Spent the last few days in El Paso, Texas.
Special thanks to Cafe Central for hosting me and Ramian Wines for a really cool private dinner and tasting for 30 people.
The second event I attended was at the hippest place in El Paso called SuZu. The food was amazing – surf and turf – and the company even better.
Watch and listen to the story behind Brian Graham and his dream to become a winemaker. Brian is interviewed by the hosts of The Broadcast TV Show in Dallas, Texas. The hosts have a chance to sample two wines, the Rousanne white wine and The General Cabernet, named after the infamous General of Texas, Sam Houston.
Memorial Day is fast approaching, which means “barbeque time” at least in my family. You can prepare any protein on the grill in a healthy way, this recipe is a good example of that. There are no substitutions for taste even though this dish is extremely healthy.
When talking about ingredients in Thai food, you can never really miss coconut milk. This is one of the main ingredients used in Thai cooking, and can be used in sweet or savory dishes. Thailand being a tropical climate, coconuts, papayas, mango’s and jackfruit grow all over.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
-4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
-14 oz coconut milk or cream
-zest from 1 lime
-juice from 1 lime
-1 tsp chili powder
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
-1/2 Serrano chili, minced
-salt and pepper to taste
-4 cups cubed pineapple
-4 cups onion, quartered, separated
-2 cups Basmati rice
-1 cup shredded coconut, toasted
-2 green onions, sliced
-1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
-1/2 cup roasted pistachios, chopped
-pinch of cinnamon
-In a large bowl, combine the coconut milk, lime zest and juice, chili powder, garlic, ginger, serrano chili, salt and pepper. I usually use a whisk to combine.
-Add the chicken to the bowl, make sure it is fully submerged. Place plastic wrap over the top and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight (even better).
-Remove the chicken from the fridge at least half an hour ahead of time, cube the pork in order to get ready for the skewers. Soak your bamboo skewers for 15-20 minutes before placing on the grill (so they won’t burn). Heat your grill to medium high (If you don’t have a barbeque, you can use a cast iron grill pan as I am going to do).
-Pat the chicken dry, cube it, brush with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the cubes on the skewers, about 1 breast on each skewer. Place over medium high heat, 5-7 minutes on each side or until done.
-While this is cooking, make the rice by following the instructions on the bag (sometimes the time and amount of water differs). Toast the coconut and pistachios on 300 degrees in the oven for about 20 minutes, rotating a few times. Make sure to keep the nuts and coconut separate.
-Cube the pineapple and the onions, place on skewers rotating the pineapple and onions. Also cook on the grill pan or barbeque on medium high heat for about 5-7 minutes on each side as well.
-Once the meat, pineapple and rice is done, in a small bowl combine the cilantro, toasted pistachios and cinnamon together. To plate, place a pile of rice on the bottom of the plate, toss with the toasted coconut and sliced green onions. Next, place the chicken skewer and pineapple and onion skewer on top and garnish with the cilantro mixture.
-Serve right away, hope you enjoy!!
I look forward to the quiet weeks. These are the weeks a winemaker hones his craft. Tasting through every barrel, admiring the success of a vintage, saddened if one doesn’t come out as hoped.
Working on the 2012 wines this week and I reaffirmed the beauty of the vintage.
Massive fruit, great balance and tannin management…Excited about bottling in a few months. They’ll be ready for our fans in 2015.
As a child, I despised peas as most of us did (lol), but as an adult I have grown to love them. Right now, we are in pea season as the weather this year has produced an amazing crop.
One of my favorite ways to prepare these beauties is to leave them whole, in the shell and grill them on high heat with a bit of lemon juice and salt.
Local, seasonal radishes make a huge difference in this dish because they have minimal bitter flavors. The local guys I picked up at Big Ranch Farms down the road are super sweet.
Add these components together for a quick spring salad that is near and dear to my heart.
Peas aid in weight management due to their high amount of fiber, which keeps you full for a longer period of time. They also possess polyphenols which have been linked to stomach cancer prevention. The most important property for most of us women is the fact that they contain anti-aging properties as well because of their strong anti-inflammatory properties.
-1 pound snow peas, sliced thin, lengthwise
-3 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
-1/2 pound fresh radishes, shaved on a mandolin and sliced thin
-1 cup crumbled or cubed feta cheese
-3 tsp dijon mustard
-2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
-1/4 cup olive oil
-3 tbsp shallots, minced
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 pound shrimp
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-juice of 1 lemons
-2 tbsp butter
-salt and pepper to taste
-pinch of cayenne pepper
For the salad, in a large bowl, mix together the mustard, vinegar, oil, shallots, tarragon and salt and pepper. Add the spring peas, sliced radishes and feta, let sit for a while in the refrigerator so that all the flavors can combine.
For the shrimp, season with salt and pepper and then place on skewers. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the shrimp, garlic, lemon juice and cayenne. Cook, tossing until they are pink, 2-3 minutes per side.
To assemble, place a good portion of the salad on a plate and top with 1-2 skewers depending on how big your skewers are, Serve right away…….enjoy.
My father made the absolute best ribs growing up, we ate them on special occasions and boy did I look forward to it. He barbecued large beef ribs but marinated them for hours beforehand and let me tell you, they were yummy!! I came across this (pork) rib recipe in the new Donna Hay magazine, and it looked like (although a different version of my father’s), very good. I usually come up with recipes on my blog based on what I see at the Farmer’s Markets and local farms around Napa, but this looked so good, I had to give it a try.
One of the main ingredients in this recipe is apple cider vinegar, which made me very happy because I use it for just about everything. It not only tastes good, but has numerous health benefits. It has antibiotic properties, which can help with tummy aches, diarrhea, food poisoning. It can help cure sore throats because infections cannot survive in the acidic environment that vinegar provides. It also contains potassium which thins mucus, so the next time you have a stuffy nose, place a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into a cup of warm water and it will help. I could go on and on regarding it’s health benefits, but you can check this website out for more helpful tips (www.bragg.com).
A dry Rose would pair well with this dish, because the sweetness from the maple syrup and apple juice would compliment it well.
-2 litres apple juice
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1 cup apple cider vinegar
-3 bay leaves
-2 tbsp salt
-1 tbsp black peppercorns
-2 cups water
-4 racks American style pork ribs
-1 cup maple syrup
-1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
-1 tsp cayenne pepper
-2 cloves garlic, crushed
-1 tbsp sea salt
-Place the apple juice, sugar, vinegar, bay leaves, salt, peppercorns, and water in a large saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the ribs, reduce the heat to medium and cover with a lid. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the ribs are tender.
While the ribs are cooking, make the maple-apple marinade. Place the maple syrup, vinegar, cayenne pepper, garlic, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix to combine.
Carefully remove the ribs from the cooking liquid and place in a large deep sided tray or dish. While the ribs are still hot, pour over the marinade and rub evenly over the ribs to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes until cool, or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the ribs on a wire racks set over two baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Roast for 20 minutes brush gin with the marinade every 5 minutes, until golden and caramelized.
The Apple, Cucumber and Witlof Slaw; Ingredients
-3 witlofs (belgium endive), shredded
-1 large english cucumber, peeled, seeded, thinly sliced
-3 small granny smith apples, cored and thinly sliced
-1 bunch chives, chopped
-1 cup buttermilk
-1/2 cup greek yogurt
-2 tsp Dijon mustard
-2 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
-Place the buttermilk, yogurt, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk. Place all other ingredients in the bowl and toss to combine. This can be made ahead of time.
I made the slaw first, set it aside and refrigerated it, done
Carrots are just beginning to come into season, here is a dish that is simple to make, yet very tasty. When Spring hits, I look forward to the lighter vegetables in season, and am usually ready to let go of all root vegetables, but I have to say I love carrots year round. They can pretty much be used in any way, shape or form. Raw, baked, grilled, sautéed, or even confit.
And anywhere I can stick basil pesto into a recipe, I will. Basil acts as a phytochemical which is an anti-oxidant; the garlic reduces cholesterol and lowers blood pressure.
As for the black lentils, they are loaded with iron. You could honestly eliminate the chicken from this recipe and get plenty of protein just from the lentils. They are also a soluble fiber which helps to lower cholesterol and improve immune function.
Grenache or a Zinfandel would pair very well. The bright fruit flavors and high acid structure will complement basil pesto, carrots and garlic.
Ingredients: Serves 4
-1 whole chicken
-homemade or store bought pesto; 1/2 cup
-4 tbsp salted butter
-1 1/2 lbs multi-colored carrots
-1/2 cup minced onion
-3 minced garlic cloves
-3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
-2 cups black lentils (you can substitute with regular lentils)
-2 tbsp paprika
-1 tbsp cayenne
-salt and pepper to taste
First, start the barbecue or preheat the oven ( If you are baking the chicken in the oven, bake on 375 degrees for an hour to an hour and a half, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees). I smoked the chicken, so I cooked it on 200 degrees for 2 hours or until it reached the correct temp. Mix together the pesto and butter and then stuff it into the skin on the chicken as far down as you can. You want to try to cover as much space as possible on the chicken. It’s ready to smoke. When the chicken is done let rest for at least 30 minutes until carving, this will allow the juices to rest and stay within the chicken and not run out.
Next, in a saucepan, place a little oil in, and sauté the onions and garlic on medium heat until golden. Add the broth, lentils, 1 tbsp paprika, 1/2 tbsp cayenne, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until lentils are done.
Heat your oven to 400 degrees for the carrots. Combine the carrots, 2 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, 1 tbsp paprika, and 1/2 tbsp cayenne. Toss well, then arrange on a cookie sheet in a single layer and bake for 30 minutes.
When all components of this dish are done, place the lentil down first on a serving plate. Next, place the carrots on the lentils and then sliced chicken on top. You can garnish with extra pesto if you wish to add color to the dish.
(Original post found on www.fromourtable.com)
Spring is here!! I know it felt like it never left here in California, last winter was unseasonably Spring like. But nonetheless it has arrived, and so have all of my favorite veggies. English peas, fava beans, asparagus, radishes, artichokes, beets….oh my! I have discussed my love for fava beans in my previous posts, and have been waiting all winter long to share this with you. This is such a simple yet tasty dish, and will be good for an appetizer or a light lunch.
Fava beans contain a high concentration of thiamin, vitamin K, vitamin B-6, potassium, copper, selenium, zinc and magnesium. They also contain lean protein for those of you who are vegetarian or vegan.
The name burrata means “buttered” in Italian. And it consists of mozzarella cheese and cream. The outside layer of burrata is mozzarella cheese and the inside is a thickened cream, so when you cut it open it oozes out. It was first produced in the 1920′s, because people found a way to use the scraps of mozzarella, and has been widely popular ever since.
Our Ramian Roussanne would pair perfectly with this dish because the high acid from the wine compliments the burrata and the balsamic vinegar. It also has dense tropical fruit flavors and Chardonnay-like mouth feel.
Ingredients: Serves 3
-8 oz. burrata cheese -6 slices crostini bread -1 cup shelled fava beans -2 garlic cloves, whole -basil for garnish -balsamic glaze for garnish -red pepper flakes for garnish -salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. First, shell the fava beans. Place a little olive oil in a skillet on medium heat, along with the fava beans and garlic. Cook for about 5-10 minutes depending on how large the fava beans are (mine were very small). They will be a little tender when they are done. Discard the garlic and place the crostini in the oven for 6 minutes (I brushed olive oil on top of the crostini).
When the bread comes out, you can assemble. First, place 2 pieces of crostini on the plate. Cut the burrata into 3 sections and place on one end of the crostini. Next, scoop 1/3 of the fava beans onto the plate and drizzle with a little balsamic glaze. Sprinkle a little sea salt, chopped basil and red pepper flakes on top to finish and serve right away.
I absolutely love all flavors that Spring has to offer. Everything is in bloom right now in Napa, and boy is it gorgeous. My favorite thing is to find small produce stands on the side of the road that only carry local, seasonal produce. Yesterday I found the “Sonoma Valley Fruit Basket”, which is where I bought almost all ingredients for this recipe. I’m having withdrawals from not being able to have my huge garden this year due to our small backyard at our new house, so these finds are very important to me. Also, “buying-local” is not only a feel good thing, but many researchers have concluded the fact that there is a profound economic impact of keeping money in town and how the fate of many communities around the nation increasingly depend on it.
Black garlic is a fermented product that has a little garlic flavor left in it, but becomes almost sweet. If you take a look at one of the new trends popping up in all grocery stores, you will find that olive bars, along with pickles, roasted pickled peppers and mushrooms and even pickled cheese are there. One of the reasons for this is because we are starting to realize how beneficial to our health fermented products are. They increase your overall nutrition by promoting the growth of friendly intestinal bacteria. Fermented products also aid in digestion, support immune function, including an increase in B vitamins (even Vitamin B12), omega-3 fatty acids, digestive enzymes, lactase and lactic acid, and other immune chemicals that fight off harmful bacteria and even cancer cells. So say “yes” to sauerkraut!!!!
Ingredients: (Serves 4)
-1 lb fusilli pasta
-1 cup cherry tomatoes
-1/2 fresno chile, small dice
-1/2 red onion, small dice
-1 cup chopped cremini mushrooms
-zest of 1 lemon
-6 cloves black garlic
-1/2 cup olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste
-First, start the pasta water, bring to a boil. Throw in the fusilli until al dente. Set aside, but save some of that delicious and starchy pasta water for the sauce.
-While the water is coming to a boil, place a cast iron skillet on medium high with just enough butter to coat the bottom of the pan. Place the mushrooms in the pan, making sure not to overcrowd, cook until brown on both sides. Remove from pan. In the same pan, on medium heat cook the black garlic, onions and chilies until almost translucent. At this point, stir in the cherry tomatoes and cook for about 3-4 minutes. At the point you can put the mushrooms back in the pan, add the zest, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup of starchy pasta water and the fusilli. Toss to combine and garnish with basil and Pecorino Romano Cheese.