Slow Travel GTGS Archives

October 27, 2008

Friday Night at Amici

We started off the official Desert GTG by gathering for dinner Friday night at Amici Italian Trattoria. We had the perfect size private room for our group of 15 early arrivals.
Here was the great menu selected for us:

Starter (Choice of One)

Asparagus and Artichoke Salad
Fresh asparagus and artichoke in a citrus dressing

Tuscan Bean & Italian Sausage Soup
Cannellini bean with mild Italian sausage

Entrée (Choice of One)

Veal Sassi
Roasted veal medallions with baby artichokes, wild mushrooms and herbs in a light brandy sauce served with roasted red potatoes and vegetables

Pork Tenderloin
Served with figs, gorgonzola and served with risotto and spinach

Grilled Salmon
Pacific Salmon in a lemon, caper, butter sauce served with risotto and vegetables

Pollo Eva Basilico
Prosciutto wrapped chicken breast stuffed with ricotta, sun dried tomatoes, black olives, basil and served on risotto and finished with a sun dried tomato sauce

Rigatoni con Prosciutto e Piselli
Rigatoni sautéed in a parmesan cream sauce with prosciutto, wild mushrooms, peapods, and fresh tomatoes

As you can see, we were happy campers! They also discounted our wine to "Happy Hour" prices, and we were quite happy!







Our friends, Fiona and Steve (new Slow Travel members), also joined in the fun.



After dinner, we stopped at Mango Tree Gelato bar for a scoop of our favorite flavor. We were too busy eating to remember to take a photo!

3rd Annual Desert GTG


We had a BLAST!

Check out all the photos here.

EVERYONE asked, "When is the NEXT GTG?"

October 28, 2008

The Morning After

Sunday morning, my hardworking house crew "slept in" til 7 something. Jerry was the first one up, and already blogging off a neighbor's wifi. He, Sandi and Paul had done a great job cleaning up my kitchen last night. They are guaranteed rooms for next year! I could NOT have done it without them. Not only do they follow directions when I bark out orders on kitchen prep, are willing to be tasters, sous chefs, grill, run out for more wine, and make several trips to Trader Joe's and Bristol Farms (The BF store thought Sandi was a stalker, as she kept returning to the liquor department for "stuff they don't have at the Piggly Wiggly"), they also are great at kitchen clean up!!! Who knew? (Well, actually I did, as they were also very helpful in Montisi.)

Shannon came by and we had some pre-Keedy's prosecco before leaving for breakfast.

Keedy's is our favorite dive breakfast spot. It has been around for over 50 years, and is a local landmark with the original formica tables, and great breakfasts or lunches. We needed some eggs, bacon, pancakes, hash browns or huevos rancheros to get over last night's food coma and soak up all that wine! I think most of us were looking pretty perky!






There were lots of hugs, and good-byes, as most were traveling home on Sunday.
Kathy, Terry and Colleen set off on a visit to Joshua Tree National Park, Jerry and Paul returned to San Deigo, and Shannon, Sharon, and Sandi came back with Brad and I to help get rid of some of that leftover prosecco and "clean up" those partially consumed wine bottles.

It was a wonderfully lazy afternoon.

October 29, 2008

Sunday Night's "Last Supper"

Sunday evening, and we are still laughing and drinking wine and eating crab dip, artichoke dip and shrimp dip. Sandi and Sharon left for their flights, and Kathy, Terry, Colleen, Shannon and Diana joined Brad and I for a leftover supper.

We had quite a feast.






All About Caramel Cake with caramel ice cream and the best caramel sauce ever!


September 14, 2009

A Mini Get Together

Saturday night, Ann and Scott hosted a lovely dinner party at their home outside of Seattle. They have the art of hosting and cooking great food down to a science. Marta was also able to join us for an evening of fun and laughter. We began outside on the deck with prosecco and antipasti.



We moved to the dining room for a wonderful dinner: Spinach salad with peaches and bacon, pasta with tiny sweet tomatoes and basil, crab-stuffed salmon, and sauteed zucchini.





During a delicious dessert of raspberry-browned butter tart with creme fraiche, we watched dvds of our recent trips to Umbria and Rome.


Slow Travel friends are just the BEST people to hang out with! Thank you, Ann and Scott for hosting a delightful evening! Sheena and Terry were missed, and we expect everyone in perfect health for the next time!



October 27, 2009

Get Together with Friends

Brad and I have hosted a Slow Travel GTG every October for the past three years. This year, we decided not to have one for two reasons: financial, and because of the 2010 Slow Travel Gathering in San Diego in March. Many of our far away ST friends will be flying out for the big San Diego event, so we didn't want to tempt anyone away from anyone coming to that!

Then east coast Slow Travel friends, Kim and Chris, took a weekend get-away to Palm Desert! Cause for a party in October. An easy pot luck evening was quickly planned for those close by.

The weekend started out with Shannon driving up from San Diego on Friday night. I thought she was at our front gate when she called, but instead, she was on HWY 74, about 25 minutes away with a flat tire. Brad and I jumped in the car, and he got to be a "boy hero" with her spare.


When we arrived, we were looking at each turnout for a little green bug, but we clearly saw Shannon waving from the hilltop (where she had to climb to get cell phone coverage). Three people had stopped to help her, but she waited for our arrival and a guaranteed safe tire changer!


At home, we quickly revived with some great chilled white wine that Shannon brought, and hosed off the dirt before joining Kim and Chris at their hotel for a drink. Then we went across the street to Acqua Pazza for their late happy hour appetizers and wine for our dinner.

Saturday afternoon, friends arrived for a pot luck spread that was amazing, as always.
(food photos tomorrow)

See what fun friends have on a sunny desert weekend:

Eden, Marcia, Jane and Sharon

Bill Chris and David relax with wine.

Barb and Mike love a party!

Nancy and Bill chatting with Jane.

Mike, Lou and Sharon share their September birthday. Who knew?

Shannon, Lou and Pete are happy guests.

Kim and Chris are the "guests of honor".

Marcia, Eden and Barb...lots of laughter going on!

(left to right) Kim, Marcia, Diana, Jane and Eden taking a break with cold water!

Big Smiles!

Jane and Palma prepping for dinner.

Everyone's favorite Wine Queen

October 28, 2009

Party Food

I loved having a pot luck! The food was wonderful! Let's start with the antipasti table. I don't have photos of everything, as I got called away by one of the cooks, but trust me, it was all great!

You can see Marcia's pumpkin humus, cheesy breadsticks, and my bacon baklava.

Sharon's Bristol Farms Antipasti basket was amazing!

Kim made a fabulous cheese tray with cheeses, sopresatta salami, grapes, figs, and candied pecans.


Not pictured, were Lou's yummy ham and cheese puff pastries and Shannon's Ruffles Jamon, all the way from Spain!

For dinner we ate my lamb lasagna, pasta with broccoli, caramelized onion and sausage, pumpkin polenta bites, and three fabulous salads from Nancy, Jane and Barb!

Lamb lasagna (recipe tomorrow)

Pasta with broccoli, caramelized onion and sausage

This week's Sunday Small Bites: Pumpkin polenta with cheese and sage

Jane's salad of avocado, fresh mozzarella and tomatoes (with San Antonio olive oil)

Barb's refreshing spinach salad with mandarin oranges, candied almonds, onions and a sweet-tart dressing

Nancy's now famous apple-gorgonzola salad


Mini-dessert platters with an assortment of lemon tarts, chocolate cheesecakes and ooey-gooey toffee bars

Apple Cake with cream cheese frosting

Wine??? We managed to polish off a few bottles of white, red and prosecco!

February 9, 2010

Slow Bowl IV: Palmina Winery

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February 10, 2010

Alma Rosa and Avant

While we were sipping wine at Palmina in the morning, it rained. By the time we left around 1:00, the sun broke through, and we had a beautiful 15 minute drive to our next stop, Alma Rosa.




At Alma Rosa, the focus of our group was Pinot Noir. They also make a Pinot Gris, a pinot blanc, and a chardonnay, but the selection of Pinot Noirs were the stars. Since I don't drink red wine, I agreed to be the designated driver. My time at Alma Rosa was mostly spent outside the wine tasting rooms, enjoying the scenery, and the details of the surroundings. If you want to know more about the wines, you'll need to talk to Shannon, Nancy, Krista, Steve or Brad.






You may recognize Chris, from his role in "Sideways". He is quite a local foodie, and we enjoyed chatting with him!






From Alma Rosa, we drove to Buellton to Avant. Avant is a very cool wine bar tucked away in an industrial setting. You walk upstairs into a large contemporary loft and get a "credit card" to insert into tasting machines lining two long walls. (Like the Cantine in Greve in Chianti). Tastes range in price from 75 cents to $5.25. I sat at a table with a huge mug of steaming coffee while the others scattered with their glasses. Soon a couple plates of snacks were ordered, and the group reassembled. It was the perfect place to relax, and chat with the chef before returning to our rooms to freshen up for dinner!





February 11, 2010

Full of Life Flatbread

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March 11, 2010

We're Off...

It seems that Brad has gotten everything into the car! AMAZING! I will be pretty busy the next couple of days, so I may have to take a day off from blogging, but I will soon have TONS of food photos! No previews!

I will be seeing some of you very soon in San Diego! Safe travels to all who are coming. To the rest of you, the details are coming...soon...

Ciao for now!

March 13, 2010

The Food, the FOOD!

By 8:30 AM on Friday, we had been to the grocery store, and I was baking two "loaves" of "Grape Bread". Remember the 5 minute No-Knead Bread Dough? I brought the dough from home, but had a vision...


Brad chopped 8,000 veggies. It is great to have a willing sous chef!


He also chopped 6,000 lovely slices of fruit (no photo): pineapple, mangos, papaya, kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, melon for a 4 tiered fruit display with Kahlua fruit dip!

I made filling for 300 sausage-cheese tarts. (Hoe someone got a photo of the final product. They were a big hit! (If not there are 3 trays in my freezer, and you'll see them later...)

filling%20for%20sausage%20cups.jpg is some of the REAL food at the party: My old standards of hot artichoke dip and brie with homemade fig jam:



There were 350 meatballs (no photo), and the committee scored POUNDS of fresh burrata cheese!


Antipasti with palm tree and penguins from the San Diego Zoo...



There were two giant cheese platters (I didn't get a photo of the BIG one with 6 more cheeses) and crackers. I kept bringing out more food and misplacing my camera!



We brought this wedge of parm home from Bologna. Yummy with Italian rosemary honey:


Guests polished off a San Diego version of my Pizza Rustica:


I made thyme crackers and parmesan crisps: (Good with vino!)


And speaking of "good with wine", how about some taralli?


Sage-gruyere bread with sage butter:



Shannon's fabulous pate:


Not pictured: Shrimp wonton cups, sausage-cheese tarts, fruit platters, large cheese tray, Shannon's blue-cheese roasted onion appetizer, marinated asparagus, bean salad, and meatballs!

Time for dessert: Nutella panna cotta and Italian cookies!



The chefs (Palma, Shannon and Brad) were proud and pleased with the results: happy and full guests!

March 16, 2010

San Diego: Back to the Beginning!

I think I have enough photos from the San Diego Gathering that I could blog for a month. We will be reliving the fun with friends at all of the events for much longer. So I am starting back at "the beginning" of the weekend celebrations, and taking my time! EVENTUALLY I will get through the whole weekend.

Here are a few shots of friends arriving Thursday night at the Vine:









March 18, 2010

Thursday and Friday in Little Italy?

Was it a week ago we arrived in San Diego? Oh my! We love staying in the Little Italy neighborhood. After visiting with early arrivals at the Vine, we returned to meet up with Jerry and Paul at the wine bar, Sogno di Vino, then dinner next door at Buon Appetito.


It had been a long day of packing, driving and cooking, so Brad and I were starving!
We started by sharing a lovely pasta filled with lobster and asparagus.


Then we each DEVOURED a steak: mine with gorgonzola and mushrooms, and Brad's with a peppercorn sauce.



One of the things I love about Little Italy, is that Italian is spoken as much as English!
Our waiter was from a town close to my grandparents' in Puglia, so he introduced me to every Italian in the restaurant, (saying "che bella donna, che bellissima!"). We had great service and attention. I also had a couple long conversations in Italian with people I met outside the restaurant or at our cafe.


The other reason I love to stay in Little Italy is the COFFEE is wonderful!


As in Italy, when you become a REGULAR (we had 18 coffees there in 3 days), they KNOW how to prepare exactly what you will order!

Our day started and ended at the cafe. Here is one of my favorite shots of pre-kayaking Jerry Friday morning:


The hotel, La Pensione, has its own mascot, Penny, who sleeps in the lobby until someone wants to play.


We'll be back to Little Italy some time this summer!

March 19, 2010

Friday Night Smiles

When Slow Travelers get together, you can see the happy faces. Old and new friends gathered at the home of Jane and Ken for the "Kick-off" party. Was that a whole WEEK ago?













March 22, 2010

San Diego Gathering: Saturday Fiesta

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March 29, 2010

Party Planning Starts EARLY: San Diego- How Did You Do IT?

Many friends asked me how we were able to make so much food in quantity for Friday night's Kick-off Party at the San Diego GTG. I took a look back on how the process unfolded.

I can only speak to my own schedule, (and Brad's) but you know that Shannon, Jane, Ken, Marcia and David all had their own list of do-ahead tasks for the weekend.

Of course, we began last April with planning, choosing venues and themes. Registration began in May, 2009, and we discussed things like entertainment, food, wine and goodie bags in Private Message threads on Slow Talk. We had a total of three LIVE planning meetings, one at my house, and two in San Diego.

It wasn't until January 2010 that I did anything other than "think or type".


I confirmed the menu, made sample centerpieces for Friday and Saturday, and made wine tags for Saturday.

Of course, we wanted to keep all costs down, so I came up with the idea of my three big vases filled with chili peppers and flowers. Shannon found 48 votives at a garage sale, so I recovered them in red and green ribbon. I made samples to show the planning committee.



For Friday, I covered paint cans I had with old world map papers, and thought an herb garden would work with the Italian theme.



I made wine tags out of office supplies and stainless steel earrings and beads.


One month ahead:

It was February, and time to start cooking! One morning I made 336 meatballs to freeze.


Over two days (I only had one of these nifty mini tart pans that make 12 at a time.) I made 216 (18 batches) of mini tart shells to freeze for the sausage-cheese tarts.


I made up a recipe for gruyere-sage bread, and made some sample loaves. We ate one, I gave away two, then I made three more to freeze.


Finally, it was March, and the week before the Gathering!

I made two batches of taralli, as these stay fresh for a month:


I made 9 flatbread rounds, stored in a ziplock:


Cracker day: I made parmesan-paprika crackers and thyme crackers.



Week of the Gathering:


I made "no-knead" bread dough to bring raw to San Diego.


I finished bubble wrapping 18 platters to take to San Diego. I also packed up 10 cookie sheets, bowls, cheese cutters, silver serving utensils, candles, vases, garnishing tools, 4 mini-muffin tins, plastic cups, Italian flags, toothpicks, and everything else I needed to bring (tiara and sombrero, maybe some clothes to wear...)


I planted the herb gardens.


I made the dough to chill, and made the filling for the pizza rustica.
I made veggie dip for the vegetable basket.
I made artichoke dip to bake in San Diego.
I cooked 6 lbs. of sausage and Brad grated huge bags of cheese for the sausage tarts.
I made "pot of gold" cupcakes for a staff meeting/training at my house tomorrow! (this had nothing to do with San Diego).

Wednesday: OMG we were leaving tomorrow! I was so excited, I could have thrown up!

At 6:00 am I frosted cupcakes for my staff meeting.

By 7:00, I was rolling out the dough for the pizza rustica. After decorating top, it made it in the oven before 9:00. My staff arrived for the training from 9-2. I tortured them with the scents from my kitchen as it baked for over an hour. Let them eat cupcakes!


I had clients from 2:00 until 5:00, then decorated the cheeses for the cheese platters with a wine aspic.


Then I made a HUGE bowl of shrimp filling for the shrimp wonton cups.

Needed a break, had NO room for anything but party food in the fridge, so we went out to dinner.

At 9:30, Brad loaded the car and trunk with everything EXCEPT food. It all fit!


WHOO HOO! Going to San Diego!

At 6:30, Brad loaded the car with food. I kept giving him more, stuff, but it all fit in the ice chest, or back seat.


By 9:15, we were unloading everything into Jane's kitchen and fridge, and soon we were making three triple batches of Nutella panna cotta.

We took a lunch break, then made 310 wonton cups and fruit dip.


We bought all the fruits, veggies and garnishing foods, and left Jane's house at 4pm. We checked in to our hotel, and made it to the airport by 4:40 to pick up Terry and Sheri. I definitely was ready for a glass of wine and a latte! I needed both!


After caffinating at 6:00 in Little Italy, we did another grocery store run and were baking bread at Jane's by 8:30. Brad spent hours cutting fruits and veggies. and then bread, while I made food garnishes (penguins and palm trees), sausage filling, and prepared the brie with fig jam.

Somehow, with help from a few friends, all the platters and chafing dishes of food made it to the buffet tables by 6:30. It was good to sit down. We had a GREAT time at the party!

In retrospect, it was not stressful at all to MAKE the food. I think what was hard, was doing it in another's kitchen, getting it all there, and having one fridge. I am used to double ovens, and two fridges. Jane's beautiful new fridge (which I covet...) was filled with panna cotta, cheeses and burrata! Everything else went in the ice chest, but that meant no large platters could be done ahead. When I host a party at home, everything is done by 1:00 and ready in my garage fridge, so I can take a nap before the party!

I also want to say, that while this sounds like a lot, SHANNON also prepared food for Friday night, as well as doing a million other things for the Gathering! I also had a fabulous sous chef!

July 14, 2010

Dinner at Peppoli


What a treat!

We went from the cool, breezy fire pit area inside to the beautiful Italian restaurant, Peppoli. We began with two antipasti plates of fried calamari and artichokes, two plates of burrata with heirloom tomatoes and balsamico, and two boards of assorted salumi with Arneis and prosecco.



Our waitress, Paige, was delightful, and really on the ball. Can you tell we are having a great time?




Here is a sampling of each of our courses: Asparagus and pappa di pomodoro soup:



Pastas included a special of the day, gnocchi with peas, and steak and Sicilian sausage lasagna:




Entrees included grilled chicken, veal milanese, and the veal chop Brad and I shared:




After dinner, we all drove just a couple of minutes down the 17-Mile Drive to Wendy and Rob's beautiful home. They graciously hosted the group for dessert, coffee and grappa tasting! Their charming house, full of travel treasures, was as warm and welcoming as they are! We enjoyed espresso, fruit tarts with fresh whipped cream, an assortment of cookies, and who knew I would like honey grappa??? Another wonderful get-together! Grazie, Wendy and Rob!!!



December 17, 2010

Holiday Dinner at Firenze Osteria

We took off work early and headed through a little afternoon traffic toward North Hollywood to get together for dinner with Barb, Marcia and David at Firenze Osteria.

It all began with an email from Fabio and Jacapo from the restaurants. Since Fabio is a cheftestant on this season's Top Chef All-Stars, he invites his friends to "Come watch Top Chef with Fabio on Wednesdays". This week, Fabio was off filming a commercial, but we were warmly greeted by Executive Chef, John Paolone.

Marcia is ready to start some vacation time in Northern California!


We shared holiday goodies, and enjoyed getting to catch up and talk with great food and some wine.


We enjoyed wonderful food! This is one of Chef John's specialties: short rib ravioli!
He promised to email me the recipe!


What fun to toast the holidays with Slow Travel friends!


February 6, 2011

Slow Bowl 11: Friday

So great to see everyone. The evening included "Retro Foods", lots of wine and good friends!






A great night of being with friends!

February 9, 2011

Saturday Night at Slow Bowl

Here are a few more photos of Saturday evening's festivities. There is always plentry of wine, plenty to eat and lots of laughter!













February 11, 2011

Slow Bowl Super Bowl Sunday

After brunch on Sunday, we joined those who stayed for the day to watch the game, or who had short enough drives or later flights to hang out for the annual "leftover picnic" and tasting at Castoro Vineyards. It was a beautiful sunny day in Paso Robles!







Some folks headed to the beach, some went out for fish tacos, and I did some "foodie shopping". I got some dry rubs for meat and fish, a pear-honey vinaigrette, some cinnamon sauce, and a couple condiments from We Olive!


We returned to the house for a relaxed afternoon of wine, cheese, naps, the Super Bowl, chips, dips, cheese puffs and Kim's pot of chili. We were all pretty tired, so it was an early evening, but it was very nice to have an extra day to hang out with friends. Taking Monday off was a GREAT idea!

February 4, 2012

Slow Bowl Smackdown:Northern California Team

We really raised the bar for this year's Slow Bowl Friday night Smackdown!
I had an amazing team to work with: Roz and Mike, Wendy and Rob, Lou, Rose and Jane!


Our Menu:

Welcome Aperitif:
S.F. Passion” - Sparkling Cocktail and Brown Butter-Rosemary-Lemon Popcorn

Amuse Bouche
Goat Cheese Fritatta with Bacon, Fennel and Gruyere

Twice-Baked Maytag Blue Cheese Souffles with Roasted Pear Soup
and a Raisin-Walnut Bruschetta

Fig and Grape Salad with Pancetta-Wrapped Crostini

Mini Mina’s - Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Bourbon Beans
Goat Cheese-Truffled Stuffed Fingerlings
Kale Chips

Dessert Trio
North Beach Cannoli
Nutella Mousse Parfait with Praline Chocolate Crunch
Ghiardelli-Toffee-Caramel Bar

Buena Vista Irish Coffee

WE WON APPETIZERS! (We think we won all three courses!)

I am too tired to blog any more tonight, but photos and recipes will be coming soon. After a week of prep and 6 hours today of prepping, cooking, garnishing, and plating, it is time to rest!

February 5, 2012

LOTS of Wine!

We visited three wineries Saturday, and are coming home with lots of great bottles!
This is the most wine I have ever purchased at one time in my life! Whoo Hoo Slow Bowl!

Arneis and other Italian varietals from Palmina, and we joined their wine club!


Lunch with the gang at Zaca Mesa:



and a case of Vermentino from Tessa Marie! Only one acre of Vermentino is grown in California!


February 7, 2012

Slow Bowl Smackdown: Middle Course

More of the Northern California Friday night Smackdown food and redipes:


Roz made this wonderful salad with pancetta-wrapped crostini for our next course:

Fig and Grape Salad with Pancetta-Wrapped Crostini: Alice Waters
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar, aged 12 years or more, or ½ cup good-quality commercial balsamic vinegar plus 1 teaspoon brown sugar
6 thick slices country-style bread
Extra-virgin olive oil
12 thin slices pancetta (about ¼ pound)
9 ripe figs (or dried figs if not in season)
1 cup grapes, stemmed
6 small handfuls arugula
Salt and pepper to taste

If substituting commercial balsamic vinegar, put it in a small saucepan with the brown sugar and reduce by a little more than half, until the vinegar is thick and syrupy.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Trim the crusts off the bread and cut the slices in half lengthwise, making 12 long, thin crostini. Brush them lightly with olive oil and wrap with slices of pancetta—spirally, like candy canes. Place them on a baking sheet and bake until the pancetta begins to crisp, about 10 minutes.
While the pancetta-wrapped crostini are baking, quarter the figs, cut the grapes in half, and thoroughly was and dry the arugula. When the crostini are almost ready, gently toss the arugula and fruit with a pinch of salt, a few grinds of the peppermill, and about 3 tablespoons olive oil. Arrange the salad on plates and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. Garnish with the crostini.

Our main course included Lou's pulled pork sandwiches, Wendy's amazing Truffled Goat cheese stuffed Fingerling Potatoes, Rose's Bourbon Beans, and Roz's kale chips.
I garnished the plates with a parsnip rose.


Pulled Pork Sandwiches: Michael Mina
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
2 tbsp kosher or coarse salt
2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1/2 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp dry mustard (found in spice section)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 boneless pork butt, about 3 pounds
1 1/2 cups apple juice
1/2 cup water
1 package plain soft white rolls or other bread

Tip: You can buy bone-in or boneless pork butts. Both have their benefits: Cooking bone-in will contribute some flavor (and increase the cooking time slightly). But if you have your butcher take out the bone, you can rub the spice mix into the incisions where the bone was removed — a great way to get the flavor deep inside the meat.

Mix brown sugar and dry spices together in a small bowl. Rub all over pork, cover, and let sit in the refrigerator for as long as you have time for (as little as 1 hour or up to overnight). Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lay pork on a rack insert fitted inside a roasting pan. (The rack should be high enough so the entire spiced butt is sitting above the cooking liquid.) Pour in apple juice and water, cover pan tightly with foil, and slow roast for 5 hours. Remove foil and cook for another 30 minutes, until pork is brown outside and meat is very tender, basically falling apart.
Remove from oven, transfer to large platter, and allow meat to rest for about 10 minutes. While still warm, shred pork into small pieces using 2 forks or 10 fingers. Transfer to bowl for serving, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To reheat, just transfer to shallow baking dish, bring to room temperature, and place in preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.
Tip: If the pan drippings aren't burned, discard fat and mix drippings back into the pulled pork, which will make it even more moist and flavorful.

Goat Cheese-Truffled Stuffed Fingerlings: Hubert Keller
Ingredients: (Yields: 20-24 pieces)
10-12 fingerling potatoes (2 ½" to 3" long, thicker ones preferred)
5 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoon white truffle oil (or hazelnut or walnut oil)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Optional for garnish:pink peppercorns
chives, cut into 1" section
Quart size Ziploc bag (for piping)

Wash the potatoes well. Slice the tips off the end of each potato, so they sit perfectly flat, then cut the potatoes into 1" sections. You should get approximately 2 pieces from each potato. Using a small melon baller, scoop out the center of each potato section, creating a cavity for the goat cheese filling. Be careful not to go more than 3/4 of the way down the potato.
Boil 1 quart of water with 2 tablespoons salt in medium saucepot.
When boiling, drop the potato sections and cook until tender, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare a large bowl with water and ice cubes. When the potatoes are tender, use a colander to scoop them out of the boiling water and drop them immediately into the ice bath to stop the cooking.

To make the dressing, in small bowl whisk together Dijon mustard and vinegar. Slowly whisk in olive oil until well blended. Set aside.

Pull the potatoes from the ice bath and line up the potatoes on a tray. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then lightly drizzle with dressing.

In small food processor, combine goat cheese, white truffle oil, ½ tsp salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Pulse until smooth.

Using a spatula, scoop the goat cheese mixture into the Ziploc bag. Squeeze mixture towards one corner of the bag, then cut off a ½" section from the corner of the bag to create a piping bag. Squeeze the mixture into the potato sections, so that it completely fills each potato and comes just slightly over the top.
For garnish, top each potato with 1 pink peppercorn and 2 chive pieces. Serve at room temperature.

Bourbon Beans: Michael Mina

16 oz. navy beans
3 cups water
2 Tbl. molasses
2 Tbl. tomato paste
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup strong coffee
1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped to a pulp
1 yellow onion, minced
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 lb. bacon, chopped
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Pinch chile flakes

Soak beans in enough water to cover by double their volume overnight. In the morning, discard the water and rinse beans.
In an eight-quart pot, cook bacon over medium heat. Once the bacon has started to brown slightly, add the onions and sweat until translucent. Add tomato paste, stir and cook for one minute. Add the remaining ingredients and beans (except for the salt, which will keep the beans from softening if added early) and cook over low heat for 4-6 hours, or until beans are soft. Once beans have softened, season to taste with salt and cook another hour. You may have to add water to maintain the consistency. If beans are still too wet after the allotted cooking time, then raise heat to medium and simmer until desired consistency has been reached.

Roasted Kale Chips: Tyler Florence
One bunch kale
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.  Wash and dry kale very well.  Cut kale into bite-size chip-size pieces, discarding the thick stems, and arrange evenly on a baking sheet.
With a pastry brush, gently paint the top of each kale leaf with a little oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake until crispy, about 15-20 minutes.

February 8, 2012

Slow Bowl Smackdown: Dessert

All of our prep took place in our hotel room that had a full kitchen. Here are dessert plates ready to go on the extra bed:


Behind the scenes with the cocoa powder stencil:


Here we are lined up for service:


Dessert included a chocolate-dipped "North Beach Cannoli", a Nutella Mousse Parfait garnished with Hazelnut Crunch, a Triple Layer Cookie Bar with toffee shortbread, caramel, Ghiardelli chocolate, and sprayed edible gold, and a red heart chocolate IN San Francisco!


Dessert was served with Lou and Jane's Buena Vista Irish Coffee:


Nutella Mousse Parfaits: Palma
8 oz. mascarpone cheese (room temp)

1 c. Nutella
1/2 cup Nutella for melting

1 1/2 c. cold heavy whipping cream

1/2 t. espresso powder

1 T. Frangelico Liquore or hazelnut extract

Place 1 cup Nutella and espresso powder in a bowl in microwave, and heat in 10 second intervals, stirring until smooth. Beat with mascarpone cheese until smooth. Melt
remaining 1/2 c. Nutella and set aside.
Whip cream until soft peaks form. Add Frangelico, and beat a few seconds longer until Frangelico is incorporated. Fold Nutella-mascarpone mixture into whipped cream and spoon into small cups or glasses. Alternate layers of mousse and melted Nutella.

Praline Chocolate Crunch: Elizabeth Falkner

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups blanched hazelnuts, toasted
1 teaspoon hazelnut or vegetable oil
4 ounces dark chocolate (do not exceed 72% cacao), chopped
4 ounces high-quality milk chocolate (such as Lindt or Scharffen Berger), chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 cup puffed rice cereal or crushed cornflakes

Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Stir sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and cook without stirring, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until amber in color, 7–8 minutes. Stir in hazelnuts, then pour onto 1 prepared sheet, separating nuts. Let cool.
Transfer candied nuts to a food processor. Add hazelnut oil and purée until smooth to make praline paste.
Combine both chocolates and 3 T. praline paste in a medium metal bowl (reserve remaining praline paste for praline mousse layer). Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in salt, then cereal. Spread out in a thin layer (about 1/8") on second pre-pared baking sheet. Chill until set, about 30 minutes

Chocolate-dipped Cannoli with Orange-Ricotta Filling: Tyler Florence
12 mini cannoli shells
12 oz. chocolate

1 lb. good-quality ricotta cheese

8 oz powdered sugar

1 tsp fresh orange zest

3 oz. chopped citron (candied orange peel)

2 t. vanilla

Melt chocolate over a double boiler and dip half of each cannoli shell in the chocolate. Allow any excess chocolate to drip off then lay shells out on a waxed paper-lined tray to set while you prepare the filling.

For the filling:
Line a colander with muslin, add the ricotta and let drain until very dry. Squeeze out any excess moisture in muslin. Place the ricotta into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high for 5 to 7 minutes until light and fluffy.
Add sugar, orange zest, chopped candied orange peel and vanilla, then mix on medium until just combined. Place the filling into a piping bag and fill chocolate dipped cannoli with the mixture. Serve as soon as possible.

Ghiardelli-Toffee-Caramel Bars: Palma

For the shortbread:

1 pound (4 sticks) butter

3 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 cup Rice flour (found in Asian section of any market)

One package Heath Toffee Chips

Cream butter and sugar. Stir together 2 kinds of flour and add half at a time. Add toffee
chips. Form six balls of dough and spread in a jelly roll pan. Flatten evenly with hands.
Prick all over with fork. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Let cool thoroughly on a wire rack.

For the caramel layer:
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

2 cups packed brown sugar

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter

6 tablespoons golden syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the chocolate layer:
12 ounces Ghiardelli semisweet chocolate chips

For the caramel layer:
In a medium saucepan, add condensed milk, brown sugar, butter, syrup and salt.  Heat over medium-low heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves.
Bring mixture to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture darkens and reaches 237 degrees F. on a candy thermometer.
Remove from the heat, and whisk in vanilla. Pour mixture evenly over the cooled shortbread crust.

Immediately sprinkle chocolate over hot caramel layer, and spread. Cool. Cut into bars.
Keep in fridge. Optional: Spray with edible gold

Buena Vista Irish Coffee (recipe copied from Buena Vista brochure, 1950's)

"Irish Coffee...the drink of music and magic...was conceived by Joe Sheridan at Shannon Airport. Stan Delaplane brought it back to San Francisco with him. The Buena Vista serves it, just as it is served in Shannon and using the perfect 7-year old, pot still, Irish whiskey. Try it and taste for yourself." (Buena Vista, 2765 Hyde St., San Francisco)

1. Pre-heat glass with very hot water. Fill and let stand a few seconds, then empty.
2. Fill glass three-fourths full of hot, black coffee before glass has cooled. Drop three cocktail cubes of sugar into coffee.
3. Stir until dissolved completely.
4. Add full jigger of Irish whiskey for correct taste and body.
5. By pouring over a spoon, top with a head of lightly whipped whipping cream.
6. .....your Irish coffee is ready to enjoy-serve to your guests while piping hot.

February 9, 2012

More Slow Bowl Highlights

Taking a stress break:


Wine Tasting at Palmina:


Learning about Tessa Marie wine:


Flatbread pizza night! Then gelato! YUM!




Old and New Friends!



July 17, 2012

Carmel GTG: Friday Night

We left home VERY early (5:45) for a drive to Ontario airport and a quick flight to San Jose. From there it was about an hour drive to Monterey, and a quick stop at Del Monte Shopping Center. We had lunch at Katy's in Carmel and did a little shopping. Then a nap was in order. We met the gang for drinks at the Cypress Inn.


Next was a wonderful dinner at Cantinetta Luca:





Brad and I shared an amazing "Summer Vegetable Soup", and then I had rosemary chicken with sauteed spinach. Brad enjoyed a plate of pasta carbonara! Wine flowed, followed by a great cup of coffee. Our group was small, but we were able to really enjoy speaking with everyone.


July 18, 2012

Carmel GTG: Saturday

I was up bright and early on Saturday morning. I had a nice walk, leaving Brad asleep in our hotel room. Two double lattes later, we set off for breakfast with our old friends, Lynn and Gary, who live in Carmel. Also visiting this weekend was Bonnie, another neighbor of ours from my days in San Carlos. Lynn and Gary showed us their recently remodeled house which turned out to be an amazing and seamless addition. We enjoyed a big breakfast and some catching up time.



Then we did a little shopping before meeting the gang for lunch.


We met shortly before 2:00 at La Bicyclette. We were still full from breakfast, but enjoyed a glass of wine and a big bowl of caffe latte. We were happy to have Rebecca and Sean join in on the fun.



We met again at 6:00 for drinks and the bagpiper at Spanish Bay, a Carmel GTG tradition. Lynn, Gary and Bonnie joined us for a drink. As we transitioned from wine to food and more wine, we settled in to the lovely dining room at Peppoli for a great dinner.

Brad and I shared a fritto misto with calamari, lemons and fabulous fried fennel. I had lasagna with filet mignon and house-made Calabrese sausage (OMG!), and Brad had orecchiette with sausage, broccoli rabe, and burrata!




What a happy group!








February 1, 2013

Off to Slow Bowl

We're off... more soon!

February 4, 2013

Slow Bowl 2013 Friday


We spent a nice day Friday slowly making our way to Los Alamos with a stop in Santa Barbara for a visit to the mission and lunch. We made stops at Palmina winery, and Tessa Marie for a couple cases of wine.

That evening, we enjoyed lots of fun seeing old friends, having good food and of course some local wine! I don't know what was up with my camera that night, so sorry for the blurry faces on some shots. If it had been Saturday, I would have blamed my wine consumption, but Friday it was the camera!










The evening ended with Federico hustling his new Slow Travel friends in poker.


February 5, 2013

Saturday at Hearst Castle and Slow Bowl


I had Federico and Casey up and out the door by 8:45 on Saturday morning. We had breakfast at Cafe Quackenbush before heading up the coast to San Simeon and a visit to Hearst Castle. We took Tour 1 (the main house and pools), and both boys were interested in the history of building Mr Hearst's hillside playground for his varied groups of friends.











When we arrived back at the Skyview, there was a glorious sunset, but by then the "pre-pizza pool games" had begun.




After pizza and gelato, the pool table was again uncovered for the rest of the evening. The boys had several "coaches", and Federico turned out to be quite the pool hustler!


Meanwhile, late in the evening, out came Kelly's fabulous lemon curd and some vanilla butter cookies for dipping. Several of us decided we needed a sweet treat with our wine!


It was a wonderful day and a fun evening for all!

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Palmabella's Passions in the Slow Travel GTGS category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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