CALL 707-942-0615 Cooking Adventures and Luxurious Lodging in Napa Valley Wine Country

All Posts

 Napa Cooking Classes

Musings about cooking adventures in
the Wine Country

Hello Foodies and Passionate Cooks – Welcome to the CasaLana Gourmet Retreats blog. Here you will find my posts with cooking tips, recipes and links to food sites that I have discovered. They may come from my personal experiences, chef networking or my web travels. I’ll also share information about food activities in Napa Valley so you can plan it into your visit to the Wine Country.

I am Lana Richardson, chef/owner of CasaLana Gourmet Retreats. I moved to Napa Valley in 1999 to open a B&B and  Cooking School that would cater to avid home cooks. I chose the charming town of Calistoga (northern Napa Valley) because of its wonderful character, great growing climate and proximity to wonderful markets. A foodie’s paradise!

Over the years I’ve been blessed to teach thousands of cooks – some just beginning, others well accomplished. A common theme from all is their eagerness and desire to keep learning. The food world is constantly evolving and offers us the opportunity to continually learn and hone our skills. New food products are always emerging and new techniques are always being perfected. Through this blog, I will share my discoveries with all of you.

Check back often – Happy Cooking!

COOKING TIPS — Flavor Enhancers

COOKING TIPS — Flavor Enhancers

Enhance Recipes with Finishing Flavors  Bring ‘restaurant quality’ results to your dishes using simple flavor boosting techniques. Choosing special finishing flavor touches for your dishes will enhance them, make them more exciting and adds your secret touch to the result. I especially like to ‘repurpose’ flavorful by-products from cooking. Roasted peppers produce a very flavorful fat-free juice that I always…

Capturing Flavor

Capturing Flavor

Building Flavor – Enhancing the Finished Product When we really enjoy a dish it is often because the flavor is memorable and finishes on the back of our palate giving a ‘wow’ factor. Sauces are especially important to have this finish on the palate to get the most from the taste. This can be easily accomplished using the right products…

Knives – Care and Sharpening

Knives – Care and Sharpening

Caring for your knives Posted on August 10, 2012 Knives will most likely be one of your biggest investments in kitchen equipment. Proper care of your knives is important to keep them in good condition and to make them efficient to use. A dull knife is a dangerous knife. Because it is dull you will tend to apply too much pressure when cutting products. This can cause the…

Napa Valley Strong

Napa Valley Strong

napa Valley – Wild Fire Recovery Posted on October 26, 2017 Greetings from CasaLana – Napa Valley is ready to welcome you!  I am greatly relieved to share with you that CasaLana and downtown Calistoga were spared from the recent wildfires. My heart breaks for those that lost lives, homes, and jobs or suffered any destruction from the wind and fires.…

FRUIT HARVEST

FRUIT HARVEST

Signs of Summer – Fruit harvest Posted on May 28, 2012     All of the fruit trees at CasaLana are loaded with fruit – cherries, apricots, plums, peaches, pears, apples and cycles of fruit harvest will begin very soon. But the fruit harvest that excites me the most is the abundance of early figs I see.  There are two harvests of figs each year –…

Summer Favorites Harvest

Summer Favorites Harvest

Abundance of Harvest Posted on August 3, 2012   July 2012 marked 13 years since I opened CasaLana. Part of my attraction to the property was the grove of fruit trees – apricot, apple (5), fig (6), peach, pear, plum and cherry – all summer favorites. I’ve noticed over the years that the trees have a really abundant yield every other year. Well, this year…

Pesto Another Summer Blessing

Pesto Another Summer Blessing

Stock up on Pesto Posted on May 28, 2012 Having a well stocked pantry is one of the the most important factors in making your cooking experience fun, flavorful and rewarding. I have a number of key items that I consider my ‘go-to’ for putting together a quick meal that tastes as if it took hours to prepare. Pesto is definitely in…

Food Travels

Food Travels

   CULINARY ADVENTURES IN PERU Posted on August 4, 2012 My culinary travels took me to Peru in June 2012 to experience the incredible Inca ruins, the rich culture and of course the cuisine. It was a truly memorable trip of a lifetime. I returned home with great respect for the food and traditions of the Peruvian culture. I’ve always loved quinoa and…

Kitchen Tools

Kitchen Tools

Essential Tools for your Kitchen With my recent marathon of processing plums, I again realized how important it is to have the right kitchen tools for the job. Without the correct equipment the task takes much longer and the results can be less than desired. FOOD MILL – For the cooked plums that I used to make jam, conserves and syrup, the kitchen tool I needed…

Knife Basics

Knife Basics

Knife Components and Selection Knives are one of the most essential tools in your kitchen. You will benefit greatly by selecting good quality knives that are well-made and durable. Personal preference is a factor in the selection and of course the knives must support your style of cooking and use. Because knives are also one of the most costly items you will purchase when equipping your…