Archive for October, 2009

This Just In – Puglian Chicories

Starting tonight through the weekend, we’ll be serving Barciole di vitellone e cicora: scaloppine of Magruder Ranch milk- and grass-fed vitellone stuffed with Knoll Farm puglian chicories.

For this dish, Chef Canales will be using chicories that were grown by Rick and Kristie Knoll of Tairwa’ – Knoll Farms in Brentwood.  Rick and Kristie grew these chicories from seeds Oliveto co-owner Bob Klein brought back from one of his annual trips to Italy.  Bob had stayed with his friends, Armando and Rosalba of Masseria Il Frantoio, Ostuni in Puglia, and they offered him seeds from some of the more favorable chicories they grow.

In turn, Bob made a charming video about Armando and Rosalba that tells the story of their passion for community and a love of good food.  It is the basis for their incredible guesthouse and the motivation behind much of what they do.  Tonight, we’ll be serving some of those fabulous chicories with a nod to our friends.

Backyard Quince, or Respect For Your Elders


The bright, juicy, show-stopping fruits of summer are gone.  Nectarines, strawberries, and pluots- all feats of human farm science- have exhausted themselves serving us….and we are finally at late harvest season, my favorite time of year.

The late harvest season shows remarkably well in Sonoma County; the fruits that grow so well there harmonize with the muted tones, the smell of dried hay, the quick onset of spooky, misty nights, and the old world pastoral feel of the landscape.  After the sexy, young, luscious fruits of summer I welcome the simple, humble, comforting antique fruit we get from our friends Tony and Continue reading ‘Backyard Quince, or Respect For Your Elders’

In the Kitchen with Chef Canales: Dry-aged beef

This morning, Chef Paul Canales took a moment to show us some of the beef he’s been aging.  Mac Magruder delivered a manzo six weeks ago, and the rib-eyes are now being prepared to go on the menu this weekend as tagliata & (maybe) wild mushrooms.

Chef Canales also gives us a heads up on the porcini forecast for next week, tells us what “hard crack” means, and introduces us to Pablo “Tigre” Gavito.

Dinner with Roberto


Tasting & Dinner with Roberto Stucchi Prinetti,
from Badia a Coltibuono

Friday, October 16th, beginning at 6:30 PM

This evening will be somewhat casual, certainly impromptu, but we hope interesting, worthwhile, and delicious.   Roberto is one of the most informed and thoughtful people we know in the wine world.  And now, with the wine business in considerable disarray, we thought it a fine time to consider how it may be evolving as we work our way back towards normalcy, and perhaps a bit about how we would hope it could evolve.   We’ll have a simple dinner in the Siena Room, a selection of Badia a Coltibuono wines, and conversation.

Chef Paul Canales will offer us a very fine four-course menu, allowing for several choices in appetizers and entrees


There will be two Coltibuono wine flights available for $25.00 and $40.00

Seating will be limited to 24 persons.


for reservations

Oliveto Polenta Dinners 2009

October, 22nd – October 23rd

We frequently get the request to repeat a special dinner we offered in 2006 to celebrate polenta.  Just last month, we harvested Trentino Red Flint corn grown here in California, which definitely merits a whole new polenta celebration.

Polenta is a meal meant to be eaten communally.  Traditionally, corn porridge was cooked on the fire in a paiolo (copper pot), poured out onto a wood board, formed into a firm, rounded cake and set in the middle of the table.  La Polenta is served with simple to exalted ingredients that run the gamut from saucy meats, poultry and wild game, vegetables, mushrooms, fish stew, to olive oil and cheese.  Following in the tradition, we will offer wooden boards with a round of polenta for each table sufficient for the size of the party, with a variety of accompaniments from which to choose.

See Polenta Dinners 2009 Full Menu

In the 1970s, most regional corn varieties in Italy were lost as more people turned to an industrial raised corn.  This Italian Red Flint corn, we call Trentino, came from a family garden in Trento and was discovered by our friend William Rubel, a food Continue reading ‘Oliveto Polenta Dinners 2009′

Autumn 2009 at Riverdog Farm

riverdog_150Tomato harvest continues, although not at the pace it was just a month ago.  We’re still busy harvesting peppers, eggplants, greenbeans, black-eyed peas, and of course, winter squash. We’re also busy seeding and planting many of our winter crops: kale, broccoli, and cabbage.  In a couple of the photos in which a crew member (foreground) is picking tomatoes, another one of our crew members is transplanting cabbages in an adjacent field.  We cultivate with a tractor and then by hand to weed out unwanted vegetation in our beds. Our fall greens and root veggies are just a few weeks from harvest. Continue reading ‘Autumn 2009 at Riverdog Farm’

Dead Ripe – “It actually means something”


‘Tis the season of abundance and acute ripeness, as summer crops put all their remaining energy into their final fruits and seeds in one last attempt to be sown back into the earth.  The farms themselves seem at their most beautiful, and the harvest months have a certain celebratory cheer about them, the true pleasure in a job well done.

It’s also the season when farmers and chefs alike are borderline overwhelmed with an onslaught of fruits & vegetables that are ripe RIGHT NOW.  It brings an immediacy and a level of creativity to the kitchen and menu that is unique to this time of year. Continue reading ‘Dead Ripe – “It actually means something”’