Tag Archives: Cooking

Teen Kitchen Project: two brunch dates remain in series, plus new kids’ classes

A scene from TKP’s brunch benefit Sunday, March 25, in Aptos

Teen Kitchen Project has been running a brunch fundraiser series since March. There were two Sundays in March, then they skipped Easter, and now two Sundays remain — April 8 and 15. Entrees rotate each time and have included Huevos Rancheros with rice and beans; orange-zested thick cut French toast with spiced maple syrup; and broccoli cheddar quiche with country style sausage and home fries. There are two seatings each day, 9:30 & 11:30 a.m., and brunch takes place at TKP’s newly renovated teaching kitchen and café at 8061 Aptos St. Cost is $35 for adults and $15 for kids under 12. The TKP teens do the cooking and serving. Entrees include a basket of freshly baked goods at each table, plus coffee, tea and juice. My family and I dined with TKP on March 25, and thoroughly enjoyed the meal–from the delectable scones to scrumptious sausage, Chilaquiles and more! View menus and purchase online at teenkitchenproject.org/brunch.One hundred percent of proceeds benefit TKP.

TKP recently began offering cooking classes for kids ages 8 and up, for $35 each, and they are now expanding to offer a few for kids 5-8. At the first one for “littles” on Monday, April 30, kids will make pizza. “Teen Kitchen Project is excited to open our doors to aspiring chefs ages 5 and up who are interested in learning more about developing their culinary skills,” says founder Angela Farley. “We believe empowering young people with the knowledge and skills to prepare food from scratch is essential to accomplish our goal of building a healthier Santa Cruz County, one meal at a time.”

Topics for the older kids have included burgers, tacos and dumplings. During the 2-hour classes, kids work with other students in groups of two to four. There are also adult chefs and a teen helper present. At the end of class, participants get to eat the food they prepare. Monday and Wednesday classes are at the Aptos location (8061 Aptos St.), and Friday classes are at the Soquel location (2880 Research Park Dr.). Enrollment is limited. Visit the registration page at crm.fundly.com//6708/Pages/Events/#/.

For those unfamiliar with Teen Kitchen Project, executive director Angela Farley launched TKP in 2012 after her son was diagnosed with cancer. Farley decided she wanted to help other families affected by cancer, to at least attempt to decrease some of the pressure and feelings of being overwhelmed. Today, the organization regularly delivers 600-700 free, healthy meals for clients throughout Santa Cruz County who are in crisis due to illness.  Teen volunteers ages 13-18 prepare meals with the assistance of adult volunteers. The teens gain valuable skills as they volunteer. For more info, visit the web site teenkitchenproject.org.

 

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Upcoming New Leaf classes include making sushi

Learn how to make sushi at New Leaf
Photo credit: New Leaf Community Markets

New Leaf Community Markets in Santa Cruz has several upcoming events, including classes on making sushi, learning about Japanese fermented foods, and identifying what foods cause inflammation. Here are some highlights; these are all at the Westside Santa Cruz location at 1101 Fair Ave. (831-426-1306).

 

Preregistration is required—even for free classes—at newleaf.com/events.

 

Mondays, January 22-February 12, 1-2 p.m.

Boosting Behavior Change 4-Part Series

The free, four-part interactive workshop series, led by licensed psychologist and wellness coach Kimberly Smith-Martinez, will support those wishing to modify their eating habits for goals such as improving health, building muscle or losing weight. The approach presented can also be applied to make lasting changes to other behaviors. Participants will learn about the science behind journaling and how this can support behavior change. By the end of the sessions, participants will “track mind, mouth and muscle” and be prepared to pursue their goals. The classes are on Mondays through Feb. 12.

 

Wednesday, January 24, 6-8 p.m.

Intro to Sushi Making: Part 2

In this hands-on class you’ll make maki rolls (from “maku” which means to wrap or roll), using nori on the outside, brown rice as a base, and other fresh ingredients including salmon and tuna. Attendance in Part 1 not necessary. With Sushi Chef Carlos Mayorga. Cost: $35

 

Thursday, January 25, 6-7:30 p.m.

Traditional Japanese Fermented Foods Series, Class # 1: Amazake

Make amazake (means sweet sake)—a traditional Japanese sweet, nutritious, non-alcoholic drink made with cooked rice or cooked oatmeal and rice Koji. Enjoy as a dessert, snack or natural sweetening agent. Taste different amazake recipes. With Masumi Diaz and Eriko Yokoyama. Two other classes will be offered: Feb 8 and Feb 22. Cost: $35

 

Wednesday, January 31, 6-7 p.m.

How to Read Nutrition Facts and Labels

Join Dr. Danette Sutton and learn how to read and understand food labels and start making healthier choices. Since the FDA announced a new label for packaged foods last year to reflect new scientific information, we will discuss the link between diet and chronic diseases.

Cost: $5

 

Wednesdays, Feb 7-Feb 28, 6-8 p.m.

Anti-Inflammatory Integrative Wellness Series, $56 for drop-in (only a couple of these remain) or $225 for all four classes

You may have heard than inflammation is the root cause of all disease, but did you know that what you eat has a profound effect on feeding or fighting the issue? In this 4-week series, Anti-Inflammatory Chef Magali Brecke and Holistic Nutritionist Madia Jamgochian will lead you through the basics of eliminating inflammation through diet and lifestyle. You will learn how to heal Leaky Gut, reverse autoimmune conditions, and get back on track to vibrant health. The four-class series breaks down as follows:

  • February 7: Intro to Inflammation, Leaky Gut, & Autoimmunity. In this two and a half hour class, Magali and Madia will provide a presentation on how inflammation affects the body, including what foods cause the biggest inflammatory response. Cooking demonstration & meal included.
  • February 14: Elimination Diets: There are quite a few anti-inflammatory diets out there these days. This class will go over how to choose the right elimination diet, and what’s in a name. We will cover the Autoimmune Protocol, (AIP) Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) Wahls Protocol, Traditional Foods, and the Paleo diet to help you decide which one is the most realistic and beneficial fit for you. Cooking demonstration & meal included.
  • February 21: Meal Planning for Success! To complete a successful elimination diet, preparation is key. Magali & Madia will go over meal planning a week at a time, demonstrating batch cooking techniques that will make throwing together dinner easy! Cooking demonstration & meal included.
  • February 28: Hands on Cooking. In our last class together, classmates participate in creating an anti-inflammatory recipe from scratch. We will discuss techniques, resources, and do a series review plus Q &A on what you have learned from the class. Full meal included.

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A Cuisinart Christmas: Gift ideas for chefs, bakers, coffee lovers and more

Cuisinart released this automatic cold brew coffee maker in March 2017—a great gift for coffee lovers
Photo credit: Cuisinart

If you have last-minute holiday shopping left to do and you have chefs or bakers on your list—or even just people that appreciate good coffee or an excellent toaster!—here are a few gift ideas from Cuisinart. The items cover a range of budgets, too. Some of the products are brand-new, while others are tried and true. Retailers that carry some of these selections include Target, Kohl’s and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Cuisinart has a new automatic cold brew coffee maker that was released in March, which makes cold brew coffee in far less time than manual coffeemakers. Using “unique spin technology,” Cuisinart promises coffee in as little as 25 minutes in a choice of three flavor strengths. Coffee can be refrigerated in the seven-cup glass carafe for up to two weeks. Retail price is $99.95. The recipe section of Cuisinart’s site includes one for “Creamy Cold Brew Coconut Coffee.”

Another new item—also just released in March—is a Cuisinart “PrepExpress” spiralizer. It’s actually described as a 3-in-1 slicer, shredder AND spiralizer, and can make eating healthier much easier. Uses include wide ribbons or crinkle-cut spirals of fresh zucchini and apples, thin or wide butternut squash or beet ‘spaghetti,’ cucumber slices for salads, and thick or thin shreds of veggies for snacks or fajita fillings. Retail price is $69.95.

I have a stainless steel four-slice Cuisinart toaster at home that I highly recommend. I never imagined how much I’d appreciate having the ability to toast three or four bread slices or frozen waffles at once instead of just two. It sure makes the mornings easier when my husband and I are trying to have a quick breakfast and get ourselves to work and our daughter to school on time! Plus, this toaster has customizable settings for each two-slice section (including food type, like waffle/bread/bagel/English muffin, and a shade scale ranging from 1-7). You can do toast on a darker setting on one side, and a waffle to a medium golden brown on the other.

If you’re looking for baking gifts, Cuisinart has several fun products including a non-stick, dishwasher-safe “Mini Bakeware” line with selections ranging from $5.95-$10.95. I like the mini heart pans (set of 4, $9.95), and Pinterest has a lot of recipes using this type of pan. There are also traditional baking pans like an “easy-grip” non-stick 17-inch baking sheet ($23.95) with silicone grip handles or a non-stick 24-cup mini muffin pan ($15.95).

If you want to browse all of the company’s recipes for inspiration around the holidays or any time of year, here’s the site.

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New Leaf’s December classes include raw holiday desserts, sushi, healthy holidays

Learn how to make Chai Pecan Pie & other raw holiday desserts Dec. 13 at New Leaf
Photo credit: Beth Love

New Leaf Community Markets in Santa Cruz has several events this month, including ones to make “healthy holiday eating” easier. Here are some highlights; these are all at the Westside Santa Cruz location at 1101 Fair Ave. (831-426-1306). There is also a holiday macaron class on Dec. 20 but it’s already sold out – if you’re interested in that topic, try to sign up early next year!

Preregistration is required—even for the free class—at newleaf.com/events.

 

Tuesday, December 12
Healthy Holidays: Special Diets
, 1-2 p.m.
If you get stressed about what to eat or how to stick to your diet during the holidays, help is here! Gain ideas for managing your gluten-free, dairy-free or anti-inflammatory diet stress-free! Enjoy tastes of featured recipes. With Certified Nutrition Consultant Madia Jamgochian. Free.

Wednesday, December 13
Raw Holiday Desserts
, 6–8:30 p.m.
In this hands-on class, attendees will create four different delicious, healthy, plant-based desserts that everyone can enjoy without guilt! Make Raw Beet Treasure Cake, Apricot Walnut Chews with Cardamom, Chai Pecan Pie and Persimmon Cashew Sorbet. “Mature children” welcome to attend with adult. With Chef Beth Love, author of Tastes Like Love cookbook series. $45.

Thursday, December 14
Intro to Sushi Making
, 6–8 p.m.
Join Sushi Chef Carlos Mayorga and learn how to properly assemble your own rolls from scratch and discover your own style! Learn technique, tradition, prep and how to plate your finished masterpieces. Come hungry. $25.

 

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Christmas 2016 at Whole Foods Market on the Central Coast

Assorted cheese from Whole Foods Market Credit: Whole Foods Market

Assorted cheese from Whole Foods Market
Credit: Whole Foods Market

Whether you need to shop for a holiday feast or check some folks off your gift list, Whole Foods Market locations in Capitola, Santa Cruz and Monterey have lots to choose from—including the always-dependable gift card idea (ones for the market itself or for other retailers).

Customers need to place orders for holiday dinners two days ahead of their desired pick up date. Food is available for pickup Dec. 18-24, and then again on Dec. 26 (WFM is closed on Christmas Day). Order in person or online.

For gifts, WFM has several selections where part of your purchase goes to a worthy cause. For example, they partnered with PBS Kids to carry the company’s toys and help raise money. I’ve seen some of the Aurora Plush Animals in the store (pandas, penguins, foxes and more) and they definitely look cuddle-able! Some of the animals are endangered species. There are also some colorful and fun PBS Kids toys made with a composite featuring rubber wood from mature trees that no longer produce latex. All net proceeds benefit PBS Kids’ mission of “building knowledge, critical thinking, imagination and curiosity to empower children for success.”

Other “gifts with a cause” include ones where part of proceeds goes to Whole Planet Foundation to help alleviate poverty worldwide. These include Alaffia trios (coconut oil triple-milled bar soap or whipped body butter); one percent benefits WPF. Or if you buy west elm kitchen products made from upcycled denim—such as potholders—a dollar from each purchase goes to WPF. In addition, they have gift cards for sale where one percent benefits the Whole Kids Foundation (which aims to support schools and inspire families to improve children’s nutrition and wellness). These include Chipotle and Best Buy physical gift cards, and Starbucks digital cards.

There are room sprays and handmade soy wax candles from Thistle Farms; scents include lavender & lemon (Gratitude) and Geranium & Citrus (Hope). Thistle Farms is a community, sanctuary and social enterprise led by women survivors of trafficking, addiction and prostitution. It provides housing, recovery support and education. Each spray or candle purchase directly benefits the women who made it.

WFM wine experts have compiled a list of “10 favorite wines for the holiday season.” Available online, each wine has several suggested food pairings plus a recipe for an additional food pairing. Two examples: Andover Estate Pinot Noir goes well with items like Sartori Herbs des Provence BellaVitano cheese or roasted winter vegetables, or with the dish “Easy Porchetta Pork Tenderloin” (recipe included). Autoritas Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with Vermont Creamery Coupole cheese, poached white-fleshed fish, or “Bay Scallop Linguine with White Wine and Parsley” (recipe included).

There are lots of other enticing articles on the WFM blog, including ones with recipes like “holiday cakes worth celebrating” (includes mini chocolate ricotta cakes and cinnamon-almond olive oil cake) and “holiday appetizers” (how about sweet potato bacon bites, spinach bites with honey mustard, or pigs in a blanket with cranberry-mustard dipping sauce? Ok now I’m hungry!).

For holiday appetizers, if you’re a cheese fan, WFM just announced a big “12 Days of Cheese” sale. From Dec. 13-24, a different artisan cheese is on sale for FIFTY PERCENT OFF each day! Some highlights with notes from the market’s cheese experts:

Vermont Creamery, Bonne Bouche (Dec. 15)

  • This mild ash-ripened goat cheese with earthy notes and a subtle hazelnut flavor is a visually stunning addition to any cheese board.

Uplands Cheese Company, Pheasant Ridge Reserve (Dec. 17)

  • The only three-time winner of the American Cheese Society Best of Show, this cheese has a sweet, broth-like flavor with notes of butterscotch and fruit.

Cypress Grove Chevre, Truffle Tremor (Dec. 19)

  • A silky, creamy soft-ripened goat cheese packed with truffles. Deep floral, herb and mushroom flavors. An American original!

Rapin, Le Maréchal (Dec. 20)

  • This creamy, raw-milk Alpine cheese is infused with flavor from herbs added by hand during the ripening process.

Papillon, Roquefort (Dec. 21)

  • This classic cave-aged sheep’s milk blue cheese shows rich spiciness, complex layers of flavor and a smooth texture.

Vermont Creamery, St. Albans (Dec. 23)

  • An American take on a traditional French cheese, sourced from milk from one farm. Delicate and smooth with rich creamy flavors and nutty notes.  Non-GMO Project verified.

As I mentioned in my Thanksgiving article, WFM’s 2016 holiday food shopping guide  features selections such as traditional turkey dinner for eight ($99.99). This comes with a fully cooked 10-lb. oven-roasted Diestel turkey, four pounds each of herb stuffing and mashed potatoes, a quart of turkey gravy, a pint of cranberry relish, 16 dinner rolls, and a nine-inch traditional pumpkin pie. You can also order turkeys (cooked or uncooked) and ready-to-eat sides a la carte.

Local Store Details

Whole Foods Market Santa Cruz is located at 911 Soquel Ave. Call (831) 426-9901 for more information.

Whole Foods Market Capitola is located at 1710 41st Ave. Call (831) 464-2900 for more information.

Whole Foods Market Monterey is at 800 Del Monte Center, (831) 333-1600.

 

For more Whole Foods Market locations, see the store locator.

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Fun October class topics at New Leaf Community Markets include apple butter, candy apples, tapas & wine pairings

Drop the kids off at New Leaf to learn how to make candy apples with organic toppings Photo credit: New Leaf

Drop the kids off at New Leaf to learn how to make candy apples with organic toppings
Photo credit: New Leaf

New Leaf Community Markets has lots of cooking classes this month, including many with autumn-related themes (apple butter anyone? Yum). Here are a few highlights; these are all at the Westside Santa Cruz location at 1101 Fair Ave. (831-426-1306).

Preregistration is required at newleaf.com/events.

 

Saturday, Oct. 15

Apple Butter and Jam Making Workshop

Learn how to make easy and delicious apple butter and seasonal fall jam with Home Chef Lisa Bono using natural sweeteners. This class will cover equipment, ingredients, canning methods and storage. Take home two jars of your own creation.
Time & Cost: 2–4pm, $25.

 

Thursday, Oct. 20
Date Night: Spanish Tapas and Wine Pairing

New Leaf invites you to sign up with your sweetheart and work together to create a variety of tasty Spanish-style tapas while sipping wine with Chef Kristen Valenza and Nutrition Consultant Madia Jamgochian. Classic tapas ingredients that may be used include Marcona almonds, manchego cheese, prociutto, chorizo, shrimp and eggplant.

Time & Cost: 6–8:30pm, $85 for two people.

 

Friday, Oct. 28

Kids’ Class: Candy Apple & Marshmallow Making

Drop your kids off for class and they will make candy apples using a variety of organic toppings while enjoying homemade ginger soda, while you can enjoy a date night.
Time & Cost: 6–8pm, $25.

 

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The Healthy Way celebrates anniversary with Santa Cruz food and health fair

Vegetable frittata with sweet potato crust from The Healthy Way

Vegetable frittata with sweet potato crust from The Healthy Way

Santa Cruz business The Healthy Way recently achieved two milestones—30 years as a Santa Cruz business and serving 10,000 clients!—and owner Cheri Bianchini is celebrating with a fun, informative food and health fair Saturday that’s free to the public.

 

The event, Sept. 10 from noon to 4 p.m., will feature lots of healthy food sampling and activities. There will be tastes of Ginger Carrot Soup, Emily’s Apple Bars, Plum Cobbler, Almond Dip with assorted crackers, Healthy Way Chocolates, and Gourmet Balsamic Vinegars, all prepared by Chef Julie of The Healthy Way. Chef Adrienne Meire will do a cooking demo of Healthy Way Harvest Salad, Vegetable Frittata with Sweet Potato Crust (see recipe below and photo above) and Curry Quinoa Salad, all of which can be sampled. Sugar-free chai will also be available.

 

Also, Crown Café Catering from Scotts Valley Market  will offer “Jambalaya the Healthy Way” and Cauliflower Rice. Earlier this year, Bianchini began a partnership with Crown Catering, who now supplies all of the fresh and prepared foods available for sale at The Healthy Way. Bianchini will expand this partnership in the future; plans include a nutrition class series and a market labeling program geared toward people with diabetes, inflammatory conditions, and those looking to avoid gluten and/or dairy. “We are thrilled to be partnering with The Healthy Way,” said Ron Clements, owner of Scotts Valley Market. “We have long respected the work of Cheri and her team at The Healthy Way, and we are excited to assist them in helping the Santa Cruz community achieve better health.”
Workshops will be given on Yoga, Qi Gong, mindfulness eating, and hypnosis for weight loss and stress reduction, and a panel of clients will share their success stories. See schedule below. There will be information booths on topics such as nutrition and acupuncture for appetite control. People can have their blood pressure checked, and B-12 and fat-burning shots will be available. Special pricing on The Healthy Way programs will be offered. Music will be provided by KPIG; the station will broadcast live from 1–3pm in The Healthy Way parking lot.

 

A raffle with $5 tickets will benefit Hospice of Santa Cruz County, an organization The Healthy Way has been supporting for many years.

 

Read more about the event here.
Sept. 10 schedule:
12-4pm: Ongoing cooking demos and food sampling
12:15 -12:45pm: Yoga for Health with Cheladee Bianchini
1:00-1:30pm:  Qi Gong for Weight Loss with Shelley Purdy, CFT
1:45-2:30pm: Panel: Meet the Experts with The Healthy Way Success Stories
2:45-3:15pm: Mindfulness Eating with Karin Leonard, CHT
3:30-4pm: Hypnosis for Weight Loss and Stress Reduction with Rainya Dann, CHT
Date/Time: Saturday, Sept. 10, noon to 4 p.m.

Location: 3251 Mission Drive, Santa Cruz, near Dominican Hospital

 

Sweet Potato Crusted Frittata recipe, serves 4 to 6 

from The Healthy Way

 

2 medium sweet potatoes

vegetable oil spray or coconut oil spray

2 cups baby spinach

1/2 cup onion chopped

1 cup chopped zucchini

1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup low fat milk (or unsweetened almond milk for vegan version)

1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper

4 large eggs

2 egg whites

1.5 oz crumbled feta (or Myoko’s vegan brand ricotta cheese 1.5 oz)

 

Preheat oven to 375F

-Peel and evenly slice sweet potatoes very thinly, with a mandolin or sharp knife

-Coat a 9” round pie dish with cooking spray and fill bottom of dish with a layer of sweet potatoes.

-Cut the potato rounds in half and flare around the edge of the dish to create a pie crust

-Spray potatoes with more vegetable oil

-Bake for 20 minutes

 

For the filling:

-In a fry pan, spray vegetable oil and add chopped onion until translucent. Add zucchini and mushrooms. Cook till tender. Add spinach till wilted. Remove from heat.

-Pour cooked vegetables into prepared sweet potato pan.

-Combine with a whisk the milk, salt/pepper and eggs and pour over vegetables.

-Sprinkle with feta or the vegan cheese alternative.

-Bake at 375F for 35 minutes.

– Let stand 5 minutes and then enjoy!

 

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12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Day 5: Farmer Freed culinary salts from Santa Cruz

Farmer Freed culinary salt blends come in six varieties

Farmer Freed culinary salt blends come in six varieties

It’s Day Five of Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” See end of article for how to win a Farmer Freed culinary salt three-jar set. Special note: it’s been brought to my attention that after my articles are posted, there is sometimes a several-hour delay before a notification is emailed to my subscribers.  These email alerts are not something I control, so during this giveaway (or anytime, for that matter), you can always check my home page to see if a new article has been posted.

Santa Cruz resident Emily Jane Freed runs her own business, Farmer Freed culinary salt blends, which she makes with organic ingredients from local farms along the California Central Coast. “We know all of our farmers and their families’ names, and we are proud to know the people that grow the additions for the culinary salt blends,” says Freed.  The salts can be used in two ways: add a pinch when cooking, or use as a finishing salt as you sit down to enjoy a meal.

Farmer Freed salts are sold in Santa Cruz County stores, online and at selected stores in the greater Bay Area. Her blends come in six flavors: Everyday Herb Salt, Sababa Salt, Spice It Up Salt, Pucker Up Citrus Salt, Dilly Goat Salt, and Vanilla Bean Baker’s Salt.

They make great gifts—to yourself or to others—and this weekend you can buy them in person at two events. Farmer Freed will be at the Santa Cruz Food Lounge on Saturday, Dec. 19 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. for a Holiday Artisan Food & Gift Market, which features over 25 vendors selling unique, local, small batch artisan foods and gifts, and at the Live Oak Farmers’ Market Sunday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The Vanilla Bean Baker’s Salt, which Freed says is good with items like cookies, brownies, cakes, pies, breads, pancakes, and waffles, is sourced sea salt from South San Francisco which is the only North American sea salt bed in the US. The sea salt is steeped with both whole and ground vanilla beans (grown under organic conditions) from The Vanilla Company in Santa Cruz who works with vanilla farms throughout the world to bring better working conditions and wages to their farmers.

“Everyday Herb Salt is a perfect match for eggs, popcorn, avocados, roasted veggies, and everything,” says Freed. “One of my favorite things about the Everyday Herb Salt is when people sing Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Scarborough Fair’ since this salt blend includes parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme,” she adds. All herbs are organic and grown locally on Hwy 1. Spice It Up pairs well with pizza, pasta, eggs, popcorn, and can be used as a meat rub.

An interesting note: Freed is also Regional Production Manager at Santa Cruz’s Jacobs Farm/del Cabo, Inc. where she grows organic culinary herbs, edible flowers, and mixed vegetables. Seems like farming is in her blood!

“When creating Farmer Freed, I wanted a way to give back to the Jewish community—which plays an important role in my life,” Freed says. She created the Sababa Salt, which is modeled after Za’atar, (a Middle Eastern herb mix that includes oregano, marjoram, and thyme). Additionally, 36 cents from every jar of Sababa Salt goes to support female farmers via Farmer Freed’s “You Grow Girl” program—which empowers women to farm organically and sustainable within a Jewish agricultural context. This “You Grow Girl” network includes female farmers from California and Canada; Freed is working to include farmers in Israel too.

There is a group of people behind Farmer Freed, not just Emily. Cheryl Isaacson from Lincoln Street Studios came up with the logo and labels for the salt blends. “Cheryl is a creative genius and I feel lucky to have her on the Farmer Freed team.” Keith Holtaway, founder of Pizza My Heart, is Farmer Freed’s business advisor and mentor via the Small Business Development Center. “Keith has gone above and beyond to help Farmer Freed get on shelves of shops and grocery stores throughout California and beyond,” says Freed. Keith is a fan of Pucker Up Citrus Salt (he uses it on fish and salads), and Sababa Salt (for roasted vegetables).

Emily Freed has been thinking about creating a women’s food entrepreneur group in Santa Cruz. “There are so many strong women in Santa Cruz who produce food products,” she says. “I think we could all benefit from sharing our experiences, networking with one another, etc.” She’s looking for a venue that would host the first gathering, and her idea is that all could bring their culinary creations to share. She encourages anyone that might have a space for this group to reach out and connect through the Farmer Freed web site’s contact form.

****
THE CONTEST:
One lucky reader will win a culinary salt set worth approximately $30. It will include Spice It Up, Everyday Herb, and Vanilla, which are the most popular salts.

To enter, email your name to tfatemi@gmail.com by Fri. Dec. 18 at 9 p.m. and include the words “Farmer Freed.” The drawing will take place the next morning and the winner will be notified via email. Employees of Examiner.com are not eligible for the promotion.

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Santa Cruz hosts family-friendly Mole & Mariachi festival

Mole ingredients from a competitor's table at the 2014 Mole & Mariachi Festival. Photo credit: Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks

Mole ingredients from a competitor’s table at the 2014 Mole & Mariachi Festival. Photo credit: Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks

The 3rd annual Mole & Mariachi Festival is Saturday, Sept. 19, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park. The food and music festival has free admission. If you want to sample moles, there is a $10 tasting kit for sale. A list of mole competitors and other vendors is below.

In addition to sampling mole, attendees can purchase local food, beer from Discretion Brewing, and other beverages including chavelas (a drink made from beer, tomato juice, and spices). Food vendors include The Penny Ice Creamery and Garcia Fish Tacos.  There will be music and dance performances, kids’ crafts, piñatas every hour, and a raffle.

This year, six local restaurants and chefs—including first-time participant Jozseph Schultz of India Joze—will prepare moles. Festival attendees and a panel of local judges led by Patricia Santana will select their favorites. Santana and her husband Leonardo own Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant in Aptos. In 2013 the judges’ panel chose Manuel’s as the winner of the inaugural mole cook-off with a recipe Leonardo developed.

Santana is excited and honored to be a judge this year; she is very passionate about mole. “This year, it will be fun to not compete, and actually get to enjoy other moleros’ creations without the stress of bringing our own,” she says. “I salute every mole maker bringing their best entry. In my opinion, mole is the king of sauces in the Mexican kitchen, but one needs to keep in mind there are seven different types of mole – and as many recipes as there are mole makers,” she adds. “This sauce is a labor of love, and every cook has their own secrets.” On mole day at Manuel’s (Sunday), her husband gets up at 2 am to have the restaurant kitchen to himself.

At the festival, free kids’ activities will include face painting, crafts, bubbles, and a mural project coordinated by the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History.

Four folk music bands will perform: Mariachi Gilroy, Mariachi Alma de Mexico, Mariachi Juvenil Alma de Mexico and Trio del Sol. Also performing will be Estrellas de Esperanza, a children’s Mexican folklorico dance group from Watsonville, and Centeotl Grupo de Danza y Baile, a Santa Cruz-based dance group that preserves cultural connections with Mexico.

All event proceeds benefit the Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park (including educational programs and restoration and improvement projects) via Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. The event encourages alternative transportation by providing free trolley rides from downtown and having bike valet service at the park. For more information on the festival, visit the event web site.

Location: Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, 144 School Street

Mole competitors:

  • El Chipotle Restaurant in Soquel (preparing a rojo Oaxaqueño mole)
  • El Jardin Restaurant in Santa Cruz—People’s Choice award winner at the 2013 festival, and a winner at the 2014 festival (preparing “Jorge’s Traditional Mole,” a red mole poblano)
  • My Mom’s Mole from Watsonville (with a 25-ingredient Guanajuato-style sauce that is spicy, not sweet, prepared by chef Cesario Ruiz)
  • Gerald Gonzalez (a home cook from Contra Costa County that will prepare “Mole de Paz,” a mole poblano)
  • Mariquita’s (home cook Emma Pinto Valedez will prepare her grandmother’s mole poblano recipe)
  • India Joze (Schultz will prepare a to-be-announced mole sauce)

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

New Leaf in Westside Santa Cruz dishes up breakfast cooking class

Examples of breakfast dishes created by Madia Jamgochian (Attendees of the April 24 class may learn variations of some of these selections)

Examples of breakfast dishes created by Madia Jamgochian (Attendees of the April 24 class may learn variations of some of these selections)

Interested in learning techniques for creating a delicious breakfast? Chef Madia Jamgochian is teaching “Intro to Cooking-Breakfast!” at New Leaf Community Markets in Westside Santa Cruz.

The class is from 5 -7:30 p.m. Friday, April 24, and the cost is $40 per person or $70 for 2. Preregistration is required and space is limited; contact New Leaf at 426-1306 or visit newleaf.com/events.

The hands-on class is beginner-friendly and gluten-free. Attendees will receive recipes and learn breakfast basics like how to make an omelet. The course description also mentions learning how to cook sweet potato hash, and participants can enjoy a full meal at the end of class if they “don’t mind eating breakfast for dinner.”

Instructor Jamgochian, a certified nutrition consultant who advises clients through her business “My Healing Habits,” also serves as Community Education Coordinator at New Leaf’s Westside location. Jamgochian is excited to teach on this topic. “I learned to cook when I was about 10, and it is something that has proved both valuable, and fun over the years. Cooking for yourself and others creates an important connection to the food we eat.”

Jamgochian has taught many cooking classes at New Leaf but this is her first intro-level class. She talks about her food philosophy on her blog myhealinghabits.com: “The name My Healing Habits was chosen to emphasize the fact that it is not always the foods we eat, but the habits we form around eating: where we choose to shop, how we prepare a meal, the ingredients we use, our state of mind, the location, and the time we take. These are all important factors in the grand scheme of reaching Optimal Health.”

Learn about all of New Leaf’s upcoming classes and activities, including “Go Foods for Fitness” on Earth Day, April 22 (taught by Sandi Rechenmacher), at newleaf.com/events.

Contact information: New Leaf Westside branch, 1101 Fair Ave, Santa Cruz, (831) 426-1306

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.