More Recipes & Wines June-December, 2006


Recipes provided by Debbie J. Elder


September 22, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2002 Equilibrio Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2003 Row 11 Pinot Noir, Vinas 3
  • 2004 Cocodrilo Cabernet Sauvignon

Curried Scallops on Pumpkin Polenta Cakes

1/2 c. canned pumpkin puree (unsweetened)

1 1/2 c. water

2 T heavy cream

1 T unsalted butter

1/2 T honey


1/2 c. polenta

1/4 c. oil, plus more for frying

1/2 T curry powder

16 medium sea scallops

garnish with minced parsley or cilantro

*Combine the pumpkin with the water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add the cream, butter, honey and a pinch of salt.  Add the polenta in a thin stream, whisking constantly.  Cook over moderate heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until thick (about 20 minutes.)  Spoon the polenta into a 9" square pan.  Refrigerate until firm.

*Heat 1/4 c. of vegetable oil with the curry powder.  Pour the curry oil into a small bowl and allow to cool.  Spoon off the yellow oil.  Discard the curry powder.

*Run a knife around the sides of the polenta and unmold onto a cutting board.  Cut the polenta into 1 1/2" squares.  Heat 1/2" of oil in a large nonstick skillet until warm.  Fry the polenta cakes in batches, turning over once, until they are deep golden and crisp.  Transfer to a baking sheet and blot oil off of polenta.

*Heat 2 T of the curry oil until warm.  Season the scallops with salt.  Add 8 scallops to the skillet at a time and cook over high heat until browned.  Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining scallops.  Allow scallops to cool and then cut each in half crosswise.

*To serve, arrange the scallop halves on the polenta cakes, cut side down on a plate.  Garnish with additional curry oil drizzled over the scallops.  Garnish with cilantro or parsley and serve.

*Serves 6.


September 15, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2002 Andrew Will Sheridan Vineyard Red Wine
  • 2002 DeLille Cellars Syrah

Roasted Rib-Eye Steak with Herbed Mustard Sauce and Fall Root Vegetables

4 large carrots, peeled, cut into 2" pieces

4 rutabagas, peeled, cut into 2" pieces

4 turnips, peeled, cut into 2" pieces

10 pearl onions, unpeeled

8 T extra virgin olive oil

4 rib-eye steaks (about 2" thick)


1/2 c. Dijon mustard

4 t fresh herbs (marjoram, thyme, rosemary, parsley)

2 T minced garlic

*Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Combine the vegetables and 5 T of olive oil in a medium bowl; coat the vegetables.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Spread the vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet. 

*Rub the steak with the remaining olive oil.  Place the steaks on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

*Roast the vegetables for 40 minutes, then place the steaks in the oven and cook for 20 minutes for medium rare.  Allow the steak to stand for 5 minutes.

*To make the sauce, whisk all ingredients in a small bowl to blend.

*Arrange the steaks on a platter along with the vegetables and serve with the mustard sauce on the side.


September 8, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 1999 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino
  • 1999 Russian River Valley Reserve Pinot Noir

Apricot Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Wrapped in Prosciutto

1/3 c. dried apricots

1 T. unsalted butter

2 shallots, minced

1 T. fresh sage, minced

3 T. pine nuts, chopped

1/2 c. Mascarpone cheese

1 pork tenderloin

8 slices prosciutto

1/2 c. dry white wine

*Soak the apricots in warm water for 2 hours or more.  Drain and finely chop.

*Preheat the oven to 400F.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and saute the shallots for 5 minutes, or until golden.  Remove from heat.  In a small mixing bowl, combine the shallots, sage, pine nuts, apricots and all but 1 T. of the mascarpone.  Mix well.

*Make a deep slit down the side of the tenderloin from end to end, cutting nearly all the way through.  Open out and flatten a bit by pressing down hard on the butterflied meat.  Spoon the stuffing along the middle of the cut.  Lay the slices of prosciutto on the work surface, slightly overlapping, and place the tenderloin on top.  Carefully wrap the tenderloin with the prosciutto.  Tie the roll at intervals with 4 pices of string.

*Place the meat in a small roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes, basting with the wine halfway through.  Remove fom the oven and let rest on a warm platter. 

*Over medium heat, bring the pan juices to a simmer and whisk in the remaining 1 T. mascarpone.  Whisk well.  Remove from heat.  Cut the strings and slice the tenderloin crosswise into 4 pieces.  Place them on a platter and drizzle the sauce over each piece.

*Serves 4.


September 1, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2003 T Bar T Iron Horse VIognier
  • 2004 Angeline Cabernet Sauvignon 

Steamed Clams with Lemongrass-Ginger Broth

2 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 2" piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced

2 shallots, thinly sliced

1 lemongrass stalk, cut into 2" pieces and crushed with the back of a knife

3 green onions, white and green parts, chopped

1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

3 plum tomatoes, diced

2 c. bottled clam juice

2 c. dry white wine

4 dozen medium clams (cherrystone or littleneck)

1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

*In the bottom of a steamer pot, warm the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the ginger, shallots, lemon-grass, green onions, 1/2 c. of cilantro, carrot and tomatoes and saute 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the clam juice and wine and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

*Place the steamer basket in the pot.  Add the clams, cover and steam until the clams open, 5 to 10 minutes.

*To serve, divide the clams among six shallow soup bowls.  Strain the broth through a sieve and pour some over each serving.  Sprinkle with the remaining chopped cilantro.


August 25, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2005 Incognito Viognier
  • 2004 Incognito Red Wine
  • 2004 7 Deadly Zins
  • 2004 Earthquake Zin
  • 2004 Earthquake Petite Syrah

Barbequed Lamb Kabobs

2 lbs. boneless lamb, cut into 2" cubes

1/2 t. tumeric

1 t. ground cumin

2 t. salt

2 T. ginger, finely chopped

1/2 c. onion, finely chopped

3 large cloves garlic, minced

2 T. cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 c. plain yogurt

1/4 c. Worcestershire Sauce

Dash of Tabasco, to taste

*Combine lamb, tumeric, cumin, salt and ginger in a bowl, then toss in the meat and coat evenly.

*Add onions, garlic, cilantro and yogurt and toss again to mix thoroughly.

*Cover loosely and marinate at room temperature for 4 hours, or refrigerate for up to 6 hours, or (here is the trick that separates the grily men from the true 'manly cook') - marinate at room temperature for 2 hours, then sneak back in and add the Worcestershire Sauce, and sprinkle with Tobasco sauce to taste.  Cover and continue marination in the refrigreate for an additional 2 hours, or longer if desired. 

*Thread the meat onto skewers (place close together for moistness).  Place on preheated barbeque on medium heat for about 10 minutes, turning as required. 

*Serves 4.


August 18, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2005 "A" by Acacia Chardonnay
  • 2005 Beauzeaux (BoZo)


Peppercorn Flank Steak Salad

1/4 c., plus 1 T. extra virgin olive oil

2 T. fresh lime juice

1 T. molasses

1 T. honey

1 T. coarsely cracked black peppercorns

1/2 t. cayenne pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 t. Worchestershire sauce

1 t. Dijon mustard

2 pounds flank steak

1/2 c. dry bread crumbs

1/4 c. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated

2 hearts of romaine, torn into pieces

1 head of red leaf lettuce, torn into pieces

salt and pepper

*Steak Marinade

Mix 1 T. of the olive oil with 1 T. of the lime juice.  Stir in the molasses, honey, cracked peppercorns and cayenne.

*Salad Dressing

Mix 1 T. of lime juice with the garlic, Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard.  Gradually whisk in 1/4 c. of olive oil and season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

*Light the grill.  Season the steak with salt and pepper and grill over high heat for about 13-14 minutes, turning once.  Brush the marinade all over the steak and grill for 2 minutes longer for medium-rare meat.  Transfer to a cutting board and allow to stand.

*Toss the bread crumbs with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and season with salt and pepper.  Thinly slice the flank steak across the grain.  Arrange the lettuce on a platter and drizzle with the vinaigrette.  Scatter the bread crumbs over the salad, top with the steak and serve.


August 11, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2005 Qupe Bien Nacido Cuvee
  • 2001 Judd Syrah


Lamb Chops with Blackberry Balsamic Sauce and Mint

1 1/2 c. fresh or frozen blackberries

1 T. sugar

8 lamb chops (2 lbs.) trimmed of excess fat

1/4 t. salt

1/4 t. black pepper

2 T. vegetable oil or EVOO

1 c. shallots, thinly sliced

1/2 c. beef broth

2 T. balsamic vinegar

2 T. unsalted butter

4 T. fresh mint, finely chopped

*Stir the blackberries together with the sugar and macerate for 30 minutes.  Strain mixture over a bowl, removing any hard seeds from the blackberries. 

*Pat lamb chops dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Heat 1 T. oil in a large skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.  Saute half of the chops, turning over once and cook for about 6 minutes for medium-rare.  Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

*Pour off fat from skillet.  Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in skillet until hot but not smoking.  Saute shallots until browned.  Add blackberry juice, broth, and vinegar to pan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally and scraping up brown bits, then reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste, then add butter and 2 T. mint, stirring just until butter is melted.

*Spoon sauce over chops and sprinkle with remaining 2 T. mint.


August 4, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2004 Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto
  • 2004 Tobin James Liquid Love Late Harvest Zinfandel


French Chocolate Cake

9 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces

1 c. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 c. sugar

2 T brandy

5 eggs

1 T flour

confectioner's sugar, for dusting

whipped cream for topping

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Generously grease a 9" x 2" springform pan.  Line the base with baking parchment paper and grease with butter or cooking spray.  Wrap the bottom and sides of the pan in foil to prevent water from seeping through into the cake.

*Place the chocolate, butter and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring frequently until smooth.  Remove from the heat, cool slightly and stir in the brandy.

*Beat the eggs in a large bowl for about 1 minute.  Mix in the flour, then slowly add in the chocolate mixture until well blended.  Pour into the pan.

*Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan.  Add enough boiling water to come 1/4" up the side of the pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the edge of the cake is set but the center is still soft.  Remove the springform pan from the roasting pan and remove the foil.  Cool on a wire rack.  The cake will sink in the center and become its classic slim shape as it bakes. 

*Once it is done, remove the side of the springform pan and turn the cake into a wire rack.  Peel the parchment paper off of the bottom of the cake.  Leave the cake on the rack until it is completely cool.

*Cut out a design in baking parchment and place over the cake.  Dust the cake with confectioners' sugar, then carefully remove the paper.  Slide the cake onto a plate and serve with whipped cream.


July 28, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • Colibri Anna's Rose'
  • Page Springs Familia Blanca
  • Page Springs Mouvedre
  • Rancho Rosso Syrah


Grilled Lamb Chops with Lemon Rosemary Oil

8 lamb chops

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

4 T. fresh rosemary, chopped

salt and pepper

*Make a marinade out of the olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary and salt and pepper.  Place the lamb chops in the marinade for at least one hour.

*Grill chops over high heat until the bone is browned.  Continuing grilling over medium heat until desired doneness (140 degrees) for medium rare.  Serve 2 chops per person.

*Serves 4


July 21, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2005 San Giuseppe Veneto Pinot Grigio
  • 2005 Santa Silvana in Villa Alto Adige Pinot Grigio 


Steamed Clams and Garlic Over Linguine

3 1/2 dozen littleneck clams

1 stick of butter (4 oz.)

6 large garlic cloves, minced

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

1 t dried thyme

1/4 c. Pinot Grigio, or dry white vermouth

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 c. fresh parsely, finely chopped, plus several sprigs for granishing

3/4 lb. linguine

*Clean the clams by scrubbing each one and rinsing well under cold running water.  (Discard any that may have popped open.)

*Cook the linguine until al dente.

*Melt half of the butter in a heavy saucepan large enough to accommodate the clams.  Add garlic and onoin and cook until tender, about 4 minutes.  Add bay leaf, thyme, wine or vermouth, salt, pepper and the clams.  Cover and cook over moderate heat until the clams open.  Remove opened clams to a serving bowl with a slotted spoon.

*Add remaining butter and parsley to saucepan and cook for a minute or until the butter is melted.  Add drained pasta to the serving bowl with the clams and pour sauce over the top.  Toss thoroughly but gently.  Serve.

*Do not add cheese as this sauce works best without it.

*Serves 4


July 14, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2004 Hahn Estates, Santa Lucia Highland Meritage
  • 2002 Artesa Winery, Napa Valley, Merlot


Bacon and Crunchy Arugula Topped Hamburger

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef chuck

4 strips of bacon

4 slices of heirloom tomatoes

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 chipotle in adobo sauce, seeded and finely chopped

1/2 c. mayonnaise

salt and freshly ground pepper

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 hamburger buns

1 bunch arugula, thick stems removed

*Light a grill.  In a large skillet, or on the griddle on your barbeque, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 7 minutes.  Drain on paper towels, then chop finely.

*In a food processor, mix together the minced garlic, chipotle, salt and pepper, and mayonnaise until smooth.

*Form the meat into four large patties and brush lightly with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and grill over medium heat until done.  Brush both sides of the hamburger buns with olive oil and grill until lightly browned.

*Spread the mayonnaise on the cut sides of the rolls and set the burgers on the bottom halves.  Top with the arugula, place the top bun over the hamburgers and serve.

*Serves 4.


July 7, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2004 Zilliken Butterfly Riesling
  • 2003 Yalumba Bush Vine Barossa Grenache
  • 2003 Dry Creek Vineyard Heritage Zinfandel


Grilled Chicken Breasts with Lemon-Pecan Butter

6 boneless chicken breast halves

3 T. lemon juice, freshly squeezed

2 T. unsalted butter, melted

salt and freshly ground pepper

6 sprigs tarragon

Lemon Pecan Butter

1/4 c. pecans

1 stick (1/2 c.) unsalted butter, softened

1 lemon, minced 

2 t. fresh tarragon

1 T. lemon juice, freshly squeezed

*Mix all of the ingredients for the Lemon-Pecan Butter together, roll into a log and place in plastic wrap, refrigerate until needed.

*Brush the chicken with lemon juice and butter, season with salt and pepper.

*Preheat the grill to medium or 350 degrees.  Place rack 4 inches above heat.  Arrange chicken on rack; grill 6 minutes. Turn and grill 5-6 minutes more, or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a knife and interior is 185 degrees.  Place 2 thin slices of Lemon-Pecan Butter on top of chicken breast and serve.  Garnish with fresh tarragon sprigs.

*Serves 6.


June 30, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2004 Cycles Gladiator Syrah, Central Coast, California
  • 2004 Rex Goliath California Chardonnay


Grilled Filet of Salmon Topped with a Saffron-Onion Sauce

1 pound of onions, peeled, coarsely chopped

1/2 c. Chardonnay

1/4 c. white wine vinegar

2 1/4 c. unsalted chicken stock

1/8 t. ground saffron

2 T. unsalted butter

salt and freshly pepper to taste

6 filets of salmon

6 strips of lean bacon



*Combine the onions, wine and vinegar in a saucepan.  Cook over high heat until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add 2 cups of the chicken stock and the saffron.  Simmer, covered, until the onions are very tender.

*Process the mixture in a food processor and return to it to the saucepan.  Whisk in the butter and the remaining 1/4 cup of chicken stock (if needed) for desired consistency.  Season with salt and pepper.  Heat to serving temperature and keep warm.


*Wrap each of the salmon filets with a strip of bacon (like a filet mignon) and secure with a toothpick or skewer. 

*Grill the steaks for 4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.  Remove the toothpick or skewer from each piece of salmon.  Serve the salmon topped with the sauce.  Garnish with the chives.

*Serves 6


June 23, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 1998 Muriel Rioja Reserva
  • 2001 Resalte Ribera del Duero Crianza


Spanish-Inspired Beef and Onion Casserole

1 T fennel seeds

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 pounds chuck steak, cubed

4 slices bacon, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 cup canned low-salt beef broth

2 cups dry red wine

1 cup tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 T freshly ground pepper

mashed potatoes


*In a large bowl, combine the fennel seeds, pepper and olive oil.  Add the beef and stir well.  Cover and refrigerate overnight to tenderize and flavor the meat.

*Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to several layers of paper towels to drain; pat dry with more paper towels.  Pour the oil that remains in the bowl into a large, heavy casserole or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and brown the meat for a few minutes, stirring vigorously; it's best to do it in a couple of batches, to be sure the meat browns uniformly.  Transfer the beef to a bowl.  Reduce heat to medium and saute the chopped bacon for 3-4 minutes.

*Add the chopped onion and saute 3-4 minutes, until soft.  Add the broth and red wine to the pan and stir up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add tomatoes, garlic and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil, stirring well to combine the juices and then place in oven for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours, or until tender. 

*Discard the bay leaves.  Serve over chucky mashed potatoes with a dollop of melted butter.

*Serves 6


June 16, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2003 Provenance Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot
  • 2003 Provenance Vineyards Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon


Pan-Seared Filet Mignon with Cabernet Caper Sauce

4 T chilled butter

4 filet mignon steaks (about 4 oz. each)

1/3 c. shallots, chopped

2/3 c. Cabernet Sauvignon

1 T drained capers

1 T Dijon mustard

1/3 c. parsley, chopped

*Melt 1 T butter in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle both sides of steaks with salt and a generous amount of ground black pepper.  Add to skillet and cook to desired doneness, about 4-6 minutes per side for medium.  Transter steaks to platter.  Tent with foil.

*Melt 1 T butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat.  Add shallots; saute' 1 minute.  Add wine, capers, mustard and simmer until slightly reduced, about 2-3 minutes.  Stir in parsley.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Whisk in remaining 2 T butter.  Season sauce with salt and pepper.  Spoon sauce over steaks and serve.

*Serves 4


June 9, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2005 Bennett Lane White Maximus Feasting Wine
  • 2003 Bennett Lane Maximus Feasting Wine


Rib-Eye Steaks with Ancho Chile Cream Sauce

1 small ancho chile - stemmed, seeded and halved lengthwise

1/4 t. cumin seeds

2/3 c. light cream

1/4 t. dried oregano

salt and pepper

Four (4) 1/2-pound rib-eye steaks, cut about 3/8" thick

*Heat a small heavy skillet.  Using a spatula, press the chile into the skillet, skin side down, and toast over moderately high heat until the chile begins to blister, about 1-2 minutes.  Transfer the chile to a plate.  Add the cumin seeds to the skillet and toast just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add to the chile.

*Cut the chile into small pieces and place in a saucepan.  Add the cumin, cream, oregano and 1/8 t. pepper.  Bring to a boil and simmer over moderate heating, strigging, until reduced to about 1/2 cup.  Strain out the sauce, return it to the saucepan and keep warm.

*Gill the steaks to your desired level of doneness.  Let set for 3 minutes.  Serve the steaks with the cream sauce on top.

*Serves 4.


June 2, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2002 StoneFly Vineyard Cabernet Franc
  • 2003 StoneFly Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon


(Compliments of Claudia Sansone, StoneFly Vineyard)

Rack of Lamb with a Herb Crust

1/8 c. fresh parsley

1/8 c. fresh oregano

1/8 c. fresh rosemary

1/8 c. fresh thyme

1/2 c. fresh breadcrumbs

1 1/2 T garlic. minced

1/4 c., plus 2 T olive oil

1 T Dijon mustard

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 rack of lamb (about 2 to 2 1/2 lbs.)

*Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

*In a bowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients, except mustard and 2 T of olive oil.  Process until well mixed, but still slightly crumbly - not mushy!   Set aside.

*In a large skillet, heat remaining 2 T of olive oil until just below smoking.  Season lamb rack with salt and pepper and quickly brown by cooking for about 3-4 minutes per side.  Remove lamb from skillet and place in an oiled roasting pan.  Carefully brush mustard over the section just over the top, underside and sides of chops, leaving bones exposed.  Gently pat the herb-breadcrumb mixture over the mustard.

*Cook for 10-12 minutes or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of about 130 degrees F.  Allow to rest 10 minutes before carving.

*Serve by slicing lamb chops between the bones.

*Serves 2.


May 26, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2001 August Kesseler Spatlese Dry Rudesheimer Berg
  • 2004 Patz & Hall Pinot Noir, Hyde Vineyard, Carneros
  • 2003 Alvaro Palacios "Propiedad" Rioja
  • Barbieto-Sercial "Charleston" Madeira (30 year)


Pork Satay with a Tamarind Barbeque Sauce

1 1/2 pounds pork, cut into 1" cubes

1 1/2 T ground coriander

1 1/2 t salt

2 1/4 t freshly ground pepper

olive oil

1 1/4 c. tamarind puree

1/3 c. light brown sugar

1 1/2 T soy sauce

1 1/2 T molasses

2 garlic cloves, minced

*Soak six bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes or longer.  Mix 1 T. coriander, salt, pepper and olive oil together.  Place the pork in the mardinate for 1 hour or longer.

*In a medium saucepan, combine the tamarind puree, brown sugar, soy sauce, molasses, garlic and 1/2 T of coriander.  Bring to a simmering boil and cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes.  Cool.

*Light the gril.  Thread the pork onto the skewers.  Set aside half of the sauce for serving.  Grill the pork over a medium-hot fire for 8-10 minutes, turning once and basting often with the tamarind sauce.  Serve with the remaining sauce.

*Serves 6.


May 19, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2004 Luna Pinot Grigio
  • 2004 Domaine Chandon Pinot Meunier


Ginger-Glazed Seared Tuna Steak Served over Baby Greens

1 1" piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into slivers

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 1" piece of lemongrass cut from the soft bottom part of the stalk

3/4 c. light miso paste

1 T sesame seeds

1/3 c. rice wine vinegar

2 T soy sauce

4 5-6 oz. tuna steaks

3 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced

1/2 c. fresh baby greens (parsley, mint, tarragon, butter lettuce, arugula)

1 T fresh lemon juice

1 T extra-virgin olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

*In a food processor, combine the ginger, garlic, and lemongrass and process until finely minced.  Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.  Add the miso, sesame seeds, vinegar, soy sauce and 1 T of water.  Pulse several times until almost smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and keep up to 2 days in advance in the refrigerator.

*Light the grill or heat the broiler.  Line the grill or broiler with foil and place the tuna steaks on top.  Using a pastry brush, coat the tops of the steaks with about 1 T per steak of the sauce.  Grill or broil for about 3 minutes, or until the miso starts to turn a golden brown and bubble.  Turn the tuna over, brush again with the sauce, and continue cooking for 3 minutes for rare, 4-5 minutes for medium-rare.  Remove and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

*Place the salad greens on a plate, and top with the tuna steaks. 

*Serves 4


May 12, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2003 Marc Bredif Vouvray
  • 2005 Cartlidge & Browne Pinot Noir
  • 2005 Bodegas Marques de Olivara Vina Lombas Vintage


Baby Rack of Lamb Stuffed with Shiitake Mushrooms, Scallions and Thyme

2 baby racks of lamb (1 pound each)

2 T olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

1/2 c. minced scallions

1 1/2 c. minced shiitake mushrooms

1/4 c. medium-sweet sherry

2 T fresh thyme

3 T dry white wine

1 1/2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice


freshly gound pepper

*Slit the chops open on the meatiest part, following the center of each bone and cutting halfway through.  Heat the oil in a skillet and saute the scallions and mushrooms on low heat.  Sprinkle the mixture with salt and pepper and cook until softened.  Add the sherry and cook for about 3 minutes.  Fill each of the racks of lamb with about 1-2 teaspoons of the mushroom mixture.  Tie the racks with kitchen twine across the stuffed portion.

*Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Arrange the racks in a greased roasting pan, drizzle them with oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme.  Roast for 15 minutes.  Add the wine and lemon juice and cook for about 10 minutes more, until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees for medium-rare.  Add some chicken broth if the pan begins to dry out.  Slice the lamb into chops and spoon on the sauce to serve.


May 5, 2006

Wines & Cheeses Reviewed

  • 2004 Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio with Pave Venezio  Cheese
  • 2003 Capezzana Barco Reale di Carmignano with Talleggio Cheese
  • 1999 Chateau Magneau Graves with Pecorino Cheese

Listen to the Show for Recipe Ideas on Incorporating Cheese into your Menu Planning


April 28, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2004 Cascina Val Del Prete, Barbera D'Alba
  • 2004 "R" Barbera


Roasted Pork Loin Stuffed with Spinach and Prosciutto

Two (2) 10-oz. packages of frozen chopped spinach, thawed

2/3 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 T extra-virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

Two 3-lb. boneless pork loins, butter flied

1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto

1 1/2 c. chicken stock or broth

1/2 c. dry white wine

1 t flour, mixed with 1 T of water

*Squeeze the water from the chopped spinach.  In a medium bowl, mix the spinach with the Parmesan cheese, minced garlic and 2 T of the extra-virgin olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

*Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Set the pork loins on a work surface, opening them up like a book, with the cut side up.  Season the inside of the pork loins generously with salt and pepper.  Cover the pork loins with a single layer of overlapping prosciutto slices; spoon the spinach filling into the center of the pork loins.  Shape the filling into a thin log that runs along the center of each loin.  Roll up the pork loins and tie them with kitchen twine at 1 1/2" intervals.  Season the pork loins generously with salt and pepper.

*Heat the remaining 1 T of extra-virgin olive oil in a very large ovenproof skillet until shimmering.  Add the pork loins and cook over moderately high heat until they are browned all over, about 10 minutes.  Transfer the pork loins to a large platter.

*Pour off any fat from the skillet and return it to high heat.  Add half of the chicken stock and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Return the pork loins to the skillet and roast them in the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 145 degrees.  Transfer the pork loins to a large cutting board, cover loosely with foil and let stand for  15 minutes.

*Pour the juices from the skillet into a small saucepan and skim off the fat.  Add the remaining 3/4 c. of chicken stock to the skillet and set it over high heat.  Add the wine and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet and boil until reduced to a few tablespoons.  Add the pan juices to the saucepan and bring to a boil.   Whisk in the flour slurry and simmer until slightly thickened.  Season with salt and pepper.

*Untie the pork loins and carve the meat into 1/2" thick slices.  Arrange on a platter and drizzle the pan juices over the meat. 

*Serves 12


April 21, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2004 Rose' Goats do Roam
  • 2005 Rose' di Arie


Seared Tuna Steaks Topped with a Mediterranean Tapanede

4 5-oz. portions of tuna steaks, cut into 1" thick pieces

4 T extra virgin olive oil

1/4 c. onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c. cured black olives, chopped

2 anchovy filets, minced

1 T parsley, minced

Zest of 1 lemon

*Brush 2 T of the olive oil over the tuna and gril to a medium-rare rosy pink color.

*Make the tapenade by combining the remaining ingredients in a bowl and serve as a topping for the tuna steaks.


April 14, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2001 Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2004 Estates Riverstone Chardonnay


Roasted Chicken with Spring Herbs

1 4 lb. whole chicken

1 lemon, quartered

3 cloves garlic, whole

3 T extra virgin olive oil

3 T chopped fresh Spring herbs, parsley, thyme, chives, sage, minced

3/4 c. Dry Vermouth

1/4 c. honey

1/8 c. fresh lemon juice

1/4 c. water or chicken broth

*Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

*Remove the giblets and neck from the chicken and discard.  Rinse the chicken well and pat dry.  Place the lemon, garlic, and one-half of the herbs inside the cavity of the chicken. 

*Rub olive oil over the outside of the chicken.  Mix the honey with the  remaining herbs and baste over the chicken.  Season generously with salt and pepper.

*Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan. Add the Dry Vermouth, honey and lemon juice to the pan.  Roast in oven for 50-60 minutes, or until the meat thermoter reaches 170 degrees.   As the broth evaporates, add water or chicken broth.  Using a baster, occasionally baste the pan drippings over the chicken.  

*Remove from the rack and set chicken aside for about 10 minutes. 

*Carve the chicken and serve over peppery watercress or pungunt arugula tossed with sliced cherry tomatoes.  Spoon the pan juices over the chicken, or make a separate champagne vinagriette for this purpose.

*Serves 4


April 7, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2003 Riva Ranch Chardonnay
  • 2003 Crane Ridge Merlot


Red  Torpedo Onion, Young Leek and Haricot Vert Ragout, served with Roasted Potatoes and Topped with a Citrus Herb Pesto (Compliments of Wente Vineyards)

4 6-oz. pieces of salmon, skin & bones removed

1 1/4 lb. new potatoes, quartered for roasting (store in water)

1/2 lb. haricot verts, cleaned and blanched

12 small carrots, peeled and blanched

1 c. young leeks, white part only, thinly sliced

1/2 c. red torpedo onion, thinly sliced

olive oil

kosher salt and fresh ground pepper


1 bunch lemon thyme, stripped off its stems

1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 T pine nuts

1/2 c. olive oil

kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

*To make the pesto:  Combine the herbs, garlic, lemon juice and pine nuts in a food processor.  Add half of the oil and process to a smooth sauce, while slowly adding the remainder of the oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Taste, and add more lemon juice, if desired.

*To roast the potatoes: Warm a heavy bottomed, ovenproof pan with 3 T of olive oil over medium high heat.  Pat the potatoes dry with a paper towel after removing them from the water.  Place the potatoes carefully into the hot pan, in a single layer, cut side down.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Leave the pan over the heat until potatoes begin to turn lightly golden brown.  Remove from the burner, shake gently to move the potatoes around, and place the pan into the heated oven.

*To cook the salmon: Place a saute pan over high heat with 3 T olive oil.  Sprinkle the salmon pieces with salt and pepper.  When the oil comes almost to a smoking point, set the salmon pieces into the pan, skin side down (the skin is removed).  Lower the heat slightly and cook until golden brown.  Turn the salmon pieces and place the pan into the oven for approximately 5-7 minutes.  While the salmon and the potatoes are roasting in the oven, prepare the vegetable ragout.

*Heat the saucepan with a little olive oil over medium high heat.  Saute the leeks and the torpedo onions until tender.  Then add the carrots and the haricot verts.  Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes.  Remove the potatoes and the salmon from the oven, and drain on paper towels.  Divide the potatoes onto four plates and follow with the vegetable ragout.  Place the salmon pieces on top and drizzle with the herb pesto.

*Serves 4.


Homemade Pizza topped with Fennel Sausage, Oyster Mushroom, Broccoli Rabe, Garlic & Mozzarella Cheese

(Compliments of Wente Vineyards)

Pizza Dough (makes 10 dough balls):

3 c. bread flour, more for kneading

1 T, plus 1/2 t dry yeast

2 1/2 T salt

1 1/2 T sugar

1/4 c olive oil

1 1/3 c warm water

*In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.  Set aside for 10 minutes, until the yeast begins to bloom.  Add salt, oil and flour, little by little.  Continue to stir and incorporate flour.  Turn the dough onto a flour dusted surface, as it begins to form a ball.  Knead the dough by hand, adding a little flour if it feels too sticky.  Work the dough by kneading thoroughly for 12-15 minutes.  Set the dough into an oiled bowl large enough to allow it to double in size, while rising.  Cover the bowl with a clean towel and set aside in a warm place.  Punch down the dough once it has doubled in size.  Remove from the bowl and divide into 10 even portions.  Roll those portions into smooth balls and place on a sheet pan.  Refrigerate the dough balls after covering the sheet pan with plastic film.  Dough balls can be frozen at this point, but need to be thawed in the refrigerator over several hours once kneaded.

*Prior to assembling the pizzas, preheat the oven to 500 degrees.  Pizzas are best when baked on a pizza stone, or the back of a sheet pan.  Lightly dust the stone or pan with flour.  Flatten the dough ball with the palm of your hand then continue to stretch it evenly around, pressing the edges with your fingertips.  Form a circular shape of even thickness.  Place the flattened dough onto a lighly dusted pizza peel or the back of a sheet pan, allowing you to slide the assembled pizza into the oven.


Cooked Fennel Sausage

Oyster Mushrooms

Broccoli Raab

Garlic, minced

Mozzarella cheese, shredded

*Top the pizza with shredded mozzarella cheese, sliced and cooked fennel sausage, sauteed oyster mushrooms, and broccoli rabe that has been sauteed with minced garlic.

*Slice the assembled pizzas into the oven.  Bake until the edges turn golden brown, approximately 6-8 minutes.

*Each pizza serves 4 as an appetizer, or 2 as an entree.


March 31, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2003 Zola Caberent Sauvignon
  • 2003 Melipal Malbec


Grilled Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

1 1/4 pounds skirt steak

1/2 c. olive oil

2 T fresh lemon juice

1/3 c. parsley, minced

2-4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 shallots, minced

1 T fresh herbs (basil, thyme, and/or oregano), minced

2 T jalapeno chiles, minced

*Puree all of the ingredients (except the skirt steak) in a food processor.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

*Grill steak to rare to medium rare.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Cut into thin slices cut on the diagonal.  Top steak with large dollops of chimichurri sauce and serve.

*Serves 6. 


March 24, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • King Fish Chardonnay (Boxed Wine)
  • Delicato Merlot (Boxed Wine)
  • Black Box Shiraz (Boxed Wine)


Pinchitos Morunos (Grilled Spanish Pork Kabobs)

1/2 t cumin seeds

1/2 t coriander seeds

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 t Hungarian Smoky paprika

2 t dried oregano

2 t mixed herbs (parsley, rosemary, thyme), finely chopped

Zest of 1 lemon

1 T lemon juice

3 T olive oil

1 1/4 lb. lean pork, cubed

salt and pepper

*Toast the cumin and coriander seeds and then grind in a food processor.  Work in the garlic with the salt.  Remove and place in a bowl.  Add the paprika, oregano, and herbs.  Mix in the lemon juice

and rind.  Stir in the oil.

*Cut the pork into medium size cubes, then place in a large plastic bag or shallow dish.  Pour marinade over the meat and ensure it is well coated.  Allow it to marinade for 2 hours, up to overnight.

*Preheat the grill to high.  Spread the kabobs out in a row on the grill close to the heat and cook for about 3 minutes per side.  Spoon additional marinade over the meat as it cooks.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

*Serves 4.


March 17, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • Beaucanon Estate 2002 Ehlers Lane Chardonnay
  • Beaucanon Estate 2001 Trifecta


Beef Medallions in a Rich Red Wine Sauce

1 5-pound center-cut beef tenderloin

Kosher salt

4 T coarsely ground peppercorns (black, green, pink)

2 T vegetable oil

3 T olive oil

10 shallots, unpeeled


5 T unsalted butter, softened

3 shallots, peeled and sliced

1 750-ml bottle of red wine (Merlot or Cabernet Blend)

2 c. vegetable broth

1/4 c flour

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

*Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Toss the unpeeled shallots with the olive oil and scatter in the roasting pan.  Roast for about 25 minutes and remove from oven.

*Slice the beef in 1/2" slices, and pat dry.  Season it generously with salt and roll the edges in the peppercorn mixture to coat, pressing the mixture in the beef well.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot.  Add the vegetable oil to the skillet and heat until smoking.  Brown the meat on both sides. 

*Transfer the meat to the roasting pan with the shallots and cover with foil until serving.


*Add 1 T of the butter and the sliced shallots to the skillet and cook over high heat until tender.  Add wine and vegetable broth and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet.  Bring to a brisk boil and cook until reduced by about half. 

*In a small bowl, make a paste with the remaining 4 T butter and the flour.  Whisk the butter mixture into the reduced wine mixture in small amounts at a time.  Return to a full boil and cook the sauce until thick, about 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

*Arrange the beef and roasted shallots on a platter.  Drizzle some sauce over the meat and serve.  Pass extra sauce to taste. 

*Serves 10.


March 10, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • Bonny Doon Framboise, Infusion of Raspberries, NV
  • Muscat de Beaulieu


Creamy Almond Custard with Fresh Fruit

2 cups half-and-half or light cream

1/2 c. honey

1/4 t ground cardamon

1/4 t cinnamon

3 whole eggs

1/2 t pure vanilla extract

2 t almond extract

1/2 c toasted almonds (or pistachios), coarsely chopped for topping.

Fresh raspberries, or sliced apricots, or sliced peaches.

*Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

*Heat the milk or cream with the honey, cardamom and cinnamon in a small saucepan.  Bring up to scalding, but do not boil.

*Lightly whisk the eggs, gradually adding in the hot milk/cream.  Stir in the vanilla and almond extract.  Strain the mixture into a pitcher and pour into 6 custard cups or ramekins and place cups in a water bath.  Cover the pan with foil and bake for 50-60 minutes.  Remove the custards from the pan, refrigerate until cooled, covering with plastic wrap. 

*Bring to room temperature before serving.  Serve fresh raspberries with Framboise, or sliced fresh apricots or peaches with the Muscat.


March 3, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2003 Jeff Runquist Colina Poca Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2003 Jeff Runquist Paso Robles Syrah


Braised Pork Ribs and Sausage Smothered in Red Wine

1/4 lb. prosciutto or pancetta, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 T olive oil

6 large spicy pork sausages

1 1/2 pounds pork ribs, cut into 2" pieces

1 cup red wine

1 cup water

1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes

salt and pepper

1/2 c. pecorino cheese, grated

*Heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the prosciutto or pancetta, onion, carrot, celery, and garlic.  Saute until softened and pale golden in color, about 12 minutes.

*Prick the sausages with a fork in several places, add the sausages and ribs to the pan.  Once they have taken on a bit of color (about 10 minutes of cooking), add the wine.  Once the wine has evaporated, add the water, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

*Add the tomatoes, season with salt and peper, cover and cook over low heat until the pork is falling off of the bone, and the sauce is thick (about 1 1/2-2 hours.)

*Spoon off the discard the excess fat.  Serve the dish over polenta sprinkled with pecorino cheese.


February 24, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2000 Pretty-Smith Merlot
  • 2000 Pretty-Smith Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2000 Pretty-Smith Caberent Franc


Baked Cheesy Polenta with Sausage


2 cups coarse-grind polenta

4 cups milk

4 cups water

1 T salt

4 T unsalted butter

1/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated

1 1/2 c Fontina cheese, shredded

1 1/2 c Parmesan cheese, graated

Extra unsalted butter

Sausage Sauce:

4 T unsalted butter

2 large onions, chopped

1 pound ground pork

10 sweet Italian sausages, casing removed, meat crumbled

3 c tomato sauce (preferably homemade)

1 c milk or heavy cream

salt and pepper

*To make the polenta, whisk together the polenta, water, milk and salt in a large saucepan.  Place over medium heat and slowly bring to a low boil, stirring from time to time.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until the polenta is thick and no longer feeels grainy, about 30 minutes.  Add 4 T butter, cheese and stir until the butter is melted.  Pour into an oiled rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate to chill until firm.

*To make the sausage sauce, in a heavy skillet, melt 4 T of butter over medium heat.  Add the onion, and saute until it begins to soften.  Add the ground pork and sausage and cook, stirring often to break up the meats, until the meat loses its pink color.  Pour in the tomato sauce, reduce the heat to very low, cover and simmer for about 2 hours.  As the sauce simmers, add the milk or cream, a spoonful or two at a time to prevent scorching.  The sauce should be thick and the juices should coat a spoon.  Season to tasew with salt and pepper.

*Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Butter or oil a 9"x12"x3" baking dish.  Cut the chilled polenta into squares, arrange a layer of the polenta on the bottom of the prepared dish, coverning completely.  Top evenly with half of the Fotina cheese.  Spoon on half of the sauce, sprinkle evenly with half of the Parmesan.  Repeat the layers, ending with Parmesan.  Dot the top with butter.

*Bake until the top is golden, about 40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes or so.  Cut into squares for serving.

*Serves 8-10


February 17, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2002 Hoopenburg Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2003 Headbutt Pinotage


Chile-Spiced Grilled Flank Steak

1/2 cup red wine

1/4 cup onion, finely minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 T Worcestershire sauce

1 t dry mustard

1 T freshly squeezed lime juice

1 1/2 T chiles, crushed or chopped

1/8 cup cilantro

1 1/2 lb. beef flank steak

*Combine wine, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, lime juice and chiles in a shallow bowl or a heavy plastic bag.  Trim any excess fat from outside of steak and place steak in marinade in a plastic bag.  Refrigerate overnight, or up to 3 days, turning occasionally.

*Preheat the grill to medium-high.  Place rack 3 inches above the heat.  Lightly brush rack with oil and place steak on rack.  Grill 3-5 minutes per side, or until browned on the outside and rare to medium rare on the inside.  Remove from grill and allow to stand for 20 minutes.  Cut on the diagonal into thin slices.  May be served with salsa.

*Serves 4


February 10, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2003 Johannishof QbA, Weingut Johannishof, Rheingau
  • 2003 Kaseler Nies'chen, Spatlese, Weingut Erben von Beulwitz, Alte Reben


Roasted Salmon on a Plank with Peanut Chipotle Sauce

1 large filet of salmon, skin and bones removed

salt and pepper

Peanut Chipotle Sauce:

3 T chipotle chile peppers (canned w/adobo), chopped

3 T tomatoes, diced

3 T dry white wine

1 T heavy cream

1 T peanut butter, smooth style

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into 6 pieces

salt and pepper

*Soak a slab of apple or pecan wood (approximately 2" thick, 12" long and 5" wide) in water for two days.  ***Do not use treated wood from the hardwood store!***

*Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Sprinkle the salmon fillets with salt and pepper.  Place the fillets on a soaked wooden plank and bake for 15 - 25 minutes, or until done to your taste preference.

*To make the sauce:  Place the chipotle chile peppers, tomatoes, white wine and heavy cream in a small saucepan.  Whisk the ingredients together and bring to a boil.  Remove the pan from the heat.

*Add the peanut butter to the sauce and whisk in.  While whisking continuously, add the butter piece by piece until melted.  Season sauce with salt and pepper.

*To serve, place a salmon fillet on each plate.  Spoon the Peanut Chipotle Sauce on top.


February 3, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • 2002 Domaine Drouhin, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
  • 2003 Chandon Pinot Meunier, Carneros


Leg of Lamb in a Greek Marinade of Yogurt & Cinnamon

1 leg of lamb, boned and butterflied

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon aniseed, toasted and ground

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups of yogurt

1/4 cup ouzo

olive oil

salt and pepper

*Trim all excess fat from the lamb.  Place in a nonaluminum container.  Puree the onion, garlic, spices, yogurt and ouzo in a food processor.  Pour the marinade over the lamb and refrigerate, covered, for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

*Bring the meat to room temperature.  Start a charcoal fire.  Brush the leg of lamb with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill for 10 to 15 minutes per side.  Some parts will be rare, others medium, as the leg varies in thickness.  Slice across the grain.


January 27, 2006

Tequilas Reviewed

  • El Tesoro Platinum De Don Felipe
  • Cazadores Reposado De Arandas
  • Tonala Anejo Tequila Suprema Reserva


Homemade Guacamole

3 ripe Haas avocados

1 lime, halved and juiced

1/3 cup Spanish onion, finely chopped

1 medium tomato, cubed

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 T. sea salt

2 fresh jalapenos, minced

1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped (optional)

*Cut each avocado in half and scoop the flesh into a bowl.  Cut into 1/2" pieces using two knives.

*Combine the remainder of the ingredients and gently fold into the avocado mixture.  Taste and adjust the seasonings to your preference.  Serve with tortilla chips.

*Serves 6


January 20, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • Casa Silva Carmenere 2004
  • Veramonte Primus Meritage 2004


Winter Beef Stew with Noodles

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1" cubes

Sea Salt

2 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 pound tomatoes, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds

1/2 cup beef broth

1 pound of carrots, peeled and cut into 2" lengths

2/3 cup brine-cured black olives, pitted

2 tablespoons fresh parsley or thyme

1 package of egg noodles

*Preheat the oven to 300 degrees (or use a crockpot on low heat.)

*Heat the oil in a skillet and quickly saute the meat, sprinkling with salt as it cooks, until well browned.  Add the onions and garlic to the meat and slowly saute until the onions have softened.  Stir in the tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of the cumin, the coriander and cook for 5 minutes.   

*Place meat mixture in a deep casserole dish.  

*Add 1/4 cup water, beef broth, and carrots.  Cover and simmer for approximately 3 hours in the oven. 

*Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin and black olives and cook for another 30 minutes or longer. 

*Prepare egg noodles according to package directions.

*Serve beef stew atop cooked noodles and garnish with parsley or thyme.


January 13, 2006

Wines Reviewed

  • Altos Los Hormigas Malbec 2004
  • Gazella Vinho Verde 2004


Baked Fish with Spanish Potatoes & Onions

2 pounds fish fillets, such as bass, turbot, grouper, or halibut

Sea Salt

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound baking potatoes, peeled and sliced thin

2 cups sliced onions, Vidalia, or other sweet onions

1/4 teaspoon threads of Saffron

1/2 teaspoon sweet Spanish smoked paprika

2 tablespoons fresh parsely, minced

*Sprinkle the fish with salt and arrange in a flat container.  Pour the lemon juice over the fish and allow to marinate while you prepare the remainder of the dish.

*Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in an oven proof casserole dish, add the potatoes in layers, and sprinkle each layer with salt.  Pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil over the potatoes. Stir in the onions, half of the Saffron, and half of the paprika. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven until the potatoes are almost tender, about 30 minutes, lifting and turning the potatoes occasionally.

*Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Take the potatoes out of the oven and remove the cover.  Drain the fish and arrange over the potatoes.  Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the fish and sprinkle with salt and the remaining Saffron and paprika.  Bake, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, until the fish is cooked through.   Sprinkle with parsley before serving. 


January 6, 2006 

Wines Reviewed

  • Porto Pocas L'Agrima Vinho Do Porto
  • Porto Pocas Director's Choice Special Reserve Tawny Port


Country Apple Tart with Spiced Brown Butter


1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces

2 large egg yolks, beaten 


Nonstick vegetable oil spray

5 1/2 pounds medium size Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored & 


5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

6 tablespoons sugar

Spiced Brown Butter

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 large vanilla bean, split lengthwise

6 whole cloves

3 whole star anise

1 cinnamon stick


2 large eggs

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

Vanilla ice cream


*Blend flour, sugar and salt in food processor.  Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add egg yolks and process until dough comes together in large moist clumps.   Gather dough into ball; flatten into a disk.  Cover with plastic wrap; chill 20 minutes.

*Spray 10" diameter springform pan with nonstick spary.  Divide dough into 2 equal pieces.

*Roll out 1 piece of dough on a generously floured surface to make a 10 1/2" round.  Roll dough up on rolling pin and transfer to pan.  Press dough round into bottom of pan, patching any cracks.

*Divide second dough piece of dough into 4 equal pieces.  Roll out each piece between palms and generously floured surface to make a 7" rope.  Place dough ropes end to end to form a continuous ring along bottom edge of pan.  Press dough ring firmly up the sides of pan, forming 1 3/4" high sides.  Press dough seams together to seal.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

*Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Bake crust just until set and very light golden around edges, about 10 minutes.  Cool.


*Position 1 rack in the bottom third of oven and 1 rack in the center of the oven.  Preheat to 400 degrees.

*Spray 2 heavy large rimmed baking sheets with nonstick spray.  Toss apples with butter and lemon juice in a large bowl.  Arrange in a single layer on the sheets, leaving spaces between apples.  Sprinkle 3 tablespoons sugar over the apples on each sheet.  Bake until apples are tender and golden brown, turning apples occasionally and rotating pans between the lower and higher racks, about 40 minutes.  Cool.

*Plan pan with crust on clean baking sheet.  Arrange apple wedges close together, in concentric circles in crust.

Spiced Brown Butter

*Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat.  Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into butter; add bean.  Add cloves, star anise and cinnamon stick.  Cook over low heat until butter turns golden brown and spices flavor butter, adjusting heat if necessary to prevent burning and stirring frequently, about 25 minutes.

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk eggs, sugar, flour and salt to blend in medium bowl.  Strain spiced brown butter mixture into egg mixture; whisk to blend.  Reserve vanilla bean, star anise and cinnamon stick; discard cloves.  Slowly pour egg mixture over apples in crust.  Bake until egg mixture is set, puffed and light golden and apples are deep golden brown, about 1 hour 5 minutes.  Cool on rack at least 30 minutes.

*Release pan sides.  Transfer tart to platter.  Serve tart slightly warm or at room temperature with Vanilla ice cream.


December 30, 2005

Wines Reviewed

  • Veuve Clicquot Champagne
  • Iron Horse 2002 Wedding Curvee Sparkling Wine
  • Louis Roederer NV Brut Premier Champagne


Gorgonzola-Stuffed Dates with Pancetta (provided by Chef James Porter)

12 oz. Gorgonzola, or other favorite Blue Cheese

24 thinly sliced pieces of Pancetta (or bacon)

24 Dates (or Prunes)

*Remove the pit from the dates and discard.

*Make a thin slice in each date, open the date and insert about 2 tablespoons of cheese.  Spread the cheese inside the date.  Close the date together and roll a slice of pancetta around the date.

*Heat in a 350 degree oven for approximately 5 to 10 minutes.

*Serves 24 pieces.


December 23, 2005

Wines Reviewed

  • 2002 Chateau de Cruzeau Pessac-Leognan Grand Vin Bordeaux
  • Mulled Spice Wine made with 2003 Erath Pinot Noir


Amaretto Flavored Biscotti Cookies

1 cup sugar

1 cup butter, softened

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon amaretto

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place parchment paper on two baking sheets.

*Place sugar and butter in a larage bowl and mix until light and fluffy.  Stir in eggs and amaretto.

*Combine dry ingredients, add to creamed mixture and mix well.  Stir in almonds.

*With floured hands, divide dough into fourths.  Shape each fourth into a log about one inch in diamater.  Place two long logs on each pan.

*Bake in center and top rack of oven for 20 minutes.  Switch pans after 10 minutes for even baking.  Remove from oven, carefully place on cutting board, and slice diagonally into 3/4 inch slices.  Rearrange slices, cut side down on pan and bake for 10 minutes.  Switch pans after 5 minutes.  Remove from oven, turn cookies and bake an additional 10 minutes, switching pans after 5 minutes.  Watch carefully to avoid excessive browning.

*Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

*Makes 48.


Mulled Spice Wine

1 7.5ml bottle of Pinot Noir (or other red wine)

1/3 cup sugar

3 cinnamon sticks

6 cloves

2 oranges, sliced

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup Brandy

*Place all ingredients (except Brandy) in a saucepan. Stir to mix well.  Simmer gently until warm.  Do not allow wine to boil.

*Add brandy and simmer for a few moments.  Strain and serve warm.

*Serves 6.


December 16, 2005

Wines Reviewed:

  • 2002 Pirramimma Petit Verdot
  • 2003 Twenty Bench Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon


Holiday Beef Tenderloin with a Red Wine-Peppercorn Sauce

1 3-pound beef tenderloin

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons butter

4 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

2 teaspoons flour

1/3 cup Sherry

1 1/2 cups dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot

1 1/2 cups beef broth

3 tablespoons beef demi-glace (available at a specialty food store)

3 tablespoons coarsely cracked pink peppercorns

1 tablespoon green peppercorns in brine, drained and coarsely chopped

*Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Season beef with salt and black pepper.  In a large oven-safe skillet, heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat.  Add tenderloin and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 40-50 minutes or until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the roast registers 130 degrees for medium rare.


Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.  Melt 1/4 cup butter in the skillet.  Add shallots, stir occasionally, and cook until shallots are golden brown (about 3-4 minutes.)

*Add the flour to the shallots and cook for 1 minute.  Add the Sherry and beef broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by half (about 15 minutes.)

*Whisk the demi-glace into the sauce and heat until combined.  Stir in the pink and green peppercorns.  Transfer sauce to a double boiler and keep warm until ready to serve.

*When roast has cooked to desired temperature, brush with remaining butter and cover lightly with foil.  Let stand for 15 minutes before carving.  Cut roast into 1/2" thick slices and serve warm with the sauce.

*Serves 8-10


December 9, 2005

Wines Reviewed:

  • 2003 Louis Latour Chassagne-Montrachet
  • 2002 Round Pond Rutherford Nebbiolo


Porcini Mushroom and Fontina Cheese Tart


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

pinch of salt

6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter

1 egg, lightly beaten

About 2 tablespoons ice water


6 tablespoons, plus 1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups milk, heated

1/2 pound fresh porcini mushrooms, sliced

2 whole eggs, separated, plus 2 egg whites

1 3/4 cups Fontina cheese, grated

salt and freshly ground black pepper

freshly grated nutmeg

*To make the pastry, stir together the flour and salt in a bowl.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add the egg and enough ice water for the dough to come together into a rough ball.  Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour.

*On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry into a 12" round about 1/8" thick.  Carefully transfer the dough round to the pan and ease it into the bottom and sides.  Fold the edges under and crimp the crust.  Set aside in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to fill and bake.

*Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

*To make the filling, first make a rich cream sauce by melting 6 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring until it is well incorporated, about 3 minutes.  Slowly stir in the hot milk and cook, stirring often, until quite thick and the flour has lost all of its raw taste, about 8 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

*Melt the 1/4 cup butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms and saute until tender and the liquid evaporates, 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat, transfer to a cutting board, and chop coarsely.  Set aside.

*In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks until blended, then fold into the cream sauce along with the cheese and the mushrooms.  Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.  In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Fold the egg whites into the cheese mixture.  Pour into the prepared pastry shell.

*Bake the tart until golden, 25 to 30 minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove the pan sides and slide the tart onto a serving plate, or leave in the pie pan.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

*Serves 6-8


December 2, 2005

Wines Reviewed:

  • 2004 Santa Rita Hills Casa Barranca Pinot Noir
  • 2000 Zenato Amarone Classico Della Valpolicella


Blue Cheese Shortbread (provided by Chef Andy Broder)

1 1/4 cups butter, room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg yolk

1 pound blue cheese, room temperature

4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup finely ground pecans

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

*In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and egg yolk.  Add the blue cheese and cream thoroughly.  Add the flour, ground pecans, salt and pepper.  Blend to make a smooth dough.

*Divide the dough into quarters, and shape each quarter into a log about 1 1/4 inch in diameter.  Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight.

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut each log into slices 1/4 inch thick, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

*Bake 12-15 minutes (until dry and lightly colored).  Transfer to wire rack to cool.

*Option: Top each shortbread round with a pecan half (press down to secure) before baking.


Parmesan Palmiers (provided by Chef Andy Broder)

1 puff pastry sheet (1/2 of one package  1.1 pounds), thawed according to package directions

olive oil spray

2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

4 tablespoons fresh chopped basil (or other herbs may be substituted)

fresh ground pepper, to taste.

*Unford one sheet puff pastry.  With a rolling pin, gently stretch it by about one inch in both length and width.  Cut it in half, so that you have two equal pieces, about six inches wide and nine inches long

*Set one piece on the counter in front of you, with a six inch side closest to you.  Spray lightly with olive oil spray.  Sprinkle evenly with 1/3 cup Parmesan.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil.  Sprinkle with a few grinds of fresh black pepper.

*Fold the right side of the puff pastry toward the center, about a one-inch fold.  Do the same with the left.  Now fold the two together, like closing a book.  Set it aside.

*Repeat this procedure with the other half of the puff pastry sheet.  Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

*Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the chilled pastry into slices one-fourth to one-third inch thick.  Place the slices on a baking sheet one and one-half inches apart. 
*Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes, or until golden.  Cool on rack.

*Serve warm or at room temperature.  After completely cooled, may be frozen for several weeks.





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