Monday, July 16, 2012


I am so excited about this....  GET READY!

I have been talking about the tostapane for years.  I have used it on my TV show a hundred times, I wrote a blog about it years ago, and many of you have written asking where you can buy one!   I always made a joke and said that you had to come with me to Italy to get one.

On one of my trips, my students and I descended upon a small hardware store in Greve’s central square, and bought out their stock! Now I finally imported them into the U.S., and it is available now on Open Sky at:

It is such a simple concept, but nowhere else to be found. It toasts bread or crostini on top of the stove and makes it taste like you’ve cooked it over an open fire, just like in Italy!  My favorite way to use it is to slice a loaf of rustic bread, toast the slices on both sides on the tostapane until they smoke slightly, then remove and rub them with a cut garlic clove. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle them with salt – a Maldon salt  or other flavored salt – and you have the snack from heaven!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

my life at Copita

If you were wondering what happened to me, I promise I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth.  For the last several years, I loved traveling the world teaching, sitting behind my computer writing and smiling in front of the camera but now it feels so right to be back in the kitchen.  I'm at Copita pretty much 24/7 these days cooking with my Mexican soul mate and sous chef, Dilsa Lugo.     Dilsa is from the Cuernavaca, Mexico, I am from San Francisco and working side by side, knives in hand, our creative juices are flowing together.  It feels good to be doing something as simple as shucking sweet corn for corn soup, chopping cilantro from our organic garden in the Sausalito hills and roasting heirloom tomatoes for salsa rustica.  At this point in my life, I'm learning a lot from Dilsa and teaching her what I've learned along the way.  And the best part…  people are loving what we are doing at Copita.

Here’s what they’re saying…

“Honestly, I was a little surprised that the second thing I saw was Weir—her head of red curls bobbing through the crowd with the calm of a pro. She's a woman constantly on the move with ideas and projects. Great for Copita: she's working the floor with her signature charm on a random Tuesday night.”

Then, carnitas. Oh man. They rival Nopalito's adored rendition, for sure: crisp edges, enough salt, a hit from the lime wedge, and—well, my friend said it best: "This is like crack!" I let her bring home the leftovers. 

All of the tortillas are made in house by Mexico-born sous chef Dilsa Lugo (hence the masa smell filling the dining room).

My point here, is that I'll be back, and you should not be afraid to cross the bridge on a Tuesday for a mid-week Marin escape. Considering the manageable prices at Copita, you could even make it a quarterly thing. Just don't underestimate the power of a Mexican restaurant in Sausalito. Make a reservation.”

“The food at Copita is top-notch, but there’s a reason “Tequileria” comes first in the restaurant’s tag line. Weir has tequila expertise like few others, and they’re leveraging it to the max at Copita"

“Copita, just about overnight, has suddenly become southern Marin’s most stylish destination for Mexican cuisine.”

Named “Bay Area’s 10 Hottest New Restaurants”

“Copita has certainly become a Sausalito game changer”

And here’s what we’re cooking…

Aguachiles- I first tried this dish with my feet in the sand in Puerta Vallerta.  Shrimp "cooked" in lime juice with a sauce of chiles, lime juice, cilantro and cucumbers.  Avocados and red onions on top.  

   California halibut ceviche with serranos, lime, red onions and cucumbers

Tamailtos,three little tamales filled with corn and roasted poblanos, pork adobo and chicken verde

Mexican tourists are saying that our carnitas is just like their mother's. Thanks to Dilsa's Mom
 Oaxacan chocolate milkshake with chile arbol-spiced wedding cookies

I promise to keep posting, maybe even a recipe or two from Copita.  

I miss you all.  And if you're in the Bay Area, jump on the ferry and head over to Sausalito.  We'll have a margarita together!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

i love to wine

I spent Easter weekend in Napa with one of the highlights being a visit with Michael Trujillo. Many of you wine buffs know Michael. He’s regarded by wine cognoscenti as a cult winemaker even before the term “cult winemaker” became cultish! And to boot, he’s such a great guy.

This Colorado native, and the proud father of Sophia, developed vineyards in Carneros in the mid-80’s, a magical time when wine legends like Andre Tchelistcheff and Tony Soter were mentors to many winemakers including Michael.

Back then, he was gathering advice anywhere he could from the wine world’s greatest consultants, taking classes in the oenology department at UC Davis, and crazy enough “without any money” to launch his wine business, Karl Lawrence. His first Karl Lawrence release was a ’91 Rutherford Cabernet and “it took off to the moon,” Michael says proudly. Today he’s President and Director of Winemaking at Sequoia Grove and still produces some magnificent wines for Karl Lawrence.

But, guess who else he makes wines for?

JOANNE WEIR WINES! He made our 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon that’s getting fabulous reviews.

Last weekend, I was with Michael and my wine partner, Tim McDonald, tasting and talking about what we want to do next together. We tasted a beautiful vertical sampling of vintages and loved the thread of silky quality that ran through 5 vintages of this marvelous Cabernet vineyard. Wow, this guy is a genius. You can taste that wine brilliance in every sip of his wine especially my ‘08 Cabernet.

I am so excited to introduce him to you and have Michael as part of the Joanne Weir Wine team.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

how my love affair began

When I was 23 years old, I was given a bottle of wine as a housewarming gift after moving into an apartment in Boston. As my roommate and I finished the last of the bottle, there was a dead fly clinging to the inside of my glass. Yuck!

Disgusted, I wrapped the fly in a piece of aluminum foil and sent it off to a winery in France I'd never heard of. Little did I know that I sent that red wine-drenched fly to one of the top wineries in the world.

A month later,an invitation arrived in my mailbox to be a guest for lunch at Chateau Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux, France.

A Boston high school art teacher at the time, I decided to spend that summer vacation in France and cash in on the invitation for lunch.

Dressed in my favorite blue Diane Von Furstenberg wraparound dress and matching espadrilles, I spent an afternoon at the Chateau eating an extraordinary lunch of duck livers on butter-drenched toast, duck breast and a strawberry tart and drinking wines I will never forget.

We started with a Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1966, then '47 and '24 and ended with Chateau d'Yquem from 1896. I remember thinking that I was drinking nectar of the Gods.

This would be a day that would change my life forever.

For years after, I've thought back on this day... how I fell in puppy love with my host, the Chateau Mouton exporting agent Xavier de Eizaguirre in his white linen suit. He was so much older, oh-so French and oh-so worldly. He was all of 30!

I remember every moment of that day. I was so high on the experience (probably quite tipsy too) that I remember speaking like I was fluent in French. I was so not! But the thing I remember most is singing all the way to Biarritz that late afternoon.

Thus my love affair with wine began!

Check out my new Joanne Weir Wines sold exclusively online and shipped all over the US!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

should this be the cover of my new book?

Call me crazy, I’ve written 17 cookbooks,-- 11 for Williams Sonoma and 6 on my own plus two rewrites. And for the last several months I’ve been working on my latest,- Joanne Weir’s Cooking Confidence, the companion to my new TV series that was launched nationally last month. Check out my new app too!

Here’s the gist of the book… We all struggle with the same question daily- the-what’s-for-dinner dilemma, right? Nobody labors over what to make for breakfast or lunch but that’s not the case with dinner. Does that happen to you?

For the last several months I’ve been writing recipes for the book and we have been testing them in my kitchen. Testing recipes means making a dish, tasting, refining, sometimes re-testing, rewriting the recipe and correcting all 100 recipes. It’s a lot of work but it’s also the only time I don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner.

I think you’ll like it. I worked hard to include many of my favorite, easy-peasy, delicious, healthy recipes. These are recipes fit for Tuesday night for the family or dolled up with a simple appetizer and dessert fit for company on Saturday night.

Today is the fifth day that the photo team is in my kitchen shooting gorgeous food photos with lots of step-by-step how-to details. And what a team it is,-- we have Erin, the photographer and her assistant, David, who are glued to the set by the west window. In the kitchen is a second Erin, the food stylist, and her assistant, Karen, both up to their elbows in spaghetti, whipped egg whites and radicchio. Allison, the art director, hovers between the set and her laptop while Ethel, the prop stylist, bops in and out with new plates and flatware.

Oh, let’s not forget Nicole… She joins our cast of characters this morning as the hair/make-up artist.

Oh, the doorbell is ringing. I have to go, that must be Nicole. It’s time to shoot the cover.

Smile, Joanne

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

love is forever

I am so excited! My friend and favorite graphic designer in the world, Louise Fili, just designed a stamp for the U.S. Postal Service.

Her work might look familiar to you. She designed the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, the HankyPanky logo, Bella Cucina logo, my Joanne Weir logo and my new Joanne Weir Wines label. Oops, did I just let the cat out of the bag about the new wine I'm launching?

Anyway, I love her work as you can probably tell and no better way to express love than sending your Valentine a card. Don't forget the stamp!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

win a set of le creuset?

Want a chance to win this fabulous set of Le Creuset cookware?

Read on, because you can!

If I was to pick a cooking technique that I like the most, it would have to be braising. I love that long slow cooking that breaks meat down into deliciousness that just melts in your mouth. I also love that big pot bubbling on the stove that sends out those great smells, filling the house with the promise of a terrific dinner.

And for this one-pot wonder, there's only really one thing you need, a Dutch oven.

Want a chance to win one?

I'm really excited to be starting my own on-line store with Open Sky. If you haven't heard of it, here goes! I plan to bring you my personal favorite things that I'm going to scout from all over the world. I saw a few things when I was just in Morocco and a couple of weeks ago when I was at the Fancy Food Show, I found delicious honey in sexy glass jars from Spain, the most unbelievable chocolate and really fantastic hard-to-find ingredients, tools and cookware.

Speaking of cookware and braising, you can have your very own Dutch oven by registering to follow me on Open Sky. If you do, you will automatically be registered to win.


Here's a little sneak preview of what I've been working on for the last several months,- my new book Joanne Weir's Cooking Confidence that will be released in early fall. It's the companion to my new PBS TV series that just began airing a couple weeks ago.

1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 1/2 pounds beef chuck
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup full bodied red wine, Chianti or Cabernet
3 cups peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes, fresh or canned

Pour 3 cups boiling water over the mushroom and let stand until the water is cool.

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy casserole over medium heat. Season the meat with salt and pepper and brown the meat, turning occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized on both sides, 20 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.

Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables begin to soften and turn golden, 15 minutes. Strain the porcini and reserve the liquid. Add the revived porcini mushrooms and the garlic to the pan.

In a large bowl, stir together the tomato paste, sugar, red wine, porcini soaking liquid and tomatoes. Increase the heat to high, add the tomato mixture and add the meat back into the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, turning the meat occasionally, until the meat is tender, 2 ½ to 3 hours. To see if the meat is tender, insert a knife or even a fork into the center of the meat. There should be no resistance and the meat should almost fall apart. If the sauce is too thick, add water ½ cup at a time.

Remove the meat from the pan and cover loosely with foil. Puree the sauce in a blender or a food mill until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Slice the meat into ¼-inch slices and place on a platter. Spoon some of the sauce onto the top. Serve the remainder on the side in a small pitcher.

Serves 6

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

joan boada and i dance in the kitchen

Man, is it ever tough to get back into the swing of things, isn't it? I hit the ground running after the first and have been crazy busy ever since. Maybe I am just crazy but I love to be busy and have my hand in a thousand little projects. Are you the same way?

One of the projects that I've been telling you about is my new TV series, Joanne Weir's Cooking Confidence, that premieres on PBS in most US cities this weekend. Here in SF, it's on channel 9 at noon!

I invited the crew over and I'm recreating the menu I did on the first show with my student Joan (that's pronounced JO-ON) Boada. If you're not familiar with Joan, he's one of the principal dancer for the San Francisco Ballet. Yes, Joan is a guy!
If you don't know his name, you will remember it after watching my show. He's so damn handsome, he makes Clooney look like Godzilla.
Joan is genuinely interested in cooking and it's his first time cooking lamb. Wait until you see what he says about the lamb stew. You have to have the recipe!

I'll see you on Saturday, OK? Promise you'll watch! I want to know what you think. Yes, of Joan of course, but I also want to know what you think of the new series.


Since fresh shell beans aren't available right now, substitute 1 cup dry white beans.

5 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds lamb stew meat, cut from the shoulder or leg, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cups tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced, fresh or canned
1 bay leaf
2 pounds fresh shell beans, shelled
½ pound dry chorizo, sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon pimenton
2 cloves garlic, sliced

Hot green chilis, optional

In a large heavy soup pot, warm the 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the lamb, onions, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Toss the flour onto the top and stir together. Cook 2 minutes.

Add the minced garlic, bay leaves and 4 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.

Add the beans and chorizo and simmer 40 minutes. Add additional water as needed.

Warm the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan and add the paprika, pimenton and sliced garlic but don’t let it take on color. Pour this mixture over the beans and stir gently together. Add water if needed. Let simmer for 30 seconds. Taste and season with salt.

Serve garnished with hot chilis if desired .

Serves 6