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Monday, February 29, 2016

Alsace Festival

The International Alsace Varietals Festival happened in Anderson Valley Feb 20-21. Tickets for the Educational Session and Grand Tasting on Saturday was hefty at $115. On Sunday, the wineries along Hwy 128 opened their doors and offered wine tasting paired with tasty bites and there was no admission fee.

Lula Cellars served paella.

Phillips Hill Winery had advertised Tarte Flambe but there were no tartes to be found. The setting was charming though--a creek ran under their tasting room.

Balo Vineyards had the best tasting. They served seafood bisque that was delicious.

2016 02 21

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Thursday Night Dinner

Here's Thursday's dinner at Flavor Bistro in Santa Rosa.

Bruschetta Con Gamberoni--Topped with Grilled Marinated Jumbo Prawns, Wild Arugula, Tomato-Basil Salsa & Spicy Saffron Aioli, paired with 2014 Whitehall Lane Winery & Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

Quaglia Arrosto--Stone Oven Roasted Quail Served in Cannellini Bean Ragù with Petite Pasta, Organic Escarole, Candied Garlic & Sugo D'Erbe, paired with 2013 Alexander Valley Vineyards Redemption Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley

Bistecca Ai Ferri--Grilled Marinated Flat Iron Steak Garnished with Organic Fingerling Potatoes, Ragoût of Green Garlic, Organic Mushrooms, Sweet Peas & Carrots Served in Barolo Wine Sauce, paired with 2013 Clayhouse Wines Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate, Red Cedar Vineyard (Certified Sustainable), Paso Robles

Dolci--Puff Pastry Filled with Lemon Curd & Blueberries Served in Strawberry Coulis, paired with 2012 Bonterra Vineyards Late Harvest Muscat, Bartolucci Vineyard (Organic), Lake County

2016 02 25

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Truffle Sauce

I found this jar of truffle sauce in Burgundy. I added just a small teaspoon to my mac and cheese and it elevated the dish beyond belief. Amazing what a little bit of truffle can do.

2016 02 21

Friday, February 26, 2016

Mac & Cheese ala "Chopped"

My husband brought home some mushroom gravy that looked and tasted like cream of mushroom. I had to figure out what to do with it and decided to make mac & cheese.

Mac & Cheese ala "Chopped"

2 cups mushroom gravy (or cream of mushroom soup)
1 cup white wine
1 cup Trader Joe shredded Four Cheeses
8 oz shredded sharp white cheddar
2 oz shredded pepper jack cheese
shredded chicken
2 cups penne pasta
1/2 cup panko crumbs

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare pasta according to package instructions. Drain.

Whisk wine into mushroom gravy and heat over low heat. Add cheese and chicken. Add pasta and pour into greased casserole dish. Top with panko crumbs.

Heat at 350 degrees until bubbly.

2016 02 21

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Lamb Stew

I used the rest of the lamb to make lamb stew.

Lamb Stew

2 lb boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups red wine
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbs tomato paste
3 sprigs rosemary
3 bay leaves
1 tsp cinnamon
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1 can garbanzo beans, drained

Season lamb with salt & pepper. Heat olive oil in heavy pot. Brown lamb on all sides and set aside.

Add garlic and sauté Add red wine and scrape up bits on the bottom. Add rest of ingredients.

Bring to boil then simmer on low for 2 hours.

2016 02 23

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Lamb Kabob

Another Costco find was boneless leg of lamb. It was about 4 lbs and I used half of it to make lamb kabobs.

Lamb Kabobs

2 lbs boneless lamb, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup olive oil
1 head garlic, minced
3 sprigs rosemary, minced
1/4 onion, sliced
1 Tbs garlic salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
zest of 1 lemon

Combine all ingredients and cover. Refrigerate overnight.

Place on skewers and grill. I like mine medium rare. Squeeze lemon juice just before serving.

2016 02 20

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Duck Confit

The other thing I found at Costco was Duck Leg Confit. This package comes with 4 duck legs. Open the package and place the duck legs on a cookie sheet. Broil until the skin is crisp. Make sure the pan is not too close to the broiler so the oil doesn't catch on fire.

Serve the duck legs over a bed of frisee and drizzle with dijon mustard vinaigrette. Delicious!

2016 02 20

Monday, February 22, 2016

Columbus Cacciatore

My 2nd find at Costco was Columbus Cacciatore. This was a delicious salume. My husband, who hates salami, loved this. It was not too salty and not too fatty.

2016 02 12

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Azuma Seaweed Salad

If you go to Costco at the right time, you can practically have dinner from all the samples. Azuma features 4 different salads but my favorite was the Seaweed Salad. I love the sauce--just a tad of sweetness and delicious.

2016 02 13

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Clam Chowder

My husband recreated the Splash (San Luis Obispo) Clam Chowder recipe and it was delicious.

Clam Chowder

3 8-oz bottles of clam juice
1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 Tbs butter
2 cups onion, chopped
1 1/4 cups celery, chopped with leaves
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup flour
6 6 1/2 oz cans chopped clams, drained with juice reserved
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt, pepper & hot sauce to taste

Bring bottled clam juice and potatoes to boil in heavy large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, parsley, garlic and bay leaf and saute until vegetables soften, about 6 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes (do not allow flour to brown). Gradually whisk in reserved juices from clams. Add potato mixture, clams & cream. Simmer chowder 6 minutes to blend flavors, stirring frequently. Season to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce.

2016 01 03

Friday, February 19, 2016

Thursday Night Dinner

Here's this week's Thursday dinner at Flavor Bistro in downtown Santa Rosa. Four courses with wine pairing for $24.95. How can you beat that?

Cicoria E Pera--Grilled Endive, Pan Seared Black Pepper Pear, Prosciutto Di Parma & Gorgonzola Cream, paired with 2013 Sean Minor Wines Chardonnay, Central Coast. This was delicious.

Risotto D'Anatra E Funghi--Carnaroli Rice Cooked with Duck Confit & Roasted Organic Alba Mushrooms Garnished with Barolo Reduction, paired with 2013 Paul Hobbs Winery CrossBarn Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast. This was probably the best risotto at Flavor. The duck confit was so flavorful.

Brasato Di Maiale--Slow Cooked Sonoma Style Pork Cacciatore Topped with Organic Fingerling Potatoes, Arugula, Pecorino & Gremolata, paired with 2013 Easton Wines Zinfandel, Amador

Crostata Di Mele--Organic Apple Tart Served with Mascarpone Almond Custard, paired with 2014 Vietti Winery Moscato d'Asti Cascinetta D.O.C.G., Italy

2016 02 18

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Pullman Kitchen

Pullman Kitchen is located at 205 5th Street in Santa Rosa. I was there on a Monday night and the special was Buttermilk Fried Chicken.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken served with Soft Polenta and Sauteed Kale. The chicken had been brined and was moist. It's not crispy but the coating had a nice flavor.

Double Chocolate Budino with Hazelnut Biscotti--$9. The double chocolate referred to the chocolate base with a chocolate ganache. This was good but not worth $9.

2016 02 15

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

5200 Restaurant

The Heritage House is a beautiful resort on the Mendocino Coast. It was the location for "Same Time, Next Year" starring Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn from 1978.

The Registration Building, also housing the restaurant and lounge. We arrived at 5 pm and enjoyed Happy Hour in the lounge. Happy Hour is from 4-6 pm every day and features a house Chardonnay and Cabernet for $5/glass. We're not Chardonnay fans and ordered the Cab. I could tell it was a young cab when the waiter brought the glasses and the bubbles were purple. It was not a good cab.

One of the special appetizers of the night was Tuna Tartare--$15. It was mixed with avocados, watermelon radish, apples and pine nuts. The dish was missing something but when I added a little extra salt, it was much better.

Special soup of the day--lobster bisque for $9. This had a really nice flavor but would've been better with some lobster pieces in it.

Caesar Salad--$10. The lettuce was crispy and the dressing had just a hint of anchovies. The croutons were very tasty.

Penne Pasta with Housemade Italian Sausage, Kale, Cauliflower and Garlic Butter--$18. The pasta was al dente but it was drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar. I'm not sure the vinegar worked with the dish. Also, I couldn't taste the garlic butter.

Steamed PEI Mussels with White Wine, Shallots, Chorizo and Cream--$18. I liked the chorizo flavor with the mussels.

2016 02 14

Tuesday, February 16, 2016



Meat Sauce:
1 1/2 lb Italian sausage, casing removed
1 Tbs olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-oz can San Marzano crushed tomatoes
1 28-oz can San Marzano tomato puree
2 14-oz can chopped tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 Tbs ground oregano
1 Tbs garlic salt (or to taste)
1 pkg frozen spinach, drained

Saute Italian sausage in large pot and transfer to food processor. Coarsely chop. Discard oil from pot.

Add olive oil to pot and add onion. Saute on medium heat until translucent. Add chopped garlic. Add sausage back to pot.

Add tomatoes, bay leaves, ground oregano and garlic salt. When sauce starts to bubble, turn heat to low and cover pot. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Add spinach and simmer for another 30 minutes. Take off stove.

Bechamel Sauce:
4Tbs butter
4Tbs flour
2 2/3 cups 2% milk
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Melt butter over low heat and add flour. Whisk until light brown. Add milk in slow stream, whisking constantly. Add salt & nutmeg. When thickened, take off stove.

Boil 12 sheets pasta (enough to have 4 layers) according to package instructions and place on towel.

Cut 2 medium zucchini into 1/2-inch coins and quarter. Saute in olive oil until softened.

Add sauce to bottom of pan. Layer with pasta, sauce, Parmesan cheese and Bechamel sauce. Repeat until all pasta is used. In one layer, add zucchini after sauce. If desired, add fresh basil leaves in another layer.

Note: Not all the meat sauce will be used.

Bake covered at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until lasagne sauce is bubbly. Remove foil 5 minutes before the end.

2016 01 16

Monday, February 15, 2016


I had left over rotisserie chicken and made mulligatawny soup. If you like curry flavor, this is a great way to use up the leftovers.

Mulligatawny Soup
(from Rachael Ray)

1 Tbs EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
4 Tbs butter
4 cloves garlic, grated
2 medium onions, chopped
1 green apple, peeled and grated
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbs ground coriander
1 Tbs ground cumin
1 Tbs turmeric
1 tsp ground mustard
3 Tbs all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken stock
4 cups shredded chicken

1 apple
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, plus a few more for garnish
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
2 limes

1 1/2 cups basmati rice

Heat the EVOO in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and melt the butter into the oil. Add the garlic, onions, apple and the ginger and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric and ground mustard and cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the stock and simmer until thickened to the consistency of a light sauce, about 20 minutes. Stir in the chicken.

Put the remaining apple in a food processor with the yogurt, cilantro and mint. Pulse to combine. Add the cardamom and the juice of 1 lime and season with salt and pepper. Whizz to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve, prepare the rice according to the package directions. Cut the remaining lime into wedges. 
Ladle the mulligatawny into shallow bowls and top with the rice and a dollop of raita. Serve the lime wedges on the side.

2015 01 05

Sunday, February 14, 2016

BK's Bistro

I met the girls for dim sum at Bk's Bistro, 3113 Stevenson Blvd, Fremont.

Steamed Spareribs in Black Bean Sauce--$3.29. Nice flavor, tender pork.

Steamed Shanghai Style Dumplings (Pork)--4 for $4.29. Skin was on the thick side but filling was juicy. Can't wait for Din Tai Fung to open at Valley Fair. They still have the best xiao-long-baos.

Lotus Leaf Wrapped Sticky Rice, Pork & Chicken--$4.69. This was very good. Nice flavor and the rice was well cooked.

Steamed Spinach & Shrimp Dumplings--$3.69. This was very plump and full of spinach. Could hardly taste the shrimp though.

Rice Noodle Rolls with Cilantro and Fish Fillet--$5.59. I loved this dish. It was so flavorful.

Baked BBQ Pork Buns--$3.99. This was actually under desserts. The bun was delicious. I wished I had waited until the end of the meal to eat this because the topping was sweet.

Porridge with Preserved Egg & Pork--$5.99.

Pan Fried Stuffed Chili Pepper (Shrimp & Pork)--$6.69. I wished it didn't have a sauce on it.

Salt & Pepper Crispy Tofu--$6.39. The tofu was crispy on the outside but soft on the inside.

Salt & Pepper Pumpkin & Eggplant--$6.39. The coating was too thick.

Soy Sauce Chow Fun--$7.39. This was good but I wish there was some beef.

We also had Pan Fried Turnip Cake--$3.59. Sorry, didn't get a picture but they were good.

2016 01 31

Saturday, February 13, 2016

El Camino Mongolian BBQ

Ever since we were in college, we loved Colonel Lee's Mongolian BBQ in Mountain View. Several years ago, it became New Mongolian BBQ. We had a craving for Mongolian BBQ but were in Santa Clara. Yelp helped us find El Camino Mongolian BBQ, located at 3380 El Camino Real.

Put your meats (choice of chicken, pork, beef and/or lamb) or tofu in the tan bowl and the noodles and vegetables in the green bowl. Add a combination of sauces. The meats are cooked first then the noodles and vegetables are added and cooked.

End result. I added curry sauce to mine and loved the dish. There was a side buffet of chicken soup, fried rice, egg rolls and fried chicken. The chicken was overcooked but the egg rolls were crispy and delicious. It was all-you-can-eat for $13.35.

2016 01 30

Friday, February 12, 2016

Thursday Night Dinner

This week's Thursday Night Dinner at Flavor Bistro included the following courses with wine pairings.

Calamari E Fagioli--Local Calamari & Cannellini Beans Served in Brodetto Di Vino Bianco 
Flavored with Garlic, Sweet Basil, Toy Box Tomatoes & Extra Virgin Olive Oil, paired with 2014 Artazuri Garnacha Rosado, Navarra, Spain

Risotto Al Savor--Arborio Rice Cooked with Homemade Pork Sausage, Organic Spinach, Ricotta & Parmigiano-Reggiano Topped with Walnut Gremolata, paired with 2012 Foris Vineyards & Winery Pinot Noir, Rogue Valley, Oregon

Agnello Alla Griglia--Grilled Lavender-Marinated Lamb Loin Chop Garnished with Slow Cooked Sweet Red Pepper Ragù & Creamy Black Olive Polenta Topped with Garlic-Herb Pesto, paired with 2012 Navarro Vineyards & Winery Zinfandel, Mendocino

Crostata Di Pera--Pear Galette Served with Toasted, Almond Vanilla Custard, paired with 2012 Navarro Vineyards & Winery Late Harvest Riesling, Anderson Valley

2016 02 11

Thursday, February 11, 2016


It's been a while since I've been to Yoshida in Cupertino. They still have a great lunch deal for $9.95.

California roll, fried fish, salad and chicken udon served with pork nanban. The pork was breaded and fried and dry. The rest of the meal was great. I especially liked the fried fish.

Instead of the pork nanban, you could get salmon kama. This was also dry.

2016 01 30

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Bistro 29

I had a dinner meeting at Bistro 29. They have a 3-course dinner with an amuse bouche for $29, served Tue-Thurs. Add the wine pairing for $11. Bistro 29 is located at 620 Fifth Street in Santa Rosa.

Amuse Bouche--Shot of Butternut Apple Soup with Spiced Oil

The first course was Buckwheat Crepe with Gruyere Cheese, Mushrooms Sauteed in Garlic Parsley Butter & Arugula. This was paired with 2013 MacRostie Chardonnay.

The main dish was Seafood Cassoulet--Mussels, Prawns, Calamari & Cod Braised with White Beans, Garlic, Tomatoes and Toasted Herb Bread Crumbs, paired with 2013 F. Tinel Blondelet Pouilly Fume.

Dessert was Sweet Crepe with Lemon, Honey, Toasted Almonds & Whipped Cream

We also ordered Panisse Frites--$6. These are chickpea fries, served with garlic aioli. Crispy and so flavorful.

Side of Brussel Sprouts with Bacon.

Someone in our group ordered Brick Roasted Mary's Chicken with Truffle Fries and Haricot Verts. The fries were delicious.

2016 01 28