Month: January 2016

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Beans and Greens. The Every Meal.

At Peter Lowell’s we believe farm to table restaurants can be more than places for culinary innovation. We believe they should also model new, pleasurable, and healthy ways to eat every day. We look to the dishes that are so simple and delicious we can enjoy them day in and day out; dishes that are inspiring and easy to cook.  It is the focus of how we cook. Bean and Greens is the perfect example of this philosophy. Beans have that quality about them. When perfectly cooked with the correct seasoning, they are both incredibly pleasurable and exceedingly healthy. Add to that a braised green such as chard or rapini and you have a perfectly balance meal. We prepare this dish in a traditional Italian style with toasted garlic and chili flakes, but it can be prepared with inspiration from many cultures and be equally as delicious. Try a Japanesee miso or ponzu sauce. Indian curry spices. Mexican chorizo and cotija. If your beans are fresh and tender (check out our post about how to cook the perfect …

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Perfecting the Humble Bean

Cooking a bean is simple.  But in simplicity lies sophistication.  Getting a perfect, creamy, tender bean is not as easy as one might think.  It requires time, attention and a number of factors. Firstly, find the best beans you can. Either quality dried beans or fresh shelling beans when in season.  For dried beans look for whole, not broken beans.  Rancho Gordo and Elegant Beans are both excellent sellers and producers of quality heirloom beans. It is very important to soak your beans in an appropriate amount of water overnight.  Keep in mind that the beans will expand by about 2-3 times depending on the bean, so cover them with at least 4-5 inches of water. The next key is have a very flavorful bean liquor, or liquid.  I like to cook my beans in a rich chicken stock or mushroom broth.  Make your stock at least a day ahead of time so that it has time to cool.  That being said, always start beans in COLD liquid.  This will allow them to come up …

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Wild Mushroom Chili with Backyard Chef and Co-Owner, Daniel Kedan

Our photographer, Dawn Heumann, and I had the pleasure of visiting Daniel Kedan, Chef and Co-Owner of the Backyard restaurant in Forestville recently.  While the rain came down outside, Daniel worked his culinary magic in the kitchen, sharing one of his cooking secrets with us while preparing a large pot of incredible Wild Mushroom Chili (you won’t believe it’s Vegan!).  As Daniel talked about how the hard frost and abundant rainfall of our Northern California winter has affected his seasonal/local menu he was quick to champion the wild mushroom and the local heirloom bean, specifically the lovely locally grown Rio Zappe bean featured in this recipe.  If you are not a farmer growing your own beans, these are the farmers he loves that are growing them for you: Tierra Vegetables, Foggy River Farm, Green String Farm, and the Giving Gardens Project.  So gather your beans, your Black Trumpets and/or Chanterelles, pour yourself a glass a crisp cider or a pale ale, and get cookin’! 1 lb. Rio Zappe Beans (substitute with Pinto Beans if you cannot find these) …

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End of the Year Kiwi Harvest and Preserves

Peter Lowell’s is one of very few restaurants that serves kiwi preserves with your breakfast toast.  It has become a trademark of sorts.  I personally had never tasted kiwi preserves until I started eating at PL’s.  The reason we do this is not only because the preserves are insanely delicious, but also because we are blessed by a bountiful crop of them every winter at Two Belly Acres, the restaurant’s farm out off Green Valley Road. Last year we missed the harvest due to a late frost followed by an extreme spike in heatwave temperatures that basically fermented the fruits in their skins!   So this year we were extra careful to watch the weather and the ripening stage of the fruit.  The result was tremendous.  Our photographer, Dawn Heumann, spent a couple of mornings with Natalie Goble, our Two Belly Acre farmer, capturing the harvest and the making of PL’s delicious preserves.  Enjoy the visual process and come in and eat breakfast soon!