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Irish Soda Bread

(in Ireland it’s called cake) As St Patrick’s Day approaches it’s time to create appropriate wine and food pairings. There is hardly a better match than wine and bread, a winning combo for thousands of years!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound whole wheat flour
  • 1 pound white unbleached flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pint buttermilk
  1. Sieve flours, soda and salt in a large bowl. Make a hole in the center, pour in buttermilk, and mix to form a dough.
  2. Form into one round. With a sharp knife make an X across the top about an inch thick.
  3. Cook in a 425 oven for 25 minutes; turn over and cook 5 minutes more.
  4. Cool on a rack.

This goes especially well with our new 2008 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (you can add a wee bit of corned beef and cabbage).

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

St. Valentine’s weekend is our traditional release date for our Sonoma County Rose of Pinot Noir. This year is no exception. Come on by the Tasting Room and sample our new release from the 1010 vintage. We will serve some of these delicious cookies to pair with the wine.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons good quality strawberry jam
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • sugar, for sprinkling
  1. Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine strawberries, jam, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons sugar; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 7 tablespoons of sugar.
  4. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  5. Stir in the cream until dough starts to come together, then stir in the strawberry mixture, just until combined.
  6. Drop 2 tablespoon portions of dough onto baking sheets, spacing evenly apart.
  7. Sprinkle with sugar
  8. Bake until golden brown 25 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and transfer cookies with a spatula to a wire rack, and let cool.
  10. These cookies are best served the day they are made, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 days.

This recipe makes about 3 dozen Strawberry Shortcake Cookies. Serve with Taft Street’s 2010 Sonoma County Rose of Pinot Noir (of course).

Breadsticks

A great party treat, and so much better than the store bought.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling dough
  • 1 packets instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, more if needed
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • Sea salt
  • Grated Parmesan
  1. Combine first five ingredients in food processor. Pulse to mix. Add olive oil and pulse. With machine running, add a cup or more of cold water, until a somewhat sticky ball forms.
  2. Put a little oil in a bowl and add dough mixture and form a ball. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour. Place covered bowl in fridge for several hours.
  3. Heat oven to 400. Grease two baking sheets with oil and sprinkle with cornmeal. Cut dough in quarters and keep three pieces covered while you roll a piece into an 18″ X 6″ rectangle. Slice off a 1″ X 6″ piece, and with floured hands, roll into a 12″ stick. Transfer to pan and continue with remaining dough.
  4. Brush sticks with oil and sprinkle with salt and Parmesan cheese. Bake 12 -15 minutes, or until crisp. Cool on racks. Serve immediately or store in airtight container.

Makes 72. Serve with any Taft Street wine. Especially good at a Wine Tasting!

Stock

I am a big fan of home made stock. The canned variety is too salty and metallic tasting. Though it takes some time, there’s not much to it, and the result is worth the time.

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds chicken/turkey bones
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 3 carrots roughly chopped
  • 3 celery stalks roughly chopped
  • 4 quarts water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place all ingredients in big pot. Bring to boil, skimming off any scum that should form. Reduce heat to low, until only an occasional bubble rises. Cook 4-6 hours.
  2. Let cool to room temperature. Remove bones and vegetable remains. Refrigerate overnite.
  3. A layer of fat will have formed; discard it. If using stock within a few days, refrigerate. If not, the stock freezes wonderfully.

Makes 2 quarts. Use it in soups, stews, or simply by itself. Taft Street wine of any variety makes a grand match.

Seared Tuna on Apple

I came up with this recipe a couple of weeks ago while entertaining a group of friends from Seattle. I had some leftover grilled tuna, and I paired it with fresh apple slices and a drop of sriracha – instant crowd pleaser.

Ingredients

  • 2 x 4oz tuna filets
  • 2 apples
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Sriracha
  1. Combine lime and soy sauce and marinade tuna while heating a grill.
  2. Sear tuna for 2 minutes on each side, so there is till some pink in the middle. Let cool.
  3. Slice apples in 2in x 1.5in pieces. Place sliced tuna of the same dimensions on top. Add a drop of sriracha on top.

Makes 18. Serve with a glass of Taft Street Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. Yum!

Smoked Salmon Toasts

A friend recently brought me a nice smoked salmon filet. I used it to make a quick and delicious hors d’oeuvre.

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon, juice
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ½ pound smoked salmon
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup yogurt (Greek style is nice)
  • 1 handful basil leaves, chopped
  • 24 toasted baguette rounds
  1. Soak shallot in lemon juice for an hour.
  2. Put salmon, sour cream, yogurt, basil, shallot and lemon juice in a food processor. Pulse until mixed but not too smooth.
  3. Serve over baguette rounds.

These just scream for a glass of Taft Street Chardonnay.

Chicken Tomatillo Enchiladas

Here’s a green take on lasagna/enchiladas; with tomatillos and cilantro playing major roles. It’s a good dish to serve on those warm September nights.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered
  • 12 ounces chicken broth
  • 2 cups green onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups cilantro, chopped
  • 2 serrano chiles, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 12 six inch corn tortillas
  • 4 cups cooked chicken meat, roughly chopped
  • 1 pound queso blanco, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup half and half
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Mix tomatillos, broth, garlic, cumin in saucepan. Cover, bring to boil, lower heat and cook about 10 minutes. Put in food processor, add cilantro, onions, chiles and coarsely puree.
  2. Overlap 6 tortillas in a 13 X 9 baking dish. Top with half chicken, queso blanco and half tomatillo sauce. Repeat. Pour ½ and ½ on top and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake for 25 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Serve with an chilled glass of Taft Street Russian River Valley Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.

BLT – Taft Street Style

With tomato season approaching, it’s time to bring out one of our favorite appetizers – a mini BLT, substituting fresh basil for the lettuce.

Makes 24

Ingredients

  • 12 roma tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 3 slices bacon, cut in 2 inch pieces
  • 12 small to medium fresh basil leaves
  • Olive oil for drizzle
  1. Slice tomatoes vertically. With your fingers discard seeds and liquid. Place on a baking pan, and sprinkle with shallot and garlic, salt and pepper. Bake in a 250 degree oven for 21/2 – 3 hours, until tomatoes are dry but flexible.
  2. Place bacon piece on tomato shell and top with basil leaf. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

If you have any Taft Street Rose of Pinot Noir around, you are in luck. If not, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc will substitute nicely.

Clam Chowder Taft Street Style

We will be serving this for Winter Wineland. Come on by for a taste.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1 pint shucked clams (or 2×6.5 ounce cans minced clams)
  • 4 ounces bacon, diced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • ½ cup cream
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads
  • salt and pepper
  1. Drain clams; reserving liquid. Add enough water to liquid to measure 2 cups. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan crisp bacon; dice and set aside. Add reserved liquid, potatoes, onion and celery to fat in saucepan. Cook about 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in clams, 2 cups of milk and cream. Stir remaining 1/2 cup of milk into flour; stir into chowder.
  4. Cook 2 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce, saffron, salt and pepper. Sprinkle bacon on top.

Try this with 2007 Russian River Valley Chardonnay Garagistes or 2006 Mendicino Ridge Pinot Noir Garagistes. You’ll be glad you did!

Black Pepper & Sao Jorge Biscotti

This Sunday I will serve the annual savory biscotti to complement our array of wines for the local wine club members. We use our local favorite cheese, a cow’s milk farmer’s cheese from local cheesemaker Joe Matos, but Parmigiano-Regggiano is a fine substitute.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ½ tablespoons freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 ½ cups Matos cheese, finely grated
  • 1 ½ sticks cold butter, diced
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, 2 cups cheese, and one tablespoon black pepper. Blend in butter to create a coarse meal. Whisk 3 eggs and milk and add to mixture until a soft dough forms.
  3. Turn dough on board and quarter. Form each piece into a log, about 12″ by 2″ by 1″. Transfer to 2 ungreased baking sheets.
  4. Whisk remaining egg and brush logs, then top with remaining cheese and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, switching position of pans every 10 minutes.
  5. Cool 10 minutes. Reduce oven to 300. Take each log at cut into i/2 inch diagonal slices. Return to pans, cut side down. Bake another 20 minutes, turning over slices midway.
  6. Cool 15 minutes. Can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature.

These are great with Taft Street Zinfandel and Pinot Noir.