Jimtown Store Cookbook: Recipes from Sonoma County's Favorite Country Market

Jimtown Store Cookbook: Recipes from Sonoma County's Favorite Country Market

by Carrie Brown, Michael Mclaughlin, John Werner

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One sunny summer day in 1987, Carrie Brown and John Werner happened on Jimtown, an abandoned country store in northern California. Founded more than 100 years earlier, the Jimtown Store had held fast to its original building and its old-fashioned charm. Enchanted by its possibilities, Carrie and John decided to turn Jimtown into a new kind of country store: a


One sunny summer day in 1987, Carrie Brown and John Werner happened on Jimtown, an abandoned country store in northern California. Founded more than 100 years earlier, the Jimtown Store had held fast to its original building and its old-fashioned charm. Enchanted by its possibilities, Carrie and John decided to turn Jimtown into a new kind of country store: a gathering place for people to share down-to-earth, honest food in a beautiful setting.

The new Jimtown quickly became a favorite, offering exceptional main courses, soups, salads, sandwiches, sweets, and breakfast goods, all made from fresh local produce. Now everyone can enjoy the dishes that have made Jimtown so popular, faithfully recorded by Michael McLaughlin, who collaborated on the legendary Silver Palate cookbooks. Each of the more than 135 recipes blends time-honored simplicity with updated flavors and a modern-day appreciation of quality ingredients. From sophisticated starters such as Crisp Grilled Dates with Manchego and Bacon to their famous Pan-Fried Petaluma Duck Burgers to such homey desserts as the delicious Buttermilk Pie, the recipes are all accessible and imaginative. Unencumbered by national boundaries, The Jimtown Store Cookbook offers a tasty bazaar of international food. Also included are cooking tips, menus for entertaining, and as a welcome bonus, colorful profiles of local vendors. So invite the Jimtown spirit into your home and enjoy the bounties of a very special country store.

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Brown and Werner opened their "general store"/restaurant on Sonoma County's Route 128 ten years ago, and it has been popular ever since. Werner was one of the original partners in New York City's Silver Palate shop, and McLaughlin was the coauthor of the incredibly successful first Silver Palate cookbook. Jimtown's recipes are in a similar vein, upscale but easy food such as Green Four-Bean Salad with Caesar Dressing and Roast Pork Loin with Bacon and Rosemary. Suggestions for special menus are scattered throughout, along with sketches of their "resident gentleman organic farmer" and other favorite purveyors. For area and other larger collections. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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While there are quite a few signature dishes for which Jimtown is known, none has done more to cement our reputation than these unusual burgers. Served up sizzling hot, and topped with a dollop of luscious romesco sauce or guacamole, they are overwhelmingly appetizing and fragrant (the secret is the toasted cumin). The recipe name derives from the town of Petaluma, in the southern part of Sonoma County. It was the poultry-raising capital of California in the early part of the twentieth century, settled by many Jewish immigrants. It is still famed for the quality of its chickens, turkeys, and ducks.

3 pounds lean ground duck meat (see
1/2 pound ground turkey
2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted
����and ground (see page 4)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground black
1 tablespoon olive oil, optional
1/2 cup rendered duck fat (recipe
����follows) or unsalted butter
12 good-quality hamburger buns,
����split and toasted
11/2 cups Romesco Sauce, homemade
����(page 237) or store-bought
Sliced tomato, sliced red onion, sliced
����dill pickles, and romaine lettuce
leaves, for serving, optional (see
Zucchini Refrigerator Pickles (page

1. In a bowl, thoroughly mix together the duck, turkey, cumin, salt, cayenne, and black pepper. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight for convenience. (The mixture may be refrigerated for up to24 hours.)

2. To check the seasoning, heat the olive oil in a small skillet. Form a small patty of the duck mixture and cook, turning once or twice, until done through but still juicy. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

3. Form the remaining duck mixture into 12 equal patties about 3/4-inch thick. (The formed patties also may be frozen in an airtight container -- separate the layers with waxed paper or parchment.) In two large heavy skillets over medium-high heat, melt 6 tablespoons of the duck fat or butter. When it is hot, divide the burgers between the skillets and cook, turning once, until they are well-browned and fully cooked through while remaining juicy, about 8 minutes total.

4. Meanwhile, spread the cut sides of the bun tops and bottoms with the remaining duck fat and lightly toast in a heavy skillet, on the grill, or under the broiler. Spread the toasted sides of the buns with romesco sauce to taste.

5. Set a burger on each bun bottom. Top with tomato, onion, pickles, and lettuce, as desired, and serve immediately.

NOTE: To keep costs down, we trim out our own ducks, although if you don't know someone with well-honed boning skills, you may prefer to ask a butcher to do the job for you . It will take three 4-pound ducks or six 8-ounce boneless, skinless breasts to yield the necessary 3 pounds duck meat. Whether you grind it at home (a KitchenAid mixer with the grinding attachment works well, as does a food processor, if the meat is well chilled and not overprocessed) or the butcher does it for you, it should be ground medium-fine, with some texture remaining. The turkey meat is added to help make the duck meat easier to form into burgers.

Two tablespoons whole cumin seeds will yield about 5 teaspoons when ground.

We also make mini-duck burgers, small enough to be passed for hors d'oeuvres. The meat is divided into 48 small patties and served on mini-buns baked for us locally. You may also cut small rounds of bread using cookie cutters commensurate with the size of your patty and toasted lightly on half sheet pans in the oven. In this presentation, we skip the tomato, onion, and so on, and just spread the buns with romesco sauce. The burgers (full-sized or mini) can also be grilled completely, or pan-fried ahead and reheated on a grill, which then also marks them attractively.

To grill: light a charcoal grill and let it burn down to medium-hot or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Position rack 6 inches above the heat source and place the duck burgers on the grill. Cook about 5 minutes undisturbed and covered. Flip and cook an additional 3 or 4 minutes.


Carrie created this crowd-pleasing pastry for vineyard owners (and longtime Jimtown customers) Carmen and Roger Stuhlmuller. Moist with sour cream, fragrant with spices, studded with juicy blueberries, and topped with a sticky bun-style pecan "goo," it's simple-looking, but packed with surprises. Add John's "secret" apple layer if you believe no cake can have enough fruit. With or without the apples, it's a wonderful breakfast cake, and perfect thinly sliced with an afternoon cup of coffee or tea.


1 cup pecans
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
About 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-
����purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter,
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sour cream, at room
2 cups blueberries, picked over,
����rinsed if needed, patted dry

1. To make the topping, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400�F. In a shallow metal pan, like a cake tin, toast the pecans in the oven, stirring them once or twice, until they are crisp, fragrant, and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pecans from the pan immediately and cool, then coarsely chop. Lower the oven temperature to 350�. Generously butter the inside of a 10-inch by 4-inch (4-quart) tube pan.

2. In a small bowl, with a pastry cutter or two knives, cut together the butter and brown sugar until bits the size of large crumbs form. Using your fingers, mix in the pecans. Spread the pecan mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan, covering it all. Chill the pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the cake batter.

3. To make the cake, sift the flour onto a piece of waxed paper. Spoon the flour into a dry-measure cup and sweep level to measure out 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons. Set aside another I tablespoon flour. Return the rest of the flour to the canister. Onto the piece of waxed paper, sift together the 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour, the baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

4. In a large bowl, combine the butter, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. With a handheld or standing electric mixer, thoroughly cream together the butter and spices. Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla. Gradually add the sugar, beating until light and fluffy. One at a time, with the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, beating just until incorporated. Add the sifted dry ingredients in thirds alternately with the sour cream, in halves, mixing just enough after each addition to fully incorporate the ingredients.

5. In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with the remaining 1 tablespoon flour. Spread one-fourth of the batter evenly over the pecan layer in the bottom of the prepared pan. Scatter one-third of the blueberries over the layer of batter, being sure to place some near the sides of the pan so that they will be visible in the finished cake. Repeat three more times with the remaining batter and twice more with the remaining berries, ending with a batter layer.

6. Bake the cake until it is golden brown and has just begun to pull away from the sides of the pan, 65-75 minutes. The top of the cake, when pressed lightly, should spring back, and a tester, inserted deep into the cake, should come out clean.

7. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Run a long sharp knife carefully between the cake and the sides of the pan, and between the cake and the central tube. Invert a cake plate over the pan, then carefully invert the plate and the pan together; the cake will drop out. Scrape up any pecan topping that may have stuck in the bottom of the pan and spread it over the gaps on top of the cake (since it's warm and gooey, no one will be the wiser).

8. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Store uneaten cake, covered first with waxed paper folded against the cut sides of the cake, and then with foil, at room temperature. Leftover cake is good lightly toasted.

NOTE: Fresh raspberries can be substituted for the blueberries, with orange zest replacing the lemon zest. Frozen blueberries can be substituted for fresh (they work very well), just use them without thawing.

The Jimtown Store Cookbook. Copyright � by Carrie Brown. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Before they moved to California to open the Jimtown Store, Carrie Brown was a professional artist and intuitive cook, and John Werner, her late husband, was an original partner in New York's legendary specialty food store The Silver Palate. Carrie continues to live in a cottage behind the store with her dogs, Patty Lewis and Moses, surrounded by the vineyards of the Alexander Valley.

Michael McLaughlin has written an entire library's worth of cookbooks, including most recently The Little Book of Big Sandwiches and Big Breakfasts (Chronicle Books). He is the coauthor of The Silver Palate Cookbook and contributes to Food & Wine and Bon Appétit magazines. Though he started barbecuing in an apartment in Brooklyn, New York, he now lights his fires under Santa Fe, New Mexico skies.

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