A Press Democrat Blog

Kitchen Talk

Turn up the heat on home cooking

Glen Ellen Star chef up for Best New Chef – People’s Choice

     Every year,  Food & Wine magazine picks their Top 10 up-and-coming chefs.  Now they are polling Americans on who they think is the most talented new chef in America. That’s  good move,  since Bravo’s  “Top Chef” reality show  seems to have usurped most of the magazine’s clout.     Among the 10 California Chefs in the running is Ari Weisswasser of the Glen Ellen Star, who grew up in the Philadelphia area and attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. He is the… Read More »

Super Bowl sliders get a kick from Yucatan street food

    If you don’t have a game plan yet for Super Bowl Sunday, here’s a delicious idea from Mateo Granados, chef/owner of Mateo’s Cocina Latina in Healdsburg.     Granados’  Cochinita Pibil  Super Bowl Sliders provide plenty of kick for those who like South-of-the-Border flavors without too much heat. Granados grew up in the Yucatan peninsula, where this dish is a popular street food for all kinds of fiestas.     You can find annatto seed paste and banana leaves at a Mexican market.    Cochinita… Read More »

Duskie Estes, Mark Stark star in “Moveable Feast” on Saturday

  If you are getting a head start on your Thanksgiving meal this weekend, you might want to tune into “Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking” at 8:30 a.m. Saturday on KQED Channel 9, for inspiration from two of Sonoma County’s most celebrated chefs.  In the penultimate episode of the series,  chefs Mark Stark and   Duskie Estes will cook up a delicious, farm-to-table feast for friends at Davis Family Winery in Healdsburg after visiting two West County farms. Hosted by Australian… Read More »

The Barlow throws a street party

  If you haven’t yet experienced The Barlow in Sebastopol, this weekend would be a good opportunity to get your artisan food and wine fix.  The food-and-wine production and retail center will host a Street Fair from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday featuring lots of yummy sips and nibbles from resident restaurants, food trucks and winery tasting rooms. From 5 to 7 p.m., the Spirit Works Distillery will shake up some artisan cocktails and serve them with with hors d’oeuvres  from Forchetta… Read More »

Cheeseheads meet hopheads at Windsor Farmers Market

The North Bay has entered the height of the harvest season, but as we all know, it takes a lot of beer to make wine. To celebrate the second Sunday at the Windsor Farmers Market, cookbook author and cheese expert Janet Fletcher of Napa will be pairing local curds from Valley Ford Cheese and Springhill Jersey Cheese with three beers from Windsor brewery St. Florian’s. Fletcher will also be signing copies of her new book, “Cheese & Beer,”  which profiles the most popular craft brew… Read More »

Tonight’s “Top Chef Masters” finale

As the only “Top Chef Masters” contestant to refuse jump out of an airplane in the very first episode – thereby losing an hour of prep time – chef Douglas Keane  proved himself one of two things, and perhaps both:  honestly fearful or fearlessly honest. But it looks like  the chef, who owned the Michelin-starred Cyrus restaurant in Healdsburg for seven years,  has proven that you can keep your integrity and your competitive edge.  Keane has made it all the way to the finals and will compete, at 10… Read More »

Cool gazpacho for melon lovers


This weekend, friends who are deep into gardening brought melons to a dinner at my house, marking the first local melons I’ve tasted this year. Although the cooler weather has put a dent in their sweetness,   local melons should be reaching peak ripeness soon. Here’s a recipe for a cold, melon soup from Chef Jennifer Una of Passionate Palate, a raw food advocate who gives demonstrations at farmers markets, including the Original Santa Rosa Farmers Market at the Wells Fargo Center and… Read More »

Squash and zucchini overload? Pickle it

If you’ve got a squash fairy in your neighborhood like I do, you know your  fridge is starting to reach its capacity. And in case you are the one bestowing the squash on your neighbors, here’s a reminder that Aug. 8 is “Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbors’ Porch Day.”  Here is a handy recipe from chef Peter Janiak of Seghesio  Family Vineyards for pickling all that excess bounty, from your garden  or somebody else’s. “I created this recipe for… Read More »

Eat your vegetables at Tierra Farm with Chef Matteo


  Matteo Silverman of Chalk Hill Cookery in Healdsburg has a cornucopia of vegetable matter tattooed on his forearms, including a watermelon radish, an artichoke, a morel mushroom and a habanero chile. A vegetablist since he was 15 years old, the chef will be cooking a delicious, all-vegetable Dinner on the Farm at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 27, at the Tierra Vegetables farmstand, 651 Airport Boulevard, Santa Rosa.  Courses include a Watermelon Radish Ravioli with Cashew Cheese and Basil Puree;  a… Read More »

Learn to cook like an Italian nonna at VJB


Maria Belmonte, matriarch of VJB Vineyards and Cellars, gained a following for her fabulous cooking when the Belmonte Family owned Caffe Portofino in downtown Santa Rosa for nearly two decades. Along with her son Henry, Belmonte will host a series of summer cooking classes at VJB’s outdoor demonstration kitchen, starting this Saturday, July 20. Students in the intimate classes will learn some of the secrets of classic, Italian dishes like Veal Saltimbocca, Spaghetti Carbonara and Chocolate Truffle Budino. And the… Read More »