Welcome to The Feast Within! My name is Gabi and I come from a family of fabulous cooks. I’ve been cooking as a hobby for most of my life and even earned a living for a while baking and decorating cakes for a French style patisserie/cafe.
My maternal Gran was a ranch wife who cooked delicious, hearty meals for her hard working family. She also cooked occasionally at a small diner in the next town. Word would get out that she was cooking that day and people would start coming in from all over for the chance to eat her cooking.
Gran had great hands for kneading bread and we grandchildren would gather around fascinated at the alchemy of turning flour, yeast and water into golden loaves of bread. We would all fight over the heels and beg for bread before it was cool. Hot homemade bread with fresh butter dripping from it was one of my first obsessions with food.
My Mom carried on the good cooking tradition. I don’t remember ever turning down anything she cooked- (except for her now infamous liver chili- cooked once during a health kick experiment. Yikes!) My sisters, aunts and cousins are all exceptional cooks as well.
My own gastronomic journey began with making mud-pies from juniper berries, dirt and water from the little ditch that ran along the edge of the front yard. I had my own little “bakery” going out there and would sometimes nick an egg from the hen-house to “improve the texture” of my goods (I guiltily blush- thank goodness Gran didn’t catch me!)
Then one year for a present I received my own little Easy-bake oven (oh the joy, oh the rapture!) I made up my own cake recipes- some were good and some were disasters. At age 10, I went on to teach my little sister to fry eggs and grill cheese and make “Magic Sandwiches” (lettuce, mayo and white bread) these I pretended could taste like anything you imagined was in there too. Ham was my favorite imaginary filling. That year I ambitiously made my own birthday cake -it fell and I (inventively I thought at the time) filled the cake top with candy-including bubble gum. Eek! I made up little hamburgers and “wiener wrap” hot-dogs for my party too. It was my first solo event as hostess. Oh my poor, poor friends.
When I was about14, I began to cook a lot of dinners in earnest. My Mum worked outside the home, so I devoured her Larousse Gastronomique French Encyclopedia of Cooking looking for recipes. I baked some croissants and made a Coq Au Vin and I was immediately hooked. I’m sure I now own well over
400, er 600 er 1200 cookbooks! -(including one of my family’s recipes that my mom put together about 20 years ago and all its various reformations.) I never get enough- I devour them like novels.
Food and good cooking are part of loving life as far as I’m concerned. I feel the same way about gardening and other creative pursuits from writing and painting to pottery, wood turning, knitting and even soap making.
I am lucky enough to share my life with my husband Rick (my one-true-love) who shares my passion for living. He cooks, makes wine, is a gifted woodworker/artist, a madly passionate RC airplane builder and pilot and is an all around gem. There was also a “cat who walks by himself” in our house- his name was Kipling- (aka the jungle cat), he passed into the unknown in November of 2012. After a bit, two lucky little cats, Monsieur Poirot and Miss Marple, joined us to keep his place warm and fill our hearts with light. We all live in a much loved little (built in 1916) bungalow in Salt Lake City, Utah.
We have a great life and I wanted to share in the community of wonderful cooks and food writers who have given me so much enjoyment as I have read (and continue to read) their blogs. So that’s why I’m here.
Thank you to everyone who posts his or her daily adventures and ongoing explorations- you inspire me. I hope I can give a little back as I go along.
Updated 2022: It’s been a hard couple of years through this pandemic (or as girlfriend Susan Branch calls it the damn-panic) We’ve been hunkering down and doing our bit to keep every one safe. We’ve lost loved ones and friends- including Miss Marple – our girl forever. We’ve had health scares and adjustments and somehow have maintained our tenuous grip on sanity and happiness. We wish you all health, happiness, safety, and joy out there in the world.
I got your Crock Pot Black Beans recipe. And loved it. At the end you said Leftover beans can be used in other recipes such as the soup recipe. I’ll post in the next few days. Well I had a computor melt down and lost the site I was at. Found this site and wonder if you can help me out? Thanks Denise
What a fun trip! We never made it to the Mendocino Coast! We meandered through some of the quaint towns of Napa & Sonoma like Calistoga, Yountville & Healdsburg (our favorite). Napa has no quaint downtown anymore, thanks to several years of flooding. There is one small area now, all within a “mall” sort of setting. Nothing quaint there and no boutique stores, only national chain stores.
The Wine Train was spectacular! We had an appellation four course meal with pairings from Yountville. Each person was served approximately 1 full bottle of wine over the course of 3 hours. Way too much wine for me, but it was hard to turn down because it tasted so good. We were seated in the dome car for our entire dinner. Appellation dinners in the dome car a not done too often and, as such, are really special. The views were great! We were seated with a couple from the mid-west. We enjoyed great conversation and plan to keep in touch.
We actually stopped at 3 wineries that were new since our last trek up that way. Personnel were very friendly and hospitable. Domaine Carneros is a champagne house on highway 121 just south & west of Napa. The building is fashioned after a Chateau in France and quite imposing. We sat on the wrap around balcony overlooking the vines while we tasted 3 champagnes with a food pairing. We liked the wine so much we joined their wine club! They also produce some very nice pinot noir. A staff member waits on you while you sit at tables on the balcony or inside. No wine bar to sidle up to. It was very nice and worth every penny of the $14/person for the tasting. Food, of course, was extra but the portion was good for two people and there was a variety to choose from.
We then went to Black Stallion, a new winery on the Silverado Trail just north of Napa. The wines were excellent and the staff very friendly. We came home with half a case of their wines. The tasting fee was refunded with purchase and I think was only $5/person.
Our last winery stop was Jeriko, another new winery on highway 101 south of Ukiah. Staff was friendly and the tasting fee reasonable and refunded with purchase. The wines were tasty too.
We deliberately stayed away from the “old” entrenched wineries because our experiences have been less than favorably memorable. This time we were not disappointed!
The weather was perfect in the low 80’s. I know we’ll go back, at least to Domaine Carneros since we’re now members.
I hope all is well with you and Rick.
Hugs – Linda
Thanks for the recipe- I actually do have that book-isn’t it great?!
Hope you enjoy your wine trip and hope to see you soon! Tell us about the wine when you can.
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. water
4 c. blackberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 c. freshly squeezed lime juice (about 9 small limes)
Bring sugar & water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat & set aside to cool.
Puree the blackberries in a blender or food processor with the sugar syrup. Press the mixture through a strainer to remove the seeds, then stir the lime juice into the sweetened puree.
Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
This is extremely simple to make. I found it in a wonderful book called “The Perfect Scoop”, available at Williams-Sonoma.
I had a lovely chat with Ryan Sunday. It seems his knee is worse, poor thing. It’s wonderful to hear from him again!
We’re off to Napa and fine dining on the “Wine Train” Thursday. We’re making a 4 day holiday of it. It’s David’s Birthday gift to me this year. Napa is only 70 miles away, yet we haven’t been there for over 10 years. The region has gotten pretty snooty and full of themselves, so we haven’t felt the need. Realistically, we’ll go to the dinner and spend a day, then head to the Mendocino coast, or something. We do most of our wine tasting & collecting from the Santa Cruz Mountain Wineries these days. There are about 60 of them now, and most of them are giving Napa wines a run for the attention. We have found some truly magnificent wines that are quite reasonably priced. Next time you and Rick come to CA, we can introduce you to some of our favorites if you like andassuming brother Rick doesn’t over commit himself.
Take care – Love,
Thanks for the lovely comments. I would absolutely love to have the Blackberry/Lime sorbet recipe. Please do share it. We loved having you come to visit. Wish we could see you much more often.
Rick will be glad to hear he’s made another convert to his incredibly tasty grillled cheese masterpieces. I’ll have to ask him to post them on here for everyone else too.
I would think the marinated mozzarella would be easier to find there than here but gourmet stores can be a little quirky.
Hope to see you again soon!
I finally had a few free moments since retruning from our visit last month and thought to check out your blog. You should write a book! You’re style makes an easy read, and oh so fun too. It was so good to see you and Rick (and Ryan too).
I found myself in the mood for sorbet since it’s been wicked hot in SJ. I found a wonderful receipe for blackberry with lime that is truly refreshing. It makes a great intermizzo course or a very refreshing and light dessert. Blackberries were readily available fresh until last week, so I chose fresh, yummy!
I’ll send the recipe if you like, or come to CA and I’ll make it for you!
We love the gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, though I had a devil of a time finding the marinated mozzarella braids. Go figure with all the “gourmet” markets in our area!?!
Write soon! I’d love to keep in touch.
You are such a good friend- thanks!
I can’t wait to see what you do with your site.
As for the figs… my strategy with them is to pick the plumpest juiciest ones I can find that also have a little “give”- like a good pear. The figs, proscuitto and cheese combination at Lisa’s was so scrumptious- I am still dreaming of those melding flavors as I write.
Figs are also great baked with a little honey and goat cheese-yum!
Thanks for everything
I was getting my hair done yesterday and was talking with my stylist about great blog sites. Yours was one that came to mind! I was in awe at our last Book Club with your marvelous insight. It seems your writing has made you speak with even more poetic cadence. Wow!
Okay, I had a foodie question for you. You know the crostini with fig, cheese, and prosciutto that we had at Lisa’s…how do I choose the perfect fig? It was OMG delcious! Thanks, Gabs!
You are so sweet as always! I hope you enjoy the Tribble Nibbles.
Gabi, you are such a fabulous writer! I loved your entry on the Tribbles. You had me giggling the whole time. I can’t wait to try the Tribble Nibbles recipe and see if I can stir up some trouble here!