Morning Walk Through The Garden

My day today started pondering on what words of wisdom or thought to share in this week’s blog.  It seemed the more I thought about it, the more difficult the challenge was becoming.  Writer’s block was setting in and nothing overly exciting has happened in my world of food and wine over the past few days, just the normal day-to-day stuff.  Feeling frustrated, I decided to let it go and enjoy the morning drive through the Napa Valley towards Calistoga, after all the day is still young.

I was early for my meeting to discuss menus for tomorrow’s lunch and dinner events at the ‘Ranch’, so a walk through the garden was in order.  This past week of consistent + 90°F temperatures has provided ideal growing conditions and Mother Nature has most certainly worked her magic!  Padron peppers, cucumbers, Sun Gold and Sweet 100’s cherry tomatoes quickly over filled the basket I brought along and I had not even made it over to the heirloom tomatoes, lettuce and herb beds.   After a half hour or so picking through the garden, the proverbial “light bulb” went on and I realized how perfect – time in the garden this morning provided all the inspiration needed for the day.   Time to get in the kitchen and get cooking, I then could surprise everyone at the office with lunch, the perfect way to end the week and start the weekend.

Lucky for me in the pantry I had a large container of roasted garlic, olive oil and Parmesan croutons left from recipe testing for the One True Vine Journal #002 earlier this week.

Tomatoes are at the peak of season, their aroma, texture and flavor can be memorizing.  All I can think about is making one of my most favorite summer dishes – Heirloom Tomato Panzanella Salad.  Simplicity is the beauty of this dish and it only requires a couple handfuls of ingredients to bring this wondrous summertime meal to life.

Sweet red onions are shave in a thin julienne cut, then bloomed in a little red wine vinegar, For the salad it is a combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, oversized toasted croutons, fresh mozzarella, basil, arugula, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and black pepper.   DONE!!

Everything wonderful about summer has been captured in one dish, and I had the pleasure of sharing my experience and love of food with friends and coworkers has brought many smiles.  A glass of wine in hand I say Cheers!  It has been a very good day.




Submitted by Layer Cake Wines fan, Michael Laukert