Every so often I stumble upon a Bay Area hidden jewel; a place I’ve never been to where I find myself asking, “Why has no one ever said to go here?”
Last weekend that secret revealed was a wine country find, just west of Healdsburgh. Head toward the coast through picturesque Dry Creek Valley, and all of a sudden a lake pops up among the vineyards. Turn the corner from Ferrari-Carano Vineyards to the unexpected view;
a HUGE lake /reservoir created by the construction of Warm Springs Dam, which provides water for the county, plus boating, swimming, water skiing, and outdoor fun. We stayed at one of the three, new-ish campgrounds and had the place to ourselves. It’s a unique campground where your tent view might include vineyards in the distant hills, or reserve a hike, bike or boat-in campsite for a more remote experience. Open all year, you can still plan a tasting around the autumn-colored vineyards and rolling hills of gorgeous Dry Creek and not worry about the drive home. We spent the days swimming and sunning in the banks of the reservoir, and the nights drinking local Chardonnays and Pinots of the region. Ahhh, life in California.
Sunday morning brought a favorite camp meal back to the table, one we've Food Partied! about in Camp Clamp. Elaine’s Crunchy Pancakes are winners on any camp trip. Prepare the dry mix before you leave the house and just add eggs and milk at camp. This time of year pick persimmons from a neighbors tree and sauté them up as a syrup enhancement.
Crunchy Pancakes with Sautéed Persimmon
I don’t like pancakes, but I like these. They are “meaty” – with much mo’ “meat” then floury nothing-filled pancakes. I adjusted the recipe from my friend Elaine, who got it from cookbook author Charlene Prickett. We added fuyu persimmons for a special accent. Get the sweet from the sauce. Serves 3 people.
¾ c whole wheat flour
2 T rolled oats
2 T shelled sunflower seeds
2 T sesame seeds
2 T hemp seeds or wheat bran
1 T wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup almond milk
squeeze fresh lemon juice
Toast sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and wheat germ. Cool.
Combine dry ingredients. (This dry mixture can be bagged and kept for weeks.)
In a separate bowl, beat the egg and mix it with the other wet ingredients.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and cook until both sides of pancakes are light brown. Serve with Sautéed Persimmon.
1 fuyu persimmon, diced small
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
2 - 3 tablespoons butter
1 – 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Add butter to medium skillet and bring to a sizzle. Add persimmon and pomegranate and sauté till translucent, 2 – 3 minutes. Stir in maple syrup.