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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Making Your Own Sausage

My husband has wanted to make his own sausage for as long as he can remember. A neighbor recently gave him a meat grinder and he was set.

He ground pork shoulder.

Added spices and other ingredients

and fried up the patties. It actually wasn't too difficult.

Here are the additives for 3 lbs pork:

3 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 Tbs salt
1 Tbs black pepper
1 1/4 Tbs dried parsely
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tbs onion powder
1 Tbs dried basil
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp red pepper flake
3/4 tsp ground fennel seeds
1/4 tsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp dried oregano

1/8 tsp dried thyme

The sausage was very spicy and I think he used 2 tablespoon red pepper flake instead of 2 teaspoon.

2016 04 17

Friday, April 29, 2016

Thursday Night Dinner

Another great dinner at Flavor Bistro. All this still for only $24.95.

Gamberoni Con Couscous--Grilled Jumbo Prawns Served with Arugula, Sweet Red Pepper Couscous & Warm Shallot-Herb Salsa, paired with 2014 Tenuta Sant'Antonio Scaia Garganega/Chardonnay I.G.T., Veneto, Italy

Ravioli Di Zucca--Homemade Butternut Ravioli, Crispy Sage Butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Topped with Roasted Mushrooms & Walnut Gremolata, 2014 Sean Minor Wines Pinot Noir, Central Coast

Bistecca Alla Griglia--Grilled Flat Iron Steak Garnished with Organic Fingerling Potatoes, Roasted Garlic-Lavender Tomatoes, Onion Confit& Escarole in Barolo Wine Sauce, paired with 2013 Chappellet Winery Mountain Cuvée, Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
Napa Valley

Tiramisù E Tartufi Di Cioccolato--Espresso Lady Fingers Layered with Rum Flavored Mascarpone Cream Garnished with Homemade Chocolate Truffles, paired with 2012 Bonterra Vineyards Late Harvest Muscat, Bartolucci Vineyard (Organic), 
Lake County

2016 04 28

Thursday, April 28, 2016

SRJC Bakery & Cafe

The Santa Rosa Junior College has a culinary program and they showcase their skills at their Bakery & Cafe. The cafe is located at 1670 Mendocino Avenue and is open for lunch Wed-Fri when school is in session. The restaurant is in a beautiful bright space with an open kitchen.

Bread basket with focaccia, rustic grain bread and a delicious cheese bread.

Curried Thai Carrot Soup--$5. This was a huge bowl. It was thick and creamy.

Wilted Dino Kale, Shiitake Mushrooms, Roasted Beets, Fried Egg and Sherry Vinaigrette--$5. This was a good salad. The egg would''ve been better poached so the yolk can run all over the salad.

Pork Stew with Ginger, Cilantro, Lemongrass, Chilies, Coconut Milk, Basmati Rice--$10. This was a huge portion and pretty tasty.

Seafood Pasta with White Shrimp, Calamari, Smoked Tuna, Red Spring Onions, White Wine and Cream--$11.50. The bucatini was perfectly cooked al dente but the smoked tuna was a little overpowering.

Passion Fruit Pudding Cake, Roasted Pineapple, Cocoa Almond Tuile--$6. It also came with passion fruit sorbet. The whole dish was delicious and beautifully presented.

2016 04 27

Friday, April 22, 2016

Thursday Night Dinner

Here's last night's dinner at Flavor Bistro. Still $24.95 for 4 courses with 4 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 2013 Seka Hills Viognier, Capay Valley

Risotto Al Savor--Arborio Rice Cooked with Homemade Pork Sausage, Organic Spinach, Ricotta & Parmigiano-Reggiano Topped with Walnut Gremolata, paired with 2013 De Loach Vineyards Pinot Noir, California

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 2013 St. Francis Winery & Vineyards Old Vines Zinfandel, Sonoma

Bomba--Italian Style Ice Cream Float, Vanilla & Chocolate Gelato, Espresso, Sweet Cream & Toasted Almonds, paired with 2015 Centorri Moscato di Pavia I.G.T., Italy

2016 04 21

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Penne with Sausage & Broccoli

This is my go-to pasta recipe--so easy.

Penne with Sausage & Broccoli

1 lb Italian sausage
1 package frozen chopped broccoli, defrosted
1 tsp red chile flakes
1 lb penne pasta

Cook pasta according to package instructions in boiling salted water and drain. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

Brown the Italian sausage and drain the oil. Add the broccoli and red chile flakes. Add the pasta and the pasta water and that's it!

2016 04

Monday, April 18, 2016

Balletto Vineyards

Last week was the pickup party at Balletto Vineyards.

They served Italian meatloaf with creamy polenta. Our allotment this time was Sexton Hill Chardonnay, which I liked a lot better than their Teresa's Unoaked. 

2016 04 10

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Thursday Night Dinner

Here's this week's Thursday Night dinner at Flavor Bistro.

Asparagi Alla Griglia--Local Organic Grilled Asparagus Garnished with Warm Cheese Brûlée & Shallot-Herb Salsa, paired with Moma Spumante Brut D.O.C., Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Risotto Con Funghi--Arborio Rice Cooked with Mushroom Pesto, Treviso & Fontina Cheese, paired with 2013 Di Majo Norante Sangiovese, Terre Degli Osci I.G.T., Molise, Italy

Anatra Al Forno--Stone Oven Roasted Duck Breast Garnished with Homemade Butternut Ravioli, Crispy Sage Butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano & Organic Alba Mushrooms, paired with 2012 La Posta Angel Paulucci Malbec, Ugarteche Vineyards, Mendoza, Argentina

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

2016 04 14

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Beefy Minestrone

Beefy Minestrone 

1 lb ground beef
4 stalks celery
2 zucchini, sliced and quartered
14-oz can diced tomatoes
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chile
Chicken broth
4 Bay leaves
1 cup ditalini pasta
Salt & pepper

Brown ground beef. Add remaining ingredients except pasta. Bring to boil then simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Cook pasta according to package instructions but do not add to soup yet.

Allow the soup to cool and the fat rises to the top.

Skim the fat and you have a much healthier soup. Add pasta to this.

2016 04 02

Friday, April 8, 2016

Thursday Night Dinner

Another great dinner at Flavor Bistro in downtown Santa Rosa. Four courses with four wine pairing for $24.95.

Sogliola Con Peperonata--Local Sole Served in Slow Cooked Peperonata Topped with Spicy Aioli, paired with 2014 The Girls in the Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Lake County

Spiedini Tortelli--Homemade Hat Shaped Pasta Filled with Vegetali-Ricotta Mousse Served in Pomodoro, Rosemary Butter & Balsamic Glaze, paired with 2014 Masseria Li Veli Primonero Negroamaro Salento I.G.T., Italy

Bistecca Ai Ferri--Grilled Marinated Flat Iron Steak Garnished with Organic Fingerling Potatoes, Olive Pesto, Roasted Tomatoes & Arugula, Served in Barolo Wine Sauce, paired with 2013 Easton Wines Zinfandel, Amador

Limone-Mirtillo Vol-Au-Vent--Puff Pastry Filled with Lemon Curd Topped with Blueberries Served in Strawberry Coulis, paired with 2015 Centorri Moscato di Pavia I.G.T., Italy

2016 04 07

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Tomato Soup Country Style

I love tomato soup but am always looking for variations. This variation uses Savoy cabbage.

Tomato Soup Country Style

10 slices bacon, minced
2 medium onions, chopped
2 leeks, white part only, cleaned and chopped
2 1/2 lbs tomatoes, chopped
1 cup Sauterne
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
1 small Savoy cabbage, chopped
1 Tbs chopped fresh basil
1 tsp dried Thyme
1 cup cooked long-grain rice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Saute bacon in large soup pot over low heat. Drain all but 1 Tbs of the fat. Add onions and leeks. Saute until wilted. Add tomatoes, 1/2 cup of the Sauterne and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the cabbage, basil and Thyme and simmer partially covered for 40 minutes. Add the rice and garlic.

Allow the soup to cool then puree in blender. Return soup to pot and add remaining Sauterne, salt & pepper. Cook for 30 more minutes.

Serve with basil.

2016 04 02

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Williamson Winery

Williamson Winery in Healdsburg offers a food-and-wine pairing. Choose Fridge Food & Wine pairing at no cost, the Legacy Food & Wine Pairing for $25/person or the Icon Food & Wine Pairing for $50. I opted for the Icon pairing with some of their more exclusive wines but found a Groupon for half the cost.

Potato Leek Potage with Crispy Prosciutto, paired with 2013 Amourette Chardonnay--$45/bottle. The chardonnay was un-oaked and worked well with the creaminess of the potage.

Arancini with Duck Fat & Truffle Tremor on Plum Sauce, paired with 2013 Passion Pinot Noir--$75/bottle. The arancini was perfectly creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside without being greasy.

Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting, paired with 2013 Amour Merlot--$49. This Merlot is a clone of Chateau Petrus 181, widely regarded as one of the best wine in Bordeaux. One cookie had mint on top and it was amazing what a difference the little mint made.

Deconstructed Charcouterie Plate, paired with 2012 Clarissa Vin Rouge--$65. The marinated mushroom, combined with the marinated pepper, olive and salami was delicious with the vin rouge.

Chateaubriand with Gorgonzola Compound Butter, paired with 2012 Indulge Cabernet Sauvignon--$72. The gorgonzola was creamy and delicious with the cabernet.

Slider with Tasty Meat Sprinkle with Balsamic, Garlic & Herb Jam and a smear of Black Garlic Aioli with Honey, paired with 2010 Elate Grange Cuvee--$75. 

2015 04 03

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Carlisle Winery

I tasted my first Carlisle Zinfandel a few years ago and got on their list to purchase wine. I haven't been allocated much. At this pickup party this weekend, I was surprised that they had Papera Ranch to sell. This wine scored 96 points on Wine Spectator.

They always have Rosso's pizza at their pickup party. The pizza is so good. I love Neapolitan-style thin crust pizza.

2016 04 02

Monday, April 4, 2016


After Wicked, we had dinner at Chapeau! I have a friend who raved about it and we finally got a chance to try it. Chapeau! has an exclamation point--without the exclamation point, chapeau is hat in French. According to their menu, with the exclamation point, Chapeau! means "wow."

It's located at 126 Clement Street. We were there on Easter night and you could choose either a 3-course dinner for $55 or a 4-course dinner for $65. They used to have an early-bird dinner. Since their website is under construction, I couldn't tell if they still offered it.

Chapeau! is a classic French restaurant. The dishes were good but there was nothing innovative about their dishes.

We each had the 3-course option and there was plenty of food.

Amuse Bouche--Cream of Carrot with Creme Fraiche & Nutmeg.

Salade Nicoise "A Ma Facon"--Ahi Tuna, Haricots Verts, White Anchovy & Kalamata Olive, 1:45 Quail Egg, Cherry Tomato, Mache with Lemon-Honey Aigre-Doux. The tuna was perfectly prepared but the anchovy was way too fishy. I couldn't really figure out what 1:45 quail egg was but maybe it refers to how long it was cooked.

Vol-au-Vent Sweetbreads--Oyster & King Trumpet Mushrooms, Baby Carrot & Turnip, Sauce Au Marsala. The sweetbreads were good but my husband prepares it better. His sweetbreads have a crisper coating. The vol-au-vent was slightly undercooked.

Canard a l'Orange--Braised Duck Leg & Pan Seared Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast, Celery Root "Facon Fettuccini a la Creme," Bok Choy, Duck Jus a L'Orange. The celery root fettuccini was the only thing that was innovative.

Cassoulet de Toulouse--Cannellini Beans, Shredded Braised Lamb Shoulder, Duck Leg Confit, Garlic & Toulouse Sausage. This was very good and would have been excellent if the beans had been cooked about 15 minutes longer. The duck was tender and the sausage was delicious. It wasn't greasy at all.

French Toast--Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Hazelnut Creme Anglaise

Warm Valrhona Chocolate Cake--Banana Flambee & Rum Raisin Ice Cream, Caramel Sauce

2016 03 27

Sunday, April 3, 2016


I had never seen Wicked and was happy when they returned to the Orpheum in San Francisco. I loved the production. It was a great story about Oz before Dorothy arrived. We were in Row D in the Mezzanine and I think the Loge or the Mezzanine is the place to sit for this production. If you sat in the first few rows of the Orchestra, you wouldn't be able to see the dragon as well.

2016 03 27

Saturday, April 2, 2016

House of Bagels

I was near House of Bagels and picked up bagels to take to a brunch. It's located at 1681 Hollenbeck in Sunnyvale. I paid for 12 bagels and got a 13th free. The total cost, including a small whipped cream cheese, was $20.80.

They do have different bagels including asiago cheese, cheddar, pesto and jalapeño. The bagels were chewy but too greasy. I like Posh Bagels better and will have to drive out of my way next time.

2016 03 27

Friday, April 1, 2016

Thursday Night Dinner

Here's this week's Thursday night dinner at Flavor Bistro. This is still a great deal--4-courses with 4 wine pairings for $24.95.

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 
Topped with Walnut Gremolata, paired with 2014 Sean Minor Pinot Noir, Central Coast

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 2013 Whitehall Lane Winery & Vineyards Tre Leoni Cabernet Blend, Napa Valley

Dolci Assortiti--Point Reyes Blue Cheese & Candied Walnuts with Petite Chocolate Tart Topped with Chocolate Mousse, paired with 2009 Easton Wines Zinfandel Obscura "Late Harvest", Rinaldi Vineyard, Fiddletown, Amador

2016 03 31