It strikes most wine drinkers at some point in their wine paths: Pinot passion. The multi-dimensional, seductiveaspects of this finicky, oft-loved grape are difficult to avoid. And, when it happens, all you can do is succumb to its wiles and enjoy the comfort it brings. Mendocino County, a wine region rich with redwoods, coastal climate and definitely Pinot Noir, has birthed three disparate yet dedicated wineries, proudly wearing their Pinot passion like a badge of honor. And created some gorgeous wine.
Read more: Celebrating three small, passionate Pinot Noir producers in Mendocino County
Weeks 3-5: Project Fix Leaky Gut “I can see clearly now…” Today is Day 36. I can proudly say I haven’t cheated at all on what has been called a “horrific” diet. Whenever I get weak (and that has happened on innumerable occasions), I visualize shrimp, crab and lobster. Dunked in delicious drawn butter. That gets me back on track.
Read more: Project Leaky Gut: Curing food allergies with AIP diet (part 3)
For as long as I can remember, I have followed a personal rule: If an ingredient list has more than three lines, I don’t put it in my body. More than that, you get into the dangerous territory of unpronounceable chemicals and other crap I don’t want floating around anywhere inside. So I am an ingredient reader. Have you ever read the package on pre-made sausage? If you haven’t, then don’t. It ain’t pretty. So, when I went on an AIP protocol diet to cure my food allergies, I researched how to make my own sausage patties. It was so super easy, I was embarrassed I’d ever bought it before.
Read more: Recipe: Spicy homemade breakfast sausage patties
On my journey to heal my leaky gut and cure my food allergies, I’ve been gorging on paleo cookbooks. There seem to be plenty on the market these days… it’s quite trendy to “go paleo.” I’m enjoying the process of exploring the paleo tenets, mostly consuming quality meats, eggs vegetables and fruit; avoiding gluten, dairy, legumes (beans, potatoes, soy, etc), sugar, and processed foods of any kind. It’s a challenging diet regime when you’re surrounded by temptations and laden with sugar addictions. Powerful Paleo Superfoods, written by Heather Connell, provides a fantastic intro into the paleo lifestyle. Her 6-page introduction represents one of the finer, more condensed overviews of this popular diet, and proceeds to outline why each item on her list of “superfoods” should be on your plate. In an easy to understand, not-so-science-y fashion. The recipes are simple to follow, use normal ingredients found at the grocery store and the photography is pretty fantastic. With permission, Heather allowed me to reprint this recipe for Spinach Basil Walnut Pesto. I use this on fish and chicken.
Read more: Book review: Powerful Paleo Superfoods + Spinach Walnut Pesto recipe
In the German legend, Dr. Faust trades his soul to the devil in exchange for limitless knowledge and pleasure. It’s moral lesson to all, as tempting as this is on many, many levels. Imagine the parties? But while you will trade about $50 for the Faust Cabernet, made by the legendary winemakers at Napa Valley’s Quintessa winery, plenty of pleasures are found within the bottle.
Read more: Wine review: Faust 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
I have become the person who annoyed me my entire restaurant career: “The Substituter.” Imagine not being able to eat anything on a restaurant menu. You search, stare, analyze the ingredients the chef lovingly created for your eating bliss. The server returns five times but the compulsive research isn’t complete. Cursing ensues. Yep, this happened the first time I hit a resto after Project Fix Leaky Gut commenced — at a Spanish tapas place that’s fabulous, Bravas, in Healdsburg, CA. I had a salad (sauce on the side), and some meat without the sauce. Uh huh… how much fun is that? I empathize with vegans now. Kinda. To cure my food allergies, studies have led me to the Auto Immune Protocol (AIP) regime, which I’ve followed quite religiously for the last two weeks. (PhD in medical biophysics Sarah Ballantyne has been a huge resource: ThePaleoMom.com). I can eat meat, fish (those that I can enjoy without an inflammation eye blow up), vegetables and minimal fruit. Plenty of probiotics are added in to help heal the intestines, including sauerkraut (made my own), kombucha (a new fave), and yogurt made with coconut milk (non-dairy and challenging to find, but possible). A friend called it Paleo on steroids. I found that ironic, yet true. I will do this for 8 weeks. 60 days. 60 long, long days.
Read more: Project Leaky Gut: Curing food allergies with AIP (part 2)
Every so often, I come up with a fabulous kitchen sink recipe that wows my family. And sometimes even me. I throw a bunch of ingredients together in a pot or sauté pan , taste, season and then taste again until it’s palatable. The “wow” thing happens much less frequently than the “meh” but, hey, ya gotta eat. And be creative. When I read the tech sheets for this wine sample (sent from Markham), the list of grapes reminded me of my kitchen sink creations. A red wine made from six grapes, the winemakers at Markham likely meticulously (not carelessly) blended this wine, tasting and re-tasting to make sure it’s right. This time, they landed on a “wow”.
Read more: Wine review: 2012 Markham Vineyards Cellar 1879
About ten years ago, I awoke with half of my face swollen like a pro boxer had kicked my head in. Eyes, lips and cheek itching with puffy, dark patches of brooding skin stared back at me in the mirror. All I could say was WTF? Panicked, I hightailed it to my general practitioner doctor who took one look at me and calmly asked, “Did you have shellfish for dinner last night?” As a matter of fact, I had. Canned crab from Asia, the makings of a delicious dip at a dinner party. And the last time I’ve ever consumed crab from a can. Diagnosis: allergy to shellfish. But not just the deliciousness of crab, add in shrimp, lobster, mussels, oysters, and all their other crustacean friends. A little while later, tuna and farmed salmon joined the party.
Read more: When food became my enemy: A quest to cure my food allergies
I visited J Lohr ages ago, wide-eyed and somewhat new to California wine (I studied wine in Europe first then learned domestic grogs). The tour was lengthy, the hospitality warm and the wine impressive. I don’t remember a Rhône program there but that’s because it wasn’t until a few years later that they started down that road. A nice journey it has been. I lean more towards their Rhône whites — Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier — than their reds. The Syrahs are over-oaked for my palate but some people love that.
Read more: Wine review: J Lohr Gesture RVG Paso Robles
For some people, curry is comfort food. Scents of home and slow cooked goodness that fill a kitchen with strong, earthy aromas. I often crave curry and, if I’m not turning to Roasted Curry Cauliflower, I’m making this recipe. Mostly, I use frozen fish and any hearty white fish will be fine. Avoid tilapia since it’s too delicate and will fall apart. Alternatively, you could substitute peeled, deveined shrimp but, since it cooks quicker, add it to the saucepan with the peppers and basil.
Read more: Recipe: Aromatic green or red curry fish or shrimp