Gravenstein Apple and Brie Soup with Basil Oil

A new favorite from our December pick-up party, this recipe is from the kitchens of John Ash & Co., created for the 2016 Gravenstein Apple Fair! Serves 10-12.

1 sweet onion, peeled and sliced thinly
5 stalks celery, sliced thinly
2 Tablespoons EVOO
8 Gravenstein apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 Quarts vegetable stock
2 Cups heavy cream
Lemon juice and salt to taste
1 Lb. Marin Rouge et Noir Brie style cheese

Sauté the onions, celery and apples in large pot with the olive oil until soft. Add vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes. Puree in mixer and return to the pot. Add cream and bring to a boil. Cut brie into 1" pieces and add to the soup. Mix until melted. Adjust flavor with lemon and salt. Serve hot.

Herb Oil
1 cup chopped and packed herbs you want (basil, chive, parsley, tarragon, etc.)
Handful of spinach for more color
1 1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons salt

Blanch herbs with spinach for 15 seconds in heavily salted boiling water. Transfer immediately to ice water bath to get as cold as possible as quick as you can. Drain and squeeze out all water. Chop. Put in blender and add 1/2 cup olive oil. Blend on high and add 1 cup more olive oil. Blend for 30 seconds on high. Add 2 teaspoons salt and blend 5 seconds more. Let sit for 2 hours. Let slowly strain through at least 4 layers of cheese cloth into clean bowl. Kept in fridge, will hold for two weeks.


 

Mediterranean Chicken Ragu

This versatile recipe is a year-round favorite, but it is particularly suited to the winter months. The flavorful red sauce pairs well with most medium-bodied red wines, and we think it is spectacular alongside our 2014 Malbec. Serves 8-10 people.

Ingredients:
28 oz. can of Diced Tomatoes
2 14.5 oz. cans of Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes
12 oz. can of Tomato Paste
8 oz. of Crimini or Button Mushrooms, sliced thin
1 medium Onion, diced
1 Red Pepper, sliced thin
¼ cup Capers, chopped
½ cup Kalamata Olives, chopped
1/8 cup Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Chicken Base (powdered stock)
¾ cup J. Rickards Malbec wine
1 ½ tablespoons Basil
4 cloves of Garlic, chopped
3-4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
2 tablespoons of Butter

Directions:
Mix all ingredients except Chicken and Butter in a slow cooker. Adjust seasoning to taste at this time.
Add Chicken, cook on low for 8 hours; chicken will shred apart.
Add Butter until melted and serve over creamy polenta.

Creamy Polenta

This side dish has been a big hit at several events. Serve with our Braised Short Ribs recipe!

2 ½ cups high quality chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups half-and-half
¾ cup fine cornmeal
¼ cup imported Italian mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese)
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Pour the stock and half-and-half into a large saucepan and bring it just to a boil, stirring. Lower the heat and, while whisking constantly, slowly sprinkle the cornmeal into the liquid. Simmer on low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring almost constantly with a wooden spoon, until the polenta is thick and smooth. Take off the heat and stir in the mascarpone, parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper, to taste.

Serves 6-8

Hazelnut-Brown Butter Cake with Sautéed Pears

From Suzanne Goin's book, Sunday Suppers at Lucques. This was prepared by Liza Hinman and served at our 2016 Harvest Dinner

The cake:
5 ounces (about 1 heaping cup) blanched hazelnuts
½ pound unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon melted butter for the pan
½ vanilla bean
1+1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
5 extra-large egg whites
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
Sautéed pears (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet, and toast 12 to 15 minutes, until they’re golden brown and smell nutty.

Cut out a circle of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of a round 10-inch cake pan. Brush the pan with a little melted butter, and line the bottom with the paper.

Place the rest of the butter in a medium saucepan. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise down the center, and use a paring knife to scrape the seeds and pulp onto the butter. To make sure not to lose any of the seeds, run your vanilla-coated knife through the butter. Add the vanilla pod to the pan, and cook the butter and vanilla over medium heat 6 to 8 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until the butter browns and smells nutty. Set aside to cool. Remove the vanilla pod and discard.

Grind the hazelnuts with the confectioners’ sugar in a food process until they’re finely ground. Add the flour and pulse to combine. Transfer to a large bowl.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitters with the whisk attachment. Add the granulated sugar, and mix on high speed 4 to 5 minutes, until the mixture forms very stiff peaks. When you turn the whisk upside down, the peaks should hold. Transfer the whites to a large mixing bowl.

Alternate folding the dry ingredients and the brown butter into the egg whites, a third at a time. Remember to scrape the bottom of the brown butter pan with a rubber spatula to get all the little brown bits.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake 1 hour. Cool on a rack 30 minutes. Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan, and invert the cake onto a plate. Peel off the paper and turn the cake back over onto a serving platter.

Whip the cream until it holds soft peaks.

Cut 6-8 wedges from the cake and place them on plates. Spoon the pears and their caramel juices over the cake. Top with dollops of whipped crea.

Sautéed pears:
2 pounds Comice or Bartlett pears
½ vanilla bean
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Cut the pears in half lengthwise, leaving the stem intact. Cut each half into 1-inch wedges. (Don’t remove the core.)

Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise down the center, and use a paring knife to scrape the seeds and pulp onto the butter. To make sure not to lose any of the seeds, run your vanilla-coated knife through the butter.

Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Add the butter, vanilla, and vanilla pod to the pan. When the butter foams, place the pear wedges in the pan, cut side down. Season with the salt and cook 2 minutes. Sprinkle the sugar over the pears, and shake the pan to distribute the sugar and help it caramelize in the butter. Cook the pears about 6 minutes, basting them often with the butter, until they’re caramelized on the first side. Carefully turn the pears over and cook another 3 to 4 minutes, continuing to baste, until the second side is golden and the pears are tender but not mushy. Transfer them to a platter and keep them in a warm place.

 

Lamb Shanks with Beans

Pairs with J. Rickards Malbec

Adapted by Eliza Rickards from The New James Beard © 1981 by James Beard

A part of the lamb that is often overlooked, the ends of the legs are wonderfully flavorful and take well to long, slow cooking.  Combined with white beans they are excellent eating, along with a glass of J. Rickards Malbec.  Serves 6-8

3 15 oz. cans Great Northern or Cannellini beans
1 bay leaf
6 cloves garlic
Salt, freshly ground black pepper
3-4 meaty lamb shanks sawed in halves (butchers can do this)
1 tablespoon rosemary, crushed
5 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons oil
1 cup J. Rickards Malbec
1 ½ cups beef broth or water
2 large onions thinly sliced
6 thick slices bacon
2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs

While the original recipe calls for soaking and cooking dry beans, the beans stay much firmer in the final dish if you use canned beans.  Yep.  Open three cans of Cannellini beans, pour into a bowl with their liquid, add a clove of garlic, chopped, and a bay leaf.  Allow to sit while you prepare the lamb.

Cut 2 garlic cloves into slivers, make incisions in the lamb shanks and stuff the garlic into them.  Rub shanks with 2 teaspoons of rosemary and 2 teaspoons salt.  Heat 3 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons oil in a deep heavy skillet or sauté pan.  Brown the lamb shanks on all sides, turning with tongs and sprinkling with pepper as they cook.  Add the remaining rosemary and the wine and broth or water.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Sauté the sliced onions in the remaining 3 tablespoons oil until lightly browned. Cover and cook over low heat until soft.  Set aside.

Drain the beans, reserving the liquid.  Put a layer of half the beans in an 8-quart braising pan or casserole and top with a layer of the onions and the remaining garlic cloves, finely chopped.  Put the lamb shanks on top, and the remaining beans and the broth from the pan in which the shanks cooked, be sure to skim the excess fat.  If there is not enough liquid to cover the shanks, add some of the reserved bean liquid and more water or wine.  Lay the bacon slices on top and cook in a 350° oven for 1 hour.  Melt the remaining butter, toss the bread crumbs in it, and sprinkle them over the top of the dish.  Bake 20 minutes longer, or until crumbs are golden.  Serve from the pan or casserole.

Pea Peanut Slaw

Pairs with J. Rickards Sauvignon Blanc

A dear friend shared this recipe with me, from the Berkeley Faculty Spouses cookbook, and it has become a staple at our events.  It perfectly complements anything off the grill.

1 small head cabbage
1 bunch green onions
1 bag frozen green peas (8-9 oz.)
1 jar (Marie’s) coleslaw dressing
1 can Spanish peanuts (yes, with the red skins)

Chop cabbage into half-inch pieces.  Slice green onions on the diagonal, including some of the green.  Place cabbage and onion in large bowl.  Stir in frozen peas.  Mix in enough dressing to bind all ingredients well.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  Before serving, add in Spanish peanuts and mix well again.

Serves 12

 

Peach Twilight Cobbler

Pairs with J. Rickards Twilight White Dessert Wine

4 pounds peaches, peeled and pitted
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup Twilight 

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 tablespoon Twilight
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter or spray a large casserole dish or 9x13” pan.  Peel and pit peaches; cut into large chunks.  Place peaches, ¾ cups sugar, cornstarch and ½ cup Twilight into large bowl.  Gently toss to coat with wooden spoon.  Try not to eat too many pieces right now.  Place prepared peaches in buttered casserole dish and into oven to heat until juices are bubbling, about 25 minutes.

Rinse and dry the bowl and in it combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.  Mix well with spoon.  Add yogurt to flour mixture and combine until flour is absorbed.  Mix 1 tablespoon of Twilight into melted butter, then pour into the mix and combine, but do not over mix; it will be sticky.  

Pull hot peaches from the oven.  Dollop large spoonfuls of the dough (about 12) over the hot peaches.  They should look like drop biscuits and have gaps where the fruit shows through – so the dough will rise!

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.  Serve warm topped with vanilla ice cream and a glass of Twilight on the side.  Peach cobbler perfected!

Serves 8-12

Old Vine Zinfandel Chocolate Cake

Pairs with J. Rickards Los Niños Dessert Wine

Full disclosure: The wine does not fully bake out. It will taste like there’s wine in there although not in the way that you would feel tipsy.  This is a rustic red velvet cake — chocolate, naturally reddened and intensely flavored.  The addition of cinnamon plays off the red wine and chocolate wonderfully. And it’s a one-bowl cake that bakes in no time. Hope you enjoy it!  Eliza

Cake
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 cup J. Rickards Old Vine Zinfandel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Topping
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup chilled heavy or whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment, and either butter and lightly flour the parchment and exposed sides of the pan, or spray the interior with a nonstick spray. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and yolk and beat well, then the Zinfandel and vanilla. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together, over the wet ingredients. Mix until 3/4 combined, then fold the rest together with a rubber spatula. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The top of the cake should be smooth and shiny. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 minutes, then flip out of pan and cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack. This cake keeps well at room temperature or in the fridge. It looks pretty just dusted with powdered sugar, or add the topping:

The topping: Whip mascarpone, cream, sugar and vanilla together until soft peaks form. Dollop generously on each slice of cake. Refrigerate what you don’t use up.

Choucroute Garnie

Pairs with J. Rickards G-V-M White Wine

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, circa 1990. 
This classic Alsatian dish pairs perfectly with our dry white wine.

¼ lb. bacon, chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, minced
2 lbs. sauerkraut, rinsed and squeezed dry
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup J. Rickards G-V-M White Wine
1 T. gin
1 T. white vinegar (or to taste)
2 bay leaves
5 juniper berries
3 whole allspice
5 whole cloves
Black pepper to taste
4 bratwursts, casings pricked with sewing needle
½ lb. garlic sausage, cut into 1-inch slices
1 T. unsalted butter
4 1-inch thick smoked pork chops
8-12 small red potatoes, steamed until tender, tossed in butter and parsley

In a large flameproof casserole, cook the bacon until fat is rendered, but bacon is not crisp, remove with slotted spoon to a bowl.  Add the onion and carrot to the casserole and cook until onion is golden.  Add the sauerkraut, tossing well to coat it with the fat for 5 minutes.  Add back the bacon along with the stock, wine, gin, vinegar and spices.  Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 20 minutes.

In a heavy skillet, brown the bratwursts and garlic sausages in the butter over medium high heat, then transfer to the casserole.  Add the pork chops to the skillet and brown on both sides.  Transfer them to the casserole and bury all the meats partially in the sauerkraut.  Simmer for 20-30 more minutes until the bratwurst is cooked.  Uncover and simmer to reduce excess liquid.  On a heated platter, mound the sauerkraut in the middle, surround with the chops and sausages and red potatoes.  Serve with strong mustard (Dijon-style or coarse grain) and J. Rickards G-V-M on the side.

Corn Bread Pudding Casserole

Pairs with J. Rickards Zinfandel and BBQ

2 eggs, beaten
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can creamed corn
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 stick butter, melted (or 1/2 c. vegetable oil)
1 c. sour cream
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese, about 1 cup

Preheat to 350°F. Mix all ingredients except cheese. Pour into a casserole dish or 9”x13” baking dish. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Bake on middle rack of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until fully cooked in center.

Very simple, very rich!  Serves 6-8

Braised Short Ribs

Pairs with: J. Rickards Petite Sirah

Ingredients

4-5 lb. beef short ribs on the bone
2 cups all-purpose flour
Salt & ground pepper
4 Tbs. olive oil, plus more if needed
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large sweet yellow onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 750 ml bottle J. Rickards Brown Barn Petite Sirah
6 oz. tomato paste
4 fresh thyme sprigs
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 bay leaves
1-2 cups beef stock

Directions

Preheat oven to 300°. Season the ribs with salt and pepper. Spread flour on a baking sheet and dredge the ribs in the flour, coating well. In a 5 to 6 quart Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Brown the ribs on all sides, in batches if necessary, about 10 minutes. Transfer to large plate. Add more oil if needed in the pot, and add the onions, carrots and garlic. Cook over medium heat until just soft, about 10 minutes, and remove to another plate and cover with foil.

Add the Petite Sirah to the Dutch oven and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add tomato paste, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves and combine well. Increase heat to medium-high and allow to reduce by half and thicken, 10 to 12 minutes. Add just the ribs back into the Dutch oven and add enough stock to come up halfway up the sides of the ribs. Stir well, cover and place in oven for 2 and 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add the vegetables to the Dutch oven and stir gently. Continue cooking another 1 and 1/2 hour or so. It’s done when the meat is very tender; remove excess fat and the sprigs and leaves. Serve with noodles or mashed potatoes.

This will serve 6 generously.

Avocado Corn Salad

Pairs with: J. Rickards Sauvignon Blanc

Ingredients

¾ cup olive oil, divided
4 cups fresh corn kernels (about 5 ears)
1 tsp. salt
¾ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large red bell pepper, cored and seeded
1 can chopped green chilies
4 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal with some green
½ cup white wine vinegar
½ bunch fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
2 avocados, peeled and seeded

Directions

Heat one-half cup of the olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn, salt and pepper and sauté until the corn is heated through and tender, about 5 minutes. (Enjoy the wonderful aroma!) Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool.

Cut the bell peppers into ¼ inch dice. Add to the sautéed corn along with the chilies, green onions, vinegar and remaining ¼ cup olive oil. Add the black beans. Mix well. Cut avocados into ½ inch dice and mix gently. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes to blend the flavors. Serve at room temperature.

12 servings