Monday, February 16, 2009

Dried Tomato Pesto

I had some dried tomatoes from our CSA basket and the last of the fresh basil to finish, so I used them both in this pesto. This recipe takes about 15 minutes, and almost all the ingredients I used were local. Spread it onto a piece of bread or eat with corn chips.

2 cups dried tomatoes
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup dried basil (I used fresh)
4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor (add a little water if it's too sticky).

Monday, February 9, 2009

New Search Engine

If you scroll down the right-hand side of my blog, you'll see a new search engine for natural food recipes. This was put together by Heidi Swanson, the founder of Check it out!

The Gourmet Ghetto in Berkeley

We decided to leave town this weekend and head to Berkeley to explore the north side of Shattuck Ave, also known as the gourmet ghetto (home to Chez Panisse and lots of other lovely restaurants and food shops). One of the places that I wanted to go this time was the Cheeseboard. This shop sells a wide variety of cheeses, bread and pizza. I grabbed the last loaf of pumpernickel, which we will enjoy this week, toasted, at breakfast and along side my butternut squash soup. The Cheeseboard is a co-op, entirely owned by its members.

We also stopped into the Love at First Bite cupcakery, which is one of my favorite places. Lots of little cakes line the window, in a variety of flavors including green tea, red velvet, and coconut. We chose chocolate with peanut butter icing, and ate them at an outside table in the sun.

One of our last stops was Cafe Gratitude, which specializes in RAW foods and drinks. We tried drinks with kale, celery and ginger...very healthy.

We ended the day at the Berkely Bowl, which is a huge food co-op on the other end of Shattuck Ave. The selection of bulk foods and produce was astounding, and we wandered in and out of the aisles before heading home.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Hard to beet

OK, OK. Bad pun not withstanding, beets are very healthy root vegetables with high counts of Vitamin C, folate and potassium. Eat them raw, boiled, steamed or pickled. They are great in salads, or as a side dish. Choose beats that still have their green tops attached, and store them for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator or some other cool, dark storage space. These beets are fresh, picked about a mile away from where I live.

I love this version of pickled beets:
  • Trim the greens off about a pound of beets, leaving about two inches of stem.
  • Boil the beets about 30 minutes, until they are tender, and then let them cool. Peel off the skin.
  • Slice the beets (be careful where the juice goes; it stains!) and remove any remaining stems.
  • In a saucepan over low heat, combine about one and a half cups vinegar, a cup of water and half of a cup sugar.
  • Stir until the sugar is dissolved, and pour the mixture into a mixing bowl, preferably one that has lid (the scent of vinegar will permeate everything).
  • Add the boiled, sliced beets, and a can of beets, with their juice. You can also add a few hard boiled eggs.
  • Let the mixture sit over night in the refrigerator so that the pickling process can take place.