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10 August, 2014

Anise Hyssop: A farm to table adventure

Comments : 2 Posted in : Cooking, Food Adventures, Recipes on by : Brooke Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Turkey, Tomato, & Anise Sandwich

  • 1/2# roast turkey, thinly sliced
  • 2 mini baguettes, warmed
  • 1/8 c. shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • baby lettuce leaves, assorted
  • the leaves from 1 stem of anise hyssop (about 1/8 cup chopped)
  • olive oil
  • salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sprinkle the tomatoes with chopped anise hyssop and a pinch of salt, drizzle with olive oil. Set aside.

Place baguettes in a preheated oven for five minutes to warm. Slice warm baguettes with a serrated knife and sprinkle parmesan cheese inside each baguette. Layer roast turkey, prepared tomatoes w/ anise hyssop, & lettuce. Salt to taste. Slice each baguette in half & serve immediately. Serves 2-4.


Before finding something new to feed my craving, it was just a cold and dreary summer day in San Francisco. My fiancé and I headed to the Ferry Building Farmers Market last Saturday in an attempt to brighten things up. There at least 25 farmers markets in San Francisco, so it is never an easy decision to make when it comes to buying fresh produce. After we disembarked our 15 minute ride on the N Judah, it was a short and scenic walk along the Embarcadero to the multitudinous mass of humanity and harvest.

One of the first tents I noticed as we nudged our way in was that of Blue Lake Farm, a reliable supplier at all the markets I regularly frequent. We worked past them towards a booth with tempting tomato prices that I noticed on my visit here last week. As we made our way there, hundreds of people were perched on walls enjoying a variety of the prepared foods available.

While I make my way towards the brightly filled bins across the way, hues of yellow, red, orange, and green fill the crates marked $1.60/# and I stop to smell the tomatoes. Working to fill two lunch-sized paper bags with a succulent assortment of heirlooms cost me a mere $6.50 and most certainly will provide some of the main ingredients for lunch and dinner this week.



Just a booth or two down, I couldn’t resist stopping in to Dirty Girl Produce to add their dry farmed early girl pickings to round out my chosen heirlooms. Three fire engine red tomatoes totaled one pound for $3. I’m not sure if it was the color or the smell that brought me to their booth, but they definitely lived up to the kitsch in their name as their fruit required some gentle cleansing in preparation.

My third stop was where I found the inspiration I was craving. Under a well-used red canopy displaying the farm’s name, the galvanized and patinated buckets filled with perky bunches of unique flowering stems initially caught my eye. Then I met Joseph, who wore his wares upon his hat. I had never heard of anise hyssop or biodynamic farming, but he explained with a well-practiced manner the importance and value of the fertile soil in which his herbs are grown. I listened intently in an effort to satiate my inner-gardener’s appetite. Smelling the fragrance of mint, I asked if I could try a sample. He obliged and I could taste the tingle of anise. I was now very excited to experiment with this edible perennial and, for three bucks, figured I couldn’t go wrong. At the very least, it would look gorgeous in a mason jar on the kitchen counter or maybe add a little zip to my morning coffee.

Anise hyssop purchased at the Ferry Building Farmers Market from White Crane Springs Ranch on 8/9/14


The adventure continued with us cutting through the center of the building, emerging on the city-side of the marketplace and leading us to some of the sweetest grapes I have ever tasted! The woman who took my $3.00 balanced taking money and answering questions on all four sides of her tent as I weighed out three dollars worth, choosing two of the four varieties they offered –  champagne and red flame.

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While I perused flowers at 6 bunches for $20, my fiancee came running over wanting to feed me a sample of his discovery – that melt-in-my-mouth blend of almonds, chocolate, and toffee brought back the recognizable taste I remembered from last week. I handed over my card to Gage as I gave half of what I brought in cash to Thomas Farms for my hand chosen assortment of summer stems. Heading towards our exit, I picked up the one thing on my written list – a large bottle of Bariani Olive Oil, a pantry staple of mine and something I frequently use.

As we were leaving the market, I reminisced about my famers market days as a vendor while my fiancé and I took note of how quickly they broke down promptly at 2pm. We grabbed a small bottle of apple cider from Hidden Star Orchards just in time and shared it on a nearby bench overlooking Pier 14 as we listened to waves lap against the revetment behind us.

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Once home, I carefully unpacked a shoulder bag full of goodies, sharing bites of the chocolate with our housemates. Anxious for lunch, I sliced and marinated the tomatoes with a handful of the chopped anise hyssop and a drizzle of olive oil. I also placed two mini baguettes in the oven on 400.


While the tomatoes were marinating and the bread was in the oven, I went downstairs into my patio garden and harvested some tender greens.


After 5 minutes, I removed the warm baguettes from the oven and carefully sliced them with a serrated knife. I sprinkled shredded parmesan cheese on the soft inside of crusty bread, then I layered 1/4# of roasted turkey, the tender greens, and last, but not least – the marinated tomatoes.


The natural complexity of the anise was a welcome addition to this reliable sandwich. It added a hint of mint and a nice spice to balance the sweetness of the fruit. I will surely be looking for another adventure again soon!


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