Plaza, at Marinwood Ave. and Miller Creek Rd., San Rafael, 415.999.5635, CommunityFarmersMarkets.com
Marin Country Mart Farmers’ Market
Year round, Saturdays, 9am–2pm, Marin Country Mart, 2257 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur, 415.461.5700
MILL VALLEY CERTIFIED FARMERS’ MARKET
Year round, Fridays, 9:30am–2:30pm, CVS Pharmacy parking lot, 759 East Blithedale Ave., Mill Valley, 415.382.7846
NOVATO COMMUNITY FARMERS’ MARKET
May 6–September 30, Tuesdays, 4–8pm, Historical Downtown Novato, Grant Ave. between 1st and 4th Sts., Novato, 415.999.5635, CommunityFarmersMarkets.com
ROSS VALLEY CERTIFIED FARMERS’ MARKET
May–October, Thursdays, 3–7pm, Ross Post Office, Ross, 415.382.7846
SAUSALITO CERTIFIED FARMERS’ MARKET
Reopens … Read More
Eggs first. Or is it the chickens?
BY KATHLEEN THOMPSON HILL • PHOTOS BY STACY VENTURA
Petaluma used to be known as “The World’s Egg Basket.” Not necessarily the chicken basket, with fries, of the world.
Many of the area’s original chicken ranching families have closed up shop. The reasons for this are personal and varied: local politics, not enough money in it, and too much competition from big growers. Most of the old chicken ranches have disappeared into vineyards, strip malls and food court complexes.
Fortunately, some of the old-timers are still around, and a new crop of young ranchers has sprung up in recent years. Public interest in antibiotic- and hormone-free, and humanely raised, poultry and eggs has made small, local producers even more attractive and popular than they were before.
THE OLD-TIMERS WHO ARE STILL CLUCKING
Among the early timers was the Shainsky family, led by Sam and Helen at their chicken ranch in Sonoma, part of the community of Jewish chicken ranchers profiled elsewhere in this issue. Back in the day, Sam gathered up other farmers’ chickens and eggs and transported them to San Francisco along with his own to help out the other guys … Read More
Land of Eggs & Butter
BY FERRON SALNIKER
Historical photos: Courtesy Petaluma Historical Library & Museum
There were egg queens and chicken dances. A 15-foot egg basket at the railroad station and a 400-member chorus on stage. The order of Cluck Clucks. A national egg laying contest. A professional chicken impersonator.
Above the corner of Third and Market Streets in San Francisco, two sacks of chicken feathers were released from a plane, floating lazily through the air as they fell to the ground. Attached to each feather was a small card granting the bearer three dozen of Petaluma’s finest eggs.
It was 1922, Petaluma was the egg basket of the world and Egg Day was the day to crow about it.
These days, the floats at the Petaluma Butter and Eggs Day parade and celebration are a bit flashier, the food is undoubtedly more varied, and the giveaways come weighed down with a little more plastic. The annual tradition, spanning several blocks with kid-friendly activities, contests and vendors, typically draws almost 30,000 people and includes over 3,000 participants.
When I was asked to write about the celebration, I have to admit that I met the opportunity with some hesitancy. … Read More