— a day with a natural winemaker
— cooking up and down on the West Coast
— torta caprese
One of the other reasons I've been so invisible is that I was off to the West Coast for a stretch, where I gave a string of cooking classes up and down the Pacific, from Santa Cruz to Portland.
Former clients of my cooking classes in Paris, as well as a couple of friends, opened up their homes and kitchens to me, where along with a small group of their friends and other keen souls, we stirred up lots of delicious dishes full of seasonal vegetables and artisan products from the areas, chatted, laughed, drank natural (or raw or living or nothing added, nothing taken away) wine and filled our bellies and senses with our earthen creations. You can read a few comments on the testimonial page of my website.
Let's see we made many homemade pastas : quique, carrot-top ravioli, orrechiette w/ rapini...
We made beet and romanesco purées, roasted radishes, green lentils w/ celery-leaf pesto, bruschetta w/ herb pestos, roasted kabocha salad, sweet-pea blancmange...
And on the sweet end lemon tart, pears poached in red wine (down at the bottom of the post), the oh so luscious torta caprese... which I'll post in the third of these three forays into the last few months of my life.
A few local artisan products I joyously included in my classes :
Firebrand artisan breads, in Oakland, CA : no store front, but available at both Rainbow and Bi-Rite Grocery
The Baker and the Cake Maker, artisan breads, in Auburn, CA
True Grass Farms absolutely the freshest, brightest yellow eggs from real scratching, pecking hens
vegetables of all sorts from Tomatero Farms
And I made my Sunday morn trip to the Montclair farmer's market, right near where I stay when I'm in town.
Also to a drive up a long and winding road in Glenn Ellen to the home, garden and vineyards of Sonoma Mtn Winery to visit Charlene, a marvelous cook, private chef, gardener, and woman, whom I met in a veritable "hole-in-the-wall" natural wine store in Paris— Crus et découverts (where I hold my natural wine dégustations)—and her partner, Nic (of Coturri Winery family fame) who makes what I consider truly accomplished natural wines. Along with the most delicate arugula ravioli and other delicacies, she served some of the best bread I've ever bitten into, from [the bejkr] in Sonoma that rounded out an incredible plate of artisan cheeses, I think from Vermont... unfortunately, I didn't get the name written down.
She also mentioned a natural wine bar in Oakland that one of my cooking class participants had also spoken of : the PunchDown. Of course, I had to make a pilgrimage to its welcoming space in downtown Oakland. Not to be missed if you've got the hankering for a sweet glass of the French, or Italian, or even American natural (naked) stuff.
I thought I'd share a slew of photos of these tasty gatherings... And many thanks to Megan, Vicki, Tomi, Karen for sharing their images with me, as when I get to stirring and roasting, I don't seem to have the time or head for much clicking of my own camera. Perhaps you'll join in the 2014 edition of my West Coast cooking classes. Would love to stir up some savory earthen dishes with you!
|earthen still lifes|
|surrounded by colors|
|a bit of the fare|
|romanesco and beet purées|
|around the tables|
|photos by karen... many thanks !|