Monday, October 13, 2008


At - Please visit and bookmark that site for more foodie goodness.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Local Food Movement Invigorating Local Economies

The New York Times ran a nice story about "Uniting Around Food to Save an Ailing Town" in Vermont.

"...young artisans and agricultural entrepreneurs are expanding aggressively, reaching out to investors and working together to create a collective strength never before seen in this seedbed of Yankee individualism."

Much like La Cocina in San Francisco, the Vermont Food Venture Center provides assistance to the new food companies. Perhaps, this trend of gastropreneurism will sweep the nation as have farmer's markets. And Foodzie arrives just in time as the perfect marketing outlet.

Vermont is also home to the locally focused Farmer's Diner, which I also first learned about through the New York Times.

Small state, great big dreams!

Friday, October 3, 2008

New York Bargain Eats: Sahadi International Market

A giant flashing spider surrounding oils and sauces forces me to say: "If the economy has you SPOOOKED" but you can't give up the tasty life, make your way to Sahadi's Specialty and Fine Foods in Brooklyn.

First, I'll admit Sahadi's certainly is not my "discovery." The store has been around for many decades. And in fact my sister got me hooked. But it IS hidden to many people who don't live in Brooklyn. At least, until the Food Network airs its program featuring Sahadi, which they were filming when I was there.

My friend always laughs at the big bag I invariably bring back to her place, until she tastes the tabouli, zatar (Arabic bread coated with olive oil and a spice mixture including tangy sumac, sesame, thyme, and other spices), stuffed breads, and kibbe--a delicious meat, wheat and pine nut ball that happens to be as common in Brazil as bread. Arrive around lunch or take out for dinner.

Head down to the Promenade for your picnic.

Favorite Things to Buy

If you'll be taking a trip home, stock up on food for the voyage. Huge variety of spices, nuts, bulk candies, cheeses, olives, peanut crunch, coffee (starting around $4.95/lb), chocolates. Blocks of Guittard chocolate go for around $4/lb, great for nuking and mixing with your new load of nuts to make bark or clusters. Bags of organic lollipops for $1.25 were another nice find.

If you're checking your luggage and don't have a good international market near you, make sure to comb through each shelf for interesting oils. Even Margaret Palca sells rugelach (my favorite New York indulgence) at Sahadi, at a good price. OK it's embarrassing to admit but I even knew the price was lower than the bakery price.

Getting to Sahadi

(Directions) From Manhattan, take the 4 or 5 trains, or whichever makes sense, to Borough Hall, or another nearby stop.

You might want to check out the Syrian bakery next door. Atlantic Ave. is a hotbed of Syrian stores, which you don't see much on the West coast especially.

Note about buying online: The coffee is the real bargain.

How to Be a Good Customer
You'll find a helpful, cheery staff. Take a number for help with the olives and other bulk items. Know what you want before your number is called. It's fast and furious--and fun.

PS - Of course Zabar's rules as well, especially for their vast cheese selection.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Citron Cooking and Learning With Slow Food

Subscribe to this blog or come back soon to find videos, recipes and more links related to citrons!

The Aqua Terra Slow Food convivium held a fun two-hour citron extravaganza at the June Taylor Still-Room in Berkeley.

We Learned
Through the magic of video and speakerphone, we learned all about citrons (esrogs) from the only large commercial grower in the US, John Kirkpatrick.

John grows five varieties of citrons, which have various characteristics such as differences in the peel, number of seeds, and proportion of pulp:

Temoni (originally from Yemin), Buddha's Hand, Halperin, Kivelovitz, Braveman, Chazon Ish
The foam "bedding" keeps the citrons free from blemishes.

We Ate and Drank
Several of us brought the results of our citron cooking experiments, made with citrons received in advance:
  • Preserved citrons - Based on a preserved lemons recipe from the Apple Farm.
  • Citron marmalade - Made with 2 entire fruits
  • Citron candy - Made by June Taylor. Visit the Ferry Building farmer's market soon and you might be able to find a bag of this delicious chewy candy.
  • Hangar One Buddha's Hand vodka kindly donated by St. George Spirits, who call John a "marvelous human being."
  • Candied Citrons and Citron Syrup which I made, simply by putting equal parts sugar and water in a pan with sliced fruit and letting it reduce. But when I left the fruit in the syrup, the syrup ultimately became very bitter. In my first go around when I poured the syrup out right away, it was delicious (especially in a citron-jito with mint!)
  • Citron Curd (like lemon curd) - This was everyone's favorite.
  • Citrons in Sugar, from an 1830 cook book, where slices layered with sugar extract the little juice there is.

Click to see the big Victorian Sponge Cake recipe. Heavenly butteriness.

We Had Fun!

Delicious Citroncello recipe was based on this limoncello recipe.

Where to Get Citrons

After the Sukkot celebration in October, the price of citrons will come down. You can find them at the Monterey Market and Berkeley Bowl in Berkeley, CA as well as various specialty markets around the US (although I'm not sure where).

A Fig Obsession

In honor of my relatively new-found love of figs (which drove me to sneak to the backyard at a party to gather figs), I'm excited at the new address for this blog:

Why nuttyfig?

Well, is there anything better then lightly toasted walnuts smashed into a nearly dry fig? Simple, lovingly produced ingredients crafted into the best foods on earth. That's what this blog is about. The symbolic fig perfectly expresses the passion I exude for good food. And my nuttiness for nuts - hazel, walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, macs, etc etc etc

NPR recently wrote and podcasted a nice article Perfection Is A Fresh Fig, along with a few good recipes. It reports that sales of fresh figs have increased by 30 percent each year for the past five years!

If you hated figs growing up as I did, try some not-too-dry figs with cheese, nuts, and/or chocolate. Maybe you'll find you're a fig nut too!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Up to Her Ears in Tomatoes

To-ma-tohs that is.

If there's one thing we all loved at the citron event it was June Taylor's old fashioned tomato ketchup. Sweet, with a little bite.

Now at the end of tomato season, June gets her workout cooking down large vats of deep red, flavorful organic tomatoes into various canned delights.

(More soon on the event!)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ferry Plaza - Meet Juniper Ridge "Western Wild Goods"

Saturday September 27 I'll look forward to chatting with Juniper Ridge, makers of deliciously scented soaps, delicate incense, and more - "wildcrafted from the mountains and deserts of the west."

They're one of few non-food companies at the San Francisco Ferry Building farmer's market (That's tea in the pic.)

If you're in town come and "Meet the Producer" from 10:30-11am.