Monday, July 29, 2013

An Early Morning Run Through Dry Creek

I ran through the Dry Creek area of Sonoma County last Saturday as part of my training for the Water to Wine Half Marathon next month. It was perfect running weather – overcast and cool but not cold. The vineyards are heavy with grapes and there are some early signs of fall even though it’s late July. I thought I would share a few of the things I saw on my run. Enjoy!
Most of the leaves on the grapes are still a vibrant green, love the contrast with the lighter plant on the ground

Grapes are not the only things growing here - I saw peach trees, apple trees and olive trees

Love this mailbox - very appropriate for a country road

Old vine Zinfandel - I can tell because the vines are thick and gnarly

The yard ornament above is made from the metal hoops off of an old wine barrel

It's not uncommon to see signs advertising flowers, eggs or produce for sale, sometimes on the honor system
And here are the zinnias that were advertised

These grape leaves are just starting to change color

I love the way the red roof of this barn contrasts with the green of the vineyard

This is so fun and whimsical!
I hope you have enjoyed this short pre-harvest tour of Dry Creek. Have a great week!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A trip to the Farmers Market

Last weekend I went to the Windsor farmers market. We are very lucky to have several farmers markets close by on both Saturdays (two in Santa Rosa and one in Healdsburg) and Sundays (Windsor).

I got my first heirloom tomatoes of the season, some kale, peaches and nectarines, both lemon and regular cucumbers, and the prettiest heirloom carrots I have ever seen. Here are some photos of what I made with my produce.

Salad with kale and white peach
Salad with cucumber, lemon cucumber, cherry tomatoes and heirloom carrots
Pretty heirloom carrots are good in a salad or all on their own

Monday, July 22, 2013

Spa Water: Trio of Lemons

I love to make spa water - you know, the sort of water with cool things in it like you would see at a fancy spa. My current pitcher of spa water has a trio of lemon flavors - lemons, lemon cucumber from the farmers market and lemon verbena from my herb garden. It’s a very fragrant, a bit tart and very refreshing on a hot day.  Have a great week!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Try This: Sonoma Brinery Pickles

Outrageous Bread & Butter Pickles from Sonoma Brinery
Barbeque season is in full swing here in Sonoma County and it will last well into the fall.  Given the long season, I periodically tweak my standards because if not, things can get old.   

I recently made Sonoma Brinery’s Outrageous Bread & Butter Pickles my go-to pickles for burgers and I could not be happier. I first discovered them in a restaurant as a side to what else, a burger. I tracked them down and found out that they are sold at my local grocery store.

Packaging for Sonoma Brinery pickles
The Outrageous Bread & Butter pickles are simply pickle chips and thinly sliced bits of onion.  They have a bit of heat and bit of sweetness and are downright addictive.  I like that they are local (the company is working on national distribution, go here to check where in your area you can buy them) and they are fresh (look for them in the refrigerator section of the grocery store).  The pickles are great with a burger and are also good chopped and stirred into tuna.  Or, you can just eat them straight out of the container. I won’t tell.

P.S. July is national pickle month, so yet another reason to expand your pickle repertoire and give a Sonoma Brinery Pickle a try!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Easy, Healthy Coleslaw Recipe

Barbeque season is in full swing right now. If you are looking for a healthy side dish for burgers, steaks or ribs, consider a healthy coleslaw. The recipe that’s below is very flavorful and healthy too.

Here are the instructions for making one serving, you can easily increase this to make more:
1 tablespoon lowfat or nonfat plain yogurt
1 teaspoon mayonnaise or olive oil*
 ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
A few handfuls of pre-shredded cabbage and carrots

Mix the first four ingredients in the bottom of a bowl and then add the cabbage and carrots.  I usually dress the coleslaw and serve right away. You could also let it sit a bit to let the flavor set. 
*You can actually make this without any fat. However, I think the addition of a bit of fat really adds to the flavor and smooths it out.

What is your go-to for a healthy side dish in the summer?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Roadtrip to Bones Roadhouse for BBQ Sauce

Each table at Bones has both hot and mild BBQ sauce
If I told you that my favorite barbeque sauce comes from a place almost two hours from my house would you think I was crazy?  OK, maybe a bit.  In my defense, it’s really good barbeque sauce. Want to know what it is? Thought so.

The barbeque sauce in question comes from a restaurant called Bones Roadhouse in Gualala. Gualala is on the Northern California coast, just past where Sonoma County ends and Mendocino County begins. The drive up there from my home in Santa Rosa, CA is beautiful with great ocean views.

Pulled pork + homemade chips + BBQ sauce = yum!
Once at Bones, the first reward is getting to have lunch there.  The food is classic barbeque – ribs, pulled pork, brisket, etc.  I am a big fan of their pulled pork, my husband likes the brisket.  Most dishes come with homemade potato chips on the side. The first time we ate there, we saw people putting barbeque sauce on the chips and wondered a bit about that. Turns out, it’s really good and another way to get to have more of Bones’ wonderful sauce.

The second reward for the long drive is getting some barbeque sauce to take home. So, what’s the sauce like? It’s smoky with a bit of a bite but not too hot (they have both hot and mild versions) and just a bit sweet. We use it on everything – ribs, brisket (ours is not a good as Bones’), whatever!

Have you ever roadtripped for food?