Category Archives: New Products

Two Treats in One: Cider to Sip and For Roasting Tender Pork

A perfect one-dish meal of pork, apples, cider and cabbage.

A perfect one-dish meal of pork, apples, cider and cabbage.

 

Sundays are made for dishes that bake gently in the oven, filling the house with warmth and delicious aromas that rev the appetite.

“Sunday Casseroles: Complete Comfort in One Dish” (Chronicle Books) is all about dishes like that. The book, which came out in 2014 and of which I received a review copy, is by Betty Rosbottom, a veteran cookbook author and PBS host.

Fish and chips in a casserole? You bet, when the potatoes are scalloped. Risotto in the oven? Sure, when it’s baked with butternut squash, sage and Parmigiano. Mac and cheese? Absolutely, especially in variations with lobster, lemon and tarragon or smoked sausage and country mustard.

“Cider-Baked Pork, Red Cabbage, and Apples” appealed to me because I love the combination of apples and pork, a meat which always plays nicely with the sweetness of fruit.

SundayCasserolesBook

Pork loin can get dry if cooked too long, but these emerge very juicy. They bake over a bed of tart apples, onions and red cabbage, which give everything a soft, pretty fuchsia hue.

Cider vinegar and actual cider add even more vivid apple flavor.

For me, this was also the perfect opportunity to break into my samples of the new Devoto Orchards Cider. The Devoto family makes the small-batch ciders in Sebastopol from estate-grown apples. Susan and Stan Devoto grow more than 50 varieties of heirloom apples, as well as flowers and pinot noir grapes on their 20-acre farm.

Read more

A Visit to Butterscots Bakery in St. Helena

Feast your eyes on the butterscotch-lime croissant at Butterscots.

Feast your eyes on the butterscotch-lime croissant at Butterscots.

 

If you’re a baked-good fiend like I am, Butterscots Bakery in St. Helena is definitely worth a stop when you’re in Wine Country.

It’s part of the Cairdean Estate, which took over and repurposed the old St. Helena Outlet mall. When I dined at the wonderful The Farmer & The Fox restaurant on-site a few months ago, my only regret was that I was there in the evening, when Butterscotts Bakery had already closed.

On a recent trip to Napa, I made up for that by making a beeline to the bakery to buy a couple of goodies. The bakery is overseen by Joseph Humphrey, who is also the executive chef of The Farmer & The Fox. Humphrey, who earned two Michelin stars at The Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena, knows his baked goods. His popovers at the restaurant are the stuff of dreams.

Read more

Napa Truffle Festival

Black Perigord truffles. The darker ones have been peeled already, hence their deeper black color.

Black Perigord truffles. The darker one has been peeled already, hence its more pronounced color.

 

Carefully tucked inside Chef Ken Frank’s walk-in at La Toque restaurant in Napa last weekend sat 20 pounds of prized black Perigord truffles. Valued at more than $13,000 — wholesale.

They were destined to be the highlight of dinners, cooking demos and special restaurant offerings during last weekend’s Napa Truffle Festival.

And they all came from Italy.

For the past five years that this festival has been held, all the truffles used have been picked in Italy and flown in three days later to Napa.

But some day soon — possibly as early as this coming winter — black Perigord truffles may be harvested right here in Wine Country.

That’s because a burgeoning industry is taking root in Napa and Sonoma counties, as vintners and other property owners are gambling on growing truffles.

The American Truffle Company, which organizes the festival, has partnered with these interested folks to sell and plant filbert and oak trees that have been inoculated with the truffle fungus.

Chef Ken Frank holding a plate of black truffle risotto with quail that was made in a demo by Chef Roberto Donna.

Chef Ken Frank holding a plate of black truffle risotto with quail that was made in a demo by Chef Roberto Donna.

Close-up of the risotto.

Close-up of the risotto.

Once the trees are planted, it takes about five years for truffles to form. This winter, the trees of vintner Robert Sinskey, the first local client that signed on with the American Truffle Company, will be reaching that mark. His may become the first Perigords to be harvested in Sonoma County. Already this year, teams of truffle-hunting dogs have shown a much greater interest in his 1 1/2-acre orchard than ever before, Sinskey says, indicating truffles may indeed be forming under his trees.

Read more

Piggish for Tea

Steeping my Teapigs.

Steeping my Teapigs.

 

I am piggish for tea after trying samples of Teapigs.

I mean, you just gotta love the name right off the bat, right?

Plus, you have to smile at a tea company that has a sense of humor. Its Chamomile tea has a drawing of an easy chair on the package, while its Chili Chai is decorated with an image of a fire extinguisher.

The company is called Teapigs because the the founders are greedy for great teas. Get it?

On top of that, the company, which started in the United Kingdom in 2006 and opened a New York branch last year, works with the communities from where it sources tea to try to improve them in some way. Case in point, it’s now helping raise money for the Noel Orphanage in Rwanda, which is located in the same region where Teapigs produces its English Breakfast blend.

Of course, the real question is how does the tea taste?

Read more

Chef James Syhabout Helping Oakland Schools, Restaurant Weeks & More

Chef James Syhabout gives back to Oakland schools. (Photo courtesy of the chef)

Chef James Syhabout gives back to Oakland schools. (Photo courtesy of the chef)

Chef James Syhabout’s Dine About Oakland Public Schools Initiative

Oakland’s native son and only Michelin-starred chef, James Syhabout has launched “Dine About Oakland Public Schools.” Under the initiative, 5 percent of all sales in January at his Oakland restaurants, Hawker Fare, Box & Bells, The Dock, and Commis, will be donated to a designated Oakland school.

Through Jan. 17, proceeds will go to Claremont Middle School. From Jan. 18-24, funds will go to Chabot Elementary. And from Jan. 25-31, proceeds will benefit Oakland  Tech.

Restaurant Weeks

Chef James Syhabout’s Hawker Fare, Box & Bells, and The Dock also will be among the restaurants participating in Oakland Restaurant Week, Jan. 15-25.

For those 10 days, a slew of restaurants will be offering special prix-fixe lunch and/or dinner menus for $20, $30 and $40.

Read more

« Older Entries Recent Entries »