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March 2012

March 2, 2012


Sonoma is unsure as to what season it is! Weather this past week in the mid 70’s, asparagus has shown up early on our menus, the garden patios are still open for dining, the daffodils are in full bloom and other oddities.

Spring cleaning usually entails a fresh look at all that we do – for our newsletter, trying to keep it fresh, informative and readable – hopefully you will like it enough to share with your friends!

Savoring Sonoma in New York

Join Sondra & John with Winemaker Jeff Cohn on Wednesday, March 28th at the James Beard House!
James Beard House Dinner Menu

Pan-Roasted Black Cod with Sunchokes
JC Cellars Stagecoach Vineyard Marsanne 2008

Mano Formate Salumi and Pâté de Campagne with Sonoma Valley Sharecropper Pickles and Conserve
JC Cellars Misc. Stuff 2009

Braised Pork Cheeks with Three-Onion Ragoût
Très Bonnes Années Rockpile Vineyard Syrah 2009

Chocolate–Caramel Tart
JC Cellars Fess Parker’s Vineyard Syrah 2009

Cowgirl Creamery Wagon Wheel and Bohemian Creamery Bo Poisse
JC Cellars Ripken Vineyard Late Harvest Viognier 2006

Click for tickets and pricing

Sail with Sondra  ~~ May 1 – May 8


The fourth stop on our voyage is the port town of Calvi, in the Balagne region of north-west Corsica, boasts the intrigue of traditional Corsican culture while effortlessly maintaining the comforts of a modern resort area. One of the optional tours available through the Silversea concierge service while in port is a morning journey through the Old Villages of Corsica. This is a half day excursion that jaunts through the coastal roads towards Lumio, Sant’Antonino and Ile Rousse.

There will be ample photo opportunities (seascapes, architecture, churches), as well as shopping and snacking. This will be a great way to visit the quaint villages with enough time for a leisurely lunch at La Terrace overlooking the citadel and one of the most beautiful bays in the world.

For more information and an additional 5% savings for our friends visit Millennium Travel’s Website or call (831) 659-0151.
The cruise is almost sold out, so don’t delay!

Negroni & Nibbles

Negroni & Nibbles at ESTATE is becoming the “Sonoma Tuesday To-Do”.  But if you want to enjoy the cocktail at home on another evening, here’s one of our specialty cocktail recipes;
Aperol Negroni
1 ounce Gin
1 ounce Aperol (in place of Campari)
1 ounce Carpano Antica (in place of Sweet Vermouth)
Orange Slice

Fill a mixing glass two-thirds full with ice, and add the gin, Aperol and Carpano Antica. Stir vigorously, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with the orange slice.

Negroni Cocktail Tidbit –
This Italian concoction was invented in the early 1900s. it was named after Camillo Negroni in Florence who always ordered the same cocktail, one that was mixed with gin, Campari and sweet vermouth. (In the recipe above, we made a few subsitutions.) Today a Negroni is often consumed as a pre-dinner cocktail to stimulate the appetite for dinner.

Negroni & Nibbles is offered every Tuesday at ESTATE starting at 5 pm.

The first drink from the collection of $6 Negroni Cocktails is paired with a small gift of antipasti from the chef.
Enjoy at the bar or with this great weather outside by the fireplace

TIDBITS from Chef John Toulze

As we continue to find ways to teach our staff not to waste product and to use every last bit of everything that is still edible, we have become creative with so many of our ingredients. I think we can all agree that bread is something that doesn’t always last in our pantry. Some of the ways we incorporate leftover bread in our kitchens may seem obvious, but I will give you a gentle reminder and maybe a few ideas you haven’t thought of!

Herbed Bread Crumbs
Makes 1 cup
6 slices day old bread, cut in small cubes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Toss the cubed bread in a bowl with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the bread to a sheet pan and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool. Place the bread in a food processor and process until they are small, coarse crumbs.

In a medium sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 5 minutes (be careful not to burn it).  Place the bread crumbs in the pan and continue to toast until golden brown. Transfer the bread crumbs to a sheet pan to cool and mix in the chopped parsley. The bread crumbs will keep for up to 3 weeks in a sealed container.

– Variation on Herbed Bread Crumbs; add lemon zest from 2 lemons, chopped herbs (your choice) – add to braised meats or roast chicken as a garnish for a bit of texture.

– Addition to our meatball recipes, we add about 1/2 cup of finely ground breadcrumbs to 1-2 pounds of meat

Bread Pudding!
2 great recipes in Plats du Jour (Apple & Raisin Bread Pudding, p 274, Brioche Bread Pudding with Fig-Caramel Sauce, p 228

With summer coming maybe sooner than we expect, day old chunky croutons in a Bread Salad with Tomatoes, Red Onions, Basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil will be the perfect salad for your leftovers!

Featured Fig Retailer
Valley Shepherd Creamery
We love all of our retailers, but one that is particularly fun to inform you about is Valley Shepherd Creamery – the largest sheep dairy in the east.  Their sheep farm and cheese making operation in Long Valley, New Jersey, offers a multitude of events for the public, in addition to the wonderful artisan cheeses available for sale.  Check out the upcoming shearing festival in May, where 600 pregnant ewes will be given a haircut.  You can take farm tours throughout the year, but lambing season is particularly sweet for all ages.  They offer cheese making classes and wine and cheese tasting events.  For the urban dweller, they have an outlet store in Brooklyn, and there are plans to establish a cheese making operation at the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  If you can’t make it to any of these locations, their on-line store offers all of their delectable cheeses, as well as complementary condiments, among which are the girl & the fig’s dried fig compote and apricot fig chutney.  If you are going to be in the area, you may want to consider
a visit to the farm.Visit their website for more info about their store and their cheese!

the farm project

Such a busy time at all the farms. We are planting herbs and potatoes at ESTATE as well as pruning the olive trees in hope for a successful olive harvest at the end of the year. Behind the girl & the fig, we put in 300 asparagus crowns (for the first time) and transplanted raspberries from the Glen Ellen farm. Our winter garden at Imagery Winery has 1200 onions in the ground, beets, kale, radishes and carrots and we’ve already harvested four rows of green garlic. Meanwhile seedlings are starting at Garden Keeper’s Carneros Greenhouse waiting
to be transplanted. Exciting stuff!
Follow our farm blog to see what will soon appear on the menus!


In case you have not met Ray and Matt from Local Landscapers, you may want to check out what they are doing! Aside from assisting John at the farms, Ray & Matt are responsible for taking care of ESTATE, and all of the flower boxes, planters and beds at the girl & the fig and the fig cafe.
You can visit their website or their facebook page for some inspiration.

We have know Ray since we opened our restaurant in Glen Ellen, he was with us early on as part of the front of the house team.
So great to see our staff follow their dreams.

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