Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Month 3 Sunset Magazine's One Block Party contest with Team Found Fruit

The team met recently for a potluck to try out recipes and to finalize the menu for the feast. We're so excited for the party! In the next few weeks we will be finishing up our projects and harvesting fruits, veggies, and foraging for fish and berries.

Photo credit Jamie Vasta

This past month we have been very busy with our final food projects of the summer.

Last week Kim and I went Hawaiian throw netting for surf smelt in Half Moon Bay to catch fish for the feast. Standing in the waves throwing the net is dangerous but can be exhilarating. We caught pounds of fish that will be a delicious addition to the menu. We already have some fish frozen from our last fishing adventure, catching night smelt. The surf smelt that run in the daytime are a larger variety (closer to the size of sardines) and are great pan-fried.

photo credits Kim Di Giacomo

In certain seasons the smelt come in to spawn after high tide at particular times of the month. Last week, every fifth wave that came in brought the smelt in. You wait until you see them in the water and then throw. Pulling the net in after a throw can be a hard pull due to the ocean's resistance.

photo credit Kim Di Giacomo

photo credit Michele Senitzer

photo credit Jamie Vasta

In keeping with the spirit of a self made feast we will be dining on pottery made by Todd. It's so beautiful that the food actually tastes better on it! Plates, bowls, cups, pitchers, you name it- he makes it.

Photo credits Todd Voyageur

Todd's also been busy brewing an I.P.A. for the feast. We'll also be serving sauerkraut martinis, chamomile iced tea, grapefruit spritzer, hard blackberry cider, blackberry elderberry wine, kahlua, limoncello, and orangecello.

Photo credit Todd Voyageur

Photo credit Jamie Vasta

Photo credits Jamie Vasta

There are pears, nectarines, plums, grapefruit, loquats, persimmon, cherries, berries, and more coming down the pike.

Fruit compote and galette will be delicious additions to the feast.

Photo credit Lori Eanes

Kim is still collecting and purging garden snails for the feast. Escargot anyone? Anything tastes good with enough butter and garlic...

credit Lori Eanes

Photo credit Jamie Vasta

Three out of five of Team Found Fruit's households are now keeping bees. Kim and Oletta got a swarm from the SF Chronicle. The Chronicle building in San Francisco has a rooftop garden and two hives. We brought them home in a nuc box then carefully shook the box of bees into the hive. Before long the bees were buzzing around enjoying their new home. At our house Jamie and I are busy harvesting honey for the feast. We use the crush and strain method. We will harvest enough honey for the feast and beeswax to make our candles for the table.

Photo credit Jamie Vasta

In the crush and strain method you crush the comb by squeezing it with your hands until the honey drips out. It's a tasty tactile experience. Then the honey is strained through a filter to remove any bits of comb. I've read that bees can still sting when they're dead so removing them from the comb before it's crushed is essential.

I love chewing the comb like gum while the honey comes oozing out.

Unfortunately we suspect that our hive is now queenless. After our bees swarmed a month ago there has been less and less activity in the hive. There's plenty of honey and comb and some bees are still in there but there's no evidence of a queen. We're back on the swarm list and may try to install some brood from another hive so the bees can make a new queen.

Photo credit Kitty Sharkey

Over at Kitty's the farm is bustling. There's baby ducks and goat kids, bunnies, and more.

Poopie Butt (PB) the chicken has proved to be an excellent surrogate mother for a clutch of duck eggs. She's in the nest with six ducklings, plus another three eggs soon to hatch in the next few days.

Photo credits Kitty Sharkey

There's quail, chickens, and ducks. This makes for a beautiful array of eggs. On the menu will be deviled duck eggs and pickled quail eggs.

Photo credit Kitty Sharkey

We'll also be dining on goat feta, camenbert, and chevre cheeses, goat yogurt, goat ice cream, braised rabbit, stuffed rabbit, and honey prickly pear glazed chicken.

Photo credit Lori Eanes

Our herb spiral is producing a plethora of herbs. There's tarragon, chamomile, oregano, thyme, marjoram, about 18 herbs in total.

We're also harvesting peppers, cucumbers, lettuces, chard, squash, kale, garlic, onions, collards, beets, tomatoes, and carrots right now. We're excited to have delicious fresh veggie dishes like beet napoleans and stuffed squash blossoms on the menu. With our nasturtiums we will be making capers, pesto, and eating the flowers in salad.

Photo credit Jamie Vasta

The above photo shows some of what we're harvesting from the front yard: marjoram, chamomile, blueberries, padron peppers, and nasturtium seedpods.

Photo credit Michele Senitzer

One food project we haven't talked about yet is one that doesn't involve eating. It involves driving. I run my car off of 100% used vegetable oil donated Pappo restaurant and Culina deli in Alameda. I process it at home in my fueling station. While it's not on the menu, it has helped us throughout the summer to make less of a carbon footprint and to recycle used oil.

credit Jamie Vasta

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