This is what real wasabi looks like.
If you think that pasty blob of green garnishing your sushi platter is wasabi, think again.
The real-deal rhizome is as rare as it is pricey.
That’s why what you generally find on most sushi plates is actually a cheap concoction of horseradish, mustard and green dye, not the actual Japanese rhizome that’s extremely difficult to grow.
Nowadays, though, if you know where to look, you might find more of the real wasabi around. That’s because there’s now one grower in California cultivating it: Half Moon Bay Wasabi.
Beautiful local produce delivered right to your door with FarmBox SF.
Imagine all the fresh pickings from a farmers market — only delivered right to your door.
That’s what FarmBox SF aims to do.
The company started in Los Angeles three years ago, and just expanded to the Bay Area this summer.
It’s similar to Community Supported Agriculture, only FarmBox partners with more than 25 sustainable and organic Bay Area farms to deliver a wider selection.
Recently, I had the chance to try out a special delivery. I say “special” because FarmBox SF delivers only to San Francisco and Marin County right now, not to the South Bay yet. But Branch Manager Taylor Flohr was kind enough to make a trip out of the way to get one to me. Plans call for expanding to the East Bay next and perhaps to the Peninsula/South Bay after that.
Here’s how it normally works: You sign up and get an email on Tuesday about what’s available. You have until midnight Wednesday to make any additions or deletions to your order. On Saturday, your FarmBox arrives.
The actual box, er, basket, of goodies.
It’s actually more like a basket — a bright red one at that. You can choose what size suits your needs. You can also choose more specific baskets such as “Fruit-Only” or “Juicing” or “CrossFit Paleo.” Additionally, you can add staples such as coffee, gluten-free baked goods, jams, breads, pickles, and organic butter.
Are you a fan of the fabled Spanish Pimiento de Padron peppers?
The Russian Roulette of peppers that are sweet for the most part, but now and then one turns prickly hot and you can’t tell until you bite into it?
Then, you have farmer David Winsberg to thank for the fact that they now star on so many Bay Area menus and can be purchased easily at local farmers markets.
Winsberg’s Happy Quail Farms in East Palo Alto was believed to be the first commercial grower of this special pepper in this country.
A delightful tabbouleh made with the part of the carrot most of us just throw away.
When I buy a bunch of carrots at the farmers market and am asked if I want the long, frilly, green tops snapped off, I usually say “yes” without a second thought.
But not any more.
Thanks to food writer Tara Duggan, I’m going to hoard these from now on.
That’s because she’s taught me to use them in this wonderful version of tabbouleh that I’m now addicted to.
Her “Quinoa-Carrot Tabbouleh” is featured in her newest cookbook, “Root to Stalk Cooking” (Ten Speed Press), of which I recently received a review copy.
From now on, keep the green tops when you buy carrots.
Duggan, a long-time staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle’s Food section, has created a most noble book that implores us to stop throwing out perfectly good bits of fruits and veggies that we could be putting to delicious use instead.
Sous Chef April Matsumoto delivers fresh-made garden smoothies at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua.
When I was invited to tour the organic culinary garden at the posh Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, where I was staying courtesy of the Maui tourism bureau, I was expecting a modest plot.
Not the spacious grove of paradise that the hotel has managed to create past the swimming pools and near the auxiliary tennis courts, which will soon be torn out to enlarge the garden.
Frank the gardener, who’s a former engineer, tends the lush swath fragrant with kaffir lime and lemongrass. All manner of herbs, greens, figs and citrus grow here. Flowers are planted all around, including a shrine of orchids, the blooms of which had been discarded by guests that Frank has then brought back to life. Butterflies flutter all around, landing here and there on the many blooms.
A paradise for people and nature.
The larger of two culinary gardens, which will expand to become even larger in the future.
Guests of the resort can enjoy herb garden tours on Mondays. The highlight is when Sous Chef April Matsumoto comes bounding down the garden path with a tray of smoothies for everyone. Made with many of the home-grown goodies from the garden, that morning’s smoothie was redolent of banana, papaya, pineapple, kiwi, strawberries, kaffir lime, spinach, celery and cilantro.