Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Not Grandma's Breakfast

Chard Potato Tempeh

Now that I've received my overflowing 'half' of a box of fruits and veggies locally delivered every week, I have to use those wonderful fresh pieces of produce! The other morning I became rather creative and made potatoes with tempeh and wilted swiss chard, topped with an egg. Dad loved it, and I thought it was a nice way to lighten up breakfast and get in a few more of those very healthy leafy greens! My next delivery is due today! So you may be seeing a larger portion of home cooking on this blog in the foreseeable future.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Simple, elegant and raw


Paul dropped into the Bay area last weekend, and we got together for lunch one day in San Francisco at Alive!, a restaurant I've been drooling over every time I pass it on Lombard. It was small, quiet and quite elegant. And the specialty is RAW food, beautifully presented.

Pumpkin Shitake Soup

I adored my bowl of sunshine, or otherwise known as Pumpkin Shitake soup. This was my favorite dish there. It was full of flavor and warm.

Shitake Burger

Paul love shitake, so he was immediately drawn to the Shitake Burger on the menu. Paul liked it so much he said he'd come again just for it. The 'bun' was formed quinoa to the best we could tell.

Hummus Wrap

I had a hummus wrap, which was wrapped in what I believe was a slightly vinegared kale leaf. It was a fresh and crisp - smooth taste with hummus surrounding carrots and avocado and other seasonal vegetables.

Candy Cap Mushroom Cheesecake

We had to have dessert when we saw the inventive dessert menu, and of course we felt so 'good' having the light vegan fare that we felt justified. I was astonished to see "Candy Cap Mushrooms" on the menu as an ingredient in a cheesecake, so that's what I ordered. And as a vegan 'cheesecake' it was made with cashew butter. Oh, it was so good, and the taste of the candy caps minced and distributed inside reminded me of the flavor of the ones I picked in the forest one year with a friend. I would recommend this dessert highly.

Tangerine Cake

Paul chose the tangerine cake. It looked like quinoa mixed with cashew cream topped with the ripe perfection of tangerine slices. We shared bites of each, and his was amazing as well. Alive! was welcoming, comfortable and their food was a treat for the eye as well as the taste buds.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #176

I'm delighted to be hosting Weekend Herb Blogging for this week at Anna's Cool Finds. Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once has been organizing this event started by Kalyn at Kalyn's Kitchen.

Golden Sage 07-11-2005

Name: Mike Ahmadi
Location: Livermore, CA
Blog Name: Mike Ahmadi's Gastronomic Musings
WHB Entry Post: Nature's Way to Health
Herb: Fresh Medicinal Herbs
Mike differentiates for us herbs vs. spices and writes a very informative post highlighting the medicinal properties of several herbs easily grown fresh in California, and ends with how to make a healing herbal infusion.


Name: Haalo
Location: Australia
Blog Name: Cook (Almost) Anything at Least Once
WHB Entry Post: Fesenjen - Chicken in Pomegranate and Walnut Sauce
Herb: Bay Leaf
Haalo accents the Bay Leaf in this luscious Persian recipe for Fesenjen. She puts a twist on it by cooking it in a slow cooker, and highlights the debate over fresh vs. dried bay leaves.


Location: Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, USA
Blog Name: Sidewalk Shoes
WHB Entry Post: Grilled Lemongrass Beef
Herb: Lemongrass
When you have LOTS of one thing, and need to find inventive ways to use it, herbs definitely come to the rescue as Pam shows us with this delicious looking dish.


Name: Jeanne
Location: London, UK
Blog Name: CookSister!
WHB Entry Post: Curly Kale Risotto for Winter's Last Gasp
Herb: Kale
As winter blows back at you, which it seems to be doing in many locations of the northern hemisphere, make some comfort food! And Jeanne finds that kale risotto is just the nutritious pick-me-up for that unexpected spot of cold weather.

stuffed onions

Name: Ivy
Location: Athens, Greece
Blog Name: Kopiaste.. to Greek Hospitality
WHB Entry Post: Kremmydia Gemista
Herb: Onions
There are many more herbs than just onions in this recipe for 'stuffed onions', and lots of step by step photos. Everything you need for success is written here. And they look delicious!


Name: Kalyn
Location: Utah
Blog Name: Kalyn's Kitchen
WHB Entry Post: Sauteed Escarole with Parmesan and Pine Nuts
Herb: Escarole
The originator of this event, and also an author at Blogher, Kalyn participates in this Weekend Herb Blogging with a post not just highlighting, but cataloging several sources of information on the bitter herb, escarole.


TS and JS
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Blog Name: [eating club] vancouver
WHB Entry Post: Atsara (Green Papaya Pickle)
Herb: Green Papaya
TS and JS give us a great pictoral demonstration of how to make these simple, yet exotic pickles. Included are great ideas of what to serve Atsara with.

brussels sprouts small

Name: Jerry
Location: Ontario, Canada
Blog Name: Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants
WHB Entry Post: Roast Lemon and Pepper Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan
Herb: Brussels Sprouts
Jerry gives us NO EXCUSE not to love Brussels sprouts. Cook them right (and he tells you how) and these will soon be on your short list.

sauteed brussels sprouts

Name: Nate and Annie
Location: San Jose, CA
Blog Name: House of Annie
WHB Entry Post: Easy Sautéed Brussels Sprouts Recipe
Herb: Brussels Sprouts
Nate describes Annie's cooking technique for Brussels Sprouts and how to avoid that nasty sulfur smell. The description and photos will have you making these very simply and avoiding all the pitfalls of this nutritious vegetable.


Name: Bird's Eye View
Location: India
Blog Name: Food and Laughter
WHB Entry Post: Stuffed Mushrooms
Herb: Mushrooms
In this post a very creative person with a basket full of mushrooms, creates a dish out of an herb she's never liked! And it becomes her new favorite appetizer!


Name: Anna
Location: Sydney, Australia
Blog Name: Morsels & Musings
WHB Entry Post: Blackberry Breakfast Cake
Herb: Blackberries
Anna (the other one) gives us a lovely story in introduction of a healthy blackberry treat, and gives us no excuse not to have it for breakfast!


Name: Jude
Location: Chicago, IL
Blog Name: Apple Pie, Patis, and Pâté
WHB Entry Post: Cremini Mushroom Toast
Herb: Cremini Mushrooms
A simple, yet delicious use of a flavorful mushroom, and use up some stale bread. Just what is needed in these recessionary times.


Name: Katie
Location: Haslett, Michigan USA
Blog Name: Eat This.
WHB Entry Post: Kookoo Sabzi (Perisan Herb Frittata)
Herb: Parsley
Persian is a popular cusine this week, and I agree with Katie, it may be related to the fact that Persian New Year so recently started. She describes her relationship with parsley, and how it was overcome by this dish.


Name: LK
Location: Singapore
Blog Name: Food For Tots
WHB Entry Post: Steamed Lady Fingers with Chili Shrimp Sauce
Herb: Okra
Wow, does LK make a case for eating more okra! And she meticulously instructs us on how to make it so even those who don't like this healing herb will venture to eat it, and like it!

Name: Cinzia
Location: Bardolino, Lake of Garda, Italy
Blog Name: Cindystar
WHB Entry Post: Pate Gustoso
Herb: Borlotti beans
Cinzia uses several herbs to make this a dish where all are guessing about the main ingredient. I know what I'll be making for my next party.

inlagda rödbetor

Location: Valsorda, Lake of Garda, Italy
Blog Name: Brii's Blog in English
WHB Entry Post: Pickled Red Beets
Herb: Red Beets
These pickled red beets look so easy to make, and delicious with a special spice adding to the flavor. Check this cheerful and informative post out!

whb_ginger milk

Location: Vancouver, Canada
Blog Name: Kits Chow
WHB Entry Post: Ginger Milk
Herb: Ginger
There is an ingredient in this lovely pudding which just cannot be substituted. Look to the post for details and ethnicity of this lovely entry.

Broccoli Flower - Mint Salad

Location: Mill Valley, CA
Blog Name: Anna's Cool Finds
WHB Entry Post: Timing is Everything!
Herb: Broccoli Flowers
And I almost forgot to post mine in the summary! It's about turning a near gardening disaster into something delicious!

Well that's it for this week's Weekend Herb Blogging. Be sure to visit Ivy's site Kopiaste.. to Greek Hospitality for next week's round up! Many thanks to those who participated this week.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Food for the mind and the tummy

The Depot Cafe

Although The Depot Cafe in Mill Valley has been a favorite hang out of mine for a long time, and it has been some time since my last visit. The Depot is in the heart, and some might say IS the heart of Mill Valley. A former rail station converted to bookstore and cafe, it's a hub of activity on the weekends, and you may think you've come to a dog show there are so many handsome ones prancing about. The back of the building opens out into the square and there are tables where you can sit and watch the activity.

Quiche of the Day

The Depot Cafe has a simple menu, and everything I've had here has promptly come out to the pick up area in good order. I ordered the "Quiche of the Day", which contained green beans, broccoli, mushrooms, bell peppers and carrots. It was accompanied by a fresh spring salad. It was light and delicious and I'll have to keep it in mind for enjoying again for lunch again soon. This is also a great spot to meet people. Hang out with a book and coffee until you friends arrive!

Restaurant Inspection Results
Critical: 1
Noncritical: 1
Last inspected: 3/12/2009

Find address/phone number/directions on Anna's Map.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Timing is everything

Broccoli Flowers with a view

Today I have an herb tale. Little did I know when I planted broccoli (for the first time) on my deck in containers last fall that this would be the outcome. I kept loving watch over it, sent it good intentions and watered it.

Broccoli February 2009

And it took ever so long to grow a small bulb of it. Everyone (at least 2 people) told me that I need to plant it in BIG pots because it gets HUGE. So I waited... and waited...

Broccoli flowering

and waited some more until AWK! I waited too long. Apparently I should have just picked it when I took the photo of that bulb! Well, not so fast. Broccoli flowers are edible!


So I picked some yellow broccoli flowers, and a sprig of mint from the pot next to it. I washed and prepped these and added a handful of mixed organic greens from my first delivery from Betty's Organics. (My lovely neighbor Jerrie and I are splitting a weekly box.)

Broccoli Flower - Mint Salad

And so the Broccoli Flower - Mint Salad was born! As well as my post for Weekend Herb Blogging this week. And this event is being hosted at Anna's Cool Finds this week. I'll be doing the recap on Sunday.

So what did these little flowers taste like? Slightly spicy and as you bite into the green stem, just like broccoli.

The nutritional value is probably like that of regular broccoli. I've heard that sprouts are actually more nutritious than the mature vegetables, I wonder if this holds true for blossoms?

This was one of the most fun salads to put together and to eat in a long time! And this must qualify as s-l-o-w food as I planted the broccoli in September.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Good direction

Sonoma Latina Grill

I stopped by the Sonoma Latina Grill in Novato for lunch, just before the crowds rolled in. The staff at the beginning of the line where you order were bouncy and friendly as well as helpful.

Burrito and Strawberry Agua Fresca

I ordered a Garden Vegetable Burrito. And at the end of the line a customer suggested I not miss the strawberry agua fresca, and that was good advice!

Unwrapping the burrito

I had a little difficulty getting the items on the burrito that I wanted. The background fan was VERY noisy, and there was glass right in front of the counter that was sound blocking. Although I told the woman adding the final touches that I would like 'everything' on it, I noticed that she skipped the lettuce. And indeed she neither heard me or saw my hand motions and my burrito came sans lettuce.

Garden Vegetable Burrito

The young man at the cash register promptly gave me a plate rather than the wire basket when I asked. I was afraid, and was right, that it was too sloppy with liquid inside to try to eat from a wire basket. With that freshly made tortilla, and local, organic vegetables it was very healthy, and it tasted good as well. This is a very noisy environment, so not a good place to take those who have issues hearing, or who want to have a conversation during the meal.

Restaurant Inspection Results
Critical: 2
Noncritical: 2
Last inspected: 3/20/2009

Find address/phone number/directions on Anna's Map.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Chinese Heaven


I returned after a someone long absence to visit Shangri-la Vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco, with friend and fellow Marin food blogger, Catherine of Albion Cooks. Shangri-la is not only a mostly vegan restaurant, it is also certified kosher.

Mongolian "Beef"

Catherine and I immersed ourselves in the extensive menu, and looked up to decide that we'd just have to order a feast there were so many things we'd like to try, and take home leftovers. The first dish to come out was Mongolian "Beef", with a taste and texture startlingly close to the real thing. It was one of our favorites of the evening.


I pointed out the rather medicinal sounding group on the first page, which had letter/number combination rather than dish names. B4 is supposed to provide 'mental clarity' among other things. I liked it better than Catherine who thought it tasted rather floral.

Brown/Red Rice

We had some brown/red rice to accompany the dishes.

Lemon "Chicken"

The Lemon "Chicken" came out next. The 'chicken' meat was softer that the others in this dish.

Lotus Fruit, carrots, snow peas

Although the menu said Lotus "Fruit", I belive the main ingredient in this dish is Lotus Root. The lotus root was mixed with carrots and snow peas and tasted delightful.

Vegetable Chow Mein

The Vegetable Chow Mein was the other standout dish of the evening. The savory noodles were mixed with a variety of vegetables in a nice proportion. Catherine and I enjoyed ourselves throughly and I'm not going to wait so long until the next visit.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mint-Rose Tea

Rose - Mint Tea

I seem to go a little wild in ethnic food stores. As some of you may remember, I enjoy blending my own herbal (and regular) teas from scratch, and I love tea!

Package of rose buds

When I was at the Jasmine Market in San Rafael, I spied this bag of dried rose buds, and it was all over.

Fresh dried rose buds

So I measured some out in a sake cup.

Fresh dried mint

And I measured some peppermint out in a sake cup as well. I put both into a strainer in a tea pot and steeped the mixture in hot water. It came out as the first picture, a light flavor with a predominantly mint taste, yet had a hint of roses.

Last night I tried another experiment using a large pot to make tea with whole hibiscus flowers, the rose buds, and mint. It was a light pink pleasant drink that tasted a lot like Wu Wei Tea. However, Wu Wei is made from Wu Wei-zi which is Schizandra Berry, a red berry with medicinal properties. I enjoyed my concoction just as well.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Guess who's hosting?

I have the privilege of hosting Weekend Herb Blogging #176 which starts today! If you'd like to participate, Cook (Almost) Anything At Least Once has the rules. I'll be posting the wrap up here on Sunday evening (29th), or Monday (30th).