Hello There, Spring!

Strawberry CrostiniI love springtime — the changeable moods of the weather, how amazing everything smells, all the new growth — even with the pounding my immune system gets due to allergies. It’s such a gorgeous time of year.

Food seems to reflect the pastel wonder of the awakening world as well. It’s a time for roasted asparagus, tender greens, and new cheese. Plus, strawberries. I really love strawberries! The crostini shown above is super simple, and could almost be used as a dessert, it’s so creamy and decadent. We had it for dinner with a side salad. Serve it with a lovely glass of rosé, and celebrate spring.

Spring Crostini

  • Difficulty: super easy
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Serves 4

half a loaf of a crusty sourdough baguette sliced into thin pieces
extra virgin olive oil
4 oz. fresh soft sheep cheese (I used Pennyroyal Farm‘s sheep milk Laychee)
12 strawberries, sliced
balsamic vinegar

Place sliced bread onto a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
Turn on broiler and set bread underneath. Cook for a couple minutes, or until the bread begins to turn golden.
Remove from oven and allow bread to cool.
Smear a bit of cheese onto each piece of bread. Arrange strawberries on top and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

(For even more savory, green flavors, try sprinkling the crostinis with some chopped basil.)

Nectarines and Arugula on Filo Dough

Nectarines and arugula on filo doughMiss me? I’ve been pretty busy with some house hunting/packing/moving of late. Dinner usually comes after a long, exhausting day, and I’ve been gravitating to a few standbys to get me through the evening cooking process. I’m going to give you the low down on how I cook healthy meals while being super swamped, but for today, I have slightly fancier fare.

Nectarines have just come into season in California. They’re one of my favorite fruits, and I love to incorporate them into both sweet and savory meals. I decided to take them and some other in-season ingredients and plop them on some filo dough for a crispy — though rather messy, dinner. I discovered this meal in its open-faced layout required a knife and fork to eat it. If you’d like something a bit easier to eat, fold over the filo into square or triangle pockets so you won’t need a knife. (You’ll just need to add the arugula before folding.) Either way you go about it, pair with a rosé, and enjoy a quick meal after a long day.

Nectarines and Arugula on Filo Dough


Serves 6-8

3 white nectarines, sliced
1 package of prosciutto
15 ounces of ricotta cheese
a few dollops of soft goat cheese (I used my Farm to Table shipment of laychee with chive flowers.)
handful of fresh arugula
8 sheets of filo dough
walnut oil (or olive oil)
black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, roll out the 8 sheets of filo dough. Drizzle, or spray if you have an oil sprayer, a fine layer of oil over the filo. Spread the ricotta in a nice, even layer, followed by the dollops of goat cheese. Lay the prosciutto evenly over the cheese, followed by the nectarines. Drizzle or spray a little more oil and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
Cook for about 10 minutes or until the edges of the dough turn golden brown. Sprinkle on the arugula and return to the oven just long enough for the arugula to wilt, three to five minutes more.
Remove from the oven. Let sit for five minutes, then cut with a pizza cutter into eight pieces, and serve.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

strawberry spinach saladToday’s post is a quick one, as every spare moment has been filled with busy work this week. I’ll be telling the whole tale on my other blog, but for now, why don’t we take a break and enjoy a superb salad?

There are a lot of strawberry spinach salads out there, and for good reason. They’re a wonderful mix of flavors, and they’re good for you, too. Mine has the protein upped a notch with the addition of pecans and thin slivers of Pecorino cheese. After a little drizzle of papaya poppy seed dressing and a glass of rosé, this salad was ready to be a sensational supper.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

  • Difficulty: super easy
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Serves 2

2 cups baby spinach
4-6 strawberries, sliced
1 Tablespoon coarsely chopped pecans
1 avocado, sliced into small pieces
2 Tablespoons thinly sliced Pecorino cheese
salad dressing (I used Annie’s Papaya Poppy Seed)

Arrange the spinach on two plates. Layer the other ingredients. Drizzle the dressing and serve right away.

Sandwich Nicoise

Nicoise sandwichThe warm, dry winter California experienced is bumping the seasons forward a bit this year. Trees are already changing into their autumn finery, and while the light doesn’t say, “Summer’s over,” just yet, there’s definitely a sense that it’s about to wind to an end.

Because it’s been so warm for so long, much of our summery wines had already been enjoyed, and our very last bottle of rosé sat lonely in the refrigerator. With the sense of change in the air, it felt like it was time to seize the opportunity to enjoy that lovely, pink wine while the evenings were still warm.

But what to pair it with? Salad Niçoise is always a bright and savory choice for a summer’s meal, but wouldn’t it be even better sandwiched between two halves of a sourdough roll? With such a thought in mind, I created one heck of a sandwich.

Sandwich Niçoise


Serves 2-4

2 sourdough French rolls
1 Tablespoon butter
dash of garlic powder
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs
6 new, tiny fingerling potatoes
1 Tablespoon olive tapenade (Use nicoise olives to make your tapenade if you can find them.)
anchovy paste to taste
1 very small red pepper, sliced thinly
dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon of chopped green onions
1 can of tuna packed in olive oil
1 heirloom tomato, sliced thinly

Wash potatoes. Put a small pot of water on to boil. Sprinkle in some salt and add the potatoes. Once the water begins to do a roiling boil, carefully put the eggs in. Put on a lid and turn off the fire. Let the potatoes and eggs sit for 20 minutes. Pour off the water and rinse with cold water until the eggs are only slightly warm to the touch. Peel the eggs and slice. Cut the potatoes in half and drizzle with olive oil as well as sprinkling them with salt, pepper, and parsley. Set aside.

While the potatoes and eggs sit, warm a stove top griddle over low heat. Slice the rolls in half, butter each half and sprinkle with garlic powder. Place on the griddle until the open faces of the bread is golden brown. Remove from heat.

Spread mustard on each piece of bread. Spread tapenade on one slice of each roll and anchovy paste on the other slices. Sprinkle the onions on the tapenade side and press down lightly. Then assemble the sandwiches with the rest of the ingredients, layering carefully so everything doesn’t slide right out. I put the tuna on top of the anchovy paste, the red pepper next, then the tomato, egg slices, and finally, the potatoes.
This is a huge sandwich, so feel free to share the other half with your other half and save the other sandwich for later.
Serve with a side of green beans (a staple of Salad Niçoise), and enjoy this last breath of summer.

Cheesy Tuna Muffins

cheesy tuna muffinsMy birthday is coming up, and it’s also the two year anniversary of Sapid Cellar Door, so I thought it would be fun to make one of my favorite childhood dishes to celebrate.

My mom would make me the dinner I requested for my birthday, and I always asked for one of two things – porcupine meatballs, or even more often, tuna muffins.

Man oh man, I loved those things! Even after moving out on my own, they were still my “special treat” meal. I’ve made these muffins a lot through the years, and as I created them last night, shaping the tops with a spoon, it was all still muscle memory. I didn’t really have to think about what I was doing. I just did it.

I paired these muffins of memory with my absolute favorite food wine, Gazela Rose. It’s a refreshing, lightly fruity wine with a lovely, mineral finish and hint of effervescence. Whenever I’m not quite sure what to pair with a meal, I grab this wine, and it never disappoints. Plus, it’s wonderful on a warm summer’s evening, sitting on the deck, watching the wildlife begin to stir. We always try to have a case of it on hand.

Cheesy Tuna Muffins


serves 6-8

2 cups cooked rice (I used jasmine white rice.)
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
15 ounces Albacore tuna
1 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon season salt (I used Spike.)
1 teaspoon dried dill
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons half and half

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Grease two muffin pans.
Mix all ingredients together. Pack into the muffin pans, rounding the tops with a spoon to resemble muffin tops.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the outside of the muffins begins to brown.

I like to eat my tuna muffins with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. A little drizzle of melted butter is also very nice.