Wednesday, August 28, 2013

60 Faces ~ Sacramento Farmers and Chefs

Thank you Greg for this poster! Love it! Pomegranate Design

What is it? It's an Art project. And those of you who follow me on Facebook know I teach art during the school year so this project is not a huge stretch for me. Is it a food movement? I don't really think it is. I think the word "movement" can be left to the group driving Farm to Fork. They are doing an amazing job promoting an identity for a city that is ginormous in it's agricultural industry and almost as ginormous in it's restaurant and food options (is ginormous even a real word?)

Sacramento Farmers & Chefs is a much simpler concept. SF&C is an art project and 60 Faces is an art show. A show with the faces of 30 chefs and 30 farmers on giant glossy prints and many, many other local celebrities that will be featured in a slideshow. 

I guess a little back story is needed here, yes?

The artist is Janine Mapurunga. She's a little woman from Brazil. She likes to take pictures. I have also come to know she likes to know all the why's and how's and what makes people do what they do. She's also a bit of a control freak and likes to make sure she is a part of every bit of minutiae involving every step of the process. And she is most likely going to choke when she reads that last sentence. None of this is bad (except maybe the choke part) Any individual that loves their craft is going to be more possessive than a momma bear. That's just how it is. And that is a-o-kay.
Janine started this project with a few faces and her camera. This turned into so many faces, and then interviews, and then an idea to share what she was learning. Thus SF&C began to form and on September 14th will completely come to fruition. 
By the way, here is a little photo of her I took one day while at her home. And right after she had harvested a bagful of tomatoes for me to take.
She is lovely and her heart is huge. She is a person who loves food, loves seeing the process of growing food and like myself, loves to see her friends enjoy food. She wants to share with the world what she loves about Sacramento and how huge the food culture is here in our city. Thus she has dedicated a year of her life to documenting the process and photographing all these individuals who are involved. Janine wanted a way to get close to each person. To share not only what they do - but to show what makes them tick - and to understand why. I also think she wanted to make the viewer question and wonder. Raising the curiosity level will heighten awareness will it not? And wont this in turn cause a greater appreciation for our surroundings? Or in this case - for the persons responsible for the food we love in Sacramento? 
Janine found a way to show the smallest tomato plant in someones' backyard - up to the biggest restaurants in the Capital City. And it is this project - Sacramento Farmers and Chefs.

My part in this project is large or small depending how you want to view it. This past June she asked me to be one of her 30 chef faces and wanted an interview. I agreed. We met. She took some photos. We chatted. And I left.
Here is my photo.
Yup - that's me. Thank you Janine for photo-shopping all the wrinkles and dark circles out of this image!

Then a few weeks ago she needed someone to take over as the Event Coordinator and called me (all those years being owned by Macy's have come in very handy these past few years) We met again. I said yes. And now here I am. Putting together an Art Show happening September 14th at Sunh Fish Market (how's that for a little shameless self-promotion?)
In fact - while I'm promoting - let's add a link to purchase tickets!

What started out as a whisper of a thought has grown into this beast of a concept. There are now over a hundred images. Hours and hours of interviews have been recorded and are being transcribed. Flyers and posters can be found everywhere in the city. All of this to promote the 60 Faces exhibit happening September 14th. There will be live jazz, delicious edibles provided by several local chefs, wine and beer from a few local spots. What else can I tell you? This will be big. Bring the kids and enjoy the evening. Whether chef or farmer or culinary teacher - their photo will be found in this archive. And Janine is not done. There will be many more added to this growing list of Farmers and Chefs and many more events to come. 

Will we see your photo next?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

dinner @Tate's / august 2013

What do you mean school starts in exactly two weeks??? For some reason this realization just hit me and sent me into a slight panic. Needless to say, I am not ready. Not ready to no longer have my little sidekick with me most every minute of every day. Her and her little antics and constant dialogue and dancing and singing around the house are already missed. I'm a somewhat sad mom right now. Yes...I know...all of you are rolling your eyes at me...why am I here? the reason you're here? oh dinner post...(sniff...sniff...)

The Summer of Seafood has run it's course. For now anyway. Who knows what will show on the menu for September. In addition to testing recipes for all sorts of seafood I've also been dealing with all the produce that has been given to me. An unbelievably fantastic array of pears, peaches, apples, plums, grapefruit, onions, peppers, tomatoes, on and on this has gone. It has been AWESOME. I have canned and pickled. Made jams, jellies and chutneys. Cooked all of it every which way I think my family will eat it. And for this months dinner I wanted to try and incorporate some of the items that have been swallowing up my kitchen and my fridge. Therefore, we started Sunday dinner with a simple Caprese salad.
(I know - that whole list of produce I just mentioned and I threw some tomatoes and cheese on a plate???!!! What kind of kitchen is this? HA)

Next up was a Brie wheel baked in puff pastry with my homemade spiced peach jam - served with wheat crackers (I was trying to add some nutritional value to this appetizer...think it worked?)
This is one of the worst photos ever but you get the idea.

I let this settle with the guests for a bit and just kept the wine flowing (Best Hostess Ever!) Then served this salad of grapefruit, garlic and ginger marinated shrimp on a bed of arugula, radishes and more heirloom tomatoes with toasted panko crumbs. Additional marinade was quickly boiled and served as dressing - Delicious!

This was followed by an entree of mussels cooked with beer, bacon, tomatoes and thyme. Served with a little homemade wheat pasta and pretzel bread toasts.
I also had a bunch of corn and cherry tomatoes from my market visit so I did a quick succotash sort of dish with fresh basil.

Now I REALLY needed to let everyone sit and rest for a minute (and of course kept the wine flowing) I think everyone was pretty full at this point but I had already made dessert soooooo.....buck up little's some homemade plum and brandy ice cream with a drizzle of hot fudge sauce and toasted almonds

Followed immediately by these apple handpies served with the same hot fudge sauce on the side - just in case anyone wanted to put themselves completely over the edge.

WHEW! So what should we have for September dinner@Tate's Kitchen? Thoughts? Suggestions? I promise to not let my tears from missing my daughter get into the food.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

cherry and plum bruschetta

One of the appetizers at the last dinner @Tate's Kitchen. Fresh cherries and plums from my morning Farmers Market visit. A loaf of good bread. A little sweetened ricotta. Salt and pepper and extra virgin olive oil. 
Serve it up!

Filling - but light and refreshing all at the same time.

adapted from a recipe in Bon Appetit magazine


2 plums - halved, pitted, thinly sliced
1 cup cherries - halved, pitted, sliced if desired
1 tablespoon sugar 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 of a fresh vanilla bean 
(you can use vanilla extract - but the bean is so much better)
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1 tablespoon lavender honey 
(if you have - if not use a good regular honey)
1 teaspoon (or so) herbs de Provence
fresh mint

a loaf of really good french bread 

(you're not going to use it all for this but who buys a half loaf? not me...)
sea salt
fresh cracked pepper


oven to 350

halve and pit all that stone fruit.
(and if anyone has a magic way to do this with cherries without using some fancy device please let me know)
all fruit into a large bowl.
scrape the vanilla bean and add the scrapings to the fruit. 
add the 1 tablespoon sugar (I actually used a little less - but taste and see what you think) and a pinch of salt.
mix well.
set aside.

in a medium bowl add the ricotta, honey, herbs de provence and a little salt and pepper.
mix well.
add salt and pepper as needed.
i would now leave this in the refrigerator until you're ready to use.
and By The Way - this can be made a day ahead of time - just wrap and cover well and store.

slice the baguette.
brush with olive oil.
bake until top is golden brown and edges are just getting crispy.
about 10 minutes or so.

let the toast cool for a few minutes then assemble.

spread some ricotta cheese mixture on top.
gently place some slices of plums and cherries.
drizzle very little extra virgin olive oil across the top.
couple turns of pepper.
sprinkle a bit of freshly chopped mint.

serve immediately.