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A Press Democrat Blog

Kitchen Talk

Turn up the heat on home cooking

Tierra’s spicy dinner in a field

Peripatetic chef Mateo Granados travels up and down Sonoma County, preparing delicious Pop-Up Dinners at various barns and farms, vineyards and wineries. This Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 29 and 30, he will be cooking an al fresco, farm-to-table dinner at Tierra Vegetables Farm in Santa Rosa. As a subscriber to Tierra’s weekly CSA box, I enjoy receiving all kinds of dried chiles, dried beans and heirloom vegetables, which Granados will cook up  in his a la carte dinner.  In addition… Read More »

Chill out with some “angry” chiles

There’s something about high heat that brings out the screamer in all of us. Last week, while I was quietly eating my lunch in Courthouse Square, I noticed some folks yelling across Mendocino Avenue,  trying to carry on a conversation over the din of passing cars and trucks. Then, when the light didn’t change quickly enough, one of the screamers started yelling  at the traffic light. Meanwhile, a man with a backpack walked by, repeating  “9/11 – Get rid of… Read More »

Pears with an Asian twist

This Saturday and Sunday, the farmers of Sonoma County are gussying up their barns and the fields, putting out the  welcome  mat for locavores  during the annual Weekend Along the Farm Trails event. One of my favorite farms to visit is Gabriel Farm in Sebastopol,  run by a young couple who have devoted themselves to growing heirloom fruit, including many varieties of heirloom apples.  Their Asian pears, in particular, are works of art. They grow eight varieties, including Shinko, 20th Century, Hosui and the prized… Read More »

Cukes alive! Attack of the killer pickles

During the fall, when the gardens are pumping out bushels of fruits and veggies, there’s a symphony of sound in the kitchen. All over Wine Country, you can hear the gentle popping of vacuum-sealed canning jars as the bounty is preserved. The canning chaos has begun in my kitchen, with equipment dusted off, new lids purchased and lots of clean dish towels, ready to welcome the steaming hot jars out of the simmering water bath. Last weekend, my goal was to… Read More »

Time is ripe for tomatoes

 Finally, they’re here. Those juicy orbs of heirloom tomato goodness have arrived at the markets and in our back yards, and they’re making us all look like gourmet cooks.  Slice ‘em up, splash them with extra virgin olive oil and salt, and you feel like Mario Batali. What could be easier to eat? And yet – during this foggy, cool summer –  harder to grow? To celebrate the farmers of the future, reserve a spot at Kendall-Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival,… Read More »