Baja California seems like the perfect place to recreate that Italian sense of wine. Both are peninsulas with rolling hills of heat and fresh ocean breezes, perfect for a multitude of grape varieties. Food is central to the culture, like it is in Italy, with most Mexicans in the area practicing some sort of agriculture, aquaculture, or livestock herding. Finally, both have a bustling tourist industry more than ready to accommodate wine loving visitors.
Mark my words, Baja California is on the rise as a wine destination.
My dear pal took me to Baja’s wine country – the Valle de Guadalupe near Ensenada – to lunch under the pine trees at Drew Deckman’s new seasonal restaurant at the charming Mogor Badan winery…there is no dearth of fine eateries in the Ensenada area.
And all take full advantage of what the region offers including organic produce; regional cheeses in both the farm and European styles; hand-crafted wines that are winning accolades throughout the world, and meats and seafood that are cultivated locally.
Mozzarella is one of the easiest cheeses to make, it only takes 30 minutes and the taste can’t be beat!
The ingredients are simple although a couple of them you may have to search a bit for, but the end result is worth it–especially when you can say “I made it myself!”
All the recipe calls for is 1 gallon of milk and tiny amounts of citric acid, rennet tablet, and cheese salt (though one recipe said you can skip the salt). Extremely simple and cheap ($2.50) when it comes to making cheese and when combined with tomatoes and basil becomes:
Insalata Caprese (salad in the style of Capri) is a simple salad from the Italian region of Campania, made of sliced fresh buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, seasoned with salt, and olive oil. – Wikipedia
The list of fermented food in our lives is staggering: bread, coffee, pickles, beer, cheese, yogurt and soy sauce are all transformed at some point during their production process by microscopic organisms that extend their usefulness and enhance their flavors.
The process of fermenting our food isn’t a new one: Evidence indicates that early civilizations were making wine and beer between 7,000 and 8,000 years ago — and bread even before that.
But was exactly is fermentation? And how does it work? Those were the questions that fascinated Sandor Katz for years. Katz calls himself a “fermentation revivalist” and has spent the past decade teaching workshops around the country on the ancient practice of fermenting food.
“If you walk into a gourmet food store and start thinking about the nature of the foods that we elevate on the gourmet pedestal, almost all of them are the products of fermentation,” he tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross.
Every week I read the surf column from local surf legend, Corky Carroll, and this week I was delighted to find him musing about the ideal after-surf food. For young whippersnappers, like me, these stories let you know how long surfers have been catching waves and scarfing afterwards.
Enjoy Corky’s stories and afterwards I’ll share my modern-day favorites.
Whenever the subject turns to hanging out at the Huntington Beach Pier in the ’50s and ’60s, somebody always mentions “strips.” I mentioned them right here not long ago myself.
Strips were these fairly soggy and extremely greasy tortilla pieces that were drowned in some sort of cheese substitute and a kind of catsup with a hint of Tabasco. We all loved them for an after-surfing snack. I am not sure what kind of nutritional value they had, but at that time nobody cared about that stuff.
I was sitting at the Sugar Shack not long ago woofing down a stack of their amazing pancakes and thinking that there just is not a much tastier after-surf breakfast than that, especially with a side of bacon to go along with it.
There have always been those certain little taste treats that stick out in your taste-bud memory banks. I remember the Helms bread truck that came down our street every afternoon at about 4 o’clock. It had the most amazing cream puffs known to man. I would beg my mom for the 12 cents. They also had a good glazed donut for a nickel and chocolate and maple bars for a dime. But the ultimate was the cream puff.
Before the Sugar Shack, there was Poor Richards around the corner on Pacific Coast Highway…
Doubtless, the dour Victorian author would have wanted us to celebrate the day exploring the city he loved and hated, London.
Dickens’ London was a magnificent and horrendous place. At the height of the British Empire, London was the envy of the world, by far the most majestic city anywhere. Unimaginable wealth passed through its gates every day.
The Charles Dickens Museum is in Bloomsbury, right in central London, and is housed in an actual Dickens residence. Visiting it gives you a sense of exactly what it was like to live in Dickens’ house – if that house were stuffed with hundreds of thousands of artifacts, manuscripts, and other historical objects.
With roots going back to the Middle Ages, this pub is tucked away from Fleet Street up a narrow alley. Fans of the pub tout its mention in A Tale of Two Cities, although Dickens never mentions the pub by name. Apparently, though, it’s a great place to grab a pint or two after you’ve been acquitted of treason.
You won’t find this cathedral mentioned anywhere in Dickens’ works. That’s because in his time, it was just a plain ol’ church (named “St Saviour’s”).
The cathedral – one of the oldest churches in London – appears in a classically Dickensian sentence from Oliver Twist: “The tower of old Saint Saviour’s Church, and the spire of Saint Magnus, so long the giant-warders of the ancient bridge, were visible in the gloom.”
March is a transitional month, like pubescence for produce. We’re tired of root veg, but strawberries haven’t come of age. Thanks be to peas—the hint of light, sweet green we crave as days grow warmer. Eat whole sugar snaps raw, chop into salad, or lightly steam. For English peas, channel your inner grandma and sit with a bowl to shell them. Add the peas and a little water to a skillet, cook until the water evaporates. Or live dangerously with a knob of butter and sea salt. Sauté briefly, eat, and smile. Spring is almost here.
Keep reading for a CSA from Poppa’s Fresh Fish company – $25 for a box (25% off retail) of local fish, mixed fish, shelled fish, or simply wild salmon.
And, Claravale Farm is bringing their raw milk to the dairy desert of Southern California. Did you know that it is near impossible to find milk, cheese, ice cream, or butter at farmers markets in Orange County and San Diego?
Well the milk man is back, at least at one farmers market in San Diego!