The OAEC Cookbook is Here! Plus: Sample Recipe

We are thrilled to announce that the long-awaited Occidental Arts & Ecology Center Cookbook has arrived! Published by Chelsea Green and with a foreword by Alice Waters, the Cookbook shares the abundance of the OAEC Mother Garden through delicious recipes, stories and photos.

Olivia Rathbone OAEC CookbookCongratulations to the book’s facilitator and co-author, Kitchen Manager Olivia Rathbone, who kneaded love, seasonal know-how, and countless hours of hard work into the book. We celebrated the Cookbook Release with her at our Spring Plant Sale Member Preview on Friday, April 3rd. See video and photos below!


Upcoming Cookbook Events:


Moments from the Spring Plant Sale Member Preview & Cookbook Release:

Occidental Arts & Ecology Center (OAEC) Cookbook Release and Plant Sale from Selva Rica on Vimeo.


Olivia and Gaby
Olivia and OAEC chef Gabriel Tiradani, one of major contributors to the Cookbook.


olivia rathbone
A toast to all of the Cookbook contributors. Thank you!



Spring Sample Recipe

Sautéed Shungiku Shoots with Sesame Seeds and Garlic

Chrysanthemum coronarium, garland chrysanthemum, chop suey herb, or shungiku (in Japanese) is an edible chrysanthemum grown for its flowers and distinctively floral-tasting leafy greens. We are offering it at our Spring Plant Sale.

Grown as a cool-season crop in the mild coastal climate of Asia’s Pacific Rim, shungiku is a common ingredient in Japanese and Korean soups, noodle dishes, and vegetable sides. It does incredibly well in our winter garden, and we have come to regard it as a staple here in the kitchen. We sauté the shoots with garlic or steam the tender stems like asparagus. The fragrant lobed leaves and flower petals perfume our winter and spring raw salads.

Gardener’s tip: To encourage branching and a longer-lasting crop, harvest the shungiku side shoots by pinching them back before the buds appear.

shungikuServes 4–6

  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 large bunch shungiku tips
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Salt or tamari to taste

Serves 30–40

  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup sesame oil
  • 3 pounds shungiku tips
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • Salt or tamari to taste

Preheat a dry skillet or wok on medium-high heat. Add the sesame seeds and toast briefly, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until they begin to release a nutty aroma. Remove the sesame seeds from the heat and reserve. Return the skillet or wok to the heat, add sesame oil to coat, and then add the shungiku florets, garlic, and a light sprinkle of salt or tamari soy sauce. Sauté, tossing with tongs frequently, until completely wilted. Taste and adjust the salt; sprinkle with the reserved sesame seeds. Serve hot.