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Sonoma County, CA, United States
A food and restaurant review through the eyes of a 13 year old and his family.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Stemple Creek Ranch - Recipe Contest Winner!

And The Winner Is . . . Posted by Lisa Poncia

The results of our Summer Recipe Challenge are in, and the decision was unanimous.
Congratulations to thirteen-year-old Logan Bello of Sebastopol for his winning Beef Wellington recipe! Logan is an avid foodie and accomplished cook with his own food blog (check out www.logansbites.com) where he focuses on restaurant reviews and “real food.” His proud mom says, “Logan’s Beef Wellington recipe is such a hit around here that his 9 year old sister wants him to make it this month for her birthday dinner!”
All of us are impressed with Logan’s initiative. Here is what he had to say about cooking with our grass-fed and finished meat: “Stemple Creek Ranch grass fed all natural beef is the only way to go!  There is nothing better.  The quality, flavor and deliciousness does not compare.  Remember, you get what you pay for and you are what you eat.” We couldn’t agree more! His winning recipe will be posted under “recipes” on our website.
Logan will receive a $50 gift certificate toward the purchase of our meat along with one of our awesome Stemple Creek Ranch tee-shirts. We hope he will wear it with pride and keep up the good work.
A big note of thanks to everyone who submitted their favorite recipes for consideration. Stay tuned for our next seasonal recipe challenge in the coming months.

Logan's Beef Wellington
Preheat oven 400˚
2 ½ lb. filet mignon (trimmed)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
6 slices prosciutto
1/3 c. Dijon mustard
2 TBSP. Truffle pate OR make duxelles using 1 lb. of crimini mushrooms sliced, then chopped in a food processor with 1 minced clove of garlic, salt and pepper.  Saute until moisture is reduced and it forms a pate texture.
2 sheets of puff pastry (Pepperidge Farms makes a good one) – defrost
2 egg yolks beaten
1.      Set filet on a plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper (I use a good quality Hawaiian salt).  Add olive oil to a cast iron skillet.  Sear the filet on all sides.  Set aside.
2.      On a sheet of plastic wrap, layer 6 slices of prosciutto forming a rectangle.  Spread the truffle pate over the prosciutto forming a thin layer or use the prepared duxelles.
3.      Brush filet completely on all sides with the Dijon mustard.  Place the filet in the middle of the prosciutto rectangle and wrap it around the filet using the plastic wrap as a guide (kind of like sushi).  Twist wrap around sides tightly and put in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
4.      On another piece of plastic wrap, unfold a layer of the puff pastry (I ended up using 1 ½ sheets of the pastry on mine).  You want enough pastry to completely cover the filet.
5.      Beat egg yolks in a bowl.  Brush edges of puff pastry with egg yolk.
6.      Remove filet from the refrigerator.  Unwrap carefully and set in the middle of the puff pastry.  Roll pastry over the filet and crimp seams together on top and on sides.  Use the plastic wrap again like sushi to help with this.  Place back in refrigerator for about 5 minutes.
7.      Remove from refrigerator and brush with egg yolk.  Using a knife, lightly score all the way across the top of the Wellington using a knife. Sprinkle w/salt.
8.      Place on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
Slice generously and serve!

Stemple Creek Ranch sells grass fed all natural beef and lamb and they are family owned.  Check out their website at: 

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Importance of Family Tradition

The other day, my family was invited to a Celebration of Life honoring my friend's Mikayla and Colette's grandma who passed away last year.  Her birthday is today.  One of the things the family did was made their grandma's homemade ravioli's.  This was a family recipe that she had shared when she was alive and in her celebration, it carried on even after she passed away.   These ravioli's were filled with a family secret  and they were very delicious.  The sauce was like a bologne sauce, light with chunks of ground meat, tomatoes, mushrooms topped with cheese.  The cool thing about this, is that the whole family had been a part of making these pillows of deliciousness and it is their tradition.  When I went home, I thought about food traditions that I want to carry on in my life and this is what I came up with:  My dad's spaghetti sauce, my mom's homemade macaroni and cheese with bacon and truffle oil, my great grandma's devils food cake, our family friend Kimberly's homemade pasta and my friend Clark's homemade fish tacos.  These are recipes that I will learn and carry on the tradition.  I asked my mom and dad what family recipes they love and my dad went on and on about his grandma Verna's macaroni salad, his mom's Chinese spareribs, his grandma's applesauce cake and his mom's potato salad.  When he talked about these favorite foods, he smiled and it made him happy.

This summer, everyone reading my blog should learn to make a family food tradition so that it can be carried on and on forever.  It would be cool to hear about these so post them on here for everyone to read.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Da Poke Shack - March 2013 part 2 - The Big Island, Hawaii

During my spring break (March 2013), my family and I were lucky enough to go back to The Big Island of Hawaii. As soon as I got off the plane I got a craving for poke. If you don't know what poke is, I can explain it to you. 

Poke, or Poke Salad is made of raw Ahi or yellowfin tuna. It is then cubed up and mixed with: seasoning, sauce, and other native things like Kukui Nut or Hawaiian avocado. One of my all time favorite restaurants ever is Da Poke Shack.  It is located on the south end of Kona downtown kind of off the beat and path.  It is a very  small place with a few tables outside.  I say small, but the food quality is huge.  It's more of a to-go place.  My parents took me there shortly after we landed.  I tried all 5 poke flavors which were; Dynamite (Avocado aioli), Pele's kiss (spicy sauce), Shoyu, Sesame, and Honey soy sauce. My favorite was Pele's kiss because it was spicy. Overall, this is one of my favorite restaurants. I really like raw fish and sushi. Da Poke Shack also has some pretty killer Kalua Pork. As far as kid friendly, may not be the best unless you have an adventurous eater.  My sister actually had the Kalua Pork bowl over rice and loved it!  My dad had the same (because he's not a raw fish fan) and also loved it. He said it was some of the best Kalua pork he had ever had. My mom and I feasted on poke and it was the best. They also have the option of white rice or brown rice, homemade kimchi and seaweed salad. 

They serve beer and soda as well as Hawaiian juice like guava and P-O-G (Passsion Orange Guava) juice.

Service: *****
Food: *****+
Price: $$+
Kid Friendly: **
Ambience: **

NoodleMania - Sebastopol, CA

NoodleMania is pretty new to Sebastopol and worth checking out. 

The restaurant is decorated with art from Asia and a few movie posters that are themed from Asia.  The food is Pacific Asian so lots of noodles, dumplings and they have really good orange chicken.  They have egg noodles, rice noodles, mung bean noodles, udon, soba, chow fun and yam noodles to choose from.  They also have rice plates, salads, soups and curry dishes. 

I went there with my dad and little sister and we had potstickers, orange chicken, pho yung and wonton soup.  They also make a killer Thai iced tea which is made with tea, condensed milk and half/half.  The service was fast and friendly and I can't wait to go again.

They are located at 7233 Healdsburg Ave., Sebastopol (Next to Papa Murphy's Pizza) and their hours are: 7 days a week 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM.

Service: *****
Food: *****
Price: $$
Kid Friendly: *****
Ambience: ***