Romaine Lettuce

I feel it’s important for me to take some time to address the concerns about the recall that happened with romaine lettuce recently. Coincidentally, we had romaine lettuce in our box this week, we usually have a different lettuce variety. For those who don’t already know, I source from small, organic, sustainable, or biodynamic farms at our local farmers market.

Since we started SavRaw Local Farm Box, I have not fallen back on warehouse distributors, under any circumstance. I’ve faced the most challenging situations, times where I thought, “we might not be able to get veggies for our customers today, what will I do”? I still managed to work it out and not buy from a distributor, because I’m confident in the sources that I know. A good example of this was the recent Malibu fire. We did not know whether or not the farms would be able to make it here. I took it day by day, placed my order with them, and hoped for the best. What was risky about this, is that if they couldn’t make it, everyone would be credited towards the next week, if everyone was credited, the basic expenses to run SavRaw would not be able to be paid. I didn’t consider buying from a warehouse to fill the orders. Miraculously, the farmers made it here.

Before we started SavRaw, I was running a different company, that suggested that I buy from distributors and grow the company much bigger. That wasn’t what I felt at all. I had been getting to know the farmers at the farmers market. I spoke to some of them for hours, learning about how they grow, and what makes their soil better. I feel that we need more small farms, and we need to support the ones we have. In those times, some of them weren’t getting quite the amount of support that it seemed they needed. (It’s become more popular now.) In fact, some of them were facing bills and government fees that were quite challenging. I wanted to do everything I could to share with the world, my ambition for supporting them directly.

Here’s what Alex from Frecker Farms wrote to me, in response to one of our customers who expressed a concern. I think this helps sum it up so nicely. Thank you Alex for everything you do.

"Our small 34.5 acre farm does not distribute produce nationally. Ecoli
and other bacteria that cause these recalls come from a contaminated
source and are not associated with romaine lettuce, but are associated
with said contaminated source. Plus we practice food safety, source water
from our own private wells, and do not cross-dock with any other farms or
distribution chains."

We also get our lettuce from “The Garden Of”, who posted about this on their instagram page.

I hope this reassures more of you out there, and you feel even more confident about our sources. I know I do. May you be blessed with the best foods to nourish your body.

I am a big fan of people donating to small farms. They make the world a better place and they donate food to people. They also harvested for markets they couldn’t do because of the fire.

Fermenting Green Beans and Carrots

When fermenting vegetables, it’s essential to use vegetables from a direct source. Some organic produce in the super markets are grown with some chemicals, or are sprayed with chemicals after they’re grown so that they last longer on the shelf. They might be grown better then conventional, but they’re not vegetables I would ferment with.

Here’s a video I found on fermenting green beans, which are coming into season. Tutti Frutti Farms just started getting their crop in, and we had them for our family boxes last week.

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What was helpful about this video, and the main point I’m sharing it, is something really simple. She blanches the green beans before she ferments it. If I had realized I could do that before, I would’ve tried that when I had an abundance of cauliflower. It’s funny how that didn’t pop in my mind since, I blanch medicinal mushrooms before I add them to the ferment. My squash ferments are excellent without blanching, I definitely wouldn’t blanch summer squash, or zucchini. Cauliflower and green beans, though, makes sense, and I’ll give it a try with cauliflower next time I have plenty.

I personally don’t use starter culture. I don’t want to use something powdered that comes in a packet online. I don’t use whey, because when I sell my ferments I want to be able to have it available for everyone, and whey comes from dairy. You can also use juice from another ferment to kickstart your ferment. I usually don’t even do that. I use himalayan salt. 

If you want to pick up a ferment with quality ingredients, approved by me, The “Soup Sorceress”, stop by Mimosa Cafe or the Country Natural Food Store in Topanga. I had a gift of an over load of squash, so I made this for sale at a very low price, and it won’t last long. The price will be higher next time. So give this tastiness a try! Fermented yellow sunburst squash. You can use it to top off your soups, as seen on my instagram, @soupsorceresskali

I absolutely love pickles, but I love this even more. It’s sour, tasty, and I crave the juice. I also love to add in a few raw almonds in the juice, and snack on those. Wow!

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Is the equivalent of what we would call someone a “sweet tooth”, a “sour and savory tooth”? Or maybe a “veggie tooth”?

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Veggie Desserts

I was happy to see this review of Veggie Desserts & Cakes, from “Food To Glow“, sharing a variety of creative and tasty ways you can use vegetables in desserts.  How fun for us veggie lovers!

I’ve posted about butternut squash cake, and how we used half the sugar, and it reminded me of pound cake. My pumpkin pie recipe, has a few flavors of “frosting”, using mint, beets, and carrots. Although, I mainly choose no sugar or flour in my food, this book looks awesome, and I’m sure will inspire new ideas!

Celebrate Veggies!

A delicate apple-flavoured sponge, topped with a zesty apple icing and, although there is quite a bit of kale, the flavour doesn’t overpower the other ingredients. From the debut cookbook by Kate Hackworthy. Veggie Desserts Cakes, the debut baking cookbook by top UK food blogger, Kate Hackworthy, celebrates rather than hides vegetables. More than […]

via Kale and Apple Cake with Apple Icing from Veggie Desserts Cakes {review and recipe} — food to glow

Little Chefs Cooking Class, Butternut Squash Cake!

My 12 year old son, Zane, insisted that I bake a cake with the kids. I wasn’t sure about doing something sweet, but I liked the idea of showing them how we can put a vegetable in a cake and still make it taste awesome. It also reminds me a little of pound cake, but healthier.

Anyway, we ended up using half the sugar that the recipe called for in the batter. We all strongly agreed we didn’t need that much sugar! How sweet does it really need to be??

preparaion cake

I got everything ready on the table before they arrived. Plus celery snacks. The butternut squash, I boiled and pureed the day before.

I had an important baking question. How do I use the glass baking dishes instead of metal? I asked my friend Patrice, “The Angel in Your Kitchen”. She’s a master organic baker in town.

The oven needs to be preheated 25 degrees less then the recipe calls for.

Oil the dish, then put the parchment paper on top and oil that. Keeps the cake from falling apart when you take it out.

The edges of the parchment paper are poking up in this picture, I cut those a little smaller after showing Patrice the pic.  Needs to lie flat around the edges.


We picked mint in the garden.

We cooked apples from my Grandmothers garden for the center layer.

We took pictures of tiny toy cows. They say they want to hide that cow in every picture.

We watched the cake cook in the oven.

We talked about the 5th dimension.

We decorated. We celebrated. The kids took selfies with my phone.

The cake tasted so good.


We made a healthier frosting, instead of powdered sugar and food coloring. We did a cream cheese mint, with maple syrup. It tasted a little strange, but we tried it with toast and cucumbers and it was good that way.


The cake was two layers, and we had a little extra batter to make mini cakes for them each to decorate. The little cakes, were ready in about 20 or 25 minutes.

Butternut Squash Cake Recipe


For the batter, we used this recipe. We used half the sugar, and a little maple syrup.  

For the filling we diced apples and cooked them on low heat with cinnamon, vanilla, coconut oil, and a little maple syrup. Would’ve been fine without the maple syrup though.

For the whip cream, we whipped our own with maple syrup. Honey would work too. No sugar needed. 

For the mint frosting, we blended in the vita mix, 16 ounces of organic cream cheese, 3 tablespoons of butter, a little maple syrup, and lots of fresh mint. 

Once the cakes and apples cooled down, which we had placed in the freezer to speed up the process, we decorated!

One more note about the glass baking dishes. Don’t put them in the freezer until they’ve cooled down enough to touch them, so they don’t shatter in your freezer.

Have an awesome day!


Spring Time Recipes

These are some of the recipes posted often in our newsletter, that are great this time of season.

Zucchini and Summer Squash

From stir fries to chocolate zucchini bread, I’ve never been sick of zucchini, with the variety of ways to use it. It’s also perfect when I need something quick and easy, I just season it, throw it on the grill, and make a tasty sauce.


Summer Squash with Egg

summer squash with egg

Creamy Zucchini Noodles


Summer Squash Puree Curry

summer squash curry puree

Zucchini Soup with Red Russian Kale

zucchini kale soup



My favorite vegetable in the world is an artichoke. I think they were in my Xmas stocking one year as a kid, along with pickles. I had only ever cooked them until my friend told me a couple years ago that he always ate them raw in France. So we sat down and tried it with him, with some sauce. It worked, but I prefer it cooked.

This is the way I was told to check if it’s ready, since I was young. While it’s boiling, pull a leaf out, and if it comes out nice and easy, it’s ready. If you don’t check soon enough, it might be too cooked, but it’ll still be fine. If it’s kinda tough to pull out, it’s not ready. That and not adding too much water in the pot, but not too little where it evaporates too soon and I start smelling burning artichoke. I usually have to add a little more water in before it’s done cooking. I start with a few inches.

How To Cook Artichokes 

Fried Artichokes, makes me miss Castroville.

Grilled Baby Artichokes with Aleppo Pepper and Parmesan

One of these days I’ll make a list of awesome artichoke dip recipes.

Fava Beans

Fresh beans are so much better then dry beans, and they take just a few minutes to cook.

Here’s a link on how to peel and eat them.

Fava Beans and Peas with Burrata, thanks to one of our subscribers for sharing this one. 

favas and peas

I’ve used them to make hummus which I think is way better then garbanzo bean hummus, but it’s more work with all the peeling, 1 lb makes a mini batch.

Quick pickles

Instead of going through the whole process of pickling, quick pickling tastes great, and I finish it before it expires. It’s one of my favorite morning snacks.

Watch How to Quick Pickle

I love pickling onions and use them in various ways. Here’s a recipe where I chopped up the pickled onions and mixed it with crispy chopped garlic, rind of lime, and lime juice.



An easy way to make these, boil them whole and slip the skins off when they’re done. Dip with mayo or veganaise.

Borscht pickled eggs

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Borscht– Instead of finding a recipe for this, (I tried online), I asked my fellow Russian gardner friend/neighbor, (who actually grew up in Russia) how to make it. “You have to start with a broth of bone, marrow and beef. Then you add beets, onions, cabbage, carrots, potatoes. Let it cook, then finish it with a little bit of vinegar and fresh herbs.” That made more sense to me then the recipes I saw online.

Beet Chips~ Kids like these, they really do! Just slice them thin and bake them with oil and salt.

Roasted Beets, Cut them in little cubes, rub coconut oil around them, add salt, and fresh herbs like thyme, oregano and rosemary. Roast them in the oven.


Pickling Cucumbers are better as pickles, and quick pickles are easiest. You can certainly eat them as is, but the texture isn’t my favorite that way.

Japanese Cucumbers are super tasty, they drive me crazy. Really no need to take the skins off these ones, even in pureed soups. Dip them in different flavors of mayo or veganaise. Sometimes they seem a little flimsy and not as crisp as regular cukes, but bite into it, it’s crisp and flavorful.

Cucumber Soup

blackened salmon with sour cream cucumber sauce

Cucumber and Charred Onion Salad

Spring fruit, veggie salad~

Here’s a salad I made for Mothers Day a couple years ago. My brother and his girlfriend, are hooked on it. As a kid, my brother used to make himself a cucumber salad with tomatoes, lettuce, lemon juice, oil, salt and chili powder, all the time. The salad has, nectarines, apricots, cilantro, cucumbers, passion fruit, oranges, lemon juice and olive oil, sesame seeds, salt, chili powder, smoked paprika, some dates and dried citrus on the side, and some surinam cherries. It was crazy tasty, I’m serious.




When a trusted farmer I work with has Asparagus, OMG! Yes! It’s not easy to find it organic. I mean really organic, not big agriculture / super market standards. I’ve seen a few farmers with it. Hard to grow. I have some in my yard, and can’t get it to the kitchen before I chomp it up. The taste is real and sweet. This is the first year we’ve had them in the boxes. Thanks to Sage Mountain Farm!

It’s really tasty to roast it with coconut oil, salt and pepper.


I’ll add more to this list soon…..









Avocado Spinach Soup

I was asked to make a chilled soup for a dinner party for 40 people. I made 12 liters of Avocado Spinach Soup. Here’s about the amounts of everything I used, if you just wanted enough to fill a blender.


3 cups homemade veggie broth

2 avocados

about 1/2 a cup fresh lemon juice

about 1/4 cup or more of good quality olive oil

Maldon smoked salt flakes

Cayenne Pepper

2-4 cloves of raw garlic

1-2 bunches fresh spinach

1 bunch of cilantro

Some scallions

Blend it all and top it off with more smoked salt.

Zucchini Soup with Red Russian Kale

I really enjoyed taking the time and attention for this soup. It can be eaten chilled or warm. Available at Mimosa Cafe in Topanga or through me.


Cooked zucchini with stock made with onions, cumin, sea salt and lemon pepper. Pureed with fresh cilantro, lemon juice, and haas avocado. Mixed with chopped heirloom scallions, baby red Russian kale, and diced, toasted garlic.

zucchini kale soup

Fennel is Cooler then Kale


I’m not dissing kale, but after I made this salad I’m still craving it a week later. I still don’t get why so many people tell me they don’t like fennel. I think it’s misunderstood. I’ve seen some people smell it and turn their heads away because it reminds them of black licorice, so they won’t try it. It doesn’t taste like licorice. It’s so versatile. You can shave it thinly for salads, roast the root simply with oil, salt, and pepper, puree it in a soup, or add it to the pot for slow cooked meat. I loved having a salad without lettuce or kale, that was so fresh, and crunchy, and works so well with olive oil and lots of lemon juice.

Thinly slice apples, fennel, and radish. Fennel in the bowl first, sprinkle a nice amount of salt, and massage the fennel. Then add sliced apples and radishes. Pour some olive oil, lemon juice, sliced tomatoes, and cilantro and mix it in. Taste it to see if there’s enough salt, lemon juice and olive oil. I think I used two lemons.



Butternut Squash Desserts

We’re really happy to have winter squashes right now. You don’t have to eat them right away, and there are so many things you can do with them.

It might sound weird, but I made my Husband a butternut squash Birthday Cake. There isn’t too much difference in flavor with winter squashes so any one of them can be used. The butternut squash is just there to make the cake a little moister and healthier. It ended up tasting like a pound cake. Which is awesome!

I chopped up fuyu persimmons, and stir fried them on low heat with maple syrup, coconut oil and cinnamon.

I let that cool down and mixed it with homemade whip cream, and spread that in between each layer of the cake.

I used this recipe, but made my own frosting and came up with the persimmon layers. I boiled the butternut squash, and used that instead of canned pumpkin. This kind of recipe can be done using gluten free flour and a dairy free milk. You can do it with coconut oil instead of butter too.


After that, I looked up pumpkin mochi and used butternut squash.

I used this recipe, Chinese Pumpkin Cake.

You can use honey or maple syrup instead of sugar. I used homemade chocolate for the center instead of red bean paste. I made these for my family at Thanksgiving and they absolutely loved it.