Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Finally! the Crab!

The past few mornings, I wake to the sea illuminated by the lights of the crab boats finally able to go out and harvest their cages. The sky still dark, the sea punctuated by circles of light evoke a dreamy anticipation in me.I have been waiting for the Dungeness crab for weeks . Last night Eric came into HERE and brought me 12 beautiful sea spiders. They are exceptionally large this year (hoping not a nuclear mutation right?). My kitchen is redolent with the boiling crab, the bay leaf, chili flake and lemon.  I will flash freeze the meat to hold it til later. Crab cakes they'll become for Monday's dinner.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


I left the hill this afternoon to pick up my food for the dinners this week.
I had played phone tag with Mike all week about the bunnies, but we managed to finally connect and were to meet at the farm at 4.

I met Geo in town earlier and picked up the lamb for the Birria, and had a late afternoon time set to pick up the squashes from Kelle and James.

When I called them, I knew that they had to finally put down their beloved dog Betsy
yesterday and it felt awkward and trivial to ask them about squash but when I called James was gracious and welcoming and having been there myself, in fact Kelle and I shared siblings of two different litters over this past 20 something years, which I suppose binds us as even more than family. Her beautiful Betsy is the same age as my Rosie, and this hits close to home on many levels. I arrive there, and they are hanging with family and friends and the grief is palpable, but they are so loving and warm and James brings me these crazy beautiful squashes, again to say that these folks create beauty and love and music within all the rich bounty and challenge that life is.

I leave there to meet Mike to pick up the bunnies that his son Kyle introduced me to last week. When we met, the sky was beginning to shift, wind picking up and the creek was much cooler and shrouded in shade by the bare alders and willows along Shit creek and Mill Street was alive with guys hanging out by their trucks as the swoosh on chill of a winter squall formed.

Mike’s partner Karen Ann had just left this morning for Hawaii to sit at her mother’s bedside, where she was finally letting go after a long bout with cancer. Mike pulls out two large bags of perfectly dressed bunnies for me and we weigh them out in his office as the stories of Karen Ann’s mother, Betsy’s passing, the very present and stark awareness, was perhaps compelled by winter, the green pasture with the Muscovy ducks eating bugs, the goats silent in their pen, the trickle and swoosh of the creek nearby, the crick crack of Alders in a symphonic collision with the wind and the distant sea swell.

Today, my church, my Sunday, before my Monday, the constant beauty and tenderness of life, of sustenance, how fragile it all is, how precious we all are.

This life.

crazy beautiful spaghetti squash from kelle and james

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Menus for Monday January30th & Tuesday the 31st

Boy, did this month fly by!

Here are my offerings for the coming week... Beautiful Greens and squashes from Kelle and James, Reverant Rabbits and Lamb from Windfall Farms and plenty of heat and spice to warm us on these cold winter nights...Enjoy!

Remember that our seating is very limited so reservations in advance are a must! email or call me for one! or 707.882.3286

Winter Greens Soup, collard, kale and chard, the best of dark leafy greens in a hearty soup scented with lemon

Lamb Birria (lamb marinated and slow cooked in a red mole) served with white beans and roasted spaghetti squash all dressed up with fresh cilantro

Guajillo Chili spiked Chocolate Almond Tart with a cactus pear puree

Roasted Carrot Salad with chick peas, red onion, jalepeno and mint

Rabbit Tagine with preserved lemons and sundried olives , Couscous and Arugula

Orange Blossom Scented Orange Curd on Semolina yogurt cake

Sunday, January 22, 2012

News Flash!

We are not going to serving dinner on Monday the 23rd, as we did not collect enough reservations.
We will however be serving on Tuesday so come join us for Cassoulet!

Friday, January 20, 2012

The opening of HERE

The few days leading up to our opening of HERE were some of the most remarkable days in recent memory. We were in this long stretch of mild weather, the temps low, with that hard frost in the morning  but then later on the sky clear and crisp, the sea calm.
Sunday morning I went to visit Mike at Windfall Farm, his young son Kyle greets me at the gate with a wild flurry of ducks flying about his head and scattering at the arrival of my car . Kyle laughs amid the flapping of wings and squacking of duck and geese and exclaims that he just let them all out at the very moment I drove up! His eyes bright  with delight and humor. I am there picking up the beets and the onions, and Mike invites me to help pick the red brussel sprouts . I am deeply moved as he patiently and tenderly shows Kyle, who is 6, (with small hands and agile fingers), how to reach into the plant and snap off the sprouts. Mike is kind and Kyle is eager and we walk down the rows of plants talking about the coming menus and what I can make with what he is growing this winter and do we think it will ever rain again.

Kyle takes me over to the Rabbit House and introduces me to the breeding rabbits by name, and explains why some of them remain and some of them don’t and he shows this impressive confidence about his knowledge of them and their attributes.
He even shares with me his favorite way to to prepare them.

This last September I inaugurated my wood oven and celebrated my birthday with a huge pizza and dance party at my home, and we set up our friend Justin in the doorway, where she nearly killed us all, DJ’ing unstoppable dance tunes, all the while Kyle, danced with every one of us and also mostly did his tremendous moves in front of Justin’s set up.

Kyle, master farmer, rabbit breeding expert and break out dancer.

The next day I went to Kelle and James’ farm and picked up the most beautiful greens, They where honestly poetic, as Kelle and James are in all that they do, breathe and their farm on the ridge, just a few miles from me, is a work of great love, devotion and a deep and true understanding of gardening on every level. I was overwhelmed by the aesthetic of it , every inch a visual feast.
The bags of purple mizuna, baby arugula, romanesco broccoli florets, rainbow chard, dino kale and baby collard greens, vibrant with life and love, beautifully bagged and boxed, waiting for me.
Kelle and James’ old dog Betsy, who is the same age as my Rosie, is very ill and their
grieving and worry was palpable that morning, and we all stood around in their parking area-loving Betsy up, talking about why she can no longer eat, chard, and wondering about the rain, that promised to come but has not.

Opening day, I cooked…and tried to anticipate what was ahead, we were not full which was actually a relief and as I left home to go to the bar, I got in my car and it
was dead… I had to run over to Mark’s house,(thank god he was home), with my swanky coat on, clean Chuck Taylors, and red lipstick… me, now ,running behind. Classic.

We prevailed.

Heather’s childcare fell through and so her beautiful daughter Estelle
Joined us, she tucked away in the wait station with her ipad and her Rubik’s cube, but she mostly spent the evening with Ren and I in the kitchen. She was lovely and mindful and when I would forget something she noticed.
Ren is the son of my dear friend Aimee, who is also serving there, and I was at Ren's birth…His Blessing Way was here at my home, and his mother and I have been friends and co-workers for 25 years.
Ren was instantly perfect in the kitchen and he made my experience more beautiful than I could have ever hoped for. I am as mad for him now as I was the day he was born, when Aimee fed on  the wild blackberry crisp, I brought to her right after birthing him.
The women serving for me have been with me since 1994, Amanda, Aimee and Heather, and we are more than family. We are old friends, confidants, we know nearly everything about one another,we have been through thick and thin together, their children grew up in my restaurants, they and their mothers are part of me and I am part of them. Here we all are again, 18 years later, back at it.

Tonight as I write this it is raining.

The Menus for Monday & Tuesday, the 23rd & 24th of January

Our first week open went really well and we are all so delighted to be doing this and welcome you to HERE

To aquaint any new viewers , We are doing 1 seating between 5:30 and 6pm  and I am offering a prix fixe 3 course menu for 35.00 per person, a 20% gratuity will also be added to the check, corkage is 15.00, but Steven is offering a lovely Mendocino county wine selection, small but great and Hoolis is concocting amazing mixed cocktails from incredible top flight alcohols and exotic ingredients. It is mandatory to make a reservation, as seating is limited and i cannot open if we don't have enough bookings. . Hope to see y'all soon! For reservations, please email me at

Tuesday January 24th

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Cassoulet prepared with flageolet beans, garlic sausage, confit of duck and pork shoulder
Braised winter greens grown by Kelle and James, with a wee bit of garlic and lemon

Creme Caramel

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dinners at the Whale Bar

                           Looks like I will also be doing dinner on Tuesday nights as well.
                    Here is the Menu for Tuesday, January 17th. Email me for a reservation!

                                                            Roasted Parsnip Soup

               Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder with prunes, shallots , thyme and Balsamic    
                                  Mashed Yukon Golds & Braised Red Brussel Sprouts and White Cabbage

                                                        Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding

Friday, January 6, 2012

Obsession: Duck Fat

All of you that know me and my cooking well, know one of my secret ingredients is duck fat.
I will most often use it as my source of fat to cook with, unless of course it is a vegetarian dish i am making. I render my own duck fat, as I prepare confit of duck regularly and it's very easy to do. The flash point is pretty high and it won't combust or smoke as readily as olive oil, it's twin, will do. I prefer to mix fats, as they do in Moroccan cooking, to build a baseline of flavor for the searing of meats or vegetables. If one were making perfume, you would consider it the base note, to which all other ingredients gather their flavor and integrity. Is there anything better than potatoes roasted in duck fat? The potato galette pictured below was prepared by brushing the cast iron skillet with duckfat and then arranging the thinly sliced potatoes in a spiral pattern around the pan. I sliced these on a mandolin. I did three layers and each layer was brushed with liquid duck fat and then salted and peppered. The final touch, a drizzle of heavy cream, a scattering of kalamata olives, chili flake and flat leaf parsley...salt and pepper. Roasted in a 400 degree oven til golden brown.

There are many health benefits to duck fat. Duck fat contains 35.7% saturates, 50.5% monounsaturates (high in linoleic acid) and 13.7% polyunsaturated fats.(Which contains Omega-6 and Omega-3 essential oils). This compares to olive oil which is: 75% monounsaturated fat (mostly oleic acid) 13% saturated fat and 10% Omega-6 linoleic acid and 2% Omega-3 linoleic acid. The main difference between chicken, turkey and duck is that duck contains more linoleic acid, which chicken and turkey contain a higher amount of polyunsaturated fats. It seems as if duck fat is more like olive oil than it is like butter.

The complexity and richness of flavor is an added bonus to the health benefits.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The New Year's Day Pizzas

Woke early on the new year's first day. Lit the wood oven, and made offerings and intentions
as the fire began to take hold and burn. Offerings of Copal and 
Sage, Sandalwood and handfuls of forest moss and lichen.
the southern skies blazing crimson, fragrant with the incense smoke, the sea swell pounding and the faint barking of seals,

I prayed, for peace, for rain, for equality and prosperity for all, for our collective hearts to be filled with love, connectedness and community.

I slathered the bottom of the pizzas with Hot Ajvar, a yummy Turkish red pepper condiment , that is a beautiful backdrop for the other ingredients. Fresh goat cheese, arugula, paper thin sliced white onion and preserved meyer lemons, marinated lamb, oodles fresh mint and flat leaf parsley, Ras el Hanour....a drizzle of cilantro infused olive oil.
Our New Year began with the gathering of friends and family, all we usual suspects, feteing, sated, and  blessed with more pizza than we could eat.

Dinners At the Whale Bar

Beginning Monday, January 16th, I'll be offering a prix fixe 3 course dinner served family style
for 35.00 per person at Steven's bar in Point Arena.
A 20% gratuity is also required.
I will be posting the menus here and hope to serve Monday and Tuesday nights,
one seating beginning at 5:30pm.
The seating is very limited and so reservations will be necessary.
Please email me at or call me if you want to make reservations.

Here is the first menu

Mike's beets, roasted in the wood oven with crispy fried leeks and a Meyer Lemon Vinagrette

Confit of Duck, with thyme and Fried Sage Leaves
on a Potatoe Gallette, Mixed Winter Squash Gratin, with carmelized onions, toasted hazelnuts and Bellwether Farms Carmody cheese

A warm Apple cake with Mendocino Sea Salted Caramel Sauce and Soft Sweet Cream

We are so excited and do hope to see y'all there!
Happy New Year!