Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Menu Planning

Stacy and I support the Taste of Howell Mountain auction every year which is a wine tasting and auction that benefits the Howell Mountain Elementary School. The only public school on the mountain. Our good friends Jacalyn and Allen Spence have been building a boutique winery around their home off White Cottage Road in Angwin up there. She is the President of the Howell Mountain Vintner's and Grower's Association that produces the auction each year. This year Spence Family Vineyards has teamed up with Summit Lake Vineyards to host a dinner and movie party for fifty at Summit Lake on September 12 as one of the auction items. Since I have been unemployed for several months now, Stacy and I decided we wouldn't bid at the auction, so I volunteered to cook the meal for the September 12 party. The party is oversubscribed for 52 diners at $100 per person, which is a huge success. Of course when you add in the staff to support the event, I have to plan and execute a meal for at least 60 people at a location that has limited kitchen facilities.

The first step to planning a dinner party is to align all stakeholders on the vision for what a successful event is. The criteria we agreed on are:
Elegant outdoor dining experience for the guests that will be served in the vineyard
Pair the entree with Howell Mountain Cab

My constraints include :
Cook off site and transport to the dinner
Make the meal profitable for the charity
Use volunteers as kitchen and service staff
Limited kitchen facility at the dining location

Once we agreed on the vision for the meal and understand the constraints, then comes the menu planning. With that many people there will likely be some folks that subscribe to a vegetarian diet, so the menu will be all vegetarian except the entree which will have both a meat and vegetarian option. Elegance means multiple courses served on individual plates delivered to the diners at the table versus a buffet style meal. I decided to execute a five course dinner with four courses served cold and the entree served hot. Here's the menu:
Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta
Hardy Lodge Cheese Straws
Heirloom Tomato Salad Napoleon with Bufula Mozzarella and Basil
Atop Tuscan Runner Bean Puree
Tuscan White Beans in Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauce with Germolata (vegetarian)
Gorgonzola Polenta
Flour-less Chocolate Cake with Homemade Raspberry Ice Cream
Sounds good, huh? Note that only one course is served hot which is braised. This entire meal can be made days ahead with minimal cooking for service. Also, note how the appetizer links to the salad course. The salad is made by slicing tomatoes of different colors; staking four slices per serving then cutting the stacks into perfect squares. This creates a beautiful presentation while removing the skins from the salad. The trim is then chopped into small chunks for the bruschetta so that nothing is wasted. The dressing for the salad is the same as the bruschetta. To make the meal more interesting, the bruschetta will be served on a baguette slice that is brushed with garlic-infused olive oil. That way the two dishes become distinctly different despite being made from common ingredients. Also, since the soup course separates the appetizers from the salad course, the diners will feel that the meal is diverse and varied. And also beautiful and delicious. Also, there are two appetizers that are completely different to add depth and complexity to the tastes the diners will experience. All while making it easier for the cook to execute the meal. The cheese straws will be baked that morning and served room temperature.
The soup is served cold, so it is easily transported. However, the dish does present challenges: While the stock of the soup is a combination of white onions and corn husks, which can be made days ahead and chilled, avocado easily spoils, which is the meat in the soup. The soup will be made one day ahead and transported in coolers then the avocado balls added on-site so that the avocados are transported in their shells and processed right before serving to ensure freshness. Another challenge in the soup is the cilantro oil since the herb carries bacteria that are harmless until they see an environment with no oxygen, like being suspended in olive oil, so the cilantro oil must be made about an hour before service. The ingredients will be blended on-site to execute that ingredient and avoid making any diners ill. The tomatoes are also a challenge to keep them fresh, so they will be cut on-site and the slices refrigerated until time to serve the salad. The entree will be made days ahead, which makes a better product since the flavors marry in the dish. It will have to be re-heated on-site, so we need oven space for 60 lamb shanks. That will be a challenge. The ice cream will be made ahead and brought frozen. Cakes can be made ahead too, so that won't be hard.
I will describe the process for planning the execution of the meal in an upcoming blog. Stay tuned!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pluot Jam

Sometimes we buy more pluots and plums than we can eat at the farmer's market. We also grow Santa Rosa Plums in our yard and a guy that works with Stacy brings Santa Rosa plums to the office to give away. The season is so short every year that we want to gobble up as much of the delicious fruits as possible, but we can only eat so much. So I use the extra to make jam.

Jam is so easy and you don't need any expensive equipment. Since I put jam into 8 oz jars, I use my stock pot as the canning processor. I buy the jars at the local supermarket. I like the Kerr Quilted Crystal Jelly Jars.
The recipe is simple and works with all kinds of fruits and berries.
For every cup of cooked fruit add 1 cup of sugar and a squeeze of lemon. I peel the fruit by scoring an x on the bottom of each pluot; boiling for 30 seconds to a minute until the skins start to curl a bit; then into an ice water bath to cool. Then I peel the fruit over the sauce pan I will cook the fruit in so I don't lose any juice. Then on the stove to simmer with the lemon juice for about 20 minutes to 30 minutes to cook the fruit to mush. I leave the pits in during this part.

To test if the fruit is ready to be jellied, freeze a plate in your freezer. Put a spoon of the fruit on the frozen plate. Let it cool for a minute and then drag your finger through the dollop. If the fruit runs back together, continue cooking and test again in five minutes. If the valley stays in the fruit, then you're ready to can. I use a jar lifter, canning funnel, lid caddy (to sterilize the lids) and a magnetic lid lifter. These gadgets are cheap and make the whole job so much easier.

Remove the pits from the cooked fruit. My food mill works great for this. A colander also works. While the fruit finishes cooking with the sugar I have the jars in boiling water in my stock pot to sterilize. When ready to can, I lift and empty the jars and put on a towel where I will fill them. I then remove the same amount of water from the stock pot that will be fruit in the jars when I process the jars. That's important to avoid a big mess on your stove when you place the filled jars into the pot. Once the jars are out of the water, in go the lids to sterilize and soften the seal a bit. Careful not to leave these in more than five minutes. Meanwhile, fill the jars leaving some head room in the jars and set the lid with a ring just snug. Don't over tighten. It's okay if the last jar isn't completely filled. It will be the first one eaten! Process the jars for 10 minutes. Remove and let stand for a few hours. You can tell if the jars are sealed if the lid doesn't move when you press on it. If you're in the kitchen as the jars seal they make a clicking sound which is reassuring that you are getting good seals.

A note about pectin. Many recipes call for pectin which you can buy at the grocery store usually in the baking section. Pectin occurs naturally in fruits. Less ripe fruits have more and riper fruits have less. If the jam doesn't pass the jelly test, you may can it anyway without adding the manufactured pectin. Then rename your jars pluot spread instead of jam. It tastes divine and goes great on pancakes and toast. If you want a jam that stands at attention on the toast, then add pactin according to package instructions.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New kitchen gadget

With cherry season at its peak right now, I need to find ways to process more of the fruits quickly! Last Saturday at our Summer Fruit meetup, we made a cherry sorbet that was incredible. We used the dark bing cherries that we pitted using my new cherry pit remover gadget, juiced in my Breville Elite juicer, then mixed with a bit of simple syrup I had made ahead that was perfumed with Meyer lemon, and then we froze the sorbet in my Cuisinart ice cream maker. The recipe is a basic sorbet recipe that I use with many different fruits. I use the juice of the fruit I have on-hand in the same proportion each time. Stacy calls it the essence of the fruit. For the cherry sorbet I used kirsch brandy as the spirit, which makes the cherry flavor "pop", while preventing the sorbet from freezing too hard.

The cherry pit remover gadget is a simple tool that makes pitting cherries a snap (olives too, I have been told). It is the Oxo Good Grips cherry pit remover. I bought mine at Sur La Table in San Jose. Here it is on-line for $13. There is one trick to perfect pitting: align the vertical seam of the cherry to the inside toward the handle and make sure the plunger is perfectly aligned where the stem was removed. After a few cherries, I got the hang of it and pitted a whole pound in less than two minutes. Worth every penny!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Canning Day

I love pickles of all kinds. My favorites are always home canned because the flavors and colors are so much brighter. It is satisfying to open a can of homemade pickles, too, because you know where everything in the jar came from.

I spent a few hours canning some bread and butter pickles, garlicky dills, and some strawberry jam on Monday. I processed all three together since my water bath requires so much energy from my stove to bring to a boil. Also when canning I get into a rhythm so it is less work to do more in the same session versus canning small quantities each time over a series of days.

The strawberry jam was made from some left-over berries we bought fresh on Saturday. Most of the berries were used in a dessert later that same day. Since the berries don't have sulfates on them they don't keep more than two days. Canning some jam is a good way to preserve the wonderful fruits for later use. The cucumbers, peppers, onions and dill were purchased specifically for making pickles. Next year I hope to have my garden in so that the fruits and vegetables will come directly from our own land.

Here's the recipe for the bread and butter pickles that are nice snacking pickles. I also use them in mayonnaise-based salads like chicken salad for sandwiches. The juice is also nice in deviled eggs:

Crisp Bread and Butter Pickles

8 medium onions
2 large sweet red, yellow or orange peppers (green can be too herbaceous)
1/2 cup coarse Kosher salt
1 gallon unpeeled cucumbers sliced 1/4 inch
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon s each, ground turmeric and whole cloves

Slice onions thin. Cut pepper into thin strips. Dissolve salt in 1 cup water and pour over sliced vegetables, including cucumbers. Put some ice on top of cucumbers (use about 1 quart ice: it is the ice and salt that gives an almost brittle, crisp pickle). Let stand three to six hours, weighted with a plate: drain. Combine remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Add drained vegetables and heat to boiling point (don't boil). Pack in hot sterilized jars, filling to 1/2" from top; add lids, loosely tighten rings and process the jars in a water bath for 15 minutes.

Make sure jars are sealed. Any that did not seal, refrigerate.

Makes 6 pints.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Old Fashioned Blueberry Pancakes

Pancakes are one of the best comfort foods. This week we bought extra blueberries since they are at the peak of their very short season and we couldn't resist. We also had more milk in the fridge than usual, so I decided to use both to make some old fashioned blueberry pancakes. This is as basic as a pancake recipe gets. No meringue or cultured buttermilk, and no box either. These are from scratch and easy to make. Stacy commented that they reminded her of eating a blueberry muffin, which I took as a very positive endorsement. You can omit the fruit or replace it with other fruits like strawberries, sliced stone fruits, even sauteed apples. We enjoyed these for breakfast on Sunday, which was the perfect way to start our goof-off day.

Here's the recipe:


Yield: Makes six generous pancakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 Cup fresh blueberries, washed

Together, sift the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until just combined. Add blueberries and mix with just a few strokes to distribute through the batter.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle to 370 degrees (or over medium heat). Pour the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/2 cup for each pancake. When bubbles start to break, flip and brown on the other side. Serve hot.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Simply elegant appetizer

Throwing a dinner or cocktail party can be stressful, particularly for the one that cooks all of the food. I am always looking for gourmet appetizers that are easy to make ahead of a party. My neighbor Kathy has been a caterer for many years with that seasoned wisdom that comes from "been there done that". She brought these to a dinner party at our house and Stacy fell in love with them. She recently gave me the recipe which I tried for the first time yesterday. These are incredibly easy to make! Essentially it is a cheese biscuit dough rolled out and cut into strips. These versatile munchies will be used as a garnish for a scallop on zucchini sauce dish we are making this Saturday in our Summer Fruit meetup.

Here's the recipe:

McHardy Lodge Cheese Straws
¾ Cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 oz cubed butter (make sure it is cold. I have seen cooks grate frozen butter for biscuits)
a shake of salt and a fresh grind of pepper
pinch of mixed herbs
pinch of chili powder
¾ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
About 1 tablespoon milk

Pre-heat oven to 400
in food processor pulse all ingredients to mix - it will look like coarse corn meal
add ¾ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese and pulse again
add enough milk to combine so the dough comes together without being wet

Be sure not to overwork the dough after adding the milk. The less manipulation the lighter the biscuits will bake.
roll out on floured board
cut into straws or biscuits
bake at 400 degrees until browned about 10 minutes


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hopi Blue Corn Bread

The cool weather of late in the Bay Area has me wanting comfort food so I baked a skillet of corn bread using Hopi-Blue corn meal from Tierra Vegetables, a Sonoma County grower of vegetables and sheep. They make a very small amount of milled corn meal, and an even smaller amount from blue corn. They offer their produce at the San Francisco Farmer's Market and also out of their roadside stand in Santa Rosa. If you can get the blue corn meal it creates a colorful bread that makes a simple peasant dish gourmet.

The recipe below can be used with any corn meal. I like the texture when the meal is fine ground for eating pieces of the bread alongside dishes like boiled beans. If I plan to use the corn bread in a stuffing, I use a polenta grind. Either way, this is a basic and versatile recipe. For this session I grilled some white corn and stripped the ears into the batter and also sprinkled some kernels on top. This adds a nice variety in the bread.

Corn Bread
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 large egg
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 400° F. and pre-heat a 10" well-seasoned cast iron skillet. If you don't have a cast iron skillet, butter 1 9-by-5-by-3 inch loaf pan.
Into a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk in cornmeal and sugar until combined well. In a bowl whisk together milk and eggs until just combined. Add butter to flour mixture and work it in with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal. Beat in egg mixture until just combined.

If desired, grill two ears of corn until kernels are carmelized and softened. Strip kernels from ears and divide 2/3 of corn into the batter and 1/3 for sprinkling on top before placing the skillet or pan into the oven.
Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 40 minutes for skillet or 50 minutes for pan. Cool corn bread in pan on a rack 10 minutes and turn out onto rack to cool completely. Corn bread may be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept in a cool, dry place 2 days or frozen 2 weeks.

Monday, June 8, 2009


In the warm months we love our fresh fruits and vegetables. One of my favorites is the cucumber. I use them in a variety of salad dishes to bring that light and fresh taste to summer fare. As the season gets into full swing I also think about pickles to preserve the fruits for use in the colder months.

Some restaurants we frequent seem to pickle just about everything to accompany a gourmet sandwich. Case in point is Hog Island Oyster Bar in the Ferry Building in San Francisco and now also at the OxBow Market in Napa. They make a grilled cheese sandwich that is the best I have ever tasted, which always gets served with some pickle or other. The tart flavor of the pickle is a perfect complement to entrees that contain fat like cheese and meats.

The easiest pickling method is to use a vinegar and brine mixed with spices. This is also safer than the fermentation method, which I will cover in a future blog (great for deli style dills and sauerkraut). The vinegar and salt kill the bacteria in the pickle mixture and prevent lactoid fermentation.

Here's a recipe for dill pickles that you can use for pretty much anything you want to pickle. The great thing about this recipe is that it only takes three days before you are enjoying your pickles.

Vinegar Dills
Sterilize a 1 quart jar and lid with boiling water
6 or so pickling cucumbers (or zucchinis, carrots, radishes, etc, enough to tightly pack the jar)
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves peeled and sliced
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 handfull fresh dill
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons kosher salt


Boil liquids to dissolve salt and cool.
Once cool, set pan with brine in an ice bath to bring temperature of liquid near freezing (this is what keeps the cucumbers crisp so they still have a crunch after pickling)
Wash and remove stems from cucumbers and then make spears by slicing into quarters lengthwise.
Stuff the jar with the cucumber spears, sliced onion and garlic. Make sure to pack tightly so the cucumbers don't float up after adding the brine.
Pour the brine over the pickles and seal the lid. Set the jar on your counter for three days turning occasionally. Then refrigerate. The pickles are ready to eat and can be stored in the fridge for a year.

Stacy and John Murphy host an instructional, nutritious, and fun hands-on cooking class one or two Saturdays each month using ingredients that come fresh from the San Francisco Farmer’s Market.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Summer Magic

For a cook that focuses on using fresh and seasonal ingredients, June begins the magical season of abundance and variety of produce that continues through fall every year. Like magic every week one favorite from the Market goes out of season to be replaced by several other choices. The biggest challenge for me over the next several months is to buy only what we can eat or preserve the following week. With just two weeks before summer solstice kids are out of school for the summer and the stone fruits are coming out of the orchards in abundance. Cherries of all sorts, peaches, and apricots were offered from heaping bins at several stalls around the Farmer's Market. We said goodbye to asparagus this week as the Delta is too hot for the tender shoots (grocers will source asparagus from Washington State now). It was an exceptional asparagus year for the Delta this year that we took full advantage of. Squashes, spring onions, garlic and salad greens continue to appear at several stalls in vibrant colored skins and sublime taste.

This week I yielded to the tempting look of ugly tomatoes from Capay Farms, an organic grower that brings their produce in from Yolo County. They have their tomatoes in earlier than other purveyors by growing the vines in the ground under hoop frame canopies that have clear plastic stretched over, which raises the temperature under the frame much the same as a greenhouse. They are good tomatoes, but not as good as what we will see in July harvested from vines grown in direct sun. Nonetheless, we bought some bufala mozzarella from Cow Girl Creamery that I will pair up with one each pineapple and brandywine tomatoes and some fresh basil from my garden to make our first caprese salad of the season for Sunday dinner. Let the summer begin!

Stacy and I arrived early (about 8:30 AM) at the Market this week to be sure to get chickens from Mountain Home that were promised to be fresh, never frozen this one day from the latest flock. The birds were there as promised, although they are huge, weighing six pounds and more apiece. The girl behind the counter, daughter of the farmer that raises the birds, told us that they were processed a week later than planned because the processor was vacationing. It is amazing that the birds gain two or three pounds in a single week! The price per pound was slightly lower which makes sense given the difference in product from the first two flocks we bought from. Because of their heft, though, three chickens still rang up at over $80 total. Once I got them home I de-boned two of the birds in preparation for a dinner party later that night we threw for a long-time couple friend of ours along with their two kids. The size of the birds made the work challenging. The reason I didn't de-bone all three of them was because only two carcasses along with the four legs, thighs and wings is all that would fit in my biggest roasting pan! I roasted the carcasses to put away to make chicken stock and the legs and thighs for our go-to-work lunches. I put a dry rub on the boneless breasts to marinate for a few hours. I also cooked a honey mustard and apricot glaze that was applied to the breasts during roasting. We will use the same recipe next week in our meetup for the chicken entree. The chicken breasts were good, but not as good as the birds we enjoyed two months ago when we first bought from Mountain Home. I will not buy any more from that flock. Marin Sun Farms chickens are better, with birds weighing between two-and-one-half and three-and-one-half pounds each. Hopefully Mountain Home will coordinate their processor for smaller birds for the next flock.

I also made the grilled pluot salad with some rosa flavor pluots and some red and gold apricots for our friends. It was amazing. The recipe is ready for our meetup and for us to enjoy as long as the fruit is available in the fleeting stone fruit season at the Market.

Stacy and John Murphy host an instructional, nutritious, and fun hands-on cooking class one or two Saturdays each month using ingredients that come fresh from the San Francisco Farmer’s Market.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Perfect Poached Eggs

One of my favorite breakfasts is poached eggs on toast. Lately I have also seen poached eggs being served in place of fish or next to chicken in fine dining restaurants. I have an important meal coming up on June 13 where I will offer either scallops or poached eggs both on zucchini sauce as the fish course in our Summer Fruit class. The poached eggs are the vegetarian option.

I use eggs that come from chickens fed on pasture that are chocked full of flavor. The eggs are available from Marin Sun Farms at the San Francisco Farmer's Market.

To cook perfect poached eggs, I start with a saucepan filled with water and no salt. I place 2-1/2" metal cutting rounds in the water to serve as the mold for the eggs. This eliminates the need to manipulate the whites in the water. I also like my eggs poached by submersion in the water versus the double boiler method that special egg poacher pans use.

Bring the water to a boil. When the water boils, lower the heat to very low then quickly crack one egg at a time into a ladle then ladle the egg into one of the rounds. If you don't work fast the egg will start to cook in the ladle which creates a mess in the water and on the ladle.

Poach the eggs 4 to 5 minutes. At 4 minutes the yolks are almost firm. At 5 minutes they are fully firm. Less than 4 minutes and the whites are a bit runny if you like that style.

I like the 4 minute version which is the same amount of time it takes to toast the bread in my toaster oven.

To serve, remove pan from heat. I like to work the next part over my sink since the rounds are hot and some water will drain in the process of removing the rounds. Using a metal spatula (preferrable with slots), scrape the egg and round together from the pan. Pull the round from the egg while still on the spatula. The water will drain off the egg and you're ready to place on the toast. Repeat for the other egg(s).

Add salt and pepper and enjoy.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

While these might look like cow patties on a plate, they are really delicious. They are also healthy and vegetarian. If you omit the cheese, they are vegan.

We love to throw dinner parties for our friends and family. Sometimes a guest requests a vegetarian meal, which I am happy to provide. I developed this recipe for an upcoming meetup called Summer Fruit, where twelve of us will gather at my home Saturday, June 13, to prepare a six-course gourmet lunch. The stuffed mushrooms will be served with a zucchini sauce and roasted purple potatoes. For the purpose of testing the recipe, I made two mushrooms for Stacy and my Sunday dinner.

The mushrooms come from Far West Fungi, the mushroom purveyor in the San Francisco Ferry Building. I used whole portobellos for the base, a mix of wild mushrooms, fresh zephyr squash, and an aged cheddar for the stuffing. These are very tasty.

Recipe: Vegetable-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Serves 4
Add roasted potatoes and the portobellos can take center stage as a vegetarian entree.

1 yellow onion
1 1/2 lb summer squashes including zucchini
4 teaspoons olive oil + olive oil as needed
2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup unoaked dry white wine
8 ounces chopped wild mushrooms
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
Kosher salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
4 large portobello mushrooms
6 ounces grated Gouda or Gruyere cheese (or aged cheddar)
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs + breadcrumbs for topping
Chopped parsley (optional garnish)

Preheat oven to 400ยบ.
Clean the portobellos and cut off stems flush to the caps; discard stems. Brush smooth side of the mushrooms with oil, then season both sides generously with salt and pepper. Place mushrooms on a baking sheet, gill side up and roast in oven until mushrooms release moisture about 8 minutes. Allow to cool

Cut the onion into small dice. Grate the squashes to look like short noodles. In a skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the wine, squashes, chopped mushrooms and thyme. Cook until soft and the mushrooms have released their moisture; the vegetables should be fairly dry. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and a large pinch of pepper. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and set aside.

This vegetable mixture may be made up to a day ahead; cover and refrigerate.

Combine vegetable mixture, cheese and breadcrumbs. Taste and adjust seasoning. Divide stuffing among caps, mounding generously. Sprinkle more breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until portobellos are cooked, stuffing is heated through, cheese has melted and breadcrumbs have browned -- about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of portobellos, temperature of the stuffing and thickness of the pan.

Garnish, if desired, with parsley.

Note: If preparing filling that has been made ahead and refrigerated, allow additional time to bake.

Stacy and John Murphy host an instructional, nutritious, and fun hands-on cooking class one or two Saturdays each month using ingredients that come fresh from the San Francisco Farmer’s Market.