I was born during blackberry season, and my summer memories are filled with recollections of dusty trails, mounds of thorny thickets, and fingers and lips stained red with the sticky juice of stolen berries.
I have a passion for flavor and a reverence for ingredients, which I love to share. Thanks so much for visiting!
I believe in living a Mediterranean lifestyle made up of a synergy of lots of walking, plentiful clean water, nutritious and delicious foods, activities that stimulate my brain, socialization with neighbors, friends, and family, keeping stress low, and getting enough sleep every night. I eat a diet that is low calorie and low fat, with small portions of mostly Mediterranean foods. When I need to lose weight—which is always because I’ve been on vacation or after holidays—I lower my intake of calorie-dense/low nutrition foods (i.e., sugar, red meat, animal fats, cheeses, alcohol, flour-based foods).
What I Eat
Half the plate—Plentiful organic leafy greens and colorful vegetables
(local, seasonal produce if at all possible)
3 -or 4-ounce portions of wild-caught fish like salmon, halibut, sea bass, mackerel, cod, Bluefin tuna, yellowtail tuna
/or/ 3- or 4-ounce portions of pasture-raised poultry
(and sometimes once-a-month 3-ounce portions of grass-fed beef and pork)
Organic yogurt from grass-fed animals
Naturally low-fat sheep and goat cheeses: chèvre, Pecorino, feta, Romano, Parmesan, aged cheddar, Dry Jack, ricotta
Nuts and seeds
1-2 organic eggs a week
Unrefined cold-pressed oils: avocado, flaxseed, coconut, and extra virgin olive oil
No sugar (on special occasions: coconut sugar, raw honey, blackstrap molasses, pure maple syrup, medjool dates)
Desserts of fresh fruit, a square of very dark chocolate, or this delicious little chocolate pudding
Whole grains and organic legumes in small quantities
No more than one 5-ounce glass of wine per day, on weekends
No GMOs, additives, dangerous fats, processed, or fast foods
More information, here.
I skip eating most processed meats (there are a couple of chicken sausages I sometimes eat), foods made with wheat (I’m sensitive to gluten but can tolerate sourdough breads), and sugars. Although I have red meat recipes on this blog, I don’t eat it very often, and any recipe calling for cow’s milk means it’s lactose-free since I’m very lactose sensitive.
My interest in making food began when I was very little, by helping my mother in the kitchen. I’d stand on a chair and stir chocolate chip cookie dough, making a glorious mess on counters and floor. My mother finally bought me a recipe book for children, trying, no doubt, to reign in my maniacal enthusiasm. The book started out with oatmeal (and a face made from raisins) and progressed to a cake. I think I completed it in about a week.
I spent summers with my grandparents in what was then a very rural Napa Valley. My grandmother had a huge garden with apple, pear, and walnut trees, chickens for eggs, bees for honey, herbs, vegetables, and berries. I learned how to can foods, make breads and pies, and tend a vegetable garden. And that vision of delicious self-sufficiency continues to be my dream.
During college, while working on a Fine Arts degree, I supported myself by working in restaurants during the summer, including the Silverado Country Club and what is now Tra Vigne Ristorante in the Napa Valley, as well as several Kauai and Oahu resorts. When I began, I knew very little about fine cuisine, but there’s nothing like working in a good restaurant to get a crash course in world-class foods, wines, ingredients, and tools. Tasty classrooms!
While working in advertising and marketing in the Napa Valley, I became a member of several wine organizations: the Academy of Wine Communications, Women for WineSense, The American Institute of Wine and Food, and the Wine Market Council. These affiliations deepened my knowledge of the world’s wines and, by extension, the foods that pair well with them.
I joined Schramsberg Vineyards, wearing multiple hats (advertising, design, marketing, public relations), and worked with James Beard Foundation chefs from all over the US, creating winemaker dinners for the Davies family. After that, I represented Mumm Napa Valley, Champagne Mumm, and Perrier Jouet, and organized Napa Valley Wine Auction dinners, as well as gala events for those clients. Several years later, I began working with Emeril Lagasse (“BAM!”), writing articles and creating recipes for his website. He was a ton of fun to work for, and unfailingly polite and creative.
Following that, I was staff writer and editor for vineSwinger.com, a website featuring all things wine, cheese, and chocolate…from a young, hip, perspective. We had some amazing wine and food tastings in evening vineyards, on shady summer decks, and around bonfires. Good times!
These days, I live near Puget Sound, in Washington state. Here, it’s the Pacific Northwest’s bounty that inspires. Apples, berries, asparagus, tomatoes, greens, winter squash, salmon, and shellfish, all grace my table, and local farmer’s markets influence my choices.
So although my life has sometimes lead me in other directions, food, wine, and writing have been constants. I think that first of all, food should deeply nourish us with enticing flavors and the types of flavors only fresh and organic ingredients can provide. But I also believe that good food is about the experience: meals shared with friends and family with visually appealing presentations, filling our senses with happy delight. That is true nourishment.
Please stop by again, and thanks so much for visiting…