Happy Harvest in Wine Country
The kids are back in school and the grapes are being turned into wine. During the day I can hear the familiar sound of the gondolas banging against receiving tubs as they unload the fruit at the winery across the road from me. Such a wonderful time of year.
Summer Lake Time   
As a Minnesota native I need my lake time or it's not summer to me. My parents had a cabin on Lake Minnetonka and our family would spend many days on the lake. Now I belong to the   California Alpine Club and the club has a lodge at Echo Summit overlooking Lake Tahoe. The lodge is a mile from Echo Lake and I have been kayaking and boating on both the lower and upper lakes this summer. It's a beautiful area, we love it.
Out of the Valley
I am heading to Los Angeles this month and the  Hollywood Bowl  for a Quincy Jones concert.  I am looking forward to eating and hopefully seeing some of my favorite LA chefs like Jeff Rogers, Ludo Lefevbre, Suzanne Goin, Mary Sue Milliken and Roy Choi. I'll report back on my favorite places next month.
In the Valley
CBK Executive Chef Jim and I are honored to be preparing the VIP Wine Dinner for the 23rd Music Festival for Brain Health at the Staglin Family Vineyard on September 16. Lyle Lovett is the featured musician this year. The festival raises funding to support research, education and treatment for brain disorders.
September Recipe - Sformato
With abundant spring rain Mother Nature has given me way too many hard squashes this summer. So for  this month's recipe I made a Sformato, an Italian vegetable custard made with butternut squash. It is a great side dish that can be prepared ahead and complements game, poultry and lamb. For a vegetarian meal Sformato is a delicious main course with roasted tomato sauce and salad.
Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen
Septembers Whole Beast 
At Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen we feature lamb throughout September. Look for local Don Watson lamb specials such as  Moroccan Braised Lamb Shoulder, Barbacoa style Tostadas, Lamb Burger with Za'atar spiced fries, Grilled Leg with faro salad and fresh salsa verde to name a few!
Pair Off Pour All September
This month's  Pair-Off Pour-Off   Mustards celebrates the garden's bumper crop harvest. Under the direction of head gardener Omar Morgan the garden has exceeded my vision of it when it began in 1983. Just today we picked 50 pounds of figs from our trees.

Happy end of summer!

Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen

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  Cindy Pawlcyn Napa Valley
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