An Italian Meal in California

    We just returned from a fabulous trip to Italy. During our stay in Sarteano, Auntie Jo made us the most amazingly simple pasta dish with roasted tomatoes. Looking around the kitchen last night for something wonderful to prepare for dinner, I noticed that my basket of tiny pear-shaped tomatoes from Berkeley Bowl was at the point of needing desperately to be eaten. I remembered the delicious Italian roasted tomatoes with pasta that Auntie Jo had just made for us in Italy. I rinsed and sliced all the tomatoes, peeled the garlic and commenced chopping. As I sprinkled my freshly chopped garlic onto the tomatoes, it suddenly occurred to me that Auntie Jo had left all the cloves whole! Oh well… I spied a bag of really small red onions in my pantry and decided they would be a lovely addition; I sliced one and tossed it in. Drizzled the whole thing with olive oil–Santa Giulia, Raccolto 2013, Olio Extravergine di Oliva, Terre Di Siena, which I lovingly carried home in my suitcase–popped the dish into my handy toaster oven (set to 400 degrees) for about 20 minutes and voilà. Boiled half a box of organic De Cecco Penne Rigate No. …

    Fall Gourmet Newsletter, Volume 5

      This Saturday (Nov. 2) is the perfect time for a shopping trip to Orinda. Stop by the Orinda Community Center’s 37th Annual Holiday Bazaar for plenty of yummy samples of our specialty food products. My booth will be in the main auditorium, a great place to pick up gifts for the upcoming holiday season. I’ll have pre-made gift baskets and gift bags for you to choose from. I’ve been invited to judge at the 4th Annual International Chocolate Salon at Fort Mason in San Francisco. Tickets are required, so get yours now and come enjoy a day of chocolate. I hope to bump into you in the aisles where I’ll be busy taking notes on the more than 30 chocolatiers, confectioners, wineries and other culinary artisans attending. Chocolate drinks, chocolate truffles, chocolate dipped fruits and chocolates infused with everything from chili pepper to lavender. If it’s a trend in chocolate, you can bet it will be at this year’s Chocolate Salon. Another Christmas show has been added to my 2013 Events schedule. Christmas at Kohl Mansion is a tradition I’ve enjoyed for more than 10 years. The Mansion will be beautifully decorated for Christmas, a true sight to behold–the perfect setting for …