A Press Democrat Blog

Kitchen Talk

Turn up the heat on home cooking

Benefit dinner for long-time Sonoma County chef Malicki

The talented s chef Mark Malicki, who rose to fame at Truffles in  Sebastopol  in the late “80s, went on to serve as the winery chef at Iron Horse Vineyards and open his own restaurant, Saint Rose, in both Santa Rosa and Sebastopol. More recently, he has created his delicious,  three-course menus at The Casino Bar & Grill in Bodega. Philanthropic and generous to a fault, Malicki was recently diagnosed with late-stage Crohn”s Disease and has been hospitalized for several weeks to… Read More »

Beans for a New World Thanksgiving feast


Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo at the San Rafael farmers market

Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo at the San Rafael farmers market

Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo  in Napa has produced a lovely, little ebooklet for folks who want to try something a little different for Thanksgiving. The Rancho Gordo New World Thanksgiving Guide offers a baker’s dozen of recipes guaranteed to make your Thanksgiving “a little more American, a little less traditional and we think, a lot more delicious.” There are recipes for everything from appetizers to salads, dressings and desserts, all utilizing Rancho Gordo’s artisanal products, from wild rice to banana vinegar. But this recipe for  Heirloom Beans with a panko-Herb crust  is Sando’s personal favorite. “The creamy beans in contrast with the crunch of the breadcrumbs are what holiday food is all about.” For more information on Rancho Gordo products, go to ranchogordo.com. Heirloom Beans with Panko-Herb Crust Serves 4 to 6 1/2 pound dried Rancho Gordo Royal Corona beans, sorted and rinsed 1/2 yellow onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 3 tablespoons olive oil 3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs 1 tablespoon butter, softened to room temperature 1 tablespoon Rancho Gordo Mexican oregano 3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated If you have time, soak the beans in clean, cold water, covering by about 2 inches. Saute the onion and garlic in two tablespoons of the olive oil in the bottom of a stockpot. When soft, add the beans. If you soaked, add the water as well. Make sure the beans are covered by an inch or two of water. Bring the beans to a boil for 15 minutes and then lower to a gentle simmer. Cook the beans, anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. If the water is running low, add warm water from a teakettle, as desired. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, add the Panko, the butter, the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, the Mexican oregano and the cheese. Toss well. Drain the beans (reserving the liquid for another dish) and add to an oven-safe casserole. Evenly top with the bread crumb mix. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes. The sides should be bubbling adn the breadcrumbs should form a crust. Variations: You could easily add leftover bits of meat, bacon or even vegetables, but this dish is delicious without them and there presumably will be a lot of heavy food this day. You can easily increase the amount of beans and make enough for a crowd.

Petaluma’s Figone named World Dessert champion

Laurie Figone of Petaluma was crowned  World Dessert Champion in Las Vegas over the weekend and will go on to compete at the  Final Table this Tuesday  against eight other category champions for the $100,000  grand prize. Figone, who placed fourth in the dessert category last year, rose to the top of the dessert contestants after two rounds of intense competition this year. In order to make it to the Final Table round, Figone prepared three desserts: for a signature dish, she made… Read More »

Petaluman Figone spins pizza recipe for TNT’s “On the Menu”

Laurie Figone of Petaluma, who has produced her own “Cooking with Laurie” TV show, was chosen to compete on TNT’s new cooking competition show, “On the Menu,” in which celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse helps contestants come up with recipes for the menus of nationally known restaurants. During the episode that aired on Oct. 17, Figone and three competitors were asked to come up with pizza recipes for the California Pizza Kitchen. “I made a pizza with ground chicken in chimichurri… Read More »

Spice up your kitchen with Savory cookbook

The Savory Spice Shop has been turning chefs’ heads since it opened in Santa Rosa, and more recently, in the town of Sonoma. Where else can you find high quality Crushed Aleppo Red Pepper Flakes and other authentic spices for the Mediterranean inspired menus of Wine Country? Adventurous home cooks have also discovered the fragrant shop, which saves them time and money by providing  freshly ground spices in small quantities and an array of spice blends that create shortcuts to complex… Read More »

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 »