Sunday, April 25, 2010

Alice at Lost and Found

There she was at the end of a table strewn with fava beans.  Alice... Waters a name that evokes so many wonderful things. Goddess of Edible Education.  Founder of the Chez Panisse Foundation a national movement dedicated to changing the way children eat, educating them about gardening, cooking and learning about food in public schools.

She was here to sign copies of her new book "In the Green Kitchen Techniques to Learn by Heart."  Proceeds of which benefit the Chez Panisse Foundation and on this day were to also go to The Larchmont Charter.

The book came from a Slow Food Nation event in San Fransico where an assortment of food lover's converged.  Different chef's were invited to demonstrate simple basic techniques.  

I had pre-ordered several copies and couldn't resist a peek: Beautiful pictures, hmmm...feeling hungry...I got in line to meet her.

                                                                   Alice Waters

 Greeting each person with sincerity and a lovely smile.  Listening, and taking the time to converse before inscribing a very personal note on the inside cover of each book
When it was my turn, I was almost speechless, but of course somehow found the words to express how inspiring she is, what I was doing and how much Violet loves Fanny at Chez Panisse.  A book her daughter wrote some years back.  She asked to hear more about Violet and decided to include her in the inscription in our book.

At the other end of the table sat James Birch of Flora Bella farms in Three River's.  Another name that personifies botany.  I recognized him immediately having just read about him on the Harvest to Heat website As well as being a longtime regular at the Hollywood Farmer's Market he is an educator, organic farmer growing some of the most incredibly delicious organic produce around which is served at Mozza,AOC, and AXE to name a few.  There he sat with a bushel of his gorgeous fava beans shelling and chatting.  His kind eye's got me.  I started asking questions about what to do with my abundant crop of borage. He was very informative.  So much so I harvested about 20 lbs of it today and plan to take it to Forage in Silverlake.

James Birch of Flora Bella Farms

Elated and wishing for more,but a bit tongue tied. Perhaps for the first time in my life.   I ventured next door and succumbed to several gorgeous things in Lost and Found.  

What a day.

Monday, April 19, 2010


 I was recently on one of my bi-weekly jaunts to Lost and Found having a gab with proprietor Jamie Rosenthal, creative force and visionary of the 5 store fronts on Yucca in Hollywood.  She asked me how my gardening was going and let me know Alice was coming..
"Alice who?" I asked quiet naively.  "Alice Waters" she said looking at me questionably.
to which I replied " What? When? Why?" and finally " Where?"
So, the goddess of revolutionary school lunches and one of my all time hero's will be at Lost and Found Saturday April 24th from 2-5pm.   With her new book In the Green Kitchen.

I'm going... are you ?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I am so proud of my friend Tracy.  Her book " I Love You and I'm Leaving You Anyway" came out on Tuesday.  Tonight I am going to hear her read at Barnes and Noble at the Grove 7pm.  So looking forward to it.

I'm not going to say much more than GO GET IT NOW!!!
She is a fantastic writer with a really good story to tell.  So what are you waiting for?
 Go!  I am....
OH! While your at it check out Tracy's website
Or, better yet as my friend Lisa Borgnes suggested go right to the Amazon source

Monday, April 12, 2010

Oh Fern...

Do you remember the fiddleheads?  The lovely green spirals we purchased at the Embarcadero last weekend.  Young tender unfurled fern shoots..

The trouble is that I although I love food, I am very cautious about eating things from the wild.  After careful research I found that this delicacy is also not to be prepared at random.  Cautionary tales of ill prepared fiddleheads and food borne illness haunted me as I researched.  It was everywhere.
The ferns apparently contain a toxin, which John assures me we would have to eat daily buckets full to be affected by.  Non the less, I wanted to be alive to tell of how these were to taste. They were so lovely and promised such a delightful textural, flavorful experience.  John had absolutely no fear and was ready to pickle and eat them parboiled as Mario says to do.   They must be boiled for 10 minutes, not sit in boiled liquid as the recipe states, I insisted to John.

I had been in search of gabbagol as Tony Soprano refers to it- or Capocollo as it is properly called.  After several attempts to order it at Whole Foods, we finally found it at The Roma Italian Deli on Lake in Altadena.
I was so charmed by the old Italian man behind the deli counter sitting amongst mountains of fresh baked breads and cookies I had a hard time remembering what I was there for.  I bought a pound of the meat and left astonished  only $12 later with two different kinds of cookies and the gabbagol.

The makings sat for several days and finally on Sunday the beautiful little salad of dandelion greens, capocollo and pickled ferns was presented to me.  Almost too beautiful to eat.
camera out the beauty must be captured.

 I first tried a fern.   My lips puckered salivary glands shriveled.   I chewed.  The texture was georgous, with hints of the anaise from the pickling.  But, it wasn't great.   I persevered...trying not to lizard spit. "try it with some gabbagol and greens, really it's the whole mouthful that is the experience."  Not convinced I ate carefully and draped the bologna like gabbagol in to the children's mouths.
Next time I will try to fiddleheads minus the pickles, very thinly sliced capocollo I expect them to have a taste closer to asparagus.

Just talking about this had made my mouth water with sourness...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lions Mane Mushroom

It looks like a tribble or a sea sponge from under the sea.  We found it displayed proudly in a market in San Francisco along side fiddlehead ferns, king trumpets, and ramps.  

Saute' with a touch of butter, olive oil, some minced shallot and garlic et voila!  The most scrumptious delicacy I might have ever tasted.  A cross between lobster and hmmm... lobster.

To Be Continued......