Olives, Bruschetta & Hummus-3 stellar recipes for Handley Chardonnay

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

For Garnish:

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

To Prepare:

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.