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Jeff Friedman’s Pan-Sauteed Broccoli with Walnuts

Poet Jeff Friedman

Jeff Friedman and I don’t argue often, but when it comes to bread, we’ve almost come to blows. Okay, maybe that’s overstating things but he has tried convincing me that New England’s bread economy rivals San Francisco’s. Part of his argument included a visit to King Arthur Flour last time I ventured to New England. Whenever he finally makes it out to San Francisco, I plan on taking him to Bar Tartine for a loaf or even a few slices of Chad Robertson’s legendary Oat Porridge. I’m not convinced the Porridge bread would make the cross-country voyage or that it would make it off of my cutting board where I stealthily sneak pieces to toast with alarming frequency. It’s that good.

King Arthur Flour_pastries

On our outing to King Arthur, we surveyed the pastry case with glee. And, while we peered in like hungry wolves, we didn’t buy anything. This is saying a lot. One thing we share in common is a voracious sweet tooth that’s not easily satisfied. So, it should come as no surprise that one of my purchases in their retail store included a bag of Black Cocoa.

I was immediately intrigued by the name and claims on the bag. This may not be the right point of context but imagine tearing the side of the packaging from a newly opened bag of oreo’s. Breathe in the smell and peel off the upper cookie, scraping the white contents with your teeth. Then plunge the scraped cookie into your mouth and chew. This is surprisingly what Black Cocoa smells and tastes like- the oreo cookies of my childhood. This is also to say I haven’t found the right application yet to share a recipe here. It has a tendency of exacerbating the adage “a little bit going a long way” and like a red feather boa can be a bit garish when worn out of context.

King Arthur Flour Retail Shop

As we meandered around the retail store, I found myself transfixed by the walls and shelves filled with any kind of flour combination you can imagine. These bags and boxes taunted me with promises of pancakes! Biscuits! Pizza! I had to continually remind my enthusiasm about the controlled parameters of my red suitcase. We marveled at the demo kitchen set up in the middle of the store and noshed on a sample of warm blueberry muffin, recently pulled from the oven. As we wound our way over to the oils and spices section, I picked up a jar of Vietnamese Cinnamon, knowing the price was too good to not find a blouse I’d packed to wrap around it as an invitational into the luggage. Jeff picked one up as well and we moseyed over to the oils, as I exulted on the merits of making space in a spice rack / flavor pantry for toasted walnut oil. It’s a bit of a splurge, but completely worth it’s weight in drizzle.

King Arthur Demo Kitchen

Jeff left with a jar of Vietnamese Cinnamon and a vessel of Toasted Walnut Oil. In spite of my attempts to curb my zeal, I made off with a bag of Ancient Grain flour blend, cheese powder, black cocoa and Vietnamese cinnamon. In the larger scheme of things, my restraint would be rewarded. Food and poetry flit in and out of our conversation just like talking about bread bakers or a Galway Kinnell poem. In the end, who really knows which coast bakes the best bread? I’m inclined to think the best loaf is the one you break and share, even if that “bread” is time spent trolling a flour store discussing recipe ideas or snippets of literature with a kindred spirit.

Jeff Friedman Roasted Broccoli with Walnuts

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JEFF FRIEDMAN’S PAN-SAUTEED BROCCOLI WITH WALNUTS 

JEFF’S NOTES: “Originally I made this dish several years ago when poet Ross Gay came to visit. I had purchased some sweet basil oil and wanted to use it on the broccoli… Ross likes all his food hot so we decided to sauté garlic with lots of crushed red pepper and then toss the broccoli with sweet basil oil.  The recipe was good, but not anything I wanted to make on a regular basis. I normally roast broccoli because it’s so easy and delicious. Anyway, Annelies came for a visit, and we went shopping at the King Arthur Store in Norwich, Vermont. She recommended that I purchase toasted walnut oil and Vietnamese cinnamon, both of which I now use regularly. (The cinnamon is definitely amazing.)  Substituting toasted walnut oil for sweet basil oil and adding sliced almonds transformed the dish. This is simple to make.”

INGREDIENTS

3 large heads of broccoli cut into 2-inch branches

3-4 med-large cloves of garlic

3 tbs of olive oil

1 ½-2 tbs walnut oil

walnut slices (toast in pan)

crushed red pepper

salt and pepper

 

INSTRUCTIONS

1.Steam broccoli until it is tender.

2.While the broccoli is steaming, saute garlic in olive oil adding crushed red pepper.

3.When broccoli is ready, put it in a large bowl. Add salt, pepper and pinches of crushed red pepper.

4.Toss with sauteed garlic and crushed red pepper.

5.Toss again with walnut oil.

6. Add sliced walnuts and serve.

 

MY NOTE: I often eat this as is, but sometimes I add parmesan cheese at the end, also very good.. There should be enough left over to heat up in a skillet for a day or two. I think this could also work well pureed into soup.

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Categories
Recipes

Toasted Walnut, Green Bean and Labneh Salad

The end of summer comes as an omen of the quick passing of time. One evening in August, something changed in the air. The gusty fog of summers past made way for a wind with bite.  We happened to be taking an evening constitutional and I noted Beck popping his collar for a bit of increased protection from the elements.  As we returned home, I almost reached for the small plastic lever on the thermometer to turn on the heater but abstained from the impulse.

After a few days of warm sunny skies, of summer weather taking place during summer days, I had become somewhat spoiled by the possibility of bare legs in August. On one of those downright balmy days, I let my legs take me to the Farmer’s Market on a Tuesday. Unthinkable! And yet, that day’s lunch break had one goal in mind. I spotted them almost gleaming from their big brown box and began the dance of picking them up, one by one, squeezing them between my fingertips and looking for the right give in this conversation of flesh and fingers.

Stashed in a big bag, my treasure swung by my side, three pounds heavy and full of promise that while summer may not linger much longer, it would return as surely as the sweetness of September tomatoes taste of the summer sun relishing them with the urge to grow.

Toasted Walnut Green Bean with Labneh Salad

 

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TOASTED WALNUT, GREEN BEAN AND LABNEH SALAD 

Talk about one delicious way to use your homemade labneh kefir cheese, the colors and flavors of the salad dress up any table with their simple elegance. Like most dressed foods, you might find it tastes better with time and I find makes a great leftover for the next day. The addition of labneh lends a creaminess that once your fork has its way, blends with the dressing and coats the tomatoes, walnuts and green beans. It gets a little messy in appearance, but that’s part of the charm.

YIELD: 4 servings
TIME: 10 minutes

1 pound green beans

1 cup cherry tomatoes or 1 large Early Girl tomato, chopped

1/3 cup walnuts

1 shallot, minced

3 tablespoons walnut oil

2 teaspoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons labneh

1 teaspoon dried chervil

salt and pepper to taste

 

  1. Snap the ends off the green beans. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add green beans to boiling water and steam them for 2 minutes until bright green. Drain in colander.
  2. Chop the walnuts and then toast them for a few minutes until their aroma punctuates the air. Set aside.
  3. Mince the shallot. In a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and walnut oil. Add in the shallot once the dressing is somewhat emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Tumble the green beans into a large bowl. Add the cherry tomatoes. Then drizzle the dressing over the beans and tomatoes and use tongs to disperse them in the dressing until coated.
  5. Add walnuts atop the green beans and tomatoes. Then add your dollops of labneh and finish with chervil sprinkled on the labneh.

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Categories
Recipes

Green Tea Granola

BREAKFAST RECIPES- Green Tea Granola

This past Saturday, early in the morning, we decked out tables with pink and coral tablecloths in front of Noe Valley Pets and nearby Omnivore Books. As San Francisco food bloggers arrived with their freshly baked goods, we assembled them into categories by price and hugged the participating bakers or in my case tackled them with iPhone instagram photo-taking.

san-francisco-food-bloggers-bakesale san-francisco-food-bloggers-bakesale-tableomnivore-books

A box of cherry chocolate macarons flanked a box of mini macarons on one table. On another gorgeous loaves of sprouted wheat sourdough and miso rye bread sat near a dark chocolate earl grey tart. Dispersed over the tables we positioned s’mores cookies near bubblegum marshmallows and gluten free chocolate chip cookies.

allison from bake your heart outstephanie-shih-desserts-for-breakfastariel-jutkowitz

Peanut butter chocolate dream bars schemed with nearby peanut butter and jelly cheesecake bars. Chocolate raspberry sables were situated near strawberry tarts. From the cheery presence of a table well filled with sweet treats, passersby began meandering over to the San Francisco Food Bloggers Bake Sale before we opened.

amandaarnold-gatilao-inuyakinissa

Throughout the day, a steady stream of people popped by the table as bakers mingled, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. This is truly one of the joys of participating in something like a bake sale.

From the desire to do good in our community comes community. This is priceless.

shauna-severanita-chu-alice-medrichirvin-lin

I have enjoyed working with Anita, Irvin and Shauna the past few years to organize the bake sale. In fact, I still remember befriending Irvin that first year as we both were the only bakers to bake gluten free. New friendships have been a bake sale perk. All of the amazing volunteer food blogger bakers make the bake sale one happy event. Aside from this, our reason to bake is bigger than us. At Taste of the Nation, there was a prevailing attempt to keep front of mind the reason for the fete and likewise, we had some good opportunities to talk with people at the bake sale who walked by, interested in baked goods as much as the cause at hand. It surprises me still to hear the statistic that 1 in 5 children in the Bay Area are at risk of hunger.

Being a part of the nationwide Great American Bake Sale and joining hundreds of home cooks baking across the United States for Share our Strength is something that reminds us that the issue is much larger than just something occurring in the Bay Area. The work being done to bring awareness and resources to the issue is far bigger too. I’m happy to report raising $1140 for Share our Strength was a sweet way to spend a Saturday in Noe Valley this April.

green-tea-granola

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GREEN TEA GRANOLA
A healthy food blogger friend and I chatted recently and he lamented that bake sales never have healthy choices from which to choose. I apparently decided to take that as a challenge and whipped up a batch of granola with just enough oil and a hint of sweetener. I had a tendency of munching on a few tendrils of Gyokuro tea leaves at my desk with their walnut flavor and had been toying with baking them into granola for a while now. I’ve baked it into shortbread cookies for the Bake Sale for Japan last year. This is not a particularly sweet granola. Instead, you’ll find it to be slightly roasted in flavor  from the amaranth, sesame and oats with a delightful nutty accent of the walnuts and green tea mingling with just a hint of maple syrup and agave. I give some suggestions of how to modify this recipe in a few end notes.

YIELDS: 7 pint sized mason jars (perfect for a bake sale fundraiser – cut out colorful labels listing the ingredients so shoppers with food allergies can be informed.)

4 cups rolled oats

2 cups chopped walnuts

1/4 cup sesame seeds

3 tablespoons amaranth

1 cup sultanas (golden raisins)

2 tablespoons Gyokuro green tea

6 tablespoons grapeseed oil

3 tablespoons agave

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

 

1. Preheat oven to 350. Place a sheet of parchment onto a four-sided baking sheet.

2. Place a pan over medium high heat and let the pan get hot. Test that the pan is hot enough by putting a drop of water in the pan. If it sizzles, then the pan is hot enough and you’re ready. Pour the amaranth in your hot pan 1 tablespoon at a time. The amaranth pops quickly, so take heed for they will burn quickly.

3. Pour the popped amaranth after it’s popped, into a bowl with oats, walnuts, sultanas and sesame seeds. Stir the mixture.

4. In a small sauce pan and over low heat combine the grapeseed oil, maple syrup, agave, cardamom, salt and Gyokuro tea leaves. Stir until heated through and combined. The green tea leaves will tinge the sweetened oil slightly.

5. Stir the green tea oil into the oat mixture until coated. Pour the green tea granola onto the baking sheet and spread it out evenly. Bake for 25 minutes in the oven and stir twice during the baking. Place the baking sheet of granola on a rack after it’s done to harden and cool.

MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE: Use certified gluten free oats in place of regular rolled oats. Also, if you’re going this route, make sure all equipment used is thoroughly washed down if it might have come in contact with gluten. Keep all wheat products and products with gluten segregated from your work surface and away from ingredients you’re using to make your granola.

LIKE IT SWEET: Add another tablespoon of maple syrup. That will still only give you a slight maple flavor. If you really want it sweeter, my suggestion would be to top some vanilla yogurt or other flavored yogurt which are typically pretty high in sweetener with an ounce of granola.

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Categories
Recipes

Massaged Kale Feta Salad with Pickled Cherries and Walnuts

SALAD RECIPES- Massaged Kale Feta Salad with Pickled Cherries and Walnuts

 

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Massaged Kale Feta Salad with Pickled Cherries and Walnuts

SERVES: 6 side portions
TIME: 3 days for pickling; 10 minutes for salad prep

PICKLED CHERRIES
Adapted from the Pickled Grape recipe by Karen Solomon in “Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It”  

As someone who had never pickled anything before, I sought out an expert named Karen Solomon, and her book “Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It” is one you should have in your kitchen on the recipe book shelf. (Wait, doesn’t everybody have one of these?!) She’s got so many fun weekend projects that I want to tackle… This is an adaptation of her “pickled grapes” recipe and an example that something sweet turned sour can taste like magic. Also, pitting cherries is a breeze after the first few, so lest you think I’m leading you down a time-suck path fraught with frustration, it gets easier the more you pit. And besides, you’re making pickled cherries- how sweet is that? This salad’s got a surprise in every bite.

· 2 small cloves of garlic, crushed
· 1 piece green onion – white part up the stalk (2 inches)
· 1 cinnamon stick
· 1/4-inch fresh ginger, peeled
· 1 cup Bing cherries, washed
· 2 tablespoons sugar
· 1 teaspoons kosher salt
· 1/3 cup white distilled vinegar
· 1/3 cup water

 

MASSAGED KALE SALAD

· 4 cups kale, washed and stemmed
· 2 tablespoons hard sheep’s cheese
· ¼ cup crumbled feta
· 1 cup pickled cherries, plus 2 T of liquid
· ¼ cup chopped carrots
· 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted
· 2 tablespoons fresh mint, washed and torn
· 2 tablespoons olive oil
· Dash of salt and pepper

pickled_cherries_in_a_jar

PREPARATION
Pickled Cherries
1. Remove pits from cherries- carefully slice them in half and remove the pit before tossing de-pitted cherries into bowl.
2. Pack the ginger, garlic, green onion and cinnamon stick with cherries into a clean pint jar. (I used a much larger quart sized jar because that’s what I had on hand and it worked like a charm– the main thing is to make sure it has a lid that seals and is tight-fitting.)
3. Add cherries to your jar. Next add sugar, salt and vinegar.
4. Pour in the water (you can add a little extra as you want to make sure the cherries are sufficiently covered).
5. Close lid tightly and shake your jar gently to dissolve sugar and salt. (This is quite relaxing).
6. Let sit on counter for 3 days or inside refrigerator for 1 week, gently shaking your jar every day.
kale_salad
SALAD
1. Prepare about 10-15 minutes before you are ready to serve.
2. Pour olive oil and pickled cherry juice onto kale leaves. Add dash of salt and pepper to taste. Then massage with your hands until sufficiently covered.
3. Toss in remaining ingredients. Let sit for 10 minutes as you want the acid and oil to meld with the kale leaves.

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Fig & Goat’s Milk Yogurt Parfait

When traveling internationally, your pick of companions is key: do you like the same activities? Are you both regimented in scheduling activities or flexible to let the wind take you where it may? Is your companion someone who prefers historical artifacts and art or shopping? Does your companion have a discriminating palate or not? There’s no right answer to these questions provided the answer for your companion complements your own, as I learned in France many moons ago with a companion who was bored at the Louvre after an hour’s visit. But that’s a story for another time.

santorini sea photo

A few years ago, when I entered a new decade, Olga and I set out on a Mediterranean adventure. Tight on cash but high on ideas, we began investigating ways to visit Greece that would let us stay there for the most days while being budget-friendly. After much scrimping, saving and sorting through airline miles, we flew to Italy and embarked on our Italian cruise of the Greek Isles and Dalmatian Coast.

She and I had traveled overseas before but on this particular trip, she began channeling her mom SallyD, planning out the minutiae and I began channeling my mom, who goes where the wind blows. SallyD in fact had been quite concerned with us going as there were reports of marauders in Cyprus. We cajoled and convinced her that our islands were nowhere nearby, at least not as close as a pebble’s throw, and off we went with the blessings of our parents.

Oia santorini church and sea

Neither of us had ever been on a cruise before and learned several important tips to share if considering cruising:

a.) A cruise is like a tasting menu with each port offering a snack bite of its environs.

b.) Pack accordingly.  And what I’m saying here pertains to books & reading material. You might be at sea several days or only while sleeping, but I’ve designated cruises as great opportunities for longer reads from greats like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky.

When we were out to sea, I would laze about on deck after going for a swim. My deck chair would point toward the guardrail, letting me look out into the dizzyingly beautiful blue waters of the Mediterranean with Anna Karenina in hand. I never got sick of staring out into that sea of blue expanse and could understand the inspiration painters and artists experienced. Olga signed up for dance classes and attended social events. What worked so well for the cruise ship model of travel is that both of us had an enjoyable trip… that to a point was quite different from one another’s. Also, I decided then and there that the best way to sink into a massive tome from the likes of Leo Tolstoy required unbroken time staring out at the sea between pages.

At one port-of-call, we walked the wall of Dubrovnik with newfound friends Catherine and Marian, both of whom had traveled alone on the cruise. Marian possessed this quiet and peaceful spirit about her and became a regular part of our travels on land. I remember thinking meeting Marian made my Greek adventure so much more memorable. On the wall of Dubrovnik, she mentioned this cruise had come as an opportunity to explore the world after some sobering health news from her doctors. Together we conquered the streets of Oia in Santorini, ate a long leisurely lunch in Corfu, and shied away from the precocious giant pelicans in Mykonos along with our visit to the terracotta city of Dubrovnik flanked against a sparkling sea.

One thing Olga and I had been looking forward to included a growing desire to taste rich strained Greek yogurt in Greece dripping with local honey. After a trek from the train station to visit the Parthenon in Athens, we got our long-anticipated bowls of yogurt and paired them with Greek iced coffee- such a welcome chilled respite in the afternoon heat! And then there were the figs…

adriatic figs in dubrovnik

I’m a sucker for figs.

farmer's market dubrovnik

There are few foods that I would claim to be smitten about, but figs, friends,  are the fastest way to my heart. Pair them with chocolate or goat cheese and you’ve got me around your little finger.

dubrovnik farmers market scales measuring system image

Olga and I sought out freshly dried Kalimyrnas in Santorini and noshed on Adriatics in Dubrovnik, where they dried them with bay leaves to a splendid unexpected flavor! The tour guide in the bus winding up the steep mountain hills of Santorini to Oia pointed out wild fig bushes and we watched them whiz by. Suffice it to say, that visit to Greece and Dubrovnik left their indelible marks on both of us during that fall. Then there are the figs…

dried figs strung with bay leaves dubrovnik farmers market

I’m a sucker, indeed.

My affection for figs has garnered me new friends (hello Mark and Gary), a job offer and even a persona poem during a writing exercise in graduate school called “Ode to a Black Mission.”

A little known reason for our October wedding was to catch the tail end of the California Black Mission fig season. Our wedding reception caterer did a great job pairing them with California blue cheese, prosciutto and a port wine reduction sauce. You know how some brides and grooms talk about being so busy that they don’t get to eat the food? Beck and I heartily requested seconds on the figs the day of our nuptials, remembering them to be our favorite bite during the tasting.

Brown Turkey. Calimyrna. Black Mission. Kadota. The list goes on and so does the love affair. If you’ve never eaten a fresh fig, you’re in for a treat- one of nature’s sweet candies that’s chock full of fiber, flavor and texture. If you’re a wine aficionado, watch out, you may have met your wine and cheese match. Let yourself swoon at this dessert to end all dessert- if you love figs, that is.

Fresh figs. Goat’s milk yogurt. Chocolate and honey. Olga and me.

Good friends that just keep on getting better with time.

DESSERT RECIPES- Fig & Goat's Milk Yogurt Parfait

 

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Fig & Goat’s Milk Yogurt Parfait

To select ripe figs, you want to squeeze them lightly. If the flesh sighs a little under your touch, you’re set. For this recipe, I rinsed the ripened figs, pat them dry and then left them overnight in the refrigerator to great success. This dessert is healthy and breathes balmy Mediterranean sea air into my summer evenings. I like to use small mason jars as they show off the parfait well and help control the portion size. I would also encourage trying this with chipped dark chocolate instead or bittersweet chipped chocolate. May it bring you happiness of the mouth.

YIELD: Makes 1 (easily shareable) portion.

  • 3 fresh black mission figs
  • 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup plain goat’s milk yogurt
  • 5 walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey

Step 1: Remove the figs from the refrigerator and chop them.

Step 2: At the bottom of your mason jar, add 1 T of chopped figs. Then add a layer of 2 tablespoons  goat’s milk yogurt on top.

goat's milk yogurt fig parfait

Step 3: Add 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips as the third layer.

how to make a goat's milk yogurt fig parfait

Step 4: Add 2 tablespoons goat’s milk yogurt for the fourth layer of the parfait.

Step 5: Then add 1 tablespoon of chopped figs as the fifth layer.

Step 6: Add another 2 tablespoons goat’s milk yogurt for the sixth layer.

how to make goat's milk yogurt fig parfait

Step 7:  Add walnuts as the final layer and drizzle your raw honey over them.

how to make goat's milk yogurt fig parfait

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