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Kathleen Hill: Meeting Mar-Val, pies and green bean casseroles

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Tips Roadside Blues & Brunch Sunday

Tips Roadside in Kenwood launches its Blues & Brunch full of rich southern specialties (love their Hangtown Fry), accompanied by Chris Gleckman from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Check out their website for more details and menu. 8445 Sonoma Hwy., Kenwood. 509-0078. Tipsroadside.com.

Starling Bar’s Election Day specials

Starling Bar will reward voters with this from owner Fred Johnson: “All cocktails will be Happy Hour price all night for guests with ‘I voted stickers’ or ballot stubs. Non-voters will not be heard! Election results will be televised.” 19380 Highway 12. (Parking lot off West Spain Street) Sonoma. 938-7442. Open 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.

New owners at Glen Ellen Village Market

Between a school garden coordinators’ meeting at Dunbar School and the Vintners & Growers Alliance party, I pulled into the Glen Ellen Village Market parking lot to kill some time and check my email. After a few minutes I decided to pay my way and go in and buy some bananas.

On my way in, a mental light bulb flashed and I asked the first checker I saw if this was their last day as a Nugget market. Indeed it was, and she said the new owner was over there.

So I headed “over there” and found a (pardon the sexist remark) really good looking man with curly grey hair, gold chains, starched shirt, etc. coming toward me with his arms wide open for a big hug, saying, “Hi, I’m Steve (Rodacker).” Hi, I’m Kathleen.

Rodacker’s company, Mar-Val, was getting ready to take over at midnight that night, with heads of all departments on hand ready to pounce. Rodacker is the president of Mar-Val and he and his director of meat operations were chomping at the bit waiting for the bell to ring to bring in their specialty meats they want us all to try.

They are also eager to bring local wines and food produces back into the store, and had already gone across Arnold Drive to invite Les Pascals to sell their baked goods at Glen Ellen Village Market. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective, Les Pascals has been so busy that they hope to hire another baker to keep up with demand and cannot yet handle more sales across the street, according to Rodacker.

Some staff are staying in Glen Ellen, while others are going to work at Sonoma Market and other Nugget stores.

The store was full of high energy and excitement. Check it out.

Pie season, aka holidays, are coming

For those who want to treat yourselves or your guests or hosts to not making a Thanksgiving dessert or making a trip to Safeway or Costco for a giant bargain one, here are some of our local pie specialists to get freshly made professional ones. Most of them are so good you can’t really pretend that you made them.

Crisp Bakeshop: Andrea Koweek’s original Crisp Bakeshop is now part of the Girl & the Fig and will hold a “Pie Pop-up and Crisp Holiday Bake Shop” at the Rhône Room on lower Broadway. You order by Nov. 17 and pick up on the day you select from Nov. 20 to 22. ($2 to $36).

Choices include a maple pumpkin pie; a Derby Pie with bourbon, chocolate and pecans; apple pie; pumpkin cupcakes or a petite version with cinnamon cream cheese frosting; macaron combo boxes with pomegranate, pumpkin spice and salted caramel chocolate; sea salt chocolate chunk cookies in four-packs; espresso malted blondies in a three-pack, or cocoa caramel nib popcorn for snacking. To order call 933-3000, ext. 16 by Nov. 17.

Les Pascals Patisserie: Look for some French holiday specialties of many kinds. Les Pascals will offer pumpkin and apple pies, apple cake; tarte tatin, honey cake, lemon and fruit tarts; a variety of breads from turmeric to salami, olive, raisin, and Plane Baby; French macarons, Neapolitans, babas, Galette des Rois, flan, Tropzienes; French Madeleines, mini chocolate fondants, palmiers, raspberry sables or feuilletes, Breton Biscuits, Canneles de Bordeaux, financiers, and petits fours.

Watch for a great array of flavored breads and rolls, and Viennoiserie such as croissants like pain au chocolat, pain au banana, their famous almond croissant and raisin croissants. Morning buns, lemon bichon brioches, and chocolate almond feuillettes with apple or pear.

All of these offerings comprise Les Pascals’ winter menu along with baguette sandwiches, fruit and quiches. 13798 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen. 934-8378.

Lovin’ Oven Holiday Pie Sale at Teen Services: Order pies by Nov. 12 for fresh pies made by Teen Services’ Lovin’ Oven learners and adult volunteers. Pie choices include pumpkin, cranberry apple crumb or old fashioned pecan ($22 to $25).

Pick up the 9-inch pies at Teen Services, 17440 Sonoma Highway, Boyes Hot Springs on Tuesday or Wednesday, Nov. 20 or 21 between 1 and 6 p.m. Order via joellen@teenservicessonoma.org or call 939-1452.

Ramekins Culinary School: You can order Ramekins’ pies to include salted caramel apple pie, and spiced pumpkin mousse, dark chocolate and classic pecan pie at 933-0450. ($28 each). Pick up at 450 W. Spain St., Sonoma. 933-0450.

Green bean casserole inventor dies at 92

Dorcas Bates Reilly, inventor of the green bean casserole, died recently at 92. The former Campbell’s test kitchen supervisor created hundreds of recipes throughout her career, but none was as beloved as this Thanksgiving and other holiday staple, originally called the Green Bean Cake.

Reilly and her colleagues created it in 1955 at Campbell’s test kitchen in Camden, New Jersey, where she and her team concocted countless recipes each year using Campbell’s products.

Some of her other recipes might also be familiar including a tuna noodle casserole, tomato soup meatloaf, and “Souperburger” sandwiches, sort of a Sloppy Joe made with condensed Campbell’s tomato soup.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, inspiration for the green bean casserole was to make something quick and easy, often the source of “new” recipes and new kitchen implements.

As Tim Freeman posted with a chuckle, “Someone invented it on purpose?”

In 2002 she donated her recipe to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, which also happens to be home to Thomas Edison’s light bulb. Brilliant.

The classic Campbell’s recipe takes 10 minutes to prepare and calls for six ingredients: Campbell’s condensed cream of mushroom soup, green beans, milk, a little soy sauce, black pepper and French’s French fried onions. It’s not clear whether one was to use canned, frozen or fresh green beans.

Stir the soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, beans and 2/3 cup onions in a 1-1/2-quart casserole.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until the bean mixture is hot and bubbling. Stir the bean mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining onions. Bake for 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.