Herbed Feta-Scallion Dip


I created this recipe as part of the menu for an industry-night at Paul Mathew winery’s new tasting room. I love it because it has cheesy deliciousness and is fragrant with herbs and lemon zest. It works well with sparkling wines and wines higher in acidity, like Muscadet or Sancerre. This dip makes crudité much more exciting, or you could serve with crackers or toasted pita triangles brushed with olive oil.

Herbed Feta-Scallion Dip
8 oz of feta cheese
1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
zest of one lemon
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
5 scallions sliced thinly (divided)
3 tablespoons each of minced fresh dill and mint
Few grinds of black pepper

1. Add the feta, yogurt, zest, olive oil, half the scallions, black pepper and the herbs to a food processor and pulse until well combined. You still want it to be chunky.
2. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and the remaining scallions sprinkled on top. Good with crackers, fresh vegetables, or toasted pita triangles.

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Aged Goat Cheese and Leek Tart

I’m not going to start with apologies for the long lag between posts, but allow me to say that it was a hell of a summer. We are now moved into our new house, and the market isslowing down for the fall season. One of the best harvests in recent memory has just finished and everyone is starting to take a deep breath, me included. This tart is perfect for the cold, and long, nights that are now upon us. I created it to pair with a delicious Red Car Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. Its works well with the green apple acidity and subtle creaminess in this Chardonnay, but it would also be delicious with a yeasty sparkling wine, or a less fruity sauvignon blanc. This tart is great warm or room temperature.
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Clams Puttanesca

I love seafood any time of year, but there is something about summer that makes me crave really fresh and briny shellfish. We recently took a stunningly gorgeous drive to Hog Island Oysters, about 45 minutes from Monte Rio. The twisted road took us through bucolic roads flanked with pastures, to the sunny coastline, and down to Tomales. We shucked and slurped our fill of the briny little devils and grabbed a couple of pounds of the Manila clams to go. I used heirloom tomatoes, so abundant this time of year. If you don’t have a garden or know someone with a garden, you could also used standard fresh tomatoes. Canned can be used in a pinch. This is a very quick meal to pull together and its simplicity highlights the freshness of the seafood and the tomatoes. We drank a Spanish Albarino with the meal, and the acidity and flintiness of the wine really paired nicely.
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Warm Corn-Bacon Summer Salad

The inspiration for this recipe came from a five year old July Gourmet magazine that I stumbled upon recently. God, I miss that magazine, with its gorgeous, mouthwatering photography and the imaginative recipes. The recipe was so beautifully simple, designed to highlight perfect summer produce at their peak. Besides summer corn, the other magic ingredient here is bacon, and makes this a more hearty dish. I served it under Southwestern Salmon Cakes and a lime crema at the market, and the flavors worked so well together. Its perfectly delicious on its own as well. If you wanted to make the dish vegetarian, you can swap out the bacon and bacon fat with butter.
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Lemon-Soy Grilled Shrimp and Scallops


This Japanese-inspired dish features my new favorite seafood marinade with great summer seafood. Its easy to prepare and so flavorful. I separated the scallops and shrimp onto different skewers because they cook different lengths of time. I skewered the lemon slices in between every couple pieces of seafood to enhance the lemon flavor. I also like the way the grilled lemon looks on the platter. I served it on a bed of black and white quinoa (which you can find at Trader Joe’s), which I enhanced by cooking with chicken broth instead of water, scallion slices and a piece of raw ginger (removed before serving). The dish is visually striking when you layer the grilled lemon, seafood, and cilantro sprigs on the quinoa. If you are looking to reduce carbs, this seafood goes deliciously served on a salad studded with carrot slivers, snow peas, and red cabbage and dressed with a soy-ginger dressing.
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Herbed Cucumber Yogurt Soup

Sultry summer days call for cooling foods. We are getting some toasty ones here in Northern California, so I wanted to publish this recipe for those customers who have requested it. Its a delicious soup, simple and so refreshing with its blend of herbs, good-quality yogurt, and cucumbers. I add white pepper and cayenne in small amounts so that the soup lingers on the palate with a subtle zing. You can reduce or eliminate the cayenne if you don’t want any heat at all. We use Strauss plain yogurt, full fat, but ifyou are watching your fat intake, you can replace it with low-fat without compromising the recipe at all. We serve it as an appetizer at the market dinner and its popularity increases as the temperature rises. Enjoy!
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Bacon Bourbon Baked Beans


This is a delicious summer side dish, improved with the addition of bourbon and bacon (and really, what isn’t?). I serve it with my pinot-pulled pork sandwich at the Big Bottom Market, and a number of people have asked for the recipe, so here it is for the taking.
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Grilled Tandoori Chicken

Summer has arrived full-force here. The sun shines bright every day and the crowds have arrived en massein our little town of Guerneville. Since I arrived here in early fall, after the summer season had mostly passed, this is the first time I’ve experienced the craziness of the tourist swells. I’ve been wrapped up in launching the Big Bottom Market’s summer Bistro menu, and keeping up with the feeding the masses, so I haven’t had time to update this blog as much as I’ve wanted to. I will start blogging some of the recipes from the menu, including the Bacon-Bourbon Baked Beans which many people have asked me for. Expect to see that recipe posted here tomorrow.

Last night, however, I made a meal that was definitely blog-worthy so I wanted to post it for you. Indian food is definitely one the cuisines that is under-represented in this little town, so I’ve been craving those spicy, pungent flavors. It was another stunning cool evening so we took advantage of it by lingering on our deck with our neighbor Nat, wine in hand, while we grilled our dinner and chatted. I served the grilled chicken with a side of plain Greek yogurt and a brown basmati rice dish, cooked with chicken broth with grilled peppers, onions and chopped cilantro mixed in. It did a great job of fixing that craving and made for a light, delicious dinner.
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