Jeannette Hartman

Jeannette Hartman is an avid cook and an evolving urban gardener. In her day job, she is a Los Angeles-based health and medical writer.

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Red Cabbage Slaw

This is cross-posted at The Fink Farms Dirt.

A cabbage harvest in July?

In California, it works. (We planted late in a mild winter.)

That means just in time for outdoor Shabbes dinners, we have the basic ingredient for coleslaw.

But with this gem-like vegetable sitting on my kitchen counter, I couldn’t bear the thought of traditional coleslaw: cabbage shreds drowned in mayonnaise and sugar. I decided to celebrate the color.  The following recipe is adapted from several sources.

Cooling Agua Frescas Beat Summer’s Heat


Here in the City of Angels, the thermometer has rocketed into the triple digits. It’s more like gehanna than heaven.

That means it’s time to celebrate Los Angeles’ cultural diversity and make some agua fresca.

An agua fresca is a cold beverage made with blended fruit or juice and water popular in Mexico and Central America. It is similar to a licuado, except a licuado is made with milk and more closely resembles what we call a smoothie.

What to Do When Your Garden Explodes in Bounty


Q: What do you do when you have so many home grown zucchini your friends won’t answer the door when you try to share your harvest?

A: Find a car with an open window.

The triumph and the tragedy of the summer growing season is the sheer fecundity of gardens and farms. How to partake of fruits and vegetables at their peak without relying on the same old recipes?

Lois M. Burrows and Laura G. Myers offer a mouth-watering solution with their book, Too Many Tomatoes . . . Squash, Beans, and other Good Things; a Cookbook for When Your Garden Explodes.

Kosher Salt: Why Is This Salt Different From All Others?

I keep my kosher salt in an Israeli style pottery canister with a spring locked lid. It was a mishloach manos from my synagogue one Purim. I always feel like a kitchen alchemist when I reach for it.

Recently I was lunching with a business colleague in a casual Beverly Hills restaurant whose menu made a smug reference to its use of imported fleur de sel. My colleague said she’d been given some as a gift and it tasted wonderful.

The discussion rattled some of my assumptions about this elemental ingredient.  Is hand-harvested French sea salt at $1.42 an ounce the best choice for the savvy gourmet in the kitchen? Or is it lunacy, when coarse kosher salt costs me 6 cents an ounce?

Bring The Flavors of California Native Seasonings and Condiments to Your Table


Locavores in Los Angeles should take note of a class, California Native Seasonings and Condiments offered by the Theodore Payne Foundation from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 29.

Taught by Connie Vadheim, an adjunct professor of biology at California State University at Dominguez Hills, the class will be a discussion of native plants that can be used to flavor and enhance your food.  Recipes will be provided.

The class costs $20 for foundation members and $30 for nonmembers.  It will be held at the Payne Foundation, 10459 Tuxford St., Sun Valley, CA 91352. For information, call (818) 768-1802.

Yid.Dish: Faux “Fried” Coral Tomatoes


An August garden is pregnant with expectations.

The garden I share with my friends, Karen and Kate, has a tomato jungle. The three plants have over run three concentric layers of “cages.” They’re now trying to colonize the carrots.

Unrelenting weeks of sun and heat have battered our 10 by 14 foot plot in Karen’s backyard. LA’s water rationing has taken its toll as well. No matter. The tomatoes seem to ripen from pearl green to bloody red as you watch.

Yid.Dish: Nasturtium Butter, A Gardener Cooks

Nasturtium Butter
Nasturtium Butter

Call me old-fashioned, but I always thought flowers were for vases – not plates.

Oh, sure, I read the articles showing a cheerful chef tossing a nasturtium blossom on a pile of lettuce. Surely a tasteless bid for attention, I sniffed.

A recent web search for organic pest riddance has given me a new taste for ripe nasturtium blossoms, leaves and seed pods.

Gardeners have long loved nasturtiums as companion plants to keep insects off of collards, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, fruit trees and radishes. Nasturtiums themselves are as edible as the vegetables and fruits they protect.

The flavors are not dramatic. Blossoms, tossed whole or torn into salads, taste like mild radishes. Sautéed nasturtium leaves processed into a cold vichyssoise are peppery. Bined or pickled seedpods make a poor gourmet’s capers.

Here is one of my favorite recipes: nasturtium butter.  The petals give the butter a wonderful gold color.  This is excellent on freshly steamed vegetables or fish.