General: February 2009 Archives

Eggsibitionist™ Gifting This Easter

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By Courtney Cochran

When I hosted a "Salty & Sweet" wine and food tasting in San Francisco last spring, I sought out products for sampling whose sophistication and good taste was matched by sense of whimsy. Hotel Chocolat - a decidedly design-forward luxury chocolatier with a penchant for capricious concoctions - fit the bill perfectly, a fact evidenced by the sheer delight with which many of my guests greeted the UK-based company's Chocolate Dipping Adventure kit, a centerpiece at the event.

Breakfast at Bella Villa Messina

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bellaVillaMessina.jpgBella Villa Messina is located in Sonoma Wine Country. They boast 5 rooms that feature goose-down comforters, fine linens, private baths, TVs with VCRs, Jacuzzi tubs, fireplaces and a superb Sonoma breakfast prepared each morning.

They submitted two recipes (Spinach Frittata or Hawaiian French Toast) that you can either try at home or perhaps taste when you make reservations at the villa!

Ferrari-Carano: Food & Wine Take Center Stage

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ferrariCarano.jpgSonoma County is famous for their year-round abundance of produce. Each season Ferrari-Carano's culinary gardens offer Rhonda Carano's inspiration for new and delicious recipes as well as tried and true recipes from her Italian ancestry. With farmers' markets spreading across the country and people's desire for fresh fruit and vegetables, it's becoming easier for today's cook to create fresh and diverse menus that are not only delicious, but also nutritious.

This ever-changing bounty of ingredients makes entertaining fun and pleasing for every palate when paired with the perfect wine. Below are two such recipes...

Grilled Lamb Chops with Wine-Mint Marinade
Wine Pairing: Ferrari-Carano Cabernet Sauvignon

Pasta Butterflies with Asparagus and Snowpeas
Wine Pairing: Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay

Ferrari-Carano also offers several other recipes online. Or use their Wine and Food Pairing Guide to assist you in selecting the ideal wine for all your entertaining needs.

Pasta Butterflies w/ Asparagus & Snowpeas

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Provided by Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery

Wine Pairing:
Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay, Alexander Valley

16-18 first course servings

Ingredients
  • 6 large eggs
  • 12 oz. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 2 lbs all-purpose flour
  • Cornmeal, as needed
  • Parmesan Cream Sauce (recipe follows)

Directions:
Combine eggs, tomato paste and salt in food processor and blend. Mix in eggs and blend till very well combined. Add flour slowly, and continue to mix until dough is formed into a ball. Take dough out and knead a little, then let rest.

Roll dough to thinnest possible setting on pasta machine. Lay strips of dough on a surface lightly dusted with cornmeal. Let rest, uncovered for 10 mins. Cut 1" x 2" rectangles, with a serrated hand wheel. Pinch in the center of each rectangle to form the "butterfly" shape, making sure the pinched center adheres.

Parmesan Cream Sauce:
  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 2 oz unsalted butter
  • 1/3 lb. snow peas, trimmed
  • 1-1/4 qt heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Trim and peel asparagus, cut on bias into 1" pieces. Blanch asparagus and drain and dry. Melt butter in sauté pan and add snowpeas and asparagus, sauté, tossing often until vegetables are tender. Add cream and cheese. Bring to boil and reduce until cream is slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss with pasta immediately.


Grilled Lamb Chops w/ Wine-Mint Marinade

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Recipe provided by Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery

Wine Pairing Suggestion
Ferrari-Carano Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley

Marinade:
  • 2 med. garlic cloves
  • 1 med. shallot
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped mint
  • 1 Tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 3 Tbsp dry red wine
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp mint jelly (or honey)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • 8 lamb chops, or rack of lamb
Finely chop garlic, shallot, mint and rosemary in food processor. Add mustard, red wine, olive oil and pepper, until blended. Rub on meat. Store in plastic Ziploc baggie.

Prepare barbecue and grill according to your likeness. Serve immediately.

Garnish with grilled peaches with Gorgonzola crumbled on top.


Pigs & Pinot: The Perfect Pairing

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pigsPinot.jpg
***Find 2010 info HERE. Event is March 19-20, 2010!***

HEALDSBURG, CA - Don't miss this year's Fourth Annual Celebration of Pigs & Pinot 2009 event, March 20-21, 2009 at Hotel Healdsburg. The weekend will include a series of intimate dining and educational events hosted by renowned Chef Palmer.

Tickets can be purchased directly online and there are several lodging packages available at Hotel Healdsburg which include access to all Pigs & Pinot events, including exclusive access to the Gala Dinner. But space is limited; so make sure you make advance reservations now!

Trans Fat Totalitarians?

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By Courtney Cochran

Last July California made headlines when it became the first state to ban - by 2010, that is - the use of artery-clogging trans fats in restaurants.  Hailed by nutrition advocates as a dramatic and positive step towards the betterment of public health, the Schwarzenegger-backed legislation has stirred up vehement opposition from some state residents who call the ban an infringement on their basic civil liberties.

PRESS Restaurant - Spring Specials

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pressRestaurantSteak.jpgST. HELENA, CA - Dine at PRESS Restaurant this Spring and enjoy their featured specials and limited time offers.

*MONDAY NIGHT DINNERS

Four course dinner served family style
See website on Sundays for menu
$55 per person

*Visit online to view weekly Monday Night Dinner Menu*

WINE LIST WEDNESDAYS
Free corkage and 50% off entire Napa Valley featured wine list until May 1, 2009

SUNDAY-THURSDAY BLUE PLATE BAR SPECIAL
Only at the PRESS bar
$10 Blue Plate Special that changes daily Call daily for chef's special selections

PRESS Restaurant
587 St. Helena Highway South
Call 707-967-0550 for reservations
www.presssthelena.com

Cooking with Ice Wine?

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icewine.jpgWhether a self proclaimed gourmet cook or one in hiding, you most likely know the benefits of cooking with wine and (in imitation of Julia Child) consider drinking wine while cooking a must.

I myself am no stranger to using a little Zin in spaghetti sauce, Chardonnay with sauteed mushrooms and butter, and scores of other wines when the recipe calls for it.  Of course, there are also those times, while drinking wine, when every dish seemed to warrant a dash of wine here and there whether dictated by a recipe or not, but I digress...

In any event, it never crossed my mind to use a dessert or ice wine in cooking. But lo and behold, I read an article A Lesson in Enjoying Ice Wine that aptly stated "You pair it with desserts, drink it after meals, but you've never thought to use it to make your desserts, or use it in your meals".  Perhaps, its time we all venture out into new territory.  Imagine all the wonderful possibilities of cooking with ice wine...like with your French Toast....

Happy Hour at Bounty Hunter Wine Bar

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bountyHunterBBQ.jpgNAPA, CA - Locals or any in the area during the work week trying to save a buck (or two) on a light late lunch or early dinner should stop by Bounty Hunter Wine Bar in downtown Napa.  Bounty Hunter boasts 40 wines by the glass and a seven page wine list of wines from around the world.

The items on their regular food menu can start to add up, but their happy hour is quite the bargain.  Happy Hour is Monday - Thursday only from 3 to 6 pm and features:

  • 2 For 1 - Bounty Hunter Brands By-The-Glass
  • 25% off the Wine List
  • $5 Quarter Slab BBQ Ribs & Slaw
  • $10 Smokin' BBQ Taster Plate
  • (includes ribs, brisket, & pulled pork)

Stop by for a small respite from the worries of life.

Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin' BBQ
975 First Street
Napa, CA 94559
www.bountyhunterwinebar.com


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