Author Archives: foodgal

A Taste of the Seasons at Danville Harvest

Lamb with carrot puree at Danville Harvest.

Lamb with carrot puree at Danville Harvest.

 

For those who have never been to downtown Danville — and I count myself in that group until a couple weeks ago — it’s high-time to explore this sunny town in the San Ramon Valley. Picture a larger downtown Los Gatos, and you get the idea of how cute and inviting this area is.

Danville Harvest is a perfect place to stop in for a bite to eat, too. With its interior barn doors, library ladders, pewter light fixtures, walls of white subway tiles, displays of old farm tools and antique bottles, and gray tufted leather booths set off by billowy, printed drapes, it’s a Chip-and-Joanna-Gaines rustic-chic interior come to life. Yes, I watch too much “Fixer Upper” on HGTV. But this space is definitely done up in that comfortable-chic style we all can’t get enough of.

Chef Tim Humphrey.

Chef Tim Humphrey.

The servers dress in cute gingham shirts. Old glass pane windows front the kitchen to give a glimpse into all the action. And there’s plenty of outdoor seating with a fire pit and strings of lights overhead.

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Not One, Not Two, But Three Cheese and Tomato Muffins

Cheesy muffins to fall for.

Cheesy muffins to fall for.

 

Is there anything better than ooey-gooey cheese, all melty and molten with bits that have caramelized and hardened to a lacy crisp?

These savory muffins have all that and more going on.

“Three Cheese and Tomato Muffins” are loaded with cheese, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes.

The recipe is from the new “The Modern Dairy” (Kyle Books) by chef and food writer Annie Bell.

TheModernDairy

It’s definitely not a book for those who are lactose intolerant, as its 100 recipes celebrate milk, cream, yogurt, cheese and butter. Learn how to make everything from yogurt from scratch to “Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi” to “Butternut Squash Fries with Date and Mint Quark” to “Milk Chocolate Mousse.”

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A Different Kind of Energy Snack

Sesame seeds, maple syrup and seaweed make up this energy snack.

Sesame seeds, maple syrup and seaweed make up this energy snack.

 

So many energy bars these days are glorified candy bars.

As much as I love chocolate and sweets, I do try to look for actual nutrition in the bars that I always stash in my purse or carry-on for when I need a boost of peppiness.

That’s why I was glad to have discovered Maple Chewnami Nibbles on the shelves of the adorable Elk Store in the teeny town of Elk, during a stopover on the coast.

Yes, these snack bars have a crazy name. And even crazier ingredients: kelp and sesame seeds — all held together with maple syrup and brown rice syrup. That’s all there is to them. They are gluten-free, too.

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Carbo Loading at Pasta Armellino

Pasta heaven at Pasta Armellino.

Pasta heaven at Pasta Armellino.

 

How much do I love carbs?

Let’s just say that when my husband and I went to Pasta Armellino in Saratoga for dinner recently, we ordered all six pastas on the menu, plus the garlic bread. We didn’t mess around with any soups or salads. We meant business — carb business.

But when the pasta is this dreamy, who can blame us?

After attending the media preview of the casual pasta restaurant that opened in February right across the street from its big sister, flagship Michelin-starred Plumed Horse, we were eager to go back to try more. A couple weeks ago, we were invited in as guests of Pasta Armellino to do exactly that.

The counter.

The counter.

Orecchiette with asparagus and roasted tomatoes.

Orecchiette with asparagus and roasted tomatoes.

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One-Pan Cranberry-Balsamic Chicken Thighs

It's all about the sauce -- in this case a syrupy one full of cranberries, balsamic vinegar and honey.

It’s all about the sauce — in this case a syrupy one full of cranberries, balsamic vinegar and honey.

 

Like so many folks especially in this part of the country, I appreciate being able to eat seasonally — to hone in on what’s best at each time of year to enjoy its peak flavor and revel in its often brief local appearance.

But there’s one item I keep in my freezer nearly year-round, even when its season is long gone.

Cranberries. Frozen ones to be exact.

I know, I know, they’re so fall and winter, you’re thinking. Why in the world would I want to partake of them in spring or summer?

Because their vivid color makes anything special. Because their sweet-sour fruitiness wakes up whatever they’re paired with. And because, how can I resist something that reminds me of the most festive, family-and-friend-filled convivial time of year?

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