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 can easily be doubled. Serve it with homemade Vanilla Cider Maple Syrup (recipe follows) and seasonal fruit of your choice.

Classic Pancakes

Makes 3 to 4 servings

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

3 ½ teaspoons baking soda

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon organic sugar

1 ¼ cups milk, preferably Organic Clover or Straus

3 tablespoons melted butter

Vanilla bean (or real vanilla extract), to taste

1 egg, preferably pasture-raised and organic

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Separately, mix the wet ingredients together. Then mix the wet ingredients into the dry, but don’t overmix. Some clumps are OK.

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

Top with butter, Vanilla Cider Maple Syrup, seasonal fruit 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 water

1 cup apple juice

½ tablespoon real vanilla extract

1 cup maple syrup

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

Serve warm 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 bulk breakfast sausage from Sonoma County Meat Co. in Santa Rosa.

Country Gravy

Makes about 3 quarts

1 tablespoon butter

½ yellow onion, diced

4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

¼ bunch of thyme, minced

¼ bunch of sage, minced

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

1 quart bone broth

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

1 quart whole milk

¼ cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 ½ teaspoons sea salt

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

Add the broth and bring to a boil, then simmer on medium heat.

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

Lower the heat to medium and add the milk. Bring the mixture to a low simmer, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat and add the heavy cream, minced sage, salt and pepper. Stir and taste.

This recipe requires a food processor. Make sure to freeze the cubed butter the day before. If you don’t have a food processor, freeze the butter whole, then grate it to create a crumb texture and blend it together by hand. It’s important to keep the butter as cold as possible while working with it.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Makes 8 biscuits

8 ounces butter, diced into ½-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, dice the 8 ounces of butter and store in the freezer.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.

Add the frozen cubed butter and toss to disperse evenly. Put the butter and flour mixture in a food processor and pulse about 8 times. The mixture should be “crumbed” and look a little like cottage cheese.

Pour the crumbed mixture back into the bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in the buttermilk and fold until it’s well-combined, but don’t overmix.

Flour a clean work surface 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 1 inch tall and cut into 8 equal rectangles, like small bricks.

Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment 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