A Press Democrat Blog

Proximal Kitchen

Cooking locally, with really sharp knives

The Costco Report: Organic Beef

I cooked this steak – with a simple red wine-honey reduction and a creamy parmigiano-peppercorn salad – in honor of one of my especially snarky fans, someone who objects strenuously every time I buy something from a supermarket for what I’ve billed as a “cooking locally” weblog. I’ll stipulate the point, but my money says I’m not the only parent in the County who’d like to serve their kids a decent, healthy steak for a few less bucks. But is it a decent, healthy steak?… Read More »

For the love of pig!

If you like local food and wine, and the idea of watching an entire pig morph from carcass into dinner doesn’t scare you, then you could do worse than a Sunday afternoon spent eating and drinking alongside 5 local winemakers, 5 local chefs, and their 5 porcine victims – all from heritage bloodlines, all sustainably raised by local farmers – at COCHON555. The main event will surely be the rainbow of piggy plates offered up by some of Wine Country’s… Read More »

Steal this wine. Now.

Another drive-by post, but worth the rapid-fire detour, at least if you like your wine local, good, and cheap, because I just found two ridiculously cheap wines that won’t last – a $25 RRV Chard for $10, and a $35 Sonoma Mountain Pinot for $12.50 – and if you’ve wasted any time at all on this site, then you won’t want to miss them, because we probably agree that to suggest that one can have too much good, cheap, Sonoma County wine is oxymoronic.

Read More »

Wild Salmon for Wild Kids

wild salmon w/ pistou, polenta, arugula saladThis dish came about, like so much of what transpires here in the PK, because it was the obvious thing to do: Driving home with my eldest daughter, we stopped by the small but exceptional Tuesday market. We had very little time and were already behind schedule for dinner, so prep time had to be short. And, of course, the ultimate test for any kids’ meal: Would the little monsters actually eat whatever I put in front of them?… Read More »

Up the Quilceda Creek without a paddle

Quilceda Creek 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia ValleyThink of the very best “cult” wines from the Napa Valley floor, shoot them up with enough steroids to power the Tour de France and Major League Baseball combined, and then somehow balance all that bulging, bronzed muscle with enough subtlety and grace to keep everything harmonious – imagine The Incredible Hulk dancing a perfect Swan Lake, or The Situation passing abstract algebra – and you’ll have some idea of what Quilceda Creek’s freak-of-nature wines are all about.… Read More »

My Big, Fat, Alexander Valley Chardonnay (Part 3 of 3)

For a brief and ill-advised moment, I considered describing the luscious and outrageously good Chardonnays being crafted over in the Alexander Valley as phat rather than fat, mainly because pretty hot and tasty summarily describes the better ones, but also because I’m hopelessly ignorant when it comes to the etymology and demographic appropriateness of modern slang. … 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 »

AV Chardonnay Calls BS on ABC (Part 2 of 3)

I may live in the Russian River Valley – indisputably, home court to any number of world-class Chardonnay winemakers – but I’m here to tell you that, if well-made, sexpot Chards are your thing, then you need to get your Chard-guzzling booty over to the Alexander Valley, and stat. You won’t find nearly the selection (the simple math is fewer wineries making less wine), you’ll drive a few extra miles between tasting rooms (it’s a sparsely populated region), but for… Read More »

AV Chardonnay Calls BS on ABC (Part 1 of 3)

Alexander Valley, Lytton Springs ExitGoogle “ABC Anything But Chardonnay” and you’ll get something on the order of 19,000 hits in the first few tenths of a second. The oldest reference I could be bothered to find dates to 1995 in a column by Frank Prial for the NY Times, but as recently as 2008, someone actually took the time to write a book with the same dated and misguided tag line, so… Read More »