Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness Event at Press Club, October 29th

Come join Miner Family Vineyards at Press Club tomorrow night to help raise money for breast cancer awareness. My good friends at Miner have been working VERY hard to pull this special event together so be sure to not miss out on all the fun. Enjoy top-tier wines and cheese pairings from 6-9pm, including the heavy-hitting Oracle red wine and the small production Rosella's and Garys' Pinots.

Hope to see you all there!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding

There are some classics that just can't be messed with and Roast Beef with Yorkshire pudding is definitely one of them. This British poster child is typically served for Sunday Roast, a traditional main meal served on Sundays in the UK and other Commonwealth countries. It's hearty, packed with flavor and somewhat easy to make.

Don't let the word 'pudding' throw you off. This pudding is not like the chocolate stuff Bill Cosby used to pound on TV commercials. Rather, the pudding is more like a popover and, if done properly, should melt in your mouth.

Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding

1 3–4-lb. beef top sirloin roast, tied
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper,
to taste
1⁄4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1⁄4 cups milk
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. flour
3 large eggs
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1⁄2 cup red wine
1 cup Beef Stock

1. Season beef with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix together oil, thyme, rosemary, and garlic. Rub beef with herb mixture. Place beef in a small roasting pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

2. Remove beef from refrigerator 2 hours before you are ready to roast; allow it to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, make the yorkshire pudding batter: Whisk together milk, 1 cup flour, 1 tsp. salt, and eggs in a bowl. Cover; let batter sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

3. Heat oven to 500°. Remove plastic wrap and roast beef until browned, 18–20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 250°. Roast until a thermometer inserted into center of beef reads 120° (for medium rare), about 25 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer to a cutting board, and let rest, tented with foil, while you make the yorkshire pudding and gravy. Pour pan drippings into bowl, leaving about 3 tbsp. in pan. Set roasting pan aside.

4. Raise oven temperature to 450°. Spoon 1⁄2 tsp. reserved drippings from bowl into each cup of a nonstick muffin pan. Heat in oven for 15 minutes. Uncover batter; whisk in 1 tbsp. drippings from bowl. Remove pan from oven; pour batter evenly between cups; bake until risen and brown, about 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°; bake for 10 minutes to set puddings. Remove pan from oven; set aside.

5. Make the gravy: Heat reserved roasting pan over medium heat. Add shallots; cook until soft, 4–6 minutes. Add wine; cook, scraping up browned bits, until reduced by half, 4–6 minutes. Whisk in remaining flour, followed by stock. Cook, whisking, until thick, about 5 minutes. Slice beef; serve with pudding and gravy. Garnish with chopped parsley, if you like.



Monday, October 19, 2009

Apple Pie Bars

We just got back from a camping trip in Anderson Valley. This has quickly become one of my all-time favorite spots in all of California. First of all, it's tiny. My graduating high school class has more people in it. It's surrounded with vineyards, apple orchards and redwoods with a running creak going right down the middle. It's also home to some family-owned wineries that are cranking out some excellent Pinot Noir.

Apple season is here and Drew and I stopped at a stand on the side of HWY 128 which weaves north west up Anderson Valley. While looking for a recipe that would help to use up our stash, I came along this one on F&W online and decided to give it a shot. I'm using an assortment of apples even though the recipe calls for Granny Smith.

Apple Pie Bars

  1. 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  2. 3/4 cup sugar
  3. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  4. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  3. 12 Granny Smith apples (about 6 pounds)—peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  4. 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  5. 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  6. 1 cup water, as necessary
  1. 3/4 cup walnuts
  2. 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  3. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  4. 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  5. 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  6. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  7. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  8. 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled


  1. Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a 15-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper. In a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. At low speed, beat in the flour and salt until a soft dough forms. Press the dough over the bottom of the prepared pan and 1/2 inch up the side in an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes, until the crust is golden and set. Let cool on a rack.
  2. meanwhile, make the filling: In each of 2 large skillets, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter with 1/4 cup of the light brown sugar. Add the apples to the skillets and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir half of the cinnamon and nutmeg into each skillet. Cook until the apples are caramelized and very tender and the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes longer; scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the skillets and add up to 1/2 cup of water to each pan to prevent scorching. Let cool.
  3. make the topping: Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast until golden and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop the walnuts. In a large bowl, mix the oats with the flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the walnuts and press the mixture into clumps.
  4. Spread the apple filling over the crust. Scatter the crumbs on top, pressing them lightly into an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour, until the topping is golden; rotate the pan halfway through baking. Let cool completely on a rack before cutting into 2-inch bars.


Farmhouse Butternut Squash Soup

Nothing screams fall like butternut squash soup, especially when it is pouring rain outside like it is in San Francisco today. Caraway seeds, carrots and a Granny Smith apple give this recipe a whole new dimension.

Farmhouse Butternut Squash Soup

4 bacon slices
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2 pounds carrots, chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
3 thyme sprigs
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Cook bacon in a 4-to 6-quart heavy pot over medium heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.

Add garlic and caraway seeds to fat in pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is pale golden, about 1 minute. Add squash, carrots, apple, thyme, bay leaves, broth, water, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and boil, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard thyme and bay leaves.

Purée about 4 cups soup in a blender, in batches if necessary, until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return to pot and season with salt, pepper, and vinegar. Serve topped with crumbled bacon.

From Gourmet


Monday, October 12, 2009

Vietnamese Shrimp Summer Rolls

When people travel, they typically like to shop. Maybe they'll buy some souvenirs to remember their trip by, some toys for the kids or perhaps they'll take advantage of department stores and local designer storefronts. Well, I'm not your typical traveler. When I get home, I unpack a suitcase filled with food products.

While we were in Chicago, my brother informed me that Lettuce Entertain You started bottling its Spicy Peanut Sauce from my favorite spot, Big Bowl. To give you some context, this is like telling a 12 year old girl that the Jonas Brothers are on her doorstep. I absolutely FREAKED out, hopped a cab to Big Bowl and bought 4 bottles to take home, (I also made a to-go order for my plane ride).

Big Bowl is one of my favorite LEYE concepts that blends Chinese and Thai flavors and is down-right delicious. I worked there for a summer in college and have continued to eat there for over 10 years. The dish that keeps bringing me back is the fresh and light summer rolls they serve with their Spicy Peanut Sauce and now that they are bottling the stuff (prayers answered!) I can recreate the dish in my San Francisco kitchen. And that's just what I did last night.

A little side note: I marinaded my shrimp in a mixture of grated lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic and fresh ginger which added acidity and brightness.

Vietnamese Shrimp Summer Rolls
(Not the official Big Bowl recipe)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced Bibb lettuce
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup cooked bean threads (cellophane noodles, about 1 ounce uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (about 2)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 6 ounces cooked peeled and deveined shrimp, coarsely chopped
  • 8 (8-inch) round sheets rice paper

1. To prepare the rolls, combine the first 8 ingredients.

2. Add hot water to a large, shallow dish to a depth of 1 inch. Place 1 rice paper sheet in dish; let stand 30 seconds or just until soft. Place sheet on a flat surface. Arrange 1/3 cup shrimp mixture over half of sheet, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Folding sides of sheet over filling and starting with filled side, roll up jelly-roll fashion. Gently press seam to seal. Place roll, seam side down, on a serving platter (cover to keep from drying). Repeat procedure with remaining shrimp mixture and rice paper sheets.

Serve with Big Bowl Spicy Peanut Sauce

Thursday, October 8, 2009

RIP Gourmet Magazine

I think a little piece of every foodie died this week upon hearing the news of Conde Nast's decision to shut down the 70 year old publication, Gourmet, led by the great Ruth Reichl. A decline in ad sales coupled with a portfolio overhaul by the publication giant are deemed the culprit. If this isn't a sign of the tough times we are in then I don't know what is.

I have posted many recipes from Gourmet on this blog and I encourage you to cook them and love them as much as I do. I have especially loved reading the articles in each issue over the years. Gourmet did a fantastic job reporting on food as it related to history, culture and travel better than all of its competitors. A foodie tear, RIP.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


We were just in Chicago for a week catching up with old friends and family and with the dishes and restaurants we miss the most. One of the highlights of our trip was our very first visit to my friend Josh's new hot dog joint in Northbrook, Wolfy's.

Wolfy's opened a little over 4 months ago and has become a community epicenter. The local ball team goes after games, business men come for lunch and it's about as family friendly as they come. Josh is the perfect front man and does a great job making everyone feel welcome and a part of the Wolfy's family.

Despite the killer hot dogs and fries with Meerkat (!) cheese, there is truly something on the menu for everyone. How about a Tuscan toss salad, tamale or tuna melt? Better yet, how about a gyro, Italian beef or chicken nuggets? The diverse menu caters to all types of customers- young and old.

What was my favorite bite? Well, that would have to be the grilled salami. Josh insisted we try it and, boy, I'm glad we did.

Congrats Josh. A job well done.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Polenta Gratin with Spinach and Wild Mushrooms

It's starting to cool down across the country which means it's time to start thinking about hearty comfort food dishes. Nothing beats a bunch of cheese on potatoes and this gratin recipe takes it to the next level. Pair this dish with some lamb and a glass of Pinot.