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Journal

Canning Tomatoes

Canning Tomatoes

My favorite stand at the Ferry Building Farmers Market is The Peach Farm...sometimes there are 25 people in line and I wait patiently to shop their booth. They have hands down the best tomatoes and cucumbers, and yes sometimes peaches too.

This weekend they gave me heirloom tomato seconds for free and I was so overjoyed! I decided to can them as they were going past their prime fast. I liked the below recipe for ease, and frankly I was lazy as hell and did not do the peeling portion. We will see if I'll regret this decision in the winter when I pop these suckers open, ha!

Simple Easy Homemade Canned Tomatoes

Ingredients

9 lbs. fresh tomatoes
Fresh sprigs of basil or oregano
Lemon juice, I use bottled for ease
Clean or Sterile jars

Instructions

To peel the tomatoes, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Wash tomatoes and cut a small 'x' in the bottom of each tomato, on the bottom side. Place tomatoes in the boiling water, not enough to over crowd. Cook for about 1 min. or until the skin just starts to peel off. Place the tomatoes in an ice bath to cool. The skins should just slide right off then. Cut tomatoes into quarters, larger ones into eighths.

Place a quarter of the tomatoes in a large pot and heat over medium heat. When they start to boil crush the tomatoes with a potato masher. Then add the rest of the tomatoes, do not crush and boil gently for 5 min.

For each jar add 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and one washed large herb sprig. Fill the jars with the tomatoes to about 1/2" head space. Wipe the rims and place the lids on and rims to finger tight. Process in a boiling water bath covering with at least 1" of water for 40 min. for elevations of 1000-3000 ft., 3,001 to 6,000 ft. for 45 minutes for 6,001 to 8,000 and 50 min. Remove jars to a towel lined counter and make sure they make a "popping" sound so that the lids are sealed.

Cool completely and store. Canned tomatoes should be used within the year.

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Nunn Better Farms

Nunn Better Farms

Nunn Better Farms in Brentwood, CA has been producing high quality fruits and vegetables for more than 150 years...

I recently had the chance to go and social distance cherry pick there and it was a blast! It was such a relief to get a change of scenery...

If you live nearby, I highly recommend making the journey to pick the best tasting cherries around. Make sure to check their website in advance for hours and availability.

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Pantry Sandwich

Pantry Sandwich

As I look at my pantry daily, I've been seeking out unique recipes that are in alignment with what I already have. This scrummy sandwich from Salt and Lavender really hit the spot! I skipped the sprouts and avocado, as I didn't have them on hand.

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Ingredients
1 can chickpeas drained
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon red onion chopped finely
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt & pepper to taste
1 heaped tablespoon mayo or to taste
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
1 avocado chopped
4 slices bread toast if you wish
Sliced tomato to taste
Radish sprouts to taste
Arugula to taste
Lettuce

Add the chickpeas to a medium bowl and coarsely mash them (I actually used my potato masher to do this).

Add the lemon juice, red onion, cumin, smoked paprika, salt & pepper, mayo, grainy mustard, and avocado to the bowl. Mix it together gently.

Toast your bread if you wish. Add the chickpea salad, tomato, radish sprouts, lettuce, and arugula to each sandwich.

Photo credit: Salt and Lavender

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My Mind Was Blown

My Mind Was Blown

My dear friend of almost 25 years, Nini, kept at me about this restaurant I'd never heard of. It took her six months to get a reservation; thanks to their Michelin star (the only establishment in Sacramento to receive one), it's gotten a lot more difficult to secure a table. Finally, this past Saturday, we made our pilgrimage to The Kitchen and I kid you not, it was the best dining experience of my life. The place is pure magic and creates an atmosphere unlike anything I've ever encountered on the restaurant scene. I'm still formulating my thoughts about it, so stay tuned for more musings in the near future.

Basking in the amazing abundance of the region, they offer an ever-evolving seasonal menu. Taking cues from the farmers, ranchers and mother nature, they create a weekly menu as part of a seasonal snapshot, in an effort to showcase the best of this culinary bounty. Executive chef, Kelly McCown, the Master of Ceremonies, as I called him, was unbelievably creative and energetic.

I'm including our whole menu below to give you an idea of the delights that were enjoyed. If you have a chance and are willing to go to Sacramento, book The Kitchen and get ready to have your socks knocked off!

ACT I
Order your libations.
Stroll our kitchen, chat with the chefs, eat Hog Island oysters.
Relax on the patio and visit our wine cellar.

ACT II
“Pesce Crudo” of California Black Cod
Eddie’s Crunchy Garlic, Cara Cara Oranges, Chile and Tangerine

ACT III
Pan Roasted Day Boat Sea Scallop
Yellow Foot Chanterelles, Wild Rice “Congee”, Charred Leeks and Japanese Artichokes

INTERMISSION
Walk around. Visit and sample at chef stations.
Enjoy our garden patio. Relax by the fire with more Hog Island oysters.

ACT IV
Sunchoke and Abruzzo Truffle Agnolotti
Watercress and “Ewenique” Fondue

ACT V
Braised Heirloom Pork Cheeks
Celery Root, Porcini Mushroom, Winter Parsley and Pommes Nycholl

ACT VI
Dark Chocolate “Terrine”
Banana Pudding, Honey Roasted Peanuts and Sassafras Cream

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So Much Goodness

So Much Goodness

What’s been shaking this January? A whole lot of good food.

The highlight of my month was our sponsorship of the 10th Annual Good Food Awards. I knew there would be fantastic, small batch artisanal food and excellent networking at every turn, but I wasn’t prepared to walk away so moved and encouraged by the speeches and founder stories imparted during the ceremony. I intuitively lean into “overcoming” narratives and so much of what was shared dovetailed with my journey.

I believe all ethical makers exist in a world of utopia, that by following our principles we can make a difference and perhaps right the ship of overconsumption.

The fact of the matter is, everything we’re doing is risky because we live to dream and that can be a difficult reality.

We’re not trying to be millionaires, we’re attempting to do what we love with integrity. It was a very special weekend connecting with folks that feel these feelings and I have a lot of new people to look up to, who are living out their dreams on a way bigger scale than Loyale and finding the road is rising up to meet them. Huzzah!

It was difficult to choose, but my favorite products over the course of events were Goat Rock Cider Company (Sebastopol), Tsar Nicoulai Caviar (Sacramento), California Fish Sauce (SF) and JEM Organics (Bend, OR).

Then it was Lunar New Year and I think most of you know I’m half Chinese, so I got to celebrate the new year twice!

With good rest and a heavy dose of inspiration from the last few weeks, I have great hopes and a refreshed source of motivation for the year ahead. I’m busy working on new items and color ways for the collection, so stay tuned!

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Healthy Blues

Healthy Blues

We're on a major health kick over here...so it's smoothies and salads galore to refresh for this new decade! Give this one a whirl:

Ingredients
2 frozen bananas
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon of spirulina
2 tablespoons of coconut cream (thick version of coconut milk)

Blend until smooth and creamy!

Photo credit: feedfeed

 

 

 

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Holiday Charcuterie Board

Holiday Charcuterie Board

Holiday snacking is almost more fun than the feast, and a show-stopping charcuterie board can be the perfect centerpiece. Holiday butcher board offerings have become a unique tradition in my house, and a way to celebrate culture, sustainability, and community at the most joyful time of year. Here are some tips for assembling a beautiful and tasteful board, with a little help from some friends.

Start with the meat
A well-built charcuterie board is varied and bountiful, which bodes well for different taste buds. Think beef bresaola, made from the eye of round, a lamb merguez salami, a cured ham in the style of prosciutto, pâté, made mostly from pork, but also including rabbit offal and chicken liver. This combo of at least three meats: a dried sausage, a whole muscle preparation, and the pâté incorporating offal, all from different species, give the perfect variation of flavor and texture. 

Nick Ponte, head butcher at Marrow in Detroit, builds his charcuterie program off of this same premise. “Everything at Marrow starts from the whole animal, and charcuterie is an important part of how we make that possible.” He recommends combining beef, pork, and something spreadable “like a pâté or a mousse” to give broad representation of the full flavors of fat and quality meat. Jeffrey Weiss, author of Charcuteria and co-chef at Valencian Gold in Las Vegas, agrees, and for a Spanish-inspired board recommends a jamón from La Tienda, paired with a sobrasada spicy spreadable salami.

Animals raised outdoors and allowed to express their natural tendencies will produce meat and fat that reflect the terroir of their lives, much like a fine wine. This is where sourcing and fine craftsmanship come into play to make charcuterie unique and delicious. Bill Miner, founder and owner of Il Porcellino Salami in Denver, says that the animal’s fat is the biggest contributor to flavor in the finished product. “Good sourcing proves itself in the end,” he adds. I recommend Il Porcellino’s holiday salami box (be sure to get at least one of the spiced juniper!).

Play colors off of each other, and vary textures and shapes
I favor a bountiful spread, without a lot of space between items. Experiment with piles versus stacks, neatly lined or fanned cheeses, and geometrically sliced pâté. The color of cured meats lends nicely to warm hues, which are perfect for a holiday spread. Be sure to slice as thin as you can manage, especially for rich cheeses and salt-cured meats. Cooked pâtés may be served in chunkier portions, but on the whole, charcuterie is meant to be eaten in small portions. This allows it to melt in the mouth and prevents its complex flavors from overpowering your palate. Small servings also play a role in retraining our palates and our expectations around portion sizes, which is a crucial tenet of sustainable meat.

Acid cuts through
Acidic and pungent components like pickles and mustards are classic, and necessary to cut through the rich flavors of charcuterie. On this board, fennel pickles with chile and orange zest complement the pâté’s hazelnut, and orange. If you don’t want to brine your own pickles, Mouth.com has fun options. My favorite mustard this season is from Mustard & Co.

Make sure to add some crunch
Here, candied pecans with a touch of cayenne balance the spice of merguez salami. Last but not least, cheeses both hard and soft round out the offerings. Visit your local cheesemonger for recommendations on what will pair with your dominant flavors. The center cheese on this board is Ridgeline from my neighbors at Looking Glass Creamery. Both beautiful and mildly funky, its clean and milky taste pairs well with the bold flavors of salumi. The other cheese you see is a simple and fresh-tasting fromage blanc, with a mild sourness to compliment the boldness of the meats and pickles.

Article courtesy of the James Beard Foundation.

Picture by Snixy Kitchen, plus fantastic other charcuterie board tips abound.

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Spatchcocking a Turkey

Spatchcocking a Turkey

We're still recovering from the amazing turkey overload that took place on Thursday. But we know for some of you, Thanksgiving was just the start of many, many holiday meals that may or may not include poultry...

If you're interested in mixing it up, try spatchcocking a bird, Anya Fernald, the founder of Belcampo Meat Co. can teach you via this recipe link. Plus, we think she looks lovely seasoning her turkey in our Geometric Apron.

What's Belcampo Meat Co.? Read more about this unique company by reading Anya's Founder Letter below:

"Like many of you, I’m concerned about eating clean food and making sure my kids eat the healthiest food possible—as well as doing the right thing by the environment and our planet.

Like many of you, I didn’t know what I didn’t know in my teens and 20s. I happily ate every type of meat and food out there, never thinking for a second that they might not be the best choice for my body and for the environment: After all, I thought, we live in a country that regulates everything.

So imagine my surprise when I learned that when it comes to the meat industry and food in general, that’s simply not the case. Companies are allowed (and encouraged via subsidies and legislation) to produce and sell products that don’t put human and animal health first.

And so I co-founded Belcampo, a company devoted to making it easy to make the best choice. We have built our own supply chain founded in 25,000 acres of pristine farmland at the base of Mt Shasta with full ownership of our own processing facility right through our own retail shops.

Because we think we all deserve better.

Our vision is bold; our ambition is to build an alternative meat supply system; real solutions are never simple fixes. Help us put health, taste and transparency first. Help us build a better cleaner world through meat."

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Banh Mi Dogs

Banh Mi Dogs

Happy National Sandwich Day! We're sandwich fanatics over here, so we were smitten with these twists on banh mi to mix it up a little. Check out all of Bon Appétit's dog concepts here, and if these are a bit much, you might like to scope out their list of 38 sandwiches they love. Finally, we highly recommend this quick homemade topping recipe, which can be added to any sandwich (or salad) for a little zest!

Pickled Carrots

3 medium carrots, peeled, cut into matchsticks
1 cup distilled white vinegar
½ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
Special Equipment
A heatproof 1-pint jar

Pack carrots into jar. Bring vinegar, sugar, salt, and ¾ cup water to a simmer in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Pour brine over carrots, seal jar, and chill until cold.

Recipe by Claire Saffitz
Photo by Gentl Hyers

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