sacramento connect » Food & Wine sacramento blogs & community news around sacramento california Fri, 18 Apr 2014 01:34:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Strawberries and Cream Cups Thu, 17 Apr 2014 21:20:23 +0000 I wanted some pretty strawberry parfait cups for my daughter’s tea party, and kept trying to think of what kinds of cake, cream, and sauces I wanted to layer in the glasses. As there were already going to be quite a few cakes, cookies, and treats for the tea, I didn’t want to make these too rich and time consuming to make. Finally I arrived to the conclusion that simplest was best– just strawberries and cream. These days, there are always many who need vegetarian, lactose-free, or vegan options, so here are some options for the “cream” part. Cream Options: *Whipped Dairy Cream-sweetened with a touch of sugar, maple syrup or honey and dash of vanilla (optional) *Non-Dairy Whipped Topping- better ones like truwhip, without high fructose corn syrup * Vanilla Yogurt, dairy or non-dairy * Combination of sweetened dairy or non-dairy whipped cream + dairy or non-dairy yogurt * Cashew or Macadamia Nut Cream- soak 1 c. nuts in water for 2-4 hours. Drain. Blend in a high speed blender with 1/2 c. water, 1-2 T. maple syrup, dash of salt, and splash of vanilla until smooth. Adjust amount of water according how thick you want your cream. (Yields approx. 1-3/8 […] ]]> 0 Sacramento Beer & Chili Festival Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:45:22 +0000 Bethany Crouch mixing it up with restaurants taking part in the Sacramento Beer & Chili Festival.

The 3rd annual event will be held Saturday, April 19 at Fremont Park in Sacramento. The event raises money for art programs that assist …

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Bidwell Street Bistro to become Bacchus House Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:37:52 +0000
Typical lunch fare at Bidwell Street Bistro is an Angus burger and a grilled portobello sandwich. The menu will change soon, when the bistro becomes Bacchus House.]]> 0
Bring an intellectual appetite to Michael Pollan appearance Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:03:51 +0000
Michael Pollan will be at Cosumnes River College on April 24.]]> 0
Darrell Corti has the answers to 10 questions Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:31:51 +0000
Darrell Corti tends the wine in his legendary market in east Sacramento.]]> 0
Cinco de Mayo dinner coming to Evan’s Kitchen Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:59:53 +0000
Award-winning chef Evan Elsberry will prepare a special meal for Cinco de Mayo.]]> 0
Start A Vegetable Garden for $25 Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:40:12 +0000
Why the short email? Amazon prohibits affiliate links in emails, and I had to make the tough choice to shorten the email length so I don't violate their terms. Affiliate revenue helps me pay website fees and provide you with lots of free content--thanks for understanding!
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Tie the knot at a California State Park Thu, 17 Apr 2014 14:48:52 +0000 0 Almond Joy Mini Pies Thu, 17 Apr 2014 10:00:42 +0000 Almond Joy Mini Pies

I’m addicted to Almond Joy candy bars. Are you surprised? I figured it was time I married my love of Almond Joy and my love of pie. Took me long enough. Last week I was in Oregon, visiting the sweet folks at Harry & David (more about that soon!) and it was such a fun […]

The post Almond Joy Mini Pies appeared first on Crazy for Crust.

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Blueberry Almond Donut Holes Thu, 17 Apr 2014 05:13:19 +0000 {continue reading}]]> 0 Dining News: What’s Up with South? Thu, 17 Apr 2014 04:32:40 +0000 0 “Only The Essential”: A 5-month, 2,668-mile journey on the Pacific Crest Trail Thu, 17 Apr 2014 00:28:26 +0000 0 Wordless Wednesday: Brunch… It’s kind of my thing. Thu, 17 Apr 2014 00:00:06 +0000 0 Happy Hour at Claim Jumper Wed, 16 Apr 2014 22:15:00 +0000 0 UC Davis researchers help find birthplace of chili pepper Wed, 16 Apr 2014 20:36:03 +0000
Chili peppers likely became a cultivated crop in central-east Mexico, according to a new study by an international team including UC Davis plant scientists. (And, yes, that’s a tomatillo — not a pepper — propping up the jalapeño.)]]> 0
Video: Watch Nevada City snowboarder Evan Strong win gold at Winter Paralympics Wed, 16 Apr 2014 20:04:21 +0000 0 Farm-to-fork forum offers a special invitation Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:50:45 +0000
Alice Waters, who helped pioneer California cuisine and the slow-food movement, will co-host the Farm-to-Fork Capital Forum Series.]]> 0
Show your ‘spear-it’ at Asparagus Fest Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:36:43 +0000 0 Make The Perfect Hollandaise Sauce Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:39:36 +0000 It’s National Eggs Benedict Day! Eric Rucker learns how to make the perfect hollandaise sauce from Chef Kurt Spataro from Cafe Bernardo.

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New poster for the 2014 Mountain Mandarin Festival Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:14:38 +0000 0 What’s Cooking: Citrusy sweets for Easter or spring Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:46:45 +0000
Lemon olive oil mini cakes are layered with strawberry jam and coated in pecans. Change up the jam and/or nuts to your taste.

Maybe it’s the bright color. Maybe it’s the fresh, vibrant taste. Whatever the reason, Easter has become inextricably linked to lemon (and chocolate, of course). So we decided to do a refresh of the conventional breakfast cinnamon bun, infusing it with lemony goodness three different ways.

We start by replacing the cinnamon sugar with sugar spiked with lemon zest. Then we fill the buns with purchased lemon curd. Finally, we drizzle our finished buns with icing made from lemon juice and powdered sugar.

The result is vibrantly lemony, but not mouth-puckering. And to keep things fast and easy, we use purchased frozen bread dough as the base for the buns. All you need to do is thaw the dough, roll it out, fill it, then roll it back up before slicing and baking. These buns are the perfect way to start Easter – or any spring – morning.

Another variation on citrus and Easter are dairy-free mini cakes that are rich with olive oil and lemon juice – in fact, 1 cup of each.

The tender cakes – which deliver a delicious punch of lemon – also are covered with strawberry jam, then with a layer of toasted and chopped pecans. Delicious, fresh and simple.

But these cakes also are versatile. If pecans aren’t your thing, coat the cakes in flaked coconut or chopped pistachios. If strawberry jam doesn’t do it for you, any variety of jam can be substituted. And any other citrus juice can be substituted.

Finally, there’s tembleque.

Associated Press food editor J.M. Hirsch stumbled upon this Hispanic pudding that was something entirely different.

Tembleque is a non-dairy Puerto Rican pudding made from coconut milk and cornstarch. It is sweet without being cloying, and thick without being chewy. The clean yet rich flavors of this orange-infused pudding makes it a perfect finish to an Easter dinner.

This orange cinnamon coconut pudding, a.k.a. tembleque, is a Puerto Rican treat that works for spring.

Lemon curd flavors breakfast buns that go together quickly for Easter brunch thanks to convenient frozen bread dough.
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Why the Sierra and its foothills are a world-class destination Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:24:15 +0000 0 Homemade Peeps, bunny cupcakes & more: Dozens of recipes for Easter Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:00:11 +0000 0 38.5791 -121.491 Viva Cocolat Wed, 16 Apr 2014 15:34:00 +0000
Limited time!  Eat now!

Viva Cocolat
110 Petaluma Boulevard N.
Petaluma, CA

Sometimes, chocolate is meant to be shared.  How else would I be able to justify ordering a $20 “fondue experience” immediately following breakfast?

Breakfast consisted of a Bacon and Egg Hand Pie across the street at the Petaluma Pie Company, so I was ready for something sweet.  Fully intending to pick up just a quick piece of chocolate (or two) to round out my morning, my eyeballs were accosted by a blackboard with two words in yellow fluorescent lettering: CHOCOLATE FONDUE.

Attention all chocolate shops: mentioning something is available only on Fridays and Saturdays will pique my interest.  Why?  Because I’m a sucker for marketing.  Case in point: I exclaimed “Sweet! This is available right now!” to my pseudo sister-in-law as I practically sprinted to the counter.  I didn’t have to twist her arm much.  We sat down and attempted to master a peg-jumping game which I assume was strategically placed there to take our minds off the long and arduous 10-minute wait while the fondue was being prepared.

Soon enough, an embarrassingly large platter of dipping items arrived: fresh slices of green apple, strawberries and bananas, angel food cake, marshmallows, Rice Krispie treats, and salty pretzels for a savory kick.  We dunked each into the warm, smooth milk chocolate and kept on dunking.  And dunking.  And licking our lips.  And dunking.  This continued until we were scraping the bottom of the fondue cup, realizing it was only 11:30 in the morning.

I felt customers staring at us while we sat back and rubbed our bellies.  I didn’t care.   The blackboard clearly stated this treat is only offered two days a week.  Why would I be silly enough to pass that up?

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Bunny and Chick Cupcones and Other Easter Favorites Wed, 16 Apr 2014 15:15:31 +0000 I  just got back from the most amazing trip. I spent 10 days in Italy and am slowly recovering from jet lag. I have a lot to say about my experience, but today we are going to talk about Easter. Even though it doesn’t feel like spring here, it is only a few days away. I am going to grandmother’s [...]

The post Bunny and Chick Cupcones and Other Easter Favorites appeared first on Baked Bree.

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Nana Recipe Wednesday–Easter Favorites Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:00:31 +0000 0 Funfetti Coffee Cake Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:00:53 +0000 Funfetti Coffee Cake

I think I’m making it my mission in life to add funfetti to pretty much everything. Next up: coffee cake. When I was a kid I haaaaated antique stores. My parents would bribe me with a Blizzard to only complain marginally as we stopped at every single antique shop between San Francisco and Seattle. #thatrarelyworked […]

The post Funfetti Coffee Cake appeared first on Crazy for Crust.

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Dress up spring veggies for Easter dinner Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:00:00 +0000
Not the same old peas at all, these are butter-spiced skillet peas.

If Thanksgiving is all about the sides, Easter is all about the main. While we agonize over styles of stuffings, whole or smooth cranberry sauces, sweet potatoes with or without marshmallows, and so many other Turkey Day dilemmas, we tend to just cobble together a what-have-you assortment of sides to accompany the beloved Easter ham or lamb.

Take carrots: Though they often make it into the Easter feast lineup, I’ve never understood why. Maybe it’s a nod to the Easter bunny.

Typically, we prepare them much as we prepare sweet potatoes (their distant orange cousins) at Thanksgiving – by glazing them and otherwise shoveling on extra sugar. I’m guessing that this is a reaction to the carrot’s bright color, which reminds us of a kid’s toy. It’s orange. It’s fun. On the plate, carrots are more like a candy than a vegetable.

Still, I like carrots and I think I’ve figured out a way here to redeem them. The trick is not to be waylaid by their color, but to take advantage of their length and texture. Long, sturdy carrot peels are reminiscent of individual strands of fettuccine. Fine. Let’s prepare them as we would, say, a dish of fettuccine Alfredo – by dressing them with a creamy sauce.

Not coincidentally, it’s a strategy that also allows the carrot’s natural sugars – which are plenty sweet all by themselves – to shine.

You'll want to start with big, long, fat carrots (affectionately referred to by some grocers as “horse carrots”). Just peel off and discard the outermost layer, then continue peeling on all sides until you’ve reached the woody core. I find it easiest to start at the middle of the carrot and peel down the bottom half, then flip it over and peel the top half. This technique allows you to do the job faster than if you peeled the entire length of the carrot from top to bottom. The cores are too thin and hard to peel. You can munch on them yourself or reserve them for a future stock.

The sauce for this “fettuccine” is quite simple. It’s based on Neufchatel, the French cream cheese, which miraculously provides us with the creaminess we crave even though it possesses one-third less fat than most other types of cream cheese – and much less fat than heavy cream, the ingredient that usually puts the cream in creamy pasta.

We counter-balance the carrot’s natural sweetness with lemon, both the zest and juice, though lime would work just as well. The walnuts add crunch, nutty taste and some nutrition, but any nut will do: pistachios, almonds, cashews. Just pick your fave.

The carrot fettuccine strands cook up very quickly – inside of 5 minutes – so you'll want to prep them ahead of time, and measure out all the rest of the ingredients as well.

Once the fettuccine is cooked, you need to move it out of the pan and onto everyone’s plate before the strands go soft. Happily, cooking this dish is simple enough to do at the last minute. And who knows, you may even be able to get your kids to dig into these carrots.

Now for peas. Nobody loves them straight up, but give them a simple sauté with butter and a trio of seeds – caraway, coriander and mustard – and suddenly they are a dish worth getting excited about.

For a fresh take on salad, we created a broccoli slaw seasoned with Dijon mustard, as well as the zests and juices of a lemon and an orange. Chopped dried apricots add a sweet touch while toasted pine nuts offer a savory crunch.

Finally, we have a vegetable patty made from the main ingredients of ratatouille. Finished with fresh oregano, feta cheese and a drizzle of balsamic glaze, this is a side that can hold its own at the Easter table.

And if you love lamb but don’t want to cook an entire leg, here’s a suggestion from the Washington Post: boneless leg of lamb steaks. The best are evenly cut slabs similar to beef steaks, but any cut of boneless leg of lamb will work.

Just season the lamb and grill it. Serve it with any of the sides here or with the leeks and potatoes included in the recipe. It’s a much faster meal to prepare than a whole leg of lamb with roasted potatoes.

It’s not pasta. Lemony carrot “fettuccine” is made by tossing carrot ribbons with a low-fat cream cheese dressing. Toasted walnuts and chopped chives finish the dish.

This citrus pine nut broccoli slaw includes dried apricots.

Ratatouille cakes can be a side dish to Easter lamb (or ham) or a vegetarian main dish.

Grilled lamb with leeks and potatoes is a good dinner option for a small Easter gathering.
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Teri Mena: The Mailbox Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:00:00 +0000 Favoring curry

I have tried in vain to find a recipe that comes close to the delicious LT7 – red curry stir fry with chicken served at Sophia’s Thai Restaurant in Davis. I would appreciate any help in getting the recipe or something that comes very close. I always want to lick the plate to get every bit of the sauce. Thank you.

– Erin Seay, Davis

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Narsai’s marinade with fresh, local lamb from the Sierra Foothills Wed, 16 Apr 2014 04:58:40 +0000 0 Dining News: Restaurant Owner Reacts to ‘Mean’ Sac Bee Restaurant Review Wed, 16 Apr 2014 04:55:00 +0000 0 Recipe: Gluten-Free Vegan Strawberry Vanilla Bean Cookies Wed, 16 Apr 2014 00:16:00 +0000

Saturday afternoon, on our way to visit old friends with monstrous black and white cookies in hand, I had a strong, urgent craving for fresh strawberries. I picked up some of the luscious, plump berries at a market on the way and deliberated what I would make with the sweet little guys. 
Sunday morning, I pulled out my favorite gluten free cookie recipe, chopped up the bright, juicy strawberries, and split my vanilla beans, whipping up these wicked little delights.

The beau says they remind him of strawberry toaster pastries, which is pretty spot-on. You might say they are gluten-free, vegan, strawberry toaster pastries, with a fancy, grown-up, gourmet twist. 
He also said they would taste like a combination of two of his old favorites if they had macadamia nuts and white chocolate chunks. 
While in active duty, across the country from me and my baked goods, two of his favorite cookies were white chocolate macadamia nut and raspberry white chocolate chunk cookies [from Subway], they were always super soft and irresistibly tasty, but who knows what went into them?

I may take his advice and add macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips (if I can make a dairy-free white chocolate), just to see what sort of dangerously tasty product comes of it.

Gluten Free Vegan Strawberry Vanilla Bean Cookies

makes 1 1/2 - 2 dozen

-1/2 cup vegan buttery spread
-2/3 cup organic sugar
-scraped beans from 2 vanilla bean pods
-1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
-1  vegan egg
-3 Tablespoons non dairy milk of choice
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 
-1/4 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
-1/3 cup sweet white rice flour
-1/3 cup coconut flour
-1/3 cup brown rice flour
-1/3 cup millet flour
-3/4 cup chopped fresh strawberries
-2 Tablespoons arrowroot starch

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick baking mat.
2. Beat vegan buttery spread and sugars until fluffy. Beat in scraped vanilla beans. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, beat.
3. Add salt, cream of tartar, baking soda and flours, combine. If dough appears crumbly, add a touch more milk, one tablespoon at a time.
4. Combine chopped strawberries and arrowroot starch. Stir into dough, just to evenly distribute.
5. Plop by 1-2 Tablespoonfuls onto lined baking sheets, I used a small ice cream scoop. Flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until edges turn golden, baking time depends on size. Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet 5 minutes.


inspired by my Gluten Free Cookie Recipe
optional substitutions...
-vegan buttery spread: coconut oil
-sugar: coconut sugar
-flours: gluten free flour of choice, you can use your preferred flours or play with different combinations.

Mangia! Mangia!
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The Firehouse’s Smoked Salmon Crepes Tue, 15 Apr 2014 18:27:58 +0000 Eric Rucker in the kitchen with Chef Deneb Williams from The Firehouse to learn how to make Smoked Salmon Crepes.

Smoked Salmon

1 lb wild salmon

Dry Brine
1/2 lb brown sugar
1/4 lb kosher salt
1/2 wtoz …

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Thinking about backyard chickens? Take a class Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:36:00 +0000 0 Root Vegetables: Don’t Forget ‘Em Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:35:00 +0000 0 Try It: Ruhstaller 1881 California Red Ale Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:23:00 +0000 0 The Real Deal : South (Menu Sneak Peek) Tue, 15 Apr 2014 16:35:00 +0000
(Barbeque Shrimp over Cheesy Grits)
Over the course of the last six months, I've received numerous emails asking if the little Southern restaurant near Southside Park I mentioned late last summer was still going to open up shop. The restaurant, South, does still have plans to open its doors soon. In fact, I attended a small dinner party/private menu tasting at the home of the owners, Ian and N'Gina Kavookjian, just Sunday night and was lucky enough to sample some of the dishes that'll be on the menu. I walked in not knowing what to expect and walked out thinking, "Wow! South is the real deal." If the menu items I tasted are an indication of what we have to look forward to, then Sac's in for a serious treat. The Kavookjian's aren't amateurs throwing chicken bits in the fryer and slapping bacon on everything and declaring their menu "Southern," these guys know how to make food so good that you'll have no alternative but to say, "Screw it!" when it comes to your diet and order another round of gumbo.
"If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with him...the people who give you their food give you their love." ~Cesar Chavez
Their website boasts the mission statement, " South is traditional family food, unpretentious, with no gimmicks, and no crazy science. At South we are not trying to reinvent the wheel, we are just trying to express 200 years of our family’s story on a 12” plate." I couldn't have said it better myself. What I encountered in their kitchen was Southern hospitality and fare at its finest. Ian and N'Gina have over thirty years of restaurant and hotel experience between the two of them. They have the business stuff down pat but what sets them apart from a lot of the restaurants currently opening up in the Grid is that they know how to make you feel like family just in the span of one visit. From Ian's friendly chatter about the history of Carolina rice to N'Gina's brilliant smile and infectious laughter, you can't help but feel like you've known the two of them for ages. I have a feeling that South will be one of those restaurants that will be quickly embraced by the neighborhood. Simple, straightforward yet remarkable meals, passionate proprietors, and a relaxed atmosphere...oh, and did I mention that they plan to have a full bar? So add delicious cocktails to the mix. South most definitely has all the makings of a phenomenal neighborhood restaurant.
(Vegetarian friends don't despair, according to Ian and N'Gina, South plans to have an exciting, secret vegetarian menu for it's non-meat eating guests.)
Food-wise, here's a sneak peek at some of the delicious goodies South plans to offer:
Picnic Board- Country ham, pickled beets, deviled eggs and Farmhouse cheddar. The perfect accompaniment to a refreshing glass of wine or an ice-cold Southern beer. The deviled eggs were terrific, if I had had a bigger purse I would have snuck a few out of there. ☺
Chicken and Andouille Gumbo (over Carolina rice)- this dish blew me away. I'm pretty high maintenance when it comes to gumbo. I dislike it if it's too spicy, watery or oily. Seriously, I'm worse than Goldilocks. This gumbo was perfect. I loved the spicy rounds of Andouille and the sauce wasn't overwhelmingly hot. I even dipped my cornbread in the leftover gumbo sauce, it was too good to waste.

Spicy BBQ Shrimp over Cheesy Grits - plump, spicy shrimp over a base of silky, sinful cheesy grits - this dish will make your eyes roll back in your head. Who knew cayenne, homemade shrimp stock and onions were all you needed to make food magic?
Fried Chicken- perfectly cooked. Juicy on the inside, properly seasoned and crispy on the outside. (The chicken shown was sliced up into bite-sized pieces so we could share during the dinner party.) South exhibits some home-style cooking that's so good that you might need to peek into their kitchen to make sure your Memaw's not back there frying up the chicken herself.
We also had some Black-eyed Peas with Jalapeños, but I was busy enjoying my delicious Pimm's Cup and forgot to snap a photo. Sorry!
The proposed menu is as follows (a mix of old school and new school Southern cuisine):


A definitive opening date hasn't been set yet; however, South will be participating in several culinary and community events over the summer. They also do private catering.
You can also keep abreast of their Indiegogo campaign (starting on April 16th) on their website: South
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Free cake today at Hock Farm to celebrate first anniversary Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:45:00 +0000 0 Esparto’s Natalie Zentner grew up on a cattle ranch Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:00:44 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 0 SF Weekly recommends Sacramento’s cocktail scene Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:00:00 +0000
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