Discovering San Marzano

Italian chef Tony Minichello sparked my interest in the San Marzano.  He raved about them, cooked with them and gave me a sample.  That taste was remarkable, like finding a treasure in a sunken ship. Many say Italian tomatoes are considered some of the best in the world.  In Campania near Naples the soil is […]

Cool Cucumber Soup Meets Dry Roasted Shrimp

Three thousand years ago the English called it “cowcumber”.  Charlemagne grew them in his 9th century french garden.  I grow them in my Sacramento, California garden and call them cucks.  I never thought I’d make soup out of cucumbers. When I was a kid, we had tomato cucumber salad with olive oil and red wine […]

Minestrone with Runquist Wine

Crazy Northern California weather this past year confused many plants but the strength of Bacchus in the Amador and El Dorado county wine areas prevailed.  New wineries surfaced while many established operations flourished, making stand out wines.  In Amador County, I’ve particularly enjoyed wines from a small producer with an unwavering focus on reds, Jeff […]

Harvesting the Artichoke

I pass by artichokes at the market, gazing at them, deciding if I want to take them on.  They’re really not that much work but I can get lazy when it comes to artichokes.  This past weekend I was at a friend’s dinner where Sicilian Chef Joe from Reno made fried artichoke hearts.  They were […]

Irish Inspired Stew

Ann posted a recipe she made from her book Hand’s Off Cooking yesterday, an entry in Amber’s Kerrygold Irish inspired challenge.  Joining in on the fun (and secretly thinking all that Kerrygold cheese and butter could be lots of fun to have in my fridge) I decided on shaking up the traditional Irish stew. I […]

Using the Harvest: Mint

While I love butternut squash soup made any style, I periodically look for things to substitute for squash.  What will make it silky smooth and make me feel warm, good and satiated?  I found the following recipe that called for sweet potatoes.  I had yams on hand (technically different but basically the same thing in […]

Greek Leek and Greens Pie

A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky to attend the annual Big Fat Greek Party at the home of fellow blogger Hank Shaw and his partner Holly Heyser. They requested side dishes to go with roasted goat, so I knew I needed to take my Greek Leek and Greens Pie. I developed it several […]

Hubby Cooks: French Onion Soup

The entire world has practically seen “Julie & Julia” by now.  I think we are the last of our friends to partake.  While it’s got mixed reviews, what it’s done in my household is spark the husband’s curiosity about Julia Child, and then some. I got home from work a few weeks ago and found […]

The Caesar of Mel for Four

We could argue about who makes the best Caesar salad in Sacramento. The Waterboy does a stellar job, then there is Zinfandel Grill (lemony), Jack’s Urban Eats (price point) and more. But my friend Mel, let me tell you, his is truly memorable. I recently had Mel and his friend Laura over for dinner. Being […]

Using the Harvest: Baby Bok Choy

No, they are not aliens from outer space! Subdued and mellow, it plays well with other ingredients. It has a slight celery taste but is much more exciting. When cooked, it absorbs flavors from pan partners. These characteristics make it simple to cook and result in palate pleasing dishes. I would be remiss if I […]

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