Apricot Blueberry Crisp

The Napa farmers’ markets are bursting with fresh fruit…and these two gems will disappear in just two weeks!  Apricots have been scare the last two years so I am stocking up on my supply for desserts, sauces and jam.  The very best come from our good friend, Michele Bera, who indulges us at market with her stone fruits from Vacaville.  And if you think blueberries are mild with flavor…then you have not tried Stokes!  In a word: explosive.

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Turnip Soup with Greens

Every now and then you taste something that knocks you out – in a good way.  Recently at a cooking class with Napa food writer and master gardener, Janet Fletcher, a fresh turnip soup was presented that took my breath away.  Its color was vibrant, its texture silky.  And as we transition from winter to spring, this is just the right dish to satisfy the soul.

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Pumpkin Chili

I’m sure this time of year you have an abundance of pumpkin on hand, and whether its fresh or from a can, this recipe is a crowd pleaser.  It is what I call a ‘one-dish wonder’ and can be made in advance, or right alongside the other dishes you’re cooking up this week. Click to continue reading »

The Best Carrot Cake Ever

We all have our own favorite carrot cake recipe, but now you’ll have a new one:)  I made this for a crowd at the St. Helena Farmers’ market and it was a huge hit.  Super moist and rich, yet light.  The recipe comes from Fran Costigan’s “More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts, Naturally which has an abundance of healthful sweets that are not only delicious, but also vegan.

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Smoky Watermelon Salad

I hope I don’t get in trouble for saying this, but we are having an incredible summer.  Unlike 90% of our country, California weather has been mild and mellow.  And while the wine grapes are a few weeks behind with harvest, melons are at their sweet peak right now.

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Leek and Fennel Risotto

One of the many advantages to living in Northern California, is having access to a wide variety of produce based on the seasons. I mean, that’s what we’re here for, right?  Farm fresh, flavorful, colorful, and uber nutritious. This past week at the farmers’ market I was hard pressed not to buy everything in sight but I settled on fennel and leeks which made for a lovely risotto.

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Curried Onion Bisque with Ghee

It’s still very much soup season…of course, depending on what’s in it, I guess you could say that all year long.  Onions have made it into just about every dish here lately, with the exception of muffins;-)  I bought a few pounds of yellow onions at the farmers’ market and thought I’d create a pot of soup with other warming spices. Click to continue reading »

Lemon Curd

I hit the trifecta this week!  Two friends indulged me with fresh eggs from their chickens; my shipment of ghee arrived; and I received a large shopping bag full of Meyer lemons.  The citrus crops seem to be a bit late in ripening this year (from the cool growing season)…but after hanging on the tree for an extended period of time, these lemons were screaming to perform in a homemade batch of lemon curd…

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Roasted Green Beans with Smoked Olive Oil

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As most of you know I tend to be a ‘theme’ cook, meaning I like to center a meal around a series of spices or international flavors. And during the holidays, you can throw in color…especially red and green.  This seasonal green bean recipe comes from a favorite restaurant in Sonoma County called Rosso Pizzeria which features an ingredient that is an exciting discovery: smoked olive oil.

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Quinoa Tabbouleh

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Summer is finally arriving here on the west coast (apologies to Easterners!) and the tomatoes are now showing color.  I’ve been busy with cooking demos at farmers’ markets and one of my most popular dishes is tabbouleh made with quinoa.  It’s a crowd pleaser and great to make in advance for backyard parties…

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