It has been over 100° in Santa Rosa for a couple of days. To avoid cooking, I am enjoying my favorite camp fare: previously grilled chicken thigh, quinoa, and caponata (eggplant, zucchini, peppers, onions, capers, olives, vinegar).
I prepared this for a Saunterers party, but I got there too late so I did not bring it in. Good thing, it was not a successful experiment. The cheddar, which I left out overnight to soften, just dried out along the edges. Is was too dense to accept the thick “butter twist” pretzels — the cubes just cracked. The butter twist pretzels were disgusting. Synthetic frankenfood. But the grapes would accept them.
I went back to the store and spent $3 on good pretzel sticks, but only used about 15. Next time, I have to find a small, snack-sized bag. Still, the cheddar was too dense. I need something like Velveeta or something more whipped. I used the green grapes with the orange cheese for aesthetics, then discovered that transporting them in the upright position was problematic. To use a shoebox, I needed an oblong plate. I guess I could transfer them from the box to the serving plate at the party.
The pretzels quickly become soggy, so this isn’t something that can be assembled in advance. Making this appetizing was trickier than I expected.
Rosso Pizzeria on Montgomery Ave. teamed up with neighbors GoguetteBread and Riviera Pasta to host lunch on Sunday October 15 for friends and neighbors as a way to heal and connect with each other. This was a chance to meet Martha’s parents who moved to Villa Capri on Fountaingrove about eight weeks ago so that they could be closer to Martha and her sister Sally.
Things were going so well, Martha took her her vacation, planned months in advance, to Croatia. She returned on Tuesday, October 10. By then, this is what her parents new home looked like. The evacuation was a debacle, and Martha’s parents were left behind, in the dark, standing in the lobby in their bedclothes in the middle of the night.
Martha’s sisters picked her up from her trip with the news that her own house was okay but that she was under an evacuation order (which was overly cautious — she was not). They all huddled at Sally’s for several days, so this chance to go out and socialize was very welcome. Martha loves Rosso’s pizza and her father really enjoyed the Pesto Penne. Martha was thrilled to see them both sip a little wine — this would improve their much-needed afternoon nap.
We enjoyed a Monepulciano d’Abruzzo from Faranese. It was nice to start to unwind after such a stressful week. We chatted with people at the tables around us and shared stories. The food was great!
Like many people, I eat to self-sooth. Most choose sweets, I like really good bread. GoGuetteBread decorated the bar with special loaves made for the occasion.
Warm farewells all around as Martha and her parents went to her place to give Sally a break. Don’t they look great for being in their 90’s? Thanks, Rosso, Riviera and GoGuetteBread!
The scorched remains of their life may have been removed without permit. Photo by Martha. Click photo for related article.
Got some vegetables today after music class. Don’t they look nice? I bought radicchio, leek, sweet potato and heirloom tomato.
As so many people are avoiding wheat and gluten, Trader Joe’s is coming out with noodles made from interesting things. These little tubes are made with pink lentils. Not as tasty as pasta, but very pretty with the green sat choi from the new Asian Market that recently opened at the corner of Piner and Marlow. On Thursdays, I can get fresh salmon at an attractive price, so I put the three together for a healthy meal.
Kaylane Wong turned me on to the “greens” and Hang Ah which are delicious, especially with fish, so I think I found the ingredients at the Asian market. The trick with sat choi is to blanch it first to reduce bitterness, then just cook as kale or spinach. A splash of rice vinegar at the end adds zest.
Years ago, I bought some flageolets at a farmer’s market and I have been saving them in a jar. I finally cooked them up according to a French cookbook, blanching first then using a pressure cooker for 15 minutes instead of simmering them for an hour. They are delicious! Here they are sauteed with peppers, carrots, onions, garlic and ginger. I later added mushrooms, brown rice and kale fresh-picked from my garden.
I also found some rambutan at Trader Joe’s and brought it to the Saunterer’s Potluck on July 1.
Brought this appetizer to a summer potluck party and it was a success. I used ordinary dates and sliced toasted almonds but I think it would be much nicer with the premium ingredients listed. Because the dates were small, it was finger food.
12 large medjool dates
24 whole almonds (preferably blanched), walnuts or pecans
3 to 4 tablespoons crème fraîche
Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon or 1/2 orange (about 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped pistachios
Rinse and dry the dates. Make a clean cut along the side of each date to open, and remove the pit.
Stuff each date with 2 whole almonds and lightly pinch closed. (The recipe can be made up to this point up to 2 days in advance. Store in an airtight container.)
When ready to serve, arrange dates cut sides up on a plate or platter. Drizzle on the crème fraîche, making a dollop on each date. Sprinkle on the citrus zest, then the chopped pistachios. Serve immediately, as finger food or on plates with a small fork and knife.