IT’S THAT HOLIDAY TIME OF THE YEAR
BY Mary Anne Trevey
People either love or hate the holidays, but no matter how you feel it is hard to escape some of the magic that encompasses this time of the year. Maybe it’s childhood memories or the excitement of get-togethers, maybe it’s the wonder in the eyes of children or the delicious victual’s that present on festively decorated tables. Sure, there is stress but, even so, we usually all dive head-on into the season complaining or laughing all the way.
Mariposa loves the holidays because of the excitement of FOOD and the fun that accompanies getting ready for America’s biggest holiday. Our gift department is bulging with eclectic decorations, delightful woolens, artistic and practical socks, lovely candles with scents of the season, children’s toys, a plethora of jewelry items, kitchen gadgets, dishes and water bottles. We try to find affordable but classy clothing items to tempt you as well.
Then there’s the food. Mariposa has house-made pumpkin pies, our very own hand-crafted truffles, beef and pork, and turkeys, oh my. The produce department has every fruit and vegetable you may need for the perfect spread. You will be delighted to see the citrus of many varieties start to appear on the stands, along with pomegranates and persimmons for your holiday enjoyment. Our chill department has new hummus, local, and not so local, cheeses (try the Cabot Hot Habanero or Seriously Sharp for example), festive holiday goat cheese logs, aged Liecesters from Belton Farms, and Brie en Croute all ready to bake. Straus egg-nog is organic and fabulously delicious.
Now for the giving part of the holidays. Our environment seriously needs benefactors. The NRDC and Environment California are two of my personal favorites. For world service Doctors Without Borders just received the highest recommendation from Week Magazine for their outstanding work in the poorest and most war-torn areas of the planet with 95% of the donations they receive going into their actual work (only 5% for administration). And, of course, on a local level our public radio station (KZYX) and The Humane Society for Inland Mendocino County always need our help to survive.
Mariposa will be closed on Christmas Day and also on New Year’s Day. Christmas Eve we will be open until 5p.m. WE will be open regular hours on December 26th. New Year’s Eve will also be a day with regular hours.
No matter your inclination, try to be grateful for all the blessings that are yours for the taking here in Northern California: our temperate climate, our wonderful community, our beautiful landscapes, and our waterways, the ocean with its wild winter waves, clean air, our families and friends. If you are not into presents, give of yourselves and volunteer your time to the many worthwhile charities. And give yourself something too. All of us here at Mariposa Market wish all of you the happiest of holidays and a New Year with relief from chaos and full of the joy of being alive.
At Mariposa Market, we pride ourselves on carrying as many local products as possible, especially when it comes to our meat selection. We choose to support farms with the most humane practices from animal birth to slaughter and everywhere in between. We’ve chosen to carry Llano Seco in our store as it fits all of our objectives. At Rancho Llano Seco, the hogs are fed GMO-free vegetarian grains and legumes, 90% of which are grown on their own dry-land fields within only a few miles from their barns. The pigs are confinement-free, raised in deep-bedded hoop barns with continual access to large open air pastures with plenty of sunshine. The pigs are a “zero-waste” community, as all bedding is composted and applied to Rancho pastures.
The animals are humanely treated, with best practices as certified by the Global Animal Partnership. The pigs never receive any antibiotics or growth hormones. They are slaughtered in a small-scale abattoir, just a short 20 minute drive from the ranch, ensuring a stress-less and humane death. Rancho Llano Seco has the culmination to provide a variety of products while caring for the people, the animals and the land. They pride themselves on their holistic approach to ranching.
Look for Llano Seco’s holiday ham selection in our meat department!
We also carry their small ham and ham hocks year round.
What to Do With a Pumpkin
Once Halloween has past, and it is not yet time for Thanksgiving pies, what is an intrepid home chef to do with a pumpkin or two? Two concepts that are worth exploring come from different corners of the pre-contact Americas. From the north east U.S. we find pumpkin jerky, and from southern Mexico and Central America, we find pumpkin seeds used as a sauce base.
Pumpkin jerky is straight forward. Take a thin bladed, sharp knife and cut a previously cleaned out small pie pumpkin into a spiral strip about 3/8” (or 10 mm) thick. Run a clean cord through this spiral cut vegetable, and then stretch the cord tightly between two trees out in the sun and wind.
Salt is optional, but does help draw out fluid. The pumpkin can also be seasoned at this point if desired, and a bit of chili is an interesting variation. Open up the spiral, so that all of the flesh is exposed to the air. This may take two days to dry, depending on conditions, and if so it should not be left out at night to re-moisten.
The finished product should be leathery, not brittle. The flavor of the pumpkin is intensified, become much sweeter. Dried this way, it should last all winter in a breathable container in a cupboard. It is a fine treat by itself, but it can also be reconstituted for soups or braised. It makes for an interesting and tasty trail snack when hiking. It is also relished by dogs!
- Maya people have a long appreciation for the seeds of squashes, including the fall pumpkin. Sikil P’ak is the name they give to a versatile product made from blended pumpkin seeds (toasted or raw), tomato, peppers (often a habanero), onion, cilantro, salt, and the juice of sour orange or lime. This has a thick texture, much like organic nut butter. Sometimes this is made with hulled seeds, sometimes they are used unprocessed. A food processor does an admirable job of pulverizing and blending the components. This can be used as a spread or dip. It also is used as a filling. Tamales made with Sikil P’ak and turkey or roast pork are fantastic, and a great way to use leftovers.
This fall, have some fun with a pumpkin. They are underappreciated by many cooks, but they offer a lot of color and taste, and are quite versatile. They are for much more than Jack O’Lanterns and pies!
The Healing Power of Mushrooms
By Alecia Kepple
Mushrooms are truly amazing. People have been consuming mushrooms since the beginning of human existence, dating back to the Neolithic times. Every culture has a long history of honoring mushrooms for food, medicine, and ceremonial purposes. Mushrooms serve as a primary source of unique nutrients that have enhanced our health for thousands of years.
There are about 100,000 species of fungi that create a kingdom of living organisms that grow and fruit. Fungi are recyclers in their natural environment. To feed itself the mushroom breaks down organic matter and at the same time cleans the environment that surrounds it. While breaking down decay, the fungus provides complex compounds such as cellulose, carbohydrates and proteins that nourish plants and trees. Fungi survive in very harsh environments where they encounter disease-causing pathogens. Mushrooms have such a resilient immune system to survive in these types of eco-systems that they can create a valuable medicine to strengthen the immune system of human beings and the planet.
Paul Stamets is a mycologist who lectures extensively to deepen the understanding and respect for fungi. His company Fungi Perfecti provides mushroom capsules and extracts, which are all certified organic, sustainably harvested, grown and processed in the United States. Here at Mariposa we carry a wide variety of his products.
Lion’s Mane: The subject of recent studies, Lion’s Mane is renowned for providing support to the brain and nervous system. Promoting mental clarity, cerebral system support, and optimizes nervous and immune system health.
Cordyceps: People from the mountainous regions of the Himalayas have long used Cordyceps during strenuous high-altitude activities. Recently professional athletes have discovered that Cordyceps may increase oxygen uptake for higher endurance levels, including healthy sexual function.
Maitake: This mushroom is known for enhancing healthy glycemic levels by promoting normal blood sugar metabolism, promotes immune health and also supports cellular health.
By Debbie Mac
When it comes to what to drink for the holidays, there’s one thing we all know-we like the bubbly. Although some people may argue that French champagne is the best (especially the French), we have something in Mendocino County that can compete with the best. Snuggled on a beautiful winding road through Anderson Valley, heading from Booneville to Philo, are two wonderful establishments, Roederer Estate and Scharffenberger Cellars. Anderson Valley was selected as a premier location to grow sparkling wine grapes because, being the coolest growing region in California, the grapes are allowed extra time on the vine to become fully mature before harvest.
The Roederer Estate Brut debuted in 1988 and has since established its reputation as one of California’s premier Sparklers, remaining true to the heritage of excellence and style of its French roots. High quality wines begin with knowledge of the terroir, farming the grapes organically, and making sure the grapes mature to achieve perfect balance at harvest. They also attribute the high quality of grapes to the addition of reserve wines which are selected from the best wines each year and aged in French oak casks. The aged wines are added to each blend creating a cuvee in the traditional Roederer style, known for its body, finesse, and depth of flavor. Over the years Roederer Estate has been written up for excellence and has won many awards. In 2018, the family owned winery won a double gold for their Brut at the San Francisco wine competition.
Scharffenberger, Roederer Estate’s sister company, just a mile away, was founded in 1981 by John Scharffenberger and was the first vineyard to produce sparkling wine in Mendocino County, sourcing only grapes from Mendocino County. Although they have gone through many changes since it’s inception, the winemaker Tex Sawyer has been there since 1989 and oversees the production from harvest through two fermentation processes to produce a unique American-style sparkling wine. Sawyer notes that Anderson Valley is perfectly suited for growing grapes for sparkling wine. Scharffenberger uses estate grapes, but he also has long term contracts with growers throughout Mendocino to source premium grapes. All the fruit for Scharffenberger Brut undergoes 100% malolactic fermentation which produces a wine rich with complex flavors, and a vanilla cream character, resulting in a full- bodied wine.
- experts say that California sparkling wines tend to be fruitier than French champagne because the grapes ripen longer in the warmer climate. However, we are lucky to have such superior sparkling wines right here in Mendocino County. Our French friends have declared that they are as good as the ones from the Champagne region of France, which is quite a complement.
For the holiday season we will also be carrying a sparkling wine from Ceasar Toxqui. This sparkler is named “Hugh Oliver” after his son. It is a delicious delight with a slight pink color, thanks to the Pinot Noir grapes. If beer is your beverage of choice, don’t forget the holiday seasonals that have just arrived. Celebration from Sierra Nevada is always a favorite, but there is also Jubeale from Deschutes in Oregon. We also have a new Hazy IPA from Bear Republic.
BRIE EN CROUTE
This fabulous holiday hor’d’oeuvres is simple to prepare, elegant, and delicious. Use our new, frozen all-butter Duvall’s puff pastry and a 4-inch round of Bri
Arugula & Orange Salad
with Pomegranate-White Wine Vinaigrette