September 2010 Archives

Pumpkin Curry Soup

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PumpkinCurrySoupl.jpgSubmitted by Chef Robin Lehnhoff-McCray, Valley of the Moon Winery

It is finally fresh pumpkin season, one of my favorite times of year for soup. This pumpkin soup recipe is prepared with fresh pumpkin along with good quality curry spices. These flavors pair perfectly with the light floral, fruity notes that the Pinot Blanc embraces and finishes nicely with the coconut milk to add balance to the wines acidity.

Family-Style Dinners at Farmstead

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Photo by Kristen Loken
By Deirdre Bourdet

While some say the recession has officially ended, the focus on back-to-basics, close to home recession specials continues, unabated.  Farmstead Restaurant in St. Helena recently launched a series of moderately priced, family-style dinners aimed at starting some new monthly traditions for this fall.   Whether you're a fan of fish fries, intimate winemaker dinners, or whole hog roasts, Farmstead has a dinner for you.  And as always at Farmstead, the ingredients for these dinners are entirely local, sourced from nearby purveyors and from Long Meadow Ranch itself.  

Where to Lunch in the City of Napa

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By Deirdre Bourdet

For many, fall means back to school, back to work, and a brutal reality check to the hedonism and decadence of summertime.  In wine country, though, autumn ushers in harvest party season and every excuse you need to keep on keeping on with that summertime spirit--even if only for a day.  

The City of Napa's location at the southernmost portion of the valley makes it an ideal destination for busy folks on a shorter leash.  With about 20 tasting rooms and one working winery (Twenty Rows) within city limits, visitors no longer need to rely solely on Carneros wineries for their wine tasting needs.  And with a slew of excellent restaurants serving lunch on the weekends, Napa is fully equipped for an afternoon of deliciousness.

Moroccan Inspired Braised Lamb Shanks

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Submitted by Celadon

Lamb-Shank.jpgMoroccan Inspired Braised Lamb Shanks with Golden Raisin and Toasted Almond Couscous

  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 1 LB  onion, large dice
  • 1 LB  carrots, large dice
  • 1/2 LB  fennel, large dice
  • 1/4 cup  olive oil

Season lamb shanks with salt and black pepper
Roast in a 450º oven until golden brown, about 30-40 minutes
Sauté vegetables in olive oil

Braised Beef (Sandwich)

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Submitted by Brix Restaurant

asian-braised-beef.jpgThis braised beef recipe is a great way to utilize the chain of a Fillet Mignon. It is served over toasted bread to make an open-faced sandwich
for lunch at Brix. This is an original recipe created by chef Anne Gingrass.

  • 2 ½     pounds    beef chain, trimmed and cut into 3 inch pieces
  • Season with salt and pepper and brown in a rondeau
  • 1  each small onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • ½  each carrot, cut on a diagonal
  • 1  stalk  celery, cut on a diagonal
  • ½  each jalapeno
  • 1-2  cloves garlic
  • 1  cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 2  stalks  lemongrass, sliced
  • 2  ¼ inch slices ginger
  • 1  each star anise
  • ½   small stick    cinnamon
  • 1  each lime leaves
  • 100  ml red wine
  • To cover veal stock

French Laundry Alum Does Takeout

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tunasalad.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

The French Laundry stands for many things... culinary perfectionism, wine country elegance, technical rigor, epicurean prestige, pristine ingredients, and the elusiveness of dinner reservations.  This August, a former French Laundry chef launched a more accessible form of culinary talent in the Oxbow Public Market.  

Graham Zanow and his wife Andrea are both graduates of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.  Andrea hails from Napa originally, so after several years of private chef-ing and other cooking jobs in various places, they settled in Napa and started Graham's Catering, an elite full service catering company with a passion for local and sustainable products. Last year the company catered meals for the Top Chef crew of celebrity judges, contestants, and crew members during the season 6 finale in Napa Valley, and this year, they opened a take-out storefront at the Oxbow Public Market.

Boon Fly Fried Chicken

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recipe_BoonFlyCafe_friedchicken.jpgSubmitted by Boon Fly Cafe

Complete meal includes:
10 Pieces Crispy Fried Chicken
Collard Greens

Fried Chicken (Ingredients)
  • 1 Whole chicken cut into 10 pieces (wing, thigh, drumstick, breast cut in half)
  • 2 cups Franks Hot Sauce
  • 1 Cup Butter Milk
  • 1 Tbl Cayenne
  • 1 Tbl Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbl Onion Powder
  • 5 cups AP Flour
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
f4.jpgSubmitted by  Chef Ryan Jette of FARM

FARM at The Carneros Inn provides an authentic wine country experience in a dramatic setting.  Chef de Cuisine Ryan Jette has created a menu reflecting the Inn's commitment to simple, elegant food, while highlighting wines of our region and organic and sustainable local agriculture. At FARM guests enjoy a true "farm to table experience, with their new culinary garden.  Also, come to Farm to enjoy the artisan cocktail menu  in the bar and outdoor Pavilion (featuring music on Thursdays through September).

Green Eggs and Ham

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recipe_BoonFly_GreenEggsHam.jpgSubmitted by Boon Fly Cafe

Complete breakfast includes:
  • Lemon Leek Cream
  • 4 Poached eggs
  • 4 Slices Country Ham
  • Hash Browns

Lemon Creek Cream (Ingredients)
  • 4 TBL Butter
  • 2 Bunches Scallions
  • 1 large Leek
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1 tsp Coriander Seed
  • 1 Cup Flat Leaf Parsley Leaves
  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • Kosher salt to Taste

Sweat scallions, coriander and leeks in butter until soft (no color).  Add lemon zest and juice and reduce by half. Add cream and slowly simmer for about 45 minutes ( do not let cream boil, it must only simmer slowly) Add parsley leaves and cook for 2 more minutes.  Puree all until very smooth. Season to taste with kosher salt.

Hash Browns (Ingredients)
  • 6 Russet Potatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt and freshly Ground Black Pepper

Toss potatoes with oil, salt and pepper. Place on a tray and roast for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.  When cool, peel potatoes and shred to be used for hash browns.

To plate:
Place Hash Brown Potatoes on bottom of plate, then add two poached eggs.  Carefully place fried ham sliced on top of eggs and ladle leek cream around.
Serves 2

The Small Kitchen Magician

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wcPersonalityWineTrain.jpgby Kira Devitt, Napa Valley Wine Train Marketing
If you were to meet Chef Kelly Macdonald on the street, with his charming smile and fiery personality, you'd immediately notice that he is not your average celebrity chef.  As Executive Chef on the Wine Train, Macdonald has one of the most unique jobs in the Napa Valley.  Not only does he create delectable gourmet meals, but he does it all in a vintage railcar traveling to and from St. Helena and Napa.  Some might think that this job, in a small and moving kitchen, may be less than ideal for a chef exploring his talent. But Kelly Macdonald sees it as something completely different. Instead, he sees it as a challenge to make him a better chef. 

Quinoa Salad

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Quinoa-Salad.jpgby:  Kathy Glass, Director of Macaroni Salad, Platypus Tours

Wine Pairing Suggestion: Pairs beautifully with a slightly chilled un-oaked Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.

A delightful salad for warm days or evenings.  Quinoa meets many dietary requests in that it's gluten/wheat free, a natural protein and very tasty.  This dish is versatile as well.  Just leave out the cucumber and cilantro and serve it warm as a side dish in colder times of the year.

Best Bets For Brunch in Napa

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By Deirdre Bourdet

I'm a firm believer in the classic mom maxim that breakfast is the most important meal of the day--particularly if your day begins in Napa.  Lining the stomach against all-day wine tasting, and feeding the brain in order to remember what you've experienced are both essential for optimal enjoyment of this food and wine paradise. Here are some of the best places in Napa proper to begin your taste adventure.

Domo Arigato, Mister Morimoto

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morimoto1.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

To the collective delight of sushi lovers in wine country (and really, the entire state of California), Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto opened the doors of his first west coast restaurant in downtown Napa this July.  From what I can tell the place has been packed every night since it opened... including the random Wednesday evening I finally made it there to sample some of the Iron Chef's creations.