after 2 days of marinating, curry-pickled carrots are a success!

more to come.


Dinner for two with the lovely miss Olga:

Roasted veggies and tofu, as local as I could (with the exception of the tofu,
it shouldn't be too hard to find all these ingredients grown nearby. it is
July after all!).

Preheat oven to 400 F
Slice/dice/whathaveyou all your veggies.
I used:
-1 acorn squash (save the seeds)
-5 large brussel sprouts (all I had left from the farmers market 2 weeks ago.
they keep well)
-3 carrots
-1 onion
-1 generous sprig rosemary
-10-15 fresh sage leaves

1. Toss these with oil, salt, and any other seasonings you fancy. The sugars
from the veggies should be delicious without further adulteration.

-1 package tofu (made in Berkeley)

2. Cube the tofu, coat it in spices and add it to the mix. I used paprika, salt,
thyme, and sage.

3. Bake everything for about an hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so.

And dessert:

Gluten free carrot cake with yogurt frosting and roasted acorn squash seeds

-3/4 c garfava flour
-3/4 c sorghum flour
-1/4 c brown rice flour
-1/3 c combination tapioca starch, potato starch, corn flour
-3/4 t baking soda
-pinch xanthan gum
-pinch salt
-1/2 c sugar (more to taste later)

-1 c buttermilk (adjust liquid levels as you go)
-1 egg
-6 T oil
-vanilla extract
-1 1/2 grated carrots
-small handful of dried berries. I used goji berries and incan berries
-handful sunflower seeds
-handful chocolate chunks

1. preheat oven to 325
2. mix dry ingredients thoroughly
3. mix wet ingredients and pour into dry
4. adjust liquid levels (hold back some of the buttermilk, add if you need it)
5. taste and adjust sugar level
6. pour into a greased cake pan
7. bake about 30 minutes. this one could have baked longer, but a knife came
out clean when i took it out. longer baking will take it from the consistency
of peanut-butter-stuck-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth (not unpleasant) to actual
cake. the edges of this one were delicious.

8. mix some yogurt with vanilla extract and honey for frosting

9. mix the rinsed acorn squash seeds with cinnamon and salt, and put in the
oven with the cake on a greased pan. check on them occasionally.
10. when they come out of the oven, sprinkle them with sugar or honey. use
them on top of the frosting.

(important: do not put the sugar on before you bake the seeds. especially on
a teflon pan, it's a cleanup nightmare!)

Enjoy along with a gin and tonic with slices of lemon cucumber or kirby
cucumber, chilled, with an umbrella.


the grocery store, and other stories

After a morning of reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (and I am just one
sitting away from the end now...) I went to the grocery store to see what's
what. Now, having been unemployed and therefore chock-full of free time,
I've been to this grocery store a hundred times (and I don't think that's an
exaggeration). But today was the first time I noticed the fluorescent pink
green and orange stickers that tagged the locally owned, locally grown, and
organic items, respectively.

Really Sadie?

Truth be told, I must have seen them, but they never registered in my head
except to say "Hey! I'm more expensive! You should probably just move
along." Looking at them today, I found that not only were the local products
better-looking (in the case of produce) but they were also cheaper than items
from other countries. Who knew?

Now, don't think I haven't registered that I am, in fact, living in California,
and that despite the fog it's the middle of the summer. Of course there will
be piles of beautiful local produce. But to notice, whatever time of year it is,
that, hey, all the apples are from Chile, while the pears are from a few miles
away, is a big deal to someone who has never paid it much thought. Maybe
I'll substitute pear this time around.

The rice aisle was fully stocked with locally grown brown, white, black, short
grain, long grain, sweet, sticky, and arborio rice, to name a few (the flours
were mostly locally owned but grown elsewhere in the US.), and the cheapest
brand of coconut oil they sold was produced in the US and packaged in
Berkeley. What a win!

I made out like a bandit with several types of gluten free flours, all the produce
I'll need for tonight's dinner-for-two, a bag of lemon cucumbers for pickling,
and all the organic pickling spices I could imagine using (including such things
as vanilla beans, star anise pods, and juniper berries) for an easy twenty bucks.
I've never had such a slow and contemplative grocery trip, and it was pretty


the food

With only the best intentions of using up what's in my fridge and pantry
before putting my food-buying dollars to work, I now have the following
wonderful items:

The first jar of refrigerator pickles:

ground cinnamon
cardamom pods
curry powder

heat these until fragrant and dissolved

add apple cider vinegar until it tastes like pickle juice

pour into a clean jar with 2 sliced carrots

close and refrigerate, 2 days. (Will tell you how they taste then)

Gluten free buttermilk biscuits:

(this makes 8 good-sized biscuits, which are delicious, and convincing)

1 c garbanzo flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1/4 c brown rice flour
1/4 c combination potato starch and tapioca starch
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 T sugar
caraway seeds (optional)

2-3 T coconut oil, soild
3/4-1 c buttermilk

mix the coconut oil into the flour mix until it is in crumbles. add buttermilk
until the batter is sticking to your fingers but is not liquidy.

bake at 325 for 10-15 minutes

serve with avocado and honey, or whatever else you have (pickles?)

Dried bananas:

This photo is from about an hour in. They've been going about 5 hours now,
and are almost dried. The liquid that puddles in the pan turns into an amazing
stick-in-your-teeth banana fruit leather. Try it!

next steps

A queue of projects is already developing in my world of staying local:

cheesemaking: local milk is not terribly expensive, is organic and delicious.
Rainbow grocery sells mozzarella and ricotta-making kits. mozzarella
stretches like taffy and takes under an hour to make. why the hell not??

yogurt: I posted yogurt instructions a few months ago, but laziness and
budget have stopped me from continuing to make it. Upon reevaluation, it
looks like strained yogurt is the only one that does not save you cash. a
quart of organic yogurt is comparable in price to a gallon of organic milk,
which can make a gallon of organic yogurt. It's too much yogurt for me, but
if four of us split a gallon of yogurt, that saves us all money and extra plastic.
Maybe there are some trades in order?

pickles: I have never pickled or jarred anything, and I am very intrigued.
Some cursory research has told me that it's risky to can your own higher
pH (low acidity) foods, with tomato products at the cusp of edible and full-
of-Botulism. So vinegary pickles are fair game, and sound easy. This is a
great way to both experiment with new flavor combinations, stock up your
pantry for the winter, and use up your extra produce. I'll try to find some
way to trade for or obtain slightly damaged produce as I make the farmers
market rounds on Sunday.

vinegar: Of course, there's the question of the best place to obtain gallons
of vinegar. I know of at least one apple tree that needs harvesting, and
probably would not be hard-pressed (get it?) to find more. Once you juice
the apples and add some type of brewer's yeast, you can let your vinegar
ferment for a couple months. so maybe pickles will have to wait...

dehydrated foods: Another great way to use up damaged or extra produce
is to dehydrate it. I don't own a dehydrator, but an oven works just as well.
There is a tray of bananas in my oven as I write this, with the temperature
set to "warm," which is somewhere between room temperature and 200
degrees, the oven's lowest setting. Make sure to leave a note on your stove
if you do this, so your roommates don't accidentally scald your bounty. Not
only is it a bummer, but the cleanup can be ridiculous.

I'll add photos and recipes to the project queue as they happen. Thanks for
the comments on the last post, and keep them coming!

armchair farming

Jesse has coined the term "armchair farming" for my most recently
developed habit: reading about other peoples' local eating experiments.
Well let me tell you, the back-breaking work that is armchair farming
has made me notice many an inefficient thing, from Himalayan Rice to
too-cheap meals to non-recyclable packaging.

Done with Novella Carpenter's Farm City, I am currently reading
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It's a memoir of
her family's year-long quest to only eat local foods. The book is chock-
full of factoids and statistics, recipes and simple suggestions to improve
the mileage of your foods (it's something like 87 fuel calories to transport
1 calorie worth of rice, for example.).

Of course, this brings up all sorts of questions of morality, practicality
and feasibility. Should I avoid eating overripe bananas that are going to
waste? How can I afford to eat local foods when I am underemployed?
And while there are many farmers markets in my city, if there are none
today, and I am out of produce, what then?

Of course I don't know the answers, not that I believe there are answers.
On the way home I bought a bunch of bruised bananas to dehydrate for
making my own fruit-and-nut bars, plus a couple of cans of coconut milk
just for kicks. I did avoid buying the things I can purchase locally: peaches,
plums, tomatoes, berries (all things that are 3-5 times cheaper down the
block than they will be at the farmers market, but lacking in quality).

So where does this leave me? I am still using food that traveled fairly far
(coconut milk from Thailand and bananas from Ecuador) but I am using
them for foods that will either save transport and packaging (homemade
nut bars versus buying Larabars or Clif bars) or that will keep my food
dairy-free, avoiding using the ultra-pasteurized non-organic milk that
is in my budget.

Is it a start? Sure.


lunch for one

Herb frittata with feta cheese

1/2 kohlrabi bulb, thinly sliced
2 eggs
small block of feta cheese (I used a Bulgarian sheep's milk feta, it's cheap,
and delicious)
5 sage leaves
1/4 small rosemary sprig


1. fry the kohlrabi in oil until browned. I added a little bit of aminos for some
salt. set aside.

2. mix the remaining ingredients together in a bowl, and pour into a hot frying

3. spread to coat the bottom of the pan and let it sit over a medium-low flame
until the top is almost cooked.

4. flip and turn off flame, just to sizzle the top slightly.

5. flip again, add plain yogurt, kohlrabi, and sauerkraut, fold over and serve.

gluten free mocha chip cookies

1/4 c each:

garfava flour
corn flour
sweet rice flour
tapioca starch

1/2 c each:

sorghum flour
amaranth flour

1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon
1 T ground decaf coffee
1 T cocoa powder
pinch salt
pinch xanthan gum

1 egg
1/2 c oil or butter, melted or creamed
1/3-1/2 c sugar or agave nectar (you may have to adjust liquid content,
I used brewed coffee)

chocolate chips

1. mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, adjust liquid and
sugar levels until you get a dough that holds together well and isn't too

2. make into 1" spheres

3. dust each sphere with a mix of sugar, salt, cinnamon and cocoa powder

4. spread on a baking sheet and flatten with your fingers or the tines
of a fork

5. bake at 375 for 12 minutes

let cool before devouring. (These ones will be dipped in melted chocolate
and put on wax paper to cool in the freezer)

Some changes I would make:

2 eggs instead of one
more chocolate chunks
brown sugar instead of demarara

next time.


back to the world of panoramas

I took my new 12 x 24.5 sketchpad to Village Market, this lovely grocery
store and cafe near my house, to see what would happen.

Watercolor is coming, sit tight.


gluten free bread pudding

Okay, I manned up and MEASURED things, for once, just to see what would happen.

Gluten-free Bread Pudding

-1/2 c garfava
-1/2 c teff
-1/4 c brown rice
-1/4 c sweet rice
-1/8 c potato starch
-pinch of xanthan gum

-pinch of salt
-1/2 c sugar
-1 banana
-1 egg
-1 c buttermilk
-1/2 applesauce
-1/4 c olive oil
-1 T vanilla extract

-4 fresh figs, cut into pieces
-chopped ginger
-juice from 1 meyer lemon
-spoonful of honey

1. mix the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until well combined (you can't overmix because there is no gluten, so go stir crazy).
2. add chopped figs and ginger
3. pour into a loaf pan and top with walnuts
4. bake at 325 for--get this--80 minutes!
5. while baking, mix lemon juice with honey until honey dissolves (i used some hot water too). pour the lemon mix on top of the cake about 40 minutes in. if there is more, do it again 20 minutes later.
6. let cool completely before removing from pan and serving

Mmmmm, gooey fig cake. Serve with unsweetened yogurt, it's delicious.


food and brain food

3 gluten-free recipes and a brainstorm:

if you have the time to read through these, please comment with your favorite
of these ideas. next week we'll start focusing in on a few to implement.

the food:

gluten-free sweet potato gnocchi:

-sweet potatoes, boiled, peeled
-gluten free flour mix: potato starch, garfava flour, sorghum flour (i ran out of
these and ended up using Bob's Red MIll all purpose GF flour, did the trick,
but I think it is made of the above blend, plus rice, or something)
-1 egg

1. mash potatoes very well. I ended up putting them in the blender to make sure
the texture was okay (last gnocchi batch I just used a potato masher, this batch
was infinitely tastier).
2. add 1 egg.
3. mix flours, salt and turmeric in a bowl and add to the wet mix. keep adding more
flour mix until the dough actually resembles dough. this will take a lot of flour,
be prepared.
4. when it does resemble dough, take small fist-sized chunks, roll them in potato
starch into long, 1/2" thick ropes and set aside.
5. when all your dough is in ropes, take each rope and stamp it with the tines of
a fork. cut into 1/2"-1" long pieces.
6. when you are ready to eat them, drop them into boiling water, give them a stir
to make sure they do not stick to the pan, and fish them out when they float to
the surface (1-2 min).
7. dress with olive oil and salt and served with a roasted beet and feta cheese salad.

note: if you have too many gnocchi, dust the extra ones in more potato starch,
and put them in a bag in the freezer. the starch should keep them from sticking
together, so they will cook up normally when you take them back out.

beet and feta cheese salad:

-meyer lemon
-fresh rosemary
-fresh sage
-olive oil
-feta cheese

1. clean beets in water and cut into equally sized wedges.
2. slice lemon into thin sheets
3. chop garlic, sage and rosemary
4. throw all this in a mixing bowl and toss with oil and salt
5. bake on a cookie sheet at 350 for about an hour, stirring every once in a while,
until the beets are soft with a slightly crunchy exterior.
6. remove and let cool.
7. when cooled, mix in crumbled feta cheese, and serve.

gluten-free pancakes:
(these will come out much like whole wheat pancakes in flavor, texture and color)

makes 3 large pancakes (breakfast for 2)

-1 1/2 c flour mix: 1 part buckwheat flour, 2 parts sorghum flour, 2 parts garfava
flour, 1 part tapioca starch
-tiniest possible pinch of xanthan gum
-pinch salt
-1/2 t baking powder
-2 eggs
-2 T agave nectar
-2 T oil
-1/2-1 c rice milk (until desired consistency is reached)

1. add the wet ingredients to the dry, add rice milk as necessary until you get a
soupy pancake batter.
2. heat a skillet over medium flame until water beads up on the surface.
3. oil lightly, and add a big ol' scoop of batter. it should sizzle upon hitting the pan.
let it cook, slowly, for a while, until the air bubbles at the surface pop but do
not disappear.
4. when ready, flip your pancake and cook another minute.
5. serve hot with fresh strawberries, or whatever else you've got lying around.

happy brekfust


These are my favorite scribbles from the Hotel Utah the other night.
My apologies for the crummy photographs. Also, these were meant
to be painted, until I found out that moleskine paper is greasy and
does not accept ink very well.


a hearty lunch for one (with leftovers!)

Cheesy polenta:

boil water with butternut squash soup
add a tiny bit of polenta, just enough to see a hump on the surface of the water
stir, pour into a cast iron pan (little) and mix in chopped cheese of any kind (i
used some of the massive amount of pepper jack my roommate swiped from
his catering job). Important: if your cheese is salty, DO NOT salt your polenta.
If you do oversalt, add yogurt or avocado when it is ready to eat.

put it all in the oven and bake, hot, until you are ready to eat it. the longer the
better, but it'll be cooked as soon as it boils (longer cooking turns it from "grits"
to "polenta," or so I am told). top with cooked kale and a fried egg, with fresh

happy lunch!

and for dessert (i mean, of course, dessert for tonight's brainstorm...)

Gluten free Turkish coffee cupcakes

(all quantities approximate)

-less than 1/4 c brown rice flour
-1/3 c sorghum flour
-1/3 c garfava flour
-less than 1/4 c potato starch
-1/4 c sweet rice flour
-1/2 t baking powder
-tiniest pinch of xanthan gum
-pinch of salt

-1/3 c brewed and strained turkish coffee, reduced (leave on low flame until you
are ready for it)
to make your own turkish coffee, grind beans very finely with cardamom pods.
i used decaf. it's about 2 t coffee per t sugar per 1/4 water. adjust to taste.
-3-4 T olive oil
-1 egg
-1 banana, mashed with a fork
-1/4 agave (more to taste)
-1 T vanilla extract

mix the wet and dry, adjust sweetness to taste, bake in muffin tin at 325 for 14-18
minutes, or until top is puffy and knife comes out clean.

blend well:
-greek strained yogurt
-more brewed strained coffee
-pistachio nuts

note: the texture of these GF muffins is a pretty good approximation of glutenous,
i must say.


on the out and out

The last day at Cafe Hurghada was short and sweet, I made a bucket-o-tips,
closed early, interacted with all my favorite customers, and rounded out
the evening with a nap and a trip to the Hotel Utah open mic, where this
lady wowed me with her vocals.

So I've been unemployed for a day, but I just snagged a job at the soon-to-
be-opened Readers Cafe, part of the Friends of the SF Public Library at
Fort Mason center, which means I will be adding the jaw-droppingly
beautiful ride down to the Marina to my routine (and also the thigh-
burningly nice climb back up). The cafe opens August 4th, come visit!

Also, the next brainstorm is tomorrow, email for address, there will
be dinner.


I promise, this is (almost) the last time I'll draw Bernal Hill:

Phew, hands are still in order, eyes, almost up to speed, pens could use a re-up
Thanks to everyone who made it out to Socha on Tuesday, and thanks
to the musicians: the fiddle jam sounded pretty darn great.

News on the bike rack corsets! Now officially called, Nice Racks, they got
themselves blogged about!

Thanks to Mission Bikes and their awesome idea to buy one/give one: for
every nice rack you buy, I'll install one somewhere in SF.

And finally, these biofuel stations will be getting an early morning visit from
Jesse and I before the next brainstorm. Please let me know if you have any
burning questions for them (sorry, I had to). The visits are to follow up on
the idea of putting bus maps and schedules on gas pumps. Looks like these
guys have already done their homework on this front, and if school taught
me anything, it's that you should never do your homework if someone else
has already done it.


food food, coffee coffee

passion fruit tart, with photos this time.

this was a sadie-jesse collabo at the first second sunday supper club in
millbrae. it was a peach-passion fruit curd and the crust was incredible:

1 amaranth flr: 1 sorghum flr: 1 pumpkin seed meal: 2 sunflower seed meal
not much sugar, maybe 1/2 part, maybe less, and about 1/2 part melted
coconut oil (add more oil to get a dough that won't fall apart but isn't too wet)

Unfortunately for the photographs and forkability, the curd didn't have
enough chilling time to set (9 stuffed bellies awaiting dessert), which
was hilarious, if nothing else:

And a new thing: plantain empanadas!


yellow plantains (not black ones, or green ones)
a little honey
a little cornmeal
a little cornstarch

simmer cut and peeled plantains for 2-3 minutes until soft
add honey and mash with a fork or potato masher (or food processor if you
are lucky enough to have access to one). if the dough is liquidy, add the
cornstarch, or some cornmeal, but try not to. alternatively, spread the dough
out on cornmeal and then you won't have to worry about it.
add your filling, fold over into a pocket, and fry or bake or both until it is no
longer squishy and the plantains (and cornmeal) are fully cooked.

the filling:

black beans
butternut squash broth
charred jalapeno
apple cider vinegar

simmer this all until the liquid is all reduced. salt to taste

grated cheese
ricotta cheese

Enjoy the food, and on a different note, I may have a job at the Velo Rouge
Cafe (the one from that first watercolor). Had my first training shift today,
and it was great. Nice to know it is possible to not need coffee-out-of-
boredom while working.

I will enjoy the rest of this sunny day without being overcaffeinated, and
hope to see some of you at Socha tonight!



So I have these 16 copies of a line drawing in my room, and I figure I may
as well get better at painting. I picked up a bottle of Dr. Ph Martin's Bombay
black india ink, on recommendation from the wonderful artist and teacher,
Frank Espinosa, and went at it. There's lots to learn (whoa).

This will be hanging at Socha for Tuesday's closing, please come out!

Next on the agenda: bike rack cozies. This one's gone missing, but at least
it had a brief photo-opportunity at Duboce and Sanchez St. on the Wiggle.

And finally, a recipe:

Passion fruit tart

~ 1 1/2 c cashews, ground to a powder (i used a coffee grinder, cleaned well)
~ 1/2 c sorghum and buckwheat flours
~ 1/3 c coconut oil, melted
~ 1/3 c demarara sugar
pinch of salt

mix all well, press into an oiled spring form pan, and bake at 350 about 15
minutes, or until sides are just beginning to brown.

melt some dark chocolate and a spoonful of coconut oil in a double boiler
setup, pour on top of the baked crust so that the bottom is just covered
(careful spreading it, I just used gravity, so as not to damage the crust).
refrigerate or freeze, so chocolate begins to solidify.


1 c passion fruit pulp (purchase at a mexican grocery store. freezer section)
1/4 c sugar
4 egg yolks
3 eggs

mix all in a saucepan and whisk constantly over medium/low heat until
thick, 5-10 minutes. remove from heat and add about 4 or 5 spoonfuls of
coconut oil. pour over crust, let chill for a few hours, and enjoy! if there
is extra filling, pour it in a bowl, and eat it later! that way you can check
the bowl to see that the filling has set.


people on paper: tuesday night

closing reception: tuesday july 13
socha cafe (mission x valencia)
830 - 1000 pm
a fiddle jam and drinks will make an appearance


True That Bikes makes nice racks

Jesse stealthily laces up the rack in front of Mission Bicycle Company.

And with some coordination...

...leaves the bike rack much less naked than before!

If you'd like to lace up your favorite bike rack, please comment here and I'll
get one over to you.


more on the horizon

Brainstorm number three happened, and here are some notes.

Next meeting + dinner scheduled for this coming weds, july 7 at 7pm.
Please feel free to come by (email me for directions)

Also, dinner at this past meeting featured gluten-free gumbo (make a
roux from corn flour, garbanzo flour and potato starch), and an awesome
salad of watermelon, feta cheese, toasted pecans and basil over arugula
and spinach. I highly recommend it.

Well, I've been in San Francisco a year as of Tuesday, and to celebrate I
put in my 2 weeks notice at the cafe.

Some food:

Gluten-free bread pudding

This one came about by tasty miscalculation. Cake with too much xanthan
gum = pudding.

bake at 375 until delicious:
white nectarines
fresh ginger
maple syrup
coconut oil

potato starch, tapioca starch, sorghum flour, brown rice flour, sweet rice
flour, and garbanzo/fava bean flour
baking powder
xanthan gum
sugar/honey/maple syrup
apple sauce
coconut milk
olive oil

pour the batter into cake pans and put the nectarine goop on top (or under
for an upside-down cake.) the batter will puff up quite a bit in the oven but
will collapse again when you take it out. don't overfill, as it will spit your
nectarines out onto the hot oven bottom and set off your smoke alarm.

bake for 1 hour at 375 and let cool before serving.

i served it with a frosting:

yogurt (sweetened, or unsweetened plus honey)
vanilla extract
toasted pecans

rice noodle kugel, aka fauxsagna

chinese eggplant (soak in salt water first)
thai basil

with a sauce of:
soy sauce
sesame oil
chili oil
sesame seeds

in a hot skillet or wok with oil, quick-scramble some eggs, and mix in with
the sauteed veggies

preheat oven t0 450 or so

in a greased pan, layer rice noodles, sauteed veggies and ricotta cheese with
more fresh thai basil. you can pour the leftover saute sauce on it too. bake
until the top is crispy and the bottom is bubbling, maybe 20 minutes

And a new project: bike rack corsets! These will begin cropping up on SF
bike racks as fast as I can make them. Please let me know if you have a
favorite bike rack that you would like a corset for, and i'll get one to you!