Thursday, April 23, 2009

Heaven with Bay Leaves and Cabernet

Living in Sonoma County is living in heaven, with the rolling hills and vast vineyards. I’m often on the road with all that amazing scenery, but even more amazing are all the private vineyard back roads I get to see working with our wineries. One that I feel particularly lucky to work with is Kunde Estate Winery in Kenwood. This is a great family owned winery; it’s huge with three separate beautiful venues. One of the things I like most is their green policies, from how they care for their vines to their business practices. During the spring and summer they do eco-hikes on the property and Stephanie asked me to create a recipe using the bay leaves that they have growing abundantly on the property. The bay leaves infuse into the nearby grapes creating another complexity in the wine which this recipe specifically pairs with.

I hope you enjoy this one too

Kunde Beef & Beans with Cabernet

1 lb Dried Small Red Beans
6 c Water
3 lb Beef Short Ribs
1 Large Onion - chopped
6 oz Tomato Paste
4 T Brown Sugar
2 t Salt
½ t Ginger
½ t Dijon Mustard
3 Bay Leaves

Wash the red beans, then cover with water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 15 minutes
Set aside to cool

Cut beef into bite sized pieces (approx 1” cubes) and brown well

Add all of the remaining ingredients then bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer

Add more liquid if needed to keep covered; cook until beef is tender approx 2 hours

Serve with a hearty bread and pair with a Cabernet Sauvignon

Serves 4 to 6 as an entrée

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things

Pomegranate Vinaigrette
I love food; I am the luckiest person in the world that I get to spend everyday with the two things I love most in life – my husband Jim, who is the business manager, and the food. I look forward to getting to share my passion for food.

A recent ingredient that I fell in love with is Pomegranate vinegar. I found a great small producer out of Santa Barbara, Spindel Farms ( and they are great to ship it up to me here in Petaluma. This vinegar has a complex fruity flavor with just a touch of sweetness.

Here is the recipe that I created for their upcoming cookbook.

Spindel Farms Pomegranate Couscous

1 c Spindel Farms Pomegranate Vinegar
3 c Olive Oil
2 T Honey
Salt & Pepper to taste

Salad ingredients
3 c Israeli or Pearl Couscous
3 c Boiling Water
2 T Olive Oil

1 lbs Butter Nut Squash
2 T Olive Oil
½ c Red Bell Pepper - diced
¼ c Currants
¼ c Craisins
¼ c Flat Leaf Parsley - chopped
¼ c Pumpkin Seeds - toasted

Combine first 4 ingredients - mix well. This is a great dressing for any salad

Bring water to a boil and stir in couscous and olive oil
Remove from heat and allow to bloom - approx 30 minutes
Allow to cool

Dice butternut squash, then toss in olive oil and salt and pepper
Place on baking sheet and bake till tender – approx 15-30 minutes
Allow to cool

Combine all of salad ingredients
Dress to taste with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Serve with a selection of cheese or grilled meats

Serves 4-6

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Spring and New Beginnings

Welcome spring a wonderful time of new beginnings and here at Preferred Sonoma Caterers we are thrilled to be starting the season in our brand new facility. After 2 years of plans, permits & building we have unpacked and moved in to our new home at 416 East D Street

Let me tell you it is incredible! We have worked hard to keep the style and frame work of the circa 1911 building while bringing in all of the new and modern touches that a catering company needs. From our redwood wall to the hand finished floors the facility is beautiful. As you walk in the front doors there is such a feeling of space, air and light, that gives us room to breath and grow. The kitchen is working out splendidly, we have added another cooking station, so we have plenty of space but can still work as the group we enjoy being. The brand new refrigeration is up and working, there are no more worries of the Friday night brown outs from Downtown.

We have posted more pictures of the new building on our smugmug page

The space is filling quickly, but we know there is still room to grow. All of us are looking forward to our upcoming event with Petaluma Ecumenical Project on May 1st, A Taste of Summer. I have enjoyed creating a number of new items for this special event.

Smoked Salmon Rillette with Spring Asparagus
Chive and Dill Pancake
Passion Fruit Champagne Cocktail

Pork Shoulder, Brisket and Chicken
White Truffle Parmesan Fries

Chef Demo Station
Lettuce Leaf wrap
Chili Lime Mango Prawns
Rice Vermicelli

Cheeses of Sonoma County

Braised Beef Short Rib
Herbed Polenta

Trio of Poppers
Sesame Five Spice, Curry Mango, Chili Lime

Smoked Artichoke and Fresh Mozzarella “Tini”

NY Cheese Cake Martini Station
Creamy Cheese Cake served up in a Martini Glass
White and Dark Chocolate Sauce, Fresh Berries, Whipped Cream

Don’t forget we still have our cookies and coffee, with every dollar going to help local charities.