Cooking Eating Dining Sharing

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Newer Calming Agent

(This is a post I wrote in January of 2013, and I feel it is just as relevant now.)

Peace and Gratitude,
I don't know how your new year is starting off, but for me, this year is off to a frightful start.   A tragedy in my Oakland community ended the month of January, and I am feeling the affects.  It has spilled over into every day, every week and now month.  It is hard to get over shocking news, sad news, and death feels so final.  Somehow, we keep going. Even with thoughts swirling of how and why, and again, of that person's short life and all of us who are left to pick up the pieces, however small a part we played, somehow feel responsible.

By having compassion, I think all things are possible.  It first has to start with ourselves.  Being good to ourselves might sound selfish or self-centered, but really, by accepting ourselves (warts and all) and being gentle, we learn to be gentle and accepting of others.  It sounds so simple doesn't it?  It really is a matter of breaking down the habitual patterns that we carry with us and learn to live in a more spacious place.  A place of acceptance and possibility, rather than fear and ignorance.

When I first started meditating several years ago.  I was struck by the simplicity, yet I immediately felt results (not a very Buddhist term, but hey!).  I noticed feelings more often, and felt softer around them.  I didn't feel the need to jump! and react to every feeling, but just noticing it and not pushing it away.  You might say relaxing with it.  Being Ok with it.  Curious about it.  Before meditating, I would stuff it in a hole so deep, it would come out later in a loud and curiously angry statement of some kind.  No wonder. Half the time, I didn't even know I was doing it.

When we can slow down, look, listen~really listen, to what our body is telling us, our mind follows accordingly.  Those soft little whispers of should I do that or should I not, start to get louder.  Should leaves our vocabulary.  IS, is the new word that replaces it.  Just being, in the moment, showing up for your life, whatever that means, without judgements of good or bad can leave us feeling calmer and with more energy to do the things we need to do and be there for those that need us in tough times.  

With Compassion and Peace,

Monday, April 1, 2013

Table Tops!

I was very inspired last week after having the chance to go to La Tavola Linens' gala party for their new 2014 linen lines.  What a beautiful array of tables linens, flowers, and table top decor that is mostly unique to La Tavola.  All these beautiful colors and designs will help us create a beautiful table top for any event of yours!   Think Spring Weddings with some of these great designs.  Or re-imagine them with a touch of fall.

The colors make you swoon!  The fabrics are even more beautiful in person than the photos.   I apologize in advance if some of the pictures are a little blurry,  I was balancing food, wine and photo-taking and couldn't seem to stop any of the activities once I started.   The Fremont Diner did a fantastic job with the food- mini oyster po'boy sandwiches, crostini with goat and asparagus, arancini with peas and a BBQ pork slider.   Crisp made a beautiful dessert buffet as the coup de grace.  What fun!

Here are some of La Tavola's beautiful linens that were set up for us to admire and applaud.   I hope you enjoy!!  Tricia
Easter Special
Our local Gelato purveyor


My favorite/Indigo batik fabric
April Showers 

Springy double designs

Monday, October 29, 2012

OK folks!
Here I am...back from afar....not really, but just seems like it- have been seriously busy since May- and now I see what is meant by the tourist season- when people visit the wine country- May- October is the best weather- but honestly, for us here, the good times are just beginning.  With the slow down of business, it allows all of us in the service industry to relax, sit by the fire, read, get caught up with friends and family and BLOG!

So with that in mind I made this delicious soup- inspired from the Bi-Rite cookbook, I swapped their parsnips- for fennel instead.  It is a creamy french style soup- pureed with a little cream at the end.   Topped with fresh Italian parsley it is a perfect start to any Autumn meal.
After the liquid is added- the mustard gives it a nice yellow color
Potato, Celeriac and Fennel Soup 

Potato, Leek, Fennel and Celraic Soup

1 TBS unsalted butter
1 TBS olive oil
2 LG leeks, finely chopped
Kosher salt
2 LG yukon gold potatoes, quartered
1 small celeriac, chopped medium
1 small head of fennel, chopped medium
2 LG cloves of garlic, left whole
1 tsp mustard
4 Lg sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups broth; chicken or vegetarian
1 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 TBS lemon juice

Top with a dollop of creme fraiche or chopped chives

In a soup pot or Dutch oven melt the butter and heat the olive oil, add the leeks.  Cook for a bout 5-7 minutes or until soft.  Add the garlic, potatoes, celeriac and fennel.  Cook for another 10 minutes.  While stirring, add the mustard, thyme, and bay leaf and continue cooking for another 2 minutes or so.  Add the wine and cook until all the liquid has evaporated.  About 1 minute.  Continue to cook, partially covered, until the veggies have started to soften.  Using an immersion blender, carefully puree the soup until it is completely creamy.  If you prefer a thinner soup- you can add a little more broth.

Serve hot with a crostini, chopped chives or a dollop of creme fraiche.

Happy Cooking!  Tricia

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Glen Ellen Star

Three time's a charm when you are looking to drop in on the hottest new dining spot in Glen Ellen. The Glen Ellen Star restaurant opened less than a month ago to much  excitement and anticipation.  It's located on the corner of Arnold Dr and Warm Springs, you can't miss it in this small town.  Just follow the line of people walking in that direction.  Star's cheerful maitre' d will be waiting to greet you when you arrive and a delicious menu and cozy atmosphere.  

My favorite thing about this restaurant is the beautifully situated wood burning oven and open kitchen.  It allows for a visually pleasing taste of all the hard work that goes into putting together dish after dish.  Each plate is lovingly attended to by owner and Chef Ari Weiswasser.  Ari and his wife, dynamo Erinn Benzinger-Weiswasser wanted to create a warm, rustic neighborhood restaurant and they hit the nail on the head with an inspired interior space and a modern rustic cottage feel.  This style of cottage is similar to a lot of cottages that you might find dotted all over the Glen Ellen area, only this one has been upgraded to show open high-beam ceilings, new rustic wood flooring and a touch of modern, with light weight aluminum chairs.  Even the bathroom is stunning!  Along with the delicious food, these ingredients add up to a wonderful dining experience.

Last night, the sitting area around the open kitchen was filled with singles and couples all trying out the various menu choices.  I noticed two well-known local restauranteurs dining together, checking out their (friendly) competition and having fun in the process.   They were eating the delicious paella and lamb, (exquisite looking, by the way) with approving eyes and taste buds.  It was fun to see the wait staff dancing and whirling around them while keeping their wine glasses topped off.   My husband and I shared their special salad of grilled zucchini, zucchini blossoms, roasted potatoes, pickled tomato, and croutons with a couple of dollops of yogurt raita at $9.  Following the salad came a perfectly cooked Margherita pizza for $12.  A real deal!  With their wood-fired oven sizzling away in the background, you could taste it before it landed in front of you and into your mouth.  The crust just browned, tomato sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil is one of my favorite combinations.  What could be better for the arrival of summer?  Our main course was a delicious paella with perfectly cooked octopus and shrimp.  It was a little pricey at $25, but a perfect size for two, and worth every penny and bite!  We don't always order dessert, but who can resist homemade gelato for $5?  Salted peanut butter gelato anyone?  My husband was swooning, I thought he was going to fall off his chair. and if you can't finish it, that's fine, its served in a sweet 1/2 pint container with a lid for easy travelling.   Call ahead for a reservation or go online and check out their menu for take out.   Hours: Sunday-Thursday 5:30-9:00pm, Friday and Saturday 5:30-9:30pm  13648 Arnold Dr. Glen Ellen

Happy Dining!  Tricia