Friday, October 29, 2010

Conversation: Go Giants! Go Vote!

It is election time and the Giants are in the World Series. I can't think of a more wonderful juxtaposition. San Francisco is abuzz with a tangible feeling of camaraderie. It is as if we have momentarily set aside all the things that make us different and united around a common cause: the Giants. I hope we learn form this feeling as we head to November 2nd.

I am not a sports fan. I never have been. In fact, I pretty much hate sports. I hate playing them. I hate watching them. I hate the food at the ballparks. I really, really hate sports. And yet even I am caught up in the spirit of the game. I am yelling at people in the orange and black, "Go Giants!" I am high fiving people as I come out of BART. I am listening in to conversations on Muni between people who would normally never speak to each other. In fact, I am even throwing a special The S. Kitchen for game 3 of the World Series. I am a bandwagon fan, and it feels great!

I am a politically active person. I may not be the one who is out there holding signs or signing people up for campaign lists, but I always try to stay informed and always try to inform others. Hey, it is why I transformed The S. Kitchen into potluck dinner parties for a cause: to connect people, ideas, organizations, and food. I know how crucial it is to build a engaged, informed, voting community in a democracy. It is what makes it function. It is how elections are decided.

San Francisco politics are a tricky thing. Everyone sees themselves as an outsider. Everyone. And because of our unique make up that is true. This city has a long history of supporting the poor, the vagrants, the disparate, queers, artists, immigrants, the homeless. It doesn't always succeed in providing the best support, but the heart is there; the passion is there. And supporting these populations is directly at odds with the wealthy that want to maintain their wealth. Here even the wealthy are outsides. And this makes coalition building incredibly unique here.

Watching snippets from national news coverage of the playoffs and the World Series, the rest of that national media looks at us as fags, socialists, potheads, freaks. All of our populations even with all of their uniqueness are being lumped into a single mass: freaky Giants fans who like drag queens and pot. And by the feel and look all over this fine city, they are right. We all are Giants fans. We all are San Franciscans. We all have pride in our city. We are all uniting around one thing. It is transformative.

But the World Series isn't the only thing playing right now. We are days away from November 2nd -- the same election date that brought us George Bush's second term. And this election is equally important. The propositions and candidates on the ballot will set the course of this city, state, and nation for years to come. Crucial decisions on taxes, new laws punishing sitting and lying on sidewalks, legalizing marijuana, redistricting, and more are moments from being decided. We need EVERY VOTER to make these decisions.

What amazes me about San Francisco right here and right now is the sense that the impossible is possible, that we all are Giants fans, that the game unifies. We need to build on this hope. We need to not just high five our brothers and sisters. We need to tack on, "Go Giants! Go vote!!" For while we all will not vote the same, if we ALL vote we have another common unifier: we are all PARTICIPANTS in our democracy. And that is something to truly celebrate.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The S. Kitchen presents...Addictive Abundance at the Intellectuals' Table

November starts the holiday season bringing with it introspection, gatherings, and exchange. Wheter it is Dia De Los Muertos, The Water Lantern Festival, Thanksgiving, New Years, Hannukah, Solsitce, Kwanza, Christmas, Boxing Day, New Years, it is a time to reflect on what life has offered and what still is yet to be realized. It brings family (both of origin and of choice) together in celebration of love, thanks, and offering. It is always done around food, and thanks to the diversity of families it always brings interseting conversation.
It is in this spirit that The S. Kitchen presents...Addictive Abundance at the Intellectuals' Table.

To RSVP, click here.

What exactly is Addictive Abundance?

We all yearn to be a part of a community, a family, a tight nit group of friends and colleagues who share similar values and outlook on life. Being a member of that community, family, tight nit group of friends and collegues is addictive. We don't want it to disappear or end. We grasp tightly to it sometimes at the detriment of our personal well being. Addictive Abundance is just that: a community of folks coming together around cuisine, conversation, and camaraderie.

What is The Intellectuals' Table?

We all are intellectuals. Every single one of us. The Intellectuals' Table is a gathering place where ideas, information, news, commentary, personal histories, and culture collide and transform. It is a space dedicated to listening and speaking in a manner where voice is heard and each are honored for their unique intellect. It is an opportunity to learn something new, and share your knowledge. It is for everyone.

As with all The S. Kitchens they are a POTLUCK with some creative guidelines. For this special The S. Kitchen our guidelines are:

  • Please bring your favorite COMFORT FOOD. What is more addictive than comfort food, and who better to share it with than The S. Kitchen.
  • Please bring a BOOK to EXCHANGE. We want to know who and what inspires you. It doesn't have to be someone's thesis on the political colinization of the United States of America globally (although that could be it). I could be something as cheeky as Flowers in the Attic (I mean who doesn't love a family thriller!). Either way, please bring a book you are comforatable giving away.
  • Please bring your own plate and utensil. We started this at Slowly Growing Green, and it has worked ever since. It helps us reduce our footprint while also not leaving the host with a huge amount of cleanup.
Our host for the month is Al W. Al is an intellectual. He was the chair of the Asian American Studies Department at San Francisco State University. While there, he dedicated his life to educating current and future leaders on history, social justice, and movements. Now, he travels the world living life fully, enjoying music, cuisine, and art, and celebrating the victories of the everday woman/man through conversation and camaraderie.

And we have two (one confirmed; one potential) Guesperts who will share their personal stories of social change through reading.

The first (and confirmed) is Molly Wertz with Raising a Reader. Raising a Reader gets culturally relavent and linguistically diverse books into the hands of pre-K children and their parents by partnering with child development centers to distribute weekly bags of books. Their model is simple and encourages parents and their children to read together even when there is low literacy levels. It is all about fostering a love of reading, exploration, inquiry, and storytelling at a young age.

The second (and tentative) is Deborah Day with Ashay by the Bay. Ashay by the Bay is an online African American and Multi-Cutlural Children's Books and Educational Products company. They run book fairs and a mentoring program. They are based in Vallejo and travel across the Bay Area to reach new audiences of readers.

The S. Kitchen is cuisine, conversation, and camaraderie. We look forward to seeing you at Addictive Abundance at the Intellectuals' Table on Sunday, November 21 at 4pm.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The S. Kitchen presents...Play On

The Giants made it to the World Series. YAY! In celebration, The S. Kitchen is hosting an impromptu party...Play On!

To RSVP, click here.

As with all The S. Kitchen's, it is a potluck dinner party for a cause with a few guidelines. Here are the details about this very special party:

  • Please bring your favorite TAILGATE DISH to share.
  • Please bring your own plate and utensil. We started this in May at Slowly Growing Green, and it has been wonderful. It helps keep waste down and reduces the amount our hosts have to clean.
  • Please bring your favorite sports story to share during the commercial breaks. (Now, I **hate** sports and even I have a sports story, so I know you have one too.)

AND...Introducing The Spiced Kitchen at Play On! Participants attending this special The S. Kitchen will receive a sample spice packet for use in chili, soups, grilling, casseroles, etc. The Spiced KItchen will be for sale in Cajun, Southwest, and Italian varieties for the holiday season as a fantastic gift for family, friends, and loved ones.

Our hosts for Play On are Maria and Alex P. I have known Maria and Alex for 10 years. They are marvelous people doing excellent community work. Maria runs the OMI Cultural Participation Project and Asian Mainstream Productions. I have been blessed to work with Maria throughout my personal and professional life, and I am proud to call her family.

Our guestpert for Play On is Eben D. from Playworks. Playworks (formerly Sports4Kids) seeks to improve the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play. I have been honored to work closely with Playworks over the past four years and have seen their transformative power of play.

The S. Kitchen is cuisine, conversation, and camaraderie.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cuisine: Pork Fried (After a Long Weekend) Rice

I love all types of fried rice. Whether it is curried Vietnamese fried rice or Mongolian beef fried rice or fried rice and beans. All of them are wonderful, especially as a comfort food on cloudy, foggy days.

The key to perfectly cooked fried rice starts with day-old cooked rice. If you don't, it will turn out okay. But it will not be as crisp with the tiny charred bits that make fried rice so delectable.

This recipe seems involved, and it kind of is. But it is broken out into three phases to make it a little more understandable and sequential. Follow this recipe as is, and you will have perfectly spicy pork fried rice.

Phase One
You Will Need:
4 cups Jasmine Rice, cooked and set aside
1/2 Yellow Onion, diced
1 White Onion, diced
3 Carrots, peeled and diced
2 Serrano Peppers, cored, seeded and diced
5 cloves of Garlic, sliced
2 Tbsp. Butter
1 to 2 Tbsp. Grapeseed Oil
2 Tbsp. Water
Salt to taste

What To Do:
Melt 1 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. oil in a pan.
Add onions and carrots, and saute 10 minutes.
Add serrano and garlic.
Add butter, and if needed - more oil.
Saute mixture for 10 minutes.
Add water.
Saute 5 to 10 more minutes - or until water evaporates.
Set Aside.

Phase 2
You Will Need:
3 Pork Chops, diced
1/2 tsp. White Pepper
1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Onion Powder
1 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tbsp. Oil

What To Do:
Melt butter and heat oil over medium heat.
Combine ALL ingredients (from this phase - pork, pepper, salt, etc), and saute until the pork is slightly crispy.

Phase 3:
Add the onion mixture (Phase 1) to the Pork Mixture (Phase 2), and add the Jasmine Rice.

To this mixture, you will add:
1 tsp. Soy Sauce Paste
2 Tbsp. Chili Paste
2 Tbsp. Butter

What to do:
Mix ALL INGREDIENTS and cook, covered, over low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure the bottom browns, but doesn't blacken!

Cuisine: Queer-licious Tomato Sauce

This recipe is simple and divine. I can't remember how I was inspired to create it, but I think it had something to do with looking in the fridge, seeing what was there, and then just crafting from the ground up. The key to this delicious recipe is removing the tomato skins. The best way to do this is to boil them as mentioned below and then take the skins off of them over a bowl. That way you can catch all of the juices squeezed out as you handle the tomatoes. You can also use this as the base for any recipe that calls for tomato sauce.

You Will Need:
7 tomatoes
2 cups Water
1 White Onion, finely sliced
6 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 to 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh Sage
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Black Pepper

What To Do:
Core tomatoes, and place inside a pot with water. Boil for 5 to 7 minutes.
Remove tomatoes from water, peel, discard skin, and put tomatoes back in the water.
Add ALL other ingredients.
Simmer for an hour.
Mash tomatoes, and simmer for another hour.
Serve over pasta!

Cuisine: Jason's Simple Salsa for Queerly Complex People... (draft)

I love tomatoes, especially any of the heirloom variety. I didn't used to like them. Growing up I always had to eat them with a little sugar sprinkled over the top just like my grandpa, or they had to be in a spaghetti sauce or in a salsa.

Then, I grew up and my palate changed. I now love tomatoes. Love them. They are perfect raw or cooked; in salads, on sandwiches, or in soups. If they are an heirloom variety, I can just take a giant bite out of them and eat them like an apple. I absolutely can't get enough of them.

Tomatoes are the main reason I love, love, love salsa. This recipe takes a simple salsa and spruces it up with some nectarine. Now, you maybe thinking, "Why in the world is a nectarine doing in salsa?" The answer is,"It tastes damn good. That's why!"

You're just going to have to trust me on this one. Go out and buy a tasty nectarine, a beautiful tomato, and enjoy this very tart, sweet, spicy, and salty salsa.

You Will Need:
1 Nectarine
1 large Heriloom Tomato
1 Serrano Pepper, cored and seeded
1/2 Yellow Onion
1 Yellow Pepper
2 tsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Sugar
Grape Seed Oil

What To Do:
Dice nectarines and tomatoes.
Slice the pepper thinly.
Thinly slice yellow onion length-wise.
Chop yellow pepper in thin, short slices.
Combine ALL ingredients.
Let sit 30 minutes or longer.

Cuisine: Jason's WILD Fruit Salad!

I think fruit salad is underrated. I remember the fruit salads of my youth, the kind with Cool Whip, maraschino cherries, canned fruit cocktail, and possibly jello. Now, that kind of fruit salad is definitely not underrated. I can't really put a spoonful of it in my mouth today.

But that isn't the only kind of fruit salad. As I grew older and grew a deeper appreciation for fresh fruits and vegetables, I started making loads of fruit salads with different combinations of flavors and fruit. Sometimes it works beautifully. Sometimes, it needs the compost bin. (In one failed attempt, I combined potatoes and citrus. Totally disgusting!)

This fruit salad is a winner. I hated figs growing up, and I am still not the hugest fan of their slimy texture. But they are perfect, absolutely perfect, in this salad. I could get enough of them. They add the right amount of sweetness to the rest of the tart, salty, and spicy from the other flavors. Enjoy!

You Will Need:
All the following fruits should be cut/cubed in equal parts/the same size
5 Figs
2 Pears
3 Nectarines
2 large Heriloom Tomatoes

4 long, dark green Chilis (not cerranos) diced, with a pinch of Salt
1/2 large Red Onion -or- 1 small onion
4 Limes
1 Orange
1 bunch Basil, chopped with the rinds
**use 1 orange rind and 1 lemon rind to chop up with the Basil

What To Do:
Mix all ingredients (except for Limes and Orange) together, and squeeze the limes and orange on top of mixture. Let sit for 2 to 3 hours, stiring every 30 minutes.

Cuisine: I Can't Believe It's Not Bruschetta!

I love bruschetta. It is simple to make and tastes divine on some crusty bread. I also love salsa, especially the spicy kind. Since the ingredients of each are similar, I decided to take a stab at blending the two. And...boy was I surprised. It was absolutely marvelous!! It had a simple kick and nice robust tartness thanks to heirloom tomatoes. Enjoy!

You Will Need:
3 Fresh Tomatoes, diced
1 Red Onion, diced
2 Jalapenos, cored, seeded, and diced
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Salt

What To Do:
Combine ALL ingredients and let sit. Serve similar to Bruschetta or salsa.

Excellent on sandwiches!!

Szechuan Inspired Roasted Chicken

I crafted this recipe from memories of some great spicy chicken I had while in Chengdu, China. The Szechuan peppercorns are an amazing spice. They are not necessarily "hot". Instead, they slightly numb your tongue allowing you to eat even spicier food. They add this hint beneath a flavor that makes spice pop.

So...I started with the Szechuan peppercorns and built the recipe from there. I knew I wanted there to be an earthy undercurrent in the flavor palate, so I added some cardamon pods and Worcestershire sauce. This meant it needed a tad more salt and a little sweetness. I rounded it all out with the spiciness of hot paprika to give it that added kick. And..viola!

This chicken is fabulous as a main course by itself or cubed/minced with some onion and mayonnaise for a tasty chicken salad.

You Will Need:
6 Cardamon Pods
1 tsp. Szechuan Peppercorn
1/8 cup Salt
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Hot Paprika (increase this amount if you want it spicier)
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
4 cups Warm Water
3 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts

What To Do:
Split the chicken breasts in half.
Combine ALL other ingredients. Add chicken.
Soak for at least 1 hour, and no more than 2 hours.
Remove the chicken from the brine, and pat dry, and brush with olive oil.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake on a pan for about 30 minutes or until juice runs clear.

Cuisine: Simply Spiced Pork Roast

Pork is my favorite meat. I love all of its forms whether it is bacon, chops, ham, or roast. This recipe is really simple and easy to make. The brown sugar helps to candy and brown the outside of the pork, which means crispy, tasty bits of flavor in each bite. The cayenne and black pepper create a nice heated smoky flavor. The ginger adds a little extra umph to the brown sugar's sweetness. And the garlic rounds out everything.

You Will Need:
4 cloves Garlic
2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Ground Ginger
1 tsp. Cayenne Powder
1 tsp. Black Pepper
2 lbs. Pork Shoulder

What To Do:
Poke holes all over the pork with a pairing knife, slice garlic cloves lengthwise, and place the sliced garlic inside the pork holes.

Mix brown sugar, ginger, salt, cayenne, and black pepper together. Rub this mixture all over the pork.

Let sit for no less than 30 minutes and no more than an hour.

Heat 1 Tbsp. of oil in a pan, and fry the pork on all sides until brown. This step will take about 20-30 minutes

Heat oven to 350. Place pork in a roasting pan and bake covered for about 1.5 hours. The internal temperature should read 170 degrees.

Remove from oven and keep covered. Let sit for 15 minutes so juices can settle in the pork.

Serve sliced with your favorite S Kitchen sides!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Camaraderie: Cooking Up Fun with the Boys and Girls Club

On Friday, October 8, 2010, we met with Susana Rojas, the director of the Mission Boys and Girls Club. We discussed the s. kitchen having a cooking program which would a class for children and parents/guardians. The class would be once a month on Saturdays for two hours. Each quarter (approximately three months) would have a cultural theme and topics for discussion.

Susana explained that there is a gap between children and parents, even among elementary school-age. The goal of the boys and girls club is to bridge this gap so that children may feel safe in expressing their feelings to their parents. we would like to encourage parents and children to eat more meals together. We would also like to educate parents and children to make healthier food choices and give them easy recipes so that they can cook together at home.

My family is very close to begin with, so it is hard for me to understand what causes such a gap in families. The meeting opened my eyes to cultural differences and challenges that other families face. Even though we don’t eat as many meals together any more, growing up we did and I believe that is why our family is still close even though my brother and sister no longer live at home. I also feel our strong family bond is what makes my brother and sister and I confident and independent.

I am excited to be a part of helping bridge families through cuisine, conversation, and camaraderie.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Camaraderie: Introducting Kailani S., The S. Kitchen Apprentice

Hi. I’m Kailani Schulze. My first name is Hawaiian and means heavenly ocean, but I am Japanese, Okinawan, German, English, Irish, Scottish and French. I am a native San Franciscan, born and raised in the Richmond District. I went to Lafayette Elementary school, attended Roosevelt Middle school and graduated from George Washington High school in June of 2010.

In June 2011, I will begin classes at Skyline College in San Bruno. I plan on studying business with the intention of owning my own small business, hopefully a pastry shop.

In my spare time I like to read. When I was a little kid my parents would always read me a bed time story, so I think that’s what made me like reading so much. I also take yoga classes a couple times a week with my mother. Yoga is more than exercise to me; I feel at peace whenever I’m practicing it. After every class, I come with a positive attitude and sometimes hungry.

I am excited to be a part of The S. Kitchen team because cooking is something I am interested in. I grew up in a family that’s always been involved in community work, so combining the two is great. I have been to many S. Kitchens and had a wonderful time at every one!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The S. Kitchen presents...A Field Trip to Urban Sprouts

The S. Kitchen is pleased to present our first field trip! It is to Urban Sprouts' school garden at June Jordan School for Equity on Sunday, November 7 from 1pm to 4pm.

Urban Sprouts was our fabulous guest of honor at Slowly Growing Green, the first The S. Kitchen to go on the road. Now, we are continuing our effort to raise awareness about school gardens, slowing down, and reducing our ecological footprint by helping Urban Sprouts grow....

We will do this by visiting their garden at June Jordan located at 325 La Grande in San Francisco. This school is very near and dear to my heart. I used to work at the middle schools that once were located at this campus: Burbank Middle School and Excelsior Middle School. Located next to McClaren Park and on a beautiful campus, June Jordan seeks to empower youth through equitable curriculum that fosters social justice. Urban Sprouts is one of their community partners helping them realize their vision.

Friends can expect to:
  • Learn more about the school garden movement;
  • Get dirrrrty by weeding, seeding, and playing in soil;
  • Increase their gardening skills;
  • Be a part of a growing community dedicated to cuisine, conversation, and camaraderie.
As with all The S. Kitchen events, this is a shared experience. Normally, we ask folks to bring something to share. This time, we are asking that you bring your time, open mind, and a friend or two. That's it!

We hope to see you there!

The S. Kitchen Crew: Jason W., John O., and Kailani S.