Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Napa Valley Pilgrimage

Glynnis and me at Ehlers Estate

Matt and Glynnis were in the midst of a pilgrimage when Z and I met them.  Beginning in Georgia, they made their way to Miami before eventually landing in Louisville for a four year layover.  There was never a question of if they would move to Napa it was merely a matter of when.  I was sad to see them leave but inspired by their innate sense of going home... home to somewhere they had only visited but knew was their intended place.  The fringe benefit is that we now have a home-base in downtown Napa and Matt and Glynnis welcomed us with open arms this past February as we made our annual journey to the Valley.  It's beautiful to see how their roots in Napa have grown and they are now a vibrant part of the framework of this idyllic community.  We love tagging along in their dreamland, if only for a few days, and the itinerary of our visits has always remained the same - tour the vineyards all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday, spoiling ourselves rotten and dining unabashedly each evening on the locally grown goodness.  This trip however would offer a detour as we came to California with the specific intention of attending the Flora Springs Trilogy Release Party.  Matt and Glynnis had been building up this event to us for years and I was not at all surprised when it proved to be even better than expected.  It was the high point of a weekend filled with wine, cheese, Model Bakery English muffins, wine, brioche stuffed chicken, pizza, wine, curried cauliflower, hand-rolled mozzarella, wine, paella and more wine.  It was a blissful weekend and we are always pleased and thankful to be a piece of a chapter from the storybook of Matt and Glynnis.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Foxhollow Farm Tacos with Pickled Vegetables, Goat Cheese & Microgreens

Tacos are so wonderfully adaptable, their malleability making them the perfect dish to experiment with in the kitchen.  With that spirit in mind, this recipe takes tacos down a slightly different path... a path paved with pure grass fed goodness from Foxhollow Farm.  Gone is the overly seasoned, overly processed, mass produced ground beef.  Here instead the natural flavors of Foxhollow's beef are enhanced simply and richly with a homemade blend of cumin, garlic and cayenne.  Bourbon Barrel Worcestershire sauce and freshly squeezed lime keep the meat moist and the flavor complex.  Pickled red onion, peppers, carrots and cabbage take the place of the usual diced tomatoes and white onion while bagged shredded cheddar cheese is happily moved aside to make room for locally made, lightly creamy Capriole Farm's goat cheese.  Newly harvested microgreens from Foxhollow's greenhouse top everything off, their freshness a welcome note in this compilation of flavors.  If you aren't already sold on Foxhollow's grass fed ground beef, I am confident that this recipe will do the trick.  I am equally as confident that you will fall unabashedly in love with the technique of quick pickling.  Few things add such complexity and satisfaction to a dish and you will find yourself wanting to add your personal blend of veggies to nearly everything.  A classic meal with a welcome twist - consider this your new go-to for taco night!

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Farmer & The Foodie

A long time in the making, The Farmer & The Foodie is a collaboration between myself and my dear friend Maggie Keith - aka Farm Girl - who is the Gardner and Co-Owner of Foxhollow Farm.  A radio show airing Sunday's at 1pm on Crescent Hill Radio, The Farmer & The Foodie was born from the extreme love Maggie and I have for all things food and farming!  We find a passion in the bounty of the Bluegrass and love nothing more than discussing the variety of ways we can be in better touch with what we eat.  Every week we share recipes, chat about whats going on at the farm and give cooking and gardening tips along with a bit of wine education.  Listen to The Farmer & The Foodie every Sunday at 1pm on or visit our page here to find all of our previous episodes.  Please join The Farmer & The Foodie for a fresh look at home-grown dining and entertaining in the Bluegrass!

Farm-Girl & Me at La Boqueria, Barcelona's World-Renowned Marketplace

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Chorizo & Cheddar Mini Frittatas

Often lauded as the most important meal of the day, breakfast is something Z and I celebrate on the weekends.  Weekday mornings are generally rushed, an English muffin with peanut butter and jelly all I can manage to throw together as I jet out of the door.  Highly unglamorous, this meal is purely functional, giving me a start to the day and a bridge to lunch.  Breakfast on Saturday and Sunday on the other hand, is an event.  As my sweet tooth is rather muted, our weekend breakfast regiment often begins with a mixture of eggs, and bacon or sausage in some manner.  As I am always envisioning new ways to prepare these breakfast pantry standards, I was delighted when I caught a glimpse of Giada serving bite-sized frittatas on her show.  I made a point of picking up a mini-muffin tin the next time I was out and about and have enjoyed mixing and matching the contents of these miniature egg morsels ever since.  My favorite combo thus far has been the marriage of spicy chorizo sausage with the sharp bite of freshly grated cheddar cheese.  Flecks of minced parsley add color and brightness, the eggs setting perfectly, encapsulating it all together for you to pluck simply from a platter.  Ideal for a lazy weekend morning or as an elegant touch to a brunch buffet, I encourage you to use your imagination when making your mini frittatas.  Feel confidence in knowing that this may very well be the most important meal of your day, wherever your breakfast journey may take you.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Savoy Cocktail Book & the Million Dollar Cocktail

Z came across The Savoy Cocktail Book while perusing the various titles both old and new in Omnivore Books on Food, a culinary-themed bookshop we discovered during our recent trip to San Francisco.  Originally published in London in 1930, The Savoy Cocktail Book is a compilation of classic recipes which have been celebrated with flourish at the American Bar, located in London's Savoy Hotel, since it's opening in the late 1800's.  More recent editions include a section devoted to modern mixes while keeping the classic chapters in tact.  Z's nose has been buried in this book since we returned to Louisville, soaking up recipes detailed and divided into chapters bespeaking of the time such as "Sours," "Toddies," "Flips," "Egg Noggs," "Slings" and "Shrubs."  Quippy musings are offered up throughout, including this statement regarding the recipe for the Blues Cocktail: 'This cocktail removes the Blues if you have them and gives you the Blue Devils if you don't.'

We've been sampling recipes over the past several weeks and found the Million Dollar Cocktail to be an instant favorite.  Pineapple juice, grenadine, Vermouth, Gin and the white of one egg are poured into a glass, given a rigorous shake and then strained into a martini or coupe glass.  The result is a cocktail with incredible balance of flavor, hints of tart sweetness coming through from the pineapple, the vermouth and grenadine smoothing over the edges of the gin.  But what really sets this drink apart is the use of the egg white as a binder.  It creates a fantastic viscosity, the drink becoming creamy yet not heavy.  We sipped, and then made a second batch.  This cocktail was a keeper.  An instant classic.  Just like The Savoy Cocktail Book has been for nearly 100 years.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Foxhollow Farm Sirloin Sandwich with Bleu Cheese Dressing

It's difficult to find a more perfect pair than steak and bleu cheese.  It is by far one of my favorite food love stories.  Foxhollow Farm's beef top sirloin offers up the ideal platform for a variety of dishes and this month I chose to showcase it in the form of an artisanal and rustic sandwich, a rich and creamy bleu cheese dressing binding every element together into the perfect bite.  The beef top sirloin has just enough marbling to stay juicy and flavorful but remains deliciously modest, unlike it's uber-decadent cousin the ribeye.  A marinade highlighted by provisions from Bourbon Barrel Foods adds richness to the beef and sets off the cool, creaminess of the bleu cheese dressing.  Sharp red onions and peppery arugula round out this sandwich, one which could easily be turned into a handy slider or could live an alternate life as a slightly-sinful yet refreshing salad.  Wrapped up in an airy, crisp ciabatta blanket, I have no doubt you enjoy every bite of this sandwich.  After all, it's filled with Foxhollow beef.  What's not to love?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

48 Hours in San Francisco

Mission Dolores Park, San Francisco
"This is what the term 'melting pot' means" I muse to Z.  We are in the process of scaling one of San Francisco's famously steep streets, lines of cars parked perpendicular to the sidewalk, a precarious sight.  A gust of wind thrown just the right way would surely send them toppling like dominos to the bottom of the hill.  But yet they make sense, all while seemingly defying the laws of gravity.  With a couple of tours of this city by the bay under my belt, I'm beginning to think that this is it's shtick; San Francisco operates by it's own set of rules and is individual in every sense of the word.  Layered with sophistication and grit, there is a place for everyone and every way in this city.  Z and I arrived on a Wednesday and had the impossible task of absorbing as much of San Francisco's culture as possible in 48 hours.  We mapped out a list of 'must-see' (Golden Gate Park) and 'must-eat' (China Town) priorities and hit the pavement, traversing as many corners of the city as we could on this whirlwind of a trip.  Friday morning we would set off for Napa.  For now, the city would ensconce us.