Join Me In July As I Cook For a Fantastic Farm to Fork Event July 23rd

I will be excitedly joining Matthew Domingo, Director of Farm to fork Events to be a guest Chef for his July 23rd event at Willow-Witt Ranch in Ashland featuring their wonderful pastured pork and goat.  Enjoy wines by Weisinger’s Winery as we celebrate local farmers and wineries and enjoy food right at the source.  It will be a fantastic opportunity to meet the ranchers and learn about what goes into a fun and fabulously prepared dinner.   Farm to Fork events have become known for their interactive dining formats and this evening will prove to be no different.  Come join us and see what’s new from The Jacksonville Inn.

West Coast Flavors in KTVL Channel 10 News.

Now that March Madness is over, Today was the second  airing of 6 episodes of West Coast Flavors we shot.  For all of you “Local” folks, it will be on Channel 10 KTVL at 5:00pm every Thursday.  Tune in and check it out…

If you want to check the episodes out on line, they will be posted here as they air:

http://www.ktvl.com/sections/recipes/

We got an extra minute today, so Grab 3.5 minutes worth of popcorn and enjoy!

Jim, Innkeeper at The Wine Country Inn

I’m currently staying in St. Helena at The Wine Country Inn.  Beautiful even though I have arrived in the middle of a huge rainstorm.  I have been put up in one of the luxury cottages.  Thanks Jim, even though I have yet to meet you.  And thanks to Jerry for setting it up for me.  The purpose of this post is to relay something that occurred to me by staying here.  An epiphany of sorts.  See, I like Jim already and I have not even met him.  Here’s why:

I read a small piece he wrote on how he says he likes 5 star properties. It went like this:

“For this video, my wife wanted me to tell a story, but it was too long. For my 50th birthday, I wanted a huge celebration trip. I               read reviews of great hotels all over the world. I came up with a long list of 4-Star and 5-Star properties to visit. My wife reviewed         the list.

“You hate 5-Star properties,” she informed me.
“What, I love them,” I corrected her.
“You hate them,” she insisted.
“What are you talking about, look at these places, watch the virtual tours, they are all beautiful,” I whined.
“Granted, they are beautiful, but you don’t like dressing for breakfast, or even lunch for that matter. You love the luxury, but you         hate the attitude.”
Of course, she was right. And as The Wine Country Inn has become more and more luxurious, I have kept that in mind. I hope you       enjoy staying at The Inn as much as I love running it.”

I have been writing a lot about fine dining and how it’s changing.  Evolving.  And this is exactly why.  There is a big move to a casual feel. For the most part, guests want 5 star food.  They want attentive service.  They don’t want to dress up.  They don’t want to have to choose from 12 different types of silverware.  They don’t want to sit through a 3-4 hour dinner.  Fun, new, exciting, quick.  2-3 courses.  Value.  But…  must be impressive.  This is how things are changing.  I did not have the words to articulate this, but Jim did it perfectly.  Unpretentious hospitality.  Thanks Jim.

Wine Country Inn

St. Helena, California

Farming is the New Cool.

As I have said before.  Youngsters are finding value in hard work again.  Here’s an excerpt from “Cooking up a Story”…

March 10, 2011 As the season begins to change to Spring, I've noticed a lot
more attention being paid to the small farmer. Last week the New York Times
ran a piece on the growing interest of small farming with 20-30 year olds.

Check out the whole article here:
http://cookingupastory.com/interest-in-small-farms-grows?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CookingUpAStory+%28Cooking+Up+A+Story%29

Urban farms are gaining in popularity too.  As a Wise (?) Greek recently told me, The future belongs to the ones who can grow food….

THRIVE Farmer’s Dinner Video

Here is a short video of the THRIVE dinner that happened at Roxyann Winery in September.  Thanks for all that came out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SemHOFYIeqI

World of Wine Event:

What a super night we had last night.  Great wines, gret music and some great food.  Thanks to all that showed up (almost 700 of you) to sample some great food and wine.  We prepared pepper seared Oregon Coastal Albacore tuna with teriyaki marinated black bean salad, wasabi creme fraiche and sesame seaweed salad. 

Rogue Flavor Dinner Coming! September 19th.

On Sunday, September 19th, Farmers and Chefs from the Valley will be getting together at Roxyann Winery to create a memorable 5 course meal to support THRIVE.  I will be working with Bradford Family Farm and their wonderful chickens to create the entrée course.  There will be many farmers and chefs participating and this will be a great opportunity to meet local chefs and farmers and see what’s going on locally.  Like I say, plant a garden and save the world.  I hope to see you there.  Buy your tickets today here:

Rogue Flavor Dinner Tickets

Farm to Fork Dinners Coming!

Farm Dinners Celebrating Southern Oregon’s Farmers, Wineries & Local Food Artisans.  This is something that cannot be missed.  Our friends at Farm to Fork (www.farmtoforkevents.com) have put together a fabulous series of dinners for this summer season.  The opening event is Saturday June 5th at the Salant Family Ranch.  The series will then conclude Saturday November 6th at Dunbar Farms.  There are currently 7 dinners planned and it’s anticipated that they will sell out soon.  Visit http://farmtoforkevents.com/dinners/2010-schedule for details.

Race Day Tomorrow

What do you feed your boss who has a 10 mile race in the Pear Blossom Festival tomorrow?  C-A-R-B-S!!

Spring Vegetable Pasta Agilo E Olio with Jumbo Shrimp…

 

 

GOOD LUCK JERRY!!!

A Chef and His Coffee…

So, I have this thing with coffee thermoses.   I have a particular type I like and, being made of plastic, may break after a while.  About 5 years ago, I stopped seeing this type in the stores I frequent.  They seemed to be replaced with cheaper models with small flaps/seals/caps that break or leek easily.  So, this one I have had for about 6 years and dread the day it needs to be replaced.  This one is the perfect size and keeps the coffee hot just long enough for me to finish it before I need to really focus on work. 

That day came recently.  While trying to turn the capped lid to line up the drinking opening with the handle, the handle broke off!  CRAP!!  In a panic, I turned to our hotel engineer Trapper and asked if he could somehow attach my handle.  30 minutes later, he reappeared with my newly reattached handle.

Now, I knew what he had done as soon as I saw it but had to give him a hard time…

  “Electrical tape, dude??  Couldn’t you at least have used duct tape?”

So, in reality, he had used a super plastic epoxy and the tape was there just to hold the handle in place while it cured.  Still funny.  I have to thank Trapper because a month later, the handle is holding on stong even without the tape.  Thanks, dude…

Greek Independance Day.

The celebration of Greek Independence Day on March 25th draws inspiration from one of the holiest days for Greek Orthodox Christians, the Annunciation of the Theotokos. This is the day that the Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear a child. Bishop Germanos of Patras seized the opportunity by raising the banner of revolution, in an act of defiance against the Turks and marked the beginning of the War of Independence. Cries of Zito H Ellas and Eleftheria H Thanatos can still be heard today. These freedom fighters, or klephts as they were called, of Greece sacrificed much for their country. Kolokotronis, Nikitara, Karaiskakis, Bouboulina, and Mpotsaris are some of the heroes of the revolution.

The struggle for independence was supported abroad by intellectuals of the day. In addition to the Secret Society of Friends (Filiki Etaeria) and the Sacred Band (Ieros Lohos) prominent world figures including Lord Byron of England, Daniel Webster and Dr. Samuel Gridly Howe of the United States raised the interest level among Europeans and Americans.

After centuries of unsuccessful uprisings and failure of the Ottoman Empire to assimilate and convert the Greeks, The War of Independence began in 1821 rising up against 400 years of occupation and oppression by the Ottoman Turks. The origin of the Turkish occupancy began in 1453 with the fall of Constantinople (currently referred to as Istanbul). All true and faithful Hellenes living in their occupied homeland reacted to the Turkish oppression and resisted the attempts to deprive the Greeks of their heritage, their freedom and their religion. During the dark years of the Ottoman occupation, thousands were killed and tortured for attending church or teaching their children culture, history and language. It was the Greek Orthodox Church that helped to retain their very identity by the institution of Crypha Scholia (Hidden Schools).

For eight years the fighting ensued, until 1829, when the Sultan Mahmud II, facing Soviet troops at the gates of Constantinople, accepted Greek independence with the Treaty of Andrianople. Copyright 2002 Middlesex Media Exchange.

So, seeing as Platon is Greek (as he reminds me everyday), he has put on a Greek independence day wine dinner with everything Greek.  apparently he has put on these dinners every year for the past 200 years (or something like that).  I felt honored to be a part of this dinner and learned a lot about Greek food and tradition.  We had a belly dancer, Ouzo, lots of Greek (wine?), Platon’s magical storytelling and tons of fun.  Here are some shots of the food.  This was yet another sellout event.  Platon worked with us in the kitchen and produced about 99% of these items and they were super.

It’s all about the display…

Here are some shots of the cheese table that Platon set up from the old growth local pear tree wood he cut down.  He did a remarkable job and it truly shows the effort put into it.  Local cheeses displayed on local pear wood.  Awesome!

WOW!

Oregon Cheesemaker’s Guild Dinner Final

This was a great time.  Really enjoyed havin fun with some killer cheese.  Thanks for all that came.  We had a sell out crowd of 132 people. 

Ancient Heritage Dairy Scio Heritage Sheep’s Milk Cheese and Prosciutto Sandwich with Creamy Sweet Onion and Duck Confit Soup with White Truffle Essence

Green Olive Stuffed Quail over Tillamook White Cheddar Polenta with Crispy Cheddar Tuilles

Rogue Creamery Caveman Blue Cheese Crusted Filet of Beef with Oregon Black Truffle-Potato Puree, Spring Onion and Sweet Pea Ragout and Local Cabernet Reduction

Three Ring Farms River’s Edge Fresh Chevre and Pistachio Truffles with Belgium Hot Chocolate Topped with Cocoa “Caviar”

Oregon Cheesemakers Guild Dinner SOLD OUT.

Sorry, folks.  I just got the cheeses today.  Man, are they fantastic!  Thanks to Rogue Creamery, Ancient Heritage Dairy, Three Ring Farms, and the Tillamook folks for all this killer cheese…  Here is the heart and the sole of the dinner.

Farming=Hard Work=The New Cool

I see a new trend that’s starting to emerge.  Chef’s have been wanting to get closer to the food that they are preparing and many actually have their own working farms rasing everything from pigs to a plethora of produce.  But, something more is happening. 

Farming is starting to take on a new mentality.  There are younger kids that are graduating high school and actively seeking internships at working farms (typically smaller, family run farms).  Not afraid of hard work, these kids realize that the best thing we can do for the planet is plant a garden.  There’s a higher sense of purpose now associated with farming.  A sort of getting back to your roots or getting back to basics.   I have always had tremendous respect for farmers and now I see a new generation not afraid to take risks and think (or grow) outside the box.  There’s a huge emphasis on growing organic, open pollinated and heritage (heirloom) varieties of produce.  It makes me proud to see the tides turning and witness a revolt against large, corporate run farms.  I truly believe the days of farming subsidies will be over soon as farmers are keying in on how to run a smart business focused on local communities, not how to mass produce tasteless vegetables and fruits and find ways to ship them thousands of miles away.  It’s with this new sence of pride and stewardship that I say “Godspeed”.  What can I do to help?

Oregon Cheese Guild Dinner Coming!

Mark your calendars.  March 19th at 6:15pm at the US Hotel right next to the Jacksonville Inn.  We will be featuring cheeses from Rogue Creamery, Three Ring Farms, Tillamook and Ancient Heritage Dairy.  Tickets are $75 a person all inclusive.

http://www.roguecreamery.com/product.asp?specific=231

Menu

1st Course:

Ancient Heritage Dairy Scio Heritage Sheep’s Milk Cheese and Prosciutto Sandwich with Creamy Sweet Onion and Duck Confit Soup with White Truffle Essence

2nd Course

Green Olive Stuffed Quail over Tillamook White Cheddar Polenta with Crispy Cheddar Tuilles

3rd Course

Rogue Creamery Caveman Blue Cheese Crusted Filet of Beef with Oregon Black Truffle-Potato Puree, Spring Onion and Sweet Pea Ragout and Local Cabernet Reduction

4th Course

Three Ring Farms River’s Edge Chevre and Pistachio Truffles with Belgium Hot Chocolate

 

There is also a day-long festival on Saturday the 20th at Rogue Creamery in Central Point.  General admission is only $10 and $5 for a wine flight.  It will take place in a farmer’s market style under a huge tent and promises to be a lot of fun. 

“The farmer’s market format will present an interactive experience between makers and visitors, giving everyone an opportunity to talk about the product, the process and learn each individual cheesemaker’s story,” says David Gremmels, owner with Cary Bryant of Rogue Creamery. “It’s a way to truly be connected with the source of the cheese being presented.”

I hope to see you there!

 

Abacela Wine Maker’s Dinner

Here are some shots from the Abacela Wine Maker’s dinner last night.

Steamed Clams and Mussels with Baby Winter Broccoli, Portuguese Sausage and Saffron Risotto Cakes

Beet and Herbed Goat Cheese “Ravioli” with Pickled Red Onions and Pesto Vinaigrette

Seared Lamb Carpaccio with Truffle Aioli and Focaccia Crisps

Olive Oil Poached (Sous Vide) filet of Beef with Salt Cod Cakes, Olive Soil and Brown Butter-Balsamic Green Beans

 

Rogue Creamery “Echo Mountain” Blue Cheese 3 Ways

1.   Brulee with Raspberry “Caviar”

2.   Port Wine Poached Sekle Pears filled with Blue Cheese and Candied Walnuts with Rosemary “Paint”

3.   Sous Vide with Oven Cured Raspberries

Here’s a shot of the raspberry caviar being dropped into frozen canola oil to set into perfect little caviar size spheres.

Special thanks to Earl and Hilda Jones for coming and bringing some spectacular wines and sharing with us a lot about the important work they do.

Thrive.

I think it’s time we join THRIVE (THe Rogue Initiative For A Vital Economy).  This organization does many, MANY things.  But, to over simplify it, it works to promote local products and businesses keeping dollars in the valley.  This is a natural for farmers and cooks (Note-Farmers and cooks working together for a sustainable future…)  Mr. and Mrs. Smith come to visit us at the Jacksonville Inn (A local, independent Hotel).  They stay, and dine.  The pay for the goods and services and leave having a wonderful experience.  The revenue that they gave us is used to pay for produce I purchase from Farmer Joe about 5 miles down the road.  This way, the money stays in circulation here in the valley and creates a stable, THRIVING local economy.  Okay, this is way over simplified.  If you are not familiar with THRIVE, I recommend checking out the site.

www.thriveoregon.org

Great stuff.

S.O.H.O. Dinner #3

Here are some shots from the latest S.O.H.O. dinner…

Oregon Black Truffle Risotto Tart with Roasted Butternut Sauce

 Portobello Mushroom Soup with White Truffle Essence and Fresh Chevre

48 Hour Braised Beef Short Ribs with Parsnip Puree and Winter Vegetable Jus

 

 

 

White Chocolate-Pistachio Truffles Set in Curry-Coconut Gelee

 

 

Thanks for all that came.  It was fun.

Spring is Coming

Looking forward to the wild Oregon items…  Ramps, watercress, morels (OMG, Morels…) and other springtime favs… Peas, strawberries, rhubarb, asparagus, fresh favas, radish, turnips, beets, garlic scapes, fiddleheads, …  YUM!

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