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A Press Democrat Blog

Proximal Kitchen

Cooking locally, with really sharp knives

2 Guys, 1 Pool Table, & Some Barrels

As a rule, I wince when I hear the words artisanal and Pinot Noir in the same sentence, conjuring as they do the pretension of restaurants that proclaim “house-made” and people who’ve watched the movie Sideways more than once. But exceptions prove rules, and every so often I’m lucky enough to be reminded of the origins of the term, the idea that wine-making is as much craft as science, and that small lots, made by hand, with obsessive attention to… Read More »

Get her tipsy, feed her chocolate.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not above whetting my wife’s more carnal appetites with enough wine and chocolate to impair her better judgment. I’m sure that’s all very un-PC and certainly, as the father of young daughters, I live in mortal fear of the effects of alcohol on sensibility; but my wife’s a big girl, and above all, she knows how I think, so I’m pretty sure our pending Valentine’s Date – a savory symphony of handcrafted chocolate and wine at J Winery – will be consensual.… Read More »

Lobster Bisque & Viognier @ J Winery: Two of a Perfect Pair

Forgive the hackneyed analog, but I’ve just eaten a Lennon-McCartney harmony of food and wine over at J Winery; OK, maybe that’s too much, but a solid Bee Gees, at least! Seriously, if we wore socks on our teeth, then Chef Mark Caldwell’s Lobster Bisque, together with winemaker George Bursick’s Hoot Owl Vineyard Viognier, would knock them clean off. And I don’t even like Viognier, as a rule.
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Eat Pig, Drink Pinot, Save Our Schools

I have mixed feelings about school fund-raisers: On the one hand, like most parents, I have kids in public schools that fall chronically short of financial resources; on the other, I believe that I already pay more than enough in taxes to expect a properly funded system of public education, that the root of the problem is not the quantity of money available, but rather the means by which it is allocated. In any case, on the morning after our Pigs ‘n Pinot fund-raising dinner, I am hungover, fat, and happy all the same.
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Corn Salsa Even My Kids Will Eat (Recipe)

Like the 49ers staring at a 4th-and-20, last Friday’s post ended with a whimper, a don’t think/just-punt sort of moment, as my employer’s requirement for some actual work and the post’s rapidly escalating word count dictated a hasty retreat from a recipe that I had the poor form to advertise and picture, but not to supply. So, think of today as a reprieve from the instant-replay booth – not exactly lucky, but fortuitous nevertheless.

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Corn Salsa Even My Kids Will Eat

Salmon Corn Cakes, Corn Serrano Chile Salsa, Padron PeppersCoaching basketball at the professional level, managing a United Nations peace-keeping mission, and getting kids to eat something for the first time – a category generally construed to mean anything with so much as a twig of the family tree in the Vegetable Kingdom, but often including everything not already vetted and approved via previous personal experience (a logical circularity seemingly lost on my own children) – all depend as much on the application of politics as of force:… Read More »

Should I buy local wines at Costco?

Sonoma County Pinot Noir Costco We’ve talked about Costco before, a conversation in which I argued that monolithic, small-business-destroying category killers still have a place in the kitchen, even proximal kitchens, if for no other reason than because saving money on staples allows us to allocate a larger share of our budget to the locally produced goods of premium quality (and, let’s be honest, at a premium price), that we like to cook with. But what about buying locally produced goods at the Big C?… Read More »