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December 2014 Tastes

Morning Crunch Time

What happens when three best friends decide to turn a shared recipe into a business? If you’re Whitney McEvoy, Irene Gillooly and Susie Falbo, you create award-winning, Sebastopol-based Not Yer Momma’s—delicious, healthful granola that’s perfect for breakfast but also great as a dry snack, as an ice cream or yogurt topping, or sprinkled over fruit and baked for a quick cobbler (we can’t wait to try that last one!).
Available in four flavors (Original, Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry Ginger and Cardamom Apricot), these cereals are packed with nuts, seeds, interesting spices and, depending on the flavor, dried fruit and ribbons of coconut. All varieties are made with organic oats and sweetened only with honey; they’re all wheat-, salt- and dairy-free. Our in-office sampling couldn’t choose a clear favorite, as every variety had its own distinct personality.
Not Yer Momma’s is available at select retail locations (mostly in Sonoma County) in addition to many local farmers markets and online. It’s now available in 3.5-pound bags, and the company has recently reduced shipping rates for West Coast customers.

Not Your Average Cuppa

Novato-based The Republic of Tea recently shared some of its newest blends with us, right in time for the cooling weather. Founded in 1992, the company prides itself on high-quality, diverse and flavorful teas packaged in attractive tins. Its range of products is wide, from traditional English Breakfast to green rooibos and everything in between. They’re available loose leaf or in unbleached, rounded bags that fit perfectly into the tins—and your tea cup.
The standout for us, among the five we tried, was undoubtedly the Caramel Black. It’s part of the company’s new “Hi-Caf” tea collection (intensified caffeine content created by adding green tea extract and pure caffeine isolated from premium tea leaves) and is a rich, black tea with aromas and flavors of caramel. The result is a hint of sweetness with a caffeine kick that’s even stronger than regular coffee. We think it’s the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
We also enjoyed “Lady Cora’s Evening Tea,” from the company’s Downton Abbey line, a soothing mix of chamomile and lemon extract—very relaxing before bed—and a “Holiday Tea Trio” of stacked tins featuring “Dream By the Fire” (rooibos with cinnamon and vanilla), “Comfort and Joy” (spiced black tea) and “Peppermint Bark” (green rooibos with peppermint, vanilla and cocoa that truly smells and tastes like the candy it’s named after). You can find The Republic of Tea at your local market or online at

A Taste of Mexico

Mexican Flavors: Contemporary Recipes from Camp San Miguel is more than just a cookbook. Available on, it’s a book that inspires, filled with history, personal accounts, detailed instructions and outstanding photography. Napa-based authors Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison (Sandison is the photographer) invite readers on a journey to San Miguel, where they’ve run a cooking school for the past nine years. It’s a place they never originally put at the top of their list to visit, but, once they found themselves there, they liked it so much they bought a home. San Miguel is in the high mountain country north of Mexico City and is known for its vibrant culture, historic architecture, romantic atmosphere, arts scene, outdoor markets, craft shops, festivities and, of course, restaurants.
The book brings the region’s flavors alive by sharing how to use locally available ingredients to create dishes with a traditional Mexican flair. There’s an entire section on staple ingredients (a large part of which describes all the different types of chiles), then moves into “core” recipes (guacamole, salsas, rubs, sauces—tangerine-serrano salsa, anyone?). A range of appetizers includes quesadillas with papayas and brie, shrimp dumplings with chile cream sauce and more. You’ll also find ideas for tacos, chiles rellenos (the goat cheese, pine nut and corn filling sounds awesome to us), soups and salads, seafood, poultry, meat (how about barbecue chicken with Mexican walnut sauce?), desserts and even drinks. An index and selection of conversion charts at the back of the book make it all the easier to use. So go ahead, impress your friends with an inspired Mexican feast.



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