Farm Day!

My friends and I recently took a tour of 5 farms in Vacaville, CA. It is about an hour drive outside of San Francisco, in the Pleasants Valley area of Solano County. The tour was made possible by the Slow Food Solano and Solano Grown groups. We started the tour at Soul Food Farm. There, they have pastured eggs, chickens, and Olive Oil. They are also starting to grow a bunch of lavender in collaboration with the woman that helps run the next farm we visited, Morningsun Herb Farm. They have lavender there, too, along with culinary and medicinal herbs. The next farm we went to was the Be Love Farm. The owners of this farm also own Cafe Gratitude, and Gracias Madre, which are vegan restaurants in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. The fourth farm on the tour was Sunny Slope Orchard. There, they shared fresh squeezed orange juice and oranges and other citrus as well as showed us their fruit trees. They have apricots, peaches, plums, figs, citrus and persimmons. Lastly, we went to Mercier Grapevines. Here, they grow grapevines to sell to local wineries/vineyards. They showed us how they graft together the vines and they also let us take one vine home to grow and one already growing pot of grapes. It was a hot, fun day learning about the local farms and how they operate. I am definitely grateful for these small farmers that take the time out of their day to give tours and teach people about the food they produce. Support your local farmers! Go to the farmer’s market! Buy local! Really, it not just about supporting them, but it will help you eat healthier and it is always good to know where your food comes from. Below, there is a slideshow of the photos I took on the farms (in no particular order). All of the farms offer tours; just go to their website to find out more information!

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Photo Friday!

This Photo Friday! is brought to you by spring-into-summer recipes ratios. I made these food items not from recipes, but from ratios. I will post the directions on how to make these goodies in the recipe section soon, so look for them there.

First up, I made these scones. A very basic ratio, and similar method to biscuits or pie dough.

I had leftover egg whites after making ice cream, so I made an angel food cake. I think of this as a springtime cake because it is light and airy and is usually served with fresh, seasonal fruit such as berries and citrus.

I just love the way the light in this photo makes the cake look really light. It tasted more meringue-like than cake-y, but I was okay with that.

I roasted some corn and red pepper and put it and other veggies and rice together for a spring-to-summer  “succotash”. (According to the dictionary entry I found, real succotash is made with Lima beans.)

The “succotash” I made with roasted corn, red bell pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, and rice. NO recipe here. Just roasted the corn (on the cob) with the red pepper and tomatoes on a baking sheet in a very hot (as high as it goes) oven until…the smoke detector goes off! Just kidding. Sorta. :) Just until the veggies start to blacken. For easy clean-up, I recommend using foil and oil, just enough to prevent sticking.

What are your favorite spring/summer desserts? What foods remind you the most of spring or summer?

What I’m Reading Wednesday

Last week, I started this series about what I am reading. I started things off with the cookbooks I am reading and grabbing inspiration and recipes from. This week, I bring you my most recent novels I’ve read.

How To Eat A Cupcake

(photo credit: Bookin with Bingo blog)

  1. How To Eat A Cupcake; By Meg Donohue. I first heard about this book on a blog I read, Cakespy, when she wrote out this blurb in the book: “I had, I’ll admit, effected a certain style–a method, if you will–of cupcake eating. To begin, you remove the cupcake liner carefully so as to not unnecessarily crumble the cake, and set it aside. You then turn the cupcake slowly in your hand, taking bites along the line where cake meets icing, your mouth filling with the perfect combination of both components. Once you’ve come  full circle, you gently twist off the bottom half inch of cake, a move that takes considerable finesse and leaves a delicate sliver of cake–the ideal size for lying flat on your tongue and allowing it to slowly dissolve, building anticipation for that final bite. To finish, you are left with the center cylinder of cake and icing, the cupcakes very heart, sometimes filled with a surprising burst of custard or jam or mousse, sometimes not, but always, always the most moist, flavorful bite of the entire cupcake. Take a breath before diving into that final, perfect bite; it is to be savored for as long as possible. Finally, of course, you scavenge the crumbs from the cupcake liner you set aside during step one, then ball the liner into your fist and overhand it into the nearest receptacle. Make the shot? You get another cupcake.” I was intrigued, and then I saw that Joy the Baker also read the book, and I knew I had to read it. I am still finishing it up, but it is definitely a good read. I would even say it is a good beach read. You know, of the “not needing to pay much attention to details” books. A quick read.
  2. Eat The Document; by Dana Spiotta. A couple’s story about their radical protests in the 1970s and what the outcomes are in the 1990s. It is a book my sister sent me, and therefore one I might not have picked up on my own, but it was a good book. A little bit of history, love story and mystery rolled into one. My sister also recommends her new book, Stone Arabia.
  3. The Book Of Salt; by Monique Truong. Another book from my sister, and a book I would be more likely to pick up on my own, about the Vietnamese cook who worked for Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas in Paris in the 1930s. A great way to learn about these greats and about Paris in this era.

    Cover of "What the Dog Saw: And Other Adv...

  4. What The Dog Saw and Blink; by Malcom Gladwell. These books I read back-to-back so I get confused about which articles I read in which since they are similar in some ways. I picked up What The Dog Saw and started reading it before realizing it was the same author. Actually, I read this book first and then I read Blink. After seeing everyone reading Blink, as if part of the book itself, I figured I should read it, too. They are both insightful reads, but if you do decide to take on both, I recommend reading them at different times, and not back-to-back; it’s just too intense that way.The Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Photo Friday!

This month, I am participating in the Photo A Day May from Fat Mum Slim. These are the photos from week five: (last week! I can’t believe it’s June already!)

26. 12 o’clock. This was tough because of working through this time since I work at a restaurant and everyone comes there for their lunch break. Also, I did not want to stay up until midnight. So I took this picture on my day off. Almost missed it! I only got one shot because I caught the last 30 seconds of the minute.

27. Something sweet. Dessert. Of course. This is angel food cake I made recently, but more on that later.

28. The weather today. Surprisingly sunny. Pretty Clouds.

29. A number. This is one of the new “stop ids” at the bus stops near my work. They have these numbers at most bus stops now so that you can call up and get a prediction (relatively accurate!) of when the next bus is coming.

30. My personality. I’m a true Scorpio. Also, I guess I can be a bit blurry sometimes. ;)

31. Something beautiful. I am a cheater! Or just thinking outside the box. Took a picture of the restaurant sign for Beautifull!