Category Archives: Going Green and Sustainable

What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 22

Meaty ribs and Malbec are a pairing made in heaven.
Meaty ribs and Malbec are a pairing made in heaven.

2019 Secret Ingredient Malbec

Years ago, I remember reading an article in a wine magazine that mentioned how sommeliers could always spot an industry person dining in their restaurant: The tell was that they were the ones who were likely to order the Gruner Veltliner or Malbec on the wine list.

In a world where so many people stick to Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, these two varietals definitely deserve a whole lot more love.

As someone married to a man whose nickname is Meat Boy for his carnivore leanings, Malbec has truly become a favorite in our household.

So, when I received a sample of the 2019 Secret Ingredient Malbec ($70), my husband was all too happy to fire up the smoker for a batch of beef ribs to accompany them. And it proved a perfect pairing.

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Celebrate with Roast Duck with Quince & Brussels Sprouts

A celebratory roast duck with quince, potatoes and Brussels sprouts to get the holiday season started.
A celebratory roast duck with quince, potatoes and Brussels sprouts to get the holiday season started.

And just like that, we’re into the holiday season again.

Not quite ready for it? Me, neither.

But this grand looking “Roast Duck with Quince & Brussels Sprouts (and Potatoes)” will surely put you in a festive mood.

This simple recipe is from “Pipers Farm The Sustainable Meat Cookbook” (Kyle), of which I received a review copy.

Family-owned in Devon in southwest England, Pipers Farm was founded more than 30 years ago and adheres to regenerative farming techniques to raise native breeds that are grass-fed and free-range. It also now works with 40 small-scale farms in the area.

The cookbook was written by Abby Allen, who operates Pipers Farm, and Rachel Lovell, a food writer who has worked with the farm for years.

While this is a cookbook with plenty of carnivore recipes, Allen’s intent is to get you to eat meat more wisely by supporting family farms that raise animals the right way. She also encourages you to eat less of it, making every bit count by choosing quality over quantity; and to not waste anything, even offering up detailed recipes to make fortifying chicken and beef stocks, as well as one to use up off-cuts in “Haggis.”

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late: Santana Row Farmers Market

Behold the Roli Roti chicken and potatoes.
Behold the Roli Roti chicken and potatoes.

It’s not big, but it’s mighty — as in good.

That’s what the farmers market at San Jose’s Santana Row is — all one block of it on the main drag between Olin Avenue and Olsen Drive), with vendors on both sides plying fresh produce, flowers, and gourmet prepared foods.

The market, Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., is seasonal. So, if you want to check it out, you have until the end of this month before it’s gone until next year.

Because it’s an evening market, it’s an ideal place to pick up dinner or the fixings for it. Just follow your nose to find the Roli Roti truck parked in the center of the Row with spinning rotisseries packed with whole chickens and sides of ribs.

Just be warned that on a hot day before sunset, this truck is parked in full sun with heat radiating off the rotisseries, so bring a hat and a cool drink as you wait in line, as there almost always is one.

The Roli Roti rotisserie.
The Roli Roti rotisserie.
The farmers market on the Row.
The farmers market on the Row.

Who can blame people for flocking here when the rosemary-flecked chicken is so juicy, bronzed, and succulent that you barely need a knife. A whole chicken ($15.50) gets wrapped up hot off the rotisserie, ensuring it will still be warm by the time you dive into it at home.

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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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