Month: November 2015

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Global Student Embassy Youth brings the community together

Last month, the Global Student Embassy rallied many of its student participants, its staff, its Board of Directors, and about 200 of its supporters to gather at the Barlow in Sebastopol for one of its tri-annual “Cultivating Change” dinner fundraisers.  I got to catch the story of the evening in part by being there as the Food Coordinator helping the flow of dinner service and later I also sat down with Kate Crigler, GSE’s Development Manger and co-organizer of the event.  I left our time feeling incredibly inspired. For an organization whose mission is to “develop community leaders through action oriented environmental education” their fundraisers do not fall short in reflecting the heart and the integrity of their goals.  This year the students arrived early onsite to set up needed infrastructure, to set and make beautiful the tables that all would be eating at, they welcomed the guests, served them appetizers, provided complete dinner service at the tables, told their heart-felt stories of their experiences with GSE, and then stayed late to clean up the …

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Autumn Family Harvest out at Two Belly Acres

One early November morning just last week, our Two Belly Acre farmer, Natalie Goble, and her family headed out to the farm for the weekly harvest and we sent Dawn Heumann, our friend and photographer, to capture the moment.  With the persimmon foliage aflame in crimson reds and fiery oranges and the early morning light to catch the dew, it was a very beautiful and bountiful morning.  This time of year we’re harvesting fennel, pineapple guava, persimmons, herbs, arugula, kale, and various varietals of winter squash.  We’ve retired some of the summer beds with good nitrogen-fixing cover crop, and the beds planted in late September for winter harvest include cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, rapini, leeks, and garlic to be harvested next summer.

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Ramen Gaijin’s Winter Chicories and Little Gems Salad with Yuzu Vinaigrette, Jasmine Smoked Duck Breast, Persimmon, Walnuts and Chive

Dreamt up while working at Woodfour Brewery in Sebastopol, and tested via pop-ups on the days the brewery was closed, Moisha Hahn-Schuman and Matt Williams are committed to the traditional flavors of Japan while bringing the consciousness of their upbringing to the table. Their brick and mortar, open since January 2015 in the heart of downtown Sebastopol and included in the Michelin Bib Gourmand Selection for 2016, is called Ramen Gaijin.  As seen in this beautiful recipe below, they are very exacting.  Once you commit yourself to this recipe (you’ll need a BBQ or electric smoker and a meat thermometer!) and the multiple steps imbedded you will be rewarded with bold and balanced flavors. Enjoy! For the Salad: 1 Liberty Duck Breast 1 Quart Duck Brine 2 Heads Little Gems Lettuces 2 Heads Mixed Chicories 1 Fuyu Persimmon 1/2 C. Toasted Walnuts 1 Bunch Chives 2 tsp. Black Sesame Seeds For the Duck Brine: 2 T. Kosher Salt 1 1/2 T. Sugar 3 1/2 C. Warm Water 3 1/2 T. Ginger 1 1/2 T. Garlic 1/2 tsp. Szechuan …

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Everyday Pasta

It’s midday on a Friday in the kitchen at Peter Lowell’s. The lunch rush hits early and continues on through the late afternoon. Tickets pour through the machine on each station abuzz with hustle. Every one of the eight burners on the stove is lit, chicken stock slowly bubbles away in the back corner, a pot of beans next to it foams over, water for pasta boils rapidly next to that. Pans crash down onto its surface, only to be picked up again moments later as ingredients hit sizzling oil. The lunch staff is working at full throttle, hardly taking a moment between each task, seamlessly picking up each order as hours tick by in the blink of an eye.  As the chef, I’m not working the line at the moment, although I can feel its heat viscerally.  I am always keeping one eye on the ticket machine, ready to jump in at a moments notice if they fall behind, something that could happen with just a single misfire. Amidst the chaos, my focus is …

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Frittata Quotidian

“Don’t try to complicate a frittata or you become a frittata.” We have been making frittatas for as long as Peter Lowell’s has been in business. It’s such a simple dish and delish’ any time of day. We make several every day and what we put in is always changing. One of the magical things about PL’s is that we have certain menu items that change daily and/or seasonally, and we use what’s around to build the dish. At times, this has led to some really odd frittata combinations that I would not want to repeat. The recipe I have presented below is just one of hundreds of delicious variations on the frittata. If you stick with this base you will be halfway to a beautiful breakfast. For the seasonal ingredients, you might look to leftover sautéed vegetables from dinner last night or if you’re fortunate enough to have a garden, take 5 minutes before hand to harvest what is growing.  As with all things in life, this dish is best when made with simple, fresh …

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Kuri Squash and Apple Soup with Red Jalapeño Crème Fraîche

Kuri Squash & Apple Soup with Red Jalapeño Crème Fraîche This soup is a blend of autumn flavors. In October, with summer vegetables waning and the bounty of autumn on the way, this soup combines the new winter squash crops with the last of the summer chiles. Perfect for a cool night, the sweetness of the squash and apple and the heat of the jalapeño compliment each other perfectly. 1 large Red Kuri squash or other winter squash, cut roughly into 1/2″ cubes 2 medium yellow onions, julienned 3-4 red apples (Rome or Red Delicious varietals work really well!), peeled, cored & cut into wedges 1/4 pound unsalted butter 1/4 C. brown sugar 1/2 C. mascarpone or cream cheese 1 1/2 Quarts water or vegetable stock 1-2 Piquin chiles or 1 dried Chipotle chile 1/4 C. apple cider vinegar Salt to taste Melt butter in a 4 Qt. heavy bottom pot over medium heat until it is foamy & fragrant. Add the chopped squash, apples, chiles, and onions & cook until onions are translucent and …

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From Whole Vegetable to Whole Farm

It’s not news amongst veteran farm to table cooks that food waste is a huge problem in the U.S. and it’s particularly bad in the restaurant industry. There’s a growing trend toward making use of the whole vegetable — meaning the less than perfect ones with blemishes and the parts normally discarded such as radish tops and mushroom stems. Every year 40% of our food in the U.S. is wasted which makes this a very timely and healthful conversation to be having. At Peter Lowell’s, we are constantly challenging ourselves to explore new ways to do this. In much the same way that we approach our whole animal program, always making use of all the parts of the cow, pig, lamb or rabbit, we extend this idea to produce. In the kitchen at Lowell’s, fennel fronds or onion trim often become a stock, which in turn becomes the base of a delicious sauce for pastas, fish or meat. Out at Two Belly Acres, our fully dedicated family farm, we get to see first hand just how remarkable …