It's swapper profile time again! It is my enormous pleasure to introduce Patricia Algara. If you are a swap regular you undoubtedly already know (and love) Patricia as our swap benefactor, who provided the free swap locale on Harrison Street for close to the entire first year of our existence. You also will recognize her infectious smile and generous spirit. Watch out, it's contagious! Patricia was the very first person to reach out to us when we started our swap, and her enthusiasm has never waned. She's shared her garden smarts and bounty, her passion for landscaping and community connection, and of course her love of growing, making and sharing food. She often brings piles of sunshiny Meyer lemons, herbs, and veggies from the Algarden, but has also busted out kombucha mother, mini pumpkin pies, hummus, and more for the swap. Since soup weather is upon us, her Tía Paloma's recipe is perfectly-timed, and assuredly delicious!
Name: Patricia Algara
Home (+ hometown swap): San Francisco - hometown: San Luis Potosí, Mexico
Profession: Landscape Architect
How did you first get involved in food swapping? How long ago?
I got involved in the food swap last year. I believe it was the second swap.
I have a small urban farm in Berkeley (1/5 of an acre) the "Algarden". It produces more than enough food for the 5 families that live next to it and myself with lots to spare. I had been thinking that a food swap would be an excellent way to share the produce. I was so happy to find the SF food swap and I have been participating and helping host the event ever since.
What did you make for the last food swap and what inspired your choice?
I don't really make anything. I bring fresh produce from the garden, whatever is in season and fresh herbs. Sometimes honey on the comb from my bees.
What’s your favorite thing about swapping?
Learning about new recipes; Building a community of like minded people who share a joy in connecting to their food and sharing it; Reducing the amount I spend at the grocery store. I'm all about exchange of goods and services rather than money and the swap allows me to do with some items that otherwise I would have to buy.
Who or what most influences your cooking?
The Algarden, whatever is in season at the garden. I try to eat most of my meals from the garden. It has pushed my creativity for new recipes, especially for Kale and Zucchinis.
What’s your favorite kitchen tool?
The Blender. I would be very happy with a Vitamix... some day!
Your current flavor or ingredient obsession?
Turmeric and bee pollen. So good for you!
Biggest food surprise?
Fava greens, they make delicious salads
If the Rapture came tomorrow, what would your last meal on earth be?
My mother's chilaquiles and pastel de tres leches
When I'm not in the kitchen… I'm at the Algarden.
Favorite local food experience:
Oysters at Tomales Bay
Recipe from Patricia
La Sopa de Calabacita de la Tía Paloma. My aunt Paloma's zucchini soup.
This is my California adaptation of my aunt’s original recipe. My version is dairy-free and low fat, her's is heavenly!
1-2 sweet onions
4 cloves of garlic
Coconut oil (use butter for the original version)
½ gallon rice milk (use milk and cream or half and half)
Lots of fresh black pepper
Grate the onion and the zucchini.
Sauté the onion and garlic with the spices. When the onions are transparent add the zucchini. Sauté for a little. Add the milk. Enjoy!