Sunday, May 8, 2016

Chicken Lettuce Wraps - out of my garden!

My dear friend Mindy had us over to their farm for dinner and since she had so much lettuce - beautiful big butter leaf heads - she decided to make PF Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps - and it was delicious! So much so that when I got some tender sweet lettuces of my own (woohoo!) last week I decided to make it for the two of us - Mindy shared the recipe and I made a few adjustments so here you go.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps serves 2 with a little leftover

tablespoon olive oil
1 pound chicken breast tenders (these cooked up so easily)
1/4 onion diced fine
2/3 cup mushrooms diced
1 clove garlic chopped
1 can water chestnuts diced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger grated
about 6 large whole leaves of butter lettuce (or iceberg if you can't find or grow ; )

In a large pan heat the oil over medium high heat then cook the chicken tenders until browned and cooked cooked through, remove and set aside. Add a little more oil to the pan and put in the onion and cook about 5 min. Toss in the mushrooms and cook until soft then add the garlic for the last couple min. Meanwhile dice the cooled chicken into tiny bites then add to the pan along with the rest, the water chestnuts, soy, vinegar and ginger- tossing around to coat and re-heat the chicken and make all the flavors meld. Serve in the lettuce "cups" and drizzle over the sauce. I served with brown rice for a perfect dinner.

1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons each of
soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and ketchup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon hot chinese mustard (or 1/2 teaspoon coleman's dry mustard)
2 teaspoons garlic red chile paste
1 tablespoon corn starch
For the Sauce - mix all together and cook in a small pan for just a few minutes until slightly thickened.

Thanks Mindy for sharing the recipe and and extra big thanks for having us over! And, if you are like my friend and don't like mushrooms you can leave them out - my husband who is not thrilled about mushrooms either ate it but liked that Mindy had left them out! I get it - if this recipe had cilantro in it I wouldn't add that!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Farmer's Market opens in Healdsburg this Saturday!

YEAH! I'm so excited to finally, after the cold, wet winter months have the Healdsburg Farmer's Market back! I can't wait to go and see all the farmers and what they have growing - and bring home bags full of fresh veggies, eggs, flowers and lots more! So meet me at Shed at 8:30 for a cappuccino and scone and then a stroll around the market! Some of you may already know but I was asked to join the HCFM board last year as their Community Rep - so along with getting to voice my opinion -ahem - I also got invited to their Holiday Party - this year held at Shed - it was a wonderful pot luck dinner; as you can imagine all great food. It reminded me of when I was a kid and went with my mom after church to the pot lucks - that is only thing I do miss about church- those big tables laden with homemade cakes and desserts galore! This night I was too busy socializing and eating to get a shot of the table with all the dishes before it was attacked by hungry farmers -You will just have to imagine all the lovely food that filled those bowls - I'll try to get some better shots at the Mid-summer dinner
 ; ) So come out and support your local Farmers!

Healdsburg Farmer's Market Starts Saturday May 7

The farmers of Healdsburg and the local region are proud to be peddling their produce at the Market's seasonal opening Saturday, May 7, from 9:00 to noon. The Market will be located in its usual spot in the North Street parking lot behind the Bear Republic and Hotel Healdsburg, and across from Shed. 

But this is not a usual year. There's been plenty of rain to ripen the rutabaga, but no flooding to drench the daisies. Look for the goodness of early spring: leeks, green garlic, kale, carrots, lettuce, chard, arugula, strawberries, flowers and more. 

So much more than vegetables is the flowering of community at the Market. Here you will meet your neighbors and friends to share stories around eating. Like a high school reunion you'll forget names, but say hi again to the folks who work so hard to grow your food. There's Yael Bernier, Emmett Hopkins, David Pew, Ed Miller, Lou Preston, Mat Humphrey, Renee Kiff, Mary and Bert, Joan and Horace, Stan and Terri, Jim Neufield, Duncan the mushroom guy, Sharon Vyborny, Russ Messing, Dan Magnusen, Sam who carries forward Nancy's spirit for Middleton Farm,  Manuel Reyes, the Basurtos and the Busalacchis. Hey, a hug is even better. 

In a class of his own there is Alan Podesto, the Cloverdale guy who makes the ceramic dishes that make your food taste even better. And look for the new farms that are popping up like dandelions in the spring. Our Market welcomes Noci Sonoma and Porter Creek Farm this year, and there will be more.

Organic and sustainable are the new normal; many of our farmers are certified and all are healthy and wholesome.  Grass-fed is hot and it's at your market too. Say howdy to local ranchers Deb Owens and John Ford, visit boutique butcher Sonoma Meat Company, sample cheeses from West County and Mendocino, and rustle up a herd of seafood from Bodega. And enjoy the buzz of Hector's Honey with our friend Sandra.
Hungry at the Market? Try fried chicken biscuits from Backyard Restaurant, market veggies in a wrap from Green Grocer's Taco Farm, bag a baguette from Costeaux Bakery, or just munch your way from stand to stand while jiving to the bluegrass tunes of The Foggy Mountain Boys on opening day.

What better way to start your weekend? The Healdsburg Farmer's Market is in your town; it IS your town. Bring the family; become a part of it.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Asparagus Souffle

Here again I find myself beating egg whites! This evening I was about to start reheating dinner (leftover Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes) when I caught on TV Jacques Pepin whipping up a broccoli soufflé. I watched him beat by HAND 5 whites in about 1 min. Using a copper bowl - so that is all I need to make this an easy task! That and a little wrist action and pow - he had stiff egg whites! Well, I didn't run out and buy a bowl; but now it's on the list. I did however make a soufflé - and it was pretty easy I have to admit - about 45 min later I was ready to pop it in the oven - that does not include dishwashing time - as this made a sink-full!

 But as I had fresh eggs and fresh asparagus from the farmer's market today (Windsor opens before Healdsburg) I figured what the hell? This is a recipe from The Silver Palate - remember that one from the 80's? Ahhh, the smell of Chicken Marbella - I couldn't walk into a party without smelling it - don't get me wrong - I LOVE it - in fact it's been awhile so that one definitely needs a turn in the rotation - anyway I'm not going to write that recipe out here - if you don't already have The Silver Palate Cookbook - the original - go find it! I must confess I own 2. And no that doesn't include my other cookbooks by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins - I have 2 because one day my friend Jen and I happened to go into Sur La Table at the SF Ferry Building and there they both were with a NEW version with PHOTOS - very exciting! So I got one signed thinking I would give it as a gift to someone - and that never happened. The other day trying to "clean" out my cookbook collection (to make room for more of course) I looked at both of them and thought - well, I should finally use the pretty picture one and get rid of the old ratty one - but I couldn't bring myself to do it - too many old notes and drips - I guess I'm just sentimental that way. But I would consider loaning it out ; )

Ready to bake
The AHHHH Gorgeous moment!

Needless to say - it was as tasty as it looked - light and fresh with lovely little crunchy parts from the parmesan. I'm already thinking about the leftovers for breakfast tomorrow…

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Breakfast or even a dinner scramble

Boy this month got away from me - was just recovering from Bday month and then we had a guest for a bit and work has been crazy - basically just life! But all good - and especially when I make this tasty scrambled egg dish - I first made it on my bday weekend and have made it 3 times since it is soooo delicious. One of the great things about it is you can make it ahead and then just quickly fry it up in the morning or it's even hearty enough for dinner - you know how much I love breakfast for dinner!

Scrambled Eggs with Potatoes & Chiles

1 pound of yukon gold potatoes cut into 1/2 inch cubes
olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chile in adobo sauce (you can substitute a sprinkling of chili powder)
1 poblano chile (roasted and peeled - I do these ahead and freeze them)
1/2 onion diced
8 eggs
To Serve - salsa, shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado and tortillas - all or none - up to you - I say all in!

Toss the chopped potatoes with some olive oil, salt and pepper and the chipotle in a bowl and pour onto a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for about 25 min - or until fork tender - tossing them once. Meanwhile in a large sauté pan cook the onion in some olive oil until tender then add the chopped poblano -ok, if you don't have one peeled in your freezer - I guess you can use a can of green chili - they just don't have the bite that a fresh (frozen) one does, so you may need a bit more spice OR if you get a fresh one - just throw it on the grill until blackened, then place in a plastic bag for about 10 min and let it sweat. When it's cool enough to handle - peel and remove seeds. Seriously - when these are abundant at the market - do a bunch and freeze them - I even do this with red peppers so I can make pimento cheese anytime ; ) Sorry, I digress - Next toss roasted potatoes with onions and peppers and then you can refrigerate overnight - or to serve right away- in your hot sauté pan add a bit more oil and heat it all up then beat the eggs and add to the pan and gently stir and cook until eggs are done - but not rubbery! Serve with some warmed tortillas, and all the fixings - YUM. 

Almost didn't get anything posted in March - just under the gun. Whew. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Love Downton Abbey but

Seriously?! How weird is this? What's next Twilight Ketchup? Sex and The City Tampons? WTF.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

What is Love? Maybe Biscuits and Gravy.

I like mine one side gravy, the other my homemade plum jam!
I'd say this morning it was a plate of Buttermilk Biscuits with Sausage Gravy - at least that's how I showed my hubby some love today - you may ask "by giving him a heart attack on a plate?!" Well, I say no - it was a small serving and after we went on a nice long hike on the Healdsburg Ridge- so there - everything in moderation I say - including biscuits and gravy!

Buttermilk Biscuits and Sausage Gravy serves 4 in not gigantic portions 2 if you are feeling piggy about it

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour - this is what really made them stand out - tender!
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 stick butter (cold)
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter

For the biscuits - mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl - I did this the night before so they would be ready to go this morning - then cut in with a pastry cutter the butter and shortening - If you don't want to use shortening use all butter or try some good quality lard. When crumbled together add the buttermilk and stir to form a shaggy dough. Turn out onto floured work area and turn a couple times to get it to come together then pat into a 1 inch thick circle - cut into 3 inch rounds (or whatever shape you like - I briefly considered hearts but didn't - putting the dough back together to form other circles as you go. Place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush the tops with melted butter - you should have 6. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 16 min or until golden brown. Meanwhile make the gravy.

1/2 pound pork breakfast sausage (I had some wonderful little sage links from Deb at Owen Family Farm - they were so lovely and lean I actually had to add some oil to the pan to make gravy!)
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup cream
lots of pepper and a bit of cayenne

Top of the Healdsburg Ridge
Spring has sprung up here!
Brown the sausage (squeeze them out of the casing if in them) in a large dutch oven or skillet, crumbling it up as you go. Remove to a bowl and you want a couple tablespoons of "drippings" remove the rest - or in my case if you have wonderful little non-greasy sausage add a bit of oil. Then add the flour and cook until lightly browned, stirring with a wooden spoon. Stir in the liquids and cook until thickened - about 5 min then add back the sausage, salt and pepper to taste - serve over hot biscuits. Don't eat every week ; 0 just once in a blue moon. 

Love you my sweet husband!

Post Note: Tonight there is some kale salad! HA

Monday, February 8, 2016

Celebrating with Girlfriends

Sparkling Mead makes everyone happy
Unbelievable tree and fantastic weather!
Yes, I'm officially half a century old. Holy shit that sounds awful. The only thing that made this not as awful as it sounds was spending the weekend on the coast with my dearest girlfriends! Since a prior bday was celebrated in N'Orleans we had our own Mardi Gras night where I made (ahead of time of course) a Chicken and Sausage Gumbo  and my friend Carolyn made a King (Queen) Cake - this is what is pictured above - it was an amazingly tall 4 layer lemon cake with a little baby hidden in one of the green layers - and yes my slice had the baby in it- so I was Queen!

 Next stop was Point Reyes for some sparkling mead at Heidrun Meadery - for those of you who are not familiar with mead -we were not- it is wine fermented out of honey and water - and yes it was worth the hike out there ; ) inside joke.
View from our rental house

So - for your "Sunset Years" I recommend a weekend away with dear friends, good food, great wine, long walks and plenty of time to talk and watch the sunset. Love you all and thanks for being there with me.
sharing a cocktail with friends who've known me forever
Post Note - thank you Ingrid for the great pictures - except the last - that was the bartender's fault - but I love it anyway!