Category Archives: Going Green and Sustainable

Breakfast Is Served At Abbey Road Farm — And How!

Karaage fried chicken and cornmeal waffle, part of the five-course breakfast at Abbey Road Farm.
Karaage fried chicken and cornmeal waffle, part of the five-course breakfast at Abbey Road Farm.

On a road trip to Oregon last week, I ate very casually and exceedingly well.

But by far, my most memorable and breathtaking meals came surprisingly at breakfast — sitting on a screened-in porch on a farm where I slept overnight in a converted grain silo.

You don’t typically expect a five-course, gourmet spread like this in such rustic surroundings. Sure, the herbs for the meal are hand-picked from the property’s culinary garden, the honey harvested from its own hives, and the eggs courtesy of its own chickens. But you’ll also find on the premises a chef who goes the extra mile to make his own cherry blossom syrup, garum (Italian fish sauce) and shio koji (Japanese fermented grain marinade) — all used to great effect in breakfast.

When I was invited to stay as a guest at the 82-acre Abbey Road Farm in the town of Carlton in Oregon’s Wine Country, its web site promised “one of the best breakfasts in Oregon.”

That was no hyperbole. Because Chef Will Preisch more than delivered on that.

The culinary garden at the farm.
The culinary garden at the farm.
Purple artichokes grown in the garden.
Purple artichokes grown in the garden.

Preisch, who grew up in Cleveland where his dad ran a 24-hour diner, is a bona fide fine-dining chef with serious chops.

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Watermelon Seeds — Not Just For Spitting

Forca Foods wants you to energize with watermelon seeds.
Forca Foods wants you to energize with watermelon seeds.

If all you’ve ever done with watermelon seeds is pile them off to the side of a plate or spit them with gusto to see how far they’d fly, Forca Foods wants to convince you to do something entirely different: Eat them.

Its Forca Foods Energy Bites are made from watermelon seeds. In fact, they’re the first of only five ingredients used to make these one-bite cubes. The other ingredients are dates, oats, maple syrup, and fruit or coffee, depending on the variety.

Company Founder Guilherme Maia Silva studied plant sciences at the University of California at Davis, where he wondered why we were making snacks out of such water-intensive crops and ingredients as almonds, walnuts, and dairy. It’s a question that’s only gotten more attention now that California is in yet another year of deep drought.

So, a year ago, he launched his snack that’s centered around watermelon seeds, which, he says, use 94 percent less water than pistachios, 78 percent less water than almonds, and 11 percent less water than dairy. Not only that, watermelon seeds also contain iron, zinc, magnesium, and potassium.

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Sponsored Post: Smack Your Lips Over Sweet and Savory Artisan Products From Clif Family

Whether for brunch or a midday snack, Clif Family Solar Grown Honey Spreads, Organic Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almonds, and Rosemary Roasted Almonds & Pistachios, make for a perfect pick-me-up.
Whether for brunch or a midday snack, Clif Family Solar Grown Honey Spreads, Organic Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almonds, and Rosemary Roasted Almonds & Pistachios, make for a perfect pick-me-up.

A myriad of honeys certainly abound on supermarket shelves. But Clif Family Solar Grown Honey Spreads definitely stand out. Not only do they pack a wallop of flavor, but they are made with honey specifically harvested from bee hives located on or around pollinator-friendly solar farms.

It’s a concerted effort to encourage both clean energy and biodiversity. After all, flowering meadows planted under solar farms not only create cooler microclimates that improve energy efficiency, but foster thriving beneficial insect populations.

Talk about a sweet win-win.

I had a chance to try samples of three different Solar Grown Honey Spreads ($10 for a 5.5-ounce jar), each smooth, creamy, and thick enough to slather on most anything with a knife.

Clif Family Solar Grown Honey Spreads come in both sweet and spicy varieties.
Clif Family Solar Grown Honey Spreads come in both sweet and spicy varieties.

For added oomph, they are blended with spices sourced from Burlap & Barrel, a public benefit corporation that partners with small farmers to improve their livelihoods.

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What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 19

A rosé that delivers on much more than taste.
A rosé that delivers on much more than taste.

2021 Monarch Challenge North Coast Rosé

In 2016, Carlo Mondavi — yes, grandson of Robert Mondavi — created the Monarch Challenge to bring attention to the plight of the beautiful Monarch butterfly, whose population has been devastated since the advent of Roundup.

Every year since then, he and his brother Dante have produced a limited rosé through their RAEN Winery in Sebastopol to bring attention to this environmental calamity befalling this invaluable pollinator, and to inspire other like-minded vintners to do the same.

I had a chance to try a sample of this year’s 2021 Monarch Challenge North Coast Rosé ($30), sales of which will benefit the conservation organization, the Xerces Society, and Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating sick or orphaned wildlife.

Produced from RAEN Pinot Noir grapes and old-vine Grenache, all farmed organically, this pale salmon wine is an exuberant expression of strawberries and raspberries, with a hint of guava. It is crisp, tangy, and laced with minerality. It’s pure deliciousness.

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Preserved Apple Cores — Yes, It’s A Thing

Roast chicken that gets marinated in not just preserved lemons, but preserved apple cores, too.
Roast chicken that gets marinated in not just preserved lemons, but preserved apple cores, too.

Admittedly, I love all things Danish — the timeless architecture, the clean-lined furniture, and the haunting murder-mystery thrillers.

And of course, the food.

So, when a review copy of “Nordic Family Kitchen” (Prestel, 2021) landed on my porch, I found myself beyond intrigued.

The book is by Mikkel Karstad, a Danish chef who cooked for years at world-renowned Noma in Copenhagen.

The book features 73 recipes that espouse Karstad’s eco-conscious sensibilities that prize foraged, home-grown and good-for-you ingredients in dishes such as “Seaweed Flatbread with Sea Salt, Herbs, Flowers, and Olive Oil,” “Elderflower Lemonade with Herbs,” “Pickled Chanterelles with Spruce, Apple, and Shallots,” and “Rhubarb and Marzipan Cake.”

All it takes is salt -- and time -- to make preserved apple cores.
All it takes is salt — and time — to make preserved apple cores.

Now, I’ve salt-preserved lemons for years. But apple cores?

That was a new one on me.

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