Author: Lowell Sheldon

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A Year-Round Minestrone

Minestrone has been a core component of the menu at Peter Lowell’s since we first started dreaming. This year-round soup is, at its core, a bridge between American and Italian cooking. It has been a part of American cuisine for so long that we barely associate it with its Italian roots. Americans often add pasta to minestrone, but we prefer a more traditional version. No matter where you are, the essence of minestrone remains the same — a simple vegetable soup with tomatoes, beans and greens. From there one can go in many directions. The recipe below represents our version of this soup, one we have cooked almost daily for eight years. We change small things but keep the basic recipe the same. Here are a couple of things to think about when making this soup. 1) Beans are best when cooked fresh (as long as they are properly seasoned along the way), as apposed to using canned. But it’s also more time-consuming. Because the beans in this soup are added at the end of …

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Skin Contact Winemaking with Donkey & Goat’s Tracey Brandt

On my way through Berkeley I arranged to drop by Donkey & Goat Winery for chat with Tracey Brandt about a wine I fell in love with this year. My interest was specifically in a 2014 Ramato Pinot Gris from a Biodynamic vineyard in Anderson Valley. Ramato is an Italian skin-contact style of wine making that uses the Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris grape, similar in style to “orange” winemaking but specific in it’s varietal. To me this wine perfectly demonstrates the incredible allure of natural wines. It’s at once totally surprising and incredible approachable. As a winery they are committed to Natural Wine making and after nearly 15 years of making wine they seem to have really honed their ability to coax out uniqueness while accepting the inherent mystery in each wine they make. Before the interview we went into the cellar to taste through the 3 parts of her 2015 vintage Pinot Gris. From left to right we have 8 hours on skins (after being foot stomped), 2 days on skins and 6 days …

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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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Caesar 101

This caesar dressing recipe will rival any out there.  Guaranteed.  It comes from a restaurant that both of our founding chefs worked at in Seattle, called Café Lago, but we have been using it for 8 years now so are happy at this point to call it our own.  It is the perfect balance of tangy and rich. At Lowell’s we use the hearts of escarole for our greens, as we love the crunch & mild bitterness of the leafy green to balance the richness of the dressing.  Hearts of romaine or fresh young kale greens work just as well.  If you happen to find some nice looking escarole make sure it has a decent proportion of blanched heart on it. Shave off the darker green ends and save for a sauté. We recommend buying a rustic country loaf for the croutons. Tear by hand into bite sized chunks. Toss with Olive Oil and salt at bake at 350 till golden brown. If you bake off more than you can use toss in blender for breadcrumbs (which …

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Ramen Gaijin’s Winter Chicories and Little Gems Salad with Yuzu Vinaigrette, Jasmine Smoked Duck Breast, Persimmon, Walnuts and Chive

Dreamt up while working at Woodfour Brewery in Sebastopol, and tested via pop-ups on the days the brewery was closed, Moisha Hahn-Schuman and Matt Williams are committed to the traditional flavors of Japan while bringing the consciousness of their upbringing to the table. Their brick and mortar, open since January 2015 in the heart of downtown Sebastopol and included in the Michelin Bib Gourmand Selection for 2016, is called Ramen Gaijin.  As seen in this beautiful recipe below, they are very exacting.  Once you commit yourself to this recipe (you’ll need a BBQ or electric smoker and a meat thermometer!) and the multiple steps imbedded you will be rewarded with bold and balanced flavors. Enjoy! For the Salad: 1 Liberty Duck Breast 1 Quart Duck Brine 2 Heads Little Gems Lettuces 2 Heads Mixed Chicories 1 Fuyu Persimmon 1/2 C. Toasted Walnuts 1 Bunch Chives 2 tsp. Black Sesame Seeds For the Duck Brine: 2 T. Kosher Salt 1 1/2 T. Sugar 3 1/2 C. Warm Water 3 1/2 T. Ginger 1 1/2 T. Garlic 1/2 tsp. Szechuan …

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Frittata Quotidian

“Don’t try to complicate a frittata or you become a frittata.” We have been making frittatas for as long as Peter Lowell’s has been in business. It’s such a simple dish and delish’ any time of day. We make several every day and what we put in is always changing. One of the magical things about PL’s is that we have certain menu items that change daily and/or seasonally, and we use what’s around to build the dish. At times, this has led to some really odd frittata combinations that I would not want to repeat. The recipe I have presented below is just one of hundreds of delicious variations on the frittata. If you stick with this base you will be halfway to a beautiful breakfast. For the seasonal ingredients, you might look to leftover sautéed vegetables from dinner last night or if you’re fortunate enough to have a garden, take 5 minutes before hand to harvest what is growing.  As with all things in life, this dish is best when made with simple, fresh …

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The Gemischter Salat

This salad is a complete expression of Peter Lowell’s Restaurant.  Its story begins in Germany and goes like this. While living in an old brick farmhouse outside of Hamburg, I experienced what I have come to believe was the perfect expression of the German salad. Prepared daily by Christina Debes, the farmhouse matriarch, it consisted of broken buttermilk dressing with summer savory, feta, tomato and pumpkin seeds over, of course, butter lettuces. Thinking back to the flavor of this salad, I don’t know if the dressing had any vinegar in it and this suits my pallet just fine. Growing up my parents always made tart balsamic vinaigrette with too much garlic and not enough salt. For me this German salad sits at the top of all lettuce-based salads in my memory bank (the panzanella is bar none as well).  Added to this is the prototypical German salad served at Suppenkuche in SF – it’s an amazing salad, but not an amazingly good salad. It’s a huge mixed German Salad with cabbage, carrots, beets, potato salad …