Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Oakley Community Gardens and Farm

Slow Food Delta Diablo has just agreed to sponsor an amazing new garden project in Oakley!

The group of residents who are spearheading this effort are full of energy and ideas and we expect good things to come from them.  They have worked hard to get where they are with the City of Oakley agreeing to  let them cultivate a good sized piece of property.

Now, they are looking for volunteers to help go to the next level.  If you are interested in urban agriculture, building community or are looking for something positive to give back to neighbors, let us know.

Friday, March 29, 2013

We Made Marmalade!

The marmalade workshop on March 23rd was a success! 
Everyone who attended brought an empty jar and went home with a full one.  We made a beautiful blood orange marmalade.  Attendees learned the process of marmalade making from start to finish, including sterilizing and processing jars, preparing fruits, quantities and choices of sugar, cooking time, testing for doneness and canning and sealing jars. 

                                                               Fruit was donated by Anna Chan, The Lemon Lady.   We used blood oranges and thick skinned sour lemons.
This was a hands-on experience.  Participants learned what equipment and materials are needed, how to adapt common kitchen equipment for preparation of any kind of marmalade.  We also covered how to cut and cook the fruit, how much sugar to add and how to tell when the marmalade is ready to jar.  Then, everyone filled and capped a jar.
While the marmalade was cooking, we had a marmalade tasting.  We opened jars of lime, lemon, Meyer lemon, three fruit, sour orange, pink grapefruit and white grapefruit marmalades.  Textures and flavors were compared and discussed to gain an understanding of the differences in fruits and cooking times, which fruits need extra cooking to reduce bitterness and the effect on flavor of cooking time and stiffness of the finished product.  
 At the end of the day, when all the jars were processed and sealed, everyone took home their jar of blood orange marmalade and enough fruit to make at least one more batch of marmalade.  Three recipes were shared and are available on request. Everyone who attended is encouraged to send notes about your experience and photos of your marmalade for posting.   

Friday, March 1, 2013

Marmalade Making Workshop

Join Gail Wadsworth for a free marmalade making workshop on Saturday, March 23 from 2- 5 pm. Come with an empty 8 ounce canning jar and go home with a jar of marmalade.  You will learn how to sterilize jars, prepare fruit and make marmalade at home.  Fruit has been harvested and donated by Anna Chan, The Lemon Lady.  

For more details and to sign up for this limited space workshop, email

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Slide Show of Delta Diablo

New Leadership in a New Year

Slow Food Delta Diablo is under new leadership.

We welcome Shelley Somersett as our new Chair of the Head Table.  We need more new leaders to propel us into the next phase of our chapter.  If you want to determine what activities our chapter hosts this year, join up!

You can leave a message here if you want to volunteer.  There are a lot of you out there with good ideas and lots of energy and that's just what we need.  Help us fill these chairs.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Farm to Table at Home: Kitchen Table Talk #3

July's Kitchen Table Talk was all about preparing delicious meals with produce from the farmers' market or CSA box.  Chef Lesley Stiles demonstrated two easy and tasty salads.  The dinner was hosted by author Yvonne Prinz.

We discussed some of our favorite ways to use fresh produce and ate a locally sourced meal full of wonderful fruits and vegetables.

Recipes for Lesley's salads are below.

Sweet and Sour Tomatoes
2 pounds of assorted heirloom tomatoes, seeded and cut into chunks
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
2 tablespoons of chopped, fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons of honey
¼ cup of seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoon spice mixture (recipe follows) or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon ground cumin

Put tomatoes, green onions and cilantro in a bowl and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a sauce pan. Add spice mixture and heat until bubbly, about 2 minutes.
Slowly add honey and rice vinegar. Cook for 3 more minutes or until a little thick and gooey.
Pour mixture over tomatoes, cilantro and green onions. Season with salt and let sit for about 5 minutes before using.

Spice Mixture
½ teaspoon cardamom pods 
2 teaspoons fenugreek 
½ teaspoon coriander seeds 
4 cinnamon sticks, crushed 
2 star anise 
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds 
3 tablespoons of cumin seed 

Place all spices in a dry, non stick sauté pan.
Turn temperature to medium high heat and toast the spices until the seeds begin to pop and the pan is lightly smoking. This should be extremely fragrant at this point. Do not burn the spices. Remove from heat and let cool. Grind all together in a coffee grinder. Store in a tightly covered jar in a dark place.

Mushrooms w/ Lemon and Parmesan
2 pound fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
Juice and peel of 2 lemons
½ bunch Italian parsley, chopped fine
½ pound of parmesan reggiano
2 tablespoons good olive oil
Kosher salt

Mix mushrooms, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and peel, olive oil and salt in a bowl. Shave parmesan on top w/ a vegetable peeler. Serves 4 to 6.
Watermelon, Basil and Feta Salad w/ Balsamic Vinegar This may sound nuts as a salad but you have to try it to taste how luscious basil and watermelon can be together. Adding the feta and balsamic even out the sweet, sour, bitter and salty flavors.

One small watermelon will make enough salad for 10 to 12 people so you can double the recipe for a crowd.
½ of a small watermelon, peeled and cubed
20 basil leaves, sliced thinly
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt

Toss watermelon and basil in a bowl. Mix in vinegar and olive oil and lightly toss. Mix in feta and season with salt. Serves 6.

Water melon is also great in smoothies. You can freeze it and use as the ice so as not to water down the flavor. Same goes for strawberries and pineapple too. Put a cup of yogurt into a blender. It can be vanilla or plain. Add about a cup of cut up watermelon and a few whole strawberries. To make it a little sweeter, add a tablespoon of your favorite jam. Add about a ¼ cup of orange juice and blend it up. This will make about 3 cups of smoothie. Jamba juice eat your heart out!
Lesley Stiles

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Health Benefits of Eating and Gardening Organically

"We know that eating and gardening organically are healthy for our bodies and our gardens.  But what are the other health benefits?  I'd like to suggest a few and then we can discuss what other benefits come to mind as the evening progresses."  Thus our discussion at the Slow Food Delta Diablo Kitchen Table Talk on June 27th started at the prompt of farmer Kristie Knoll.  She went on, "I believe everything is interconnected.  There is nothing we can do that doesn't affect at least one other thing.  I'd like us to look at the benefits to all when we choose to eat organically.  Obviously, we benefit.  But how do others benefit?  How does the Earth benefit?  What about the environment?  Everything we do can be equated to the ripples on a pond after a rock is tossed in the water.  Those ripples just keep going and going and going...."

Following this introduction, the attendees proceeded to have a lively discussion of how eating and gardening organically reaches beyond ourselves to the world at large.  Not only did we discuss organics, but biodiversity in our food system and how it has been diminished by corporate control.  We pondered the future of the planet for our kids and their kids and those beyond the immediate generations.

This was a very informative and thoughtful evening as we all enjoyed deliciously prepared food and drinks.  Some recipes are below.

Zucchini Carpaccio (from Shelley Somersett)
4-6 medium Zucchini thinly sliced spread on a platter
4 Tbsp Olive Oil shaken with 1 1/2 tbsp Meyer Lemon juice drizzle over Zuchini 
Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shaved or grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese 
Top with 1/4 - 1/3 C fresh mint cut in very thin strips
Serve immediately

Green Salad with Beets (from Lucy Meinhardt)
Mixed salad greens
Cooked and marinated beets (red, golden, Chioggia or a mixture)
Goat cheese in small pieces
Chopped roasted walnuts

Preparation of beets
Beets are best roasted or steamed as soon as possible after they are harvested to preserve the sugars. I prefer trimming the beets and wrapping them in foil, then baking them in a 375 oven until tender.

Peels will slip right off the cooled cooked beets.  Slice the beets into a container and dress with vinaigrette (see below); refrigerate until use. They will keep this way for a week.

Prepare salad greens as you normally do for the size salad you want. Toss with vinaigrette. Top with thinly sliced red onions, beets, chunks of goat cheese, and chopped roasted walnuts.

Garlic, 1 clove coarsely chopped
Balsamic vinegar, ¼ cup
Mustard, 1 tsp.
Pepper, ¼ tsp or to taste
Paprika, ¼ tsp or to taste
Tarragon, pinch
Mix the above ingredients together then add:
Olive oil, ¼ cup
Canola oil, ¼ cup
Shake well and serve; will keep several weeks in fridge.

Easy way to roast walnuts (or any nut): place nuts in a microwave safe container; microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave again for 30 seconds. Stir. Taste or smell and continue until the nuts are just right.

Crustless Quiche with Beet Greens and Brie (from Amy Erez)
12 eggs
½ c. goat milk
½ c. brie, in small pieces
½  c. asiago, grated
½ c. parmesan, grated
2 bunches fresh beet greens or red chard, chopped
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
10 oz. mushrooms, white or crimini, roughly chopped
½ c. fresh basil, chopped
Seasalt to taste
4 Tbsp. Olive oil

Sauté onions and mushrooms in 2 Tbsp. olive oil until golden. Add greens to pan and sauté until wilted and lightly cooked. Salt as desired. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 350.  

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a large bowl with the goat milk. Add cheeses and basil and stir thoroughly. When vegetables are cooled, mix into egg and cheese combo.

Oil 9 x 14 inch pyrex baking pan with 2 Tbsp. olive oil.  Pour quiche batter into pan and bake for 40 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature. 
This is a great appetizer or serve with bread and a salad for a full meal. ©Amy Erez 2012

Layered Enchiladas (from Maryann Kachur)
In a casserole dish layer enchilada sauce, a layer of corn tortillas, grated sharp cheese and about 20-25 chopped fresh green chilies (any variety) seeds and all.  Add another layer of corn tortillas and pour enchilada sauce over all to fill casserole dish.

Top with olives, chopped green onions or more cheese.  Bake covered for 45 minutes at 375-400 degrees.

When my garden has squash, I will chop that up and add it too.  If you can make your own enchilada sauce from cooked down chilies or tomatillos, it's even better.

Greek Zucchini Fritters (from Gail Wadsworth)
By Martha Rose Shulman
2 pounds large zucchini, trimmed and grated on the wide holes of a grater or food processor
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as fennel, dill, mint, parsley 
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 cup fresh or dry breadcrumbs, more as necessary
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup crumbled feta
All-purpose flour as needed and for dredging
Olive oil for frying

Salt the zucchini generously and leave to drain in a colander for one hour, tossing and squeezing the zucchini from time to time. Take up handfuls of zucchini, and squeeze out all of the moisture. Alternately, wrap in a clean dish towel, and squeeze out the water by twisting at both ends.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and add the shredded zucchini, herbs, cumin, bread crumbs, salt and pepper to taste and feta. Mix together well. Take up a small handful of the mixture; if it presses neatly into a patty, it is the right consistency. If it seems wet, add more breadcrumbs or a few tablespoons of all-purpose flour. When the mixture has the right consistency, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour or longer.

Heat 1 inch of olive oil in a large frying pan until rippling, or at about 275 degrees. Meanwhile, take up heaped tablespoons of the zucchini mixture, and form balls or patties. Lightly dredge in flour.

When the oil is very hot, add the patties in batches to the pan. Fry until golden brown, turning once with a spider or slotted spoon. Remove from the oil, and drain briefly on a rack. Serve with plain Greek style yogurt if desired.

Gluten-free Vanilla Cornbread (from Jan Enderle, pictured above)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease and prepare a 9-inch cake pan by lining it with parchment paper.
Whisk together:
1 C certified gluten-free corn meal
3/4 C sorghum flour
1/2 C tapioca or potato starch (not potato flour!)
1C organic light brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1&1/2 tsp baking powder
1 round tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp xanthan gum

Add in and stir:
2 organic free-range eggs or 1 TBS Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 1/4 C warm water
1/2 C plus 2 TBS light olive oil
1 C very warm water
1 TBS bourbon vanilla extract

Beat by hand until a smooth batter is formed, about 1 minute.  Add up to 2 extra TBS of warm water if needed, to thin.  The batter should be like thick cake or muffin batter but not too stiff.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.  Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes, until firm to the touch in the center.  Here at sea level it baked in 30 minutes.  A wooden pick inserted into the centered emerged dry.

Place the pan on a wire rack and allow the cornbread to rest 15 minutes before cutting.  This helps to keep the slices from crumbling.  Cut with a very sharp knife.