Urban Kitchen SF Blog

Welcome to Urban Kitchen SF! Watch this space over the coming weeks for information on classes, DIY Slow Food concepts, and anything else that strikes our fancy. 

And we're back! With...Sludge?

posted Jul 22, 2010, 11:58 AM by Kateryna Rakowsky

Yes! Toxic Sludge, to be precise. Follow the links below for the full story, including the video interview of Paige Tomaselli, Staff Attorney at CFS.

Anna Werner Reporting SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) ― 
It's called biosolids compost and its being given away by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission for use in school and community gardens, and homes. But some activists are protesting the giveaways because that material is actually treated sewage sludge which experts say often contains toxins...

To read more, click here.


posted Jul 22, 2010, 11:57 AM by Kateryna Rakowsky

Not to brag or anything... but I've been advised by my friend Katie that my humble urban garden is "inspirational," and that it should be posted on the Urban Kitchen SF blog. [insert super huge beaming smile here.] It's not much, but for a first attempt at gardening, I'm pretty psyched. 

So, here you go! And for comparison purposes, I've inserted a before pic, too.


(Check out my husband sagely supervising my little brother while he toils in the dirt)


We've got pumpkins, zucchini, cucumbers, lettuce, corn, tomatoes, sunflowers, peas and summer squash! OK, maybe only a few of each, but I wasn't going to put all my eggs in one basket. Speaking of, anyone have any experience with chickens? 

Cooking with goat

posted Jul 22, 2010, 11:56 AM by Kateryna Rakowsky

What to make with a shoulder of goat? Dave the Butcher was full of great ideas when I called him for tips after our butchery class. We settled on marinating it in a mixture of yogurt, curry powder, toasted pine nuts and dried cranberries, then slow roasting it in a dutch oven at 325 for 3 hours. Buy lettuce cups, cook up some rice, and voila! Curried goat lettuce wraps! 

It was a HUGE hit with everyone, even those prone to being more sensitive to "gamey" meats. 

Worms. 2000 of them.

posted Jul 22, 2010, 11:56 AM by Kateryna Rakowsky

Don't knock it!  If you haven't already read the NYTimes piece on vermicomposting, you should.  And you, too, will be convinced that it's the best way ever to compost -- even for apartment dwellers (check out this YouTube how-to on "Apartment Composting").  

After a long wait and one tragically failed attempt at worm delivery, I finally got my order.  For the vermi-curious, I have chronicled my worms' trip from box to bin, below.  

1. Here they are in the box.  Nice and clean and sterile-looking.

2. And here's one trying to make a break for it.  (Sorry, little man...)

3. ...deposited into the bin (look closely, you can kind of see them under the peat moss):

4. And all covered up:

Worm bin -- ready to vermicompost! 

My first My Farm!

posted Jul 22, 2010, 11:55 AM by Kateryna Rakowsky

Yesterday was a big day for firsts.  Not only was it UKSF's first (and dare I say, kick-ass?) class, "Kombucha!," but it was ALSO the day of our first My Farm CSA produce pick up! 

For those of you unfamiliar with My Farm, it's a "decentralized urban farm."  My Farm transforms San Francisco backyards into vegetable gardens.  Your produce comes from a backyard farm near your home.  Pretty cool.  

And check out the bounty that I picked up yesterday!  (I even got a special "My Farm" canvas bag to carry my food home... bonus!)

My bag contained:

carrots (mini, genuine baby carrots!), 
greens (there are more behind the carrots), and 
"cheeries from Francesca's Farm."  

I'm no bean expert, but I'm also pretty sure I also got broad beans... Double bonus! 

Gardening with the guys

posted Jul 22, 2010, 11:54 AM by Kateryna Rakowsky

It may not be much to look at yet, but my garden is slowly shaping up!  

After some tough love / advice from my grandmother regarding the state of our soil, I put my brother & brother -in-law to work skimming off the top 3"-6" of rocky dirt and then sifting it.

 ...Yes. Sifting it. With our makeshift dirt sifter (a.k.a. outdoor firepit grate).


Danylo and Derek are great sports for toiling in our garden during their vacation in San Francisco. Thanks guys!

Growing SCOBYs for Thursday's [sold out!] Class

posted Jul 22, 2010, 11:54 AM by Kateryna Rakowsky

Check out the SCOBYs we've grown for the make-your-own Kombucha class this Thursday...

More are being prepared, and we're incredibly excited for Joshua's class! 

If you missed your chance to sign up and would like to see another Kombucha class, drop us a note at registration@urbankitchensf.com. We've received a lot of interest, and we'd love to sponsor another class this summer.

Bubbies' Babies

posted Jul 22, 2010, 11:53 AM by Kateryna Rakowsky

Rainbow was selling a bag of cucumbers for $0.99, and I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to experiment with some pickling.  I'd read that one can "pickle" onions by submerging them in pickle brine after you're through with your pickles (I know, not totally authentic, but economical, eh?).  So I stole some brine from my Bubbies pickles and combined it with pickling spices, garlic and really salty hot water...

Keeping fingers crossed for a tasty result. A bit concerned about lack of vinegar in the recipe I used. But I got it off the Internet, so it's gotta be solid, right?  

(If anyone wants to jump in here and warn me before I open up a giant jar of botulism, feel free...)
(This makes me all the more motivated to organize a pickling party with an expert to guide us!)


One of our readers, Alicia, is a pickle expert (I know, awesome): she hosted a booth at Maker Faire about pickling and was even featured in an article in the Chron recently.  She was kind enough to take the time to put my mind at ease: 

You don't need to worry about botulism at all, that's only a problem if you're canning something that isn't acidic (think canned corn). Pickles make their own acid through the fermentation process as you probably know. I've never tried re-using a commercial brine but in theory it should work fine. Just be sure that everything stays submerged in the brine all the time.


I went ahead and tasted my pickles. I opened the jar and there was an explosion of fizz -- a LOT of fizz. So much that I had to run to the sink with my hopefully-non-toxic mason jar as pickle juices went everywhere. After the fizzing subsided, I gave it a cautious sniff and pulled out a pickle. My first bite also exploded in fizz, which kinda scared me (OK, I spit it out), but also fascinated me. I love the pickles that fizz when you take that first bite. Especially the kind that don't carry botulism. I went on to finish my first-ever homemade (by me) pickle. Tasty!

And... I'm still standing. That, in my book, equals success. 

Stay tuned for updates on our pickling party! 

Our kitchen is teaming with life...

posted Jul 22, 2010, 11:52 AM by Kateryna Rakowsky

Or so my husband said last week, surveying our indoor herb garden (starter corn and pumpkins waiting to sprout in the small containers up front).  

He also cast a concerned eye at the Kombucha brewing next to my sourdough starters.  But he's not a Kombucha fan, so I can't expect him to appreciate the magic that is happening in my sun tea jar.

Yes, We Can...pick up your canned good, Wed. Jun 10

posted Jul 22, 2010, 11:50 AM by Kateryna Rakowsky

While the workshare portion of Yes, We Can may be sold out, it's not too late to support the community canning project (and the area farmers who sell to it).  $35 will buy you eight 8 oz. jars of apricot jam.  Pick up is Wednesday, June 10, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.  

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