Wednesday, March 31, 2010

food preservation classes, workshops & events APRIL and MAY 2010

lots happening for those interested in food preserving, canning, eco-lectures and sales! this is what is happening for April and May:

*April 11th, 2-5PM: Jam Session @ The Road Less Traveled Store
*April 17th, 10AM-2pm: Lecture on Sustainability in the Textile Industry @ CSUF Social Justice Summit
*April 18th, 1:30-3:30PM: Fermentation 2: Vinegar, Tonics and Yogurt (Taught by Chef Ernest Miller!)
*April 22nd, 6:30-9:30PM: Pickles and Relish @ Irvine Fine Arts Center
*April 23rd, 1-3PM: Organic-Start to Finish: Food Preservation Lecture @ South Coast Plaza Home Garden Show
*April24th-25th: Unique LA Gift Show
*April 25th, 3-6PM: Foraged Foods @ The Road Less Traveled Store
*May 1st, 11-2: Working with Chilies @ Road Less Traveled Store
*May 8th, 2-5PM: Pickles and Relish @ The Road Less Traveled Store
*May 15th, 11-1PM: Fermentation 1-Kraut, Kimichi and other Old School Foods @ The Road Less Traveled Store
*May 16th, 9-1PM: Hollywood Farmers' Market Citrus Demo (w/ Chef Ernest Miller)
*May 21st 7-9PM: Food Preservation for Drinkers @ {open} books
*May 20th, 6:30-9:30: Savory Spreads @ Irvine Fine Arts Center
*May 23rd: Jam Session @ Urban Craft Center (FARMERS' MARKET TOUR INCLUDED)
*May 29th, 1-4PM: Summertime Food Preservation @ The Road Less Traveled Store
*May 30th, 11-5PM: PaTcHwOrK Arts & Crafts Fair, Santa Ana
*June 6th, 11-5PM: PaTcHwOrK Arts & Crafts Fair, Long Beach

there should be a few other classes up in the next week or so-call or email me if you are interested!

root cellar update

Unfortunately i was pretty sick during the holidays, my root cellar was a victim in catching-up.
This past weekend i made the most of the good daylight and worked on my scary root cellar.

This place has obviously been deserted for YEARS and there were a number of dust bunnies, webs and other dirty clean-me-ups....also found a few beer cans, so at least someone had used it for good times
Most cellars are probably a lot bigger than what we have, and that is totally understandable...So Cal doesnt need to save that much for the winter-as many know our winters are more like cool sunny days...yes a little rain and frost, but that is more for the nightly news if it is even close to what COLD means in the rest of the country.
But i have plans for this here cellar-i have the tiniest apartment and i really want to use whatever storage i have for for things needing rest, or for food items that i wont use that often.

(LOTS of cleaning to do!)

(The main storage room, not too big but enough to work with)

The photo above is of the small storage room-this is the main area i want to work with. It has a few hooks on the ceiling and a cement shelf that will be the main holding shelf. My plan is to clean the cement and walls (they are actually old doors!), vacuum the floors and ceiling and install a few more hooks in the ceiling in addition to a few smaller shelves around the space. i am also going to try to figure out how to get some lighting in there, b/c it is pretty dark!

Some of the things i want to store:
  • flavored booze: just made loquat n' honey, lemoncello and pepper vodka...wont be needing them for a few weeks at the most!
  • New Mexico pepper mixes: Gustavo, got me some amazing dried peppers from all over least 6 in various sizes...too much for a kitchen pantry
  • vinegar: my "creations" have been sitting under my sink for WAY to long and are getting in the way of laundry detergent and trash bags!
  • dried herbs and salt mixtures: i have been drying extra herbs that we have been getting in our CSA-usually dill is traded in and we end up with several bunches a week. I end up drying these in the closet and now have a large jar full of it. i also have 3 large jars of spicy salt that i need to store.
I am going to make this my Monday morning work and i will post my progress in a few weeks.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

renegade onions now in my tummy

(with a little cleaning...)

(cleaned up and ready to eat for chopping!)

i dont know if they are in the soil already, for sure a few have been "transplants" that i placed lovingly in various pots at the bottom of our stairs but we have onions! it is crazy, they seem to be in each of the plants i have at the bottom of the stairs, anywhere from 1 to 3 onions in a pot!
over the past 6 months, i have started to see little green shoots poke out and just this past week i have waited until i saw some of them look strong and much bigger (especially after the rain!). i have started growing garlic recently by simply planting garlic that had green shoots popping out (which are a little bitter if you cook them).

(one of the strong sprouts that we harvested-growing in our passion fruit pot)

(random pot that i also planted garlic that sprouted in the kitchen)

  • 1-2 # mushrooms (i did a mix of crimini and white)
  • olive oil
  • salt (or spicy salt)
  • handful of onions sliced, green parts and all
  • 1/4 c.white wine vinegar
  • 1-3 cloves garlic, sliced
wash and trim the mushrooms, if they are a little big chop them in 1/2.
in a large pan, add olive oil and saute the garlic for a minute, add the mushrooms cooking for another 5 min. add the onions and the vinegar and salt and place a lid on it and simmer for 10-15 minutes....SUPER GOOD!

Monday, March 29, 2010

new friends, old friends and KCRW's Good Food??

(not edible, but really pretty!)

(Joel explaining the wonderful world of wild plants to Eddie and Harriet)

About a month ago, we had an amazing class at the store called Foraged Foods: identification and preparation. Naturalist and friend Joel Robinson foraged foods from our local wild places and i taught a cooking class with these tasty ingredients....i have to admit, this was an awesome class for not only Joel and i, but it has also caught the attention of some other big foodies in Southern California.
Just this past Thursday, Joel was interviewed by beloved KCRW foodie show Good Food for our class and he gave an in-depth tour and tasting of wild Santa Ana to new friends Eddie Lin and Harriet Ells...i got to cameo a little demo on making a wild salad too!!

(wild radish-SUPER beautiful and very fragrant)

Throughout Joel's tour of our parking lot, Park Santiago and the Santiago neighborhood, i not only got a much needed break from the day-to-day "store-life" that i am usually consumed in but i was able to appreciate the beauty and wonder that is literally within block of my is so easy to forget the wonder of nature around you when you are constantly working.
But even more, i really cherished that i could take a few moments from my day and have an adventure with friends: 1 whom i have been trying to do a walk/spend time with (Joel) and two new friends whom i shared a child-like experience of wonder and amazement in finding new treasures to eat! as i sit here and write, i am thankful that my little store has allowed me the opportunity to know such amazing people...i love how the world works!

here are some images from our adventure:

(we demoed this wild green in a salad)

(Black Sage right outside the entrance to Park Santiago)

(loquats! right outside a church in the Santiago neighborhood)

(recording in the church yard-lots quieter!)

our next Foraged Foods class will be on April 25, we also do a Wild Weeds Walk around Santa Ana with Caroline Colesworthy every 3rd Saturday of the month

Thursday, March 25, 2010

i think it is time for a new display

it's March and i have just about run out of excuses for the x-mas lights in the least in the same theme that i had back in December.
when i was in my first few years of business, i was super excited and motivated to do displays and rearrange stuff. in the beginning, Rachel Hulan of Path Design was my mentor in merch, and i would simply sit and watch her figure stuff out and work her magic (PS if you ever get the chance to watch a professional do displays, i very highly RECOMMEND doing so, very fascinating!). After that, i took lessons that i learned from her and researched other ideas, both in person and on-line and used what i liked from each and tried to put something together (of course it took me 10xs longer).
Now that i am in my 4th year of business, displays although fun, are not part of the monthly routine anymore...i just can't spend all that time doing it-as a result i try to do my displays every 2-3 months, more mimicking the seasons.

(yeah can you feel it is time to mix it up a bit?..yes i am tired!)

Back to it's March, not December. i little bit ago i posted about DIY garlands, i really wanted to do something like that in the store as either a display of some kind. i looked at a few ideas on Etsy and then one day on Facebook, i saw crafter Cathy of California posted a gorgeous display that she did using the same technique...i think i am finding out my new display theme...

This past weekend, Corissa cut out numerous circles and sewed them together in long strands from leftover paper from flyers in bright colors attached with string.

(Corissa says that it reminds her of 1st grade)

Every dilemma with the store and displays: making 2 window cohesive and an interior piece or display that relates to what is happening to the windows (or what is happening in the season)...basically 3 displays that are all a little different but somewhat the same...easy right??

(second window-same idea, different take)

The paper garlands worked out great. the first window, which i have crappy images of (not seen here), is a springtime scene with a bike and some awesome Nikki McClure posters depicting "ditch the bike" images and of course garlands. the other window...more garlands with huge scissors made from an old cardboard box from the new couches we have in the store. the center piece?? a HUGE chandelier-type creation made from extra long garlands and leftovers.... super springy and totally cheap and easy to make...we have already had a number of people using the idea to decorate...go for it!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

CSA cooking: passion fruit limeade

basket inventory: red chard, big handful of chives, red carrots, celery, sprouts, broccoli, limes, oranges, blood oranges, limes, lemons, lettuce, passion fruit

so at my stint at the Hollywood Farmers' Market, we have come to love this Peruvian booth for amazing breakfasts, but also great juices that for a 24oz cup, costs only $3...i know and it tastes SUPER GOOD! only thing is we can only have it once a month...which leads to making this at home! this is my own take on this yummy drink.

  • passion fruit
  • lime juice
  • water
  • agave nectar
  • ice
passion fruit is best when the fruit is wrinkled, this is when the fruit is sweetest. cut the fruits in half, scoop out the seeds and yummy orange parts and put in a pitcher. add anywhere from the same amount to double the amount of lime juice. add water and sweeten with agave until it is how you like it...add more water if you think it is too strong.
add ice, or we added champs last night for a unique take on the mimosa!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

CSA cooking: simple tomato pasta

basket inventory: small bunch of chard, kale, parsley, quince, navel oranges, mandarins, limes, lemons, lot of carrots, radishes, 2 kind of lettuce, macadamia nuts, field greens, cilantro, celery

yes i watch Food Network. i do have some issues (no me gusta Emeril, why are they doing a contest to see who is the next Iron Chef?? no Ramsay and no vegetarian shows) but catch myself watching it from time to time (i do like Chopped!).
This morning i was watching Giada when i realized that she had this simple and yummy pasta recipe that would go perfect with at least a few of the carrots we got from the basket...i didnt have some of the ingredients form the original recipe so i made some modifications.

EASY TOMATO PASTA (modified from Giada's recipe)
  • 1# pasta
  • olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 large onion in thin slices
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • s & p, chili flakes (optional), lime juice (?) and/or SPIKE
  • fresh basil, finely sliced
  • 1/2-1 tiny can tomato paste
  • parm cheese
cook the pasta until it is just about finished, drain- but reserve AT LEAST 2c. water (i actually just fill a 4c. measuring cup, b/c really you never know)
in a large saucepan: oil, onions and garlic, soften. add the carrots and salt (unlike Giada, i wait to put pepper in) and cook a little more until everything is soft and the onion bits have a little bit of golden color. add the tom paste and the pasta water, a cup at a time until you have the sauce consistency that you like (and that will cover all of the pasta!)-dont throw out the pasta water until you are about to serve, it might get thick and you will need more of it. Turn down the heat, add seasoning/chili and taste until you like it (i even add lime juice b/c i like tart!). toss the pasta and add the basil until it everything is well mixed.
place in a large serving bowl and add the cheese (or have it on the side, some people dont like it-crazy i know).

Monday, March 8, 2010

a food-filled adventurous weekend & canning demo at the Hollywood Farmers' market

(we got a pumpkin for $4!)

(our demo table at the Hollywood Farmers' Market)

this weekend again was packed with a number of adventures, new people and friends...unfortunately i am now several days behind work...but i have to admit it will be worth the 20 hour days i will have to pull this week.

(spicy crickets anyone??)

On Saturday, our store hosted the inaugural signing for Eddie Lin's book Extreme Foods. for those unfamiliar with food writer (and Good Food contributor), Lin, we his the author of the popular blog Deep End Dining-a blog dedicated to eating the bizarre, strange and unusual in cuisine. on-hand were crickets, jellyfish sandwiches and nopales (cactus) for fans to try out while listening to Lin and his hilarious stories...Eddie is a great guy and we have a combined interested in wild foods...

(Eddie's daughters LOVED the cardboard house!)

(the crowd for his book signing)

during the event, i had the pleasure of meeting several other food writers including Todd and Diane of White and Rice Couple (BTW an AWESOME, yummy food/photography blog-i already made the beet green/goat cheese dish...)-we have couldnt stop talking to each other about food & gardening-i am sure we will be seeing each other soon!

Later that evening, we stopped by Lisa's house and had a great dinner with her and our friends August and Jack. August made this amazing flourless chocolate cake, that for someone who is not too crazy about chocolate, i had 2 servings of (hint-hint August, i need the recipe).

unfortunately though, we had to leave early as i had to prepare for Hollywood the next day, and this time it was going to be a a little different- a live canning demo in the middle of the market!

This would be the first time that Ernest and i would do a canning demo together-the people at the market were great in setting us up with chairs, a tent and a KILLER stove that could do basically everything that we needed. There was a great crowd of enthusiastic future food preserves ready to watch Ernest make pickled asparagus and my curried carrots.

(Ernest and i working together making pickled carrots)

(for the curried carrot recipe-check PreserveNation blog)

While at the market, we also met up with one of the Ladies from Chicks with Knives Sustainable Supper Club-i have been wanting to go to one of their dinners for a while-i think this is a sign that we should!
We also saw Adriana from Anarchy in the Garden and her husband, they came to check out the demo, but we were already finished :( they also wanted to check out the Vegan Soul Food stand too.
I also saw Natalie Portman at the Farmers Kitchen-she can in for 2 seconds..very quite and tiny!

Then, right when we were about to finish packing, we saw my old-friends Ayshea and Robin, just back from their wedding festivities in Mexico! Ayshea and Robin were the friends that we had the tomato canning extravaganza with during the summer (PS planning more!), we shopped together and then had lunch at the Farmers' Kitchen. Then we headed back home to feverishly catch up on all the work that needed to be done during the weekend while watching the Oscars with Jack and August...boy and am i tired!

(my take on White and Rice's beets with goat cheese-GOOD)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Farmers' Market sighting contest- March

I was very surprised to see this A-list actress on Oscar Day at the market...but wait she wasn't nominated this year, so i guess she decided either to not attend or put in the work of many other people attending. Was not surprised to see her at the market though, she is vocal about some of her food choices.

You have until tuesday evening to post the answer-the correct guess gets a preserve.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ed Begley and....Delilah Snell ????

well kind of.
for the past 3 years, i have had the honor of presenting at the Spring Garden Show at South Coast Plaza. the peeps at the show have really made an effort to show more green-minded people/topics and they have been super great...have to admit-it is pretty cool b/c i think other than Ed Begley, i think we are the only people who are not in the garden/design industry. i must be doing something right, b/c not only did they ask me back-but they want me to do another topic!

this year, i will be doing the following lecture:

Food Preservation-Making Food Last Longer After Harvesting

Delilah Snell, owner of The Road Less Traveled Store, a locally-based certified green business and Master Food Preserver will demonstrate the various methods of making food last longer after harvesting. Learn about the history of food preservation, cultural significance and how it celebrates flavor and tradition. Tasting samples will also be available as well.

if you are not sick of me already, come by (i might be wearing one of those microphone headsets-i hope not!). I will be speaking on Friday, April 23rd from 2:30-3:30.

Friday, March 5, 2010

i have got some really great customers

i have been saying this for a while- i love my customers. i have probably had 1 bad experience in the 4 years i have been in business, the rest have been incredible people who have been loyal to this little store and have helped to spread the word. many of them have come to be my friends and simply stop by to say hello or to let me know about things that would interest me...they just care!
one customer Jane, has been coming in for a while and is not only a big fan of Backyard Bees Honey, but is also a prolific preserver-every time she comes in we swap stories of what we made/what we want to make/trading...
a while ago she loaned me a book on eating snails, as you know i am planning to do this (VERY soon actually) and while having my adventures in long beach, found myself a copy of it at {open}...
just today at the store, while having coffee with a friend, in comes Jane with a bottle in one hand and kumquats in the other...Jane's been busy...

(the gift next to my new book from {open} on wine making!)
first: she came in with a gorgeous bag of kumquats, thank goodness! i had already ran out with the vodka recipe and marmalade that i already canned...looks like more booze is on the way!

she also came in with a somethin'-somethin' special...a homemade orange liquor made from citrus, juice, honey and everclear! homes knows how to start a party!
i was totally intrigued and when a few hours later, another fave customer Bonnie (you will see a post about her soon)...came in i told her about Jane's nectar. first thing she said was, "well, let's taste it!" so we sat there, in the shop sampling Jane's nectar...AND WOW!
again, i love my customers and the fact that they know how to appreciate a fine drink.
thank you Jane!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

the story of hanging out in Long Beach

earlier this week, i was in long beach doing a number of things with several of the new friends i have met over the past year who are doing some amazing things:

In the AM:
met some of the folks of Downtown LB to discuss the possibility of having our indie-craft fair in the Arts area...seems like a good fit and it naturally compliments the urban-type scenery that we have in Santa Ana...lots of old buildings and an eagerness of seems like it could fit.
This in no way would happen however without the work of community-movers-and-shakers We Love Long Beach. Founded and ran by Scott and his sister Robin Jones, this duo and their supporters, volunteers and board are truly making Long Beach a better place by connecting people and building a strong community...something that we need here in Santa Ana (hint-hint, wink-wink!). i have to admit that while sitting there talking of our ideas and ideals for making our homes/neighborhoods/community a better place i could not help but be inspired and so grateful for meeting each other...

For lunch:
i met with Robin and Scott part 2 and with another stellar LB person Adriana, founder of Anarchy In the Garden who is a woman on mission: to promote the world of gardening, punk-rock style...what were the 4 of us talking about?? Creating a Community Food Day for Long Beach. That's right- celebrating education, growing, community and the spirit that food can only bring for the masses! More to come on that...

(Adriana workin' her garden magic at last year's Patchwork Show in Long Beach)

In the afternoon:

I have heard of {open} and had been wanting to pay a visit, but as any small business owner knows, saying and "doing" are 2 totally different concepts-there is NEVER enough hours in the day nor days in the year that can allow you the time to do and meet who you want. at Patchwork LB, i made it a point to visit with the {open} peeps and what i found was a like-minded, spirited woman co-owner, Se' Reed who i immediately jelled with (pun!). After playing email tag for what seemed forever, we were finally able to meet and was able to visit this Long Beach fave destination-LOVED IT! this is truly a destination if you are in the area!

(an old-school {open} sign)

(se' talkin' books in the attic)
what did we talk about??? besides finding out that Se' and i have a cr*p-load in common and talking feverishly like old friends that had 2 hours to catch-up on 10 years lost, we also want to do few favorite classes in the LB at her space: and Foraged Foods and Preservation for Drinkers...excited about both of these events!!! below are some images from my visit.

(who would have thought i would find this treasure!)

(a fave for both of us-VONNEGUT- long live Cat's Cradle!!!)

(LOVE the artwork and displays here..everything is so special!)

needless to say i am thankful in my budding friendship with the several people i have come to know in Long many great and fruitful endeavors! ...MORE TO COME!!!!

CSA cooking: curried carrot soup

basket inventory: radish, red leaf lettuce, celery, passion fruit, avos, kumquats, limes, blood oranges, mandarins, tangelos, beets, carrots, cilantro, mint, rosemary

i just recently started making this Curried Carrot Pickle that has been a real hit. i decided to make a soup inspired by the pickle b/c what better way to go through 2 large bunches of carrots but with a soup! this version is vegan, but you can swap out the coconut milk for regular milk/soy/etc...

  • 2 bunches of carrots (at least 8 of them)-roughly chopped
  • celery-2-4 ribs (or non if you are not info celery)-roughly chopped
  • 1-2 onions-roughly chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 tbsp curry powder
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 6 c. broth or water
  • can of coconut milk/cream/milk/soy
  • salt and pepper, lime juice??
  • olive oil
in a saucepan, heat onions and garlic, cook until soft. add carrots and celery and keep cooking on med heat until the onions are golden brown, about to caramelize (you want everything to be REALLY SOFT). add the spices and cook for another 5 min. add the broth and cook a little more, turn off heat.
get the blender out and in small batches, blend the soup up until it is creamy. add back to pot, crank up the heat and add the cream/milk. taste and season with s, p and juice until you like it.
also good with a scoop of rice in it.
PS i didn't take a pix of the finished product-we ate it all before i could remember too!

Monday, March 1, 2010

adventures with foraged foods

this past weekend, friend and naturalist Joel Robinson and I collaborated on our first Wild Edibles class at the store. Joel was responsible for the foraging and identification portion of the class and i discussed the preparation and made more of the time consuming items.
Hosting a class like this takes a lot of prep time before the students even come in-Joel spends hours foraging for certain plants, not only for identification, but in a quantity that can allow me to make a meal. on my end, i have to research recipes, prepare goods (aka the acorns!) and sample items before we actually make them.

(just a few of the items Joel harvested)

(Deb stopped by to visit and we put her to work smashing acorns!)

i have always wanted to know about foraged and wild foods personally-which is why i had contacted Joel for the class...but i really didn't know how other people would respond to eating acorns, chickweed, wild mustard and artichoke stalks-would people be interested in something like this?
the answer was an overwhelming YES...we had a terrific group of people who not only samples every item Joel brought but had a great time making their lunch (which by the way was terrific!). i even experimented in making a white sage jelly which turned out incredible (you will be seeing this available very soon). below are a few photos of the class.

(preparing salad greens: these ladies were having a blast!)

(another prep station-toasting red peppercorns to flavor some of our dishes)

(just a few of the items that we feasted on-everything was great!)

the event went so well that we have already scheduled another workshop for April 25th and are looking for a few more locations to teach-let me know if you want us to do one with you!