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Tacos al Pastor and Fidelitas Malbec

I recently ventured up to Red Mountain to taste some wines, walk some vineyards and see old friends. There are few places in Washington that produce better wine, some say, some of the best in the world. But, for me it’s the people. The Williams’ family, the Holmes’, the Hedges’, the Hightower’s, the Frichette’s, the Pearson’s – Red Mountain is the smallest AVA in the state and it feels more like a neighborhood than an appellation.

If Red Mountain had football team Charlie Hoppes would be the head coach. He is the sergeant at arms, the baby whisperer, Charlie Hoppes is the Wine Boss.

Charlie Hoppes is one of the most respected winemakers in Washington State. A Yakima Valley native with a degree from UC Davis he got his start in 1988 working with Mike Januik at Snoqualmie Winery and followed him to Chateau Ste. Michelle in 1990 becoming the head red wine maker until 1999. After stints at Waterbrook in Walla Walla and Three Rivers he started his own winery Fidelitas. In 2007 he purchased his first 3 acres on Red Mountain and built a tasting room.

Did I mention that he has a degree in economics? Instead of taking up prime vineyard land on Red Mt he has a 30,000 sq ft production facility in nearby Richland – “Wine Boss”. There he produces his wines plus makes wine for a half dozen clients. The tasting room on Red Mountain has a beautiful panoramic view of the valley.


I first visited Charlie and the tasting room shortly after it was built. Tasting the wines with the “Wine Boss” himself and eating some of the best tacos I have ever had is one of my fondest memories. Charlie is one of the most generous, easy going and intelligent people working in the Washington wine industry. 2017 marks his 30th vintage, and in that time he has made quite a name for himself including being named Seattle Magazines Winemaker of the Year in 2013. His wine continue to garner high ratings from press – his 2012 Ciel du Cheval Cab rated 94 from Parker and the 2013 Quintessence was ranked #4 in Seattle Metropolitan Magazine Top 100. Recently 6 of his 2014 releases received 93 -95 pt scores from the Wine Advocate!

Did I mention every time I go to Red Mountain I end of having tacos? Just thinking about Red Mountain makes me crave Tacos.

So today I give you my  simplified recipe for Tacos Al pastor. Paired with some of Charlie Red Mountain Malbec and you have winner!

FIDELITAS MALBEC RED MOUNTAIN 2014 

Tacos al Pastor
________________________________________

*****Marinade
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon dried ground cumin seed
3 chipotle peppers, packed in adobo sauce, plus 2 tablespoon adobo sauce
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon Paprika
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar
3 whole cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
½ cup pineapple juice from canned pineapple
½ cup water

3 pounds boneless Pork Shoulder

To Finish and Serve:
1 14 ounce canned pineapple diced
20 small flour or Corn tortillas, heated and kept warm
1 medium red onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup finely minced fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
4 ounce Cotijo cheese
1 cup Pico de Gallo, salsa
3 to 4 limes, cut into 8 wedges each for serving

1. In bowl of blender combine the ingredients for the marinade. Puree until smooth about 3 minutes.
2. Cut Pork roast into 4 or 5 large pieces toss with marinade. Place into large roasting pan or Rondeau and cover.
3. Place into 275 degrees oven and roast for 4 hours.
4. Remove and let cool. When cool use two forks to pull pork apart. Stir to combine.
5. Serve meat and garnishes immediately with warmed tortillas, pineapple, onions, cilantro, salsa, cotijo, and lime wedges. Meat will be very moist and should be packed into double-stacked tortillas for serving

 

Pasta alla Norma and Tasca D’Almerita Nero D’Avola

Viticulture has existed on Sicily since The Greeks first introduced Vitis Vinifera some three thousand years ago. Sicily was the granary for the Greek Empire supplying the archipelago with grain, olives, and of course grapes and wine. So important was the island that at one point Syracuse was considered the largest city in all of Greece.

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean. So large and varied is the geography that really it could be considered a mini continent. The southern parts are south of Tunisia and the highest peaks have snow and ice year round. Between the northern mountains and the southern coast lies a large vast fruitful plain that has been fought over and conquered by everyone from the Greeks, to the Phoenicians, the Goths, the Romans and the Moors.

Sicily is famous for grain, but also oranges, lemons, olives, almonds, artichokes and later tomatoes. And Grapes. Sicily is the third largest wine producing region in Italy. For years Sicily was famous for its fortified wine Marsala, created by an Englishman when England was having trouble getting wine from France. A long and complicated history has created one of the greatest cuisines on the planet, but alas that history has made it difficult the Sicilian wine industry to come into its own.

The 20th century was difficult for Italy and Sicily, a couple of world wars, a trouble government and hard economic times were only made worse by the influence of the mafia. When Italy entered into the European Union direct foreign investment elevated the economy. From the 1980’s to the early 2000’s unemployment went from over 25% to a low of 10%. During most of the 20th century the wine industry was controlled by large government owned Cooperatives. Bulk wine was the name of the game. Most of it sold up the peninsula and into France to strengthen weaker northern wines.

During the latter part of the 20th Century many grape growers stopped selling to the Co-ops and started making their own wines. One of the first was Tasca d’Alerita estate in Valleunga. Regaleali was one of the first premium wines from Sicily, starting small back in the 50’s selling to local restaurants and neighbors. Lead by the count Guiseppe Tasca d’Almerita over the last 50 years the wines of Tasca d’Almerita have come to be celebrated worldwide. Count Giuseppe’s son, Count Lucio, is president of the family-run winery, and his two sons, Giuseppe and Alberto, serve as vice president and managing director, respectively.

In addition to the wines, the estate is virtually self-contained, producing most of the vegetables, fruits, wheat, olives, cheeses and meats they need. This inspired Marchesa Anna Tasca Lanza, Count Lucio’s sister, to establish a culinary school, considered one of the best in Italy today. The school has inspired culinary professionals from around the world, including Julia Child and Alice Waters.

Food and wine have always been central to Sicilian culture. Italian food, in general, is always about simplicity. In Sicily this is almost more religion than principle. “Giusto”, just right in Italian, or better said, just enough. The Occam’s Razor of cooking, the simplest preparation is often the best preparation.
With that in mind, I would like to present my take on a classic Sicilian pasta dish – Pasta alla Norma. A tasty and colorful recipe from the Sicilian gastronomic tradition, the Pasta alla Norma is a triumph of Mediterranean flavors and was so called in honor of Vincenzo Bellini’s opera “Norma”. The story says that in 19th century, Nino Martoglio, a Sicilian writer, poet and theater director, was so impressed when he first tasted this dish that he compared it to “Norma”, Bellini’s masterpiece.
And the name lasted ever since.
To pair with this light yet robust dish a Nero D’Avola is perfect.


Tasca D’almerita Lamuri Nero d’Avola Sicilia DOC 2014 $14.99
“The Tasca family hits a home run with this fabulous value wine. The 2014 Sicilia Nero d’Avola Lamùri Tenuta Regaleali is a terrific rendition of this important Sicilian grape. It opens to dark, spicy and savory notes that contrast the wine’s fruity core. This was a very successful vintage for island winemakers and the ripeness of the fruit is spot-on. The mouthfeel offers elegant fruit flavors and a velvety texture.” 92 pts Wine Advocate – Monica Larner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasta alla Norma
________________________________________
1 ½ pounds eggplant, cut into thick sticks
Olive oil as needed (at least 1/2 cup)
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 to 2 teaspoons dried chili flakes
1 ½ pounds tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon good dried oregano, or 1 tablespoon fresh
1 pound Rigatoni
½ cup chopped basil
½ cup grated ricotta salata (or in a pinch, pecorino Romano)

1. Cut eggplant into large dice and toss with salt to purge.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil
3. Rinse eggplant to remove salt and let dry
4. Heat a large cast iron pan and add olive oil
5. Add eggplant and brown, turning occasionally
6. Add garlic, chili flakes, tomatoes, and oregano bring to simmer
7. Add rigatoni and cook for 8 minutes. Drain.
8. Toss rigatoni with eggplant and fresh basil
9. Top with shaved cheese and serve

 

Weekend Wine Pairing – Churrasco Style Pork Ribs and Prazo de Roriz

The story of wine in Portugal is at its heart a paradox: home to some of the world’s oldest greatest and best known wines, yet years of poor political leadership and oceans of plonk wine have all but destroyed the once great reputation. Portugal has a history of winemaking that goes back thousands of years. Long before the Romans and Moors came through the native people of the southwestern Iberian Peninsula were making wine with indigenous grapes. During the Age of Discovery Portugal became a major world power, with Prince Henry the Navigator, sending his armada around the globe.

Most famous for Porto, the fortified wine of the Douro, Portugal has some of the oldest recognized wines in the world. The wines of Portugal were famous throughout the world, Madeira was favorite of the young American colonies, and was even used to toast the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

With the decline of colonial power the wine industry in Portugal fell on hard times. During the 20th century the wine industry was hit with the double blow of fascist dictatorship and cheap jug wine (Mateus and Lancers). In 1974, “The Carnation Revolution” put an end to 5 decades of dictatorship and in 1986 Portugal entered the European Union. With membership came foreign investment and complete overhaul of the wine industry.

Today, Portugal represents one of the Best Value wine producing regions in the world. The combination of ancient wine growing traditions and modern technology means that you can buy a wine with outstanding pedigree made from ancient vines for a relative bargain. The Prazo de Roriz is a great example of what I am talking about. Crafted by Prats & Symington family, Port producers since 1882, and Bruno Prats, former owner of the famed Chateau Cos d’Estournel. The wine demonstrates the incredible potential of combining winemaking expertise from the Douro Valley and Bordeaux, two of the world’s best wine regions.

QUINTA DE RORIZ “PRAZO DE RORIZ” DOURO 2015 $14.99 

The 2015 Prazo de Roriz is a roughly equal blend of Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Barroca, with small bits of Tinta Roriz and Tinta Amarela, aged for six months in used French oak. This is typically a good value. This might be my favorite in some time. There isn’t a lot of concentration in the mid palate and it isn’t the type of wine you want to age for 20 years. It’s not $50, either. It’s a very nice bargain with many virtues. The fruit here is just gorgeous, vivid, pure and clean. The structure lifts it and delivers it beautifully to the palate. The texture is silky and the finish is just a bit tight. Overall, it is hard to lean up more on this since it doesn’t have a lot of upside potential, but if you drink it over the next few years, you might like it even better than the score would suggest.

It’s summer so I am grilling everything. A wine like the Prazo beckons for grilled meat. The traditional dish of Costelas Vinho d’alhos, roasted spare ribs, transfers well to the American barbecue grill.

Churrasco Style Pork Ribs (Costelas Vinho d’alhos)
________________________________________
4 – 6 pounds meaty pork spare ribs

Marinade:
3 Tablespoons piri-piri sauce
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Soy
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup orange Juice and zest
¼ cup lime juiced
¼ lemon juiced
1 cup onion, minced
2 teaspoons oregano
½ cup Red wine
1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper
More oil for grill

1. Prep the ribs by removing any meat or fat that dangles from the bone side. Also trim any tough sinew (silver skin) on the meaty side. Remove the membrane on the bone side of the ribs. Cut into 3 bone segments.
2. Combine all ingredients for the marinade in the bowl of a blender and puree until well combined. Reserve a cup for basting.
3. Place prepared ribs in large container or Ziploc bag and cover with marinade. Marinate for 2 hours.
4. Prepare charcoal for grill and move coals to one side, you can put an aluminum pan on one side to catch drippings.
5. When grill is 250 degrees place ribs opposite side of the coals for indirect heat. Cook turning every 30 minutes for 3 hours. Brushing with marinade occasionally. If necessary add a few more coals to the fire.
6. Wrap ribs in foil and Cook for 1 or more hours until ribs pull away from meat.
7. For Oven: reheat the oven to 350 or 325 degrees F. according to the method of cooking.
8. To roast, reserve the marinade and place the pork in a roasting pan and cook at 350 degrees F. for about two hours, not more. Baste periodically with the marinade.
9. Serve with Potatoes, a big salad and a nice big red.

Grilled T- Bone with Lemon and Parsley and Barbera D’asti

During the summer months I cook almost every meal outside. When I have time I Barbecue but many nights it is easy to fire up the grill for dinner. Salmon, Chicken, pork all work well, and there is something spectacular about grilled vegetables. Asparagus is so simple and quick I grill them up almost every chance I get. And then there is steak.

Around the globe, for as long as we have been around we have cooked over an open fire. If there is one thing quintessential dish that seems the grill was invented for is steak. There are many variations of the dish as there are languages on the planet. In Italy it is customary to serve a grilled steak simply with just salt and pepper and maybe a squeeze of lemon, alla Fiorentina. The simplicity of the dish is characteristically Italian so use the best ingredients for the greatest results

Here is my simple version that cooks quickly and makes quite an impression.

Grilled T-Bone with Lemon and Parsley
Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 ea 1 lb (1 ½” – 2” thick) T-Bone
¼ Cup Olive Oil, plus more for serving
Sea Salt
Black Pepper, freshly ground
Rosemary sprigs

*** For Serving

Lemon wedges
2 Cups Arugula
Roasted Potatoes
2 lb Asparagus

1. In a bowl large enough for steak place rosemary and steak and drizzle with olive oil. Let the steak rest outside the refrigerator for at least an hour before cooking.
2. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over high heat (450 -500).
3. Using tongs, lay steak over the hottest part of the fire, cook 2 – 5- 7 minutes. Turn the steak and sprinkle with salt. Cook on the second side until browned, 2 – 3 minutes more.
4. Remove the steaks to a carving board and let rest for at least 5 minutes before carving.
5. Cut the steaks away from the bone and carve into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange the meat on warmed plates season with salt and pepper.
6. Garnish with lemon wedges and arugula
7. Have more sea salt and pepper available at the table
8. Serve with Roasted Potatoes and grilled asparagus

Now in Florence they would have drink a nice Chianti or Brunello. But I like go even lighter in the summer, and a perfect summer red is Barbera. Barbera has ancient origins, the first documented mention of the grape is in 1798, in a letter by Count Giuseppe Nuvolone-Pergamo of Scandaluzzo, deputy director of the Società Agraria di Torino (Agrarian Society of Turin). Barbera-based wines were well regarded even then, for their rustic yet generous character.

Barbera wines are esteemed for their deep color, low tannins and high levels of acidity. When young they offer fresh flavors of cherries, blueberries and raspberries. Relatively rich, bold and flavorful, the most powerful examples might just be compared to Barolo or Barbaresco. Barbera is a great summertime wine. Serve it slightly chilled and it makes a great afternoon supper wine, especially on a hot day.

One of our favorite producers is Renatto Ratti. Founded in 1965 about Renato himself and now his nephew Massimo runs the operation. The original winery was built in an old abbey located halfway up the hill in the valley of Barolo. Here buttressed by steep slopes lined by orderly vineyards, lies a precious jewel from the 15th century: the Abbey of Annunziata. From the 100 acres of vineyards, the Renato Ratti winery produces Barolo, Nebbiolo d’Alba, Barbera d’Alba, Dolcetto d’Alba.

Gin & Tonic paired with Gin cured Gravlax and fixings

For many people Summer is all about Rosé . I like many of friends drink Rose all year round. There are many drinks that conjure images of sunshine and sunny days – Margaritas, Sangria, Mojitos. But, there is one drink that I really only drink in the summer – Gin and Tonic. A tumbler with a splash of gin, a good quality tonic and wedge of lime, at the end of work day sitting on my deck, my feet up and good book- now that’s what I call relaxation.

G & T is happy hour. It is also a simple and almost perfect aperitif. For cocktail party or as a warm up act to a nice dinner, G & T’s lend themselves to many traditional appetizers – Pâté Campagna, smoked salmon, Crab Cakes, Cucumber Sandwiches, Blini & Caviar. But a perfect pairing Salmon Gravlax.

Gravlax is one of the first dishes I learned how to make in professional career. I only takes a couple days, a good quality (fresh) salmon some salt and sugar. Juniper is a traditional spice used in making Gravlax, but since I rarely have juniper berries lying around, even in my kitchen, I have turned to using a splash of ubiquitous Gin.

For a pre-funk to night out or dinner party I would serve right off the cutting board a side of gravlax accompanied by Cornichon, capers, diced red onion, fresh mascarpone or crème Fraiche, mustard sauce and pumpernickel rye bread.

As for The Gin? There are many good quality Gins to choose from – Martin Millers is the benchmark as far as I am concerned. Bombay Sapphire is a good default. Locally we have great gin producers: Big Gin, Batch 206, Sun Liquor Gun Club, Voyager, Halcyon. But, I do a favorite Local and That is BelleWood Gin.

What makes BelleWood good is that it has a refreshing light clean base of apple derived spirit. At BelleWood they use a traditional blend of seven botanicals that are vapor infused into their Gin. What makes it unique is that this is one of the few Farm to Table Gins, I have ever heard of. BelleWood is an Apple Farm just north of Bellingham. They grow the Apples, press into cider, ferment and distill right on the property. You can’t really get much more local than that.

Gin and Tonic

Ice
1 part Gin
2 -3 Parts Tonic
Squeeze of lime
Lime wedge for garnish

Gin Cured Wild Salmon Gravlax
________________________________________
1 2 to 3 pound, wild Coho Salmon, deboned, skin removed
6 ounces kosher salt
4 ounces brown sugar
2 tablespoons Coarse ground Black Pepper
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 Tablespoon Fresh Dill (1 teaspoon Dried)
2 ounces (BelleWood) Gin
13 x 9 baking dish
1. Remove any pin bones from salmon side
2. Combine kosher salt and sugar in bowl. Place half of this mixture in bottom of Baking dish
3. Lightly toast fennel and caraway seeds in dry pan until aromatic cool and coarsely grind with mortar pestle. Combine with black pepper and dill.
4. Drizzle Salmon with gin pour any remaining gin into baking dish.
5. Season both sides of Salmon liberally with spice mix and place in baking dish cover with remaining sugar salt mixture
6. Wrap with plastic wrap and cure overnight in refrigerator. The next day turn over salmon, wrap and return to refrigerator
7. Day 3 remove salmon from marinade and rinse gently. The salmon should feel firm to touch. Wrap in plastic and return to refrigerator if not using immediately.
8. Using a sharp nice slice the Gravlax as thinly as you can.
9.
Serve with Cornichon, capers, diced red onion, fresh mascarpone, mustard sauce and pumpernickel rye bread

Mustard Sauce:
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Honey
1 ½ tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or Tarragon

Combine the mustard, honey and vinegar in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil and stir in the chopped herbs

Red, White and Blueberry Trifle and Treveri Demi-Sec Sparkling Gewurztraminer

Happy Fourth of July!
When planning a party of picnic for the 4th there are many options for dessert – Apple Pie comes to mind. But how about the bounty of summer berries – Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and even more. This to me is what summer is all about. The recipe below is one of the easiest and most delicious I have in my repertoire. A summer berry trifle with a lemon cream Bavarian, I call it Red, White and Blueberry Trifle. Pound cake drizzled with sweet sparkling wine and layered with Cream and berries, it is surprisingly light and served well chilled, it is a refreshing dessert on a summer day.
Paired with an off dry Sparkler and you have perfect 4th of July dessert!
Moscato di asti is a natural but if like to keep it local Treveri makes a beautiful Demi Sec Sparkling Gewurztraminer.

TREVERI GEWURZTRAMINER DEMI-SEC NV 

Off dry gewürztraminer makes for truly spectacular Saprkling wine that plays perfectly with the berries in this dish. The wine is perfumed with notes of lychee, combined with rich tropical fruit, all-spice, nutmeg, and clove are balanced with an underlying acidity for a true expression of the varietal. 100% Gewurztraminer
Treveri Cellars is a family-owned and operated sparkling wine house that produces some of the finest handcrafted sparkling wines in the United States. A relative newcomer to the Washington wine scene, (2010) Treveri has already made its mark on the world stage being served at White House State Department receptions and the James Beard Foundation in New York. Quickly they rose to the attention of sommeliers, aficionados and the press being voted one of the nation’s Top Ten Hottest Brands of 2014 by Wine Business Monthly.


Red, White and Blueberry Trifle

8 oz loaf Pound cake
1 pint blueberries
1 pint straw berries
1 cup Lemon Curd

*** Pastry Cream,
3 cups milk
1 vanilla bean, split
8 yolks
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 Cups Cream, whipped
1 Cup Moscato di Asti or other demi- sec sparkling like Treveri Demi-Sec Gequrtztraminer

1. Heat milk with Vanilla bean. Beat egg yolks, with sugar and cornstarch until light and creamy. When milk comes to boil add egg sugar mixture. Whisk until combined. Custard will come together quickly. Remove from heat and cool.
2. Stir lemon curd into pastry cream. Let cool.
3. Fold into whipped Cream.
4. To assemble the trifle, spoon a layer of the lemon cream into a large glass bowl.
5. Add a layer of pound cake, breaking the slices into pieces that fit. Then soak the cake with Moscato. Add berries.
6. Keep going to make 3 or 4 more layers, depending on the size of the bowl, finishing with a layer of lemon cream. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with fresh berries when ready to serve.

Lemon Curd
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 tbl butter

1. In a double boiler combine sugar lemon and egg yolks. Cook over low heat until thickened add butter and cool.

Pound cake
4 oz Sugar
2 eggs
½ Cup Sugar
1 cup Cake Flour
1 tsp Baking soda
½ tsp salt

1. Cream butter and sugar to gather. Add eggs mix until incorporated. Sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Add to creamed mixture mix until well comined about 2 minutes.
2. Pour into loaf pan and bake at 350 for 30 – 45 minutes

Grilled Chicken Provençale and Bandol Rose

When it comes to summer there is nothing like lounging on my deck with a nice glass of Rosé. Refreshing and delicious it is a great porch pounder. But many people don’t realize that Rosé is one of the most food friendly wines out there. Because, there are made with red grapes the wines can be a touch more substantive than a lot of white wines but without the troublesome tannins can make some reds tricky to pair. Everything from vegetables and vegetarian foods, spicier cuisines, herbal and aromatic dishes can be easily swayed by the power of Rosé.

Rosé is made all over the world in virtually every wine growing region from just about every grape it seems. But, Roses true home is in the south of France – Provence to be specific, Bandol to be precise. Here something like 90% of the wine produced is pink! So when it comes to pairing I look to Provence for inspiration – Ratatouille, Salad Niçoise, Bouillabaisse are classics. But a personal favorite is Chicken Provençale- chicken marinated in olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs grilled and served with a sauce of fresh tomatoes, Niçoise olives fennel and a touch of anchovy and capers. Served up with some haricot vert and chilled Rosé et viola!

http://bit.ly/2sz3nmZ

Bandol is a personal favorite. There are many greats –Tempier, Bastide Blanche,   . My personal favorite is Domaine Sorin Bandol Rose 2016 and at $17.99 it is truly a steal for Bandol Rosé. With all the extra richness that comes from a Bandol rose, this is a full wine, rounded with a touch of watermelon as well as generous berry fruits. The blend is 60% Mouvedre, 25% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 5% Carignan. The acidity gives a lift to the concentration of the wine.

Chicken Provençale
Serves 8
Ingredients:

3 pounds Chicken Breast – Boneless, skinless and butterflied

*****Marinade
¼ cup Olive oil
1 teaspoon each fresh Rosemary, thyme and sage
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Garlic, chopped

***** Provençale Sauce
¼ cup Olive oil
1 each Onion, Diced
1 each Fennel, diced
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
½ cup White Wine
Salt
1 teaspoon Red pepper flake
2 Tablespoon chopped Parsley
1 Tablespoon Herbs du Provence
1 Tablespoon fresh Thyme
1 cup olives – Nicoise, Picholine, Kalamata, etc.
2 tablespoons capers
2 each anchovy, Minced
1 Pound Fresh Tomato, diced
14 ounces Tomato Puree

1. In large bowl combine ingredients for marinade
2. Butterfly chicken breasts: Put your chicken breast on a chopping board and, with your hand flat on top of it, use a sharp knife to slice into one side of the breast, starting at the thicker end and ending at the thin point. Be careful not to cut all the way through to the other side. Open out the breast so that it resembles a butterfly.
3. Place into marinade and toss to coat. Place in zip lock bag, you can do this a day before.
4. To make sauce: In a large pot heat olive oil and add Onion, Fennel and garlic stir to soften. Add spices and herbs stir to sweat add white wine. Reduce.
5. Add olives, capers, anchovy, tomatoes, and puree.
6. Cook until sauce is thickened, remove from heat.
7. Preheat grill: clean and brush with oil
8. Place breast butterflied side down. Cook 3 minutes turn ¼ turn cook 2 minutes
9. Flip and cook another 2 – 4 minutes remove from grill and let rest a few minutes
10. Serve with Haricot Vert, roasted potatoes, and Provençale sauce.

California Style Gazpacho and Rose By Lenny

Few dishes can evoke sun and summertime like fresh Gazpacho can. It is a dish that traces its roots to Andalusia in southern Iberian Peninsula. The proto gazpacho was most likely of Roman origin and was made using stale bread, garlic, olive oil, salt, and vinegar. The bright red Gazpacho that most people know wouldn’t come around until long after Columbus returned with those deadly nightshades from the “new world.” It wouldn’t be until the 19th century, the red gazpacho became popular when tomatoes were added to mix.
I like to make mine partly pureed with a nice garnish of cucumbers, fresh tomatoes and avocado. Top with sour cream and some fresh cilantro and you have a lovely summer soup for your next patio party. I like to serve it out of a pitcher with some crushed ice blended in. Serve with some fresh sliced bread and if you like some Manchego Cheese and Jamon de Serano and you have a lovely light lunch.
The perfect pairing for the fresh taste of Gazpacho is Rose! A Spanish Garnacha rose, beautiful Provence Rose or how about a nice California Rose?
Smoke Tree Rose California 2016 $19.99
Fresh, finessed and elegant, Smoke Tree Rosé offers aromas of white cherry, white peach and yellow nectarine. The palate is vibrant with flavors of crabapple, quince and crisp nectarine. The finish is dry and refreshing.
Made by longtime Domaine Chandon Winemaker Joel Burt this wine is a base of Grenache, like many Spanish and French Rose, and makes this wine very food friendly.

California Style Gazpacho
________________________________________

***** Base
2 each Tomatoes Concasse, peeled and seeded
½ ea red onion, finely diced
1 each jalapeño chili pepper, minced
1 ea Lime, Juice
½ cup Cilantro, chopped
½ tsp Cumin
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Basil
1 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
1 slice bread
1 cup ice

64 oz Tomato Juice
4 each Tomatoes, diced
1 each Pasilla Pepper, finely diced
1 each cucumber seeded and diced
1 each Avocado diced
1 bunch green onions
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup sour cream, for garnish

1. Combine ingredients for base in blender and puree until well combined
2. In large container combine base with tomato juice and remaining ingredients
3. Garnish with sour cream and fresh cilantro

Tennessee Mule’s and Bourbon Glazed Tri Tip

Here are two of my favorite things – whiskey and Barbecue!

Below I give you my Bourbon Glazed Tri Tip Recipe – you can prepare it either  on a BBQ or just as easily in the oven. Now you could serve a big Zin or WA Syrah with this but I like to make pitchers of Whiskey Gingers AKA Tennessee Mules.

Tennessee Mule

3 parts Ginger Ale

1 part Jack Daniels No 7

Squeeze of lime juice plus more slices for garnish

Plenty of ice

Refreshing and a great pairing for my Tri Tip recipe

Maple Bourbon Glazed Tri Tip Steak
________________________________________

2-3 lb. Beef Tri-tip

Marinade:
1 tsp. course ground black pepper
1 tsp. chopped garlic
¼ tsp. ground thyme
¼ cup bourbon
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Glaze:
¼ cup Bourbon
2 Tablespoons Grain Mustard
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Siracha

Roasting:
Olive oil
Sea salt
Black pepper

1. Day 1: Trim Beef of any excess silver or fat. Combine ingredients for marinade. Place Tri Tip in a Ziploc bag with marinade at let rest overnight in refrigerator.
2. The next day remove tri tip from marinade and let come to room temperature.
3. Preheat oven to 250 degrees
4. Combine ingredients for glaze and set aside
5. Rub Roast with oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.
6. Prepare a roasting pan with a wire rack.
7. Heat a large cast iron pan on stove top. Sear each side of tri tip to brown 3-4 min each side.
8. Place roast on wire rack and place in oven.
9. Roast for about half an hour and brush roast with glaze.
10. After 20 minutes turn roast and brush with glaze again, repeating every 10 – 15 minutes until center of roast reaches 130 degrees.
11. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

 

Weekend Wine Pairing – Cuban Style Pulled Pork and Scarpetta Barbera

It’s Barbecue time! Now if you are like me, you’ll grill just about anything – salmon, steaks, burgers, pizza. I even know a guy who likes grill marks on his pancakes. There is one thing that just belongs on the grill, smoker or bbq and that is pork. Whether you are grilling up pork chops on a Wednesday or doing a whole pig roast (like we are doing Saturday) one wine I think works just as well with pulled pork sandwiches or Ribs is Barbera.
Barbera comes from the north of Italy, near the German border. High up in the foothills of the Alps they eat a lot of pork, sausages and Prosciutto. Barbera is generally lower in alcohol and distinguished by soft tannin, a bright sweet tart cherry character and certain roundness. These qualities make Barbera an easy wine to pair with many different dishes from Thanksgiving turkey to Pizza to Cuban style pulled pork sandwiches.
One of our favorites is the Barbera from Scarpetta. Scarpetta is owned by a Sommelier and a Chef so these wines are naturally made to go with food.
Scarpetta 2014 Barbera del Monferrato DOC $14.99
Made in collaboration with Fabrizio Iuli in Monferrato, Piemonte this Barbera is medium bodied with low tannins but bright acidity, giving it wonderful balance. Monferrato is the birthplace for Barbera, and historically unlike the rest of Piedmonte, its top cuvees are frequently Barbera. Hence, for good reason, Barbera from Monferrato is celebrated for its balance of fruit, terroir and acidity. The high acidity and low tannins let this wine work with everything from a pizza or homemade pasta to a piece of beef or pork.
Here is a version you can make at home no matter what the weather.

 

Cuban Roast Pork Sandwich

 

Rolls – hoagie, ciabatta, slider buns

Butter for rolls

Cilantro Garlic mayo (Recipe Follows)

Roast pork (see below)

Mustard

Coleslaw (recipe follows)

2 onions

 

*****Roast Pork

2 cups orange juice

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

1 tsp oregano, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 oz. rum

3 lb. pork shoulder

 

*****Cilantro Garlic mayo

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup cilantro

1 cup mayonnaise

1 Lemon, juice

Salt and pepper as needed

 

*****Coleslaw

1 cup mayonnaise

1½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

¾ teaspoon celery seeds

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ medium green cabbage, very thinly sliced (about 4 cups)

½ medium red cabbage, very thinly sliced (about 4 cups)

2 medium carrots, peeled; julienned or grated

 

  1. In Ziploc bag large enough for pork combine orange juice pork, orange juice, garlic and spices and let marinated overnight.
  2. In a large roasting pan place pork and marinade cover and roast for 3 – 4 hours until meat falls apart. Remove from oven. With two forks shred pork,
  3. To make mayonnaise: in bowl of food processor combine cilantro, garlic, lemon juice and mayo season if necessary.
  4. In a large cast iron pan melt butter and add onions. Season with salt and pepper. Cook stirring occasionally until soft and caramelized about 15 minutes. Set aside.
  5. For coleslaw: whisk mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, celery seeds, salt, and pepper in a large bowl to combine. Add green and red cabbage and carrots to dressing and toss to coat. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  6. To assemble sandwich: brush hoagies with butter and toast or grill.
  7. Spread hoagies with cilantro Mayo then pork, mustard, onions and pickles. Top with coleslaw.

 

 

 

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