My husband and I love to visit the Napa Valley in January or February when it is not crowded, and the rolling hills are green and covered with yellow mustard flowers. The air is usually crisp in the morning and warm in the afternoon.
Did you know that the Napa Valley is the only Agricultural Preserve in the United States? With an abundance of different wineries and fabulous restaurants, the valley’s cute little towns lure visitors from all over the world. I feel so lucky that I live within a two-hour drive to this gorgeous spot on earth. .
My husband is the wine expert in the family, so he gets to pick the wineries we visit. Since we belong to the Foley Johnson Wine Club, we always visit their wineries. Click here for our 2018 visit to Napa and read more about their beautiful wineries. If you go, I recommend you pick a few you really like, as there are so many beautiful and often spectacular ones. I read that there are approximately 475 wineries in the Napa Valley, 95% of which are family owned.
This year, we visited the Culinary Institute of America Greystone in the Napa Valley. I have eaten there several times and have never been disappointed
We only had a quick lunch at the cafeteria and it was delicious. All the food is prepared and served by CIA students under the direction of a CIA director. I had a wonderful Caesar salad with a moist chicken breast and my husband had a delicious small pizza that he shared with me. For dessert, the chocolate-caramel nut cookie with my espresso was divine. I bought some local products at their store. There are also tours of the Institute. The Gatehouse restaurant is part of the Institute and serves creative meals prepared by the students.
Just as my husband likes his wineries, I love to overnight at Indian Springs in Calistoga to swim in their amazing pool. The pool was built in 1910 and is completely fed by naturally hot geyser water that ranges from 92-101 degrees Fahrenheit. There are four geysers and the water comes from a 400-foot depth heated by the earth’s hot magma. I love to float in the pool for hours, especially at night or in the early morning. It’s an experience that I treasure.
The two days went by too fast, and before I knew it, I was back at home and dreaming of next year. As soon as I got home, I started to work on some new recipes. One of the recipes was from a famous chef and his new cookbook promoting a healthy diet, which was a Christmas gift from my son. I picked a recipe I thought I would like: fish marinated in miso and cooked in parchment paper with bok choy. It totally bombed—for which I take full responsibility. Once again, I realized that not every recipe works for me. In the meantime, I’ll stick with my foolproof Mediterranean recipe with fish and vegetables baked in parchment paper. Click here for the recipe.
There are some wonderful pears in the store right now, so here are a few pear recipes I have enjoyed over the years.
I baked this almond pear tart last week and everybody loved it. This is a variation of the traditional French-style Pear Frangipane Tart. It is easier to make than it looks.
Click here for the recipe.
This poached pears make a stunning presentation. It's a light dessert, perfect after a heavy winter meal.
Click here for the recipe.
A great bundt cake, full of spices and different flavors. The recipe is from Gale Grand, a pastry chef from Illinois.
Click here for the recipe.
Making the base for this ice cream a day before will develop the flavors. Add more sugar if you want a sweeter ice cream.
Here is a link to the rhubarb compote.
This is the first time I made strawberry jam with homemade pectin. The jam carries the fresh sweet flavor of sweet strawberries. It has the essence of the food. Nothing takes away from the flavor. It is a runny soft jam, thickened just a little by the pectin of the green apples. This is a keeper for years to come.
I bought cooked shrimp instead of cooking raw shrimp. In this case, I don't think it makes much difference. If you omit the shrimp you have a regular salad the goes well with chicken or meat dishes.
This recipe comes from "Preserving the Taste by Edon Wycott." I found it on the cooking channel site. Emeril Lagasse used it in his strawberry recipe. Remember this has to be made at least a day ahead of time before you make your jam.
Boy do I love apricots! In summer, while apricots are in abundance and at their peak of flavor, it's jam making time at my house. Yes, it's a bit of work, but isn't it worth it to have this wonderful fruit all year long? What's better than waking up in the morning, buttering some whole grain toast and then slathering on a heaping spoonful of this fruit goodness. Nothing I say. Nothing is better.
The almond pits add a delicate hint of bitter almond flavor. I roast all the almond kernels in a preheated oven at 350˚ for 10 to 15 minutes . This makes them easier to crack them open and also destroys an enzyme that generates poisonous prussic acid when the kernels are mixed with water. I crack my kernels with a hammer and roast the remaining pits for another 5 minutes. For this recipe I used about 8 pits and chopped them .
I made two batches of Jam. The Plum Jam is very tart. The second batch is dense and sweet. I like making them because they are so easy to make. While they are baking you can relax, read or clean the house. In Germany, jam is usually made with " Gelierzucker", a mix of sugar and dry pectin I assume. I made my own by mixing dry pectin and sugar together. This Jam needs to be processed in a water bath to seal correctly. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.
This is my husbands favorite jam. He uses it for his peanut butter sandwiches. It is a tart thick jam that will stay on your toast. Because of the blackberries it will have some seeds. I have made this jam with blueberries instead of blackberries and it is just as good. This is an easy and quick way to make jam. This is a tart jam with a berry flavor.
This is a recipe I have used for years and it is a favorite it has a tart fruity flavor with a tang which I believe comes from the combination of the lemon juice and the grated green apple. Last year more of the strawberries were left whole than this year and I think I like it better that way. One can manipulate the consistency of the jam by how long it is cooked. This is a no fuss recipe which is easy to make.
WELCOME TO SUNNY COVE CHEF
Thank you for visiting my blog. My two passions are cooking and traveling. Traveling exposes me to a wide variety of food and experiences. I walk around cities looking for markets, restaurants, bakeries, shops, you name it, and if it is related to food you will find me there, tasting, smelling, talking to vendors, and having a great time.