Peter Lowell’s is a West Sonoma County organic eatery that specializes in local, sustainably-produced ingredients. Our menu is Italian-inspired, while also drawing from and maintaining the sense of place that has become so intrinsic to new Californian cuisine – a menu that meanders naturally within the seasons, bringing the best flavors that Sonoma County and Northern California have to offer during each unique time of year. Click to visit restaurant website!

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Seasonal Fruit Galette

Galettes are a wonderfully easy dessert that really put the treasures of summer center stage. There is nothing better than beautiful fruit baked into flaky pastry. Once you learn the process of making this easy, versatile dessert, you’ll be making these gorgeous free form tarts all the time! Most importantly, have fun playing with the filling; apple, fig, peach, strawberry, the options are never ending. The secret to this recipe is in the flattening and folding of the dough, building up layers of butter in the pastry. Finishing the assembly with lashings of melted butter slathered all over almost makes the dough ‘fry’ in the oven. The key to many wonderful things is butter and this recipe is no exception. Served with ice cream, whipped cream, or whipped crème fraiche, it’s truly the queen of desserts. Summertime Rhubarb Galette For the dough: 10 oz flour 1 tablespoon sugar ¼ teaspoon salt 6 oz butter, cold and cubed ½ cups ice water For the rhubarb filling: 5-6 cups of chopped rhubarb zest and juice of 1 orange seeds from …

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Peter Lowell’s Sea Salt and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are, in my opinion, the best cookie ever. I can’t say enough about how glorious they are. We make ours with a darker chocolate to contrast with the rich, buttery, brown sugar cookie dough. A touch of sea salt sprinkled on top makes the flavors dance. Be sure not to over bake the cookies to achieve the wonderfully chewy texture inside and crispy texture on the edges. Ingredients: 9.5 oz whole wheat pastry flour 8.25 oz all purpose flour 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder 1 ½ teaspoons salt 10 oz butter, room temperature 8.75 oz brown sugar 8 oz sugar 2 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 16 oz dark chocolate sea salt First, mix the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt together and combine well. In a stand mixer, or by hand with a wooden spoon, cream the butter and sugars together until they are just mixed together with no buttery streaks. You don’t want this mixture light and fluffy, you want it heavy and sugary. …

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Late Winter Harvest at Full Bloom Flower Farm

I’m so excited to bring you the first installment of our “Flowers Through the Seasons” story, in collaboration with Hedda Brorstrom, owner and farmer at Full Bloom Flower Farm. A couple months ago our photographer Dawn and I headed out to Hedda’s flower farm, located just outside the town of Graton. We captured one of the last winter varietal harvests, and got a sneak peak at trays and trays of starts getting ready for the next season. While we were there, Hedda harvested anemones, ranunculas, helebores, bleeding hearts, and calla lilies. We can’t wait for the next season.   Watch this field as it changes through the seasons! If all goes as planned, those rows and rows of crates are going to be hundreds of dahlias, safe from the clutches of gophers.    

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A Lucky Day at Badger Ranch

The life of a farmer tends to get idealized. People view them as the lucky ones who where able to create a job out of puttering around in the garden and petting baby animals all day. I think most of our readers understand this is not the truth. Farming is a lifestyle that requires an immense amount of time and dedication. All of that being said, farmers do what they do because they love it, and sometimes you get to head out to a farm on a gorgeous Sonoma County day and pet baby goats, and hang out with good friends, and, on that day, it really is that perfect. Like on the day a few weeks ago when Dawn, our photographer, and I headed out to Sarah and Tyja Taube’s farm, Badger Ranch. Badger Ranch was created 6 years ago when Sarah’s family purchased the old Bassignani Nursery and reopened it as Grow Gardens Nursery. Sarah and Tyja were able to take a portion of the property; about 5 acres of land out of …

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Mushroom Harvest in Northern California

As a photographer, I get to spend many of my days documenting things that are new and captivating to me. It’s a big bonus to an already awesome job. Mushroom hunting has always seemed interesting to me, and when the time came to choose a new subject for the walls of Peter Lowell’s I knew exactly what I wanted to feature. Luckily for me, it was mushroom season. Dylan and Tyja Taube, two Sebastopol locals who grew up mushroom hunting with their father up in Mendocino, were kind enough to let me tag along. I joined the brothers on 3 different hunts, spread out over a couple months. Mushrooms flush at different times of the year, so this way we were able to capture a variety of local mushrooms as they bloomed. Our first hunt was for porcinis. I meet up with the boys and we set out before dawn. The crisp morning air and wet forest sets the perfect scene. The forest is quiet and still but the guys, with their experienced eyes, move …

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Satsuma Harvest

Sonoma County is packed with hidden orchards and Natalie and I find great joy in sussing them out. Every year we return to our favorites for their seasonal fruits. Last year we discovered a 30 year old citrus orchard tucked quietly behind El Molino High School in Forestville. The prize of this orchards is the Satsumas, which ripen on the trees to a perfect pitch of sweet and tart. The evolution of flavor of the Satsuma from the moment it’s picked to when its bought in a store up to 2 weeks later can be stark. The acid drops of precipitously, leaving a flat sweetness in its wake. With this in mind, we make sure to eat them as we pick them, using them at Peter Lowell’s and Handline as quickly as possible. Self control is impossible.    

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Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage Brown Butter

Risotto: a northern Italian rice dish cooked in a broth to a creamy consistency. It’s an simple recipe with a lot of history, and when you give it the time and respect it deserves, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a staple of Italian cuisine, rich in traditions, rules, and techniques, developed over generations of Nona’s. They figured out all of the specifics required to achieve this creamy creation, now all we have to do is follow their lead. One of the reasons I love risotto is how versatile it is. You can make it with meat or seafood, showcase your favorite seasonal vegetables, and play around with different types of wine, butter, and onions. But in order to get that naturally creamy consistency, you MUST use short grain rice. Short grain rice, like Arborio and Carnaroli, are high in starch and help to thicken the broth and create a smooth, creamy texture. Tradition calls for the rice to be continually stirred, which loosens the starch, and further thickens the broth. Properly cooked risotto should be …

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Miso Ginger Sauce

Peter Lowell’s was created based on an idea I had that a restaurant menu could mimic the way I want to eat every day. Of course this couldn’t include all the cuisines I love, but the goal was to have enough menu variety that it could be a place one could eat regularly and stay satisfied. The menu was based on a Cal-Italian approach to cooking, but in order for a menu to be approachable every day it needed more that just antipasti, pasta, pizza, and meat. It needed some staples; a foundational dish that could be enjoyed daily. Out of this need came the Macro Bowl. Based on the idea of Macrobiotic cooking, and inspired by the Dragon Bowl from Angelicas Kitchen in NYC, it is a simple dish of brown rice, roasted vegetables, beans, blanched greens, and a protein and sauce of your choice.  It is meant to be simple but enjoyable at all times of the day and year. It has truly grounded our ever changing seasonally inspired menu and has created …

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The Classic Nicoise Salad

It’s one of the most pleasurable lunchtime meals and harks from one of the most pleasurable places on the planet to spend a lazy afternoon. The crested coast of South France is epic in it’s multitude of views, sites, and meals. At it’s most basic, and as it’s regularly served in Southern France, the Nicoise salad is canned tuna, olives, boiled potatoes, green beans and a soft or hard boiled egg, with a touch of lettuces. We encourage you to play with these ingredients. The Nicoise salad, as we are sharing with you, is in reference to both the preparation of the canned tuna into a tuna salad, and the preparation of the tuna salad as part of a composed Nicoise Salad. The Tuna Salad – In a large mixing bowl add: The zest and juice of 1 lemon (add more to taste if needed) 1/4 bunch parsley, chopped 1/2 red onion, shaved 1/2 cup celery heart, thinly sliced 1/2 cup chickpea beans 1 T capers and caper juice 1/2 cup aioli of your choice …

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Alberigi Vineyards Pinot Noir Crush

Harvest started early this year, as it seems to have for the last several vintages. Every year I make sure to visit a few of the wineries we work with to make sure they aren’t adding any funny business into their wine. This year we were lucky enough to have Dawn Heumann along to capture the process. On the morning of August 26th we visited Eric Sussman, of Radio Coteau, at Alberigi Vineyard for harvest. Later we joined the winemakers back at the winery to see the grapes being destemmed and moved into tank for fermentation. Check out the process below. It’s sort of hard to believe that sweet pink grape juice turns into seductive Pinot Noir.