Last weeks dinners went great. A four day marathon of wild foraged foods. Ill be putting up pictures soon, but wanted to show you all what the menu looked like this weekend. We've got some really exciting things coming up in the next couple months, more info on that all soon:
I love collecting mussels. These pics are from a couple weeks ago when me and my girlfriend went down south. Was a lot of fun, mix of work and play. We actually got approached by a fish and game officer, so I was happy that I bought us both fishing licenses. Its worth it if you are going to collect mussels, because the fines are pretty intense. The limit for mussels is 10 lbs a person, and you’re only allowed to use your hands to pry them off (so no knives allowed!) Go at low or minus tide. Have fun! Things to bring:
I just heard an interesting story, that mussel fisherman down south used to save the threads from the mussel "beards" and make gloves out of them. Pretty cool, and makes sense, they are some strong threads.
The market is at SomArts, at 934 Brannan St, in SF. Starts at 11am, ends at 11:00pm. DAY VENDORS:
Sasonao latin Cuisine -- Tony Ulloa -- Nicaraguan cuisine Fresh Bite Bakery -- Cindy Tsai Schultz/Terry Betts -- http://www.freshbitebaking.com/ -- baked goods Todd Masonis -- bean-to-bar chocolate mo foods -- Caterina Rindi/Jae Brim -- www.mo-foods.com -- foraged/gleaned pickles & preserves Epicurean Solutions -- Moira Tocatium -- Veggie Deli Salads Starter Bakery -- Brian M. Wood -- www.starterbakery.com -- bakery Three Bowls -- Indu Kline -- Ambrosia - food of the gods James Saltzman's Smoked Bacon -- James Saltzman -- smoked bacon & brownies Rokas/Kelli Armonas -- honey & mushrooms Beet Freaks -- Sharon Salmon -- pickles Earth Alchemy Chocolate -- Susan Marjanovic -- earthalchemychocolate.squarespace.com/ -- raw herbal chocolate Bread Project -- Diedre Linburn -- chocolate chip cookies The Chai Cart -- Paawin -- hot chai & chai packets Canvas Underground -- Peter Jackson www.canvasunderground.com -- meats & gumbo Raja Sen -- dal and balsamic vinaigrette Quackery -- Scott/Ramona -- kombucha Ben Sawicki -- flavored kale chips & veggie curry Josey Baker -- bread Dehesa -- Edward Lekwart -- artisan sausages Tamales By Rudy -- Rudy Santiago -- burrito-sized tamales German Bread -- Katrin Staugaard/Daniela Busse -- traditional German bread & foraged plum jams Le Chaudron Magique -- Isabelle Sin -- seasonal jams Kirsten Roehler -- seasoned goat cheese, seasoned salts & pickled lemons Yaella Frankel -- chutneys, relishes & salsas Telegraph Hill Coffee Roasters -- David Oliver -- www.telegraphcoffeesf.com -- coffee
Flosa Creamery -- Jordan Grosser -- bacon-wrapped mochi CoCoTutti -- Elyce Zahn -- http://cocotutti.com/ -- caramels, chocolates Jilli -- Will Schrom and Jacky Hayward-- www.jilli-icecream.com -- sarsaparilla and raw ice cream! Whole Beast Supper Club -- Kevin Bunnell -- pig products Lan Kulapaditharom -- Tawainese: beef/chicken slider & shrimp wonton Lelajay's Ridiculously Good Gluten-FREE -- Lila Akhzar -- gluten-free brownie bites Aaron's Almost Better Than Sex Cake -- Aaron Keller -- chocolate oreo-toffee cake & beer dogs Sidesaddle Kitchen -- Laura Miller -- www.facebook.com/SidesaddleKitchen -- raw vegan pies Mama’s African Kitchen -- Dupe Bello -- traditional African curry dishes JazzyB's Recipez -- Jasmine Ball -- mac n’ cheese-veggie & w/pork belly A Humble Plate -- Rathsamee Ly -- Laotian Food Saucy Dumplings -- Michael Lee -- pork & vegetarian dumplings Hella Vegan Eats -- Sylvester Chitica/James Raushenberg -- www.hellaveganeats.com -- Vegan deliciousness Luscious Liquids -- Kathy DeWitt/Tracee Raptis -- elixirs and such Sajen Foods -- Morisinah Katimin -- Gado-gado & satay burger w/peanut sauce (Indonesian street food) Laksa Pho King -- Stephen Backer -- Vietnamese Pho & Malaysian Curry Laksa The Occasional Macaron Shop -- Katie/George Wang -- www.facebook.com/macaronshop -- macarons Angry Man Eats -- Paul Midgen -- chicken & waffles Tamale Nation -- Alison Greenwood/Maria -- tamales & empanadas Eric Eberman -- veggie empanadas Bake It Banana -- Courtney Dougherty -- banana desserts
OUTDOOR NIGHT VENDORS: Kitchen Sidecar -- Katie Kwan -- www.kitchensidecar.com -- banh mi burger Pizza Hacker -- Jeff Krupman -- pizza The Grilled Cheese Guy -- Michael Davidson -- grilled cheese Sataysfied -- Feldo Nartapura -- www.sataysfied.com -- Indonesian satays Boffo Cart -- Rhasaan Fernandez/Crystal Williams -- hot sandwiches & paninis Panguita -- Andre Joffroy -- beer battered fish tacos & beef tostadas
The market went great, the best so far from our viewpoint. Most of the vendors sold out by the end of the night, with some done within a couple hours of opening. Thanks to everyone who showed up, the market had a really nice vibe this time. We were all super relaxed thanks to all the staff and volunteers we had (who were great), and people really seemed to be having a good time. We had a DJ this time, which changed the feel of the place a bit, but it was fun once you got used to it (I even saw an impromptu dance party start up as the night waned). We tried something new (at least for the market), a plate of local yellowtail sashimi with tempura fried sea beans and a ginger ponzu, sold really well.
We tried some new things this time around, some were successful, some not so much:
1. Pre-sale tickets: In an effort to shorten the lines, we sold pre-market tickets through eventbrite. The idea was that people who really couldn’t stand the wait could get in a shorter line. Unfortunately it didn’t work quite as planned. The first problem is that the market filled up within an hour of opening (the night section, day was very steady with no line), so whether you had a ticket or not, the line was the same length. Also, the service charge on the tickets was crazy (at least percentage wise), $1 for a $5 ticket. Not the most money in the world, but that’s coming dangerously close to Ticketmaster service fees. If we do sell tickets again, we’re going to have to think of another way to deal with creating a separate “ticket holders” line, but for the time being, I think the idea is on hold.
2. Hiring people: We hired people this time! If you were wondering where your extra $3 went, it went into the pockets of some very nice trash monitors, residents of our fair city. We had some trouble with trash separation at the last market, which ended up costing us hours of digging elbow deep in piles of compost, and still we got fined for unsorted trash. Not this time. It went smooth, smooth, smooth.
3. Day market: We really pushed the day market this month by offering a lower entrance fee, as well as mentioning every chance we got. It worked! We had 1,100 people come through from 11am-4pm, up from 300 last month. This was really satisfying for me. It was an idea I had, splitting it up so different kind of folks could feel comfortable (people with strollers and those who wanted to take stuff home etc.) Last month it was a bit of a failure since there were so few people during the day, which resulted in a couple vendors getting pretty pissed at me, so it was nice to see the day vendors selling out towards the end of the shift this time around.
4. $1 for bringing your own plate: We had the idea offering people a buck off for bringing their own plate and silverware in order to cut down on waste. It didn’t go so well. With the constant rotation of volunteers at the door throughout the day (who were all great by the by), I neglected to let everyone know about this little fact, so what ended up happening was people came to the door with their own plate, and were given a blank stare. This was my bad. I imagine I would have been pissed, so if that happened to you, I’m very sorry. On a brighter note, all the vendors brought compostable plates and utensils, so thanks! We’re going to try it again. This time I’ll be sure to let volunteers know.
Ideas for next time:
1. Vendors should bring more food. It’s a hard thing to gauge. One stand might sell 150 sandwiches, and one might sell 50, but definitely something we should think about.
2. Hmm, lots of others will spring up no doubt, now I’m getting hungry, so gotta go. If you’ve got suggestions or comments, good or bad, let us know, we’re always looking to make it a better market.
Thanks for coming!
The next market is here! The date and location are set..
When: Saturday March 6th from 5-11pm
Where: 9 Langton st (near 7th/Howard) in SF
This time around we've got twice as many vendors, 3 times as much space (so the lines should be shorter), and more great music and workshops. Come early to avoid the lines, leave late to catch the party.
The first thing I noticed was "the look", followed by averted eyes. I have been thinking lately that I might want to expand into products. Bottles of stuff, sea bean pickles, acorn flour, all manner of wild foraged things. With that in mind, I bought a ticket to this most recent fancy food show for $35. My badge said "foodservice" at the bottom, something that I would later find out was very important, but more on that later.
For those who don't know (and you could count me in that group until yesterday), the fancy food show is a trade show of all the specialty foods from around the world (there was an italy section about 20 times bigger than my apartment). These fancy foodies take over the moscone center once a year (except last year apparently, because they forgot to book the center in time...how does that happen?). The moscone center is HUGE, just about 2 city blocks, nestled in downtown SF, and it was packed. Everything you could imagine, fois gras, tons of flavored water (some that I swear was just water with a drop of mouthwash added), curry spreads galore, cheeses, and everything else that you might buy at a wholefoods-esque establishment.
It's amazing to see it all together like that. To get the real idea of the scale of food being created right now in the world (and this was only the people who made expensive stuff, and were willing to pay $10,000 for the pleasure of letting people taste it)
It was seperated into two parts, the small and the big. The big side was full of...well you can probably guess, big brands. Godiva and the like (although cowgirl creamery was also over there, which really surprised me, I always thought they were more mom and pop, but I guess thats the idea). The other side was full of companies that were a bit more boutique. Homemade(y) looking jams and BBQ sauces and the like.
So about "the look". I may not have even noticed "the look" if I hadn't attended the festival with Carolina (of CMB sweets). She's a veteran of the show, so she gave me the inside scoop on how it all worked. It was nice having someone to help me navigate the storm of samples, and she seemed to have some inside info on most of the vendors we passed (even at a global conference, its a small world).
When you sign up for the market, you are asked a series of questions. What's you're business, how long in business etc..Your answers decide what is written on the bottom of your badge in large colorful letters. Some (like me) say foodservice, others say "manufaturer", "agent", "trade representitve" , "distributor" and so on. What this does is give the people presenting an idea about whether or not you're worth 30 seconds of their time. What my badge translated as was "this guy is not a distributor, and so he is going to eat your food and never give me anything", whereas "distributor" translates into "this is a guy who is worth...maybe even 45 seconds, because if he likes my product, he'll buy 400 million jars and I'll be rich until the end of my days".
So the look is like many looks, although this look is right into your soul. You don't have to judge by dress, demeanor, smile, or any of the other cues that we've been taught through our lives to value, all you have to do is look at the badge. It's like first class in a plane, sure, the guy in the full reclining padded chair with the glass of champagne and fresh baked bialy in the front may look sloppy, but you know he's got something going on.
Now don't get the idea that this bothered me, I liked being ignored. It makes for much better people watching when people aren't paying attention to you. I got to see all the plastered on smiles, faked enthusiasm and warm arm pats that salesmen employ with each other, and then I got to hear what they really though, as they walked away.
It's interesting, seeing how the food world actually operates. In San Francisco we have this idea that people who are involved with food are all a bit different. We are defined by our passion for whatever it is we do, be it cooking, farming, foraging. This passion is what keeps up going in an industry that, lets face it, makes few people very rich. This feeling was not in abundance at the Fancy Food Show. It seemed that the people could have been selling anything. Trying to move 10,000 bottles of amys hoisen infused teriyaki spread doesn't take a passion for bringing the wonders of asian cuisine to the west, but instead, takes a saavy business person. Someone who understands the finer points of shelf life, mass transport, how oil prices affect shipping costs, and what small things supermarkets hate (note: supermarkets hate hanging labels, like those ones on the side of jars of jam. Apparently they don't stack right). Selling a popular product isn't so much about making something that tastes good (because believe me, most of the stuff there was not delicious), but about understanding that people don't really buy something for what's inside. They don't know what your product tastes like until they've already bought it, and chances are if they feel good about the company, they'll like it even if it doesn't actually taste all that great.
Bottom line, going to the fancy food show made me not want to sell food, at least not to the masses. I don't want to be there, trying to push my product, schmoozing distributors for a piece of prime shelf space. When making a recipe, I don't want to think about how rosemary doesn't test well with Iowans in the 34-56 yr age range. Maybe thats the real world but, at least for now, I'll stay in the make believe land of underground dinners and foraged walks, and put off growing up just a bit longer.
Check out the new story on alternet about a forageSF adventure, written by Tara Lohan:
The Ultimate in Eating Local: My Adventures in Urban Foraging
[gallery columns="2"] My Eat Real marathon weekend of sea bean proselytizing is over. It was great to get out and talk to people about what we're up to, and really exciting to see how into people are. Foraging is often a lonely pursuit, and I get the feeling that people are often a bit confused about just what it is we're trying to do at forageSF, so getting face to face with people and answering questions about what we're about was great. So great in fact that I'm going to start a push to get into some local farmers markets. It was originally my intention, but the focus moved a bit over the last year, and it got put on the back burner. The problem with selling wild food in a certified market (meaning that everyone there is the primary producer) is that no one actually produces wild food. We forage it, so we are as close to producers as any human gets, but not close enough. It's a pretty funny situation to be in, what makes the food so interesting to me and to others is the exact reason it can't be sold. I talked to a couple farmers market managers who seemed to think we could find some common ground, so I'm optimistic. So look for us at your farmers market soon!
In lead up to the Eat Real festival next weekend, where forageSF will be selling in the marketplace (come visit!), I'm doing some recipe experimentation. We're going to be there on Saturday and Sunday, near the Embarcadero st entrance to the marketplace (not sure if that's a good location, never been to Jack London Square). We are also going to be there on friday for the foraging/canning exchange, where I will give a seabean cooking demo, as well as have wild food experts on hand to answer all your urban edible questions.
Eat Real is letting eat vendor sell one product, and since sea beans hold a special place in my heart (and since I'm going foraging next week for them) I figured I'd go with that. I'm going to be selling both fresh and packaged, and I'm trying to decide what the perfect recipe is. Today I did...Seabeans with garlic, seabeans with garlic and lemon juice, seabeans with garlic, ginger and sesame, seabeans with garlic, ginger, sesame, onions and porcini.
I settled on the porcini. It's great how the mushroom and onion flavors mingle with the saltiness of the sea beans, and it also makes it more of a dish, adding the veggies and fungi. Here's what I did....
Since it's the off season for local mushrooms, I used dried porcini. I actually prefer porcini dried in some instances, the dehydration really concentrated the flavor.
1 oz dried porcini
2 shallots - sliced
2 cups sea beans
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 inch plug ginger - minced
First, soak porcini for 15-20 minutes in cold water, then slice thin.Heat a mixture of butter and 1 tbsp butter over medium heat, then add onions, cook until onions start to caramelize, then add garlic and porcini, stirring often to make sure garlic doesn't burn. A line cook trick is to throw a small splash of water into the pan if you see the garlic starting to brown. Now you add the sea beans, stir to incorporate, and then turn heat to low, cover, cook 8 minutes. take off cover, turn heat up to cook off any liquid. serve. easy and delicious, good as a side. Sauteing seabeans is a great way to eat them, because it takes away some of that intense saltiness, and lets the other flavors creep in.
If you want to see how I do it, come check it out, friday at 6 pm at jack london square...check the Eat Real site for exact address.
Wild radishes grow more or less everywhere in the Bay Area
My most recent discovery: Wild Radish seed pods
As if the delicious leaves and flowers the wild radish provides weren't enough, here they come with seedpods. I like to forage radish seed pods and saute them up to garnish a salad, but they can also be steamed.
Wild Radish is English for Raphanus raphanistrum. It is a winter annual with leaves covered in short stiff hairs. It grows more or less everywhere in the Bay Area. When you look out into a field covered with small white or yellow flowers, its probably wild radish. We often find them on our Wild Food Walks.
Wild Mustard (Brassica kaber) grows in the same area, and can be distinguished by its yellow flowers. The problem is that wild radish and mustard like to interbreed (hybridize if you will), to such an extent, that you rarely see either pure white or pure yellow flowers. Generally they're white with yellow or purple interior tint. I personally don't think it really matters. I've noticed that plants that seem more mustard than radish have leaves that are more tender, and a bit spicier. The seedpods seem more or less the same.
Once you find a good patch of pods, its easy to collect a couple pounds in 20 minutes. The technique I've settled on is to grab the stem close to the base, and slide my hand up, pulling off pods into my hands as I go.
It's incredibly satisfying to hear the pop pop pop as they slide off the stem.
I like to saute them and use them on a salad slightly warm or chilled. They are always good. Unfortunately, it's August and the season for these has pretty much passed (although I was up at Mt. Tam leading a plant walk on Sunday, and saw a couple), so store this knowledge away for next year.
Here is a recipe, with bacon, for these delicious little treasures.
1/2 lb (4-5 hand fulls) of seed pods
1/2 lb bacon (Get it from bi-rite or some other reputable source. We're lucky to have a great local meat economy in the bay, its a shame not to use it. Know your meat!)
4-6 heads little gem greens (Marin Roots has the best, but not cheap)
8 Nasturtium flowers
2.5 oz Stilton Blue Cheese (about 3 Tbsp)
6 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sugar
Add vinegar and cream, then whisk together with some salt and pepper. Whisk in the sugar until it dissolves, and then whisk in half of the cheese. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Add seasoning to taste
Cut the bacon into 1 inch chunks, and cook over medium heat until it releases some of its fat. Throw in Seed pods, and saute until tender (about 4 minutes), add salt and pepper to taste.
Wash and dry the Little Gems
Cut off the end, and, using your hands, toss in mixing bowl with 2 Tbsp dressing and 1/4 C seed pods. Arrange on plate, with 2 nasturtium flowers. Crumble remaining cheese on top.
- Unfortunately I don’t have any good pictures of this salad, but if you make it, be sure to send me a photo, I'll put it on my site.
- Here are more photos to help you spot Wild Radishes.
ForageSF is teaming up with the Eat Real festival to organize a series of guided forages, a wild food dinner with Radio Afrika to benefit La Cucina, as well as a foraging identification/canning exchange in Jack London square. There will be two sets of walks, one sometime in early August that will end in a dinner focused on wild foraged food. Walk around the city learning what plants are edible, then get to eat a delicious meal made with those very same plants. The second set will be on Friday August 28th. We’ll all go out, forage around for a couple hours, then meet in Jack London square to identify/exchange/can what we found. I’ll also be giving a talk on forageSF, and wild food in general. Should be a good time. This is all still in planning, but check out http://eatrealfest.com/ in a couple weeks for more info.
part two in the limoncello adventure is upon us. After a painful 4 week wait, I took the limoncello out, strained out the lemon peel, adding the simple syrup(sugar dissolved in water) ...and voila! Its good. so easy. so good. I did a 2/1 simple syrup, ' 2 parts water, one part sugar, then added that 1/1 to the limoncello. I actually found it a bit sweet, so experiment as you go along, to get it to your own personal taste. After you add the syrup, put the jar back in the closet (I know, this part was hard for me too) for another week, then you're good. you'll be the envy of all your friends. I'm going to be at the makers faire ( that's right, fair with an E! all that much cooler) at the end of may, in the "homegrown village" giving a demonstration of this a couple other homemade items. come check it out!
The first time I ever foraged wild mushrooms was up at my dad's house in Willow Creek CA. I, perhaps much like you, had always understood in some peripheral way that wild mushrooms come from the woods. They are called wild, and therefore not cultivated. It follows that something that is not cultivated needs to be found, so someone must do the finding. If asked, I would have given that reply. Who these unseen seekers were, where they did their seeking, who they did if for, how they learned, who they sold mushrooms to when found, were all a mystery. In northern California, these questions are not so academic. Mushrooms are everywhere. Boletes, Black trumpets, Morel, Chanterelle, Yellow foot, Hedgehog (so named for their spiky underside), Matsutake, Snaggle tooth....that last ones a joke, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that as a local name for some under-appreciated fungus. The mushrooms I mentioned are only a fraction of what is bought for retail sale, and mushrooms for retail sale are only a fraction of edible fungus that's out in the woods. There are many others that aren't available in stores. Mycophobia (fear of mushrooms) runs deep in our culture, so people are not too keen to try a fungus that isn't already popular. Although I for one disagree with much of the hype around mushroom danger (many more people die from eating eggs every year), there are mushrooms that shouldn't be eaten. The death cap is one such mushroom. Small, white, unassuming, the death cap purportedly has a mild sweet taste (this from those that have eaten it and survived). Eating half of one mushroom can kill you. TBC....
....but $25 for 10 minutes work, and supposedly the sting staves off arthritis(at least that's what I tell myself) [gallery]
There seem to be two schools of thought on homemade limoncello.
1. The " spend 2 hours of your life painstakingly peeling the skin off 20 lemons, (and just the skin, avoiding the white pith, which makes the drink bitter), and soak them in the liquor." This seems likely to end in a bitter hatred of ever making limoncello again, as well as carpal tunnel
2. Wrap the lemons in twine, and hang them above the alcohol.
Seems obvious which one to choose. Although I took a bit from both camps, peeling one lemon and putting the peel into the jar. I figure you cant have too much lemon. An added bonus of the hanging method is that you have this cool trapeze hanging lemon contraption around the house to look at.
So this is how to do it.
What you need:
-lemons (preferably foraged from a friends backyard, mine came courtesy of Asiya Wadud and John Collins)
-Vodka or everclear (which is much harder to come by foraged, although one of my friends has been talking about making a still, so maybe the next batch)
-A jar with a sealable lid big enough for the liquor with a good amount of headroom
-String or twine ( I wouldn't use anything made of plastic, because it seems like the fumes might eat through it...and that's just nasty)
- 1-3 cups granulated sugar
-2 cups water
1. Pour liquor into jar
2. Use a veggie peeler to take the skin off one lemon, being sure not to get any of the white pith. Like I said, this is easier said than done, but its only one lemon so doesn't take long.
3. Throw peels into alcohol.
4. Hang the lemons. This is the hard part. You need to devise a way to wrap the lemons up in twine in such a way that they will hang and not fall into the liquor. The second option is to buy cheesecloth and hang them in that, but I like the aesthetic of the lemons hanging.
6. Close the jar and wrap the excess string around the top of the jar. Again, making sure the lemons are not touching the liquor, and tape the seal closed.
7. Leave for a month in a dark place, during which time the fumes from the liquor will suck the essence from the lemon, which I think is pretty cool.
8. We'll talk about that on feb 20....
full disclosure: I would like to give credit where credit is due, I used recipes from foodtv.ca as well as patty.vox.com to create this wonderful beverage.