Imagine a kid turned loose in a candy shop encouraged to explore with reckless abandon. That’s how I felt at CUESA’s Summer Celebration Fundraising Event on July 14th, and in this adventure, the vegetable kingdom was my candy shop to explore! My belly and I celebrated the best of summer’s abundance as we entered a food maize at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Our mission was to find delectable bites within the six culinary families CUESA was highlighting along a path of chefs, beverage makers and farmers combining all their talents together to create the ultimate sensory food experience.
At JoyFoodly, we truly believe the food world is this amazing place to live happy food adventures. CUESA’s event reminded us how fun and playful the plant kingdom can be. We hope this post inspires you to explore it with your family in a new and fun way this summer!
If you want to teach a youngster about the six parts of the plant, click here for this great song I love singing to first graders! It’s called Roots, Stems, Leaves.
Here are the six culinary families we explored at this amazing event and some of our top picks–explore these during your next trip to your favorite farmer’s market:
1. Nightshades: We ate our way through this culinary family of tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant supplied by our favorite farmer, Nigel, from Eatwell Farm with our favorite bite being an Heirloom Tomato BLT with House Smoked Bacon on Pecorino-Scallion Sesame Buns by 4505 Meats. Juicy!
2. Grains and Legumes: two of my all time favorites are the seeds and fruits of the plant! This Barley Salad with Apricots and Topped with Rabbit Loin and Sausage from RoliRoti Gourmet Rotisserie took the cake for my belly’s top pick in this category.
3. Leaves and Flowers: edible flowers like artichokes and cauliflower are some of my favorite things. Star Route Farms in Bolinas created this amazing display of their herbs, zucchini blossoms, leaves and edible flowers we could touch, smell, and delight in. Our favorite bite from this section was Chef Ryan Pollnow of Central Kitchen’s Devil’s Gulch Lamb with Fig Leaf Yogurt and Chamomile Oil Jam.
4. Stone Fruit: I must confess: I get so excited by stone fruit that I forgot to take any pictures! My favorite at the CUESA event was my chef friend Alexander Ong of Betelnut’s Smoked Duck Prosciutto with Stone Fruit on a Puffed Rice Pillow. Here’s a stone fruit recipe, Cherry Clafoutis, from our own site you’re sure to love.
5. Alliums: Onions, leeks, garlic, chives – we chefs love you so. I loved that CUESA dedicated a whole section to this root of all things culinary. Our favorite was a Leek Tart with Guanciale (pig cheek) by Chad Blunston of The Fairmont San Francisco. If you want to know how to clean a leek, check out our technique time-out on the site!
6. Berries: what’s not to love about berries? They bring out the kid in all of us, as did my favorite Chef Jen Musty’s Ice Cream Cookies, of Batter Bakery, that night. They were sadly completely consumed before we made it to the table, but I heard all about it! Take your favorite blackberry, strawberry, or blueberry and make some JoyFoodly Berry Fools this weekend with your kids. I guarantee the shaking of the cream will be a fun time for all!
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