Category Archives: Cuisine

Crawling inside a chef’s head for fall.

Chef Christopher Manning

Chef Christopher Manning

We at Parker Sanpei are loving the work that new Executive Chef Christopher Manning is doing at Thomas Hill Organics Bistro & Wine Bar in Paso Robles. Born and raised in Montana, Chef Manning eventually landed as Executive Chef at the esteemed étoile Restaurant at Domaine Chandon in Napa for seven years and, most recently, Peju Winery, also in Napa. In other words, Chef Manning is legit.

He’s also very generous: We recently moaned over his Butternut Squash Soup and he graciously shared the recipe. We thought our loyal readers might want to have it to rotate into their fall menus. Bon appetit!

Butternut Squash Soup

Chef Christopher Manning, Thomas Hill Organics Bistro & Wine Bar

Please note: This recipe is by a chef, and therefore it serves a restaurant’s-worth of people. To convert this recipe to your number of guests, please visit MyKitchenCalculator.com.

 Ingredients:

  • 3 Butternut squash, halved and filament removed
  • 6 Garlic, cloves
  • 1 pint Orange juice
  • 1 1/3 Sugar, dark brown
  • 1 Cinnamon stick, broken into 6 pieces
  • 1 pint Butter, sweet
  • 1 quart Leeks, chopped and white only
  • 1 pint Onion, chopped
  • 4 Apple, Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 gallon Chicken stock
  • 1 1/3 cup Cream, heavy
  • Sea salt to taste
  • White pepper to taste
  • 24 Sage leaves
  • 1 quart Rice oil
  • 1/2 cup Crème fraiche
  • Cinnamon, ground, to taste
  • Nutmeg, ground, to taste
  • Allspice, ground, to taste
  • Star Anise, ground, to taste
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Sage leaves, blanched
  • 1/4 cup Parsley leaves, blanched

Directions:

Soup:

  1. Lay butternut squash skin side down on foiled and lined sheet pans.  Add orange juice, 1 cup dark brown sugar, garlic, and cinnamon stick evenly to the open areas.
  2. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for ½ hour, then flip and cook another 45 minutes or until tender.
  3. Once removed from the oven, remove the skin and discard it and the cinnamon stick.  Drain juice and set aside.
  4. In a heavy bottomed stock pot, place sweet butter, leeks, onion, and Granny Smith apples.  Cook slowly over a medium flame, stirring frequently until very tender.  Do not allow to color.  Add chicken stock.  Bring to a low boil.  Add squash, and the squash juice.  Cook for 5 minutes and add the heavy cream and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Cool and puree in a blender until very smooth

Sage leaves:

  1. In a small pan with the rice oil, fry 6 large sage leaves until crispy.
  2. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.

Crème fraiche:

  1. Whip crème fraiche to stiff peaks with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and star anise.

Sage oil:

  1. Combine blanched sage leaves, parsley leaves, and olive oil.
  2. Place in a deli container and freeze overnight.
  3. Once frozen, zap in Pacojet 2 times and strain (or use a purchased sage oil)

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Five food trends we just can’t get behind.

We at Parker Sanpei are an adventurous bunch, but sometimes, the latest culinary trend just doesn’t fly with us. Here are some of our staff’s no-go foods.

chicken wingsLinda: CHICKEN WINGS

“All that fatty chicken skin, yuck.”

 

Nathan: KALE

SONY DSC“With so many other good greens out there – spinach, arugula – why bother with kale? I think kale is a lie.

Elissa: BOBA

Glass of black tea with cream and tapioca

“The balls. They creep me out.”

 

 

 

Jaime: SUSHI

sushi“Tell me again how I must not have had ‘good’ sushi and I will straight-up hurt you.”

Kyndal: QUINOA

quinoaI’ve used it before in recipes…and then I’ve thrown those dishes in the trash. I just don’t like it.”

 

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October 1, 2014 · 9:08 am

It’s SAVOR time!

Google “Savor the Central Coast” and the first autocomplete option to comes up is “Savor Central Coast VOLUNTEER.” Indeed, everyone is trying to get in on SAVOR.

savor2

Co-sponsored by Sunset Magazine and the San Luis Obispo County Visitors and Conference Bureau, SAVOR the Central Coast calls itself a food and wine festival but it’s quite a lot more than that. SAVOR is a celebration of the fact that SLO County encapsulates what it means to live in the West. It’s educational, enlightening, and applicable. Looking to build or buy a chicken coop? SAVOR’s got the best models on display at the Main Event (complete with clucking inhabitants!). Want to learn how to save tomato seeds for next year’s garden? SAVOR offers workshops taught by passionate seed-savers. Want to experience an abalone farm in Cayucos? Or horseback riding in Cambria? Or foodie secrets in Arroyo Grande? SAVOR is your guide.

savor

The Main Event is just what it sounds like: a big deal. Here’s how SAVOR explains it:

The Main Event invites you to experience an epicurean and adventure playground where you can taste, sip, and indulge. The historic Santa Margarita Ranch hosts this two day extravaganza on September 27 and 28 showcases celebrity and master chefs, Sunset experts, brew masters, as well as local fishermen and artisanal food producers from throughout California.

Enjoy unlimited food and wine tasting as you wander the Marketplace where over 100 wineries, restaurants, and food purveyors invite you to sample delicious food and drink. Relax with a locally brewed beer while you listen to live music in the Estrada Garden. Learn from the experts at the Farm to Table Stage or have fun with a mini tour through your favorite coastal region at the Travel and Adventure Stage.

Stroll through the Central Coast Pavilion and sample award-winning wines from the Sunset International Wine Competition. Make sure to reserve your spot in Chef Central and Winemaker Central, offering in-depth educational seminars throughout the weekend, allowing you to explore your favorite topic at a deeper level. Cost is $25 per seminar with the purchase of your main event ticket.

For more information on this year’s SAVOR the Central Coast, including a full schedule of events, please visit http://www.SAVORCentralCoast.com.

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Hearst Castle and Thomas Hill Organics party like it’s 1922.

Last weekend, our beloved friends at Thomas Hill Organics presented a winemaker dinner with DAOU Vineyards at Hearst Castle that took our breath away. And we’re not just talking about the view.

Chef Christopher Manning and his team offered one of the most beautiful menus we’ve ever encountered – and we’ve seen quite a few – from a mobile kitchen with no running water. (The term “glamping” was mentioned more than once.) The theme for the dinner was The Great Gatsby, which everyone ran with, guests and hosts alike. Each element was perfection, from the weather to the setting, the wine, and especially the food. Thanks to Debbie Thomas and Chef Manning for allowing us to crash this once-in-a-lifetime event!

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Good reads for food/bev lovers.

While fall isn’t exactly in the air here on California’s Central Coast, it’s definitely on the calendar, and that means we at Parker Sanpei are yearning to cozy up with a good book. Fortunately for those of us obsessed with food and drink there’s no shortage of fascinating reads on the subject. Below, a few of our favorites.

heatHeat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany, Bill Buford

We’ve loved Bill Buford since the first time we read him in The New Yorker. But this book, about his (mis)adventures in Italian cooking, is by far our favorite of his works.

PubMan Walks Into A Pub: A Sociable History of Beer, Pete Brown

Called “an extraordinary tale of yeast-obsessed monks and teetotaling prime ministers; of exploding breweries, a bear in a yellow nylon jacket, and a Canadian who changed the drinking habits of a nation,” this book feels like meeting a friend at the pub – an incredibly knowledgeable, interesting, and funny friend who happens to love beer.

ParisThe Judgement of Paris, George M. Taber

California vs. France. And the winner is? We all know the story of the famous Paris tasting of 1976, but this book by the only reporter present brings the whole scene (and the fallout) vibrantly to life.

provenceProvence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste, Luke Barr

This book is like our culinary/literary fantasy come true: a table set in the South of France surrounded by iconic figures James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Richard Olney, Simone Beck, and Judith Jones. Only this actually happened, and it changed the course of American cuisine forever.

ReichlComfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table, Ruth Reichl

If Provence, 1970 was our fist culinary fantasy, Berkeley, 1978 is our second. In Comfort Me With Apples, Ruth Reichl details her relationships with Alice Waters, Colman Andrews, and Wolfgang Puck, among others, woven together with personal remembrances and epic meals.

napaNapa: The Story of an American Eden, James Conaway

From our friend Jim Conaway comes the remarkable story of what made Napa the kingdom of American wine that it is today, including stories from the many families who built its foundation (Gallo, Mondavi) to the new aristocracy.

Homemade LifeA Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, Molly Wizenberg

From the author of one of our favorite food/life blogs, Orangette, comes this beautifully crafted collection of stories and recipes from her childhood in Oklahoma, years abroad in Paris, and working-girl-singlehood in Seattle.

 

 

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Going LOCAL with VONS

Thomas Hill Organics

Thomas Hill Organics

Our friends at Thomas Hill Organics in Paso Robles are partnering with VONS to celebrate their new “LOCAL” initiative with a multi-course dinner and wine pairing on August 14 at 6:45 pm. The program connects VONS shoppers to their agricultural and culinary community through in-store features of locally-produced ingredients and value-added items.

vons.logoThe launch celebration at Thomas Hill Organics will include five courses of sumptuous, locally-sourced cuisine paired with the wines of DAOU Vineyards & Winery, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Halter Ranch Vineyard and Tablas Creek Vineyard. Furthermore, an all-star lineup of winemakers and winery representatives will be present, including Georges and Daniel Daou, Steve Lohr, Steve Peck, Jason Haas and Kevin Sass.

 – MENU -

PASSED APPETIZERS

Prosciutto Wrapped Belgium Endive with D’Affinoise Brie Crab Ravigote in Tartlette with Apple Tarragon Slaw

Served with Halter Ranch Rose, J. Lohr 2013 Carol’s Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc,

DAOU 2013 Grenache Blanc and Tablas Creek 2012 Côtes de Tablas

FIRST COURSE

Seared Dayboat Scallops

Pickled Apricot & Ginger, Scented Jasmine Rice, Cucumber Ribbons, Ras al Hanout Broth

Served with Tablas Creek 2011 Esprit de Tablas Blanc

SECOND COURSE

Crispy Duck Breast

Pomegranate Molasses, Roasted Loo Loo Farms Carrot, Maria’s Japanese Eggplant Puree, Spiced Greek Yogurt

Served with Halter Ranch 2011 Syrah

ENTREE

Tournedos of Filet Mignon

Organic Potato Pave, Crispy Kale, Braised Scarlet Turnips, Truffled Natural Jus

Served with DAOU 2011 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

DESSERT

French Chocolate Tart

Chocolate Ganache, Mr. Drew’s Berries, Coulis

Served with J. Lohr 2011 Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon

Joebella Coffee

We’re so proud of our community and friends who make it a point to carry the LOCAL banner. Bravo!

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Singer-songwriter A.J. Croce comes to Wine Country

salon roux logoWe at Parker Sanpei have always loved the people and service at Salon Roux in Paso Robles – but now we love them even more.

This full-service salon and spa located in the heart of wine country recently announced a special benefit concert to celebrate its fifth anniversary featuring singer-songwriter, A.J. Croce, with special guests, The Janks, to benefit Studios on the Park’s “Kids Art Smart” program. Presented under the stars at Castoro Cellars Winery, the concert will be held Saturday, August 23. The event begins at 6:30 p.m.

ajcroce_salon_roux_concert

Croce, son of legendary singer-songwriter Jim Croce, began his career at age 18 opening for B.B. King, and has since spanned genres from jazz to Americana to blues to pop. He has been seen and heard on national television including Jay Leno, David Letterman, and MTV, and received glowing press from The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone and People Magazine. Croce’s eighth studio album, “Twelve Tales,” was released by Compass Records and recorded with six legendary producers including: Allen Toussaint (Dr. John, Eric Clapton); the late “Cowboy” Jack Clement (Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash); Mitchell Froom (Crowded House, Los Lobos); Tony Berg (Fiona Apple, Bob Dylan); Kevin Killen (Elvis Costello, Peter Gabriel), and Greg Cohen (Tom Waits, John Zorn). Additionally, “Twelve Tales” includes a song Croce wrote with legendary songwriter and musician, Leon Russell.

Croce’s last performance in Paso Robles was in support of Jon Anderson of YES. He’s received stellar reviews including a sentiment by Willie Nelson who said “The future of entertainment is in good hands.” Salon Roux Proprietor and Concert Coordinator, Jacque Leonard, calls Croce’s music, “jaw-droppingly, amazingly great.”

A. J. Croce

A. J. Croce

“Salon Roux holds a party every year to celebrate our anniversary,” said Leonard. “For our fifth year, though, I wanted to do something that gives back to our community that has supported us. The ‘Kids Art Smart’ program brings children to Studios on the Park to paint, draw and get creative, Monday through Friday. I know that if I hadn’t been in art classes through school, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Our goal is to raise enough support for “Kids Art Smart” through this benefit concert to cover their costs for the coming school year.”

“Kids Art Smart” brings local elementary students to Studios on the Park in Paso Robles, directly utilizing the artists studio setting for unique art education studying and creating works of art in mediums such as ceramics, collage, oil pastels, printmaking, and watercolor. Since 2011, more than 4,000 public elementary students have visited Studios on the Park for hands-on professional art classes completely free of charge and during school hours. Ordinarily these students (47 percent of whom are considered low-income and at-risk) receive no formal arts education.

Individual tickets to the benefit concert are $50 each. VIP tables include wine and dinner, and are $250 for two people, $500 for four people and $750 for six people. Tickets are available for purchase at Salon Roux by calling 805.239.9499 or by emailing info@salonroux.com.

Additionally, Thomas Hill Organics Bistro will be serving a dinner consisting of Paella accompanied by organic mixed greens, roasted seasonal vegetable and date flan tartlets for $15. Castoro Cellars wine will also be available for purchase.

For more information on this must-see concert, please visit http://www.salonroux.com/concert.html See you there!

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