Stepping Into Spring
Spring is now well and truly here - the trees are blossoming, birds are singing their happy songs and people are coming out of hibernation to celebrate. Meanwhile, cloistered in our office, we are busy working on our new Seasonal Menus which we'll be posting soon!
Now that the weather is improving, the West Oakland Farm Park Farmstand has reopened on Saturdays from 10:00am until produce runs out - so early birds get the best choice and the rest of the day to enjoy! It's also time to visit the local farmers markets to explore the new season's harvest. A couple of our favorites are the Grand Lake Farmers Market and the Berkeley Farmers Market because of the quality and variety of interesting produce they sell. Produce isn't the only thing that changes with the seasons. Early spring is the birthing season for goat and lamb (which is now at it's best). It's also worth visiting your local sustainable fishmonger to see the season's best catch!
We have all heard of Fava beans, but did you know that the leaves from this plant are also edible and delicious? They can be cooked or eaten fresh, and are at home in Italian, Chinese and Thai dishes. Delicious sautéed or added to stir-fries and pasta dishes during the last minute of cooking, fresh fava leaves can be tossed in mixed green salads or on top of flatbread. Nutritionally they area good source of folate, manganese, copper and phosphorus.
Sablefish (Black Cod)
The sablefish is a species of deep sea fish common to the North Pacific ocean and although sometimes called a black cod, the sablefish is actually not a cod species. Its white flesh is soft-textured and so delicious that it is in high demand in many countries, and particularly in Japan where it is used in Sushi. Its meat has high levels of fat and is ideal for any cooking method such as broiling, smoking, grilling and even baking. Sablefish is one of the most nutritious fish containing high levels of omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. It is also high in Vitamins B6, B12 and the mineral Magnesium. Whatever you do, choose a safe, sustainable source and always consult the Seafood Watch list for the best information on the varieties safest to buy.
Green garlic is more mellow and less spicy in flavor then regular garlic, and can be used raw or cooked like scallions. Green garlic is still technically garlic and contains all the amazing health benefits. Garlic is notable for its immune-boosting qualities where allicin, the sulfur compound found in garlic and responsible for its pungent smell and taste, is a natural antibiotic and can help the body block infections.
A few varietals of citrus also begin to make an appearance at market. Local kumquats and grapefruits get to share the "lime light" (pun definitely intended) with all these lush vegetables. And while they may appear to be exotic with no everyday use for the modern home cook, don't shy away from using these beauties. They can be made into jams, accent your morning juice or smoothies, and even act as a base for the sauces you create. They can be used in just about anything from salad dressings to marinades and work wonderfully in cocktails. The options are many; and if that weren't enough, they contain loads of vitamin C are high in fiber and calcium and have plenty of vitamin A to boot. They also help to facilitate healthier blood vessels, tendons, ligaments and bones. So pick up a few of these lovelies for your tables fruit bowl and test them out!
We love Spring and want to share our excitement for spring's arrival with you so, from now until April 20th we're offering our 3 course Spring Jumpstart menus for just $99 per person. Visit our our Booking Page and use the booking code SPRING17 to get this special discount. These menus are created by the chef with seasonal ingredients in mind so ask what menus will fit your dietary needs.
Until our next blog, enjoy the unfolding of the seasons and the changes that they bring!