Archive for the ‘Wine and Food’ Category
Tuesday, December 27th, 2011
Van Ruiten Family Vineyards has been setting the standard for exceptionally grown wine grapes for over fifty years! Located midway between the Sierra Foothills and the San Francisco Bay Delta, this celebrated family winery is nestled in Lodi off of Highway 12. Since the winery’s inception, the Van Ruitens have been producing award-winning wines and have become especially well-known for their Old Vine Zinfandel. While this varietal can be delicious on its own, Zinfandel is also a wonderful wine to pair with food. Here’s a sneak peek at one of the recipes presented from Van Ruiten Family Vineyards….a great idea for these cooler winter months, and the perfect choice for pairing with a bottle of Zinfandel! Enjoy!
Coby Van Ruiten’s Zinfandel Beef Stew
3-4 lbs. boneless beef stew meat cut into 1 ½ to 2 inch cubes
24 pearl onions (braised)
2/3 cup sliced carrots
12 halved small red potatoes
3 cups quartered sautéed mushrooms and juices
5 to 6 cups Zinfandel (or 1 bottle of wine plus beef stock or broth)
2 or 3 large unpeeled cloves of garlic, smashed
2 cups canned, chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbs. flour and 2 Tbs. softened butter, blended to a paste, for the beurre-manie sauce
Browning the meat: Dry the meat thoroughly. Add a ¼ inch of oil to the bottom of a Dutch oven and set over high heat. When hot, brown as many pieces of the meat as will fit in one layer without crowding. Turn frequently to brown on all sides (about 3-5 minutes); remove and set aside until all meat is browned.
Pour a cup of the wine/broth into the Dutch oven, swishing and scraping up any coagulated juices. Add the meat, garlic, and four more cups of the wine/broth into the casserole; fold in the tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. You should have enough liquid to almost cover the beef; add more if needed.
Stew the beef for 2 hours at 325 degrees. After 2 hours, add the vegetables and continue to cook until tender. Cook at a slow simmer, either on top of the stove or in the oven, stirring occasionally. To finish and thicken the stew, stir in butter-flour (buerre-manie sauce) paste to desired consistency.
Serve and enjoy with a bottle of Van Ruiten Zinfandel!
Friday, August 26th, 2011
Many wine tasters confuse the taste sensations of sweet and fruity, and those who DO get it, often find it difficult to explain the difference. So, how do you do it?
One way to tell the difference is practicing with a glass of tea. Taste a sip of tea on its own, and you’ll find it to be bone dry, and perhaps even a bit tannic (that astringent sensation on your tongue). Now, add a squeeze of lemon to the tea and taste it again. The tea is still dry, but there is now a fruity (citrus) component from the lemon. Next add sugar or honey to the tea, and taste it a third time – you should find it to taste both fruity AND sweet.
If you want to try this experiment with wine, practice by tasting a Sauvignon Blanc next to a Riesling. The Sauvignon Blanc will offer tropical, citrus, “fruity” flavors, while the Riesling, which typically has more residual sugar (the amount of sugar remaining in wine after fermentation), will help you differentiate what “sweet” is.
Another way to determine if a wine is sweet, is by taking a look at the alcohol content. During the wine making process, the natural sugar in grape juice converts to alcohol. Higher alcohol wines typically produce a drier style because more of the sugar in the grapes is converted to alcohol. Low alcohol wines (under 12%) are usually sweeter.
Try some of these tests and see if you can tell the difference!
Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011
Viognier is a relative newcomer to California wine country, but it is quickly gaining hype due to its refreshingly floral notes and its ability to compliment some intruiging food options. If you haven’t tried the Peltier Station 2007 Viognier from July’s Gold Series, pour yourself a glass and enjoy it with this great summer recipe. Cheers!
Thai Chicken Wrap with Red Chili Sauce
½ Butter Head Lettuce, washed, drained, shredded
4 oz. Carrots, julienne
½ Red Cabbage, shredded
½ Red Bell Pepper, julienne
½ Yellow Bell Pepper, julienne
1/5 oz. Thai Coconut Curry Noodles (recipe follows)
1 oz. Bean Sprouts (recipe follows)
1 Thai Marinated Cucumber (recipe follows)
2 oz. Thai Satay Chicken (recipe follows)
2 oz. Thai Sweet Red Chili Sauce (recipe follows)
8 large Vietnamese Rice Papers
Thai Satay Chicken
1 lb. chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
2 oz. fish sauce
2 oz. lime juice
2 each garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. fresh ginger
½ tsp. Thai chili peppers
1 Tbs. water
4 green onions, with tops, cut into 1 inch pieces
8 wooden skewers, soaked
Thai Coconut Curry Noodles
12 oz. fresh egg noodles, flat
1 garlic clove, minced
½ oz. red curry paste
8 oz. coconut milk
8 oz. chicken stock
½ oz. curry powder
1/8 Tbs. turmeric powder
½ oz. lime or lemon juice
1/5 oz. bean sprouts
1 Tbs. sesame oil
1 Tbs. fish sauce
1 tsp. black sesame seeds, roasted
Thai Marinated Cucumbers
2.5 oz. rice vinegar
2 oz. granulated sugar
2 oz. water
Salt and pepper
1 large English cucumber, seeded
Thai Sweet Red Chili Sauce
3 oz. chili paste, ground
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz. rice wine vinegar
12 oz. water
12 oz. granulated sugar
½ Tbs. salt
½ oz. cornstarch
7 sprigs cilantro, chopped
Thai Satay Chicken: Cut chicken crosswise into ¾ inch wide strips; place in gallon sized zip lock bag. Combine fish sauce, lime juice, garlic and peppers in large bowl and add water. Pour over the chicken, toss well to coat. Seal and marinade in refrigerator for up to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Drain the chicken; reserve marinade. Weave 3-4 pieces of chicken, accordion-style, onto each skewer, alternating with green onion pieces. Brush chicken and onions with reserved marinade. Grill skewers on uncovered grill over med. heat for 6-8 min. or until chicken is no longer pink; turn half way through grilling time. Remove skewers from the grill and let rest for 5 min. Remove chicken and onion from skewers; cut into strips and set aside.
Bean Sprouts: Heat oil in sauté pan. Add bean sprouts and remaining ingredients into pan. Cool until bean sprouts are tender. Set aside and chill in refrigerator.
Thai Coconut Curry Noodles: Separate noodles in hot water. Drain and keep warm. In large saucepan, heat coconut milk on low heat and slowly stir in curry paste. When simmering, add remaining ingredients. Heat and stir about 2 minutes. Stir in noodles and set aside.
Thai Marinated Cucumbers: In large pan, combine vinegar, sugar, water, salt; cook over med. Heat, stirring until liquid boils and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temp. Peel or score cucumber and cut into quarters. Place in large bowl, pour in marinade, and stir to blend. Set aside.
Thai Sweet Red Chili Sauce: Combine everything except cilantro in large pan and mix. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 5 min. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Set aside.
Assembly of Thai Wraps: Fill large mixing bowl with med-hot water. Take 1 sheet of rice paper, place in water for 5 seconds to soften, then remove and spread on damp cutting surface. Layer your filling in this order: lettuce, red cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, bean sprouts, noodles, chicken. Roll one end of rice paper over filling, tuck it tightly under, and bring in sides by folding towards the middle. Roll the wrap in sesame oil to keep sealed. Cut roll into 5 segments and serve with dipping sauce.
Saturday, December 18th, 2010
Have you tried your Ampelos 2006 Pinot Noir, recently featured as December’s Pinot Noir Series wine? If not, try pairing it with the vegetarian recipe below!
Couscous & Feta-Stuffed Bell Peppers
Vegetable or Olive Oil Cooking Spray
1 1/4 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth
2/3 Cup Couscous
4 Extra Large Red Bell Peppers
2 tsp EVOO (*Extra-Virgin Olive Oil)
1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
6 oz zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced across
1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds
1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 Cup Cherry tomatoes, halved
15 oz Canned Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 oz Crumbled Feta Cheese
3 Tbs. Tomato Paste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a small baking dish with cooking spray. In medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil, add the couscous, cover and remove from heat. Set aside. Cut the stems and top 1/2 inch off the bell peppers and scoop out the seeds and white membrane. Place peppers upright in a baking dish and roast them for 15 minutes or until they soften, then remove from oven and set aside.
In a nonstick skillet, heat the EVOO, add the onion, zucchini, yellow squash, fennel seeds, oregano, and salt. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Remove skillet from heat, and stir in the tomatoes, chickpeas, and tomato paste. With a fork, scrape the couscous into the skillet and toss with the vegetables. Stir in the feta cheese. Fill the peppers with the couscous/vegetable mixture. Place on the coated baking dish, and bake for 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
Monday, August 30th, 2010
It time for Pinot! This month’s Pinot Noir Series features an exceptional wine from DuNah Vineyard & Winery, the 2006 Sangiacomo Vineyard, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. The wine itself was awarded 93 points by the Pinot Report, and with only 336 cases produced, it’s sure to sell through quickly.
As we’re steadily approaching apple season, we thought we’d give you a great, season appropriate recipe to pair with this fabulous wine. Fire up your barbecue yet again, and add this easy-to-make recipe to your Labor Day menu!
Grilled Pork Chops with Onions and Apples
2 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
4 bone-in center cut pork chops (1 inch thick)
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 medium tart apples, peeled and chopped
2 Tbs. butter or margarine
2 Tbs. brown sugar
In a small bowl, combine the pepper, salt and garlic powder. Rub over pork chops. Grill chops, covered, over medium heat for 7-9 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F and juices run clear.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, saute onions and apples in butter until tender. Add brown sugar; cook until thickened and bubbly.
Serve with the pork chops.
*Option: To present, after cooking, slice a small pocket into the side of the pork chops, and stuff a small amount of apple mixture into each chop, with extras spilling out the side. Drizzle some of the sauce from the apple mixture over the pork cops.
Monday, July 26th, 2010
It is hot outside and that usually means I’m craving a white wine, something fruity, crisp and, most importantly, cold. But even with the heat, sometimes I’ve got to mix it up! That said, a great Pinot Noir will usually do the trick. Not too heavy, this wine will pair well with many afternoon appetizers and antipasto platters.
Summertime is barbeque season as well… We found this recipe below that proves to be a dynamite pairing with a wine we recently featured in the Pinot Noir Series, a wine I’ve become particularly fond of, Patz & Hall 2007 Pinot Noir.The citrus marinade and the barbecued chicken mix eloquently with the fresh summer toppings, and make a great compliment to this Pinot Noir. So good, in fact, I’d even reach for this duo when temps are at their peak in late afternoon!
Grilled Chicken Tacos
3 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon dried parsley
12 corn tortillas, warmed
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese, salsa verde and chopped Avocados, onions, tomatoes and cilantro, for serving (serving sizes vary based on your preferences!)
In a blender, puree the tomatoes with the lime juice, water and salt. Transfer the puree to a large resealable plastic bag and add the chicken thighs. Seal the bag, pressing out the air. Refrigerate the chicken for 6 hours or over night.
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade and pat them dry. Brush with the oil and sprinkle with the paprika nd parsley. Grill over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until the chicken is lightly charred and cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a workable surface and let stand for 5 minutes. Cut the chicken thighs in to strips and serve with the warmed tortillas, cheese, salsa verde, avocados, onions, tomatoes and cilantro.
Don’t forget the Patz & Hall 2007 Pinot Noir!! This fabulous wine was awarded 92-Points by Connoisseurs’ Guide, 91-Points by Wine & Spirits, and 90-Points by Snooth. Cooking Light called it “Wine We Love Right Now.” We’re right there with you, Cooking Light!
Thursday, July 8th, 2010
This month’s Gold Series selections come to you from Koehler Winery, which is located in the heart of Santa Barbara’s wine country. We’re featuring both a white and red this month from this winery, but since its so hot right now, we thought we’d throw a recipe at you to pair with the white wine: Koehler 2007 Sauvignon Blanc. The recipe below does not require many ingredients, a perfect “throw it together” kind of recipe, and is packed with a tasty punch! If you try it out, let us know what you think! Happy tasting and cooking!
Sweet Onion Risotto with Feta Cheese
2 tsp. olive oil or vegetable oil
2 Cups Vidalia or other sweet onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2 (14.5 oz) cans vegetable broth
1/2 cup (2 oz.) crumbled Feta cheese, dividied
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 1 minute. Stir in rice. Add 1/2 cup broth; cook until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaning broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until each portion is nearly absorbed before adding the next (about 20 min total.)
Remove from heat; stir in 1/4 cup feta, parsely and Parmesan. Spoon into serving bowls and top with remaining Feta and pepper. Garnish with Parsley.
Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010
Let the Wine Tasting Begin!
The weather is turning, yet again, and with Memorial Day’s unofficial summer kickoff last weekend, we’re eagerly looking forward to the joys of summertime bliss–barbecues, long days with good friends, and wine festivals galore! If you live in California or are planning a trip out west this summer, you might want to check out what wine festivals will be in or around your area. Here is a list of the various wine festivals, both big and small, throughout California. Happy Tasting!
Southern California – The Balboa Bay Club & Resort 7th Annual Food & Wine Festival, Newport Beach, June 3-6, prices vary based on event. LA Wine Fest, Hollywood, June 5-6, $65.o0 or $100 per couple. Coto de Caza World Class Wine Festival, Orange County, June 12, 2010. Members $125, Non-Members $150.00. San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, San Diego, November 17-21
Santa Barbara County – 17th Annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine & Food Festival, June 6, $90.00 presale, 100.00 at the door. Ojai Wine Festival, Ojai, June 13, $30.00 pre-sale, $40.00 at the door. Santa Barbara Wine Festival, June 26, $60.00-$80.00 based on membership. California Wine Festival, Santa Barbara, July 15, 16 and 17. Ticket prices vary based on purchase and event.
Central Coast — Wine, Waves, & Beyond, Paso Robles, Thursday, June 3- Sunday, June 6. Paso Pinot & Paella Festival, June 6. $65.00. Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival, Atascadero, June 26, $40.00. Winemaker’s Cookoff, Paso Robles, August 7, $75.00
Monterey County — Monterey Wine Festival June 10-12, Price varies based on event. Scott’s Valley Art & Wine Festival
Northern California — 2010 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, September 3 – 5, Ticket sales vary depending on event. Bodega Bay Seafood, Art & Wine Festival, Bodega Bay, August 28-29. $12.00 pre-sale, $15.00 at the door. Sunnyvale Art & Wine Festival, Silicon Valley, June 5 & 6. Pinot Days, San Francisco, June 27, 31st Annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival, Los Altos, July 10-11. 4th Annual San Rafael Food & Wine Festival, San Rafael, August 14, $25.00 (Food & Wine) ($15.00 for food only tasting). Yorkville Highlands Wine Festival, August 14, $60.00. Russian River Valley WineGrowers Grape to Glass Weekend , Russian River, August 20-22, ticket prices vary based on event.
Wednesday, May 12th, 2010
If there’s one thing I love more than wine itself, its finding (and eating) delicious food that pairs with it! One of my favorite aspects of the membership to the Gold Series is opening the Wine Press, the monthly newsletter that accompanies the shipment, and finding the recipe that Gold Medal Wine Club has selected for each bottle. I’ve had such good luck with these recipes, that now this suggestion will often dictate what dinner or horderve we’ll be having when we get the chance to open the bottle.
This weekend I’m hosting a spa party for approximately 10 guests. The party will begin at 4:30 and should only go for a few hours. Since it won’t exactly be cool yet, I’ve decided to serve white wine and light finger foods that we can snack on as we learn about giving ourselves facials.
For wine, I’ve decided on the Handley Cellars 2007 Chardonnay, a recent feature of the Gold Series. The bottle itself was awarded 6 Silver Medals from various state and international wine competitions, and its fruity quality will “pair” swimmingly well with the warm weather expected for Saturday.
For the food, I’ll serve three different nibbles, two of which I found from recent Wine Press Newsletters: Marinated Olives with Herbs and Spices (reccommended with the Handley Chardonnay) and California Bruschetta (recommended with the Castoro Pinot Grigio.) To find the third recipe, I actually went to Handley’s website and searched for their Chardonnay pairing suggestions. Here’s what I found; feel free to use this recipe yourself!
Hummus with Paprika and Whole Chickpeas
1/2 pound dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 tablespoon baking soda
6 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup sesame tahini, at room temperature, stirred thoroughly
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup sesame tahini, at room temperature, stirred thoroughly
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
Paprika & Cumin for sprinkling
Reserved cooked chickpeas
Cover dried chickpeas with 2 inches of water in a bowl, adding baking soda, refrigerate overnight. Drain and rinse. Place chickpeas and garlic into a medium saucepan, cover with 2 inches of water, bring to a boil, lower heat, and barely simmer for about 40 minutes, or until soft. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the chickpeas, and one cup of the cooking water. Peel the garlic cloves.
In a food processor, combine and puree the chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, cumin, tahini, and lemon juice until very creamy. Add some of the cooking water if needed for a smooth consistency. Taste for salt.
Garnish mixture: In a clean processor bowl, combine the lemon juice, tahini, and olive oil, plus salt if needed.
Place the hummus into a serving bowl, making a small well in the middle and pour in the garnish mixture. Sprinkle with parsley and the reserved cooked chickpeas. Sprinkle with ground cumin and paprika.
Serve with pita bread and an assortment of raw garden vegetables such as carrots, celery, radishes and broccoli.