A Press Democrat Blog

Kitchen Talk

Turn up the heat on home cooking

Pot roast season

Maybe it’s the early morning light and the cool nights, but I’ve found myself turning to the slow cooker once again for making hearty bean dishes and braised meats.  This Mexican Pot Roast from Santa Rosa Junior College cooking instructor Mei Ibach, which she adapted from a recipe from John Ash, is made in the slow cooker and is delicious served up in tacos with some sliced avocado, cabbage  and sour cream. The flavor is sweet, spicy and tart. Mexican… Read More »

Rib-sticking short ribs

Even though the fall days have been warm and sunny, autumnal evenings cool off quickly. In the kitchen, I have started thinking about comfort foods such as braised meats, which can be slow cooked to perfection in a complex, deep-flavored sauce. After stopping by Sur La Table recently and tasting these Cabernet Braised Short Ribs – left over from a class the night before – I decided it was time to break out the Dutch oven and go for some hearty,… Read More »


What’s Cooking? Phew! I just got done making lunch for about 20 former students from Brown University last weekend with my fellow alumna Lise Ciolino and her husband Vincent, who own and run Montemaggiore Winery in the Dry Creek Valley. To complement Lise’s big, bold syrahs, we made lamb kebabs with chimichurri sauce, grilled zucchini and peppers with balsamic vinegar and Israeli couscous with cherry tomatoes, olives, Parmesan and pine nuts. We were expecting a heat wave – last year… Read More »

Zucchini gone wild

I finally found a recipe for zucchini and summer squash that my husband will eat rather than push it to the edge of the plate. It’s a tasty way to use up all that zucchini flooding into local farmstands right now. I stumbled upon this dish while interviewing wood-fire oven guru Andrea Mugnaini (www.mugnaini.com) in early July at her Alexander Valley ranch. The businesswoman who imports high-end Italian pizza ovens – and also teaches folks how to use them –… Read More »

Welcome to Kitchen Talk!

Welcome to the new Kitchen Talk blog. Here’s a run-down of what the different categories mean on the right-hand side of this blog. Entries will be grouped in those categories, when appropriate. Categories: “What’s Cooking” focuses on seasonal ingredients, tips for leftovers, cooking on a budget and ideas for keeping your kitchen green and sustainable. .  “The Real Dirt” locates sources for the best in local foods, plus what’s new at farms and cooking schools, farmers markets and grocery stores.… Read More »