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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!

Summer in Full Swing

Summer in Full Swing

The early signs of an abundant garden harvest are evident. It is beginning of June and there are already ripe tomatoes (cherry type), lots of green larger variety tomatoes, plenty of squash, peppers and lettuces. What a joy to walk to the garden and select items for dinner. Even after removing thousands of volunteer tomatillos there is still an over-abundance.…

Pest Control Plants and Flowers

Pest Control Plants and Flowers

There are so many beautiful flowers that can enhance the beauty of your garden. Besides adding color and beauty many also have beneficial qualities such as being a natural pest control – some act as a trap plant for pests and thereby save your vegetables and herbs from being devoured. I plant Marigolds in areas that are prone to earwigs…

Preserving Summer Bounty

Preserving Summer Bounty

I am happy to report that this has truly been a bumper crop year for the garden at CasaLana. Lettuces were spectacular, greens are showing their ‘fall’ vigor. It’s early November and I still have lots of delicious tomatoes and peppers to use fresh for a couple more weeks. They will be preserved by dehydrating, oven-roasting, pickling and making sauces…