Category Archives: Fruit

Dinner on the Farm — In Sunnyvale

A friendly scarecrow stands watch at the Santa Clara Unified School District Farm.

A friendly scarecrow stands watch at the Santa Clara Unified School District Farm.

 

With new condos and tech buildings going up at a dizzying pace in Silicon Valley, it’s hard to believe that in the midst all this concrete and glass, one can actually still enjoy the bucolic experience of a dinner on a farm here.

But you can — right here in Sunnyvale at 1055 Dunford Way. At an 11-acre organic oasis owned by the Santa Clara Unified School District.

After taking over the property last year from Full Circle Farm, the district hired farmer Dave Tuttle to over see it. And how fruitful the SCUSD Farm has become. This season, 1,500 pounds of tomatoes were harvested and turned into sauce for use in lunches at the district’s 28 schools. In fact, every day, there is something featured from the farm on school menus, most notably in the salad bars.

Pumpkins galore.

Pumpkins galore.

Persimmons ripening on the tree.

Persimmons ripening on the tree.

Twenty tons of pumpkins were grown, along with 3,000 pounds of watermelon. There are persimmon, avocado, pomegranate and lemon trees thriving. Rows of fava beans, Persian cucumbers, and kabocha squash were planted. There are nine laying hens, and beehives, too.

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Jammin with Jam

A variation on the usual thumbprint cookies, and made with Jamnation jams.

A variation on the usual thumbprint cookies, and made with Jamnation jams.

 

As a Stanford University economics major, Gillian Reynolds was only too familiar with the law of supply and demand.

Now, she’s living it — supplying delicious jams that aficionados are demanding more and more of with gusto.

Reynolds is the founder of San Francisco’s Jamnation. With her brother Christopher, a trained chef, they make jam with local organic fruit, surprising flavorings and a big dose of wittiness.

Just get a load of some of the jam names: “Plum and Get It” (pluot with honeysuckle essence), “Midnight in Pearis,” (Bosc pear butter with vanilla and nutmeg), and “Cardamom Knows Zest” (Seville orange marmalade with cardamom).

Gotta love the cute names -- as well as the deliciousness inside.

Gotta love the cute names — as well as the deliciousness inside.

I had a chance to try a couple samples recently: “Rose to the Grindstone” (Arctic Star nectarines with rose essence), and “Sublemonal Message” (Meyer lemon marmalade with ginger).

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Pizza Pizza? Nope, Pizza Chicken

A one-pan chicken dish with the taste of a Margherita pizza.

A one-pan chicken dish with the taste of a Margherita pizza.

 

Close your eyes, dig a fork in, and you might just swear you were eating pizza.

But this one-skillet wonder is crust-less and carb-light.

“Pizza Chicken” does indeed have all the flavors of a Margherita pizza — mozzarella, basil and tomatoes, along with briny anchovies, capers and porky pancetta. But it’s chicken that forms its foundation.

This sure-to-be new favorite is from “Dinner: Changing the Game” (Clarkson Potter, 2017) by Melissa Clark, of which I received a review copy. I can’t say enough about this book, which is filled with delicious — and realistic — ways to get dinner on the table with little fuss.

DinnerChangingtheGame

“Pizza Chicken” cooks up in one skillet. The recipe advises to use a 10- or 12-inch one. Either the chicken thighs I bought were larger or who know’s what, but I ended up needing to use a 14-inch oven-safe skillet. So, just be aware that you might need a larger pan than called for.

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It’s Not Too Soon For Pumpkin Spice, Is It? Plus Wine Time

Perfect with coffee or tea, Donsuemor Pumpkin Spice madeleines. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

Perfect with coffee or tea, Donsuemor Pumpkin Spice madeleines. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

Pumpkin Spice Madeleines

Tender, cake-like and full of autumnal spices, Donsuemor’s Pumpkin Spice Madeleines are a sweet treat hard to resist.

Yes, you might not be ready for pumpkin spice season yet. But it is upon us in full force already. So you might as well embrace it wholeheartedly. Especially when it means indulging in cookies like these.

Donsuemor has been baking French madeleines in the East Bay since 1976.

A package of six pumpkin spice ones are about $4. Find them at Raley’s, Mollie Stone’s and other retailers.

You Know You Want A Pumpkin Spice Latte

It is indeed that time already at Starbucks. The frenzy over pumpkin spice lattes has begun.

But why slog over to Starbucks, wait in line, and fork over bucks when you can get your fix by making your own pumpkin spice latte at home for a lot less money.

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Two Treats In One: Blackberry Torta Della Nonna

Perfect little mounds grace this intriguing tart.

Perfect little mounds grace this intriguing tart.

 

How magical and intriguing is this tart?

What could possibly create all those perfect little mounds that give this Italian dessert its distinctive look?

When James Beard Award-winning Chef Alon Shaya first laid eyes on this treat in Italy while working at a salumeria-restaurant, he thought it surely must be extremely difficult to make, a laborious affair that demanded the highest precision.

He soon learned how wrong he was.

Eddy, a matronly and motherly cook who took him under her wings, learned how to make this from her mother, who learned it from her mother before her. And she gladly taught it to Shaya.

The secret to its perfect little mounds?

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