Monday, July 20, 2009

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies

I was just reading one of my favorite blogs, Bite Club in the Press Democrat, and she had an article on non bakery bakeries. I had to add our own cookies to this list (I hope that's not bad). I started out in the pastry trade and spent a fair number of years as a Pastry Chef. I did my apprentice ship in Innsbruck Austria and worked in hotel bake shops for years. I have always made sure that we have had the best cookies.

Our "Cookie Following" all know that Mom is behind the cookies, and yes Mom is actually my mom - her name is Mary. She comes in 5 days a week to make all of our cookie doughs, from your classic Chocolate Chip to the most popular to specialties like Lemon Coconut or Gingersnap (Even if you don't like gingersnaps you should try these - the snap is from the ginger in this soft chewy cookie). Everyone has a favorite. Many of my recipes have personal memories attached and that makes them even tastier to me.

Come on down and have a cookie - one of the best things in life. Our cookies and coffee are available for self service Monday thru Friday, just a dollar each with every dollar going to charity - one of the best things in life just got better.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Viva la France

Wednesday was Bastille Day, so I'm thinking in french, well culinary french. There has been a resurgence of French cuisine in recent years. I think people have had enough of modern eclectic cuisine and are getting back to basics. French cuisine is full of technique and time. For a trained chef in so many ways it is back to the basics.

Even with the heat that we had I was inspired to create my own French menu for the evening:

Toasted Croustini with Champignon and Brie
with a Mesculan salad mix & Sherry Vinaigrette

Sauté of Chicken Livers with Bacon and Onions
served on Pomme Puree

I started off to make Chocolate Soufflés but the heat won out over the oven and Hubby enjoyed a rich bowl of Chocolate Pudding (aka soufflé base)

If you are looking for a nice French meal out check out K&L’s Bistro in Sebastopol - one of my favorites.

Monday, July 13, 2009

My 1st YouTube video

A couple of weekends past I did the Lemon Soufflé cooking demo at the fair (see my 6/18 post for the recipe). We recorded it and put it on YouTube. This is my first video so please be kind! I will confess that I didn't test the demo kitchen's oven and found out (as my souffles fell!) that it ran 50 degrees too hot. But it was still a great lemon pudding!

The video is cut into 3 pieces of 9 minutes each to account for YouTube's 10 minute limitation.

Friday, July 10, 2009

What a night!

We had our chamber mixer last night with great success. Somewhere between 225-250 guests came in and enjoyed a great night of food, beverages and business connections. I know that I did not get to speak with everyone personally, I would like to say thank you for coming and you know we are here any time you need us.

But on to the food part of the night. It was a lot of fun for me to create the menu. I was able to choose many items from what was fresh and seasonal, and try out some new ideas I've been working on. One item that fits both, was a real hit - I thought they were going to lick the plate on the Grilled Peaches with Mascarpone! Here’s the recipe:

4 lbs fresh peaches - free stone are best
8 oz mascarpone cheese
2 T honey
1 t fresh chopped tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T sherry vinegar

Halve your peaches or ¼ if it is hard to remove the pits
Toss lightly in oil
Grill till marked - do not over cook
Cool completely

Combine mascarpone, honey, tarragon and salt &pepper - mix gently, but do not whip

When plating:
Slice the peaches to bite size slices
Place mascarpone on one half of dish
Layer peaches on the other half
Drizzle peaches with the sherry vinegar
Serve with croustini, baguettes or toasted focaccia

You can also find the rest of the evenings menu in my June 14th post.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Great Places

One of the best things in my field is that you never know where you will be. I have the chance to work in some spectacular locations. Just last week we did a first time event for the Eames Foundation at their "warehouse". (It's in quotes because the word does not do the buildings or the location justice.)

Charles and Ray Eames were designers and creators of mid century design. Most widely known is the Eames chair. To me this was incredible. Their grand daughter walked in and said it was for Eames and I jaw dropped as I said “Eames chair, power of 10?”. These are just a couple of the things that this incredible couple did.

The family has built a foundation to help care for the legacy of design and items that were created. From pieces for 8 world fairs to their iconic designs to private work shops for the family. Who would have known?

We catered for the first annual event at their warehouse, where they are repairing and cataloging all of the items. Of course I planned a walk through to see the facility and plan they layout for the event, little did I know that it would be a private tour. I felt a bit embarrassed because I could not keep my jaw closed for all of the incredible things that I got to see. The contents are historic, the buildings fabolous and all set out by themselves amidst our rolling hills. It was beyond picturesque.

I have gotten to cater in million dollar homes, for presidents and movie stars, this will go down as one of the most incredible to me personally.

Thank you Eames Foundation.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Petaluma Art and Garden Festival

If it's summer in Petaluma it is time for the Art and Garden Festival
Sunday July 12
11am- 5pm in downtown

I had the pleasure to help start the festival 7 years ago and I still enjoy participating. This year we will be doing two booths;

The first one will let me play with my new smoker. We'll be doing a Carolina pulled pork sandwich for 2 tickets for a taste or 4 tickets for a full sandwich.

The other booth will be a bit more gourmet. For any one that read my blog on Sesame Noodles, now is your chance to taste them. This is asian noodles with baby spinach in a seame dressing with a grilled Bali BBQ Ahi Skewer. All dressed up in a take out box with chop sticks.
1 skewer for 3 tickets or 2 skewers for 5 tickets

I promise Pomegrante Iced tea too!

Come by and say Hello - we love our new building, but we miss everyone downtown.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Last weekend just kicked my butt. You can plan for everything but Mother Nature. And when it gets above 90 degrees the heat just kicks in.

We had a lovely wedding a Kunde Estate Winery. We love them (Hi Naomi and Stephanie!) Boothill is their wedding location on a hill top overlooking the vineyard and Kenwood Valley and surrounded by oak trees. Thank heaven for the trees, the shade was a life saver. Setting up all the tables and chairs in the beating down sun is a tough job; Jim recently told me that we’ve rented about 5,000 chairs over the past year, well it feels like I moved everyone of them just this last weekend. Plus we had to put the extra hustle on, with the heat we had to choose to not set tables till the last minute; champagne glasses in hot sun is not the best idea.

The menu was a lot of fun. It was a Sonoma/Indian (Indian not Native American) menu, and I always love to do something new. The groom’s family taught me how to make two Indian dishes - Mattar Pilau (in basic words a curried Indian fried rice) and Raitia (the cool yogurt sauce). From there we had local classics like Grilled Vegetables, Roasted Pepper Chicken, and Spinach Artichoke Raviolis. It was a wow menu- after the heat the Raitia on the spicy matter pilau was fabulous. I was afraid that with the heat no one would eat much, but the food combination was awesome for the hot day.

Also, kudos to all my crews that day. They all did great jobs and had wonderful events despite the heat.