General: August 2009 Archives

In Memoriam: Ubuntu's Strawberry Sofrito Pizza

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strawberry sofrito sandwich.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Napa recently experienced a sudden, tragic, and devastating loss... Ubuntu took its strawberry sofrito pizza off the dinner menu. In my humble opinion, this dish showcased all the best qualities of the restaurant: uber-local organic ingredients, creatively prepared, internationally inspired, and perfectly executed. Who else would think to combine Napa's famous summer strawberries with onions and garlic, slow cook the mixture in olive oil for three days to a sweet, savory, caramelized nirvana, and then spread it on a thin-crust pizza with fresh burrata and pine nuts? It was bliss, and I was in love.

Halibut with Peach-Mango Salsa

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goosecrosswine.jpegIngredients:

  • 4 halibut fillets, 8 ounces each and 1 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon fine salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Salsa:

  • 2 fresh peaches, skinned and cut into ¼" dice
  • 1 mango, peeled and cut into ¼" dice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon crystallized ginger, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon mint, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Dash of salt

Lamb with Green Olives & Almonds

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lamb.JPGSubmitted by Louis M. Martini Winery

Since 1933, the wines of Louis M. Martini have been crafted in the belief that wine is best enjoyed with food and among friends and family. The Martini family has been gathering and creating recipes for generations, recipes made with their rich, distinctive wines in mind.
Here is one such recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 8 loin lamb chops
Marinade:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup Louis Martini cabernet sauvignon
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon. whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoon. Herbs de Provence
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon. paprika
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

What to Drink With That Junk Food?

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sherry and reeses.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

I recently attended a Women for Winesense event focused on pairing wines with ethnic cuisines, since most Americans these days eat some form of international cuisine as part of their weekly diet. Great idea, but what do you do when you're trying to rustle up a drink to go with your all-unnatural, luxuriously salty, and heart-stopping fatty favorite junk foods? For better or worse, American junk food is forever, and it seems more and more people are trying to find ways to enjoy wine with our nation's bad for the body, good for the soul contribution to international cuisine. Some fast food restaurants will soon be offering wine with your burgers and deep fried tortilla-wrapped gut bombs, so it's time for some experimentation. Here are some suggestions to try.

Crab Cakes with Sherry Mayonnaise

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

Wine Pairing: Rodney Strong Reserve Russian River Valley Chardonnay

Take a moment to enjoy the good life. Sipping a glass of Rodney Strong's refreshingly crisp and luscious Reserve Russian River Valley Chardonnay only get's sweeter when paired with it's perfect compliment-scrumptious crab cakes.

Redd-y for Action

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redds.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

I'd heard that Redd's bar has quite a scene, but I couldn't quite believe it until I showed up on a Monday night to standing room only. The two guys next to me were trying to pick up their to-go order (and whoever else would tag along), the newlyweds on my other side were toasting themselves and making lifelong friends with anyone who'd hold still long enough, and Patrick the St. Louis sommelier was charming his way into everyone's evening with his seductive beverage list and bedroom eyes.

A Cheese For All Seasons

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By Deirdre Bourdet


Shopping for cheese can test the endurance of even the most food-obsessed.  The typical modern cheese counter has so many delicious options from so many interesting places, with flavors and textures and shapes all over the map.  And yet, when it comes down to identifying the cheese that is always in my fridge  at home, the cheese I can eat straight out of the packaging and also serve gussied up with fresh herbs and truffle honey when company unexpectedly drops by, the choice is surprisingly easy.  Fresh chèvre is my go-to.

 

nealandicecream.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

It is time to shine the harsh light of investigative journalism on the mysterious Three Twins operation and their "inconceivably delicious" ice cream.

First shocking revelation: the three Twins are not genetically related, nor do two of them share a body. Neal and Carl Gottlieb are just twin brothers from Marin, and Liz is Carl's wife (and another twin). Neal is the tall, curly-haired twin who started and runs the business. Carl let Neal live with him and Liz as the ice cream dream was taking flight, thus inspiring the company's inconceivable name. (FYI, Carl also inspired an unofficial, off-the-menu sundae that involves a great deal of chocolate sauce... ask for it at the San Francisco store.)

Huitlacoche: It's What's For Dinner

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The Border huitlacoche quesadilla plate.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

I am a truffle fiend. And while not technically a truffle from the Tuber genus, huitlacoche--aka the Mexican corn truffle--definitely has enough funky, truffly sex appeal to make me happy. (Plus, its other English name is corn smut, which makes me smirk every time I hear it.)

Mexicans consider huitlacoche a delicacy and eat it in a variety of dishes, but most American corn farmers do their best to keep it from showing up in their crops. Huitlacoche is the black, squishy, and disgusting-looking tumescent manifestation of a plant fungus on corn kernels. Not coincidentally, perhaps, the most common restaurant preparations involve hiding the huitlacoche from view... in tamales, quesadillas, soups. I once had an amazing pizza in Mexico that proudly kept the evil-looking fungus front and center--but honestly if there hadn't been neon orange and green zucchini blossoms sharing the stage, I'm not sure I could have eaten it every day like I did.
food_wine.jpegTri-Valley, California is a haven of artisan vintners and undiscovered culinary talent.  Home to the Livermore Valley Wine Country, Tri-Valley is an affordable and authentic destination.

EAT: Passionate Chef's Pair with Passionate Winemakers

Attend a winemaker's dinner at one of Tri-Valley's restaurants. Local chef's are very passionate good food and wine, many feature regular winemaker dinners, including the Restaurant at Wente Vineyards. Nestled in the Livermore Valley Wine Country, the restaurant's Executive Chef, Arthur Wall works with fifth Generation winemaker, Karl Wente to create an exquisite menu.

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