Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sweet Potato, Corn and Edamame Hash

We served this dish at the Redlands Conservancy Feasting on the Farn event on Sunday and people really seemed to enjoy it. Since the event, I have had several requests for the recipe, so here it is ! For consistency in appearance and taste, rough chop all ingredients into similar sizes and shapes.

1 sweet onion, diced- rough chop (we used maui onions, but yellow onion will work)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 (or 4 small) large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 in cubes (similar to size of a kernel of corn)
1 8oz package of diced smoked ham
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 12 oz package uncooked frozen shelled edamame
1 12 oz package frozen whole kernel corn
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Saute ham and onion in hot oil in a skillet over medium heat-high heat. (I prefer to use a large cast iron skillet but a standard non-stick skillet will work). Sautee for approx 6-8 minutes or until onion is tender and ham is lightly browned. Stir in sweet potatoes, and saute for additional 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute max. Stir in edamame and remaining three ingredients. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally 10-12 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender. Add salt and pepper.

Note: To serve as a brunch item, serve over fresh bed of arugula and top with poached eggs.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Feasting on the Farm Photos !

If you haven't seen them already, please check out the wonderful photos from Sunday's Redlands Conservancy Feasting on the Farm Event on Facebook or at, (click "BLOG", "Feasting on the Farm"!! Incredible job captured well---- Thank you Mod Photography !!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Feasting on the Farm Event

Yesterday's Feasting on the Farm Event was a huge success !!! Thanks to our wonderful volunteers and sponsors, attendees really enjoyed the event. Photos will soon be posted and published @ I will also post some selected photos to this blog. Stay tuned for notifications about future events, there's definitely more to come !!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tickets Available for Redlands Conservancy Feasting on the Farm

Just found out... there are a limited number of tickets remaining for Sunday's Redlands Conservancy Feasting on the Farm Event. Cost of tickets are $60. per person or $100. per couple. Please e-mail me ( ASAP if you are interested. Visit click parties for the necklace, Feasting on the Farm- for more info. Also, see prior posts on this blog for additional info.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Redlands Conservancy Parties for the Necklace

Some of you have inquired about the Parties for the Necklace events/fundraisers. Here's some info:

Parties for the Necklace offers a variety of parties, events, and activities for the Redlands Conservancy’s supporters to enjoy. The Parties are fully underwritten by individuals, groups, or businesses, and the money raised goes to support the Redlands Conservancy’s Emerald Necklace projects and programs.

What does Parties for the Necklace support?

The Redlands Conservancy’s mission is to preserve Redlands historic built environment and conserve it’s irreplaceable natural and agricultural environment. The Conservancy’s Emerald Necklace programs concentrate on the natural and agricultural environment, including three major programs.
1. Trails- Redlands Heritage Trails Alliance and Trails at 10 Series of Trail Excursions.
2. Public Outreach and Education – Presentation at events and meetings, exhibits at events, the Annual Emerald Jubilee and the Desert Alive Program for Redlands High School Students.
3. Land and Easement Acquisition


Chuck Williams Zucchini

While working for Willams Sonoma, I ran across this recipe from the Founder of Williams Sonoma, Chuck Williams. I think this is one of the easiest and freshest ways to prepare summer zucchini. This recipe was adapted from a recipe from the Williams Sonoma book "Celebrating the Pleasures of Cooking" by Chuck Williams, Time-Life Books, 1997.

15-20 very small zucchini
Salt to taste
1/2 Lemon

Trim unpeeled zucchini and shred on a small or medium holes of a handheld shredder or grater or a fine-holed disk of a food processor.

Put the zucchini into a large saute pan, cover and place over high heat for 20 to 30 seconds. Uncover and stir, adjusting the heat as needed so the zucchini does not burn. Re-cover, let steam again for 10 to 20 seconds, then uncover and stir. Repeat until the zucchini is just heated through, it should remain crisp and green. If too much juice appears, leave off the cover to reduce liquid. The whole process should only take a few minutes.

Just before serving, add salt and squeeze of lemon. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and serve immediately.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Alice Says....

While taking a break from studying, I read some excerpts from Alice Waters' "In the Green Kitchen. Alice writes her in "Green Kitchen Manifesto:

* A garden brings life and beauty to the table.
* Buy food that is organic, local and seasonal.
* Daily cooking improves the economy of our kitchen
* Cooking and shopping for food brings rhythm and meaning to our life.
* Simple cooking techniques can be learned by heart.

I couldn't agree with you more, Alice !!!!

Farm Fresh Guacamole

This time of year, nothing beats fresh guacamole made from farm fresh avocados. To me, the best guacamole is made with avocado, onions, jalapeno, lime, salt, and cilantro. The amounts of the ingredients can vary. The important things are to taste for a balance of salt, heat, and acid to make the guacamole taste perfect !!

2-3 large ripe avocados
2-3 small juicy limes
1 jalapeno popper
4 green onions
1 tomato, optional

Halve the avocados, remove the pits, scoop out the flesh into a mortar and season with salt. Trim and slice green onions and put them in a small bowl, add salt and squeeze in the juice of 2 limes--- totally mashing the onions into the lime juice. Cut off the stem of the jalapeno, cut the pepper in half lengthwise and remove the membranes and seeds. Flatten the pepper and cut into fine dice. Mash the avocado but leave it a bit chunky. Add the onions and lime juice, along with the jalapeno (add half or whole depending upon hos hot you like it). Mix lightly. Taste and add more salt or lime juice, as desired. Chop a handful of fresh cilantro leaves and stir into guacamole. Serve with toasted tortilla chips.

This recipe for Stuffed Squash Blossoms Sounds Great!

Ran across this recipe for stuffed squash blossoms from a fellow blogger.
(Sounds good but be cautious using olive oil for deep frying. Because of the low smoke point of olive oil, you might want to use Soy Oil or Grapeseed Oil- both of these have much higher smoke points and can easily take the high heat of frying).

Menu for Feasting on the Farm...

The menu for the Redlands Conservancy Fund Raiser, Parties for the Necklace Feasting on the Farm event is currently under development. Here's some of the items I would like to serve: Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Goat Cheese, Mini Rice Sesame Cones filled with Tuna Tartare and Fresh Avocado, Mini Caprese Salads on Skewers, Roasted Beets, Navel Oranges and Goat Cheese Salad, Sweet Potato, Edamame and Corn Hash, Grilled Root Vegetables, Hand-made corn and flour tortillas, Grilled Cabrito with Spicy Tomato Salsa and Fresh Guacamole. For dessert, I propose a Fresh Berry Tart, made with locally farmed fruits, Grilled Pineapple, Nectarine, and Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream, and Chocolate dipped berries and other assorted fruits.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Summer Squash: Some of What I've Learned

Both summer and winter quashes are members of the gourd family and are native to the Americas. All summer squashes are similar in flavor. They may be shredded or cut into thin slices and eaten raw, or cooked by sautéing, stir frying, boiling, steaming or broiling. Zucchini and cookneck yellow squash can be cut into length slices, coated with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sea salt—then grilled. (a personal favorite of mine). Sliced summer squashes can battered and pan-fried or deep fried. All summer squashes can be halved, hollowed out, filled and baked--- or made into soups, stews or, perhaps most notably, ratatouille !

Squash blossoms, particularly those of zucchini, can be sautéed and used in a quesadilla, panini, pasta or soup. They can also be filled with a seasonal cheese, then battered and deep-fried. For the upcoming Redlands Conservancy Parties for the Necklace: Feasting on the Farm, I plan to serve squash blossoms stuffed with goat cheese. Stay tuned for a future recipe and more information about this ideal summertime treat!

Storing: Put summer squashes in a perforated plastic bag and keep in the crisper section of your refrigerator for up to three days. Use squash blossoms, ideally, within 24 hours.

Summer Tomatoes: Some of What I've Learned

Once feared as poisonous and then considered a possible aphrodisiac, the “love apple” now adds its vivid color and delicious flesh to innumerable dishes. Like the potato, this fruit (which is generally treated as a vegetable) is a member of the nightshade family and is native to South America.
After finally gaining acceptance as a food in Europe and the United States, tomatoes became an inextricable part of many cuisines, especially those of the Mediterranean. In Italy, they are used to make sauce for pasta, pizza, and many other dishes. Sliced tomatoes are served with fresh mozzarella, basil leaves and balsamic vinegar to make a Caprese Salad (see “Earth Day Caprese Salad” recipe on this blogspot). Other recipes that depend on tomatoes for their character include minestrone, gazpacho, ratatouille, Greek salad and tomato soup. And, of course, tomatoes are a staple of New World cuisine from the American South’s fried green tomatoes to Texas’s chili con carne, from Latin America’s salsa cruda to (a personal favorite of mine) the “BLT”: bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches.

Today’s health conscious cooks know that, far from being poisonous, the tomato is high in vitamin C and cancer-fighting antioxidants. The tomato comes in a wide range of sizes, from tiny currant tomatoes no bigger than blueberries to fat beefsteaks up to 5 inches in diameter. The colors are varied, too, from white to purple black to reddish black, with green-striped zebra tomatoes. Dedicated gardeners have traced and reintroduced a number of heirloom tomatoes. Look for heirloom tomatoes in a wide variety of colors, size and other attributes.

Storing tomatoes: Most tomatoes, if left whole, should not be stored in a refrigerator. Store ripe, uncut tomatoes at room temperature for several days and the will ripen further. Although whole fresh tomatoes should not be refrigerated, cut tomatoes should be wrapped in plastic wrap or wax paper and then refrigerated.

(Selected content provided, with permission, from On Cooking textbook, Art Institute and American Regional Cuisine textbook, Art Institute).

All About Farm Fresh Summer Corn

Some of What I’ve Learned About Summer Corn

One of the joys of summer in temperate climates is eating freshly picked sweet corn. The briefly cooked kernels are sweet and crisp—but usually need nothing more than a sprinkle of salt and pepper, along with a pat or butter! Yummy!!! The season for this golden grain, which many people erroneously consider a vegetable, is fleeting, and corn lovers anticipate it as much as they do the tomato crop. Corn, whose true name is “maize”, is one of the world’s most important crops. It is used to make oil, corn syrup, cornstarch, breakfast cereal, bread and tortillas. Popcorn, a personal favorite of mine, is also made from corn.

Storing: Keep fresh corn wrapped in its husks in a cool place, best in a cooler or refrigerator until you are ready to cook it—preferably no longer than a few days (2-3 days ideally-- 4 days max.) The natural sugar in corn begins to turn to starch the minute the ear is picked, so consume corn as soon as possible after harvest. (Another reason to buy your corn from the farmer’s market).

Monday, June 7, 2010

Grilled Corn with Chipotle Butter and Cilantro

Boiling corn leaves some of its natural sweetness behind in the water, while grilling corn intensifies its flavor. Grill the ears in the husk to steam the kernels, then peel back the husks and slather the ears with a spicy, smoky chipotle butter.
4 ears corn
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons finely minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, or more to taste
Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Prepare a moderately hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to medium-high (375° to 400°F). Carefully peel back the corn husks without removing them, then pull out and discard the threadlike silk. Replace the corn husks and tie the tips closed with kitchen twine. Soak the ears in a sinkful of cold water for 20 minutes.
Put the butter in a small bowl. Add the chile and a large pinch of salt and stir to blend. Taste and add more salt or chile, if desired.
Place the corn directly over the coals or gas flame and cover the grill. Cook for about 15 minutes, giving the ears a quarter turn every 3 to 4 minutes as the husks brown.
Transfer the corn to a platter. Snip the ends of the husks to remove the twine tie. Remove and discard the husks. While the corn is hot, slather it with the chipotle butter, then sprinkle with the cilantro. Serve immediately.

Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Add these sweet potatoes to the menu when you’re grilling pork chops or a pork tenderloin. They can cook alongside the meat and need no attention, other than an occasional turn to prevent the skin from blackening. They need to cook with the grill lid on so that the grill emulates an oven. You can use moist, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (sometimes called yams), but the Japanese varieties with pale, dry flesh are even tastier because they are not candy-sweet. Cooked this way, the drier varieties taste almost like roasted chestnuts.
4 sweet potatoes, each about 10 ounces
Unsalted butter
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Whole nutmeg, for grating
Prepare a moderate charcoal fire for indirect grilling or preheat a gas grill to medium-high (375° to 400°F). You can also grill these on a propane grill. Most importantly, be sure the grill you are using has a cover.
Prick each sweet potato in several places with a fork. Place them on the grill over heat. Cover the grill (leaving the vents open on a charcoal grill) and cook, turning occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced, 40 to 45 minutes. Do not place potatoes directly over open flame to prevent burning. Indirect heat or low flame once grill is thoroughly heated is best.
Slit each sweet potato and tuck a large nugget of butter inside. Season with salt, a couple of grinds of black pepper, and a scraping of nutmeg. Serve immediately.

Garlic Sauteed Spinach

Garlic Sauteed Spinach

**A recipe from one of my personal favorites—the famous Barefoot Contessa Ina Gartner. From her book “Family Style”. Visit for more information.

1 to 1.5 lbs spinach leaves (baby spinach will work too)
2 tbsp olive oil (use good quality olive oil)
2 tbsp chopped garlic (about 6 cloves)
2 tsp sea salt
¾ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp unsalted butter

Rinse the spinach well in cold water to make sure it's very clean. Spin it dry in a salad spinner, leaving just a little water clinging to the leaves. 

In a very large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic over medium heat for about 1 minute, but not until it's browned. Add all the spinach, the salt, and pepper to the pot, toss it with the garlic and oil, cover the pot, and cook it for 2 minutes. Uncover the pot, turn the heat on high, and cook the spinach for another minute, stirring with a wooden spoon, until all the spinach is wilted. Using a slotted spoon, lift the spinach to a serving bowl and top with the butter, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkling of sea or kosher salt. Serve hot.

Cherry Tomatoes Stuffed With Goat Cheese

For a refreshing summertime appetizer, fill bite-size cherry tomatoes, round or pear shaped, with a savory mixture of goat cheese flavored with basil. Minced tarragon or chervil can be used in place of the basil.

24 cherry tomatoes, a mixture of red and yellow
1/4 lb. fresh goat cheese (chèvre)
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Cut the top off each cherry tomato. Using a small spoon, scoop out the pulp to make a hollow yet sturdy shell. Drain off any juice that accumulates in the shells.

In a bowl, combine the cheese, basil, salt and pepper. Mix with a fork until well blended.

Using the small spoon, fill each tomato with about 1 tsp. of the cheese mixture. Arrange the filled tomatoes on a platter to serve.
Serves 4.

Grilled Chicken and Mango Kabobs

Chicken and Mango Kabobs

Note: To slice a mango, peel the fruit and then stand it up on one of its narrow edges, with the stem end pointing toward you. Using a large, sharp knife, cut down about 1 inch to one side of the stem, just grazing the side of the pit. Repeat with the other side. Place the halves, cut side down, on the cutting board and cut into cubes.

6 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Zest of 1 lime
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. sugar
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 ripe but firm mangoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, chili powder, cayenne, salt and sugar. Add the chicken and mangoes and stir gently to coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

Prepare a hot fire in a grill. (or these will work on a propane grill or indoor grilled with grilling pan on stove top)

Remove the chicken and mangoes from the marinade and thread onto metal skewers, alternating the pieces and dividing them evenly.

Arrange the skewers on the grill and cook, turning once, until the chicken is nicely charred and cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes. Transfer the skewers to a warmed platter and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Blackberry Citrus Salsa

Thinking about serving this at the Redlands Conservancy Event June 27th. (See prior posts for event information)

Blackberry-Citrus Salsa
Makes about 2 cups.
1 juice orange

1 lime (Mexican, a.k.a. Key lime, if possible)

1 cup white onion, minced

¼ cup chopped cilantro

1 stemmed yellow/orange chile manzano (black seeds removed); or 1 serrano or 1 jalapeño (unseeded), minced

1 cup coarsely mashed blackberries

½ teaspoon agave syrup or white sugar.
large pinch sea salt

Squeeze the orange and lime juices into bowl. Mix in the onion and chile. Stir in the blackberries, sweetener and salt. Taste. Add additional minced chile if desired.

Farm Fresh Spring Rolls and Hoisin Peanut Dipping Sauce

Wonderful garden fresh recipe, best with farmers market produce. Try this recipe

Farm-Fresh Spring Rolls
rice papers round, 12 in
hot water (in large bowl or pie pan)

vegetable oil (small bowl)
julienned cucumbers

shredded carrots (use cheese grater or, better yet, a microplane!)

fresh bean sprouts
rice noodles (vermicelli or thin long variety)- 1/4 lb

fresh mint-thin slices
cilantro- fine chop
basil leaves- thin slices
red cabbage- thinly sliced

Hoisin Dipping Sauce:

1 cup Hoisin sauce

½ cup water

¼ cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup diced onions

¼ cup chopped roasted peanuts

sriacha chili sauce (for garnish)
In saucepan bring hoisin, water, rice vinegar, and onions to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 6 minutes. Add water if the sauce is too thick. Take off heat and pour into dipping bowl. Garnish artfully with peanuts and sriracha sauce right before serving.
Pour hot water in a large bowl. Dip your fingers in a small bowl with veg. oil and take a rice paper and dip into the hot water bowl. Hold the round rice paper like a steering wheel and rotate the edges into the water as you dip.
Gently set wet rice paper on a cutting board. If it’s still somewhat hard let it rest so it can absorb the water. With practice you will eventually get a feel for how the rice paper works with the declining water temperature. If your water gets too cold add more hot water. Likewise if it’s too hot, let it cool off before dipping the rice paper.
Place a few mint, cilantro, or basil leaves flat in the center of the rice paper. Top with rice noodles, cucumbers, sprouts, carrots and cabbage. DO Not over stuff. Tightly roll once, then bring in the sides (like a burrito), and finish rolling until you have a nice, compact, spring roll. This takes practice, so go for it! Serve with lettuce leaves and dipping sauce. Invite guests to wrap the lettuce around the spring roll before dipping!