Monday, February 28, 2011


For 2011, I will offer an eggs only CSA to those who are interested. Members will be able to pick up in Oakley, Walnut Creek, Danville and Orinda.

The hens are all pastured and happy in Brentwood. Eggs are $6 a dozen and members can sign up for weekly or alternate week deliveries.

Greens and Beans

I love bitter greens with beans: white bean and rapini soup, mustard greens and garbanzos, pinto beans with lamb's quarters....I think they are a great compliment to one another. Below is a recipe I really recommend from Alice Waters.

White Bean and Wilted Greens Soup
From the book Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters
Serves 6
Cook Time 2 hours
1½ cups dried cannellini or Great Northern beans
2 medium tomatoes
1 medium yellow onion
1 small carrot
3 cloves garlic
~ Olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 small piece prosciutto, with rind, or smoked bacon
6 cups chicken stock
3 tsp. salt
1 bunch (about 1 pound) spicy greens (arugula, mustard greens, or turnip greens)

12 sage leaves and fresh Parmesan cheese for garnish

Soak the beans overnight.
Peel, seed, and chop the tomatoes. Set aside.
Peel and cut the onion and carrot into small dice; peel and chop the garlic very fine. Place the onion, carrot, and garlic in a nonreactive soup pot with some olive oil and a splash of water; cook until translucent. Add the bay leaves, drained beans, and prosciutto or bacon, and cook for a few minutes more. Add the tomatoes to the beans and stew for another minute or so.
Pour in the stock and bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 1¼ hours, stirring occasionally. Add the salt after about an hour. The beans should be fully cooked, soft but not falling apart.

Add the greens, washed and cut into 1-inch strips, and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a small frying pan. Fry the sage leaves in the oil for a few seconds, a few at a time (more than a few seconds and they’ll turn black). Drain on a paper towel or absorbent cloth.

When the soup is done, ladle it into soup bowls and serve, garnished with a few shavings of Parmesan and the fried sage leaves.

I also think that peppery greens are delicious with either sweet or astringent fruits. So, arugula with Fuyu persimmons, tangerines or Fuji apples and a light vinaigrette are a favorite of mine.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The 2011 Season has Begun

Another year of eating locally has begun. February 22 is the first day of the season. We will be getting many delicious greens, as usual for this time of year. We will have Fuji apples, Dancy tangerines, arugula, tatsoi rosettes, fava leaves, wild radish greens and stalks of green garlic.

Since it's still cold, try this recipe for
Green Garlic Soup from Chez Panisse.

1 pound green garlic (about 8 to 10 plants)
1/2 pound new potatoes
2 medium onions
1/4 pound unsalted butter
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock

Cut the garlic into thin rounds or half-circles. Unless very tough, the lower foot or so of the stem and leaves are fine to use. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Peel and chop the onions into small dice. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot, add the onions, and cook slowly until translucent and tender. Salt, and add the garlic and potatoes. Cook these together for 5 minutes, then pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook the soup until the potatoes are tender. Check the seasoning. This soup can be served rustic and chunky, or puréed.