Posts Tagged ‘wine country recipes’

Grilled Apricots with Goat Cheese

Monday, May 1st, 2017

When the sunshine stays with us and makes our days longer, we’re always looking for ways to stay outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. We think this recipe would be a great dish to enjoy while doing just that. This can be served as a light appetizer or savory dessert. Our friends at Ponte Winery suggest pairing it to perfection with the dry, crisp 2016 Vermentino.

6 fresh apricots, halved and pitted
1/2 cup sweet white dessert wine, such as 2015 Beverino
1/2 cup of fresh, soft goat cheese such as chèvre

Place apricots in a medium mixing bowl. Pour the dessert wine over the apricots and let marinate for 30 minutes. Remove apricots from mixing bowl and place on a cookie sheet. Allow the apricots to rest for at least 20 minutes to make sure liquid sets in fruit.

Turn the grill on to medium heat, check to make sure the grill is clean and slightly greased. Once warmed, place the apricots directly on the grill cut side down. Grill on cut side down for about 4 minutes and then turn over and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Remove from grill and top each fruit with a spoonful of goat cheese. Serve immediately. This recipe serves about 6 – 8 people.

Recipe adapted from Wine Bites
—Lindsay Neumann


Primitivo Braised Short Ribs

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

When our friends over at Wiens Family Cellars suggested that their 2014 Primitivo and short ribs go together like peanut butter and jelly, we were intrigued!  We figured we’d try it ourselves with this amazing short rib recipe and see if they were right.  Sure enough, their Primitivo most definitely is a “Short Rib Stunner.”  Why don’t you try for yourselves?



Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Pat ribs dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper on all sides.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the ribs and brown on all sides. Transfer the ribs to a plate, then add the garlic and stir until softened but not brown, about 1 minute. Carefully pour in the wine, bring to a boil and cook until reduced to about 1 cup. Add the ribs and any juices they have released back to the pot along with the stock. Reduce the heat and bring to a simmer, then cover the pot and transfer it to the oven, to braise, until the meat easily falls off the bone, about 3 hours.

Transfer the ribs to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Strain the braising liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a saucepan set over medium-high heat. Simmer the liquid, skimming fat as necessary, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Taste for seasoning and adjust, if necessary. Transfer the ribs and sauce to a serving dish and serve.


Wine Country Recipe ~ Crispy Chicken Thighs with Sweet Citrus Soy Sauce

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

This crispy, sweet and tangy chicken is a perfect main dish any night of the week. The sauce sounds amazing and should pair well with your favorite Temecula Valley Sauvignon Blanc.


2 tablespoons Asian (toasted) sesame oil

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

2 teaspoons minced garlic

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), bone-in, skin on

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 green onions, cut into thin rounds

½ cup fresh orange juice

¼ cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest


Preheat oven to 375° F.

Mix the sesame oil, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Add the chicken thighs and turn them to coat with the sesame oil mixture. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.

Add the chicken thighs skin side down and cook for 8 minutes.

Turn the thighs skin side up and place the skillet in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer the thighs to a serving platter. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

While the chicken is resting, prepare the sauce.

Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the green onion and cook stir for 1 minute or until lightly browned.

Add the orange juice, chicken stock, soy sauce, honey, lime juice and orange zest.

Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 4 minutes.

To serve, divide the sauce among 4 plates and place a chicken thigh on top.

Recipe courtesy of the Wine Institute of California.  


Wine Country Recipe ~ Chocolate Tart with Raspberry Sour Cream

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Enjoy the classic combination of dark chocolate and tart, sweet berries in a tender, buttery crust. You’ll want to pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Sparkling Wine or Late Harvest Zinfandel.

Serves 8

1½ cups pastry flour
¼ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon sugar
1 egg yolk
1½ cups fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup sour cream
6 ounces dark chocolate (about 60% cacao), chopped into small pieces
3/4 cup  heavy cream

To make the crust, mix the flour and salt together in a medium bowl.

Mix the butter, cream, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and egg yolk in a small bowl. Stir the butter mixture into the flour just until blended.

Transfer the dough to a 10-inch nonstick tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan.Use a fork to prick holes in the bottom and sides of the crust and put the pan in the freezer for 25 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Take the crust from the freezer. Press a piece of foil tightly against the bottom and up and over the sides of the crust (to prevent the dough from puffing up while cooking).

Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and bake for 15 more minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Let the crust cool completely.

To make the filling (up to 3 hours before serving), mix and partially crush the raspberries with 2 tablespoons sugar. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Stir the sour cream into the raspberries and return the bowl to the refrigerator.

Place the chocolate in a small bowl.

Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes.Whisk until the mixture is smooth and glossy.

Spread the raspberry mixture evenly into the tart shell.

Spread the chocolate cream evenly over the raspberry mixture.

Chill for 30 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan and transfer to a serving platter.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California


Wine Country Recipe ~ Maple Sugar-Ginger Roast Pork

Thursday, December 1st, 2016


This pork loin roast is marinated with a sweet-and-spicy combination of maple sugar, ginger and crushed red pepper; the sugar melts to form a luscious glaze as the meat roasts.  Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon for the perfect holiday meal!


2 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin roast, tied
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons maple sugar (see Note)
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Blood orange slices, red currants and sprigs of mint, for garnish (optional)


Using a small, sharp knife, make thin slits all over the pork loin roast and slip a garlic slice into each one. In a small bowl, mix the maple sugar with the ginger, salt, red pepper and olive oil. Rub the paste all over the pork, wrap it well in plastic and refrigerate overnight in a small roasting pan; let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.

Preheat the oven to 450°. Roast the pork for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 400° and roast the pork for about 35 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 135°. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Discard the string and carve the pork into thin slices. Arrange on a platter, garnish with the orange slices, red currants and mint and serve.


Maple sugar, made from reduced maple syrup, is available at specialty-food stores. Alternatively, use granulated brown sugar.

Suggested Pairings:

Bel Vino Winery 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon ~ Oak aging softens and flavors the wine with notes of oak, vanilla and spice.

Carter Estate 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 4 ~ Full bodied and velvety upon first taste, this is a supple wine with great varietal intensity.

Falkner Winery 2013 Syrah Rock Creek Vineyards ~Enjoy the wonderful red ruby color of this Syrah and the delicious flavors of plum and raspberry.

Hart Winery 2013 Syrah ~ This old-vine Syrah displays rich fruit, great depth and color, and a long, lingering finish.

Recipe and photo courtesy of


Wine Country Recipe ~ Curried Butternut Squash Soup Shots

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016


This modern shot-glass style serving puts a new spin on this traditional smooth and piquant autumn soup. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Wine Country Merlot or Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris.


1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
4 sprigs of thyme
2 tablespoons curry powder, divided
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups vegetable stock, warmed
1/3 cup heavy cream (extra for garnish)
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl toss together the squash, onions, garlic, thyme, 1 tablespoon of the curry powder, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the squash mixture onto a baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes.

Discard the thyme sprig and pour the mixture into a blender along with the warmed stock and puree until smooth. (Do this in two batches). Pour the pureed soup into a medium saucepan simmer and stir in the remaining curry powder, and cumin.

Simmer the soup for 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cream until fully combined.
Season with salt and pepper.

Serve by pouring soup into 24 small glasses or espresso cups. Garnish with a few drops of heavy cream. Makes 24, 2-ounce shots.

Suggested Pairings:

Callaway Winery 2015 Special Selection Pinot Gris ~ Pairs with Shellfish; especially Scallops, Lobster and Prawns. Creamy pastas, pasta salad, grilled chicken or pork

Europa Village 2015 Estate Pinot Grigio ~ Aromas of nectarines and spring flowers with a subtle minerality in the background. Soft and gentle on the palate with a zesty and refreshing finish.

Leoness Cellars 2013 Vineyard Selection Merlot ~ Subtle nuances of tobacco and vanilla develop through a long, velvety finish.

Oak Mountain 2012 Merlot ~ Flavors of raspberry, blackberry, and plum with abundant smoky oak.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California


Wine Country Recipe ~ Pork Tacos with Garlic Grilled Tortillas and Avocado Cream

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

2016_1_PORK_TACOS_WINEc-California-Wine-InstituteServes 4

These lightly grilled tortillas are topped with spicy, smoky seasoned pork and creamy avocado. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Viognier or Zinfandel.


Avocado Cream:

1 large avocado, halved and pitted
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped green onion, white parts only
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon minced serrano (chile) pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt

Pork and tortillas:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
2 teaspoons minced garlic
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon sea salt
3 boneless pork loin chops (about 1¼ pounds) 1 inch thick, each cut horizontally into 3 very thin even pieces
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
8 (7-inch) corn tortillas
3 cups thinly sliced red cabbage


To make the avocado cream, Scoop the avocado flesh into a food processor with the sour cream, lime juice, onion, cilantro and serrano pepper, and salt. Process until smooth. Set aside.

To prepare the pork, whisk the olive oil, chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Add the pork slices and turn them to coat all sides. Set aside.

Add the vegetable oil to a small skillet over medium heat. Add the 3 tablespoons garlic and stir just until the garlic starts to sizzle. Remove from heat, leave in the skillet and set aside (for the tortillas).

Preheat a grill to medium-high.

Grill the pork slices for 2 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

Stack the pork in a bowl and cover to keep warm.

To warm the tortillas, brush one side of each tortilla with garlic oil. Grill oil-side down for 1 minute or until warmed through. Stack tortillas on a plate, oil-side up.

Cut the pork into strips ¼-inch wide.

To serve, top each tortilla with pork strips, avocado cream, and shredded cabbage.

Suggested Pairings:

Monte De Oro Viognier 2014, $23: Medium-bodied wine offering a nice balance taste of ripe stone fruits (peach, nectarine, apricot), tropical fruits (passion fruit, mango, cantaloupe, pineapple) and white and yellow melons.

Van Roekel Estate Viognier 2014 (Maurice Car’rie Winery), $22: This award-winning, estate-grown Viognier boasts notes of apricot and Asian pear, with hints of citrus blossom.

Callaway Winery Zinfandel 2013, $34: Big notes of jammy wild strawberries and dried cranberry match the deep purple red color of this fragrant Zinfandel.

Danza del Sol Zinfandel 2011, $26: Deep aromas of chocolate, currants, and raisins lead to soft, juicy flavors of black cherry.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California


Wine Country Recipe ~ Prawn & Avocado Salad with Creamy Orange Chive Dressing

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

timthumbThis zesty and colorful salad with lemony prawns and a bright tangy dressing is the essence of California living. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Pinot Grigio or Rosé.


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

¼ teaspoons sea salt

¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 pound prawns (about 24), peeled and deveined

¼ cup full fat plain yogurt

3 tablespoons minced chives

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons minced orange zest

2 teaspoons minced lemon zest

½ teaspoon granulated sugar

½ teaspoon sea salt

6 handfuls mixed lettuce greens

3 navel oranges, peel and pith removed with a knife, cut into ½-inch dice

2 large avocados, halved and pitted, flesh cut into ½ inch dice

Freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges


In a large bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon of the olive oil with the lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the prawns and mix well.

Place a steam basket or rack in a large saucepan. Add water to a level not quite touching the steamer. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the prawns, cover and steam for 3 minutes.

Remove the prawns from pan and set them aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil with the yogurt, chives, mayonnaise, orange juice, vinegar, orange zest, lemon zest, sugar and ½ teaspoon salt.

To serve, place a handful of mixed greens on each plate.

Top each serving with diced orange and avocado pieces, and prawns.

Drizzle each salad with dressing.

Season with pepper and garnish with a lemon wedge

Suggested Pairings: 

Baily Winery ~ 2014 Rosé of Sangiovese – Fun, fruity and full of character.

Danza del Sol Winery ~ 2015 Pinot Grigio – Soft candied aromas of honeysuckle, almonds and leche fruit.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery ~ 2015 Rosé of Sangiovese – A summery bouquet of rosy red fruit and flowers: strawberry, cherry, raspberry, rose petal and cherry blossom fill the nose and palate of this perfect warm weather wine.

Robert Renzoni Vineyards ~ 2015 Pinot Grigio – This wine offers subtle notes of green apple, lemon and pear, with a crisp refreshing finish.

Recipe & photo courtesy of The Wine Institute of California


Wine Country Recipe ~ Red Curry Chicken

Thursday, May 26th, 2016


This recipe, provided to us by Jason Rivas, Executive Chef at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa, looks absolutely fabulous!  Chef Rivas says “To set the record straight, curry is not a dish.  It is a collaboration of spices and ingredients composed into one dish. Curries will vary from region to region, person to person, and family to family; but the best thing about a curry is it constantly evolves.”  You’ll want to pair this with South Coast Winery’s 2014 Riesling.


Red Curry Paste:

2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp paprika
4 tsp New Mexico Chili Powder
1 tsp black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 6 oz can tomato paste
6 each garlic cloves crushed
1 large knob of ginger, finely grated

Place cumin, coriander, mustard, paprika, chili powder, and black pepper in a sauté pan.  Toast spices over a medium heat for about 1-2 min, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Toasting the spices will help to release flavors and will give a different dynamic to the spice.

Place the toasted spices in a spice grinder and grind to a powder.

In a medium size bowl mix everything together.  It should form a paste.


2 whole chickens
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Split each chicken into four pieces: Cut down the middle of the chicken, breast side first,  then continue all the way down through the back bone. Cutting through the back bone will require some force. Place one hand on the front of the blade to help set the blade into the bone; then grip the handle tight and push down hard to cut through the bone.

Cut in between the breast and the leg to separate the two. Repeat for both chickens.

Rub all the chicken parts liberally with the curry paste, let set for minimum 4 hours, up to 24 hours.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and preheat your oven to 350. Add a touch of olive oil to the skillet, season the chicken with salt and pepper, then place skin side down. Cook for about 4 mins then flip over. Once the chicken has been flipped over, place the skillet in the oven. Cook for about 20-30 mins. (or until chicken is done).

Photo courtesy of The Culinary Chronicles


Wine Country Recipe ~ Tacos de Carnitas with Salsa Verde

Friday, April 29th, 2016


So, are you a traditionalist and think that tacos are best enjoyed with beer or margaritas?  Well, we’re here to tell you that you’d be missing out if you didn’t consider serving them with wine instead! In honor of the upcoming Cinco de Mayo and our featuring of rosé wine this season, we dare you to try one of Temecula Valley’s dry rosé wines with this yummy Mexican favorite!

2 medium onions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 pounds boneless pork butt (shoulder), rind removed, cut into 2-inch cubes
Kosher salt
1 medium orange
6 cloves garlic, split in half
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick, broken into three or four pieces
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 medium tomatillos (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and split in half
2 jalapeño peppers, split in half lengthwise, stem removed
3 limes, cut into wedges
1 cup crumbled queso fresco or feta
24 corn tortillas

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 275 degrees. Cut one onion into fine dice and combine with cilantro. Refrigerate until needed. Split remaining onion into quarters. Set aside. Season pork chunks with 1 tablespoon salt and place in a 9 by 13 glass casserole dish. The pork should fill the dish with no spaces. Split orange into quarters and squeeze juice over pork. Nestle squeezed orange pieces into casserole. Add 2 onion quarters, 4 cloves garlic, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick to casserole. Nestle everything into an even layer. Pour vegetable oil over surface. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and place in oven. Cook until pork is fork tender, about 3 1/2 hours.

Set large fine-meshed strainer 1 quart liquid measure or bowl. Using tongs, remove orange peel, onion, garlic, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves from pork. Transfer pork and liquid to strainer. Let drain for 10 minutes. Transfer pork back to casserole. You should end up with about 1/2 cup liquid and 1/2 cup fat. Using a flat spoon or de-fatter, skim fat from surface and add back to pork. Shred pork into large chunks with fingers or two forks. Season to taste with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Transfer remaining liquid to medium saucepot.

Add tomatillos, remaining 2 onion quarters, remaining 2 garlic cloves, and jalapeños to saucepot with strained pork liquid. Add water until it is about 1-inch below the top of the vegetables. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook until all vegetables are completely tender, about 10 minutes. Blend salsa with hand blender or in a stand-up blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt. Allow to cool and refrigerate until ready to use.

To serve: Place casserole dish with pork 4-inches under a high broiler and broil until brown and crisp on surface, about 6 minutes. Remove pork, stir with a spoon to expose new bits to heat, and broil again for 6 more minutes until crisp. Tent with foil to keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat tortillas. Preheat an 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Working one tortilla at a time, dip tortilla in bowl filled with water. Transfer to hot skillet and cook until water evaporates from first side and tortilla is browned in spots, about 30 seconds. Flip and cook until dry, about 15 seconds longer. Transfer tortilla to a tortilla warmer, or wrap in a clean dish towel. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

To eat, stack two tortillas on top of each other. Add two to three tablespoons carnitas mixture to center. Top with salsa verde, chopped onions and cilantro, and queso fresco. Serve with lime wedges.

Recipe courtesy of; photo courtesy of J. Kenji López-ALT

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