Quick Chicken

Quick Chicken

Over the past week we have been living out of our suitcases, as fires have covered the region. We have stayed with various friends who often had other displaced guests. Meals were makeshift, but we usually managed to get together something more than palatable. Here’s what we did last night.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 16 pimento stuffed olives, sliced thinly
  • 2 lemons, sliced thinly
  • 1/3 cup Taft Street Chardonnay
  • Salt and pepper

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Saute shallot and garlic in heated olive oil for 5 minutes.
  2. Add chicken, pimento and lemons and cook until chicken is browned, 8 – 1- minutes. Increase heat, add Chardonnay and cook until reduced, 2 – 3 minutes.

Serve with pasta, baguette and Taft Street Russian River Chardonnay.

Creamy Seafood Chowder

With the days getting cooler and shorter it is time to turn to more hearty fare. One of my favorites is chowder, in almost any variation. This month I’ve picked seafood as starting point; feel free to add /substitute your own favorites as desired.

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and cubed
  •  ½ cup corm
  • 5 cups broth
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 12 ounces halibut, cubed
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled 1 6.5 ounce tin of clams
  • 2 cups cream
  • Parsley for garnish

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cook onion in butter. Add flour and seasonings and cook 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add potato, corn, celery, broth and wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in seafood and cream and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 6

I would pair this with some good bread and Taft Street Russian River Valley Chardonnay.

Tomato Cobbler

Finally tomato season has arrived! It was a bit late this year due to spring rains, but now we see (and taste) an abundance of some of the juiciest and most flavorful fruit this side of grapes. This particular dish would make a great outdoor brunch or lunch.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, cut in 1 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Salt
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

TOPPING

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon thyme

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Place 2 tbs butter in pan and cook onion until soft (5 minutes). Add garlic, thyme and pepper flakes for another minute. Add tomatoes, sugar and 1 tsp salt and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in cherry tomatoes and flour. Transfer to baking dish and dot with remaining butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Add butter and combine to make a coarse mean with small butter balls. Add milk and mix until sticky dough forms.
  3. Drop balls of dough over tomato filling and top dough with milk. Place on a baking sheet and cook for an hour. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

Goes particularly well with Taft Street Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc or Rose of Pinot Noir. Best consumed outdoors on a warm afternoon.

Asian Chicken Salad

Asian Chicken Salad

With summer in full swing and temperatures on the rise, it is often too hot to cook. Here’s a great way to beat the heat and use leftover bar b que chicken.

INGREDIENTS:

Salad Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Salad

  • 4 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced 1 bunch scallions, finely sliced
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup chow mein noodles
  • Sesame seeds

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a jar combine oil, vinegar, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger and oil. Whisk to a froth and set aside.
  2. In a large salad bowl combine chicken, lettuces, bell peppers, scallions and cilantro. Pour dressing over salad and mix.
  3. Top with noodles and sesame seeds. Serve.

Serves 6

Taft Street Rose of Pinot Noir or Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc would make this a feast!

Korean BBQ Short Ribs

Korean BBQ Short Ribs

This weekend we are taking part Grill 116, a BBQ at Taft Street and neighboring wineries. Here’s what we have cooking.

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 12 oz can pear juice
  • ¼ cup sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 ½ pounds cross cut, bone-in beef ribs (flanken)

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl combine first 6 ingredients. Add short ribs, refrigerate a marinade overnight.
  2. Heat grill. When hot place ribs on grill and cook for 3-4 minutes per side.
  3. Transfer to serving platter and serve with rice, sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds.

Served 4 – 6. We like Taft Street Zinfandel with this mildly spicy dish.

Gravlax (Cured Salmon)

Gravlax (Cured Salmon)

I am currently emptying my freezer as I prepare for my annual fishing trip to Alaska. I am stuck with the enviable predicament of having too much salmon. Here is an easy and delicious way to solve that problem.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 teaspoon pepper, roughly cracked
  • 1 cup dill, chopped
  • 3 ounces coarse sea salt
  • 4 ounces sugar
  • 1 pound salmon filet, skin on and pin bones removed
  • 1 cup yoghurt/sour cream mix
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Lemon wedges

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a bowl mix pepper, dill salt and sugar.
  2. Place a large sheet of cling wrap on counter and pour half the mixture in the center in shape of the salmon filet.
  3. Place salmon skin side down on top of the mixture and top the salmon with the remaining mix. Wrap the salmon securely and place on dish.
  4. Top salmon with another plate and place weights on plate (eg 2 x 14 oz tins).
  5. Refrigerate 12 hours, flip salmon and refrigerate 12 more hours. Rinse, pat dry and refrigerate 3 – 4 hours.
  6. Serve on toasts with mustard sauce and lemon wedges.

This will serve 8 – 10 as an appetizer and goes especially well with Taft Street Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.

Hearty Frittata

As we inch our way towards warmer weather our attention turns to casual dining. Here is a dish that can be served anytime/anyplace; equally appropriate from morning til evening.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • black pepper
  • 4 cups cooked greens (spinach, kale….), chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt
  • 12 eggs beaten
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • ¼ cup cream
  • ½ cup goat cheese, rumbled
  • ½ cup chives, chopped

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat oven to 400. Heat 2 tablespoons  oil in large saucepan, adding garlic, shallot and pepper to taste. Add greens and salt to taste. After 2 minutes transfer to paper towels.
  2. Combine eggs, chicken, cream, salt, pepper and greens mixture. Heat remaining oil in cast iron or nonstick pan and pour in egg mixture. Cook until edges set.
  3. Mix cheese with chives and lemon juice and scatter atop eggs. Transfer pan to oven and cook 10 – 12 minutes, or until eggs are cooked through.
  4. Cut into wedges. Served 4 – 6.

This goes especially well with our 2018 Russian River Valley Rose of Pinot Noir. Like the frittata, good from morning til night!

Pasta Alla Amatriciana

Pasta Alla Amatriciana

During the rainy season (and it has been rainy!) comfort food is required. A simple pasta with baguette and Taft Street wine is all that’s needed on a blustery winter’s evening.

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  • ½ pound quality bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1 pound pasta (bucatini or fettucine work well)
  • 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Parmesan cheese, grated

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Put large pot of water on to boil. Saute bacon in olive oil until crisp. Drain and set aside. Cook onion in remaining oil/fat until soft. Add pepper flakes to taste
  2. Cook pasta to al dente (time will vary).
  3. In a large bowl combine bacon, onion, tomatoes and pasta. Heat and serve, topping with grated cheese.
    Serves 4 – 6 and goes particularly well with Taft Street Alexander Valley Merlot.
Harvest Potatoes

Twice Baked Potatoes

The Holidays Season is all about food (and family), and one dish that always adds a festive touch is twice baked potatoes. An added advantage is that the dish is easy to prepare.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 medium russet potatoes
  • Olive oil, salt
  • ½ cup butter
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • Optional garnish: crumbled bacon/chopped chives

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Brush potatoes with olive oil and salt, place on rimmed cookie sheet, and bake until soft (about one hour).
  2. Cool slightly and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop inside of potato, leaving ¼ inch edge to maintain shape.
  3. In bowl add butter, sour cream and scooped out potato. Mash until creamy, and add ½ cheese. Top with remaining cheese and optional garnishes.
  4. Cook in 350 oven until cheese is melted. Serve warm.

We served this on Christmas with a prime rib and Taft Street Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.

Local Figs

Fig Bostock

The last figs are still on the tree. They won’t be for long. One way to enjoy this wonderful fruit is in a glorified French toast originating in Normandy (Brioche aux amandes).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup blanched almonds, toasted and finely ground
  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup honey
  •  1 egg
  •  ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium loaf brioche
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 8 fresh figs, quartered
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Using an electric mixer or food processor combine almonds, honey, egg, flour and salt until smooth. Chill.
  2. Preheat oven to 375. Slice brioche into 8 thick slices. Whisk eggs and 1 teaspoon water in small bowl and brush one side of brioche slices with egg wash. Place on rimmed baking sheet and spread each slice with 2 tablespoons almond crème, Top with figs, cut side up. Brush with butter.
  3. Bake until golden (18-20 minutes). Dust with sugar and serve.

This would make a wonderful brunch, with perhaps a Taft Street Pinot Noir to take it up another notch.