Gina Dallara: November 2009 Archives

'Tis the Season... for Olives

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By Deirdre Bourdet

The start of olive season always gets me excited because it means olio nuovo is here--the bright green, fresh out of the press, creamy and practically alive-tasting oil. It's the first, freshest extra virgin oil from a crush and it only keeps its magic for a short time, making it an elusive commodity. I love to finish salads or fish with a drizzle of the stuff, or just set out a dish with good bread and sea salt for one of the simplest and most delicious snacks ever... more than worthy of a quality bottle of vino to wash it down.

Buena Vista, Bueno Gusto

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BVC_Ramal+Vineyard+Estate_Windmill.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

As an incorrigibly food-obsessed individual, my favorite wine tastings are those that involve snacks as part of the experience. I was recently invited to visit Buena Vista Carneros to try their current releases and check out their Carneros Room tasting, the food and wine pairing program offered to visitors on Saturday mornings.
chili relleno-horzZ.jpgWild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Chile Rellenos with New Mexico Red Chile Sauce

Recipe provided by Zin Restaurant & Wine Bar chef/owner Jeff Mall from the Down Home : Downtown cookbook, with Josh Silvers from Syrah Bistro and published by Rodney Strong Vineyards.

Pair with Rodney Strong Knotty Vines Estate Zinfandel

Take in the changing of the seasons while sipping a glass of Rodney Strong's Knotty Vines Estate Zinfandel. Fresh, bright berry fruit from our heritage Russian River vineyard combined with the ripe pepper jamminess from our Alexander Valley vineyards make for wonderful diversity of flavor that compliment these chile rellenos.

Formule de Fig

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fig+front[1].jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

I love prix-fixe menus, and wish more restaurants outside of Europe embraced the concept. There is something very satisfying about walking into a restaurant and having the whole meal just brought to you without instruction, all thought out and planned and decided by the chefs. So obviously, when the girl and the fig invited me to come check out their Bistro Plat du Jour prix fixe, I jumped at the chance.
tart2.jpgOf course, your family expects a traditional holiday meal. But, you yearn for the fun and challenge of cooking up something a little different and adventurous. Why not do both? Prepare the traditional meal of time-honored favorites your family loves, but this time, give tradition a tasty timely tweak. Here are some recipes to help you discover that traditional doesn't have to mean predictable. We've taken holiday menu classics and recharged them with a few fresh new ingredients. Try these delectable subtle flavors that add to but don't overpower the familiar ones and take your holiday dinner from being a good meal to a great one.

Cranberry relish gets a new taste makeover - and powerful antioxidant boost - with the addition of a splash of Petite Sirah and a half cup of fresh blueberries mingled with the cranberries. The delicate sweetness of the blueberries helps tone down the cranberries' tartness in a beautiful glistening tapestry of rich jewel colors.

Cranberry And Blueberry Relish

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cranberry.jpgSubmitted by Concannon Vineyard

Cranberry relish gets a new taste makeover - and powerful antioxidant boost - with the addition of a splash of Petite Sirah and a half cup of fresh blueberries mingled with the cranberries. The delicate sweetness of the blueberries helps tone down the cranberries' tartness in a beautiful glistening tapestry of rich jewel colors.

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Active Time: 10 Minutes
Inactive Time: Refrigerate for 4 hours

Yields approximately 2 cups

Ingredients
  • 12 ounce package fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup Concannon Petite Sirah
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • ⅓ cup orange juice

CARAMELIZED WINE AND ONION TART

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tart.jpgFor a sensational savory side, try the caramelized onion and gruyere tart. Fresh Bermuda onions caramelized in butter to a golden brown blend with cream, eggs and heavenly gruyere. Fresh nutmeg and thyme send the flavor to the stratosphere plus scent the table with robust spicy holiday aromas.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Yields one 9-inch tart or 6 individual 4¼ inch mini tarts. Either option should be a fluted pan with a removable bottom. (Note: you may use store bought pastry or your own favorite pastry recipe.)

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups yellow onions, sliced thin
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • ½ cup Concannon Petite Sirah
  • 4 teaspoons fresh thyme, stems
    removed and chopped
  • 6 ounces prosciutto, chopped
  • 1 cup gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 sheet prepared pastry, thawed
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

In a large skillet, melt the butter and oil on medium high heat. Add the onions, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Sauté on low heat for 30 minutes until golden brown and velvety soft. Add the wine and cook an additional 10 minutes until the liquid has evaporated.

Cut the pastry to fit the fluted pans. Press the pastry on the bottom and against the sides. Poke holes on the bottom of shell and on the sides. Brush the borders of the tarts with the egg and assemble the prosciutto on the bottom of the tart. Add the gruyere cheese (evenly if using individual tarts) and top with the caramelized onions. Bake until golden at 350 degrees, about 20 minutes.

The New Napa Tippling Points

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The Border Michelada.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Recession-special happy hours are still popping up at a fabulous pace, even though the recession tide has turned and is (officially) over.  Downtown Napa recently added a couple of new and exciting options for happy hour tippling, besides Pica Pica Bar with its fab $3 drinks and ceviche.

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