Writer, cooking teacher, television host, and author of an award-winning book, Amelia Saltsman is passionate about getting everyone into the kitchen.
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Events

Good Food with Evan Kleiman Market Report: Passover recipe KCRW, 89.9 FM
Apr. 12, 2014
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Good Food on KCRW
Tour the Santa Monica Farmers' Market with Amelia Santa Monica Farmers' Market Tour Santa Monica, CA
Apr. 2, 2014
9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Farmers' Market Tour
Cooking Experiences at La Cocina Que Canta Cooking Class and Retreat Tecate, Mexico
September 6 - 12, 2014
Rancho La Puerta

And the Winner Is….

Cherry tomatoesThanks to all who leapt with gusto into the contest for a copy of Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literacy! You named over 30 different favorite vegetables and specific varieties, but it’s clear I ran this giveaway in the summer because tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and corn were at the top of your list. Further proof that people who eat by the season live in the moment.

Before I announce the randomly selected lucky recipient of Deborah’s newest master work, I’ve got to share a few highlights from your enticing descriptions and cooking ideas. Grill master Dave sears thick slabs of oxheart tomatoes as you would a tuna steak, fast and rare. I can hear the sizzle of Paul LoNigro’s cauliflower and taste the “silkiness” of Hae Jung Cho’s perfectly cooked lima beans; she elevates …

5 Tips for Summer Entertaining

5 tips for summer entertainingI’m about to share five of my favorite tips for easy entertaining, hoping they will entice you to purchase The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Summer Entertaining E-Book, where you’ll find lots more great ways to simplify your summer food life. So let’s just call this post what it is: a shameless book promotion. But one that comes at the perfect moment to start you on a carefree season of outdoor cooking and eating.

Summer Entertaining E-book Amelia Saltsman

I kicked off the season last weekend with a simple, beautiful meal in the garden: a hand-grated cold tomato soup (5 minutes, I swear!), penne with zucchini sauce, and grilled wild salmon (olive oil, sel gris, and …

How to Avoid Tomatoes

Creamsicle SaladIt’s one thing for home cooks to swear allegiance to local/seasonal and try to convince stubborn family members who insist on tomatoes in their salad no matter what. But it’s quite another thing when you’re a farmer or restaurateur looking to make a sale. Can you count on your customers being as fully committed to the cause or to be as patient with harvest delays as you are? How far can you push the seasonal envelope without alienating or losing customers?

Nothing draws a line in the “seasonal” sand like the tomato. We’re still a ways away from its true season, but the expectation for year-round tomatoes is so ingrained that chefs and farmers worry that even a temporary absence on plate or market table will drive business elsewhere.

My friend Akasha Richmond, who owns

Campania: Lemons, Tomatoes, Zucchini, and Eggplant

Vertical-Lemon-OrchardFirst, let me just say I was too busy eating, drinking and living la dolce vita to post from Italy. Seriously, what was I thinking! I’m back, and here’s some of what I found in late June in Campania (Amalfi Coast and Naples; I didn’t make it inland—see la dolce vita above).

Lemons. If there’s one defining fruit for this area, this is it, specifically the IGP-protected sfusato amalfitano variety. Often grown in steeply terraced orchards clinging to vertiginous cliff sides, these lemons are intensely aromatic and although acidic, are somehow subtler than our everyday Eureka and Lisbon varieties.

They show up everywhere and in everything. My husband and I especially dedicated ourselves to acquiring deep knowledge of granita di limone and limoncello, the local lemon liqueur. Click to continue reading…

What’s in Season in Campania?

Campania marketI’m not quite sure. I’m getting ready for a trip to southern Italy, which means a lot of armchair food travel. Seriously a lot, like to the point of such visual and verbal surfeit that I feel like I’ve already eaten my way through Campania and Rome.

I’ve repeatedly daydreamed my way through Fred Plotkin’s Italy for the Gourmet Traveller, which I consider the bible for such things. Also David Downie’s exhaustive Food Wine Rome; Elizabeth Minchilli’s elegant blog; and whatever little electronic alleyways I stumble upon, such as Amy Sherman’s 9 Best Things to Eat in Campania. (BTW, Elizabeth leads amazing food tours and trips to the Slow Food Salone.)

Click to continue reading…

Tomato Math

Costoluto Genovese TomatoesOne box Costoluto Genovese tomatoes. Purchased Wednesday, October 19 from Coastal Farms at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market. Thirty pounds, $30.

First pass through the box (Wednesday afternoon): Oven Ratatouille. 2 pounds softest tomatoes cut up and tossed in roasting pan with two week-old Rosa Bianca eggplants begging to be used, 6 white zucchini (same), red peppers (same), an onion, also all roughly chopped. Olive oil, salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme and parsley sprigs. 1 hour in 400-degree oven, no stirring. Time investment: 10 minutes. Equals: 2 quarts menu versatility (Wednesday side dish with roast chicken, Friday tossed with farfalle pasta and Parmigiano-Reggiano, Sunday omelet filling, Monday lunch with cheese).

Second pass (Friday evening):  First batch oven-dried tomatoes. 3 pounds halved, tossed with bit of olive oil and salt, roasted cut side up in 300-degree oven for 3 hours. Time investment: 5 minutes. Equals: 3 cups concentrated flavor.

Continue reading Tomato Math

The Cost of a Market Meal

Photo by Hill Street StudiosWhenever I’m asked if farmers’ markets are expensive or elitist, I think to myself, when did buying our food from truck farmers in a parking lot become la-di-dah?

On the other hand, there’s a moment in the documentary film, Food, Inc., when a financially strapped family of four decides it can’t afford to buy broccoli and often resorts to fast food breakfasts for about $14. Where exactly do my everyday farmers’ market meals fit in? How much do they cost? I ran some numbers on a recent midweek dinner. Continue reading The Cost of a Market Meal

My Great Big Canning Summer

Canning JarsFunny how an idea seems to create buzz everywhere at once. Take canning, for example. I’ve been in a preserving frenzy all season and not done yet.
How about you?

I’ve jammed for ages, but have to admit the canning part with all its caveats made me a little edgy. Continue reading My Great Big Canning Summer

Early Autumn News and Events

Succotash, photo courtesy of EpicuriousI’ve just returned from San Francisco, site of the first Slow Food Nation, a 3-day national celebration of American farming and artisanal food production. Of all the food-for-thought opportunities there, my favorite SFN experience was helping farmer Alex Weiser of Tehachapi, CA sell his heirloom potatoes at the Marketplace opposite City Hall. Attracting thousands of new shoppers, the market was a perfect one-on-one introduction to small-farmed ingredients. I spent the day weighing, making change, and answering questions about potatoes and how to prepare them—a gratifying opportunity to stand on the other side of the table. For pictures look in “Photo & Menu Gallery” on my website. Continue reading Early Autumn News and Events