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A Press Democrat Blog

Kitchen Talk

Turn up the heat on home cooking

Wine Country stuffing

Still looking for an elegant stuffing to impress your guests on Thanksgiving? Here are two recipes from two winery chefs – one in Napa, and one in Sonoma – that go above and beyond. The first recipe is from Jeff Mosher, chef at Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville. If you don’t have duck fat, you can substitute chicken fat or bacon fat. Chestnut and Wild Mushroom Stuffing  Makes 8 servings  ½ loaf pain de mie, or other white bread, unsliced  1… Read More »

Dry brine, moist turkey

Rick Rodgers knows how to talk turkey.  He figures he has cooked  more than 400 Thanksgiving dinners in his career as a representative of Perdue Farms. The caterer and cookbook author shared some of his secrets with the students of Ramekins Cooking School in Sonoma two years ago, just before  publishing his “Thanksgiving 101 Cookbook.” Inspired by Judy Rodgers’ recipe for roast chicken at Zuni Cafe in San Francisco, the dry brine recipe offers an easy, foolproof formula for a… Read More »

A full-bodied stuffing

Kay Baumhefner of the Come Home to Cooking School in Petaluma shared this recipe for a tasty harvest dish:  A pumpkin stuffed with bread, wild mushrooms, cheese and truffle oil. It would be a perfect side dish to bring to a potluck Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve also included Baumhefner’s recipe for a yummy Autumn Harvest Stuffing made with farro, a whole grain from Italy. “Rich with contrasting flavors, textures and colors, this hearty and nourishing dish is also packed full of… Read More »

Shrimp and Sprouts

    Last Friday, I spent an entire day eating my way through the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, where hundreds of chefs and food professionals from across the country converged on St. Helena for the three-day Worlds of Flavor conference. This year, the 12th annual conference was dedicated  to the deliciously democratic – and affordable – street  foods of the world.     From Indian Chaat Papri to Fresh Corn Tamales,  we all did some heavy lifting with our forks… Read More »

A culinary curiosity

Susan Evind of Santa Rosa inherited a slim cookbook from her grandmother  that was compiled  by an unknown  homemaker, Sarah Williamson, and   published in  1917 in San Francisco.   “A California Cook Book” includes recipes Williamson  personally obtained from prominent citizens of the day, including botanist Luther Burbank  (at left) and author/activist Jack London, financier Henry J. Crocker and  the entrepreneurial Steinhart family. This summer, Evind republished the cookbook as a culinary curiosity and a historical window into the customs… Read More »

Rodgers talks turkey

      Rick Rodgers, author of the “Thanksgiving 101” cookbook, swept into  Sonoma last weekend to talk turkey at the Ramekins Culinary School.   I attended his Thanksgiving class a few years ago, when the savvy chef unveiled  his dry-brined turkey technique, inspired by the roast chicken at Zuni Cafe in San Francisco.      The turkey guru recently published a cute, little book, “Tips Cook Love,”  (Sur La Table,  $15) Pick up a copy as a hostess gift for your next soiree, but… Read More »

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 »

Soup, glorious soup!

  “An excellent lunch or light supper need be no more than a good soup.” – Julia Child    I spent Friday night cooking up some of Julia Child’s favorite soups with chef Mary Bergin of Sur La Table, a pastry chef who worked with Child on her “Baking with Julia” TV series and cookbook. The group of 16 students gathered to recreate recipes from Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” starting with Volume 1, Chapter 1. Most of… Read More »

K-J chef talks turkey

Kendall-Jackson Executive Chef Justin Wangler will give a class on how to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday,  Nov. 14, at the Kendall-Jackson Wine Center in Santa Rosa. Wangler, who grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, now celebrates Thanksgiving every year with a few of his Northern California friends and fellow chefs . But he still manages to sneak in a little taste of the South, from corn bread and  sweet potatoes to a pecan-cranberry… Read More »