Sonoma County Chef Shares Dad-Approved Recipes for Father’s Day

Estero Cafe owner and chef Ryan Ramey mixes up pancakes along with the help of his two daughters, Ivy, 4, left, and Danny, 2, at the Estero Cafe in Valley Ford on June 7, 2022. (Chad Surmick / The Press Democrat)

This recipe is easy to double. Serve with homemade Vanilla Cider Maple Syrup (recipe follows) and seasonal fruit of your choice.

Classic Pancakes

Makes 3 to 4 servings

1 ½ cup all-purpose flour, preferably from Guisto’s

3 ½ tsp baking powder

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon organic sugar

1 ¼ cup milk, preferably organic clover or Straus

3 tablespoons melted butter

Vanilla pod (or real vanilla extract), to taste

1 egg, preferably grassland and organic

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix the wet ingredients together separately. Then mix the wet ingredients with the dry, but don’t mix too long. Some lumps are okay.

Butter a large cast iron griddle or pan, wipe it and bake the pancakes. When bubbles begin to form, the pancakes are ready to flip. Cook until done.

Finish with butter, vanilla cider maple syrup, seasonal fruits and fresh whipped cream.

Ryan likes to use an unfiltered, organic apple cider, such as the North Coast Organic Apple Juice, to make this homemade syrup.

Vanilla Cider Maple Syrup

Makes about 2 cups

2 cups sugar

1 cup of water

1 cup apple juice

½ tablespoon real vanilla extract

1 cup maple syrup

Mix all ingredients together in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes.

Serve hot over pancakes. Leftover syrup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.

This gravy can be made up to 2 days in advance, cooled and refrigerated, then reheated to serve. Ryan uses Sonoma County Meat Co.’s massive breakfast sausage in Santa Rosa.

country gravy

Makes about 3 liters

1 tablespoon butter

½ yellow onion, chopped

4 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

¼ bunch of thyme, finely chopped

¼ bunch of sage, finely chopped

1 pound bulk breakfast sausage (or chopped links removed from casing)

1 liter bone broth

½ cup roux (¼ cup melted butter and ¼ cup flour)

1 liter of whole milk

¼ cup whipped cream

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 ½ teaspoon sea salt

Heat the butter in a medium saucepan and sauté the onion, garlic, thyme, sage and sausage until the onions are browned and the sausage is fully cooked.

Add the stock, bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat.

In a separate pan (this is important), brown the roux over medium heat. Then add it to the sausage mixture, stirring until well dissolved and mixture thickens.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and add the whipping cream, chopped sage, salt and pepper. Stir and taste.

You will need a food processor for this recipe. Make sure to freeze the cubed butter a day in advance. If you don’t have a food processor, freeze the butter whole, grate it into a crumbly texture and mix by hand. It is important to keep the butter as cold as possible while working.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Makes 8 cookies

8 ounces butter, cut into inch cubes

1 pound all-purpose flour (about 4 cups), preferably organic from Giusto’s

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 tablespoon organic raw sugar

2 teaspoons sea salt

8 ounces buttermilk, preferably clover

2 ounces butter, melted and set aside

The day before, cut the 8 ounces of butter into cubes and store in the freezer.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.

Add the frozen cubed butter and toss to distribute evenly. Place the butter-flour mixture in a food processor and pulse about 8 times. The mixture should be “crumbled” and resemble cottage cheese a bit.

Pour the crumbled mixture back into the bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in the buttermilk and fold until well blended, but don’t over-mix.

Dust a clean work surface with flour and pour the dough onto the table. You can use a little flour if the mixture is too wet, but don’t overwork the dough.

Form a rectangle about an inch high and cut into 8 equal rectangles, like small stones.

Place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper and brush with the melted butter.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Staff Writer Diane Peterson can be reached at 707-521-5287 or [email protected] On Twitter @dianepete56