Monthly Archives: September 2011

Eat Real Festival = foodie heaven

My plum-cinnamon jam did not win.¬† ūüė¶

It’s okay.¬† That woman with the raspberry jam had better watch out because I’ll be back next year!¬† ūüôā

The festival in Oakland was so much fun — and tasty!¬† There were gourmet food trucks everywhere, and because the philosophy of the festival was that wholesome, locally sourced food should be affordable to everyone, no item could be priced higher than $5.¬† But the fives add up when you graze throughout the day, as I did.¬† I devoured the following during my six hours at the festival:

  • Grilled cheese with brisket sandwich from Osteria Stellina
  • Spicy corn dog from Tante’s
  • Five spice grilled chicken banh¬†mi¬†from Little Green Cyclo
  • Lamb gyro from The Whole Beast
  • Beef tallow fries from Belcampo Meat Co.

Wow, when I list it all out, I see that I was pretty keen to the red meat yesterday!  No inhibitions when I know that the animals were sustainably raised!

I also had a few mason jars of locally crafted wines and beers.

Did I mention that I was in foodie heaven?  I wish I had photos to share, but my Blackberry does not perform at par.

I purchased some canned goods from the vendors at the festival’s market — I was choosy in that I only bought items that¬†wowed me when I tried them and¬†that I did not know (yet!) how to make myself.¬† I bought these tasty items to add to our pantry:

  • horseradish-leek saurkraut¬†from Farmhouse Culture, a company that specializes in saurkrauts
  • Early Girl tomato jam from Blue Chair Fruit Company (the sweetness of this jam combined with deep tomatoey flavor really surprised me!)
  • sa’or, which (I was told) is an Italian condiment of caramalized onions and currants preserved in olive oil (I can see this pairing very well with a grilled cheese sandwich)
  • caramelized¬†garlic hummus from ‚ô• & Hummus
  • dark chocolate bar with figs and anise from Vice Chocolates

Yum, yum, yum.¬† Hubby was pleased to see the intriguing items that I brought home.¬† I want to figure out how to make the sa’or and try my own tomato jam next year,¬†now that I know it is tasty and not weird!¬† (Hmm, next year’s Jamboree Contest entry??)

I watched a¬†demonstration on cooking with beef¬†chuck, a kids Iron-Chef-style cooking competition (secret ingredient: basil!) and I watched a “Flyin’ Knives” butchery competition, in which three teams of professional butchers had 45 minutes to break down a quarter steer into commercial cuts.¬† Fascinating.

There was an info booth on keeping backyard laying hens.¬† I was so excited and texted hubby: “Got info on chicken coops!¬† We can totally do it!!”¬† Well, as it turns out, the Man (the City of San Jose) says, “not in your tiny backyard, Huynhs!”¬† A home chicken coop must be kept 15 feet from any residence.¬† Given that we are immediately neighbored by three other condos and homes, that will not work out.¬† A few years from now, when we hunt for our next house, “backyard big enough for chicken coop” will be a must-have criterion!

Finally, I was pleased that Happy Girl Kitchen, Co.,¬†was at the festival.¬† ¬†(Their workshops¬†taught me how to make jam, pickles and canned tomato goods.)¬†¬†The Happy Girl folks¬†teamed up with Farmhouse Culture to put on a saurkraut-making workshop which, sadly, I missed because I did not arrive in time.¬† But I visited Happy Girl’s booth at the end of the day¬†and I purchased this awesome t-shirt:

Indeed.¬† Can’t wait for Eat Real Fest 2012!

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I entered a jam contest!

I entered my plum-cinnamon jam in the Oakland Eat Real Festival 2011 Jamboree Contest.¬† I’m looking forward to the festival, which will be an homage to all things local, homemade and delicious.¬† And who knows — maybe my jam will win!¬† I’ll find out on Saturday!

preserved grape leaves

We are fortunate to have grapes grow as the shady overhang in our backyard.  They are exotic yet seasonal, and so I decided to preserve some of the leaves for future use.

Dolmas (grape leaves stuffed with rice and other Greek ingredients) are a lot of work, but I would like to make them as a special appetizer for Thanksgiving using the grape leaves from our garden.

To preserve fresh grape leaves, cut them from the vines and layer them vein side up, as shown.  Fold and layer them inside a pint jar:

Cover the grape leaves with a 3:2 brine, which is three parts filtered water to two parts apple cider vinegar. Here, I made two pints of leaves and used three cups of filtered water and two cups of apple cider vinegar, which I boiled before adding it to the jars.  Process the jars for 15 minutes.

I’ll post my recipe for dolmas¬†when I make those this fall using my preserved grape leaves.¬† UPDATE:¬† It just occurred to me that I could make a batch of dolmas now using fresh, blanched grape leaves.¬† Duh!¬† I’ll try to do that in the next week or two while the vines are still green and fresh.