Archives for category: Bay Area Food

 Homegrown has finally been released, and I couldn’t be more excited! I was such a long time in the making that it feels amazing that it’s finally a real thing out in the world. Oh, and people have been saying some really nice things.  To celebrate,  I wanted to share an excerpt with you, and do a giveaway of the book!

This Fava Bean Crostini recipe is from the Spring chapter of Homegrown.  In the book, this recipe is accompanied with information of how to grow fava beans, and an illustrated how-to peel fava beans. I hope you enjoy it!

Fava Bean Crostini

Serves 4 to 6

Shelling fava beans certainly takes some effort, but their buttery texture and nutty flavor are worth the trouble. Once the fava beans are shelled, this appetizer comes together quickly and maximizes your efforts, literally spreading the reward around. The nuttiness of the fava beans is complemented by the clean, crisp flavors of the lemon juice and mint, and the crunch of the toast adds a great contrast to the soft spread. If  you’re planning a dinner party, you can shell the beans the night before and the whole thing can be prepared in 15 minutes. You can substitute lima beans or edamame for the favas if you’d like.

  • Baguette, sliced on the bias
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) plus 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup shelled fava beans (1 1/4 pounds / 570 g in shell)
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Mint leaves for garnish (1 per toast)
  • Parmesan cheese, shaved (about 2 ounces/55 g)

ib_favacostini_spots1Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Arrange the baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle them with the 1 to 2 tablespoons oil. Slice the clove of garlic lengthwise and rub the cut side all over the top of the bread slices. Put it aside. Toast the bread in the oven for 9 to 10 minutes, until golden.

ib_favacostini_spots2Peel the fava beans from their outer shell. Put the fava beans, the remaining   cup (60 ml) oil, the lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until you have a mixture that is blended but still has a little texture (it shouldn’t be completely smooth like hummus). Put a healthy dollop of the fava mixture on each piece of toast. Top with some cheese and a mint leaf and serve.


I want all of you know how appreciative I am of your support of this blog. I started Illustrated Bites came at a time in my life when I was struggling to get on my feet after school, and trying to figure out how to make it as an illustrator. Some of you reading this have been with me since the very beginning. All of you who pinned my images, shared the posts on Facebook, or elsewhere really helped to get me on my feet. The fact that I got a book deal was directly due to you helping me spread the word. Thank you so much, y’all are amazing.


To say thanks, I would love to give one of you a copy of my book. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below. The giveaway will be open until May 1st. I’ll announce the winner on that Friday.

If you would like a second chance to win a book for yourself and a friend, I’m also do a giveaway on Instagram. Just follow me there, and check out the instructions on the giveaway post.

UPDATE: Congrats to R Moore! You are the book give away winner! Thank you to everyone for your kind words and support. I wish I could send you all a copy :)

Footnote: You can actually eat the peel of fuyu persimmons, so this last step is optional. But, I always peel mine!

star anise

Hello All! I’m sorry I’ve been missing from my blog for the last few weeks. It’s been a busy and exciting month. My art show opened last week (I’ll share more in a moment), my mom and sister visited, and immediately following their trip, two of my best friends from college came to stay with me. There’s been a lot of touring San Francisco and catching up to do, so I haven’t been able to squeeze in Illustrated Bites (I know… excuses, excuses.) All of that is a lot of fun, but I’m glad to be back on a normal schedule and regularly blogging again.

Lately, I’ve been enjoying experimenting with the new-to-me spice, star anise. Star anise has a wonderful licorice-y flavor that pairs well with tomato sauces, and is great for braising meats. It was once only common to eastern cooking and has medicinal uses in traditional Chinese medicine, where it’s used to aid digestion and as a warming herb. I was actually first introduced to the spice by a roommate that was studying to be an acupuncturist.

It has become more common in western kitchens as a substitute for anise. I really enjoy throwing a pod into boiling rice to add an unexpected flavor. I also really enjoyed this recipe for roasted sweet potatoes with star anise, from the Kitchn. The Kitchn has several other recipes featuring star anise that I’m looking forward to trying.

I know I’ve been writing a lot about my Illustrated Bites art show, but if you’ll bear with me once more, I would like to share some images of work from the show. I hope you enjoy seeing them, I sure had a great time putting it all together!



bok choy



Illustrated Bites

I’m very excited to announce the opening of the Illustrated Bites art show this Saturday at the Curiosity Shoppe on Valencia St. in San Francisco. If you’re in the Bay Area, please stop by and say hello!  And yes, there will be snacks.


Figs with Blue CheeseA simple treat that I’ve been enjoying a lot lately is figs with melted blue cheese, drizzled with honey. It’s a really quick and luxurious side dish or appetizer. Turn on the broiler in your oven and slice figs lengthwise. Place them in a baking dish face up and put a healthy slice of blue cheese on top.  Put them in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese, it only takes about a minute. After the cheese is melted, remove them from the oven and drizzle with honey. It is a really fancy seeming dish that takes all of five minute to prepare. Go ahead, treat yourself!

1. The Berkeley Bowl: The most amazing produce section I’ve ever seen.
2. The Berkeley Bowl West
3. Tuesday Farmer’s Market: Located at Derby St. and MLK Jr. Way
4. Thrusday Farmer’s Market: All organic. Located at Vine st. and Shattuck Ave.
5. Saturday Farmer’s Market: Located at Center st. and MLK Jr. Way
6. Monterey Market

7. Chez Panisse: Founded by Alice Waters. Serves all local and organic food and started the California Cuisine Revolution.
8. Gregiore Restaurant: French-fusion take out, all organic and seasonal. Great for lunch!
9. The Cheese Board Collective: A worker owned business that is both a pizzeria and cheese store.
10. La Note: Amazing weekend brunch.
11. Thai Buddhist Temple: Thai brunch on sundays as a fundraiser for the temple.
12. Bette’s Oceanview Diner

13. The Albatross: Berkeley’s oldest pub. It’s super laid back and cozy.
14. The Missouri Lounge
15. Triple Rock Brewery: Awesome beers and tasty bites. Don’t miss Monkey Head night on Thursdays!
16. Jupiter: Handcrafted beers and wood-fired pizza. Enjoy both in their amazing beer garden.

17. Crixa Cakes
18. The Bread Garden Bakery

Coffee Shops:
19. Elmwood Cafe
20. Peet’s Coffee & Tea: The first location of Peet’s coffee.

21. The Edible Schoolyard: Founded by Alice Waters and located at MLK Jr. Middle School is a one-acre organic garden and kitchen classroom.
22. Michael Pollan: Food author and professor at UC Berkeley.

little city gardensLast week I spent an enjoyable afternoon helping out on an urban farm in the Mission District of San Francisco. The farm, Little City Gardens, is run by two lovely ladies: Caitlyn Galloway and Brooke Budner. I know Caitlyn from New Bohemia Signs, where we are both part-time sign painters. I’ve been hearing about her farming endeavors  around the shop for the past year and it was exciting to finally go check out the farm.

For most of the last year, Caitlyn and Brooke have been fighting legislation that required an expensive and difficult to acquire conditional-use permit to sell vegetables that were grown in the city. The pricey permit put a damper on their experiment to make urban framing economically viable.  Instead of shelling out they decided to challenge the law and pave the way for urban agriculture in San Francisco. Their legislative battle captured both local and national attention, even getting a write up in the New York Times last May. I’m excited to report that the girls won! April, 20th Mayor Ed Lee signed into law a bill allowing urban agriculture in San Francisco. The signing ceremony was held at Little City Gardens.

Green house

The afternoon I spent on the farm was the day before Mayor Ed Lee was coming to sign the new urban ag bill into law. What impressed me most was the sense of community on farm. The lot is nestled in the middle of a neighborhood in the Mission District and throughout the day neighbors stopped by to give their congratulations to Brooke and Caitlyn. There were also a handful of neighbors volunteering their time to help with farm duties. This is the beautiful thing about urban agriculture: it connects people to their food and the people who grow it. It’s eating local at its best.

Brooke watering the veggies

I really enjoyed getting my hands dirty and doing some hard physical labor. I made some new friends and I learned a lot too. Richard, a fellow volunteer, showed me how to identify invasive fennel, wild turnips, and wild black berries. It’s easy to get disconnected from where food comes from and spending a day farming is a humbling reminder to be appreciative of the food you eat.

While Caitlyn and Brooke have succeeded in paving the way for urban agriculture in San Francisco it is still illegal here in the East Bay. Novella Carpenter, an urban farmer in Oakland has recently run into some trouble with the city for selling vegetables from her garden. So there’s still work to be done. It’s time to put food production back into the hands of the people, not government subsidized industrial agriculture. Support urban agriculture in your area and while you’re at it, plant a few vegetables of your own.


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