Wednesday, May 13, 2009


KOMATSUNA, also known as Japanese spinach, is just one of the more interesting veggies you'll find at farmers markets this spring.  Greens are an easy grow and a good sell for NC farmers, and jump start the hearts of veggie lovers like myself.
Komatsuna is one of the many Asian greens and vegetables grown by Haruka and Jason Oatis, on their Edible Earthscape Farm in Moncure, in Chatham County.  Before coming to North Carolina, they farmed in Japan and now use many of the techniques learned there on their sustainable farm.  Bamboo provides poles for vines and water conveyors.  They use a "chicken tractor." 
 At the bustling North Hills farmers market last Saturday, Haruka was demonstrating how to lightly saute the coarsely chopped green with shiitakes and garlic, like you can do with Swiss chard and other greens.
Beets, turnips, arugula, mizune, fresh eggs, honey, chevre from Celebrity Dairy in Siler City, and even fish from Southport, were available.  And strawberries!!  Babies were out in strollers and toddlers danced to the live blue grass band playing on the grassy quad.  The fellow selling roses had a long was the day before Mother's Day, after all.
My message to you?  Get thee to a farmers market on Saturday morning.  Take small bills and some change.  Carry your own tote sacks.  Put an ice chest in the trunk for your purchases.  It's one of the most enjoyable things to do on a weekend, AND, you will contribute to the local economy, by buying LOCAL.  Keep your food dollars in the neighborhood, and chat with the grower.  It makes a difference when you put faces on the food you eat.  

STRAWBERRY ALERT!   A market vendor told me today that strawberries will have an extremely short season this year because of all the rain.  So buy now!  I hope she's wrong.  I love strawberries, and have yet to make jam or freeze some. 

I bought a bunch of beautiful, red-stemmed Swiss chard that just begged for a light saute.  It was a perfect foil for the very mild grouper we grilled.  The shiitakes came from the SPAIN FARM in Raleigh.  

bunch of greens - Swiss chard, Komatsuna, red kale or other milder greens
3 to 5 shiitake mushrooms
2 or 3 bulbs of spring onions, thinly sliced
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Wash greens and spin or pat dry.  Cut off stiff ends.  Coarsely chop the leaves.
2.  Gently clean the shiitakes with a damp towel, cut off the stem, esp. if it's rather tough.  Then thinly slice the mushrooms.
3.  Heat olive oil over medium high heat, then add mushrooms.  Stir and saute until almost tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Add onions, stir and saute for another minute or so.  Then add garlic and stir.
4.  Add greens, and gently fold the greens with the mushrooms, onions and garlic.  Continue to saute for just a minute or two more, or until the greens are wilted yet still a bit crisp-tender.
5.  Take off heat, and add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


A few ideas for the month of May....
From Slow Food Asheville - Take a walk on the wild side, then feast!

Wildflower Walk at Max Patch

Sunday, May 17, 2009 
Hike starts at 2:00

Join us for a great time on this one-hour hike through beautiful Max Patch bald as we look at beautiful and unusual wildflowers. We’ll start out at Kanati Lodge B&B (see directions below). Your host for this hike is David and Jeanne Kendall and the hike will be led by Renee Fortner. Renee is the Assistant Supervisor of Landscaping at Warren Wilson College. In her spare time, Renee hikes the mountains around Asheville with a plant ID book in hand. It was a previous job at the Botanical Gardens in Asheville that sparked her interest in all plants native to North Carolina...yes even poison ivy (birds love the berries)!

Bring food to share (see what is local) and together we’ll have a pot-latch for after the hike! This hike benefits our School Garden Program (See the announcement in the newsletter or on our website) and we are asking for a $10 per person donation! (kids free!!!)

Here's the link, if you'd like to join them.  Also read about the great food projects they have!

I have always gotten such a kick out of Mother's Day, from the time our three were wee mess makers in the kitchen, to now, when they are good cooks and bigger mess makers.
Chocolate always scores, in my book.
So does breakfast in bed.
With coffee first, of course.
Here's a good idea for MOTHER'S DAY PRESENT.....and a luscious North Carolina product:
french broad chocolates liquid truffleartisan chocolates & pastries handcrafted with love in asheville, nc
french broad chocolates liquid truffle

Happy Mothers Day! To get our chocolates to your mamas, where they belongorder online by May 5 for a timely delivery.  htpp://

GATHER YE CHILDREN AROUND MOM IN BED . . . Mother's Day Recipes......Crabmeat Omelet, a favorite recipe of this mom's, from THE OUTER BANKS COOKBOOK:  Recipe & Traditions from NC's Barrier Islands. .  Add sliced fresh, local sliced strawberries to the plate, and I guarantee Mom will be happy!

4 tablespoons butter, divided;  1/3 pound crabmeat (about 1 cup);  sprinkle of Old Bay seasoning;  1 tablespoon chopped chives;  4 eggs;  salt and pepper to taste

In a saute pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter.  Add crabmeat and sprinkle with Old Bay and chives.  Gently stir crabmeat until heated through, then place in a small bowl.  In another small bowl, beat eggs together with a fork until creamy and frothy.  Melt remaining butter in the same saute pan over medium high heat, and swirl to coat the bottom and sides of pan.  Add eggs, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  When mixture has become slightly cooked on the bottom, tilt pan and allow the moist eggs to run beneath the cooked eggs, or if you are skilled, flip the omelet over. Add crabmeat to the center, and fold over the two edges.  Remove immediately.  Divide omelet half, and slide onto warmed plates.  Sprinkle with more Old Bay if desired.  Two servings