April 19, 2009


This is the Hobart. 'Bart for short.

He is a very strong machine, akin to a Kitchen Aid stand mixer on major anabolic steroids. He has lots of attachments, and can be used to mix big batches of dough, and to thinly slice and shred veggies that would take forever to do by hand, like root veggies and cabbage for krauts.

At first I was a little afraid of the 'bart, but really you just need to respect his power - and keep your hands away from all moving parts.

Here the 'bart is shown mixing together dates, chopped prunes, coconut butter, orange juice and zest, and a little sea salt, for the Prune Transit Bars (yes, there is a double meaning to the "transit" part of the name). He did an excellent job.

It would be fun to have a 'bart at home, although he might actually be bigger than my entire Manhattan living room/kitchen combo.

Latte Perfetto

I don't normally drink lattes - too much milk for my taste. I'm a cappuccino girl. But I made an exception at Guerilla Cafe, after seeing the barista serving up lattes in huge pastel bowls with beautifully designed foams. Everyone looked so happy sipping from their latte bowls. And it was a very good latte - made with Blue Bottle Coffee Co. espresso.

But, alas, I have not been converted. I went back to capps the next morning - they also brew an excellent cappuccino at Guerilla, although they don't seem to do the foam-art thing with them.

April 13, 2009

Strawberry tapioca pudding

Strawberries are my all-time favorite fruit; I would live on them if I could. And I have been overdosing on beautiful strawberries since arriving in Berkeley, since they are readily available at every farmers market. So I was very excited when I found out we were making strawberry tapioca pudding for dessert at the kitchen this week. And this morning I got to make the pudding in the enormous tilt skillet (then I had to clean the tilt skillet but that's another story).

Coconut milk, palm sugar, vanilla, soaked tapioca, and a little salt were cooked together till thickened, then added pureed fresh strawberries and a little lime juice. So delicious.

The top photo is of me posing with a jar of our just-made strawberry goodness, the other is of Lindsay and Alex taking the jars out of the ice bath after they cooled.

Going to Chez P in 48 hours - yay! - just had to add that in there.

Herb roasted pork shoulder

Mmmm, roasted pork shoulder. Saw this lovely little roast at the Berkeley farmers market on Saturday and decided it would make a perfect Easter dinner. After rubbing with olive oil, salt, and finely chopped rosemary and thyme, I made a few slits in the meat and inserted peeled garlic cloves. 

Roasted at 400 degrees for a little over an hour till he was nicely browned and cooked through. Delicious. Thank you Mr Piggy! 

His veggie accompaniments were also very tasty -- roasted asparagus, little beets and turnips, sauteed beet and turnip greens, steamed kale, and fava beans with mint, parsley, and garlic.

April 10, 2009

Fermentation Friday

Today was Friday, which means in the kitchen it's Special Fermentation Day. All around the kitchen are German ceramic crocks filled with various types of krauts, kimchis, and other types of fermenting vegetable mixtures. Today we made a sauerruben with turnips and rutabaga, sliced paper thin with the Hobart, Lima sea salt, brown and yellow mustard seeds, dill seeds, and ground horseradish for an extra kick. After combining all the ingredients until the veggies released lots of liquid for a nice brine, we packed them in crocks. The ruben tasted good today and will be even better in about 6 weeks when it is nicely fermented, full of probiotics and ready to eat.

Then a couple of boxes of chickens were delivered from Hoffman Farms and we butchered and froze them. More knife-skills practice.

Tomorrow the Saturday Berkeley Farmers Market! Can't wait to explore the goodies. Went to a small outdoor market yesterday and got wonderful local oranges and strawberries. I'm getting spoiled, this is the best eating town ever.

But after 6 straight days in the kitchen I am tired - it's not an easy transition from corporate drone to being on your feet and actually creating things all day.

More pics from first week at Three Stone Hearth

This week's menu included spring onion and leek risotto, southern style chicken stew, shepherd's pie with mutton and buttermilk mashed potatoes, black bean chili with beef, orange-chocolate chip cheesecake...and everything was delicious and made with the best ingredients.

Also made whole grain sourdough crackers - rolled them out using a hand-cranked pasta maker (the first photo is the cracker dough).

Three Stone lunches - sprouted mung bean salad, daikon and mustard greens pickle, curried brown rice with raisins, and braised greens. And the table set for lunch with jars of kombucha and other fermented coolers.

April 9, 2009

First week of internship at Three Stone Hearth - vats of kvass and almond granola...

April 2, 2009

Natural Gourmet School Class 161 Graduation

NGI Class 161 - Friday Night Dinner

Our Friday Night Dinner theme was Confort en Hivre (comfort in winter) - a wintry, French country meal.

Our menu:
Leek and white bean with roasted garlic, smoked paprika oil, and frizzled leeks

Watercress and radicchio salad with house-smoked chevre, candied walnuts, pear, and pomegranate       vinaigrette

Phyllo farmer's parcel filled with tofu and vegetables, bordelaise sauce, carrot-cumin mash

Deconstructed apple pie, vanilla cashew cream, ginger-pecan tuile


Time to put on a big fleece -- I am leaving for Berkeley on Saturday! This is exciting for two reasons: first, I'll be doing my internship at Three Stone Hearth, a community supported kitchen. I've been looking at their weekly menus for the last couple of years and now finally will get to work in their kitchen and learn how their business operates (and taste some of the dishes they cook!). And second, I will not be working in an office for 3 whole weeks! (How I will return to that when I get back to NY is another issue...)
And Chez P here I come! Already have a reservation for dinner on April 15th. Maybe Alice Waters will be there that night. I want to cook an egg in a big spoon in an open fire like she did on 60 minutes.
other places I want to go while in the bay area: Ferry Plaza farmers market, road trip around Marin County and Sonoma, French Laundry (don't think that's going to happen on this trip, though), boulevard restaurant in san fran, Marin farmers market...so many things to see. Someone from my Natural Gourmet class gave us a list of restaurants and cafes to try in Berkeley so there are many places to check out.