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[whitespace] Wild Kingdom

Eat--and drink--your heart out

By Christina Waters

Wild chanterelles, boletes and all those other delicacies that make the heart of gourmet mycologists beat faster are out in this wet weather in our snow-capped Santa Cruz Mountains once again. All the better for gathering and turning into memorable meals, such as next week's "Wine & Wild Mushroom Affair"--a food and wine collaboration involving Dr. David Bruce and his winery, The Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz and Chef Lynn Sheehan of Sand Rock Farm Inn.

Scheduled for February 24, Sheehan's five-course meal, designed to synchronize the subtle flavors of seasonal mushrooms and locally created wines, will feature rare David Bruce Estate wines and exotic wild mushrooms collected under the leadership of myco-maestro Sheehan. "Wine-pairing dinners are my favorite part of being a chef," Sheehan admitted last week. "I taste through the suggested wines with the winemaker, then create dishes to specifically complement the wines. This dinner has the added focus of wild mushrooms, as well as beautiful, elegant wines," said the California Culinary Academy graduate with a long listing of top Bay Area restaurants on her own mouth-watering résumé.

The dinner begins with salad of medallions of rabbit with chanterelle duxelle and roasted fennel with toasted hazelnut vinaigrette, served with 1995 and 1998 Estate Chardonnays. Next comes Moroccan spiced tombo tuna and red wine roasted wild mushroom salad, served with two David Bruce Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs, 1994 and 1998. After a course of Matsutake broth with acorn squash, grilled escarole and Nameko mushroom clusters served with an Estate Pinot Noir 1997, Sheehan plans a crowning course of porcini-dusted breast of squab with hedgehog mushroom ragout, joined by a 1996 Estate Syrah. Dessert involves a "Treasure Box" with truffled chocolate cream paired with a 1995 Petite Syrah, Shell Creek Vineyard. That's five courses, seven wines, $90 per person all-inclusive. Contact David Bruce Winery immediately--408.354.4214--to place your reservations. The winery is located at 21439 Bear Creek Road, above Los Gatos, and naturally, seating is limited for this gastronomic gala.

Wondering Y?

Bill Flint, wine tasting-room manager and chatty newsletter publisher of J. Lohr, sent me a clever email a few weeks ago. It seems that I had identified him in my column as Bill Flynt--and really, no one should ever have to see their name misspelled in print. Let the record show that Bill's name really is Flint, as in the fine-grained hard rock used to ignite sparks, and not as in Flynt--the publisher of that lowbrow skinzine.

Grow Your Own

If you're tired of picking up the same old designer greens at the supermarket you should consider what all serious home cooks do. Plant a modest kitchen garden of your own mesclun greens. Mesclun is the French term for mixed greens, usually sold when very young and at their most tender, whose subtle flavors combine to make memorable salads. Who better than Renee Shepherd, the queen of fine gourmet gardening, to provide you with the last word in mesclun seeds. The 2001 season of new seed offerings from Renee's Garden includes an exciting packet of Baby Mesclun--Paris Market Mix. Filled with the tender and delicious flavors beloved of French chefs and diners, the mix of specialty imported seeds includes mild chicories and endive, plus baby red-leaf lettuces punctuated with chervil and pungent arugula. You plant, they grow--harvest while they're young and tender and enjoy the ultimate in fresh, fashionable flavors. To order Renee's Garden seeds, phone toll free 888.880.7228. Or visit her website, www.reneesgarden.com. Renee has even provided easy, detailed planting and harvesting tips for mesclun salad mix at www.reneesgarden.com/articles/salads.html.

You'll spoil yourself with homegrown greens--hopefully it will become a gardening tradition at your house. From Renee's Garden to yours.

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From the February 22-28, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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