Perciatelli with Cacio e Pepe

With my mom out of town and my tasting room employees on spring break, I had a crazy-busy week among the feeding of the animals, the watering of the plants, and the extra hours at work. On Friday night, all I wanted to do was veg out and eat something comforting…sometimes, you just feel like a bowl of noodles.

Perciatelli is a thick spaghetti-like pasta shape that has a hole in the center – it’s like a spaghetti tube. Even when al dente, it doesn’t twirl because it’s so thick. I broke the noodles in half for this recipe, which made it a dantier dish. And of course, what’s a meal without the perfect wine and cheese pairing?

The other night, I had a bottle of Chronic Cellars (one of my FAVORITE wineries) 2007 La Muneca, which is 50% Roussanne and 50% Viogner, chilling in the fridge. I picked up a hunk of parmigiano reggiano from the cheese side of the operation (The operation being my place of work, Vivant Fine Cheese), headed home, and threw together this delicious dinner.

"The Doll"

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Penne alla Vodka

As the retail world has been reminding us since Christmas, Valentine’s Day is on the way! This makes some people cringe, but I get all kinds of excited butterflies. Valentine’s Day is all about love — and not just romantic love! If you love your friends, your family, your pets, whoever, this is just another reason to let them know!

In my early teens, Valentine’s Day was spent trying to cheer up all my miserable friends in the hallways at school. Most of the THS girls spent the whole day moaning about what a stupid holiday it was, but I liked to bring chocolate and Hello Kitty Valentines and do my best to make someone (anyone?) smile.

As I got older, Valentine’s Day still meant consoling the grumps of the world…but it also meant dates! A few awkward, one fabulous surprise, two snowed in, one girls night at a garlic-themed restaurant, and on one, I even had mono! Dates can be fun, too…which brings me to this recipe. We do happen to be in a recession, and staying in and cooking can be way more romantic than a fancy dinner out.

Cooking for someone you love – this includes friends and families, folks! – is one of the biggest gestures of love there is. I love love. I love spoiling people. I like pink, too, so V-day works out well for me. Penne alla Vodka is pink! Perfect!

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Baby Bella Soup with Parmesan Croutons


Storm’s a blowin’ in California – we’ve got inches of rain on the way and severe wind warnings here in San Luis Obispo County.  I don’t know much about Harvest, but I feel like the remaining grapes must be blowing off the vines…there are tree branches down everywhere and the power is on and off.  Our driveway is even littered with paint that has literally been blown/power-washed off the fence.  Yikes.

So what does a terribly rainy day remind you of, besides for dangerous driving conditions and possible flooding?  To be honest, I’m considering popping open a bottle of wine – why not?  If you are not so inclined….soup is absolutely the next best thing!  Luckily we have propane out here in the country and my stove still works, because this is a delicious recipe for a miserable day.

mushroom soup

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Puff-Pastry Tomato Tarts

tart uno

Wow.  School season has begun again.  Oh, did you think that since I just spent three-and-a-half years getting my Bachelors at the most expensive school in New Jersey that I was going to take a break from education for a while?  Not so much…

Truthfully, I just can’t stay away.  I really love school.  I am taking two night classes (Children’s Literature, and Child Health, Safety, and Nutrition), which means I spend six evening hours a week in a classroom.  Which means that I am still working on the balance between website and school and work and having a social life and playing with Dolan.  Which means that I have to plan my schedule carefully to make sure I have time for cooking and posting…but so far, so good!  I promise I won’t leave you hanging!

I also promise that you are going to be learning a lot about children’s books.  Stay tuned – and get excited!

This is a great recipe to showcase your end-of-summer tomatoes.  The original recipe said to make six-inch rounds, but I wanted more of a side/appetizer portion…six onches of puff pastry gets pretty heavy.  I served it as a side alongside salmon and my family really enjoyed it.


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Linguine with Tomatoes, Baby Zucchini, and Herbs


My boyfriend, Brian, just moved into a new house-his first without roommates!  It’s an adorable one bedroom with a teeny kitchen and a tiny bathroom.  It has a little porch out back and a gigantic, fat palm tree out front, which I’m completely in love with (Christmas lights come December, anyone?).

Last night, I brought over everything it takes to make this dish – from the pot and knives to the Parmesan and herbs (he’s not completely moved in yet).  It was very exciting to play house…only it’s not pretending because it’s actually his house! Oh my goodness.

Brian had fun watching me chop things and I enjoyed watching him clean up my mess; we ate at his coffee table and it was all very precious.


I chose this dish for a few reasons.  1. It’s tomato season and our garden had lots that I needed to use up. 2. It’s pretty healthy – veggies and olive oil.  3. With the fresh ingredients and no-cook sauce, it’s very summery.  4. It didn’t take very long to make.  This pasta definitely met our expectations…and there were tons of leftovers!  Yess! Continue reading