In the garden

After All These Years in the Kitchen, I Finally Learn to Cook.

October 12, 2017 // 5 Comments

He would probably be surprised to learn it, but Mother Jones writer and food editor Tom Philpott has changed the way I cook. The roots of this revolution had been brewing for some time but I read his post about cookbooks and lights went off in my head. You’re Using Recipes Wrong: Here’s how cookbooks and food sites are wasting your time argues that cookbooks geared towards a single meal are (Click for more)

Another Thought on Why We Soak Beans

September 26, 2017 // 5 Comments

We’re harvesting Yellow Indian Woman beans and I decided to have a little party in this fine legume’s honor. I irritated my bean farmer and had him give me 5 pounds of unmilled beans. This means they are right out of the ground, a romantic concept until you realize you have to look long and hard for organic debris that is inevitably mixed in with the beans. I will tell you now that 5 (Click for more)

When Corn Is King

September 8, 2017 // 0 Comments

When I used to work the farmers markets, the corn growers were always very popular but they would tell me it was a loss leader. People expect it to be cheap and it’s not the easiest crop to grow, especially if you’re growing a more vulnerable heirloom variety. I’m at peace with more expensive corn, especially if it’s really good. There’s little better than (Click for more)

Corn with Black Beans and Epazote

July 11, 2017 // 2 Comments

The good corn is coming but I had a pound of frozen corn in my freezer and I’m trying my best to actually use what’s in there. I’m very good at putting things into the  freezer compartment but I’m not so talented at actually using them. I hate wasting food, so despite corn coming into the farmers markets and stores, I used the frozen. It was a fine dish and I plan to make (Click for more)

The Californio Dinner at Sutter Creek Provisions

June 12, 2017 // 0 Comments

A while back I was visiting my friend Lucy and we stopped at Sutter Creek Provisions. They have a great space and even better beer. Owners Casey and Darren are so excited to be doing good things and the next thing you know, we were planning a party. I write about Lucy often. She made a name for herself in Napa many years ago with Cafe Lucy. Now she’s in Amador with Lucy’s Spice Box. (Click for more)

A Simple, Very Addictive Manzano Chile Relish

May 16, 2017 // 8 Comments

A visiting chef friend asked me to pick up three pounds of manzano chiles for a demo he was doing. These chiles are also known as peron and sometimes rocoto chiles. Many of the Mexican families here in Napa come from Michoacan and Jalisco and for them, and now for me, this is a manzano chile. Things happened and I ended up three pounds of chiles. I shared most of them with the staff here but I (Click for more)

Video: Classic Texan Chili con Carne

May 11, 2017 // 1 Comment

Last year I made this video with my beloved pal Taylor Boetticher from the Fatted Calf. There was a lot of information and I enjoyed it but it ran really long. I now present to you a more concise version of the encounter and I do believe that your chili con carne will not suffer one small bit from the cuts. And yes, we discuss “with beans or without”. I’d love to stay and chat (Click for more)

The Master Recipe: Rancho Gordo Chili con Carne

May 4, 2017 // 14 Comments

Rancho Gordo Chili con Carne Roughly based on Tolbert’s A Bowl of Red, our adaption includes heirloom beans. I would like to serve this to Mr. Tolbert and hope for the best. I wouldn’t dare speak for him but I do believe you’ll like this chili con carne. Rancho Gordo Chili con Carne 3 pounds stewing beef, lean ¼ cup rendered beef suet (tallow) or a neutral cooking oil like canola or (Click for more)

Planning and Indulging My Garden for Spring with Native Seeds/SEARCH

April 4, 2017 // 4 Comments

When I first started gardening, I focused almost exclusively on New World vegetables. I loved that more interesting vegetables from Europe were coming into vogue, like having three or four types of arugula available, but it increasingly seemed weirder and weirder that as we became experts in Euro-centric food, we were still in the dark about our indigenous plants and contributions to the world. I (Click for more)

My Puny Little Olive Harvest

January 5, 2017 // 0 Comments

My house came with two olive trees that the previous owner planted. I love them but I live on a forested mountain top and it gets warm but there’s lots of shade and I don’t know if it’s the ideal place to grow olives. I don’t care. The trees seem happy and some years you get more olives than others. This year was one of those meager ones. Ta da. This was it. On the advice (Click for more)
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