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Why Dark Chocolate Is Better Than Milk Chocolate

I recently read a well-written and hilarious, yet completely misguided and, dare I say, inaccurate article touting the superiority of milk chocolate over dark chocolate. To sum it up, the author centers most of her opening argument around Halloween candy and the Hershey’s mini bag, then goes on to state “facts” that she believes support…

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Terra Madre: They are Giants, but We are Millions

For the last week, I’ve been attending an international food conference and festival called Terra Madre Salone del Gusto in Torino, a beautiful city located in the Piedmont Region of Italy. This event is organized by Slow Food International, an organization committed to making good, clean, and fair food available to all people. And while…

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Dinner Conversation: Lavender (Lavandula)

Lavender harvest has begun. After a day in the field of cutting sticky handfuls, I met my friend Liz Birnbaum for dinner, who just happens to be the lovely mastermind behind The Curated Feast. A lively conversation ensued about the history, uses and folklore of this odoriferous plant. We even had a musky grapefruit and lavender saison by…

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Foraging Friday: Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica)

For centuries, this wild miracle plant has been used in numerous ways throughout many countries and cultures worldwide. Most commonly, nettles have been eaten, used as topical medicine, and consumed as a mineral rich tea. The fibers of its stem have been used to make a strong cloth, similar to that of hemp or flax. In…

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Foraging Friday: Wild Winter Mushrooms of the Monterey Bay Area

Porcinis, black trumpets and candy caps, oh my! Mushroom foraging in the Monterey Bay area most likely brings to mind the beautiful fan-shaped golden chanterelle, but the oak, redwood and mixed pine forests of the area have much, much more to offer in the way of fungus among us. Chef Zachary Mazi of LionFish SupperClub,…

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Cooking with Friends: Tomato Pie

My friend Tyler has been dying to introduce me to tomato pie and I was intrigued. It’s a classic Southern dish, and Tyler being a good ol’ Southern boy himself, I had to see what the deal was. Although he hates my description, I like to call it a deep tomato flavored lasagna that’s baked…

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Cooking with Friends: Gnocchi

My friends, do I have a treat for you today. Despite the gluten-free craze sweeping the nation, I’ve been learning tons through my volunteer work with Slow Food Santa Cruz about wheat’s currently overlooked positive attributes. I got to see the renowned sustainable chef Dan Barber speak in March, and he made some points about…

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Growing Coffee: Colombia Edition

I am currently travelling in Colombia, the world’s 3rd largest producer of coffee last year, and I have fully immersed myself in all the joys of this flavorful, earthy beverage. My friend Mark lives in Medellín, and he considers coffee to be one of the major food groups. The next stop on my journey from that…

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Organic Agriculture: Know your Farmer or Big Food?

A growing controversy within the organic industry is whether or not the development of large-scale organic agriculture is in alignment with the original goals of the organic pioneers. Organic has been extremely successful, so much so that all the large food corporations now have their own organic brands for value-added (processed) organic products. There are those…

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The Power of Gratitude

I don’t have a food recipe or gardening how-to for you today, but I thought it would particularly suiting for the holiday to reflect on a different kind of recipe: a recipe for the heart. Gratitude. What is gratitude and what does it look like? Why gratitude? And how can we cultivate more of it…

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