Vineyard Cake, when Napa and Sonoma are on my mind.
With the searing news footage, the loss of lives, the destruction of homes, and the terrifying speed and ferocity with which this catastrophe all happened, Wine Country weighs heavily on our minds lately.
The series of deadly conflagrations that swept through Napa and Sonoma counties in a flash in the past two weeks left an indelible mark. Lives will be forever changed. Rebuilding will be a long, slow, painful and costly process. The fires of 2017 – and all they wrought — will not soon be erased.
We donate money. We volunteer our help. Still, we feel rather helpless in the face of the enormity of the destruction.
What else to do? In the months, and years to come, simply don’t forget. When the regions are no longer front-page newspaper stories or the lead item on the 6 o’clock news, don’t let Napa and Sonoma fall off your radar. Buy the wines to enjoy this Thanksgiving. Or send a bottle to friends across the country for Christmas. Plan a trip to Wine Country in to support hotels, restaurants, boutiques, and tasting rooms. Moreover, as you get ready to do your annual income taxes, take a deduction and do good at the same time, by making a donation to the Napa Valley Community Foundation or the Community Foundation Sonoma County.
And then bake this cake.
That may sound like a crazy idea, but there is something to be said for really being present in the moment, for taking the time to focus singularly on a place or a thing, that makes us truly appreciate it.
Meatballs bathed in a rich, warm yogurt sauce.
A great meatball is a fine thing.
Especially one bobbing in a rich, creamy sauce that transports you from the first indulgent taste to a faraway land.
That’s what you’ll get with “Lamb Meatballs with Warm Yogurt and Swiss Chard.”
It’s from the new cookbook, “Nopi” (Ten Speed Press) by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully, of which I received a review copy.
Ottolenghi, of course, is the masterful owner of a slew of restaurants in London and the author of several cookbooks that pretty much land on the best-seller’s list every time he publishes one.
Scully is his head chef of Ottolenghi’s fine-dining establishment, Nopi.
The book contains more than than 120 recipes, combining Ottolenghi’s Middle Eastern roots with Scully’s Malaysian heritage.
Butternut squash gets drizzled with Sriracha-spiked yogurt and more.
He has been dubbed a genius with vegetables.
His cooking may not be vegetarian per se, but Yotam Ottolenghi, the chef-owner of four London restaurants, definitely is a champion of putting vegetables front and center, in especially vibrant ways.
His three previous cookbooks have all been best-sellers: “Ottolenghi,” “Jerusalem,” and “Plenty.” No doubt, his fourth one, “Plenty More” (Ten Speed Press), also will top the charts.
In this cookbook, of which I received a review copy, Ottolenghi continues his foray into dazzling veg-centric dishes such as “Steamed Eggplant with Sesame and Green Onion,” “Iranian Vegetable Stew with Dried Lime,” and “Grilled Banana Bread with Tahini and Honeycomb.”
At this time of year, I love roasting winter squashes. But I’m always looking for new ways to accent them. “Squash with Chile Yogurt and Cilantro Sauce” fit the bill perfectly.