Mâché Salad with Avocado, Orange, Mango and Toasted Almonds: A Trip to Napa Valley!



mache salad

Before I tell you about my latest avocado salad creation, I have to tell you why I was inspired to make it.  Last week I drove from San Diego county to San Ramon (near San Francisco) and on to Napa Valley with some friends. We were to play  a concert with the Coastal Communities Concert Band at the annual convention of the Association of Concert Bands.

me and my teacher

Did you know I’m a band geek? Yep, I just received my 15-year pin as a member of the award-winning Coastal Communities Concert Band. Thanks to all the wonderful music teachers over a lifetime..including my amazing flute teacher, Eleanor Tibbals-Pennington!

Want to hear the band?  Someone recorded our performance of John Williams’ “The Cowboys”, and if you hear the flute solos, that’s me!

So back to the Mâché Salad with Avocado!   Mâché is often called “lamb’s lettuce”.  I had heard of mâché lettuce, but never tried it until I noticed a bag at Trader Joe’s labeled “Great With Avocados”.  I had to buy it and find out!  The little florets of lettuce are so cute…each one is cute as the lambs we saw on the hillsides of Napa Valley!

After I washed the lettuce, I added chunks of fresh California avocado and  navel orange from our own trees, and some gorgeous champagne mango purchased at the grocery store.  Then I toasted some natural (raw) almonds in the oven at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes and added them at the last minute, remembering the acres of almond trees along Interstate 5.   The dressing is Champagne Pear Vinaigrette from Trader Joe’s.  Yum.

machee salad with avocado

On the day after our concert,  Judy and Kathy and I drove up to Yountville to  meet Jessup Cellars‘ general manager Judd Wallenbrock.   With his expert guidance, we tasted five wines, both red and white.    We finished with a delicious cabernet port paired with artisan chocolate from a local chocolatier.  Such fun!  Of course we brought home some of our favorite  wines to share with our families!

Jessup Cellars

Such a warm welcome at Jessup Cellars by Judd Wallenbrock and Ashley Brandner! Beautiful art and amazing wines!

Jessup Cellars will be presenting their inaugural Tastemaker Speakers Series throughout 2013, exploring the intersection of wine, food, art and perception.    These will be interactive thought leadership forums presented by innovative thinkers in science, art, food, fashion, and of course, wine!  The speaker line up features  two celebrity chefs, a biochemist, two fermentation revivalists, an editor-in-chief, a fashion stylist, a handful of artists and a winemaker too!  If you want to go, check out this page for more information about the events and purchasing a pass.


Jessup Cellars is located in Yountville, Ca just a block north of the famous French Laundry.

Judd recommended the eatery across the street from Jessup Cellars,  called Redd Wood.  Although it is known as a pizza restaurant, the menu offers some creative and tasty alternatives.  We tried a salad with roasted beets, citrus, avocado, fennel, frisee and hazelnuts.


beautiful roasted beets with avocado, citrus, fennel, frisee, and hazelnuts

We also shared a side of fried brussels sprouts & cauliflower with garum and rosemary.


Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower


The pizza we selected was delicious!  Sausage, mushroom, rapini, calabrian chili, tomato, smoked mozzarella and red onion.  YUM!


We had a wonderful time exploring Yountville!  Such a pretty spring day and not crowded at all.  Spring flowers were in bloom, including some of the most beautiful tulips…

tulips Napa

and poppies!

poppies Napa

If  you go to Yountville, be sure to stop in at Jessup Cellars and say hi for us!  We can’t wait to go back!


Judy Pisciotta, Mimi Holtz and Kathy Marshall Lund…members of the Coastal Communities Concert Band visited Jessup Cellars in Napa Valley

“Join I Wash… You Dry and Southern Fairytale for the California Avocado Cinco de Mayo Recipe Fiesta, sponsored by the California Avocado Commission.”

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