Recent Posts

Indian Chana Masala: Chickpea Tomato Stew

Indian Chana Masala: Chickpea Tomato Stew

Credit: SweetOnVeg This Indian inspired Chana Masala recipe is a fast meal or side dish that can be prepared with just a few ingredients from your humble abode. Use canned chick peas and tomatoes for quick assembly. If you prefer a smooth texture, you can […]

The COOP A Southern Affair

The COOP A Southern Affair

  Restaurant Preview on Park Avenue I received an invite for a Scott Joseph Supper Club preview of The COOP menu, a new restaurant concept from the Rivers crew… A Southern Affair… Where? In the headquarters test kitchen of course! I could not turn down the exclusive opportunity for […]

Chef’s Tasting at Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen

Chef’s Tasting at Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen

dry creek kitchen dining room

Photo courtesy of Dry Creek Kitchen

There’s nothing quite like the realization that you are somewhere beyond daily monotony. Post anticipation and preparation for excursions new, there is a certain oxymoronic, anxious calm that manifests just below the collar. It’s like a morning dew that hasn’t quite settled into dawn. I am checked in to vacation. I sip ‘good’ wine, the complimentary bottle on the foyer table of my Hotel Healdsburg suite of bliss. I look into my glass pirouetting a fishbowl vision of my surroundings. I call the concierge. She answers. As with many before, I request dinners and excursions during my stay at the hotel. She obliges, and i am thrilled. I….am in Sonoma.

At the recommendation of a friend and colleague, I chose Sonoma over Napa when planning my first wine country excursion. More locals, less tourists, and the added benefit of a short forty-five minute commute from San Francisco afforded much deserved relaxation.

No stranger to high dining, I am not ashamed to say I prefer to experience true excellence alone. I do enjoy true foodie comradery, but nothing compares to the quiet and private indulgence in one’s own senses. Hence, Chef’s table for one. I observed the meticulously starched linens, the precisely measured chair to table to silver ratio, all perfectly set to appease me, the most observant diner.  While tending a series of aerating wine carafes just beyond my table, the Master Sommelier personally served and checked in between wine service for each course. Each bottle decanted released another sweet and sensuous aroma into the dining air. The kitchen and the wait staff were spot on with coordinated timing and confirming every dish was prepared to satisfaction.

Most notable to my experience was a personal greeting from Chef as I melted into bliss between fourth and fifth courses, and the staff surprising me with his handshake and salutation before I retired to Hotel Healdsburg for the evening. Responding to how I enjoyed the meal I responded with fervor, “It was a fabulous crescendo from start to finish.” Both Sommelier and Chef eyes widened and dilated at my response. Then came the grin. It was the grin of satisfaction; the digestion of that rare personalized and exalted confirmation that what they did here was indeed superb, and superbly appreciated.

Chef Charlie Palmer’s menu elaborated below, however one must excuse the photo edit quality. As an avid foodie explorer, I respect a restaurant dining ambiance, and Dry Creek Kitchen keeps the evening lighting a comfortable low with candlelight accouterments. I decided to preserve the intimate environment by keeping the flash off, and over-exposing the resulting photographs.

Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen Chef’s Tasting Menu

flash seared hamachi

First Course  Flashed seared hamachi with avocado mousseline, pickled rhubarb, parslane, kaffir lime oil

Sommelier Selection: Iron Horse Aureole Cuvee Sparkling Wine Green Valley 2005

 

cauliflower soup

Second Course – Cauliflower soup with spicy shrimp, curried crème fraîche, chopped pistachios, spicy shrimp, curried creme fraiche, chopped pistachios

Sommelier Selection: Nova Family Winery, Gewurztraminer, Russian River Valley, 2009

fresh rigatoni pasta

Third course – Fresh rigatoni pasta with arugula ‘pesto’, toasted walnut, ricotta salata, house cured lardo

Sommelier Selection: Mahonney Vineyards Vermentino, Carneros, 2009
brioche crusted halibut

Fourth Course Brioche crusted halibut with english pea mousseline, ham hock, pickled red onion

Sommelier Selection: Leo Steen Chenin Blanc, Dry Creek Valley, Saini Farms, 2009

 

Pan seared filet of beef

Fifth Course – Pan seared filet of beef with smoked fingerling potatoes, bone marrow, wild mushrooms, black garlic vinaigrette

Sommelier Selection: Mauritson ‘Loam’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County, Positas, 2007

 

chocolate caramel cheesecake

Sixth Course Chocolate caramel cheesecake with gold leaf and nutty mocha ice cream

Click for more information about Hotel Healdsburg, Dry Creek Kitchen, and follow Charlie Palmer on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Papa Joe’s Pizza 25th Anniversary Dinner

Papa Joe’s Pizza 25th Anniversary Dinner

Once upon a time in Brooklyn, Sicilian immigrants began opening Italian restaurants and pizzerias showcasing family recipes from their homeland. While the origins of pizza specifically, are hotly debated, the history behind Papa Joe’s is certain. When Papa Joe relocated from Brooklyn, New York to […]

East End Market: A Pop Up Dinner Celebration of Women Chefs, Restaurateurs and Winemakers

East End Market: A Pop Up Dinner Celebration of Women Chefs, Restaurateurs and Winemakers

Saturday marked my second Pop-Up dinner following the event at Quantum Leap Winery this spring. I reserved my coveted seat for the evening showcasing women entrepreneurs in the local community. Compounding my enthusiasm and support for local small business was the fundraising for the Women Chefs […]

Fab Chili Recipe with Beef and Beans

Fab Chili Recipe with Beef and Beans

fab-chili-recipe
Warm up with this fab chili recipe slow cooked with beef, beans, onions, spices. Serve with sides of sharp cheese, jalapenos, cilantro and sour cream.

 

Chili is an art.

From Texas red chili to Kentucky, Mid-west white bean to Arizona green, chili is the pho of American cuisine. Historical accounts trace the first crocks of United States versions of chili con carne to San Antonio Texas, where the meat, tomato, and peppers united in a poor-man’s stew.

Today, chili cook-offs boast more complex and expensive spices and cuts of meat. This Fab chili recipe calls for a number of ingredients to be slow cooked for hours, but it’s easy on the pocket book and your schedule, as it needs very little tending, and you probably have most of the ingredients already.

Smoked Turkey & Muenster Cheese Snacks

Smoked Turkey & Muenster Cheese Snacks

We love snacks. One favorite is this savory throw together with deli smoked turkey and muenster cheese. Using a bit of dijon mustard and a butter cracker as the foundation, these are sure to delight.

Prosciutto, Pear & Arugula Pizza

Prosciutto, Pear & Arugula Pizza

 Recipe adapted from Leah Peavy’s home kitchen This rustic homemade pizza recipe features balsamic glazed bartlett pears, salty prosciutto, and peppery arugula. Vidalia onions and fresh parmesan and mozzarella really marry well in this sweet and savory dish. This recipe makes for an easy weeknight […]

A Kitchen Checklist for a New Home

A Kitchen Checklist for a New Home

…for the Aspiring Cook

Whether starting out on your own, beginning anew, or just plain paring down, this kitchen checklist contains the essentials for your new home. Some items are specific for a reason, to which I’ll elaborate in future posts in this section. Others are open to one’s own tastes and preferences. A sharp knife is first on the list for a reason. It is the most crucial item in any kitchen. Here is a basic kitchen checklist for a new home.

UTENSILS

  • Sharp knives
  • Dishwasher safe plastic cutting board
  • Box grater
  • Silicon whisk
  • Heat-safe spatula, slotted spoon, and ladle
  • Strainer
  • Kitchen tongs
  • Measuring spoons
  • Spaghetti fork
  • 4 cup and 1 cup Pyrex liquid measuring cups

SPICES AND SEASONINGS

  • Sea salt
  • Iodized salt
  • Seasoned salt
  • Black pepper
  • Mustard powder
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Lemon zest
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Marjoram

Tip: The general rule to convert fresh to dry measurements in a recipe is 1 tsp. dried = 1 Tbs. fresh

These ingredients are useful to add to your collection in the cooler winter months when soups and baked goods are part of your menu.

  • Curry powder
  • Herbs de Provence
  • Bay leaves
  • Tarragon
  • Sage
  • Dill
  • Celery seed or celery salt
  • Whole nutmeg
  • Vanilla extract
  • Almond extract
  • Orange extract

PANTRY

  • Baking soda
  • All-purpose flour
  • Sugar – granulated, brown, powdered, honey, agave nectar
  • Vinegar – white, balsamic, red wine, cider
  • Oil – olive oil, extra virgin, canola, sesame, peanut
  • Tomato – paste, sauce, diced/crushed
  • Beans – pinto, black, garbanzo, white
  • Broth – chicken, beef
  • Pasta – ziti, fusilli, spaghetti, linguine, shell, lasagna
  • Rice – jasmine, basmati, long-grain, arborio
  • Breadcrumbs and crackers
  • Coconut milk
  • Nuts and dried fruits
  • Garlic

CONDIMENTS

  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Dijon mustard
  • Sauces – Worcestershire, soy, Tabasco, barbecue
  • Grape jelly
  • Horseradish
  • Maple syrup
  • Chili paste
  • Marinated items – capers, pickles, artichoke, olives

THE FRIDGE

  • Eggs – farm raised or organic
  • Butter – not margarine!
  • Milk – cow, almond, or soy
  • Cheese – Parmigiano-Reggiano, cheddar
  • Onions – sweet, red, green, shallot
  • Greek yogurt
  • Lemons and limes
  • Frozen berries
  • Frozen spinach and other veggies
  • Meats, fish, seafood fresh or frozen
  • Carrots
  • Apples

 

Thumbprint Cellars French River Cruise

Thumbprint Cellars French River Cruise

Sonoma winery owners are hosting a food and wine excursion sure to please. The Touring & Tasting Luxury River Wine Cruise to Burgundy and Provence is an all-inclusive 8-day vacation April 6 -13, 2014.  Visit the Thumbprint Cellars tour page for details on booking this group tour. Indulge in […]

Supper Club at Chuan Lu Garden

Supper Club at Chuan Lu Garden

Fraught with anticipation, I entered through the back door of Ginza as instructed in the Scott Joseph reservation. I’m always a bit anxious attending these events because I usually go solo, but per usual, I was super excited for Supper Club. Any array of dinner […]

Creole Eggs with Cheese

Creole Eggs with Cheese

Creole Eggs with Cheese

Spice Up Your Day with A Creole Eggs and Cheese Sandwich

Stuffed between potato bread and two runny over-easy eggs, you’ll love the roasted tomatoes and extra sharp cheddar cheese. Eat it for breakfast, brunch, or lunch. A nod to the Royal with Cheese from one of our favorite pop-culture films, this sandwich isn’t a Big Mac; it’s an egg Mac of sorts. It’s… a Creole with Cheese.

I am no stranger to the “what the heck just happened in my mouth” meal. I live for and crave the opportunity. Occasionally, perhaps even rarely, I am greeted by a surprisingly fantastic and notable dish wherein the conduit between taste buds and brain produce a tremendously wild reaction.

If you haven’t figured out by now, I love breakfast. And equally so I love sandwiches because the bread so sacrificially provides the vessel for impromptu savory ingredients. It is with such inspiration that I approach every breakfast creation; this is one of those “what the heck just happened in my mouth” moves of unforgettable and foreseeable works of greatness.

I’m pretty sure it has everything to do with just a couple ingredients that I included different from the uge (pronounced yoo-zh, as in usual,) and the order in which I added them.

Like this recipe? Check out a more casual breakfast by making a Tomato Vidalia Onion Omelette.

Salsa with Tomato, Black Bean, Corn, and Red Pepper

Salsa with Tomato, Black Bean, Corn, and Red Pepper

Salsa is an ambiguous term in the culinary world. It can mean any combination of chopped, diced, puréed ingredients. It’s a largely misunderstood accompaniment for chips, burgers, and fish and seafood toppings. This recipe pairs well with any of the aforementioned and beyond to include […]

Secret Sauce for Barbecue Meatballs

Secret Sauce for Barbecue Meatballs

Yep. You read correctly. Your eyes are not deceiving you. I’m finally giving out my recipe for the special sauce you’ve all grown to know and love. A given at my many a holiday parties, exuding effervescence from the crock pot; behold. This recipe contains […]

Tomato Vidalia Onion Omelette

Tomato Vidalia Onion Omelette

tomato vidalia onion omelette

 

It’s what’s for breakfast. Not only is this tomato vidalia onion omelette a light and scrumptious meal, it’s beautiful to look at every step of the way.

Barbecue Pork Mac & Cheese Sandwich

Barbecue Pork Mac & Cheese Sandwich

Wondering what to do with 4th of July leftovers? Don’t spend the days recovering from all the fireworks with the same plate over and over. Change it up with some of these creative options. Pile it together! Why do other holidays get the catch-all sandwich gratuity? […]

Delicious Mediterranean Pasta

Delicious Mediterranean Pasta

  We are always looking for new and easy weeknight recipes. Pasta is a simple go-to, but the sauce and accompanying ingredients are usually where people get stuck. This mediterranean pasta recipe originated from wanting to figure out how to use my warehouse size jar […]

Hot or Cold Chickpea Salad

Hot or Cold Chickpea Salad

chickpea salad

Light and savory chickpeas, garlic, onion, parsley, olive oil, lemon, and plum vinegar can be served hot or cold. Another easy take-along dish for a summer gathering.

Mediterranean Spinach Salad

Mediterranean Spinach Salad

In need of a quick yet filling lunch salad, I realized the solution was simply combining two containers from the frig. Using the last of the family size organic baby spinach and about half pint of mixed greek lima beans, peppers, and olives from the […]

The Weekend: Tibby’s Crawfish Boil

The Weekend: Tibby’s Crawfish Boil

Thursday May 16th – Sunday May 19th Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen is celebrating the prime of seafood season with their 2nd annual Crawfish Boil by shipping a whopping 700 pounds of crawfish in from their suppliers in New Orleans.  You DO NOT want to miss […]