The Sonoma County that we love!

Posts tagged ‘food’

Beignets at the Farmers Market

I have one word – Beignets!

There’s a booth that serves them at the Redwood Empire Farmers Market at the Veteran’s Building. I would have taken a picture of the ones I got but you know the story, I ate ’em the second I got ’em. Next time, I’ll get a good shot. Yea, right.

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A Thankful Meal at the SAY Tamayo House

If you’ve read my blog before, you’ve noticed I talk about Leadership Santa Rosa a lot. I love being involved (as you can probably tell) and even though this entry mentions LSR, it’s about much more. See the Flickr Photo Album.

Jill, Cat, J, Julie & Sean - coordinators

J Mullineaux, Julie Montgomery, Jill Sanford and myself got together to brainstorm ways to stay connected with the rest of our classmates. J had a great idea to have a dinner party for Social Advocates for Youth’s (SAY). I can’t express clearly enough how amazing they are! SAY is a youth advocacy organization that provides: shelter for homeless teens, a foster transition home, meals for the hungry, counseling, crisis intervention, youth employment, helping encourage graduation, mentoring, low cost tattoo removal for ex-gang members, and a sense of support and belonging.

We chose to make a pre-Thanksgiving dinner at the Mary and Jose Tamayo House. Tamayo House is transitional housing for teens that have aged out of the foster care system yet still need guidance in the form of shelter, safety, job training, life training, and provides them with a sense of family. With 50 kids aging out of foster care every year, the 25 beds at Tamayo house are desperately needed. Otherwise these kids hit the street. In the recession, they’ve seen that the kids are staying longer (they are eligible 18-24).

I can’t imagine not having a family. I don’t know what it’s like to have no one to turn to when you want to learn how to cook, open a checking account, get a job, find a place to live, apply for college, or need a place to stay. These kids pretty much have nothing the minute they turn 18 and are out of foster care. I do know what it’s like to need crisis intervention and have a safe place to go. I was 16 when my family and I called SAY for help. The Dr. James E. Coffee Emergency Teen Shelter had a different name and location when I stayed there but the focus is the same.

We knew that these kids may not get a Thanksgiving meal so we brought it to them. 14 out of our 28 classmates divided up the menu and got to cooking all the traditional fixings. The tables were set for a harvest celebration and the sparkling cider flowed. Several turkeys, mashed potatoes, yams, stuffing, green salad, green beans, bread, pumpkin pie, apple pie and pumpkin cheesecake (I have an awesome recipe, just ask me in the comments). These kids lined up with their plates and demolished the meal, some came back again and again. There were plenty of leftovers.

The Thank You

We didn’t know each other and they didn’t have to come out of their rooms to eat with us but it felt like a family dinner nonetheless. It was such a happy night and we laughed, joked, and ate with each other as if we’d done it every year. Not so secretly, I’d like to do it again and again.

In the theme of Thanksgiving, I am grateful for:

  • SAY and the lifesaving work they perform
  • Mary & Jose Tamayo for helping SAY to keep kids warm, safe, and off the streets
  • my own family that keeps me warm
  • my awesome LSR classmates, for we are all of the same heart, striving to help others and make a difference
  • Jill, J, Julie, Vicky, Steve (for putting in so much time) and all the rest that made such amazing food
  • the dishwashers!
  • the kids that sat with us, trusted us, and let us in
  • Cat Cvengros and Matt Martin, just two of the amazing angels at SAY
  • and that pumpkin cheesecake recipe!

May your Thanksgiving be full of warmth, love, and lots of wonderful food to eat.

Summer Nights in Railroad Square

courtesy of Summer Nights at Railroad Square

Last year was the start of a wonderful neighborhood event here in Santa Rosa, Summer Nights in Railroad Square. On the first Friday evening of June, July, August and September you could expect to enjoy yourself with neighbors, food, wine tasting, art, music and the sunset. I only went to three of the four last year but I made sure I was at each and every one this year. For $20 you can get a wrist band and taste wines up and down Fourth Street in Railroad Square. You can enjoy food from one of several food truck vendors or patronize the great establishments up and down the street. The art, music, and people are entertainment that surrounds you. Every time I went, I saw lots of people I knew and had an unreasonably good time.

I wanted to say thank you to Ty Jones and Kernan Coleman and anyone else that had something to do with creating this lovely event. I am so pleased that it’s yet another great time, here in Sonoma County.

Agriculture Day for Leadership Santa Rosa Class 27

I’m involved in this great program called Leadership Santa Rosa run by the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce. All chambers have leadership programs but we are going into our 28th year, which I understand is the longest running of it’s kind in the U.S. I was in Class 26 and am the incoming President for the Alumni Association. There are many theme days: government, business, green issues, health & human services, media & marketing, justice, education, hospitality & tourism (watch for a blog on that one), and the most popular is agriculture. I was on the committee to produce Class 27’s Agriculture Day on 5/19/11. See my blog from last year’s Ag Day.

We visited the Rancho Laguna Dairy and heard from Art Lafranchi about the dairy business. What is amazing about this day is that it starts so early in the morning yet we are halfway through their workday by the time we arrive at the dairy. Last year when I went through the program compared to today were very different experiences. Since earlier this year, I have been flitting between being a vegan and a vegetarian. Those cows looked a lot different, let me tell you.

Flickr Photo Album

Tierra Vegetables is this wonderful CSA farm in Santa Rosa. Community supported agriculture, or CSA, is basically a membership to a farm. You pay a monthly cost to get a set amount of veggies either delivered for you or available for pickup. Evie & Wayne James gave us a lovely tour and the thing I noticed the most, next to the beautiful vegetation, was the fact that Wayne walked his land barefoot. I was blown away at the thought that he knew how his land felt through his entire body. Sounds silly but it’s a grounding concept. If you know of anyone that is stealing their produce, they’d greatly like it to stop.

There is a secret in Sonoma County. The Gourmet Mushroom Farm is this enclave of amazing foodstuffs in the form of fungi. The GMF doesn’t open their doors for anyone really. That’s the beauty of LSR. We get to go places no one else could get close to. Bob Engel gives us a tour every year and the idea that mushrooms can grow on wood always blows people away.

Most of the people traveling on that day were by bus, I drove my car because I had to leave early. This day is even more special because of the bonding that occurs on the bus.

On to Shone Farm, the botanical educational laboratory for the JC agriculture, viticulture, and culinary courses. Leonard Diggs is a farmer through and through. The beauty here is striking. The students that get to learn about animals, farming, vineyard work, winemaking, the culinary arts, as well as having a location for large events within the horse arena in the Dutton Pavilion. Last year we were there during tomato season and got to taste some 🙂

We had a great panel of speakers to speak on Emerging Trends & Challenges of Agriculture. They were: Lex McCorvey, Sonoma County Farm Bureau; Dave Whitmer, Napa County Agriculture Commission & Interim Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner; Joe Pozzi, Pozzi Ranch Lamb; and Clark Wolf, Clark Wolf Company.

The day ended at DeLoach Vineyards with a panel on the Sonoma County Wine Industry with Brian Maloney of DeLoach Vineyards; Rhonda Smith of UC Cooperative Extension; and Nick Frey of Sonoma Winegrape Commission. There was a tasting but I’m sad to have missed that part of the day. The gardens, bees, vineyards, guesthouse, and pool were phenomenal.

Thanks to all the great hosts, speakers, and locations that are made available to this amazing program. We couldn’t do it without all of you!

Farmer’s Market

Strange Fruit

I absolutely LOVE going to farmer’s markets. My favorite is Saturday mornings at the Santa Rosa Vet’s Building, Wednesday and Saturday mornings. Saturdays are like a street fair with music, prepared food, and lots of little kids. There are so many different markets, last season when the Press Democrat printed a list of where and when each was happening, I printed it and color coded it by day. It was really useful when I wanted to remember where I could shop depending on what city I was in. I found a list of the surrounding area markets for you if you want it.

Does anyone know what this fruit is? It was beautiful but I have no idea.

Dinner This Way is Awesome

Dinner My Way Cook Station

My Cooking Station

I’m smart. I married a really good cook. The problem is when I cook he’s not overwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong. I can cook just nowhere near as good as he.

So when I heard about Dinner My Way a few years ago, I thought it was brilliant. A company that takes the pain out of cooking, the prep. You pick from the menu of meals they offer (they rotate monthly), reserve a time for yourself, and you go in and assemble your meals. They hand you a list of what you ordered, you pay, throw on an apron, and get cooking. The ingredients are all laid out and prepped. The recipe is easy to follow and you add the sides on when you are done. I had 3 meals made in 20 minutes.

The efficiency of the procedure makes the organizer in me shiver with delight. While the ease of it all makes me as a mom ecstatic. Yes, some of the soul of cooking is sacrificed. But I can be rebellious and add more or less of an ingredient, if I like, to balance that out a little. If I want the part of cooking that makes me really happy, I’ll bake a pie but that’s not feeding my family. At $13 a meal that has (realistically) 3.5 servings, I’m spending a small amount of money to know what’s in my food but I’m still able to put it in my freezer. It’s a happy medium between take out and home cooking.

Did I tell you they have pickup? This is a gift I think I’m going to get for a friend of mine that just had a baby. Thank you to whomever thought this service up! Now they just need more veggie meals!

The Salsa Bike Made Nature Even More Fun

Particulars:
Saturday October 23, 2010
LandPaths‘ Bayer Farm Neighborhood Park & Gardens
1550 West Ave., Santa Rosa

This event was supposed to be beautiful. The weather was supposed to cooperate and show off the lush grounds of Bayer Farm, a great community garden. Guess what? I’ve never gotten so wet in my whole life. It absolutely poured.

My club, Rotary Club of Santa Rosa West, and LandPaths have partnered to plant a Rotary Grove of Trees to supplement the wonderful vegetation already being grown in this urban garden. This event was for awareness raising in the community. Boy, it rained. But you know what? We still had a great time! (See the photo album here.)

There were youth volunteers, LandPaths staff, Rotary Club members and community members. The kids chopped fresh veggies, Rotary members cooked and prepped, we had an art table, a pumpkin carving section, an art show, a raffle, a health education booth, and a salsa bike. The salsa bike was my favorite part of the day. I learned how to make salsa from scratch and I will never forget how much fun those kids (and our Rotary President Bill Dodson took a turn!) had making salsa from their own foot power.

Who says nature has to be dry to be fun?

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