So picture this: I work in Roseville (as a graphic designer/life saver) from 8:30am-5pm, and last Wednesday Andy and I have to be at a Kings Pre-season game by 7:00pm. Factor in a 30 minute commute time, and 10-15 minutes to get to the game from my house, and there’s pretty much NO TIME to cook and have a meal before we go.
Enter National Pizza Month and zpizza! They have a gluten free menu and salads suitable for a busy person like me.
All I had to do was call them ahead of time and let them know I wanted to pick up my order just a little after 5:00pm. I browsed their website, and chose what looked interesting to me. I thought their website was fantastic at showing what and was not available in gluten free. All you have to do is check a little box in the upper right hand corner, and the gluten free items remain listed, while the gluten items are grayed out. See?
So two items on the menu immediately caught my eye, beginning with the Arugula Salad! The salad has cucumbers, caramelized onions, parmesan cheese, candied walnuts and guess what? Arugula! Sold! I added on some avocado and chicken breast for an extra charge.
The other menu item that grabbed my attention was the gluten free Italian pizza with artichoke hearts, tomatoes, ham, basil, pesto (yes!!) mozzarella cheese, and black olives. At first I was worried I didn’t order enough food, but as we ate, we both got really full. I guess we’re not used to having a treat as nice as pizza––even the gluten free variety––and any kind of dough is really filling. I had 3 pieces and it was so gooood. The crust was great and really crispy on the edges. The pesto was terrific and I only wish I had ordered extra on the side to dip the crust in! The crust had a nice buttery flavor and even a sort of flakey texture. I am glad I have Andy to eat the other 5 pieces, because I would have demolished them for sure! ;)
Now, onto the wine we had with dinner! :)
Andy brought over 2 different wines to have with dinner. The white wine he brought was a 2012 Chardonnay from Mercy Vineyards. The second wine he brought (yep, I am pretty lucky to have such premium wines with a take out dinner!!) was a Cinsaut from Miner’s Leap which is produced from 127 year-old vines in Clarksburg!
Andy said he chose the wine pairing to resist the traditional “pizza wines” like sangiovese or chianti, because this pizza had pesto on it and really lent itself to a lighter style of wine. Enter the Chardonnay from Mercy––a less oakey more fruit forward wine, but still a Chardonnay lover’s wine, and the Pinot Noir mimicky Cinsaut from Miner’s Leap. Try either of these two and you’ll just think wow.
Kind of too fancy for pizza, but hey, gluten free zpizza is pretty fancy–especially before a Sacramento Kings game, so OK I’ll take it. :)
PS: The Kings won the game against the Toronto Raptors, 113-106! :)
I love September and October in Sacramento. There are so many fun events to celebrate Farm-to-Fork and harvest time. There’s an intoxicating energy all around. The wineries are busy harvesting their grapes and there gets to be a little chill in the air in the mornings and when the sun goes down.
Though the Farm-to-Fork celebration has officially come to a close, it’s certainly not over. So many local restaurants and grocery stores have adopted this theme, and it’s exciting to see the concept take off locally just in the past two years. (Even though Alice Waters was practicing Farm-to-Table 40 years ago!! and Sacramento is not doing anything new.) ;)
I know that ever since I went Paleo (3 ½ years ago), I have made it a point to eat non-processed, local and organic foods when at all possible. I was extremely blessed to meet a partner who had adopted the same healthy eating habits as me and we have continued to be Paleo/Primal in the three years since.
We have made some incredible Paleo meals together with the best ingredients from two of my sponsors: Nugget Market and Whole Foods. We have also used other purveyors: Taylor’s Market and Sunh Fish for our meats and fish.
This Salmon dish is only an example of the kinds of things we prepare on a weekly basis. There is almost always something this special, so many times, it is more tempting to stay in than to eat in a restaurant. Don’t even get me started on all the eclectic wine that we have to pair up with whatever we make. ;)
The recipe was adapted from the Salmon Hazelnut Recipe from the book It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. The cauliflower and sweet potato mash was done on a whim and is all my own.
I hope you continue to practice Farm-to-Fork/Farm-to-Table at your house and when dining out beyond this month and celebrate this incredible agricultural paradise we are lucky enough to call home. :)
The star of this recipe is the compound butter that tops the salmon after it has been baked. You can use all or some of it, but we had a lot left over (even after using 1/2 of it on 20 ounces of salmon).
Make the compound butter ahead of time (recipe below) and use the freezer to re-solidify it if you happen to be short on time.
For the salmon
1 Tbsp melted butter
salt and pepper to season
20 ounces wild-salmon (it was easier for us to portion after cooking)
Preheat oven to 400. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with salt. Place salmon in the middle, skin side down. Brush salmon with melted butter and season again.
Place salmon in oven and roast it about 10 min. Be careful not to overcook. To serve, portion your filets and top each with slices of hazelnut butter and additional toasted hazelnuts.
1/2 stick of butter
4 Tbsp hazelnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup butter
1 small shallot and 1 garlic clove, finely minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme, finely minced
Toast hazelnuts over medium heat until golden, then set aside to cool.
Sauté shallot and garlic in 1 Tbs of melted butter until shallot is translucent. Remove from heat.
Then add shallot mixture to the toasted hazelnuts, along with the remaining butter, thyme, and some salt and pepper.
Place mixture into the freezer for about 10-20 minutes.
Then place a large piece of plastic wrap on flat surface and transfer the butter mixture (after it has set up a little in the freezer) to the center of plastic. Form a log shape like above. Wrap tightly in the plastic and chill until solid. This will take 2 hours in the refrigerator, or about 45 minutes in the freezer.
Spinach salad with red and yellow bell peppers, avocado, mushrooms, and salami from Taylor’s Market.
1 head cauliflower (cut into small pieces)
1 large white sweet potato (cubed)
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs chopped garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
Salt to taste
Cook cauliflower and sweet potato in boiling water until fork tender. Drain water and set aside.
Chop shallot into thin slices and sauté in melted butter in a small pan. Add the garlic. Cook until shallot is translucent.
Place cooked cauliflower and potato into a food processor with the shallot mixture.
Add the garlic powder and chicken stock and pulse until completely smooth. Season to taste.
Last but certainly not least was the wine pairing. A 2010 reserve Pinot Noir from one of our favorite (and super local) wineries, BellaGrace Vineyards. The grapes are sourced from Sangiacomo Vineyards in Carneros. It is a fairly ripe Pinot Noir, but with the distinctive strawberry flavors unique to the region. The wine is fairly acidic, which perfectly compliments the fatty characteristics of Pacific salmon.
You can find BellaGrace Vineyards on Facebook here or visit them in person at the winery (complete with a cave cellar) at 22715 Upton Rd in Plymouth from 11:00am to 4:00pm, Fri-Sun. They also have a tasting room in Sutter Creek (73 Main St, Sutter Creek) open from 11am-5pm daily.
I am very excited to share this event with you put on by my long time advertiser, Piatti Sacramento.
I’ll be attending the dinner and writing about it afterwards. I am really looking forward to the pairing of some of my very favorite wines with food by one of Sacramento’s best chefs, Lance Carlini! If you want to attend, call 916-649-8885. Hurry, space is limited and will sell out!
Pinot on the River is a fun filled weekend of Pinot Noir in the beautiful Russian River Valley town of Healdsburg, California. Guests of the event can sit with the winemakers and other Pinot-loving consumers as the festival focuses on limited productionWest Coast Pinot Noirs. Sunday’s Pinot Noir Grand Tasting will feature over 100 wineries plus guest Artisan Food Vendors all on the downtown Healdsburg Plaza Square, it’s a Sonoma County wine weekend you won’t want to miss.
11 a.m. to 12 noon – Grand Tasting Opens -
Artisanal Pinot Noir Grand Tasting Early access.
12 noon to 4 p.m. – Artisanal Pinot Noir Grand Tasting – General Admission
Taste current releases, special bottlings and library wines from 100 top Pinot producers from up and down the West Coast at this “full immersion” walkaround tasting.
Judges will award “Special Achievement in Pinot Noir” Trophies.
Giant check Presentation to Boys & Girls Clubs.
Wineries scheduled to be present at Pinot on the River are:
Alexander Valley Vineyards
Artisan Wines of California
Belle Glos Wines
Benziger Family Winery
Bien Nacido Vineyards
Black Kite Cellars
Blue Farm Wines
Brassfield Estate Winery
Bucher Vineyard Wines
Canihan Family Winery
Comptche Ridge Vineyards
Couloir Wines | Straight Line Wine
Donelan Family Wines
E16 Wine Company
Furthermore Pinot Noir
Hahn Family Wines
Hop Kiln Vineyards
Hook and Ladder Winery
J Vineyards & Winery
L Foppiano Wine Co
La Follette Wines
La Pitchoune Winery
Maggy Hawk Wines
Martin Ray Winery
Nunes Vineyard / St. Rose Winery
Ordaz Family Wines
Ousterhout Wine & Vineyard
Patz & Hall
Paul Hobbs Winery
Pech Merle Winery
Pellegrini Wine Company
Peter Paul Wines
Ram’s Gate Winery
Russian Hill Estate
Small Vines Wines
Ten Acre Winery
The Donum Estate
Thralls Family Cellars
Valdez Family Winery
White Oak Vineyards & Winery
Windsor Oaks Vineyards and Winery
Do you see any of your favorites? I am looking forward to seeing my friends from Walt! This looks to be the Olympics of Pinot Noir, so if you’re a fan, don’t miss it. The draw of this event is that it showcases very small producers that you will rarely see elsewhere!
Tickets are $75 per person and $100 at the door. You can purchase tickets here. Hope to see you there! :)
The Cabernet Gods looked upon St. Helena with a smile on their faces last Saturday. It was the setting of the Kathryn Hall Release Party, and the release of the Kathryn Hall 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. The ticketed party was mostly held on the great lawn at HALL Wines, featuring several stations to taste wine and food from Feast Catering.
It was an honor and privilege for Andy and I to be guests of the party and to experience it amongst true Cabernet lovers and fans of Kathryn Hall.
I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland in the Queen’s croquet garden, surrounded by the big red vinyl couches and the delights hidden behind the shrubs on the Great Lawn.
Upon arrival, we were greeted with a glass of 2013 Hall NV Sauvignon Blanc, and behind the first set of shrubs to the right of the entrance were these tuna and cucumber rolls with finger lime and wasabi in little wooden boats (pictured above). The next station we visited was even better, serving a chilled carrot soup with radish top pistou (pictured below). It was paired with a 2012 Walt “Dutton Ranch” Russian River Chardonnay. The soup was perfect for a very warm and sunny day and its flavor was amplified with a little curry and coconut. I was tempted to have a second. ;) PS: Dutton Ranch is an excellent place of origin for a Chardonnay. Just google it and you’ll see what I mean. :)
Then the Bacon, Duck Fat, and Smoked Sea Salt popcorn happened! Actually, it happened just as Kathryn Hall herself officially announced the release of the 2011 Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon. Andy and I hustled to the nearest station pouring the newly christened cab to have a taste. AND THEN the fatty popcorn happened. ;) It was made fresh in a large wok and served in little paper bags. I didn’t want to seem uncouth, so I took a small serving in a paper bag instead of taking the scoop and shoveling the delectable kernels directly into my mouth! ;) Better than anything I had ever had at the movies!
Well, at least popcorn is gluten free… and for vegetarians, there was another flavor: A habanero, green onion, garlic, and chive concoction. And I think it paired a little better with the new Kathryn Hall Release because the Cabernet is still pretty young and stood up to the heat of the slightly spicy popcorn.
We also tried a different Cabernet: a 2011 “T Bar T Ranch” cab from Alexander Valley. I couldn’t say which is my favorite because I liked them for different reasons and asking me to pick a favorite is like asking someone to pick their favorite child, and I know you don’t want to do that to me. ;)
There was a DJ positioned just in front of the great lawn, and he kept patrons happy by playing some current tunes, but also many hits from the 80s. Thanks DJ Adam Bomb, you were great and loved by the crowd. Check out his website and his client list. Pretty impressive! :)
Then I visited the grape crushing station and contributed to the 2014 Cabernet. So, that’s a warning to all of you out there. My feet touched some of that juice. ;) Watch and see! Here’s how you make great wine!
I was having a blast! :) I still pinch myself sometimes because I think I am dreaming. This is the life I saw for myself 10 years ago. I wanted to be in the heart of wine country standing in the sun and sipping some of the best wine in the world!
Andy stayed out of the juice, and thank goodness…you don’t want to know where that guy’s feet have been. Just kidding. I think he just didn’t want to have sticky feet. :) I am so happy I crushed those grapes. I will always remember how happy I was standing in that barrel! I think the only thing that would make me happier is being a judge at next year’s Cabernet Cookoff (also held at HALL Wines).
Man, all that grape crushing worked up my appetite… (ha, just kidding…) but we were looking for another little snack to try, so we headed into the workshop and dining area. It’s basically a full open kitchen with a dining area where patrons can see demonstrations of food being prepared. Today the culinary team were demonstrating how to make sopes.
They began by rolling out the dough (masa soaked in lime) into a ball and then flattening it into a disc with a little but of an impression in it. Then, post frying and draining the discs were filled with ancho chili rubbed carnitas with avocado tomatillo salsa, picked red onions & cotija cheese. They were muy delicioso!
The 2011 is available to wine club members in this allotment: 15 bottles (750ml), 1 Magnum (1.5L) and 1 Larger Format (3L or 6L). What an incentive to join the wine club! PS: You get an invite to this amazing release party!
We did a little bit more walking around the great lawn, and went back to hang out with a new friend we made that day! His name is Spencer and he’s straight out of Louisville, Kentucky! :) Congrats on your position at HALL Wines, and what a great place to be so young in your life. Cheers!
I had a few of the meatballs, and they were spectacular just everything else I had tasted at the party. But, I had my limits, and was pretty full by this time. Andy and I decided to get one more taste of the new release before we left and we sat down at a table in the sun. This was his heartfelt thank you! :)
Along with Andy, I want to thank the PR team and social media folks at HALL Wines for making us feel like VIPs. We both had an incredible time. :)
Take a look at the fun other guests had by viewing the social media feed from the party here.