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Healthy Blues

Healthy Blues

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

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, 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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Sardines + Saffron

Sardines + Saffron

We gravitate towards seafood, and sardines hold a special place in our hearts. What's not to love? They’re packed with protein and omega-3s, more sustainable than other fish, accessibly priced and if you know how to cook them - extremely delicious.

Enter Italian South: Recipes for Classic, Disappearing, and Lost Dishes, the incredible new cookbook from Katie Parla, the Jersey-reared, Rome-based food-and-beverage culinary guide. We picked up a copy at The Wing when Kate and author, Rachel Khong did a mini panel back in August.

Ours is getting splattered in olive oil and lemon juice as we make our way through it, we've never been happier mucking up a beautiful hardcover book. It truly is an epic journal, chock full of delicious recipes, pick one up or add it to your holiday wish list.

"“In Gallipoli, I went out with a fishermen’s consortium into the Ionian Sea. They caught a bunch of sardines and whipped this up for lunch,” she says. As the sardines marinate in the tangerine-tinted brine, the flesh firms up and absorbs the saffron aroma. On their own, they make a flavorful addition to an antipasto spread, but you can also flake them for tossing with pasta—spaghetti, red pepper, and olive oil is a strong and very southern Italian move—or mounding over charred bread smeared with pesto." 

Yes, Katie, we'd like to try them every which way.

Scapece Alla Gallipolina 

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 cup white wine vinegar
1⁄4 cup water
6 to 8 saffron threads
Neutral oil, for frying (such as grapeseed, canola, peanut, or corn)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 lb whole fresh sardines, cleaned
Sea salt

In a small saucepan, combine vinegar and water and place over low heat. Just before it boils, remove from heat and add saffron. Set aside to bloom. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

In a medium frying pan or cast-iron skillet, heat 2 inches of oil to 350°F.

Place flour in a shallow bowl. Dredge each sardine in flour, shaking off any excess.

Working in batches as needed, fry sardines, turning once to ensure even cooking, just until golden, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels and season with salt. Be sure oil returns to 350° before adding next batch.

Layer fish in a glass or ceramic dish. Pour vinegar mixture over fish. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 days before serving.

Copyright © 2019 by Katie Parla; Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random Home, LLC.

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Say “Kay-Feeco”

Say “Kay-Feeco”

I have been trying to go to Che Fico for over a year!

Delighted to report I scored reservations for next month; I only had to set my alarm for 5am, 30 days in advance of the date I wanted, ha, ludicrous, I know! But whatever it takes and it's a very special celebration for my hubs' one year anniversary at his dream job.

What is Che Fico? It's an Italian Taverna in San Francisco’s Nopa neighborhood. They offer a place to gather with friends and enjoy warm hospitality, food and drink, through an approachable menu and convivial ambiance. The food focuses on Italian cuisine through the lens of California. It’s our vision of Northern California as if it is a region in Italy, our connection to the region and our love for Italian culinary practices. The rustic, market-driven menu features handmade pasta, pizzas, antipasti, housemade salumi, meat and fish plus dishes from the Jewish-Roman heritage known as “Cucina Ebraica.” 

Sono così emozionato (I'm very excited)!

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Second Harvest

Second Harvest

First a poem, then her voice cracks, the emotional toll of the last six months is palpable and rolls into the crowd. Nikiko is recounting how challenging the 2019 growing season has been...unusual monsoon-like rains, hail storms and higher than average temperatures. As the sun peaks over the orchard, we can feel the full range of sadness, frustration, grief, hope and determination the Masumoto family has experienced throughout this year. A sense of gratitude emanates from us all, it’s clear that each one of us is ecstatic to be here, we know it’s not a given and each season we can be invited back to harvest is a blessing...a chance to come together again to take part in something sacred, thanks to the cooperation of Mother Nature and the Masumotos’ exertions. 

I’ve been counting down the days since July 28, 2018 to reunite with my stone fruit family. The pillow soft soil giving way under my boots, the morning rays playing amongst branches heavy with fruit, contented voices floating upwards alongside the billows of dust, the glee of filling vibrant blue buckets to the brim, fully aware each nectarine and peach picked is a small miracle.

Being back at the orchard with ‘our trees,’ I’m taken over by a wave of awe and enchantment. Somehow I’m lucky enough to participate in Masumoto’s harvest for a few hours because they’ve unflinchingly dedicated 365 days of grueling work to ensure their trees will bear a bounty I can reap. And the joy each family member exudes to have us there is remarkable. Their commitment and passion for sustainable farming and building community is beyond words, like a born talent, similar to Mozart composing music, they possess a gift that can’t be stifled and must be shared with the world.

My adoption team is a fun mix of new and familiar faces. As we dive into harvesting, I make new friends and swap stories with pals from last year. After months of anticipation, we’re giddy to see that there are a ton of ripe Le Grand nectarines to be picked, and because this is the last day of harvest, we get to take them all. We waste no time and work diligently, scaling ladders and grasping what we can on our tiptoes - we have a singular, unifying goal: extract all the viable Le Grands!

We move pretty quickly and just as the temperatures are getting close to 100, we’re relieved to have boxed and divided up the whole haul. Ravenous and damp with perspiration, we merrily make our way to the shady center of the orchard for an alfresco brunch prepared by a team of lovely volunteers. The meal is delicious, conversations are easy, Mas and Nikiko swing by to say hello, cheerful dogs sit at our feet and I’m deeply happy.

Adopting a tree at Masumoto’s family farm is not about taking home pounds of fruit, but celebrating this land that has been organically cultivated for 71 years, the camaraderie shared amidst the rows of trees and a magical family that treats you as one of their own.

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Mezze Cookout

Mezze Cookout

Small group cooking classes are a wonderful way to meet new people, get to know loved ones on a deeper level and discover new techniques. Plus, let's face it, they're just plain fun and tasty...

Our friend, Megan of Seasoned Cook has a great workshop this weekend and there are three slots left. Read below for all the details...if we weren't booked up, we'd be taking these slots for ourselves.

Mediterranean Mezze
Sunday Aug 18, 2019
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Berkeley, CA
Email megancbarrie [@] gmail [.] com to reserve a spot

Who doesn't love eating with their hands? These dishes are no-fail, crowd-pleasing appetizers when, combined, make up an incredible Mediterranean meal. We'll be making flavor-packed hummus, roasted babaganoush two ways, homemade flatbread, tzatziki, and tabbouleh.

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