Join OurLocaltopia for a FREE “Tailgating” Cooking Class at the Yorba Linda Public Library

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Join OurLocaltopia this Thursday evening, September 12th at 7pm at the Yorba Linda Public Library for a FREE “Tailgate Party” themed cooking class, part of the Library’s ongoing NiteLife series. Continue reading “Join OurLocaltopia for a FREE “Tailgating” Cooking Class at the Yorba Linda Public Library”

Seasonal Tomato Preserves!

Gather some backyard tomatoes...

Tomatoes are in abundance this time of year, and they never fail to come center-stage at our tables as the heat and light of summer presses on.  This week, we featured a recipe in our cooking class at the Fullerton Arboretum that highlighted some additional potential of the summer tomato: tomato preserves.  It’s not that the idea of a preserved tomato is new – far from it.  But the simplicity with which these particular summer tomatoes are preserved, and the great ingredients added to them that make them sparkle even greater, well, is just magic. Read on for the full recipe and browse the photos of the process in this post’s gallery… Continue reading “Seasonal Tomato Preserves!”

Thursdays in the Kitchen at Fullerton Arboretum: Cooking with Summer Tomatoes Class Recap and Recipes!

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Tonight’s Cooking with Summer Tomatoes class at the Fullerton Arboretum was so very delicious! Chef Jonathan Dye guided us through a tantalizing menu of tomato preserves on toast, caprese skewers, salmon and melted tomatoes, a tomato cheese tart and more! Check out the recipes from class here: Cooking with Summer Tomatoes, and click through for some more photos from class! Continue reading “Thursdays in the Kitchen at Fullerton Arboretum: Cooking with Summer Tomatoes Class Recap and Recipes!”

The Fullerton Foundry Recaps Spring Farm Dinner at the Fullerton Arboretum

The Spring Farm Dinner in full swing.

The good folks at Fullerton Foundry have a great post recapping the food and events of the Fullerton Arboretum’s Spring Farm Dinner. Take a gander at the first paragraph and click through the link to read the rest:

“All across the nation, the locavore generation has been driving the dining experience to a whole new level. Although the seasonal and artisanal mantra rings loud at most respectable restaurants, it’s a lot more enjoyable to eat at the source — especially when that source is in the very field where your dinner was grown. Farm to fork gatherings have been bolstering the relationship between the garden and the food on our plate; celebrating the magnificence of our pastoral scene. At the same time, it has also generated great awareness regarding the importance and vitality of our own agricultural community and the delicious, wholesome and abundant bounty it provides us.

In the vein of Outstanding in the Field and Plate & Pitchfork, the Fullerton Arboretum hosted a Spring Farm Dinner right on their idyllic grounds…. (read more at http://fullertonfoundry.com/2013/04/spring-farm-dinner/ )”

Easter Eggs Naturally Dyed – The Video!

Ever since that nettle juice left a beautiful marbled stain on our test egg last month, Our Localtopia has been thrilled by the idea of naturally dying eggs! There are a number of well known natural egg dyes like beets, tea, blueberries and coffee. We tried those, but also decided to test out some lesser known sources of natural pigment, like the featured oxalis flowers. The results were stunning, and captured in the attached film. The directions for dying your own eggs is at the end.

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#1. Beet juice and onion skins. Egg was boiled in beet juice after being wrapped in an onion skin.
#2. Boiled with onion skins and soaked over night.
#3. Boiled grass, soaked over night.
#4. Turmeric, soaked over night.
#5. Boiled with onion skins, removed from water right after boiling.
#6. Black Tea, soaked over night.

Making Your Own Preserved Lemons

People who like to eat and to cook are crazy about preserved lemons, but I must confess that before the “Thursdays in the Kitchen: Cooking with Lemon” class at the Fullerton Arboretum,  I had never even eaten them. With a heavy lemon crop on the branches and the need for a subject to film in my kitchen at home, I decided to make this short film. Thanks to Jonathan Dye and Alicia Hitchcock for the inspiration!
Want to make your own batch? It’s easy. Follow these short directions and watch the posted video…

French Bistro Cooking, this Thursday at Fullerton Arboretum

French Bistro CookingGetting excited the upcoming Thursdays in the Kitchen: French Bistro Cooking class at the Fullerton Arboretum. Jonathan Dye will be demonstrating a mouthwatering menu of beloved French classics and Jonathan Davis will be talking to us about what local, seasonal ingredients we can… Continue reading “French Bistro Cooking, this Thursday at Fullerton Arboretum”

Cooking With Lemon at Thursdays in the Kitchen

Last week’s class at the Fullerton Arboretum was much sweeter than its staring fruit. Farmer Jonathan Duffy Davis gave us a primer on lemon ecology and why this ubiquitous fruit is under appreciated. Then, Jonathan Dye and Alicia Hitchcock showcased an amazing menu that included…

Continue reading “Cooking With Lemon at Thursdays in the Kitchen”

First Class: Southern California Cool Season Cuisine

Cooking Rhubarb

The stalks of Rhubarb snapped as I twisted them free from the base of the plant that I put in the ground over 18 months ago. Later in the evening this rhubarb would be folded into a cake batter to provide tart contrast to a sweet walnut streusel and crunchy crumb. Our guests were coming not only to eat, but to learn a bit about cooking by watching us prepare a seasonal meal.

I am passionate about growing fantastic food and I am lucky enough to do so for a living. My journey into small-scale agriculture began four years ago at Fullerton Arboretum, a botanical garden in north Orange County. Today, the eastern acres of Fullerton Arboretum include 16,000 square feet of vegetable beds, a new orchard filled with nearly 200 young fruit trees, and an apiary (bee hives). The intense and often mundane physical labor and the searing Southern Californian summers made a tentative farmer of me at first. I can no longer imagine a life that doesn’t involve growing food.

Our Localtopia is just getting started!

Purple Cauliflower
This vibrant purple cauliflower is growing in Fullerton, CA, on the Fullerton Arboretum’s two acre produce farm.

Our Localtopia hopes to explore the plentiful resources for locally grown or produced artisan and ecologically minded food in Southern California. Check back soon for information on what’s in season, where it is available and how to prepare it!