Lamon Beans with Citrus

Dear Fellow Foodies:

This month’s recipe features more of the lovely legume family.  Jois brought this to me for lunch and I had to share the recipe with you.  Bright notes of citrus and lots of protein make this extremely satisfying.  This regal bean was once given as Papal gifts.  Pretty good for a legume, eh?


Grown on the plateau of Lamon and now the synonym of top quality bean, the spagnolèt bean is one of the four varieties grown by the small farmers in the highlands and are marked with protected designation of origin (PDO).


They are large and round, an off-white colour with bright red streaks and the variety is highly popular due to its properties and delicate flavour. They are perfect for salads, hors d’oeuvres and as side dishes.  Creamy and delicate flavors make this bean perfect for any flavor profile you would like to create.  


Lamon Beans with Citrus  



Lamon Beans with Citrus

1 cup Lamon Beans soaked overnight
1 Tablespoon minced shallot
3 Tablespoons Lemon Avocado Oil
Zest of one lemon and one orange
2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper
2 Oranges cut into supreme (pith and rind removed) chopped
2 Cups Shredded cabbage
1 Granny Smith Apple – chopped
1/4 cup Pitted and chopped Lemon Olives

Soak the beans overnight.  The next day drain and refresh the water.  Cover with 2 times the amount of water and cook the beans for approximately 45 minutes or longer until soft.  Drain and Reserve.

Saute the minced shallot in 3 Tablespoons of Lemon Avocado Oil, add the lemon and orange zest and the cooked beans.  Cover and cook on low for approximately 15 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste. 

Add the chopped oranges and the shredded cabbage and chopped apples.  Warm through until the cabbage is wilted.  Add the chopped Lemon Olives and the lemon juice.  Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if desired.  Try this with Lemon Salt to add more flavor.

This is one of those dishes that tastes better over time.  Put some into a container and take with you on a picnic.  Eat some tonight, bring some to your next dinner party with the neighbors. Eat and enjoy wherever.   This paired wonderfully with a Pinot Gris from the Rogue Valley.

Happy Cooking! 


Vinaigrettes perfect for summer salads

Dear Fellow Foodies:

The Summer heat has been here with a vengeance this year. With so many days over 95 degrees, trying to stay cool and also trying to figure out what to make for dinners has been a challenge. I just want lots of salads. Since we just received lots of new infused olive oils and a delicious Grapefruit White Balsamic vinegar to the store’s expanding line up I created a few different vinaigrettes for both salads and vegetables. Voila! No oven necessary (thank goodness). Even David has been happy with the selection of summertime treats. The advantage of using hot veggies with a vinaigrette is that they tend to absorb the flavors more fully.

Steamed Green Beans with Grapefruit Vinaigrette


1 pound green beans, trimmed and rinsed
3 Tablespoons Jacksonville Mercantile Grapefruit White Balsamic
1 Tablespoon minced shallot
pinch Salt & freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1/2 Cup Blood Orange Avocado Oil
1 Red Bell Pepper – seeded and chopped in small dice

Steam the green beans until tender (approximately 5 minutes). Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the Grapefruit White Balsamic, Shallot, Salt and Pepper and slowly add the Blood Orange Avocado Oil by whisking until emulsified. Toss the cooked green beans with the chopped red pepper and about 1/3 cup of the vinaigrette to coat. Serve warm with extra vinaigrette on the side. If you have any left over vinaigrette you can also use this as a marinade for chicken.

A few years back I gave a recipe for French Potato Salad which uses a white wine reduction, olive oil and lots of tarragon. This recipe is similar, but instead of tarragon I use Basil, the newest Spicy Red Wine Vinegar from Italy and some Dijon mustard to round it out. This has a 1-2-3 punch from Basil oil, basil and basil Dijon. Hooray! You can either use your food processor for this or just whisk in a bowl. The food processor will make it a brighter green color.

Warm Potato and Basil Vinaigrette

1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes – cleaned
1/2 cup fresh Basil leaves
1 clove garlic – minced
2 Tablespoons Edmund Fallot Basil Dijon Mustard
3 Tablespoons Spiced Red Wine Italian Vinegar
Pinch salt & black pepper to taste
2/3 cup Jacksonville Mercantile Basil Infused Olive oil

Steam the potatoes until tender (about 15 minutes). In a blender or food processor, add the basil, garlic, spiced red wine vinegar, mustard salt and pepper. Blend and slowly add the Basil Olive oil until emulsified. When the potatoes are still hot, but cool enough to handle, cut them in half and toss in a bowl with 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette. Serve warm with extra vinaigrette on the side. This vinaigrette can be used as a marinade for shrimp or fish as well.


Happy Cooking!



Cherry Salsa

Dear Fellow Foodies:

Summer is finally here and so is cherry season.  Cherries are one of those fruits that has such a short window that we want them in everything when the season is here.  Jois and I just spent a few hours picking cherries at a local orchard on their opening day.  Both pie (sour) cherries and several varieties of sweet cherries covered my counters for a day.  I tend to pit and save the pie cherries because I want fresh cherry pie in December (not gonna happen unless you thought ahead) and pit and eat the sweet cherries in Clafoutis, tarts and one of my favorites to eat them on top of Bellweather Farms Ricotta.  A word of warning for those who decide to undertake pitting lots of sweet cherries:  do this outdoors, wear black and don’t let anyone take your picture because you’ll look like an axe murderer from the spatter patterns.  Also, try really hard not to eat all of your hard work, your tummy will thank me later.

Since David always wants to grill this time of year, we created a cherry salsa that we used on grilled pork tenderloin.  The following is the salsa recipe.

Cherry Salsa for Pork

1 Cup Fresh Sweet Cherries  – pitted and chopped
1 Jalapeno pepper – seeds and ribs removed – chopped fine
1/2 yellow onion – chopped fine
2 Roma tomatoes – seeds removed and chopped
2 Tablespoons Lemon Avocado Oil
4 Tablespoons Barrel Aged Balsamic
Lemon Sea Salt
Cracked Black Pepper

Mix everything together and allow the flavors to meld for approximately 1 hour.

If using Pork Tenderloin, slice horizontally and marinate for 20 minutes in additional lemon avocado oil and barrel aged balsamic.   On a hot grill, place pork and grill until done. (this will cook quickly since it is thinly sliced).  Serve with the cherry salsa, good friends and an icy cold beer (if desired).

Happy Cooking!

Pantry Challenge – Corona Beans and Tuna

Dear Fellow Foodies:

More from the pantry challenge. We just brought in some amazing dried beans from Italy. The following recipe is so simple it’s almost comical. All you need to do is open two packages and one jar and have an incredible meal for 14 people. Crazy huh? The only items we had to pick up at the grocery store were parsley and cherry tomatoes. If it was summer, these items could have come from the herb garden on the deck. This recipe uses Corona beans. These huge plump beans are similar to the Coco Blancs you find in France or the Giganta beans found in Europe. Known as the “poor’s meat” these beans are creamy and hearty. With the addition of Spanish Bonito Tuna in oil, this was a very satisfying meal hitting all the right notes. Even meat and potato folks would enjoy this!

This also is a wonderful gluten free meal. Since the Corona beans are high in protein, this would also make a great vegetarian meal, just omit the tuna.

corona beans

Corona Beans with Spanish Bonito Tuna

One Bag of Corona Beans – soaked overnight

One Jar of Spanish Bonito Tuna

One package of Boscaiola Dried Pasta Sauce from Italy

Parsley – chopped fine

Cherry tomatoes – cut in half

Salt and Pepper


When cooking any kind of bean you need to soak them overnight for best results. The instructions on the packet of beans recommended soaking for 12-14 hours and cooking for 30-40 minutes. After soaking the beans overnight, they actually needed an hour of cooking time to get them creamy enough. Be sure when you are cooking any kind of legume or bean that you don’t salt the water. You know the saying “tough beans”? That is what you will get if you cook them in salted water. Wait until they are almost cooked completely before salting.

Soak the Boscaiola Dried Pasta Sauce in a cup of water and bring to a simmer. Cook off the water from the sauce and reserve. You may add olive oil to this if you like. These dried pasta sauces from Italy are great to have in your pantry for adding to pasta, risotto or in this case, beans.

When the beans are done, taste and season again with additional salt and pepper if desired. Open the tuna and pour the olive oil onto the beans. Crumble the tuna into the beans and add the tomatoes. Add the cooked Boscaiola to the bean mixture. Sprinkle with parsley and drizzle additional olive oil over if you desire.

We were able to have this dish for lunch for several days and also had enough to bring to a friend’s home as a side dish. Ta da!!

Happy Cooking!


Warm Squash Salad with Arugula

Most folks don’t think of using squash in a salad, but when roasted and paired with goat cheese it becomes a hearty meal in itself. This was part of the pantry raid week. We had a wonderful cinderella squash left from our grower’s market that needed to be used. Feel free to substitute the hazelnuts for any other nut and you can leave out the bacon for a vegetarian option.


Warm Squash Salad with Arugula and Goat Cheese
  • 1 small kobotcha squash or cinderella squash 3-4 pounds – peeled, seeds removed and sliced into 1/2″ slices.
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh thyme
  • 3 Tablespoons smoked brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Piment D’Espellette or smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Maldon Flake Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup White Balsamic
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
  • 6 ounces mild goat cheese
  • 4 ounces hickory bacon – cooked and chopped into small pieces
  • 1 pound arugula – washed and trimmed of any stems

Warm your oven to 475F. Mix all the ingredients except the hazelnuts, goat cheese, bacon and arugula to create a vinaigrette. Toss the slices of squash in the vinaigrette and bake 10 minutes on a non-stick baking pan. Turn over and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until soft, but not mushy.

Form the goat cheese into small rounds and roll into the finely chopped hazelnuts. Reserving the remaining hazelnuts and vinaigrette.

To serve:

Arrange 3-4 squash pieces on a plate. Sprinkle with bacon and a small amount of hazelnuts. Place a few rounds of goat cheese on top. Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon of reserved vinaigrette. Toss the arugula in a small amount of vinaigrette (you may not use all the vinaigrette) to lightly coat. Top the warm squash with the dressed arugula and serve with additional flake salt and cracked pepper. Enjoy with a Southern Oregon Viognier. Serves 6-8.

Happy Cooking!


The Elegant Lentil

The following is a recipe I have adapted from our wonderful employee Jois. Lentils du Puy are a great way to add texture, flavor and protein to your diet. The advantage of Lentils du Puy is that they don’t get mushy like other lentils. Be sure you are getting the authentic lentils vs. the ones from Washington state. The package should state A.O.C. or A.O.P. The A.O.C, or Nomenclature of Controlled Origin, is the denomination of a country, region, or locale used to designate a product of the region and of which the quality and the characteristics are exclusively or essentially derived from the geography. The AOP, Protected Origin Nomenclature, is its analogue at the European level. In Europe, there is an immense richness and variety of food products ; but when a product acquires a remarkable reputation, it can find itself confronted in the market by imitation products that try to usurp its name. This disloyal practice not only discourages the producer but also leads the consumer astray. This is why, in 1992, the European Community created a system of protection and valorization of agro-alimentary products (AOP, IGP, STG).The Nomenclature of Protected Origin (AOP) designates the denomination of a product of which the production, transformation, and elaboration ought to have a place in an area geographically determined with a recognized and stated know-how.
Phew! Basically, it means it is the real deal and not an imitation. That said, the Lentils du Puy do cost a little more but are well worth it and seeing a cup of lentils feeds 6 adults it isn’t that expensive after all.

Lentils du Puy with San Marzano Tomatoes

1 Cup Lentils du Puy – picked through to be sure there are no stones

1/2 sweet onion – minced

1 carrot – minced

2 Tablespoons Onion Avocado Oil

1/4 cup Red wine or Vermouth (or for non alcoholic option use Red Verjus)

1 – 28 oz. can San Marzano Tomatoes from Italy – chop tomatoes and save juice

1 1/2 cups Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock

Sea Salt and Pepper

Heat the avocado oil until hot, add the onion and carrot and cook until soft (approximately 5-7 minutes) Deglaze the pan with the wine or Verjus. Cook this until almost dry (au sec) Add the chicken stock or vegetable stock and the juice from the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer then add the lentils. Cook this for approximately 25 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for approximately 7 minutes more to heat through. This is wonderful with sausage sliced on top or with a crispy trout filet or salmon filet. Anyway you look at it, Lentils du Puy are one heck of a wonderful base for many healthy, hearty meals.

Happy Cooking Everyone!


34 Degrees New Chocolate Wafers!

We all know how these things begin. It’s ten at night, dinner was hours ago, and you’ve been reading a good mystery until…  you realize that you’d really like just a little something. A sweet little something. And, before you know it, you’re having a one night stand with a jar of chocolate caramel sauce.
We just got into the Mercantile  new  Sweet Crisps from 34○.  These may even  help you hold on to your self respect.  Get your fix from Smooth Chocolate or Dreamy Caramel, and never have to commit to more than 60 calories with  7 or 8 of these nearly fat-free little beauties. If you want to tart them up with a bit of nut butter or introduce them to a little Greek yogurt, they won’t mind, but we find them crunchily satisfying all on their own.
Come on in and introduce yourself to our cool new friends.   It could be the start of a beautiful relationship.  The best part is they are only $5.25 for 10 servings of guilt-free happiness.

Pear Walnut Brie Panini

Dear Fellow Foodies:

Working in the shop has many advantages one being the amazing recipes people share with me.  Kim from South Stage Cellars gave me this recipe. The following is a great Panini sandwich that uses the French Walnut Brie we just started carrying.  A very simple concept, and quite delicious!  Our former Jacksonville Gelatoria had a similar sandwich using Proscuitto, Brie and Fig Jam.  I’m sure Kim could help you pick out the perfect wine to go with your panini.

Walnut Brie, Proscuitto  and Pear Panini

Bread of your choice.
Walnut Brie – amount of your choice
2 slices proscuitto
1/2 Pear sliced thin
Caramelized onion (optional) or fig onion tapenade spread
Vanilla Fig Balsamic

Place the walnut brie (you can smear it into the bread) and pear on the bread.  Place Proscuitto on other side.  Add caramelized onion or tapenade (if desired) and drizzle small amount of Vanilla Fig Balsamic over pears.  Press in Panini Press, serve hot.

Happy Cooking!


Fresh Fava Bean Panzanella with Home Made Croutons

I just taught a class on how to cook from the Farmer’s Market recently. Since most of my students didn’t know how to cook a fava bean (or even what they were) we decided that we would have them for part of our meal.  Since I had help cleaning the fava beans, I got 8 pounds.  Then they realized what a pain in the butt they are to clean and cook, but they are SO darned good.     I know, I know, you think that is a LOT.  Nope, just enough with a small amount left over for me today.  We made a wonderful spread with the favas but I wanted something else.  This got me to thinking about Panzanella salads.

I’ve also been on a bread baking kick. Not just any bread baking, but the rustic loaves you get at the grower’s markets with the crusty, crispy exterior and the large holed interior that just melts into your mouth.   I made my starter and fed it for a few weeks.  My friend Jois told me that I should name my starter so I wouldn’t let it die.   I named it Henry.   When it gives me trouble I call him Hank, and when I attempt French Bread I’ll call him Henri.  Henry has helped me bake some amazing loaves and of course I started to have half loaves all over the house.

I made some croutons with olive oil, herbs de Provence and a pinch of salt. Then came the dressing. Using the juice from my quick pickle recipe and the oil from the Italian Olives in Lemon I made the vinaigrette. Sliced up some wild ramps (you guessed it, Farmer’s Market) and mixed this all together with a few leftover tomato pieces from David’s dinner the night before.

I have never eaten a salad where I was grunting and groaning over it and I was happy no one was close enough to hear me .  Sometimes the best meals are right in front of you while you stand at the open refrigerator door.  This was one of them.

Next time maybe I’ll share – then again, maybe not.  Grunt, grunt, grunt, ooooohhhhh.

Quick Pickles

  • 1 cup Reisling Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 small seedless cucumbers – cut in small pieces
  • 3 small ramps – sliced thin
  • 1 Tablespoon Harissa Paste
  • Mason Jar to store

Heat the vinegar until warm, add the sugar, harissa and the salt.  Stir until melted.  Pour over the cucumbers and ramps in the jar.  Allow to sit chilled for 2 hours or longer.  Use this as your vinegar for your vinaigrette.

Silk Road Burger

Silk Road Burger


It finally happened.  Our grill died.  I guess using a grill for over 13 years in a row, year round, tends to do that.  Of course since we are without our grill we both are craving burgers.  Not any burger mind you, but the ultimate burger.  You know the one.  The burger that makes you stop talking to your friends, close your eyes and eat while juices drip down your chin.  You open your eyes hoping no one noticed and get up to grab a napkin, or in the case of most of our outdoor festivities, a paper towel then smiling to yourself notice all your friends are doing the same thing.


Grilling has been a pastime for many people, but there are those, we are part of that clan, that takes it quite seriously.  The best burgers are not just plain beef.  There is something always special added to it.  Some people put cheese in the center of their burger, some like to add lots of toppings.  We like to tweak the actual burger with spices and add a second meat to the top sirloin beef.  Sometimes we add pork, sometimes we add elk (one of my personal favorites). Here is the recipe for a burger that uses both Harissa and Aleppo Pepper. The pepper is named after Aleppo, a long-inhabited city along the Silk Road in northern Syria, and is grown in Syria and Turkey.


Serves 6

  • 2 tablespoons Harissa Paste
  • 2 tablespoons Light Muscavado Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Aleppo Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground top sirloin
  • ½ pound ground pork (or elk if available)
  • 6 Slices of Rogue Creamery X-tra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 6 Burger Buns – toasted
  • Onion Confit


Mix the Harissa with the Muscavado and spices.  Add this to the mix of beef and pork.  Make 6 patties and chill until you grill them.  After cooking, top with cheese and onion confit and any other toppings you desire. 


Now we need to go to find another grill.  Happy Grilling and Cooking Everyone!



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