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Riesling-Poached Pear with Caramel Sauce

Monday, July 1st, 2019

Share a silky, wine-poached pear with friends on a hot summer night. Both the pear and the luscious caramel-yogurt sauce can be prepared ahead, so dessert will be ready when you are. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.

Ingredients
1 cup (250 ml) Riesling
1 cup (250 ml) water
6 tablespoons (3 oz/90 g) granulated sugar
½-inch piece of vanilla bean
1 ripe but firm Bartlett or Anjou pear

Caramel Sauce:
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
¼ cup (2 oz/60 g) plain whole-milk Greek yogurt, at room temperature
Small chunk of bittersweet chocolate, optional

Directions
In a small saucepan, combine the wine, water, sugar, and vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Peel the pear with a vegetable peeler, leaving the stem intact. Place the pear on its side in the simmering liquid. Spoon some of the liquid over the exposed pear. Cut a parchment round a little larger in diameter than the saucepan and place it over the pear, tucking the edges under the liquid to hold the parchment in place. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook 10 minutes.

Remove the parchment and use 2 large spoons to gently turn the pear over without damaging the flesh. Recover with parchment, tucking the edges under as before, and continue simmering until the flesh is just tender when pierced, about 10 minutes longer. The pear will continue to cook as it cools. With a slotted spoon, transfer the pear carefully to a lidded container. Remove the vanilla bean from the poaching liquid. Simmer the poaching liquid until reduced to ½ cup (4 fl oz/125 ml). Cool completely, then pour it over the pear.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 1 day, turning the pear every few hours in the syrup.

Make the caramel sauce: In a small saucepan, combine the sugars and water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer until reduced to 2-1/2 to 3 tablespoons, about 4 minutes. Do not reduce further or the caramel will be too sticky. Pour into a measuring cup and let cool 2 minutes. Put the yogurt in a small bowl and gradually whisk in the caramel. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

To serve, cut the pear in half lengthwise. Core both halves with a melon baller. Put the halves, cut side down, on a work surface and thinly slice lengthwise, leaving the slices attached at the stem end. Using a spatula, transfer each pear half to an individual plate, maintaining the shape of the pear half. Press lightly on the slices to fan them. Spoon the caramel sauce alongside and drizzle about 1 teaspoon of the pear poaching syrup over the pear. If desired, use a rasp grater or other fine grater to grate a little bittersweet chocolate over all. Serve immediately.

Pairing Suggestions:

Baily Winery ~ 2017 Riesling – This cool and crisp white wine is perfect on a summer day, enjoy it poolside with friends and family!

Danza Del Sol Winery ~ 2017 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 include crisp apple and lime.

Hart Winery ~ 2016 Sauvignon Blanc – Citrus notes of guava and tangerine, a subtle herbal undertone and a clean peach finish.

Mount Palomar Winery ~ NV Riesling – The wine is fragrant with pear, guava, gardenia, and banana.  The taste is full with apricot, peach, tangerine, lychee, star fruit and guava.  

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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LITTLE GEM LETTUCES WITH OLIVE OIL-POACHED TUNA

Friday, March 29th, 2019

Serves 4

This dish requires a lot of olive oil for poaching, but you won’t waste a drop. Use some of the flavorful poaching oil in the salad dressing; strain and refrigerate the remainder for cooking greens or for dressing future salads. The strained oil will keep for a month. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Rosé or Sauvignon Blanc.

Ingredients
1 albacore tuna steak, about 10 ounces (315 g) and
3⁄4 to 1 inch (2 to 2.5 cm) thick
3⁄4 teaspoon ground fennel seed
3⁄4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 large fresh thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, halved
6 black peppercorns
1 3⁄4 to 2 cups (430 to 500 ml) extra virgin olive oil
dressing
6 tablespoons (90 ml) extra virgin olive oil (from the tuna baking dish)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon salt-packed capers, rinsed and finely minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1⁄2 cups (280 g) cooked chickpeas (drain and rinse if canned)
1⁄2 pound (250 g) Little Gem lettuce or romaine hearts
1⁄4 pound (125 g) radicchio
1⁄2 red onion, shaved or very thinly sliced
3⁄4 cup (125 g) halved cherry tomatoes
1⁄4 cup (10 g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions
Preheat the oven to 200°F (95°C). Remove the tuna from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.

Season the tuna on both sides with the fennel seed and salt. Put the tuna in a deep ovenproof baking dish just large enough to hold it. Add the thyme, bay leaf, garlic, and peppercorns. Pour in enough olive oil just to cover the tuna.

Bake until a few white dots (coagulated protein) appear on the surface of the fish and the flesh just begins to flake when probed with a fork, 30 to 40 minutes. The tuna should still be slightly rosy inside. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature in the oil.

Make the dressing: In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, capers, oregano, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the chickpeas and let them marinate for 30 minutes.

With a slotted spatula, lift the tuna out of the olive oil and onto a plate.

Put the lettuce in a large salad bowl. Tear the larger outer leaves in half, if desired, but leave the pretty inner leaves whole. Tear the radicchio into bite-size pieces and add to the bowl along with the onion, tomatoes, and parsley.

Using a slotted spoon, add the chickpeas, then add enough of the dressing from the chickpea bowl to coat the salad lightly. By hand, flake the tuna into the bowl.

Toss, taste for salt and vinegar, and serve.

Pairing Suggestions:

Akash Winery ~ 2017 Parlez-Vous Rosé – A bright candied apple appearance matches the aromas on this Zinfandel rosé.

Hart Winery ~ 2016 Sauvignon Blanc – With citrus notes of guava and tangerine, a subtle herbal undertone and a clean peach finish.

Ponte Winery ~ 2018 Pas Doux – Its notes of strawberry and rose with a pleasantly balanced acidity make it a staple for everything from a springtime brunch to the dinner table.

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa ~ 2016 Tempranillo Rosé -Lightly sweet and abundantly fruity, the crisp finish make this Tempranillo Rosé a great warm weather sipper.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute

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Pan-Seared Steak with Portobello Mushroom Sauce atop Mascarpone Polenta

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

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.

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.

Suggested Pairings:

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.

Carter Estate Winery & Resort 2012 Merlot ~ This Merlot has a very long finish that is silky and firm with a shapely, tart tannic backbone.

Fazeli Cellars 2014 Shiraz ~ Silky black currant and blackberry layered with hints of vanilla, earth and black pepper. Full-bodied with a rich, lingering finish.

Monte De Oro Winery 2014 Syrah ~  Accents of cocoa bean, clove, anise, red and black peppercorns with a long gripping finish.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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Grilled Sausages with Fig and Onion Jam

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

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.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.

Suggested Pairings:

Bel Vino Winery ~ Cabernet Sauvignon Vintners Selection – Aromas & flavors of black cherry, plum and dark chocolate.

Callaway Winery ~ 2014 Winemaker’s Reserve Syrah – Dark, spicy and brimming with black fruit, this vintage will only get better with time.

Danza Del Sol Winery ~ 2014 Syrah – Flavors of ripe black cherry, plum and hints of chocolate and tobacco laced finish.

Gershon Bachus Vintners ~ 2010 Aquilo God of North Wind Cabernet Sauvignon –  The smooth velvety finish carries a blackberry undertone

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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Baked Striped Bass with Peperonata, Olives, and Saffron Aioli

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

Braised sweet peppers, potatoes, and tomato make a succulent foundation for baked fish. Sauced with a garlicky, saffron-scented aioli, the dish needs only some crusty bread to complete it. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Grenache Blanc or Rosé.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, halved and sliced
1 pound (500 g) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced ¼ inch (6 mm) thick
½ pound (250 g) peeled plum tomatoes, halved and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, halved, seeded, and sliced
1 green bell pepper, halved, seeded, and sliced
1 gold or yellow bell pepper, halved, seeded, and sliced
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley, plus some for garnish
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
Kosher or sea salt
½ cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) white wine
1 dozen black olives, preferably unpitted
4 fillets of striped bass or other firm white fish, 5 to 6 ounces (155 g to 185 g) each

Aioli
1 large clove garlic
Kosher or sea salt
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
½ cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large, wide Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onion, potatoes, tomato, peppers, parsley, oregano, saffron, and 2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes render their juice and the vegetables begin to soften, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the wine and simmer for a couple of minutes to evaporate the alcohol. Cover the pot and adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes and peppers are tender, about 20 minutes longer. Stir in the olives. Taste for salt.

Season the fish with salt and place the fillets on top of the bed of vegetables. Add ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) water, cover and cook until the fish just flakes, about 10 minutes.

While the fish cooks, make the aioli: In a mortar, pound the garlic and a generous pinch of salt to a paste; alternatively, mince to a paste by hand. Put the egg yolk in a small bowl, add a splash of lukewarm water, and whisk. Begin adding the olive oil gradually—drop by drop at first—whisking constantly. (Recruit a helper to pour while you whisk.) When you have achieved an emulsion, you can add the oil a little faster. When you have incorporated all the oil, whisk in the garlic paste.

When the fish is ready, tilt the cooking pot and draw off about ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) of the juices. Whisk enough of these flavorful juices into the aioli to make it thin enough to drizzle. Taste for salt.

With a spatula transfer the vegetables and fish to individual shallow bowls or plates. Spoon aioli over the fish. Garnish with more chopped parsley.

Suggested Pairings: 

Chapin Family Vineyards ~ Rosella Rosé – Delicate flavor with a hint of grapefruit and a slightly dry and crisp finish.

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.

Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery ~ 2016 Grenache Blanc – Green apple and mandarin orange dominate with citrus peel with herbal notes in the mix.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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Grilled Baby Back Ribs with Smoky Cherry BBQ Sauce and Red Cabbage Citrus Slaw

Friday, June 29th, 2018

This looks like an amazing dish to serve for your 4th of July BBQ! Fresh cherries round out the smoky heat of a feisty barbecue sauce that glazes tender pork ribs as they crisp on the grill. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

Sauce:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound fresh California cherries, pitted, chopped
2/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons ground chipotle chili pepper (or smoked Hungarian paprika)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Rub:
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 racks baby back ribs, each about 2 pounds, membranes removed

Slaw:
1/2 medium head red cabbage, finely shredded, about 4 cups
2 large carrots, coarsely grated
1/2 medium yellow onion, coarsely grated with juices, about 1/2 cup
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Make the sauce:
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the jalapeño and garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1 to 2 minute. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the sauce to a food processor or blender, process until smooth and taste for seasoning.

Prepare the ribs:
In a small bowl, combine the rub ingredients. Evenly coat the ribs with the rub. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over medium-low heat (about 300°F). Grill the ribs, bone-side down over indirect heat, with the lid closed, until the meat is very tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking. During the last 20 to 30 minutes of grilling time, baste the ribs with the glaze every 5 or 10 minutes. Remove the ribs from the grill and let rest 5 minutes, then cut into individual ribs for serving.

While the ribs are grilling, make the slaw:
Combine all of the slaw ingredients in a large bowl and toss to thoroughly coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour to allow the flavors to develop.
Serve the ribs with the remaining sauce for dipping and the slaw.

Suggested Pairings:

Baily Winery ~ 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon –  These grapes hail from the oldest vineyards in Temecula, planted in 1968. This wine offers warm, rich tones with subtle, herbaceous qualities and a hint of mint.

Doffo Winery ~2015 Zinfandel – Awarded 1st place at Temecula Valley People’s Choice Blind Tasting!

Leoness Cellars ~ 2015 Cellar Selection Zinfandel – This wine offers beautiful aromas and flavors of sweet blackberry and juicy plum, with hints of clove and black licorice framed by soft tannins and a long, silky finish.

Thornton Winery ~ 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon – Very classic berry and pepper aromas came forth while subtle herbaeceous notes meld with the warm toasty aromas from the oak.

Recipe and photo courtesy of The Wine Institute of California

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Grilled Three Cheese Sandwiches with Mustard Aioli

Friday, June 1st, 2018

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.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.

Receipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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Wine Country Recipe ~ Homemade Pizza with Figs, Prosciutto, Arugula, and Fresh Mozzarella

Friday, April 27th, 2018

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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.

Suggested Pairings: 

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.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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Wine Country Recipe ~ Moroccan Chicken with Roasted Lemons and Green Olives

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

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.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.

Suggested Pairings:

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

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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Wine Country Recipe ~ Crab Cakes with Fennel, Watercress, and Blood Orange-Chive Aioli

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

These crab cakes are fresh, delicate and lightly bound with baby shrimp, which amplify the crab’s natural sweetness. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley sparkling wine.

Makes about 12 cakes; serves 4 as a meal or 6 as an appetizer

Ingredients:

Crab Cakes:
1/2 pound cooked baby shrimp
1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) plus 2 cups for dredging
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over to remove cartilage
1 small red jalapeño pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Aioli:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Greek-style whole milk yogurt
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh blood orange juice
2 teaspoons minced chives
1 teaspoon finely grated blood orange zest
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons vegetable oil for pan-frying

Salad:
1 large blood orange
1 medium fennel bulb, halved, very thinly sliced crosswise
1 bunch watercress, tough stems discarded
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges

Directions:

In a food processor, pulse the shrimp to a coarse paste. Transfer the shrimp to a large bowl, add the 1/4 cup panko and the remaining crab cake ingredients. Gently mix to combine.

Pour 2 cups panko into a shallow bowl. With wet hands, gently form the crab into 2-inch patties, about 3/4-inch thick. Carefully turn the patties in the panko to lightly coat, place on a plate and refrigerate for 1 hour.

In a small bowl, whisk the aioli ingredients.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add about half of the crab cakes, without overcrowding the pan, and pan fry until golden brown on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining crab cakes. Keep warm while you assemble the salad.

Cut a slice off the tops and bottoms of the orange. Use a sharp knife to cut away the peel and white pith. Working over a bowl to catch the juices, slice out the orange segments from their membranes. Place the segments in a large bowl and squeeze as much juice as possible from the membranes into the bowl with the juices (there should be about 2 tablespoons).

Add the fennel and watercress to the oranges. Drizzle the juices and the olive oil over the salad, lightly season with salt and pepper, and gently toss. Mound the salad on 4 serving plates and garnish with the chopped chives. Arrange 3 crab cakes next to each salad and serve with lemon wedges and the aioli for dipping.

Suggested pairings: 

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa ~ Crisp acidity and delicate yeastiness are enveloped in a rich tropical fruit aroma.

Thornton Winery NV Brut ~ This Non-Vintage Brut is a blend of primarily Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, giving the wine exciting, crisp fruit characters.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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