You can use any kind of fish for these grilled tacos, or shrimp if you prefer. Pacific halibut is lean, with thick flakes, and easy to grill. Offer the salsa separately so lovers of spicy food can add as much as they like, and others can pass. Of course, pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Rosé or Sauvignon Blanc.
Scant ½ teaspoon whole cumin seed or ground cumin
¾ teaspoon sea salt
Scant ½ teaspoon paprika
1 pound skinless Pacific halibut, preferably in 1 piece
1 heart of romaine, dark green outer leaves removed
1/3 cup crema (Mexican-style sour cream) or sour cream
Canned chipotle chile en adobo or chipotle hot sauce, optional
8 corn tortillas
16 cherry tomatoes
1 small avocado, halved, pitted, and sliced lengthwise
Coarsely chopped cilantro
Salsa verde, store-bought or homemade
If using whole cumin seed, toast it in a small dry skillet over medium heat until it darkens and becomes fragrant. Let cool, then pound fine in a mortar or grind in a spice grinder. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, salt, and paprika. Brush the fish all over with olive oil, then season with the spice mix. Refrigerate on a plate for 30 minutes.
Prepare a hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to high.
Cut the romaine in half lengthwise, then slice thinly crosswise. Set aside. Put the crema in a small bowl. Whisk in enough cold water to make it thin enough to drizzle. If desired, whisk in finely minced chipotle chile or hot sauce to taste.
Wrap the corn tortillas in aluminum foil or a clean kitchen towel. Bring an inch of water to a boil over high heat in the bottom of a steamer. Put the tortilla package in the steamer basket, cover, and steam for 1 minute. Then turn off the heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, toss the cherry tomatoes with enough olive oil to coat them lightly. Season with salt. Put them on a small heatproof stainless grill tray or other heatproof baking dish and set on the grill directly over the flame. Cook until the tomatoes are sizzling and lightly charred, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
Place the halibut on the grill rack and grill without turning until the flesh just flakes, 8 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness. Transfer to a platter and divide the fish into 8 pieces of roughly equal size.
To assemble the tacos, put 2 hot tortillas on each of 4 plates. Top each tortilla with some of the shredded romaine, then with a piece of fish. Divide the tomatoes and avocado slices among the tacos. Drizzle crema over the fish, top with cilantro and put a lime wedges on each plate. Serve immediately, passing the salsa verde separately.
If you have grill duties this 4th of July, show everyone you have the right stuff with these succulent pork chops. Shoulder chops aren’t as common as loin chops so you may need to ask a butcher to cut them for you. They have more flavor, and this garlicky rub guarantees that they will be a dish you want to make all summer long. Juicy California nectarines make this slaw a standout. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel.
2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed between your fingers
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
¾ teaspoon garlic powder
¾ teaspoon ground fennel
¾ teaspoon paprika
4 bone-in pork shoulder blade chops, about 8 ounces (225 g) each and ½ inch (1.25 cm) thick
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, or more as needed
2 teaspoons honey
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ pound (225 g) green cabbage, cored and very thin sliced
¼ pound (115 g) radicchio, cored and very thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1/3 cup (40 g) minced green onion, white and pale green parts only
1/3 cup (40 g) toasted slivered almonds
1 large ripe but firm nectarine, very thinly sliced
In a small bowl, combine all the rub ingredients. Brush the chops on both sides with the olive oil. Sprinkle both sides of the chops with the rub, pressing it into place with your fingers. Place the chops on a rack set over a tray and refrigerate, uncovered, for 8 to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before grilling.
Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, honey, and salt and pepper to taste.
Prepare a moderately hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
Make the slaw: In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, radicchio, carrot, green onion, almonds, and nectarine. Toss to mix. Add enough of the dressing to coat the slaw lightly; you may not need it all. Toss gently and taste for seasoning.
Grill the chops about 5 minutes per side for medium doneness. Let rest 5 minutes to allow the juices to settle, then serve with the slaw.
Vietnamese chefs introduced Californians to the delights of five-spice chicken, and the dish is now entrenched in the Golden State repertoire. A cool, crunchy, lime-laced cucumber salad provides a refreshing contrast to the highly seasoned chicken. The marinade makes the chicken skin extra-crisp and tasty, so purchase skin-on thighs if possible. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Merlot!
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
¼ teaspoon five-spice powder
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 small shallot, finely minced
2 teaspoons sugar
4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on, about 1-1/2 pounds (680 g)
Cucumber Peanut Salad
1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 large carrot, coarsely grated
½ small sweet red onion,thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice with some pulp
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
½ small jalapeño chili, minced (remove seeds first, if desired)
¼ cup (10 g) coarsely chopped cilantro
¼ cup (30 g) chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
Prepare the marinade: Combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, five-spice powder, garlic, shallot, and sugar and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Put the chicken thighs in a glass baking dish or other container just large enough to hold them. Pour the marinade over the thighs and turn them to coat all over. Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours, turning once halfway through.
Prepare the cucumber salad: Put the cucumber, carrot, and onion in a bowl and toss gently to mix. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, water, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, and chili. Whisk until the sugar dissolves, then pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently. Add the cilantro and peanuts and toss again. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Prepare a hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to high. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place skin side down on the grill. Brush the flesh side with any marinade in the baking dish. Cook on both sides until the skin has browned and crisped and the chicken juices run clear, not pink, when probed at the bone, about 20 minutes.
Divide the cucumber salad and the chicken among 4 dinner plates. Garnish with lime wedges.
Monte De Oro Winery ~ 2016 Merlot – A medium+ aroma intensity of freshly picked raspberries, bing cherries, and strawberries with vanilla, cocoa bean, red bell pepper, red flowers, clove, cinnamon and charred oak.
Thornton Winery ~ 2016 Merlot – Merlot has cherry, black berry currant and blueberry notes along with a fruit-driven entry that is complemented by oak barrels from France, Eastern Europe and North America.
Sweet, tart, crunchy, tangy—this colorful salad has it all. Its contrasting textures and surprising flavors keep you coming back for another refreshing bite. Serve the salad with store-bought roast chicken or grilled lamb chops. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Chardonnay or Sparkling Wine.
4 medium golden beets, about ¾ pound (325 g), greens removed if attached
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 whole allspice berries
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
2 large navel oranges or blood oranges
½ large fennel bulb
6 Medjool dates, pitted and quartered lengthwise
2 ounces feta, preferably Greek or French
Fresh mint leaves
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put the beets in a baking dish with the vinegar, allspice, thyme, and ½ inch of water. Cover and bake until the beets are tender when pierced, 45 to 60 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel the beets. Refrigerate, covered, until chilled, then slice thin.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt to taste.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
Cut a slice off both ends of each orange so it will stand upright. Stand each orange on a cutting surface and, using a sharp knife, remove all the peel and white pith by slicing from top to bottom all the way around the orange, following the contour of the fruit. Slice the peeled oranges crosswise ¼ inch thick. Discard the first and last slices if they seem to be mostly membrane. Remove the small bit of white pith at the center of each slice.
Cut the halved fennel bulb in half lengthwise. With a vegetable slicer or by hand, shave or slice very thin. Put the fennel in a small bowl and add just enough of the olive oil-lemon dressing to coat the fennel lightly. Toss gently.
On a serving platter or on individual salad plates, arrange the beets and oranges informally, breaking the orange slices into half-moons or even smaller pieces. Scatter the fennel on top, then top with the dates, almonds, and crumbled feta. Drizzle with the remaining dressing. Scatter a few small mint leaves on top, or tear into smaller pieces if they are large. Serve immediately.
Thornton Winery ~ NV Blanc De Noir – a rich, complex sparkler made entirely from Pinot Noir grapes. With a hint of color from minimal skin contact, it has a hint of strawberry and toasty yeast, with citrus and apple flavors.
This classic dish highlights the earthy flavors of Portobello mushrooms, the richness of mascarpone polenta and the elegance of seared, rib eye steak. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Merlot or Syrah.
3 cups (750ml) water
1 cup (250ml) chicken stock
1 cup (160g) course ground polenta
1 teaspoon (5ml) salt
3 tablespoons (45g) mascarpone cheese
2 (8-ounce/225g) boneless rib eye steaks, 1½- inches (3.81cm) thick, removed from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking
4 tablespoons (60ml) extra virgin olive oil, divided
½ pound (225g) portobello mushrooms, stems removed
2/3 cup (160ml) Temecula Valley Merlot
2/3 cup (160ml) heavy cream
1 tablespoon (15ml) balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) salt
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pour the water and the chicken stock into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
When the water begins to simmer, whisk in the polenta and the 1 teaspoon (5ml) salt.
Stir for 5 minutes while the polenta is simmering.
Cover the polenta and turn the heat to low.
Cook for 40 minutes total stirring every 10 minutes making sure to scrape the bottom and corners of the pan.
Remove from the heat and stir in the mascarpone cheese. Cover and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 450° F (230° C).
Sprinkle both sides of the steaks generously with salt and pepper.
In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet heat 2 tablespoons (30ml) of the olive oil over medium-high heat until very hot, but not smoking. Add the steaks and sear for 2 minutes on each side.
Transfer the steaks to a shallow baking pan. (Set the skillet aside for later use.)
Roast the steaks in the oven for 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Remove the steaks from the pan and let the steaks rest while you make the mushroom sauce.
Thinly slice the mushroom caps into half moons then slice again crosswise into 1-inch (2.5cm) pieces.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons (30ml) of olive oil in the skillet used for the steaks. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and cook and stir until golden brown. Add the wine and reduce the liquid by half.
Add the cream and balsamic vinegar and the ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook and stir until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and cover.
To serve, spoon desired amount of polenta in the center of each plate. Top polenta with sauce and strips of steak.
Avensole Winery 2014 Merlot~ This wine is unique with blackberry and black cherry fruit with subtle hints of black licorice and vanilla, framed by silky tannins and a generous finish.
Chances are you’ll find many other uses for this fragrant sweet-tart jam. Enjoy it on a grilled-cheese or ham sandwich or serve it with a cheese or charcuterie board. It’s the perfect complement for fresh goat cheese or a tangy Cheddar. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah.
¼ pound (125 g) dried Calimyrna figs, stems removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, about 10 ounces (315 g), halved and thinly sliced from root to stem
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
½ teaspoon ground fennel seed
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, or more to taste
4 fresh Italian sausages, hot or sweet, 5 to 6 ounces (155 g to 185 g) each
Put the figs in a small saucepan with 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion, thyme, and fennel seed. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft, golden-brown, and sweet, about 30 minutes. Lower the heat if necessary to prevent burning.
While the onions cook, prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
Lift the figs out of the liquid with a slotted spoon and slice thinly. Add the figs to the onions, along with the sherry vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the fig-cooking liquid. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid has been absorbed and the flavors have merged, 3 to 4 minutes. Taste for seasoning. The jam should be moist with a balanced sweet-tart flavor.
Grill the sausages until they are nicely browned all over and feel firm when probed, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately with the warm jam.
Crisp, creamy and peppery, these sandwiches make a spectacular simple supper or decadent late-night snack. For the perfect pairing, try with your favorite Temecula Valley Zinfandel or Sauvignon Blanc.
1 cup shredded Fontina cheese
½ cup shredded Jack cheese
½ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
8 rustic-style sandwich bread slices
unsalted butter, softened
1 cup watercress, with stems
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon brown, stone ground, or Dijon mustard
1. Toss to mix the Fontina, Jack, and Gruyere cheeses in a medium bowl.
2. Use your fingers to pinch 2 small holes, 2 inches apart, in each slice of bread (to allow a little cheese to ooze out and make the bread extra crispy).
3. Spread a thin layer of butter on one side of each slice.
4. Arrange 4 of the slices, butter-side down, in a large skillet.
5. Cover each slice evenly with a quarter of the cheese mixture.
6. Cover the cheese with a quarter of the watercress.
7. Top the watercress with the remaining slices of bread, butter-side up.
8. Place the skillet over medium-low heat and cook the sandwiches for 8 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom. Turn the sandwiches and brown the other side.
9. Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board, turning them so that the watercress is on top of the cheese.
10. Mix the mayonnaise with the mustard to make the aioli. Remove the top slices of bread and spread the unbrowned sides with the desired amount of aioli. Replace the bread, brown-side up, on the sandwich. Serve immediately.
Caramelized figs, oozing cheese, salty prosciutto, and fresh arugula are a delightful combination of flavors and textures in this pizza. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Riesling or Rosé.
Makes two 10-inch pizzas
1 (1-pound) store-bought or homemade pizza dough
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary leaves,
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
8 slices prosciutto, about 4 ounces, torn in half lengthwise
6 medium fresh California figs, quartered
2 ounces fresh arugula
Freshly ground black pepper
Make the pizzas:
Place a pizza stone on the lowest rack in the oven, and heat the oven to 475°F.
Divide the dough into 2 equal balls. Roll each ball out on a lightly floured work surface and transfer to a lightly floured pizza peel (or roll out on a piece of parchment paper). Lightly brush the dough with olive oil. Sprinkle the rosemary over each crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the rims. Arrange half of the mozzarella over each crust, sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan over each pizza, and arrange the figs on top.
Slide the pizzas onto the baking stone (if using parchment, slide the parchment onto the baking stone). Bake the pizzas until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Remove the pizzas from the oven. Drape half of the prosciutto slices over each pizza and sprinkle 1 tablespoon Parmesan over each pizza. Return to the pizzas to the oven, and cook until the prosciutto is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove the pizzas from the oven and scatter half of the arugula over each pizza. Brush the crusts with olive oil, sprinkle a few drops of olive oil over the arugula, and garnish with black pepper. Cut the pizzas into wedges and serve immediately.
Baily Winery~ 2016 Riesling – Enjoy this delicate, dry and fruity white with a slightly spicy meal, or poolside on a hot & sunny day!
Hart Winery~ 2016 Rosé of Sangiovese – Lightly pink, near-dry, delicately scented and flavored Rose′ wine, very much in the dryer, food-friendly European style. Excellent with a wide range of foods, and a great summer sipper.
Mount Palomar Winery~ 2015 Sangiovese Rosé – very fragrant with scents of strawberry, honeydew melon, white nectarine, and kiwi fruit. The taste is bright with strawberry, tangelo, watermelon, and hints of rosewater
Maurice Carr’ie Winery ~ 2016 Riesling – This semi-sweet Riesling is full of apple and apricot aromas. The palate is nicely balanced between crisp, fruity, acidity, and modest sweetness. Flavors of apricot, pear, peach, and pineapple develop in this rich wine.
Meaty chicken thighs are braised and crisped in an aromatic broth infused with roasted citrus and North African spices. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Sauvignon Blanc.
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, about 2 pounds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large lemon, cut into 8 wedges, seeded
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 cup chicken stock
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
20 pitted green olives
Heat the oven to 350°F.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, deep skillet with lid or Dutch-oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brown the chicken, skin-side down, then flip and cook 2 minutes; transfer to a plate.
Add the lemons to the same skillet and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes; transfer to a separate plate.
Pour off the excess liquid from the skillet, add the onions and 1 tablespoon oil and cook over medium heat until the onions are soft and golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes, stirring frequently and stirring up any brown bits. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, then add the cumin, coriander, paprika, ginger, and turmeric and cook about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the stock, cinnamon stick, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, then nestle the chicken, skin-side up, in the stock, making sure the skin is left exposed.
Cover the skillet, transfer to the oven, and bake 20 minutes. Remove the lid and scatter and tuck the lemons and olives around the chicken, leaving the chicken skin exposed. Continue to cook, uncovered, until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the skin is golden and crispy, about 20 minutes.
Serve the chicken in shallow serving bowls with couscous.
Callaway Vineayard & Winery ~ 2015 Special Selection Sauvignon Blanc – Pairs with scallops, oysters, prawns white lighter textured fish and wine & cream pasta sauces.
Danza Del Sol Winery~ 2016 Sauvignon Blanc – A mouthwatering balance of fresh fruit and acidity. Opens with aromas of white blossoms that lead to white peach, melon and ripe citrus. Flavors of crisp apple and lime.
Hart Winery ~ 2016 Sauvignon Blanc – Citrus notes of guava and tangerine, a subtle herbal undertone and a clean peach finish. This alluring dry white wine is produced from Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown in the Hart Family Vineyard and Temecula Valley’s Huis Vineyard.
Oak Mountain Winery~ 2016 Sauvignon Blanc – Succulent melon and grapefruit mingle together in this medium-bodied Sauvignon Blanc. A light influence of French Oak rounds out this crisp, aromatic wine