Archive for category Fun with Food and Wine

Braised Beef Shanks

Yes, Mrs. Vino knows that braising takes a looooooonnnnngggggg time.  But most of this is completely hands off.  No really.  Don’t lift the lid and peek.  Keep your hands off!  This recipe actually only has about 10 minutes of active cooking – and the way your house will smell is totally worth it.

BRAISED BEEF SHANKS
Serve with 2012 Dolcetto (also good with the Merlot)

2 1/2 lbs of beef short ribs or cross-cut beef shanks
1/4 c. flour
1 t. salt (plus more to taste at very end of dish)
1 t. granulated garlic (garlic powder – if using garlic salt, omit the salt referenced above)
1/2 t. black pepper
1 T canola oil
a 1-gallon zip lock bag
1 small onion sliced thinly
1 Bay leaf
1/2 C beef broth
1/2 C red wine

Mrs. Vino loves a good braise! This long, slow cooking method doesn’t have to be hard. Put the flour, garlic, salt and pepper into the gallon zip lock bag. Heat a sauteuse pan over medium high heat (that’s a round pan with a thick bottom, a cover and 3-4″ tall sides) and then add the Canola Oil and heat til it shimmers. While the oil is heating, put the shanks/short ribs in the zip lock bag, seal and toss with flour mixture to coat (it’s best if you do the meat one piece at a time). Remove the meat, shake off excess flour and place in the hot oil. Brown all sides of the meat (The secret to good browning is not to move the meat – let is sit on each side for at least 3-4 minutes – no peeking. You can smell it if it starts to burn and it will release from the pan as it starts to brown. If it sticks or you feel like you have to force it, it’s not browned yet.)

When the meat is completely browned, add the broth, Bay leaf, wine and sliced onion to the pan. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and let braise for 2 1/2 hours. Check the pan after a few minutes, you are looking for a simmer – not a boil). Once it is simmering, leave it alone.  No peeking needed. After 2 1/2 hours, remove the lid, carefully take the meat out of the pan (it will be fall apart tender) and keep it warm, then adjust the sauce/gravy as needed. Depending on how lean your meat is, you might need to add extra wine or you might need to turn the heat up to a boil to thicken/reduce. When the sauce is to the consistency you like, remove the Bay leaf and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve the meat with roasted or mashed potato (polenta is also yummy) and cover everything with the sauce. Comfort food at its easiest/most affordable.

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Pasta with Creamy Avocado Sauce

Pasta with Avocado Sauce

Pasta with Avocado Sauce

This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite vegan blogs (Oh She Glows) – which you should definitely check out.  The sauce is also amazing on zucchini noodles for a refreshing summer salad!

CREAMY AVOCADO & SHRIMP PASTA
Serve with Morovino 2012 Sangiovese (but any of our Barberas are also awesome with this)

2 small cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
1 tablespoon citrus olive oil (I like Robbins Family Farm Mandarin Olive Oil, but lemon or other orange olive oil works just as well. Don’t have citrus olive oil – no problem it’s delicious with plain extra virgin olive oil, too)
1 ripe medium avocado, pitted
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt (1/4 t if you use 1T of lemon juice, 1/2 t if you use 2T of lemon juice – the salt balances out the acidity)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 lb bay shrimp (the tiny salad shrimp)
1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
Zest from the lemon
1/2 lb of your favorite pasta (I like fettucine with this)

While your pasta – whatever kind you like – cooks, make the sauce. Cuz Avocados turn brown pretty quickly – this sauce is not a make ahead. OK, Kids, this is pretty simple. Place everything through black pepper into your food processor or blender. Actually, I use my “knock-off” magic bullet for this, cuz it works perfectly! If the sauce feels a bit thick, add 1 or 2 T of the pasta water to the blender.

When your past is cooked, drain it and place it back in the pot. Add the avocado sauce and toss until combined. Put it on a big plate (or individual plates). Top with lemon zest, shrimp and feta. Yummmmmmm.

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Tea-Poached Salmon

Oh my dears, this recipe is perfect with Morovino’s 2012 Pinot Noir.  This is our new, go-to, honey-I-really don’t-feel-like-cooking-let’s-do-something-easy recipe!

TEA-POACHED SALMON FILET
Serve with 2012 Pinot Noir

2 C. water
4 Oolong tea bags (Smoky Lapsang Souchong tea is also awesome)
1 lime, zested then halved
1 t. toasted sesame oil
2″ fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into “coins”
4 garlic cloves, slivered
1/2 c. dry white wine, divided use (I use Beach Blonde)
3 T soy sauce, divided use
1 T honey
2, 1/2-lb salmon filets (or steaks)
Salt & Pepper
1/8 t. Sriracha (literally 2 tiny drops)

Super easy, super delicious and pretty healthy, Mrs. Vino loves poached salmon because it is basically impossible to over cook. First, let’s make the poaching liquid!

In a sautese (That’s a saute pan with high straight sides – you must invest in one, my dears! Mrs. Vino uses it for everything.), combine the water, tea bags, 2 T soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, 1/4 c. wine and the juice of 1/2 of the lime (not the zest). Simmer liquid over medium low heat for 5 minutes. While the poaching liquid is simmering, salt and pepper the salmon filets/steaks. Remove the tea bags from the poaching liquid and discard. Remove 1/2 c. of poaching liquid (liquid only, no bits) and set aside for a minute. Slide the salmon into the remaining poaching liquid and cover. Simmer for 7 minutes.

Put the poaching liquid in a very small saucepan over high heat with the second 1/4 c wine and 1 T of soy sauce and reduce down by half (this will become the sauce for the salmon). When the sauce is reduced, add the honey, Sriracha and the juice and zest of the lime and whisk together. Put the salmon on a plate and drizzle with a tiny bit of the sauce. Serve with salad and rice or a nice crusty French bread. YUMMMMMM. Really, one of Mr. Vino’s new faves.

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Mulled Wine Season is HERE!

Wait! What’s that wonderful aroma in the tasting room???  It’s November so it’s Mulled Wine Season.  This year I think the Mulled Wine is the best ever (OK, I’m pretty sure I say that every year – but this year I mean it).  For those of you who misplaced your recipe for Mrs. Vino’s Holiday Mulled Wine in all the holiday craziness – here you go:

MRS.VINO’S MULLED WINEMulled Wine
(Make with 2013 Barbera)

1 bottle of 2013 Barbera by Morovino*
1/2 bottle of tap water (use the Sangiovese bottle)
1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 package Morovino mulling spices
1/4 c. dried fruit (used dried cherries, plums, raisins, apricots or blueberries for best results)

OK, last year Mrs. Vino took a LOT of guff because the recipe she was handing out in the tasting room was not exactly the same recipe she used to make wine for the tasting room – it was the easier version of the recipe that she uses when she makes Mulled Wine at home.  SO, this year, here are 3 different ways to make your mulled wine – based on time and inclination.

To make mulled wine EXACTLY like the tasting room version:  1) Put the wine, water, sugar, dried fruit and spice package (take tag off, leave cork on and spices in bag) all in a saucepan.  2) Simmer over low heat (do not boil – it will volatilize the alcohol) for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Mrs. Vino usually makes her mulled wine for the tasting room the night before she serves it – that’s the difference.  So for this version, when the wine has finished simmering, 3) take the pot off the stove and cover it.  Let it cool down a bit.  Then put it in the refrigerator overnight (leave the spice bag and dried fruit in it).  When you are ready to serve it, put it back on the stove top on low heat and bring it back up to a simmer.  Discard the spice bag and ladle into glasses as desired.  NOTE:  Mrs. Vino usually uses a combination of raisins and dried apricots for the tasting room mulled wine.

To make Mulled Wine like Mrs. Vino makes it at home, follow steps 1 and 2 – and serve immediately.  Still delicious, but leaving the bag and fruit in the wine overnight does concentrate the flavors a bit.

To make Mulled Wine in your Crock Pot, put the wine, water, sugar, spices and dried fruit in your slow cooker and simmer covered for 1 hour on high and then uncovered for at least an additional 30 minutes on low.  Keep the slow cooker on low and serve directly from the slow cooker.

Serve it with cookies, holiday carols, and  friends – it’s a perfect pairing!

**If you don’t use Morovino Barbera, use a light, fruity red wine like Merlot, Grenache or  Barbera.  For wines other than our Barbera, start with 1/4 cup of sugar.  Then taste and add more if necessary.  Too much sugar is when Mulled Wine goes horribly, horribly wrong!

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Spiced Apple Sangria (perfect for Halloween)

The perfect warm fall beverage!

The perfect warm fall beverage!

Mrs. Vino would love to be able to serve something a little special for Halloween – like mulled wine.  But, unfortunately, it’s usually way to warm on the Central Coast on October 31 to make that feasible.  But now, we have the perfect concoction for your Halloween holiday – or ANY TIME!  And it’s so so simple.

SPICED APPLE SANGRIA

1 bottle Cosa Dolce Riesling
1 t. Masala Chai from the Secret Garden Organic Tea Bar ( https://www.facebook.com/sgteabar )
1 cinnamon stick
1 large apple, cored and peeled, then sliced

Start with a pitcher big enough to hold at least 1 quart.  If you have a small muslin tea bag, put the tea and the cinnamon stick in the bag.  If you don’t have one, dump the tea and the cinnamon stick in the pitcher.  Add the apple slices to the pitcher.  Add the wine to the pitcher.  Put in the fridge and let all the goodness infuse overnight.  If you had a muslin bag, remove it and discard.  If you didn’t then you need to pour the mixture through a fine strainer into another container.  Serve well chilled.  So perfect with pumpkin spice cookies!!!

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Mulled Wine Season is HERE!

Wait! What’s that wonderful aroma in the tasting room???  It’s November so it’s Mulled Wine Season.  This year I think the Mulled Wine is the best ever (OK, I’m pretty sure I say that every year – but this year I mean it).  For those of you who misplaced your recipe for Mrs. Vino’s Holiday Mulled Wine in all the holiday craziness – here you go:

MRS.VINO’S MULLED WINEMulled Wine
(Make with 2012 Sangiovese)

1 bottle of 2012 Sangiovese by Morovino*
1/2 bottle of tap water (use the Sangiovese bottle)
1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 package Morovino mulling spices
1/4 c. dried fruit (used dried cherries, plums, raisins, apricots or blueberries for best results)

OK, last year Mrs. Vino took a LOT of guff because the recipe she was handing out in the tasting room was not exactly the same recipe she used to make wine for the tasting room – it was the easier version of the recipe that she uses when she makes Mulled Wine at home.  SO, this year, here are 3 different ways to make your mulled wine – based on time and inclination.

To make mulled wine EXACTLY like the tasting room version:  1) Put the wine, water, sugar, dried fruit and spice package (take tag off, leave cork on and spices in bag) all in a saucepan.  2) Simmer over low heat (do not boil – it will volatilize the alcohol) for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Mrs. Vino usually makes her mulled wine for the tasting room the night before she serves it – that’s the difference.  So for this version, when the wine has finished simmering, 3) take the pot off the stove and cover it.  Let it cool down a bit.  Then put it in the refrigerator overnight (leave the spice bag and dried fruit in it).  When you are ready to serve it, put it back on the stove top on low heat and bring it back up to a simmer.  Discard the spice bag and ladle into glasses as desired.  NOTE:  Mrs. Vino usually uses a combination of raisins and dried apricots for the tasting room mulled wine.

To make Mulled Wine like Mrs. Vino makes it at home, follow steps 1 and 2 – and serve immediately.  Still delicious, but leaving the bag and fruit in the wine overnight does concentrate the flavors a bit.

To make Mulled Wine in your Crock Pot, put the wine, water, sugar, spices and dried fruit in your slow cooker and simmer covered for 1 hour on high and then uncovered for at least an additional 30 minutes on low.  Keep the slow cooker on low and serve directly from the slow cooker.

Serve it with cookies, holiday carols, and  friends – it’s a perfect pairing!

**If you don’t use Morovino Sangiovese, use a light, fruity red wine like Merlot, Grenache or  Barbera.  For wines other than our Sangiovese, start with 1/4 cup of sugar.  Then taste and add more if necessary.  Too much sugar is when Mulled Wine goes horribly, horribly wrong!

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La Cosa Dolce Bellini

Now that we have Cosa Dolce back in the tasting room, I’ve received several requests for my favorite summer party beverage:  La Cosa Dolce Vita Bellini.  This is light and perfect for picnics and summer barbecues.  Enjoy!

La Cosa Dolce Vita Bellini
(Made with Morovino Cosa Dolce)

1 large ripe peach (about the size of a tennis ball)
2T Club Soda or Ginger ale (Mrs. Vino likes Diet Ginger ale)
½ C. ice cold Cosa Dolce
1 t. orange juice

The Bellini was invented at Harry’s Bar  in Venice and is generally made with Prosecco (sparkling wine).  BUT, we think it is FAAAAABUUU when made with ice cold Cosa Dolce.  Remove the peach pit, then cut the peach in cubes (including skin), and puree in your blender, food processor or mini-chopper.  You want it very well liquified.  Put 4 t. of peach puree in the bottom of a wine glass.  Add 2T of club soda or ginger ale and stir well.  Add the Cosa Dolce and the orange juice. Give another quick stir to blend. My one peach made about 4 glasses.   ENJOY!

If you want to do a pitcher of these, use 2 peaches, 1 bottle of Cosa Dolce, 8 ounces of Club Soda or Ginger ale and 2 ounces of  orange juice—assemble as above.  Then bask in the glory of your friends’ admiration.

For a fun twist, try a frozen Bellini!  Do these in full pitchers and Replace the fresh peach with 1/2 of a 10 oz bag of frozen peaches (I give my blender a break and let the peaches thaw just a tiny bit first).  Kind of like a frozen margarita, only better!

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Two Great Green Aps

I’m always happy to accommodate a request from a tasting room guest!  So here are two of my favorite GREEN aps for St. Pats Day.

Boniet – pronounced bun-yet (Sounds gross, tastes fantastic)
2 bunches of fresh Italian Flat Leaf Parsley (don’t use the yucky curly kind)
1 small can (50 grams) of anchovy filets, drained
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
4T cider (or red wine) vinegar
8T Good extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 T tomato paste

Chop off the bottom 2″ of parsley stems, then thoroughly wash and spin the parsley dry in your salad spinner.  Give the parsley a rough chop, then toss it in the bowl of your food processor with all the rest of the ingredients.  Whirl until you have a paste the consistency of pesto.  Serve this with warm crusty sourdough.  Make it the day ahead if you can – it’s even better the second day.  NOTE:  If you are into the “zen” of the chop, you can do all this chopping by hand but it takes less than 5 minutes to put together in the food processor. 

Bonus Points:  If you have any left over, grab a Boboli thin wheat pizza crust.  Top the Boboli  or other flat bread (I am now loving “pocketless” pitas) with the parsley spread, then add sliced mushrooms, sliced tomato, grated mozzarella and diced up leftover Rotisserie chicken.  Bake the Boboli per package directions.  Absolutely Fantastic. 

Super Easy Pesto

1 large bunch Basil
1/4 C. olive oil
3 large cloves garlic
1/4 C. Parmesan cheese
2 anchovy filets (if desired, also great without)
No Nuts – nope, just don’t like nuts in my pesto

Wash the basil in your salad spinner.  Pick the leaves off the stems.  Give the garlic a rough chop.  Then put everything into your food processor and whirl it around.  Put it on . . . anything.  If you are looking for a lower calorie version of Pesto, use 1/4 C of evaporated non fat milk instead of the oil.  It makes a nice creamy pesto that’s great over veggies!

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Mrs. Vino’s Secret Mulled Wine Recipe

We wish you the happiest of holiday seasons!  The Sangiovese Mulled Wine has been an enormous hit!  Just in case you lost the recipe that came with your “Kit” here it is.

MOROVINO HOLIDAY MULLED WINE
(make with Morovino Sangiovese*)

1 Bottle Morovino Sangiovese
½ Bottle of tap water (use the Sangiovese bottle)
1/3  C. Brown Sugar
1 Package Morovino Wine Mulling Spices
1/4 C. dried fruit (use dried cherries, dried plums, dried apricots, raisins – whatever you have, they all work!

In your saucepan or crock pot, add the Sangiovese, water, sugar, spice package (take off the tag, but leave cork and leave spices in the bag) and raisins/cherries/etc.  Simmer on low in a saucepan or high in a crock pot for 1 hour or more (don’t let it boil).  More time is better.  When warm, ladle it into small coffee cups, or heavy wine glasses and serve.  Yes, the dried fruit goes in the glass too – yummy. Or put it in a thermos and take it to a football game (in a Thermos, strain the dried fruit out or it will clog up the pour spout).  Or make yourself a pot and sip on it while wrapping holiday gifts sitting in front of the fire listening to Nat King Cole.  Really, try it.  100% of visitors to the tasting room who have tried it have loved it!  NOTE:  If you don’t finish the entire pot of mulled wine just let it cool a bit, cover it and put it in the refrigerator.  It’s delicious when reheated the second day!

*If you use a wine other than Morovino’s Sangiovese, look for a low tannin Red wine and start with 1/4 Cup brown sugar then adjust to taste.  Here are some reds that are usually low in tannin:  Beaujolais, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, Burgundy, Chianti, Merlot.

DON’T HAVE A BAG OF MOROVINO MULLING SPICES?  Here’s the secret recipe for 1 bottle of wine:

1/2 T whole cloves
1/2 T whole allspice
1 and 1/2 Cinnamon Sticks
2″ of orange peel – just peel, no pith
Tie all the spices up in a piece of cheesecloth or in a coffee filter or put them in a tea ball and follow the recipe as above.

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What to pair with a REALLY dry Rose

Well, the new 2011 Dry Pinot Grigio Rose has been launched and several people have asked me about pairing food with dry rose style wines.  Really, a good dry rose is the ultimate food wine – crisp acidity, smooth on the palate and a hint of astringency on the finish that really helps match the wine with hard-to-pair foods.  Our new dry Pinot Grigio goes well with:

1.  All by itself, sipping on a sunny deck.
2.  Slightly bitter things like Arugula, Asparagus and Broccoli Rabe (recipe follows)
3.  Very acidic foods like Ceviche (one of my faves) or a Grapefruit and Watercress Salad (recipe on the wine’s page)
4.  Asian or Thai flavors
5.  Tart cheeses like goat cheese
6.  Salty foods like truffled popcorn

We will be enjoying the new rose on Oscar Night at The Vinos (heck, maybe we will even use a SodaStream machine to sparkle it – works great).  As we munch our way through appetizers experimenting with matching foods to this awesome wine.

ROASTED BROCCOLI RABE
Pair with 2011 Avila Beach Sunset – Pinot Grigio Rose

1 large bunch Broccoli Rabe (also called Rapini)
1/3 Cup olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Mrs. Vino loves Broccoli Rabe!  So when it went on sale at her local grocer she went a bit crazy.  This meant she had to find some new ways to prepare it and this is the easiest, most delicious Broccoli Rabe dish she has ever tasted!  Preheat your oven to 400 degree.  Cut the bottom 2” of stem off the Broccoli Rabe (maybe more, maybe less – depends on how big your bunch is.  Basically you want to cut off any really woody end bits).  Wash and dry the Broccoli Rabe thoroughly (I like to use the salad spinner – it’s a great tool for this).  Put the whole stems of Broccoli Rabe in a large bowl and toss with 1/3 cup olive oil.  You want to lube up the Broccoli Rabe really well or it will stick to your baking sheet.  Pile the Broccoli Rabe onto a rimmed baking sheet (I have one I use exclusively for roasting veggies).  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Put the baking sheet in the oven and let roast for 15 minutes (toss once during cooking). The stems and florets get beautifully carmelized.  The leaves turn into little Broccoli Rabe potato chips.  Un.  B.  Leev.  Able.

I like to do this dish with roasted chicken thighs. If you put one oven rack about halfway down in your oven and the other rack at the bottom, you can cook both the Broccoli Rabe and the chicken thighs at the same time.  Sprinkle the thighs with your favorite seasoned salt and garlic powder.  Put them in the oven on the rack in the halfway down position.  Give them a 15 minute head start.  Then put the Broccoli Rabe in the oven on the bottom rack for 15.  They will finish at the same time.  Add some crusty French bread and call that a gourmet meal.

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