I can't believe the weekend is over...for once it was a nice, quiet weekend that didn't involve rushing from one end of town to the other. Mr.S. had the kidlets so we hung out, watched movies, went to the farmers market and played outside. I know I'm trying to enjoy the cooler, sunny weather now because I'm sure Sacramento's scorching summer is just around the corner (ugh!). We went for a few walks down by the river on Sunday and even took Kidlet #2 geocaching. I'd never been on a geocache before and it was kind of's like a mini-treasure hunt using a special GPS app on the iPhone. We actually found the "cache" during our excursion, which turned out be a tiny camo micro capsule with a log inside (some caches are larger and may contain a trinket or two). We signed our names and returned the capsule to it's hiding spot. Can't wait until we go again!

Later still on the lazy train, I didn't want to spend a lot of time cooking for dinner but wanted something I decided to use one of the beautiful avocados I had on the counter to make a simple avocado pasta. The avocado sauce has a nice creamy texture that tastes rich and the basil and lemon give it a nice zesty zing. If you want to make it gluten-free like I did, you can use quinoa pasta.  Also, if you want to jazz it up a bit you could sprinkle some Parmesan cheese, halved grape tomatoes or sliced almonds on it.

Lazy Weekend Avocado Pasta (recipe adapted from Oh She Glows)


1 medium sized ripe avocado, pitted

1/2 lemon, juiced, plus  lemon zest to garnish

2-3 garlic cloves, minced (to taste)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup fresh basil

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 servings (about 6 oz) quinoa pasta

freshly ground black pepper

Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)


1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add quinoa pasta and cook for 7-9 minutes (or per package instructions).

2. While the pasta is cooking: in a food processor, add the garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, basil, avocado and salt. Process until you have a nice, creamy sauce. You may need to scrape the sides a few times to make sure everything gets blended well, the basil likes to stick.

3. When the pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse noodles. Place pasta in a bowl and add avocado sauce. Toss well. Then plate.

4. Season with fresh ground pepper and garnish with a sprinkling of lemon zest. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (optional).

5. Serve immediately. (Note: This is not a good "reheat dish," since it has avocado in it.)

Makes 2 servings

In the DPH area this summer- get ready for live music, DJs, tasty food, shopping and beer & wine...first Sundays, June through November.

For more info, check out their Facebook page: GOOD Street Food + Design Market


Mmmm, midway through cooking

This is my last (at least for a long while) David Chang recipe. I think even Mr.S. was getting a bit worried with my recent obsession with the Momofuku cookbook (although he wasn't fussing too much when he was shoving the cooked results into his mouth). Maybe it's Chang's love for all things pork, but I'm kind diggin' on him right now. Anyhow, this particular recipe is for the pulled pork that they use in their pork bo ssam dish at Momofuku. When I happened to mention to my friend Melanie that I was going to attempt this recipe, she referenced Chang's "Let's put pork in every f-----g dish," line in Treme. I hadn't seen it so of course when I got home I had to look it up...hilarious. If you haven't checked it out, you can catch a clip of it here: David Chang on Treme.

This recipe yielded the best tasting pulled pork I've ever made or tasted at any friend's house or restaurant. The pork has to sit overnight, but it's worth it. The inside is nice and tender and the outside has this amazing salty-sweet lacquer. It's like a bit of meatopia in your mouth.

Pulled Pork Momofuku-Style (Adapted from “Momofuku,” by David Chang and Peter Meehan)


4 lb. boneless pork shoulder

1/2 cup Kosher salt (don't sub in table salt, it'll come out way too salty)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar

fresh ground black pepper


1. The night before: In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar, the salt and the ground pepper. Rub the mixture all over the pork shoulder, making sure you get the crevices. Put it in a pan, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

2. The next day: Heat your oven to 300 degrees F. Transfer the pork out of the pan and discard the juices and any excess sugar/salt mixture. You can either place the pork in a roasting pan or a cast iron skillet. Place in the oven and cook for 5-6 hours. Baste the shoulder with the fat in the pan every hour, after the first 3 hours.

3. Remove the pork from the oven, drain off the fat. Let it rest for up to an hour.

4. Ok now, open the windows to your house because there's going to be some sizzling and smoking going on....Crank the oven up to 500 degrees F. Stir together 1/2 tablespoon of salt with 3 1/2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Press the brown sugar into the top of the pork shoulder, make it into a nice even layer. Return the pork to the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until a nice crunchy lacquer forms. Keep an eye on it though so it doesn't burn.

5. Take the pork out and let it rest for a half hour.  Then use two forks to shred it up. You can use it in all kinds of dishes - tacos, sandwiches, pulled pork hash, pork ragù....

6. By the way, the crispy, cooked skin on this sucker is oh so heavenly!

Time to dig in!

"How luscious lies the peas within the pod." ~ Emily Dickinson

What's a girl to do when she has a bowlful of fresh english peas? Make up some piselli al prosciutto, of course! Now honey, this dish may be simple and maybe even a bit old school but it sure isn't a bowl of your momma's mushy canned peas, that I can guarantee you! These are fresh, snappy green orbs of deliciousness coupled with some salty slips of prosciutto. Grown-up peas! Mangia!

Piselli al Prosciutto (Peas with Prosciutto) (adapted from Saveur)

1 lb. fresh English peas, shelled
1 small onion, minced
2-3 ounces of prosciutto, roughly chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Blanch the peas in boiling water for 90 seconds. Take out.
2. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the chopped onions and saute until tender.Then add the prosciutto and cook until the prosciutto begins to crisp (about 1 to 2 minutes).
2. Add the peas and one tablespoon of water; saute, tossing for about 5 minutes.
3. Remove pan from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

It's funny, people assume that because I like to cook that I like to cook ALL the time and that I always cook intricate, time consuming dishes. Not true, there's often times that I find myself eating Trader Joe's frozen meals, grabbing a sandwich to go at the local deli or just nibbling on a salad at home. Othertimes, I'll be at Mr.S.'s and neither of us want to cook anything that requires any sort of time suckage. That's when we make dishes like this one. It's actually a recipe for Japanese chicken wings I came across last winter on Ito Eats but the marinade was so dang good, I've started using it as marinade for chicken breasts as well. I just mix up this marinade, dump it in a Ziploc, plop the chicken breasts in there and throw it in the fridge to marinate. Then all Mr. S. has to do is toss them on the grill...easy-peasy--dinner is served!

Japanese Sticky Chicken  (adapted from Ito Eats)


1 1/2 tbsp mirin (can found at most Asian stores)

4 tbsp sake

2 tbsp brown sugar

4 tbsp soy sauce

1 inch fresh ginger, grated

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 red chili, sliced

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts


1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, pour into a Ziploc bag. Plunk in chicken breasts. Close.

2. Place in the fridge for at least 3 hours. If you happen to open the fridge, massage the bag once or twice to make sure the marinade gets distributed around the chicken.

3. Take chicken breasts out of the bag and grill.

4. Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions if you wish.


We all know that asparagus makes your pee stink (peeuw!) but did you know that it's low in calories, heart healthy and contains glutathione (a powerful cancer fighter)? Additionally, asparagus only has about 4 calories a spear and zero fat. It also provides 60% of your daily RDA of folic acid and is high in fiber. You just can't go wrong with this green stuff and there's so many ways to prepare it. You can grill it, roast it, throw it in frittatas, make it into soup, wrap it in, the list just goes on. There's even a festival in it's honor- The Asparagus Festival, which is going to be happening this coming weekend in Stockton. I've heard they'll be serving up asparagus ice cream and deep fried asparagus as well as other asparagus dishes. Asparagus ice cream...hmmmm, wonder what that tastes like? Anyhow, in the spirit of the asparagus season, I decided to roast some asparagus tonight; but instead of our usual garlic and lemon spears, I decided to change things up a bit. This recipe from The Simple Lens had caught my eye recently...maple roasted asparagus with pecans, how good does that sound? The only thing that could make the recipe more amazing--- candied pecans!

Maple Roasted Asparagus with Candied Pecans (recipe adapted from The Simple Lens)


1 lb. asparagus

1/3 cup Trader Joe's candied pecans (or regular pecans will work too), roughly chopped

2 tablespoons of real maple syrup

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Wash asparagus, snap off the woody ends. Chop pecans. You can use regular pecans for this recipe but the candied pecans sold in the nut aisle at Trader Joe's are frickin' awesome. If you're there, pick up a can use them in all kinds of dishes. I throw mine into salads a lot and use them to top off cookies and cupcakes.

3. Toss the asparagus with the syrup, balsamic vinegar and pecans. Make sure the asparagus are coated well.

4. Place on a lightly oiled pan. Roast for 20-30 minutes in oven. Stir them up about halfway through the cooking period.

5. Serve hot.


The winner of the OXO hand-held mandoline is...Ellen!

Ellen, I will be contacting you via email to see where you would like your package sent. Congratulations and happy slicing!

Can you believe it's Monday already? And how HOT it was this weekend? Hope you survived. I know the AC was turned on over here. This weekend really seemed to whiz by. Mr. S. didn't have the kidlets this weekend so we got some stuff done around his casa and around my cottage. On Saturday, we planted some of these cute Japanese boxwood bushes in front of my cottage, they're called, "Green Beauty." Aren't they gorgeous? I love how the green color just pops against the black bark.

Later that day we attended a birthday party for our friend Brian up in El Dorado Hills that his awesome wife Heather threw. It had a casino theme (she went all out and rented tables and hired dealers), it was a lot of fun. I love theme parties, especially if there's no costumes involved. (If you know me, then you know my intense dislike for having to dress up in costumes.) Sunday was all about BBQing- juicy burgers and fresh veggies. Today though, I thought I'd make another batch of these pickled shiitakes from David Chang's Momofuku cookbook. I made some several weeks ago but quickly scarfed all three jars down. If you like salty stuff over sweet, like I do then you'll positively adore these. Also, you don't have to wait to eat these, they're ready for munching immediately.

Pickled Shiitakes (adapted from Momofuku by David Chang & Peter Meehan)
(makes about a quarts worth)


4 loosely packed cups of dried shiitakes

1 cup sugar

1 cup usukuchi*

1 cup sherry vinegar

Two 3-inch knobs of fresh ginger peeled


1. Soak the dried shiitakes in boiling water for about 15-20 minutes. Take the shiitakes out and set them aside. Put the leftover liquid through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any debris. Reserve 2 cups for the recipe. You can discard the rest or save it for other recipes (I like to use it as a base in recipes such as mushroom risotto).

2. Remove and discard the stems from the shiitakes. Slice the caps into strips.

3. In a pot, combine the steeping liquid, the sugar, the usukuchi, sherry vinegar, ginger and the sliced shittake caps. Place the pot on the stove over medium heat and bring to a nice simmer, for 30 minutes. Stir occassionally.

4. At 30 minutes, turn the heat off and allow the mixture to cool. Discard the ginger and pack the shiitakes (really get them in there) into the jars. Top off with the liquid (just enough to make sure the mushrooms are covered).

5. Keep refrigerated. Will be good for 1 month.

* Oto's Market on Freeport sells usukuchi.


I'm currently on Day 6 of this wretched summer cold and although it seems to be slowly dissipating, it's not taking a hike quick enough for the likes of me. Since these germs have become wily to the likes of my colds meds, last night I moved onto Plan B- dousing them with a few rounds of good ol' Kentucky bourbon (aka drinks with friends). I'm not quite sure how well my plan worked...I think my cold may have laughed at my attempt and thrown a party in response, but I did sleep well when I got home. C'est la vie! In the meantime, I haven't done any heavy duty cooking projects but I did get around to candying these lovely kumquats (that I got to pick straight from the tree this past weekend). I love kumquats, they're the cutest little fruits ever. Their name comes from the Cantonese word, "kam kwat," which means "golden orange," and in China they're used as a cold remedy. They look like teeny-tiny oranges but you can eat the whole thing, skin and all. The skin is sweet and the juicy flesh is super tart (it'll make you pucker and squinch up your face), which makes them perfect for candying, or making syrup or marmalade. Candied kumquats can be used for several purposes, my favorites being: as a topping on ice cream, mixed in with Greek yogurt, diced up and mixed in with salad vinaigrette or used  as a garnish for summer cocktails. They're also great as a topping on pound cakes, paired with cheeses or cooked with savory dishes like pork.

Candied Kumquats


2 cups of kumquats, halved & pips removed

2 cup of granulated sugar

1/2 cup honey

1 cup of water

1 vanilla bean

pinch of Kosher salt


1. Place the sugar, honey, salt and water in a medium-sized pot. Split the vanilla bean length-wise and scrape out the seeds with a knife or spoon. Add the vanilla bean pod and seeds to the pot, bring to a boil over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. (Stir the mixture to make sure it does not burn.) Reduce the heat to medium and add the kumquats.

2. Simmer the kumquats in the syrup, stirring occasionally, until the skins become tender and translucent.

3. Using a slotted spoon, remove and place the candied kumquats in a glass jar. Discard the vanilla bean pod.

4. Continue to simmer the syrup over medium-low heat. It should reduce and takes on a syrup-like consistency. Remove from stove, pour over the kumquats. Allow to cool, then cover. Place in the fridge for at least 24 hours, before consuming.

5. Can be stored for up to 2 weeks in the fridge in an airtight container.
Just down the road from Sac...

April 27-29th


Last night's date night is probably one of my favorite thus far. Even though I was in the throes of a crappy summer head cold, I was bound and determined that Mr.S. and I were still going to attend the Bon Iver show at Freeborn Hall. High on Afrin nasal spray and pumped full of Target's version of Sudafed, I was ready to go and have a grand time. Drippy nose and scratchy throat be damned. Even though we were probably a good 15 years older then most of the audience (gah!), we had a fabulous time at the concert. I can't say I liked the opening band but Justin Vernon and his crew rocked the house. His music was positively amazing (especially the fast, hard version of Blood Bank) and the light show was mesmerizing. The lights at times made you feel like you were looking at a sunset, or trapped under the Earth's surface or one even reminded me of the jellyfish exhibit at the aquarium. Ok, maybe my descriptions sound a bit crazy (could have been the cold meds), but the lights like the music were awesome. Anyhow, when we got home I felt mellow but simultaneously wired...mellow from hearing a full set of Bon Iver tunes, yet wired from being at a concert. Regardless, the end result was I couldn't I decided to put that extra energy to good use and fiddle around some in the kitchen. I had plucked a few Meyer lemons from my tree this weekend, in what I presume will be the last of this season's harvest, I paired them up with some fresh rosemary I picked up at the farmers market on Sunday and made some of these delicious Meyer Lemon and Rosemary cookies. They turned out scrumptious...not bad for some midnight baking! And yes, I did play some Bon Iver while I baked. It seemed wrong not to. :)

Meyer Lemon and Rosemary Cookies (adapted from a recipe by Miss Sophie)


2 sticks butter, room temperature

¾ cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla (extract or paste)

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped

2 teaspoons grated Meyer lemon zest

2 ¼ cups all purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

Sugar for dusting


- In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar thoroughly. Add egg and vanilla, mix well. Then add fresh rosemary, lemon zest,  salt and flour. Mix well.

- Divide dough in half and shape into two logs. Roll logs up in wax or parchment paper. Chill for at least 1 hour. (I threw mine in the freezer for an extra 15 minutes.)

- Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut logs into ¼ inch slices, roll in sugar and place on silicone baking mat. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

1120 Fulton Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95825. (916) 486-1140

It isn't often that you make an awesome new friend with similar interests or that you stumble upon a great new lunch spot and even rarer is when the stars align and they happen at the same time. I recently had a lunch date with a new blogger friend I had met at a Sac Bee Connect blogger meeting, the bloggess behind Tate's Kitchen. If you haven't read her blog before, you should check it out. Her food photos are so delicious looking, the dishes literally look like they're popping off the screen and she's just as nice in person as she is online. Anyhow, we decided to be adventurous and check out a Mediterranean place neither of us had been to before over on Fulton Avenue, called Fresh Medi.

The restaurant turned out to be a bit difficult to find, it's tucked away in a small strip mall. My dining companion said she drove by it twice before she spotted it. (Look for the Mellow Me Out Spa sign which is a bit bigger and higher, Fresh Medi is located next to it. ) Inside the restaurant, you'll find tile floors and booths along one wall and clothed tables throughout the rest of the restaurant. The menu is mostly made up of soups, salads, pita sandwiches, various wraps, and beef/chicken/lamb entrees. On the waiter's recommendation we decided to try the Mediterranean Nachos, he swore that we would love it. We also decided to to split a small Lamb Gyro. The Lamb Gyro was good, but it was completely overshadowed by the deliciousness of the Mediterranean Nachos. The "nachos" were made up of crispy, fried pita triangles topped with marinated pieces of tender chicken, feta cheese, fresh diced tomatoes, and creamy house dressing all set upon a bed of lettuce. (We tried to ask the waiter about the ingredients in the house dressing but we got a lot of vague answers...I don't think they're about to give up any secrets, but he did bring us an extra side of it. Service was friendly and attentive (the restaurant was pretty empty during most of our visit) and our waiter didn't seem to mind that we camped out and chatted over a leisurely lunch. He even gave us a complimentary slice of baklava to sample which turned out to be quite delightful...not overly sweet.

I definitely plan to go back. The Mediterranean Nachos alone are worth a return visit.

1014 10th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. (916) 442-1085.

A button popped off my jeans the other day and it may have been because I've been overindulging in honey soy-lattes at Broadacre Coffee lately. I usually don't go for frou-frou drinks but I can't help it, these lattes are absolutely irresistible. I initially stopped into Broadacre because I heard they were carrying Stumptown Coffee (which is my all time favorite) but now I'm completely hooked on these darn lattes. If I can ever tear myself away from the honey lattes, I'd like to try one of their lavender lattes which I've seen customers swoon over as well.

Anyhow, the guys that bought this place are doing a great job. (The space was formerly occupied by Temple Coffee.) They're friendly, knowledgeable about the various roasts and make a great cup of coffee each and every time I've gone in. They're also always planning fun stuff like Second Saturday coffee bike tours, coffee pop-ups around town and hosting live music with local musicians at the shop. They're a great fit for the Grid. I may have to buy bigger pants if I keep visiting them on a regular basis but they're a welcome addition to the neighborhood.


If you look around my kitchen, you'll see that I own a lot of OXO kitchen tools. I find that they're comfortable to use and are of good quality. So when the nice folks at OXO offered to send me two hand-held Good Grips mandolines (one to try out and one to giveaway), I was excited at first. Then the anxiety set in...mandolines are one of those kitchen tools that make me a wee bit nervous...mainly because it's just so easy to knick (or slice) a finger. However, I love how evenly the mandoline slices everything so I was willing the give it a shot. I decided to try my new mandoline out on a pan of my special "twice as nice" potato gratin. (I call it "twice as nice" since it uses two different kinds of delicious potatoes.)

When I opened up my new mandoline, the first thing I noticed that was different about OXO's version was that it comes with a food holder that protects your hands and covers the blade when not in use. Also, you can control the thickness of your slices by adjusting the soft lever on the side (there are three thickness levels). You can then slice over a plate or hook the mandoline (it has little non-slip "feet" at the end) onto a bowl. My potato slicing went really fast and all my slices were perfectly even. I was pretty impressed with the ease of use. The best part though was that it was dishwasher safe, so clean up was simple (no scary scrubbing of sharp blades) and it doesn't take up much room in my kitchen drawer!

* To win your own OXO hand-held mandoline, all you have to do is leave me a comment on the blog under this post (not Facebook)- telling me about the dish you will make if you win the mandoline.

Please leave your email address or make sure your profile is public, so I have some way to reach you if you win. Open to US residents, who are 18 years of age or older.

This giveaway ends at 12:01am PST April 24, 2012. The winner will be chosen at random and contacted via the email address left with the winning comment. The winner will be asked for their name, age and mailing address. If the winner does not respond by 12:00 PM on Friday, April 27, 2012 with the requested information, a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck!
Disclosure: A Girl and Her Fork was provided a sample for reviewing purposes, however, I was under no obligation to write a review. No monetary compensation was offered or given. The opinions expressed are my true and honest opinion.

"Twice as Nice" Potato Gratin (recipe inspired by The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters)


2 Large Yukon Gold potatoes

2 large Japanese sweet potatoes

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced

4 tablespoons butter

1 cup whole milk

3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and fresh ground pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Grease 9 x 12 casserole pan with 1 tablespoon of butter.

3. Saute mushrooms in olive oil over medium heat. Set aside.

3. Slice potatoes as thin as you can and layer them one over another in the pan, in an overlapping fashion. Sprinkle potatoes with salt and fresh ground pepper (repeat with other layers).

4. A third of the way through, sprinkle with a layer of cheese (about 1 oz.).

5. Halfway through place a layer of mushrooms down.

6. Two-thirds of the way through, sprinkle another layer of cheese.

7. Finish up the potatoes. Pour in 1 cup of milk, it should reach the top of the potatoes (if it doesn't, add a touch more so that it does.)

8. Dot the top of the gratin with the three tablespoons of butter and bake it for about an hour. Halfway through the baking time, take the gratin dish out of the oven and gently press the potatoes flat with a spatula to keep the top moist. Sprinkle the remaining 1 oz. of cheese on top of the gratin for the last 15 minutes of baking. The gratin is done when the potatoes are soft and the top is golden brown.
It's almost May and you know what that means? It's time for Mulvaney's annual Derby Day party! Tickets are $45 and include food, 2 drink tickets, and valet parking. This year, Lilliput Children's Services is the host and the menu will consist of:

Traditional Deviled Eggs with Smoked Bledsoe Bacon
Crispy Filo Triangles
Braising Greens with Roasted Red Peppers & Feta

Main Eats

Fresh Cut Fish Sticks or Fried Chicken
Fried Green Tomatoes
Stuffed Mushrooms
Grilled & Chilled Delta Asparagus with Apollo Olive Oil & Gran Parma
Dry Rubbed Tri-Tip with White Cheddar, Arugula & Horseradish Mayonnaise
Bourbon Pork Sliders on Old Soul Buns


Laurel Chenel Goat Cheese
Shaft Blue
Fiscalini Farm House Cheddar

Petaluma Brie
Locally Dried Fruits and Nuts

Specialty Crackers

Patrick’s Petite Tartlets:
Lemon Meringue
Banana Crème

Valrhona Chocolate

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Peach Cobbler

...& Sweet Southern Iced Tea

The Derby Day Party will be held on Saturday, May 5th from 1pm-5pm at Mulvaney's B&L (1215 19th Street).
For more information or to purchase tickets:

Culinary Center, 4315 Arden Way, Sacramento, CA, 95608. (916) 488-2800 ext. 261

I love to cook, but I'll admit my knives skills could use some work. I'm definitely no culinary samurai in the kitchen. When I'm cutting, I exert too much force, I have a tendency to hold my fingers too far away from the blade or too 37 years somehow I've miraculously kept all my fingertips, but there's always room for improvement. So for our date night last night, I thought it'd be fun for Mr.S. and I to check out the Knives Skills 101 class offered by the Sacramento Whole Foods on Arden Way. (I had stumbled upon their class calendar several months back when some friends and I had thought about taking a class.) At a mere $9 for the class, I was willing to give it a was cheaper than going to a movie and I figured I was bound to learn a skill or two.

We showed up Thursday night at the Whole Foods Culinary Center (a small instructional kitchen located within the store) through the rain, hail, thunder and lightening. The classroom was ready to go with cutting boards and knives for each student. We were there a bit early so we got to chat a bit with the instructor, Chris Chisholm (who teaches several other cooking classes at Whole Foods as well). The class began with a brief introduction to knife safety, choosing a knife and knife care. The majority of the class, however, was devoted to hands-on learning. We learned how to chop, cut on the bias, batonnet, do a large and small dice, and julienne. During the class we worked on carrots, celery, potatoes and onions to learn how to cut vegetables of different shapes. Mr.S. turned out to be a natural at cutting; he was whizzing through stuff like he was Richard Blais. I, unfortunately was not. For some reason, sticking the knuckles of my left hand against the blade of the knife, really freaked me out. Flashbacks of knife injuries in the past kept flipping through my brain, causing me to tensing up. Our instructor was extremely patient, friendly and helpful though. He just kept gently reminding me to keep my knuckles against the blade. He also suggested a smaller, lighter knife for me which helped a lot.

Class ended up running longer than it was scheduled for which was great. The instructor also stayed after and showed several students quick ways to smash and cut garlic and how to hone knives since they were interested. Overall, both Mr.S. and I had a wonderful time and felt that we learned a lot. Mr.S. liked it so much that on the ride home he commented that he would be up for attending another cooking or food related class. As for me, I'm thinking I need to make a batch of vegetable soup soon so I can practice all the new knife skills I just learned.

* Whole Foods Sacramento usually offers this class once a month. You can check their calendar, it's updated monthly.
* Must 18 to attend this class.

Last night it was raining cats and dogs so I decided for supper a pot of warm, hearty soup was in order. I ended up trying out this new recipe for roasted asparagus soup and bringing it over to Mr. S.'s house where we opted against subjecting ourselves to Mother Nature's wrath ( I'm pretty sure the barrage of thunder and lightening were the deciding factor) and instead enjoy a night in watching movies with this furry beast...our favorite little third wheel. I mean, how can you resist this cute face?

Oh! The soup turned out to be amazing- not a drop left...the perfect blend of creaminess and fresh vegetable. Mr. S. has decided it's his new favorite and since it's so easy to make (and asparagus is so cheap at the farmers market right now--$2 a bunch!) looks like I might be making this recipe again soon.

Roasted Asparagus Soup (adapted from Pictures and Pancakes)
Serves 2-3


2 bunches asparagus, coarsely chopped

3-4 large cloves garlic, minced

1 med-lrg yellow onion, coarsely chopped

1-2 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup heavy cream (or whipping cream)

salt & pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Gently wash your asparagus stalks and snap off the woody ends. Cut the stalks into 1-inch pieces (roughly).
3. Mince your garlic and chop your onion.
4. Toss the asparagus, garlic, onion onto a baking pan. Coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
5. Roast for about 20 minutes.
6. Transfer to a food processor. Add cream and stock. Puree well.
7. Season to taste.
8. This soup can be served hot or chilled (we found that we liked it served hot better).

Optional: Top soup off with some grated Parmesan or add a squeeze of lemon.

Jubilee Farms will be hosting it's inaugural pig roast May 12th, from 9am to 5pm at McClatchy Park. General tickets are $25 in advance ($30 day of), children $12.50 in advance ($15 day of) and VIP tickets are $50. Chef Brad Cecchi from the Grange restaurant will be cooking. Proceeds will benefit the Oak Park Farmers Market.

Currently the menu is:

Jubilee Farm Berskshire Pork including:
- Roasted Whole Pig
- Salt Roasted Pork
- Grilled Rack of Pork
- Roasted Porchetta
- Fresh Sausages
- Farm Fresh Chicken (Cooked Inside the Pork)
- Baked Beans
- Grilled Asparagus
- Farmers Market Strawberries
- Farmers Market Potato Salad
- Vegetables Boulangere
- Grilled Vegetarian Option Available*
- Coca-Cola provide by Sacramento Coke Bottling Company
- Apple Cider & Juices provided by Barsotti Family Juice Co.
- The amazing Bacon Maple Doughnut by Doughbot Doughnuts
...and much more!

All of the vegetables will be sourced from local farms such as Full Belly Farm, Farm Fresh to You and other Oak Park Farmers Market vendors.

Live music & a raffle.
For more information or to buy tickets:
916.304.FARM [3276]


I won't lie, lately I haven't been doing a whole lotta cooking. I mean I haven't been subsisting on Top Ramen and Hot Pockets or anything of that nature, but dinners have just been pretty much the basics. I've been in a cooking funk. However, Wednesday night I did surprise Mr.S. with his favorite...fresh morels. The guy is like a kid at Christmas when it comes to morels. He waits eagerly all year for those mushrooms to come into season. We prepared them simply...just sauteed them up in some butter and served them with a side of eggs. Absolute perfection. Maybe those meaty little fungi will be the culinary jumpstart that I need to head back into the kitchen this weekend. In the meantime, "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" is opening this weekend at the Crest so I think I might try and pop over and check that out. Looks like a good flick.


"Over second and third cups flow matters of high finance, high state, common gossip and low comedy. [Coffee] is a social binder, a warmer of tongues, a soberer of minds, a stimulant of wit, a foiler of sleep if you want it so. From roadside mugs to the classic demi-tasse, it is the perfect democrat. "

~The New York Times, 1949

2829 S Street, Sacramento, CA 95816. (916) 454-1272.

I love my little cottage, it has everything one could need but sometimes just sometimes...I wish it had a backyard. Just a little one would suffice. Sure, I could trek over to Mr. S.'s. He's got a huge backyard, complete with a shady mulberry tree but sometimes it's nice to be able to lounge just a bit closer to home...that's when I like to take a jaunt down the street to Temple Coffee and sit on their patio. The inside of their S Street location tends to be pretty crowded with java junkies quietly tapping away on their laptops for hours on end (free wi-fi!) but there's usually at least one table open on the patio. It's a great spot to catch a few rays of sunshine while catching up with a friend or reading a book. It's like being in a mini-backyard. Temple also serves up a mean cup of coffee. I really like their Brazilian and Guatemalan roasts. But if you're feeling fancy, splurge and try a pot of their Bliss tea (peppermint tea with vanilla soy milk, coconut milk, and honey)'s like a little afternoon dessert.

* Bring cash, as they do charge you a fee if you use your ATM/debit card.
* Patio is dog friendly.