In case you missed them, here’s a wrap up of our favorite blog posts of the week. Read, get inspired, and start cooking!
|Discover Wine Country with Us!|
Join us this month as we explore California’s celebrated wine country: the rustic ingredients, world-class destinations, and passionate artisans, chefs and producers who bring it to life. Our Wine Country Guide has everything you need to bring the flavors of wine country to your table — here’s a taste of what you’ll find.
|Ingredient Spotlight: Eggplant|
If you’ve been intimidated by eggplant in the past, it’s time to give it a try. They big turn soft and tender when roasted, with a smoky flavor and substantial texture that makes them perfect for vegetarian dishes. Read on for some of our best tips for working with eggplant, plus simple and delicious ways to prepare them from the Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen.
|Wine Country Spotlight: Peter & Mimi Buckley of Front Porch Farm|
As we explore California’s wine country, we’re getting to know some of the locals that make the area so special. Meet Peter and Mimi Buckley and Johnny Wilson, who grow produce, wheat and wine grapes — and also raise Cinta pigs — on Front Porch Farm.
|Tomato Gazpacho with Roasted Pepper, Cucumber and Avocado|
You can use any combination of tomatoes in this luscious Spanish soup, making it an excellent way to use up less-than-perfect tomatoes—ones with splits, soft spots or cracks. Often eaten as a starter, the soup also makes an excellent vegetarian main dish when served with a salad and a wedge of good bread.
|Best of the Web: Preserves, Pickles & Sauces|
With summer produce at its peak, cooks are finding all kinds of creative ways to save a taste of the season! Here are recipes for preserves, pickles and sauces that we’ve bookmarked from some of our favorite blogs.
|Wine Country Spotlight: Beth Novak Milliken of Spottswoode Winery|
After purchasing the historic Spottswoode in 1972, Mary Weber Novak became one of the first women to run a major Napa Valley wine growing estate. Today, the winery is still family owned, with Mary’s daughter Beth at the Helm. Here, we ask Beth all about growing up on the winery, learning from her mom, and what’s special about Spottswoode wines.
|Recipe Roundup: Creative Crostini|
Crostini are the perfect solution for easy entertaining. These thin slices of toasted baguette can be topped with almost any ingredients you like, from fruit and cheese to sauteed seasonal vegetables. Here are some of our favorite ideas below; try them as is, then get creative with your own favorite combinations.
|Halibut with Tomatoes and Leeks|
Smothering fish fillets in summer’s tomatoes and leeks creates an easy seasonal meal in one pan. If you like, cut fresh basil into thin slivers and use it to garnish the halibut.
|Wine Country Spotlight: Ryan & Miles MacDonnell of Round Pond Estate|
This brother-sister team sits at the head of Round Pond Winery, a family-owned winery in Napa Valley’s Rutherford region. In addition to world-class wines, they also produce gourmet olive oils, vinegars and syrups from ingredients grown on their property. Here, we ask them all about how their parents started Round Pond, what’s special about their wines, and why wine is really all about the experience.
|Weekend Project: Pesto|
It’s amazing how the simplest dishes are often the most flavorful and satisfying. Here, we’ll show you how to make pesto, how to put your own spin on it, and creative ways to use it in the kitchen.
Fresh basil is unusual to find in desserts, but in this icy granita, it pairs perfectly with ripe cantaloupe. Be sure to use quality, ripe produce to make the best-tasting granita, especially since the recipe calls for so few ingredients.
|Wine Country Spotlight: Mick Kopetsky of MIX Garden|
MIX Garden supplies the highest quality fruits and vegetables to some of the finest restaurants in Sonoma County, and Mick’s Healdsburg store has a little bit of everything: produce, nursery, gardening supplies and landscaping materials. He tells us all about how he got started and what he loves about his community.
|Buffalo Burgers with Tomato and Marjoram Topping|
Ground bison is a surprise ingredient in this burger recipe, but if you like, make the patties with ground beef or turkey instead. Pair with grilled corn and pickles to make it a meal.
|Wine Country Spotlight: Chad Harris of the Fremont Diner|
At the Fremont Diner on the highway between Sonoma and Napa, Chad Harris serves American comfort classics at breakfast, lunch and dinner to locals and people passing through. Here, we ask him all about fixing up the space, his idea of comfort food, and what he loves about living in wine country.
|Party Planner: Harvest Dinner|
As summer fades into fall, Napa Valley comes alive with the harvest of produce and crush of wine grapes. Our rustic meal makes the most of the bounty — read on to learn how to pull it off.
|Heirloom Tomato, Cucumber and Celery Salad|
If you use the best-quality ingredients this salad will sing sweet summer. The dried oregano is a southern Italian touch. If you can’t find Armenian cucumbers you can use another variety, but if you do, peel them before slicing.
|Wine Country Spotlight: Jim Borsack of B Cellars|
Jim and his business partner Duffy Keys are both former executives — they met at a barbecue in 2002 and joined forces to form B Cellars. Here, we ask Jim all about how he got his start, what makes a great blend, and how he earned the nickname “The Mad Chef.”
Start preparing this dish around lunchtime and by dinner you’ll have a slow cooker full of tender, succulent beef to prepare these colorful tostadas. If you’d rather not take the time to make the veggie slaw, you can top the tostadas with plain shredded cabbage instead.
|Wine Country Spotlight: Nick & Jen Demarest of Harvest Moon Cafe|
Husband-and-wife team Nick and Jen Demarest met as students in culinary school and, years later, opened Harvest Moon Cafe in Sonoma. Here, we ask them all about their backgrounds, their restaurant gardens, and how they stay inspired in the kitchen.