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Lone Eagle Grille’s Winemaker Dinners Provide Innovative Wine-and-Dine Experiences
Written by Jessica Santina
Photos by Dave Santina
Do the words winemaker dinner sound more to you like a formal presentation than a dining experience?
I’ll admit, they did for me before I attended the most recent winemaker dinner at Lone Eagle Grille in Incline Village. Though we’re lovers of wine and frequently enjoy wine tasting, my husband and I had never before attended an actual winemaker dinner and had no idea what to expect. Fortunately, Lone Eagle’s Winemaker Dinner Series offers an elevated food-and-wine-pairing experience that, while certainly luxurious, also is welcoming, inclusive, insightful, and deliciously unexpected.
In the cozy, rustic dining room of Lone Eagle Grille, at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, beside an enormous stone fireplace and an expansive lakefront view, guests are seated with only their own parties at individual tables, where they enjoy five courses paired with wines, which they may enjoy at their own pace. It results in a more casual, intimate experience as guests engage throughout the evening in lively, one-one-one conversations with passionate makers of food and wine who love sharing their crafts.
Our dinner featured wines by Blackbird Vineyards out of Napa Valley. Once seated, we felt like welcome friends as, by turns and never intrusively, we were personally greeted and presented with food and drink by a server, a sommelier pouring wine, General Manager Matthew Mitchell, chef de cuisine Shane Hammett, and Blackbird Vineyards’ president Paul Leary. Each shared valuable information about the vintages we tasted and how the ingredients in each dish were strategically chosen to complement each other and the wines.
I will admit here that the menu somewhat intimidated me. Though I like to think of myself as an adventurous and non-picky eater, the lineup mentioned oysters, truffles, and lamb — none of which I’ve ever particularly enjoyed — as well as foie gras mousse, which I confess to never having courage enough to try. I was right to make this the evening to do so.
The first course, a dish of crispy Kumamoto oysters topped with crumbles of crackling pancetta and served over an apple emulsion and Granny Smith apple relish, completely tore down any misconceptions I had about oysters or, for that matter, what they should be eaten with. Hammett paid his first visit here, explaining the concept behind the dish. Every tiny component — the bursts of pork saltiness against the chunks of apple, whose tart-sweetness rounded out the briny oyster — was intended to complement the 2017 Dissonance, a refreshingly crisp and bright sauvignon blanc. The combination was completely surprising in its perfection.
La Belle Farm foie gras mousse served with strawberries, basil brioche crumble, and watercress, drizzled with golden balsamic, served with Arena Rosé
Each course proceeded in this way. My preconception about foie gras mousse being overly rich and fatty were completely shattered. Instead, the salty, rich, savory flavor was as light as air, spread on the plate and topped with a combination of flavors and textures that made for a perfect balance: crusty basil brioche croutons, sliced strawberries, and fresh watercress. The results were magical and, again, utterly surprising. It was complemented by the Arena Rosé, a clean, elevated rosé that, like its paired dish, combined dry with sweet.
The third course was a 28-day dry-aged American wagyu striploin served with grilled king trumpet mushrooms, in a chicory black truffle vinaigrette with avocado chimichurri, served with Blackbird Vineyards’ 2014 Arise merlot blend
As the wines and dishes made their way to the table — a dry-aged American wagyu striploin, a succulent Niman Ranch lamb belly, a decadently rich chocolate raspberry bombe — Leary, Hammett, and the Lone Eagle staff dropped by to ensure our every need was cared for, every question answered.
The fourth course, a smoked Niman Ranch lamb belly on a bed of sunchoke puree, served with a poached Cipollini onion in paprika oil, served with the velvety, earthy Paramour cabernet franc blend from Blackbird Vineyards
My husband and I eagerly lap up wine knowledge whenever we’re given an opportunity to speak with a winemaker, and no question we asked was too silly for Leary, who genuinely seemed to enjoy sharing his experiences and hearing what we thought. Hammett also clearly took pleasure in watching his guests be delighted and surprised by the menu.
For dessert, Hammett prepared a chocolate raspberry bombe filled with Chambord crème Anglaise served with candied raspberries and almonds and topped with espresso chocolate sauce
By the end of the meal, as we headed into the cold night for the drive home, we were warmed by wine and full stomachs, as well as the feeling of having just spent an evening at the home of friends.
Ready to attend the next Lone Eagle Grille Winemaker Series Dinner?
Lone Eagle Grille’s Niman Ranch Scholarship Dinner
Fri., April 5
6 – 8:30 p.m.
Partnering with Niman Ranch, Lone Eagle Grille offers a delicious dinner by chef Shane Hammett paired with wines from Coupe de Foudre in Napa Valley. Hammett and the winemaker will be on hand to give details about the meal and wines throughout the dinner. Proceeds support Niman Ranch’s Next Generation Foundation, which provides scholarships to the children of farmers and ranchers who are committed to furthering their education to continue rural enhancement.
The dinner pairing will be accompanied by a silent auction, and attendees include Niman Ranch's 2018 scholarship recipient, Elle Gadient, and members of the Niman Ranch staff, who can personally speak to the benefits of the scholarship.
Jessica Santina is the managing editor of edible Reno-Tahoe.
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Story and photos by Asa Gilmore
Casale’s Halfway Club is the oldest restaurant in Reno/Sparks, having been in operation for more than 70 years. On March 16, the Snowshoe Thompson Chapter of E Clampus Vitus presented the owners of Casale’s with a bronze plaque commemorating the rich history of this Nevada landmark.
E Clampus Vitus is an ancient fraternal organization working to preserve local history and build strong communities. The Snowshoe Thompson Chapter, Nevada’s first and oldest chapter of E Clampus Vitus, is one of four chapters currently in operation in the state.
For those who haven’t been, Casale’s Halfway Club is a true Nevada experience. This is a friendly place, a family place, and it has some of the best lasagna in the state. The picon punch is excellent as well. It’s worth noting that its ravioli all are made by hand, every day, with the same rolling pins that the family brought to America from Italy in the early 1900s.
A well-attended dedication ceremony was held, with the traditional beer poured over the bronze plaque to christen it. The plaque will be mounted inside the restaurant for viewing.
Casale’s Halfway Club
2501 E. Fourth St., Reno
775-323-3979 • Find Casale’s Halfway Club on Facebook
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Inaugural Event Shines Spotlight on Vegan Dishes
Written by Natasha Bourlin
Photos courtesy of Gehn Shibayama
Reno vegans unite! Whether dedicated to the diet or simply vegan-curious, the Reno Vegan Chef Challenge is showcasing the best in animal-free eating at several participating restaurants during its inaugural Northern Nevada event, April 1-30, 2019.
A 2018 Gallup poll states that 3 percent of Americans are vegans. Adhering to this way of eating comes with many positive purported health benefits, ranging from lower cholesterol and blood sugar to decreased risk of heart disease, yet many people don’t know how to find or prepare flavorful foods using zero animal products. Enter this new Reno culinary challenge.
Gehn Shibayama, co-organizer of the Reno Vegan Chef Challenge, Reno resident, and administrator of local vegan group VegNV, has been following a strictly animal-free diet since 2013. After his first 12 months, he’d lost 20 pounds and seen his endurance improve notably. In 2018, he tackled the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail over 188 days, fueling himself with only vegan foods, and he claims he was able to complete the arduous endeavor because of his diet.
While in Sacramento, Calif., last October, he discovered the city’s eighth-annual Vegan Chef Challenge and began striving to bring a version to his hometown.
“The goal of this event is to raise awareness of healthy, tasty, and satisfying vegan dishes to the general public, not just vegans. We vegans already know that there are amazing vegan dishes. We already know that a vegan diet is a complete diet with all necessary nutrients including protein, vitamins (except for B12, which is another topic), calcium, iron, and everything,” Shibayama says. “But the general public still tend to think that vegan foods mean just green salads and veggie soup … we want to change the perception.”
Partnering with national nonprofit Vegan Outreach and co-organizer Kelly Farrell, he’s rallied more than a dozen restaurants to take part in the first-ever Reno event. Each must put three new vegan dishes on its menu for the month of April, including at least one main dish. Offerings must have flavor appeal for vegans and non-vegans alike.
In Sacramento, participating restaurants have touted increased business and exposure while also spurning customers’ curiosity and chefs’ creativity thanks to the event. While also seeking to benefit the restaurants, Shibayama and his partner Farrell are hoping Reno’s version incites excitement beyond VegNV’s 700 members, enlightening non-vegans as well to the delectable flavor profiles healthy vegan dishes can offer.
To participate in the Reno Vegan Chef Challenge:
Visit any or all of the participating restaurants listed at Renoveganchefchallenge.com, order their vegan offerings created for the challenge, then return to the site to rate each item tried. Restaurants and items rated highest by guests will win prizes at an awards ceremony post-event.
Natasha Bourlin is a vegan-curious freelance writer excited to try chefs’ animal-free options during this event.
IMAGES PICTURES ABOVE
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Big Chefs Big Gala is one of the year’s tastiest fundraisers
Written by Mel Ulloa
What do fresh local ingredients and 35 of the area’s most talented chefs have in common? They all come together for one night of cooking for a cause at Big Chefs Big Gala, a night for food lovers. If you love food, this is the can’t-miss event of the year. What makes it different from any other fundraiser? Top culinary chefs in one room, serving a four-course meal that not only makes your mouth water, but also benefits the life-changing work of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada.
An exciting menu
The evening starts with a black-tie reception featuring small bites from several of our area’s finest restaurants, then culminates in a unique four-course culinary experience featuring Bentley Ranch Meats and Sierra Gold Seafood. Some items that may be served at this year’s event include: heirloom kabocha bisque with Tahoe Blue vodka and fried lobster nuggets; flame-charred hamachi with yuzu bone broth, mirin-poached Asian pear, and crispy daikon radishes; red and green curry made with sweet shrimp with coconut, pickled red onion, and cilantro; and Lattin Farms beets with arugula and citrus, goat cheese, and tarragon. Is your mouth watering yet?
“Big Chefs Big Gala gives attendees an opportunity to taste all that our area has to offer while supporting our community’s youth,” says Derek Beauvais, CEO of BBBSNN. “We are incredibly fortunate to have such a vibrant food movement going on, led by chefs who care so much about our community.”
At the 2018 event, Team GSR plates its amuse bouche: chilled pear bisque, Tahoe Blue vodka, and caviar. Amuse bouche, which means “please the mouth,” is typically bite sized and interesting enough to prepare the palate for the rest of the meal. Photo by Tom Smedes
The four culinary teams are led by chef captains and rounded out with an additional three local chefs. They pour countless hours into Big Chefs Big Gala on top of their busy schedules, returning year after year because they know the work of BBBSNN strengthens our community.
“I was asked about three years ago to start cooking. It’s a gathering of all local chefs at the Grand Sierra Resort, and I couldn’t say no,” says chef Tommy Linnett of The Union in Carson City and Liberty Food & Wine Exchange in Reno.
Chef Tommy Linnett of The Union in Carson City plates Bently Ranch short ribs, polenta, carrots, and onions for Team Campo at the 2018 Big Chefs Big Gala event. Photo by Tom Smedes
Linnett grew up in the restaurant business, learning the basics from his father, who owned multiple restaurants around Lake Tahoe. Linnett traveled extensively through Argentina before attending Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Arizona. After returning home to Northern Nevada and settling in Reno, he joined chef Mark Estee as part of the opening team for Campo Reno. He is now the executive chef of The Union. Linnett looks forward to bringing the local food movement, pioneered by Estee in Northern Nevada, to Carson City. To him, Big Chefs Big Gala is a great opportunity to highlight that effort.
“It’s a great event because, for a lot of us, we get stuck in our four walls. It’s fun to get out and be around other chefs, pick their brains for a little while,” says Nick Stromatt, executive chef of The Depot in Reno. “It’s a good time being around people as passionate as we are about food but also about such a great cause.”
Prior to starting his culinary career, Strowmatt enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2002. He completed three deployments in Iraq, leaving as a sergeant. His culinary career began when he started at Herringbone, a coastal cuisine restaurant in La Jolla, Calif., working his way up from shucking oysters. Strowmatt’s first job when he returned to Reno was at The Promenade on the River, a senior community in Reno, which provided him the opportunity to develop his own recipes, create unique flavors, and deal firsthand with the customers and their interactions with the food. He joined the team at The Depot in 2015 and became a great addition to the Big Chefs Big Gala chef teams in 2017.
But the chef talent is not the only highlight of the evening. In a unique twist on the traditional gala format, Big Chefs Big Gala features three different auctions: an exciting live auction, a more-than-200-item silent auction, and a delicious dessert auction.
More than 200 items will be on auction at Big Chefs Big Gala. If you can’t attend the event, you can always bid from home with mobile bidding. For details, visit BBBSNN.org. Photo by Tom Smedes
“Last year, one of our pastry chefs sold a cake for $2,700,” says chef Travis Stehman of La Strada at the Eldorado Resort Casino in Reno. “It’s nice seeing her from being in the program as a Little and now being successful and evolving.”
A former Little Sister of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, chef Sara Anstett will participate in the dessert auction for the second year in a row. She has worked for Liberty, chez louie, and Coffeebar, and now can be found at Roxy at the Eldorado. Anstett discovered her culinary talent and passion when she and her Big Sister started Kittens in the Kitchen, a baking service for friends and family, when Anstett was 14.
Chef Sarah Anstett calls this cake 24-Carat Gold — a delectable chocolate chiffon cake with layers of chocolate ganache and crunch cocoa nibs, spread with a velvety caramel frosting and topped with a cascade of bourbon chocolate icing. This three-tiered cake is finished with edible 24-carat-gold leaf. Photo by Nadia Gulistani
All the funds raised from Big Chefs Big Gala will stay right here in our community to match children facing economic and social adversity with caring adult mentors. Last year, Big Brothers Big Sisters served more than 600 children in our area.
Big Chefs Big Gala will be held on Sat., Apr. 13, at the Grand Sierra Resort; tickets are available at Bbbsnn.org.
Mel Ulloa is marketing and public relations manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada.
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This event has already taken place.
The concert begins at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 5 at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts.
Jose Gonzalez is a deep, artful thinker whose singular approach to songwriting and sonics sets him worlds apart; Gonzalez is in a class by himself. He has a voice. He has a sound. He has a point of view. His first album in seven years was released Feb. 17 and was produced by Gonzalez in his home in Gothenburg, Sweden. In 2013 Jose contributed to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty soundtrack, directed by and starring Ben Stiller.
Gonzalez is touring with The String Theory, an artist collective and production company based in Berlin and Gothenburg. Band members pursue a long-term, experimental approach, investigating new ways of interdisciplinary collaboration. They also incorporate visual art into their performance, developing new concepts and facilitating international artist networking.
Tickets are available at the Pioneer Center Box office (open 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Mon. – Fri.) or by calling 866-553-6605. Tickets also are available at pioneercenter.com. For details, call Artown at 775-322-1538.
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Sierra Scoop: March 2019
The latest food and drink news from Tahoe and Truckee
Written by Suzie Dundas
Winter 2019 was a doozy in Tahoe, so you’d be forgiven if you haven’t been able to explore the food-and-drink scene in the area as much as in past years. But while the roads still may be covered in snow, the region’s restaurant scene is heating up, with big moves around the lake. It’s been a time of celebration as many Tahoe restaurants celebrated significant anniversaries, and Tahoe brand DRINK COFFEE DO STUFF won a 2019 Good Food Award from the not-for-profit Good Food Foundation.
DRINK COFFEE, DO STUFF
If the snow has been keeping you away, you may have missed the opening of the Tahoe Tap Haus in December 2018. The new business is a partnership between five Tahoe business owners, three of whom — Mark Gogolewski and Melissa and Steven Siig — own the Tahoe Art Haus & Cinema next door. According to Melissa, the new venture is designed to be an extension of the cinema, offering a place to meet up and enjoy a drink before or after a show. They currently have 16 beers on tap as well as a full menu, including everything from haus- made hummus to burgers and Indian-inspired naanwiches served on tandoori bread.
Photos By: Ryan Salm
Tahoe Tap Haus:
475 N. Lake Blvd, Tahoe City
530-584-2886 • Tahoetaphaus.com
Also new in Tahoe City is Goose & Chey’s, opened by husband and wife team Greg and Cheyenne Goossen (hence the name). The casual restaurant serves what Greg calls “American comfort food with a healthy twist.” Though it only recently opened, the idea had been in development since summer 2018, when the couple and their three sons moved to Tahoe City. They’ll plan to have frequent live music — much of it from Cheyenne, a guitarist and singer herself.
Prime Rib French Ddip with hand-cut fries. Photos courtesy of Goose & Chey’s.
Loaded House Salad with a rainbow of fresh vegetables and house-made dressing. Photo courtesy of Goose and Chey’s.
Goose and Chey’s
877 N. Lake Blvd, Tahoe City
(530) 807-1003 • Find Goose & Chey’s on Facebook
Wolfdale's Cuisine Unique, also in Tahoe City, announced the continuation of its late-spring farmers’ market cooking classes, which invite participants to join chef Dale at the local farmers’ market before returning to the restaurant for a multi-course cooking class. Sign up in advance for the small-group classes on the website or by phone.
Wolfdale's Cuisine Unique
640 N Lake Blvd, Tahoe City
530-583-5700 • Wolfdales.com
Fans of Incline Village’s Lone Eagle Grille will want to be sure to stop in for one last spring meal before the restaurant’s dining room temporarily closes for renovations the week of March 24. A small menu still will be available in the Lone Eagle Lounge during that time. The lakefront restaurant’s kitchen will receive an update with an expected reopening on the evening of March 29. A series of Wine Make Dinners running through the spring also has been announced.
Lone Eagle Grille
111 Country Club Drive, Incline Village
775-886-6899 • Loneeaglegrille.com
In South Lake Tahoe, Social House is redefining late night, as its deli transforms every evening into the 1920s-style Community Speakeasy, complete with vintage-inspired cocktails and performances.
1001 Heavenly Village Way, Ste. 3, South Lake Tahoe
530-539-4746 • Socialhousetahoe.com
It’s not all just about openings, though. While Truckee unfortunately will be losing Treat Box Bakery at the end of May as its doors are shut after 40 years, several staples of the dining scene are celebrating anniversaries.
- Truckee’s Cottonwood Restaurant and Bar celebrated 30 years in February 2019, as did Tahoe City’s Gar Woods Grill and Pier.
- Four restaurants have an extra decade on them, with Fire Sign Café, Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique, Jake’s on the Lake (all in Tahoe City), and Jason's Beachside Grille (King’s Beach) each celebrating 40 years of service in late 2018 or early 2019. Here’s to 30 – or 40 – more!
Suzie Dundas is a Lake Tahoe-based freelance writer. She writes about everything from adventure travel to social media and inspired food and drink. You can find more of her work at Suziedundas.com.
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Story and photos by Jennifer Rachel Baumer
A bowl of hot soup is just the ticket on a cold winter’s night when the rain and snow blow against the windows. Chicken noodle soup is the traditional panacea against winter plagues, from colds to flu. There’s something about the combination of salty richness and bites of chicken that’s both cheering and soothing. Pair the soup with a cheese-laced bread that’s prepared quickly (for yeast bread, anyway) and lasts well, and you’ve got yourself simple, hearty, warming feast.
Chicken (or Turkey) Noodle Soup
(courtesy of Jennifer Rachel Baumer. Serves 4)
About 1 to 2 cups chopped chicken or turkey, cooked or uncooked
1 tablespoon butter
2 to 4 stalks celery, chopped to about ½-inch pieces
½ medium yellow onion, chopped
6 cups water and 6 chicken bouillon cubes or equivalent OR 6 cups chicken or turkey stock
1 cup frozen corn kernels
Egg noodles or No Yolks egg noodles, extra broad —about 6 ounces
In a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium high heat. Sauté onion and celery until tender, then remove if meat is uncooked; cook chicken completely before adding the vegetables back in. If you’re using poultry that’s already cooked, just heat it coated in the melted butter at the same time you sauté vegetables. (This is a great recipe if you make stock from turkey carcass and use the last bits of turkey meat for the soup. I may love the turkey noodle soup more than the chicken.)
Chicken & Vegetables brown in a sauté pan
While chicken and vegetables cook, either heat 6 cups of water to make chicken bouillon or measure out 6 cups of stock. Once the chicken and vegetables are ready, add stock and heat to nearly boiling. Add frozen corn and let soup come back up to nearly boiling. Add noodles and turn soup to simmer loosely covered until noodles are soft (or until you’re ready for it). This is a good time to add a twist of freshly ground black pepper and maybe lightly salt the soup.
Before serving, if you want a thicker soup, take out a cup that’s more chicken and vegetables than noodles and purée it a bit in the blender before stirring it back into pot.
This soup keeps well, freezes well, and tastes great cold the next day if you’re so inclined. Enjoy it with a slab of warm cheese bread!
Cheddar Cheese Bread
(courtesy of Jennifer Rachel Baumer. Makes 1 standard-sized loaf and 1 smaller freeform round loaf)
This bread takes between three and four hours, even when it’s 25 degrees outside. It rises well and bakes fast, and despite what purists insist about waiting until bread is stone cold to cut it, it’s best after it’s been out of the oven 20 to 30 minutes, still warm with the cheese still soft.
Cheddar cheese bread cools on a cutting board
1 envelope active dry yeast (not rapid rise), or 2¼ teaspoons, or 1 yeast-measuring spoon’s worth
1¾ cups very warm water (¼ cup + 1½ cups)
2½ teaspoons sea salt
4 to 5 cups unbleached flour
2 cups extra-sharp cheddar, grated (6 to 8 ounces)
Vegetable or canola oil to grease pans and bowl
Pour ¼ cup of the very warm water into large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast over it and let stand for 5 minutes.
Stir salt into yeast and water to dissolve yeast completely. Add rest of warm water. Add 3 to 3½ cups of the flour, and stir to create a sticky, cohesive dough. It’s rare in this dry climate to use all five cups of flour, and it’s better to start working dough when it’s on the sticky side and add flour sparingly. Too much flour makes a dull, flat, dry loaf.
As soon as dough is a rough mass that can be handled, lift onto a clean, dry, well-floured work surface and begin to knead. (This is a good time to soak the bowl if it’s the one bread will rise in). Knead anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, adding reserved flour gradually and sparingly. The dough should just barely stick to your fingers and not be a tacky, sticky mess, but also not so dry that it’s breaking apart. If it starts to get too dry, stop adding flour, brush most of the flour off your work surface, and then knead for a minute or two — most of the time the dough will incorporate that flour and begin to stick to you again. Then re-flour your board sparingly and continue kneading.
When dough is stretchy and elastic and no longer soaking up extra flour, let it sit on the board while you clean out mixing bowl and lightly oil it. Gather dough into a ball, place it in bowl, and spin it so all sides are lightly coated with oil. This stops it from creating a dry, crusty skin while rising. Cover with light, clean dish towel, piece of cling wrap, or sheet of wax paper. Leave dough to rise in an undisturbed, draft-free area. Leaving it on top of the oven, if the oven is in use, or in a spill of sunlight will encourage it to rise more quickly. This bread doesn’t need a long, slow rise, and in summer or in a warm spot the first rise can take as little as 45 minutes in high altitudes. On a cold, snowy night, it might take 1 to 1.5 hours.
When dough has risen to double, lightly flour your fingers and gently press dough back down, replace cover, and let it rise a second time.
After second rise, turn dough out on a floured surface and knead in your grated cheddar cheese. I like a coarse grating, so the pieces are wide and more than 1 inch long. I’m probably using about 8 ounces of cheese, or 2 cups or so. It’s not an exact measurement, and not all of the cheese gets kneaded in every time.
Try not to overly deflate dough before starting to knead in cheese. Flatten dough into a rough circle or disc, sprinkle on cheese, and start gently kneading until it’s incorporated. It’s better to have all cheese within dough, not showing on the surface, or that cheese will burn or simply leak out and away during baking.
Separate dough into 2 unequal parts. Two-thirds of the dough is used to shape a kind of oblong football shape and tuck that into the greased loaf pan. The smaller piece is formed into a small, round loaf and does nicely in a greased glass pie pan. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rise for another 45 to 60 minutes while the oven preheats to 450 degrees F.
Bake both loaves for 20 minutes, then remove smaller loaf, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake another 5 to 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it — it can quickly overcook. If either bread becomes too dark during baking, just gently drape a piece of foil over it and let it finish baking. Remove breads from pan and flick or tap bottoms — they should sound hollow. Give bread about 20 to 30 minutes to cool or it will squish when cut and taste cloyingly wet.
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What’s in Season
Hoop houses, indoor grows deliver bright winter produce
Story and photos by Claire McArthur
Historically, Northern Nevada’s cold and snowy winters have prevented farmers from growing in the winter and early spring. But thanks to advances in hydroponic growing, high tunnels, and hoop houses, some producers in the region are now able to offer fresh vegetables year round.
Prema Farm grows bok choy in its hoop house during the colder months. Photo courtesy of Prema Farm
So while the weather may be drab, there’s no reason your plate should be, too. Dress up your grain bowls with nutrient-dense microgreens grown right in Midtown Reno at Ital Farms. Sauté hoop-house-grown bok choy, kale, and Swiss chard from Reno’s Prema Farm to add local flavor to your udon noodle stir fry. Pat yourself on the back for storing a stash of winter squash from Lattin Farms in Fallon before roasting up a futsu squash and tossing it with the pesto you canned last summer.
Your options for incorporating Northern Nevada goods into meals are plentiful, so this month, challenge yourself to base a meal around what’s in season locally instead of a recipe filled with vegetables that traveled great distances to arrive at the produce aisle. You won’t be disappointed.
Here’s what’s in season in the Reno-Tahoe area:
Prema Farm (Reno)
- Japanese hakurei turnips
- Winter baby arugula
- Mixed salad greens
- French breakfast radishes
- Bacchus radishes
- Bok choy
- Swiss chard
Bok choy is a good vegetable to add to soups and stir-fries in the late winter and early spring. Photo by Prema Farm
Prema Farm overwinters carrots in a hoop house. Photo by Prema Farm
Ital Farms (Reno)
- Rainbow mix (broccoli, radish, and kohlrabi microgreens)
- Broccoli sprouts
- Radish shoots
- Alfalfa sprouts
Ital Farms grows a variety of microgreens year round in Midtown Reno.
Lattin Farms (Fallon)
- Futsu squash
- Delicata winter squash
- Honeynut winter squash
- Buttercup winter squash
- Spaghetti squash
Futsu squash from Lattin Farms can be stored for months in cool, dark spaces
Dayton Valley Aquaponics (Dayton)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Sweet peppers
- Salad mix
- Sunflower shoots
Looking for an idea for how to use this winter’s bounty? Try this unique recipe from Ital Farms.
(courtesy of Ital Farms in Reno. Serves 2)
- 4 ounces microgreens
- Olive oil
- Nutritional yeast
Toss microgreens with a drizzle of olive oil and a few shakes of nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Use dressed-up microgreens as a topper for soup, avocado toast, or salads for a crunchy burst of flavor.
Claire (Cudahy) McArthur is a Zephyr Cove-based writer who enjoys experimenting in the kitchen with seasonal ingredients. Though more often than not these dishes are well received, her husband will never let her live down the Inedible Stuffed Acorn Squash Incident of 2012.
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Farm-Fresh Produce in Winter? You Bet
Riverside Farmers Market is Reno’s only local, year-round farmers’ market.
Written by Jessica Santina
Photos by Kasey Crispin
If you’re suffering from the winter blues this weekend, may I suggest you head outdoors to the farmers’ market? The bounty of locally grown tomatoes, vegetables, herbs, honey, and eggs is sure to lift you out of your winter funk.
Tomatoes in January? Yes, you read that right. Welcome to the Riverside Farmers Market, Reno’s own truly local, year-round farmers’ market, running outdoors throughout the winter — rain or shine — from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. every Saturday morning in the north parking lot of McKinley Arts & Culture Center in Reno.
Thanks to Dayton Valley Aquaponics, local tomatoes actually are available throughout the winter in Reno
It was the brainchild of local farmers Kasey Crispin and Zach Cannady, owners of Reno’s Prema Farm, and folks behind Dayton Valley Aquaponics in Dayton, Nev.
“We decided at the end of summer that we wanted a marketplace in the area to sell our products year round, fully independent of the season,” Crispin explains.
Crispin worked hard at the end of the busy summer season to get the City of Reno to approve the year-round market, which would take place on city-owned property and therefore require the farmers to jump a few extra hurdles. The results were worth it, though: the Riverside Farmers Market is the city’s first truly local year-round farmers’ market, selling entirely organic, sustainably raised produce grown within a 125-mile radius of Downtown Reno.
"Eat Your Altitude" is the slogan of the new, year-round Riverside Farmers Market at McKinley Arts & Culture Center
“It’s about recognizing the need for a market focused on local producers,” Crispin says. “We’re experiencing a surge right now of local, urban, organic farms — three new ones have started in the past year. And once they figure out production methods and get their crops going, we wanted to have a place for them to sell their products.”
Why a Year-Round Market?
Crispin says that Prema Farm — which she and Cannady founded in 2016 and currently produces a fully organic bounty that includes lettuces and salad greens, herbs, carrots, peas, radishes, melons, tomatoes, and much more — has already developed a network of loyal customers who actively seek out locally produced, organic items. Even at many farmers’ markets, she says, this can be hard to find.
“Unfortunately, the reality is that it’s not uncommon for farms to operate more like wholesalers, to buy vegetables from as far away as Mexico, and they don’t have to say that they didn’t grow it themselves,” Crispin says. “You’ll end up buying it at a market in Reno and you don’t realize that. It’s a bit of a farce. So everyone at our market has to grow what they sell.”
The January sun still shines at the Riverside Farmers Market in Reno
This extends to the craftspeople, who sell items such as handmade soaps and jewelry, as well as the food artisans selling baked goods at booths or food trucks offering up freshly cooked snacks or meals; or even service providers and manufacturers who provide goods that contribute to the mission of local, sustainable, organic, and eco-conscious living and eating.
What You’ll Find
Crispin says that the vendor lineup varies each week during the winter months, but the following farms have items for sale at the market each week:
- Prema Farm: organic vegetables and herbs
- Dayton Valley Aquaponics: microgreens, tomatoes, peppers
- First Fruits Sustainable Farm (Fallon): pasture-raised pork and eggs, organic produce, honey
- Ital Farms (Reno): organic vegetables and microgreens
- High Desert Farming Initiative (at University of Nevada, Reno): organic vegetables, herbs, honey
- Hole-In-One Ranch (Janesville, Calif.): pasture-raised beef, lamb, pork (available every other Saturday)
- Great Basin Community Food Co-op (Reno): organic and gluten-free baked goods, juices, and coffee
- MwintSoph (Reno): organic baked goods and tamales
- Wedge on Wheels (Reno): food truck offering artisanal cheeses and condiments
- Thali (Reno): food truck offering organic and vegetarian North Indian food
- Down to Earth Compost (Reno): the bicycle-powered local composting service offers drop-off and pickup of compost materials to its customers at the market
- Black Rock Refill (Reno): eco-friendly products and single-stream recycling drop-off service
- Gwendolyn’s Garden (Reno): handcrafted and locally sourced bouquets, wreaths, and pots
As cold weather gives way to warm, look for additional vendors to join the lineup. Once the spring and summer farmers’ market season gets rolling in Reno, the Riverside Farmers Market will relocate to the south side of McKinley, along Riverside Drive, and it will move to a Thursday evening schedule, in order to avoid competing with the nearby California Avenue market on Saturdays.
Riverside Farmers Market
October – May
9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Saturdays
North parking lot, McKinley Arts & Culture Center
925 Riverside Drive, Reno
June – September
4 – 8 p.m. Thursdays
South side of McKinley Arts & Culture Center (next to Riverside Drive)
For details, visit Premafarm.com/riverside-farmers-market.
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Sweet ideas for wedding cakes
Written by Natasha Bourlin
Among the most memorable components of any wedding is the cake. Crowning the ceremony with a slice of sweetness sends guests off with a lovely taste reminiscent of the nuptials themselves.
What are betrothed couples seeking for their Big Day in 2019? Tap into the trends seen by local bakers and food purveyors to create a picture-perfect wedding cake presentation.
Wedding coordination by The Hytch in Reno. Styling by Lucky Burro Event Rentals. Flowers by Love & Lupines Floral Design in Truckee. Linens from Creative Coverings in Sparks. Cake by C's Mad Batter Cakery. Photo by Courtney Aaron Photography
In Carson City, L.A. Bakery has exponential wedding cake options. Cakes range from vanilla and chocolate to almond and red velvet. Filled with creative flavors such as tiramisu and cinnamon cream cheese, this bakery’s edible wedding creations are topped with delectable frostings, including salted caramel cream cheese and chocolate buttercream.
For 2019, L.A. Bakery Sales Manager Ali Arbabha says everyone wants simple cakes. Though the bakers here are capable of creating cakes in nearly any shape, the requests they receive are veering away from the piping and traditional designs seen for decades. Modest, birch-log-shaped cakes are popular, along with those dubbed “naked,” with such light frosting guests can see the cake underneath.
L.A. Bakery offers cake tastings for a $50 fee and can bake sweet showpieces for up to 150 people, if not more, with notice of one month in summertime, or two to three weeks for winter weddings.
Bundt cakes are renowned for their moist deliciousness, due to the shape of the pan, cooking method, and recipes. If the couple is clamoring for this type of cake, Nothing Bundt Cakes can craft just what they desire.
Four different sizes and 11 flavors are available, and some cakes can be ready with just a few-days’ notice, though a month is preferred. Owner of Reno’s Nothing Bundt Cakes Shele Faretto Silveira says the wedding trend she and her staff are seeing most often is a dessert bar. These can offer many different types of treats beloved by the betrothed.
Following a trend of natural décor for weddings, Nothing Bundt Cakes works with local florists to decorate cakes with beautiful, fresh flowers. It also features many other decorative options, along with a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie flavor. Ordering a few varieties — such as chocolate chocolate chip, white chocolate raspberry, confetti, or pecan praline — is a surefire way to please all guests.
Photo courtesy of: Nothing Bundt Cakes
For its in-house weddings, the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino in Reno is receiving more requests for small cakes made just for cutting on camera, supplemented by various other desserts, says Nicole Parker, catering and sales manager. Also among the requests are more cakes colored in earth tones, gold, and ivory; naked cakes with light icing; and ruffle cakes. The Peppermill’s team of bakers can make just about any cake the couple can conceptualize for resort weddings.
The big cheese for the Big Day
Not all wedding cakes need be on the sweet side of the spectrum. Try a savory cheese wheel cake from Wedge on Wheels based in Reno. Ideal for cheese lovers, guests, or a couple with paleo or keto dietary restrictions, for instance, these distinctive cakes are comprised of whole cheese wheels stacked on top of each other.
Dozens of types are available, and the towers can be decorated like traditional cakes — such as with ribbons, flowers, veggies, herbs, or fruit — by Wedge on Wheels, the wedding caterer, or florist.
“They are all the rage in Europe and are starting to become more and more popular here,” says Laura Conrow, Wedge on Wheels owner and certified cheese professional.
Prices start at about $4 to $7 per person, depending on the types of cheeses selected. Conrow conducts consultations and tastings to determine cheese preferences, and she suggests ordering at least six weeks ahead, as some cheeses are only available seasonally.
A bevy of organic bites
One of the most prevalent cake trends for 2019 is adding just a hint of nearly translucent frosting so the cake flavors really shine. Adding touches of greenery instead of flowers to the tiers is another.
Owner of Reno’s Batch Cupcakery Anne Archer uses only organic ingredients in her products. Since the shelf life is lessened using organics, she and her team bake all their wedding orders the same day, so they’re fresh from the oven upon arrival.
Photo courtesy of Batch Cupcakery
Paleo, vegan, or gluten-free orders are regular occurrences at Batch, and Archer says they can’t keep their pumpkin paleo with raw coconut and homemade vanilla bean extract on the shelves due to demand.
“The trend is going toward flavor combinations that please the palate,” Archer says. “A rosewater pistachio or a matcha green tea-infused cake with hints of sage or lavender is divine.”
Also popular for weddings are Batch’s small bites, including alcohol-tinged mini cupcakes in an array of flavors. Tier rentals are free, with various options to go with any décor, such as crystal, silver, and log tiers. Delivery and set-up are free throughout most of the region, and Batch just welcomed a new party bus limo into the family that can transport the wedding party in fun fashion.
Natasha Bourlin is a freelance-writing fan of cake in its many forms.