Occupied by Oregano

[Updated with variety of Rancho Gordo’s Mexican oregano, cleaning up typos, and fixing broken links] This post is for Steve of Rancho Gordo, grower and seller of incredibly delicious heritage beans. He also sells Mexican oregano (update: the variety is Lippia graveolens), and when I met him a few weeks ago, we talked for a […]

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Rediscovering Pomegranate Molasses

(Recipe updated January 19, 2011 for clarity) The condiment sections in my refrigerator have quite a few specialty items that I purchased for one or two recipes and then forgot about. Like Thai lesser ginger (kachai). Or pomegranate molasses. The name “molasses” is a bit odd, because unlike the molasses that comes from sugar refineries […]

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Let Cookies Be Cookies

From the “Seemed like a good idea at the time” or the “Some things just shouldn’t be” file: I made a batch of my favorite oatmeal-chocolate chunk cookies the other day, and thought I could make them a little bit healthier by tossing in a quarter cup of amaranth seeds. Amaranth seeds contain a nearly […]

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Sponge or Vegetable?

One of my recent first-time purchases was the ridged gourd (Luffa acutangula), a vegetable also known as angled loofah, Chinese okra, tori, and patola. Ridged gourds have soft, edible skin when young, taste somewhat like zucchini, and are popular in Asia. In California, a few of the farmers of Asian descent sell them at the […]

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Unusual Greens, Part 6 – Orach

Updated 10/3/16: Fixed broken links At the Saturday Berkeley Farmers’ Market a few weeks ago, I saw a vegetable at the Happy Boy Farm stand that I had never seen before. It was a large bundle of arrowhead-shaped leaves with reddish-brown stems. It looked like amaranth greens, but the sign said “orach.” Orach (Atriplex hortensis, […]

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Borneo Greens (Unusual Greens, Part 5)

(Updated 10/8/16: changed title, added tags to photos, removed broken links) The word “unusual” has many uses: odd, abnormal, rare, unconventional. Whereas my previous “unusual greens” posts have been about rare greens, this post is about “amazing” and “exceptional” greens. The reason for this is that the “Borneo greens” aren’t from the Farmers’ Market or […]

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Embracing Bitterness For A Day

Bitter Memories of Momordica CharantiaMy first three experiences with bitter melon were unpleasant. The first was before I knew anything about it and so I just tried a Thai recipe. It was inedible. The second was in a Bangladeshi restaurant in Los Angeles (New Pardes). A little better, but I didn’t finish the serving. And […]

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Okra Without the Slime

Inspired in part by Shuna of Eggbeater, I have been cooking okra since it started appearing at the Farmers’ Market in Berkeley Okra’s Oozing – Why Okra Makes Slime Okra is one of those “binary foods” where people seem to hate it or love it (also in this family are mushrooms, seaweed, and tofu). The […]

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A Tale of Morel-ity

The Story of the Morels The Berkeley Farmers’ markets include a mushroom grower (Solano Mushrooms in Vacaville, #15 in my map) who sells both cultivated and wild varieties. In a fit of splurging recently, I went for the morels. Morels are small, hollow wild mushrooms with a wonderful flavor (some photos). They are pricey, so […]

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