This January, Vino Man and I decided to move to a more plant based diet. Better for us. Better for the environment. Tasty-licious. This move was made easier when we signed up for the amazing Talley Farms Fresh Harvest Program and started picking up a box of amazing, seasonal, locally-sourced produce every week. (Info on Talley Farms Fresh Harvest, here.) That, too was good for our bodies. And good for our pocket book – the Jr. share is less than $20/week (I was already spending that much on veggies at the grocer).
In honor of our Tenth Wineversary, we decided that our monthly newsletters would feature some of our great wines in the past. So we dipped into the cellar and pulled out a Double Gold Medal Award Winning 2009 Dolcetto. We hadn’t sampled it in a while, and thought it would be a great opportunity to see how it was aging.
But in our new more veggie-based world, we wanted to try the Dolcetto with a Vegetarian meal. Big wines and plant based meals pose some challenges, but I’m always up for a food challenge. Having recently been introduced to an incredibly amazing product called Kimbo Veggie Smoked Duck (Tofu), I thought it would be a great experiment.
Full disclosure. I usually hate tofu. It’s my “Bête Noire”. In my 40 years of cooking (and I grew up cooking Asian-style dishes) I have never been able to successfully execute tofu. Until now.
The recipe below is VERY quick and easy. Came together in about 15 minutes (excluding preparation of the rice). The Veggie Smoked Duck is available at larger Asian-style markets. My friend Judy brings it up from SoCal for me by the box – cuz the Vino man loves this too. Enjoy!
Oh yeah, the Dolcetto? Well Damn. That Dolcetto is good stuff. The 2009 is prime right now – even smoother than when you put it in your cellar. It was great with this dish and will still absolutely hold up to lamb, steak and meatier dishes too. We recommend that this wine be consumed this year – before the fruit begins to fade out.
VEGGIE SMOKED DUCK STIR FRY
1/2 large head Napa Cabbage, shredded (or thinly sliced)
1 bunch broccoli – cut off florets, then peel and slice the stalk (it’s the best part)
1/2 large onion – peeled and sliced thinly from root to tip
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 C. frozen Edamame (shelled), defrosted
1 1″ piece of ginger, grated
1/2 C. Garlic Hoisin Sauce (We like Soy Vay)
1/4 C. Sake or dry white wine
1/2 package of Kimbo Veggie Smoked Duck, sliced, then quartered
2 T Canola oil, divided use
1/2 bunch green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
Brown Jasmine Rice
Prepare your rice via your preferred method. I like my rice cooker – perfect rice every time. When there’s about 10-15 minutes left on your rice, start your stir fry. Preheat your oven to 250 degress. In a large heavy bottomed skillet or wok, heat 1 T of Canola oil over medium high heat until it shimmers. Add the onions and saute until they are limp and lightly brown, about 3 minutes. Stir constantly, as you are using pretty high temperatures. You need to keep the food moving or it will scorch. Add broccoli florets and stems and saute another 3 minutes. Then add cabbage and Edamame and saute 2 minutes more. Add the garlic and half the Hoisin and all the Sake/wine. Stir for about 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant. Put the veggies in your serving dish and place in the oven to keep warm for a few minutes. Put the second tablespoon of oil in the saute pan and heat till shimmering. Lower heat to medium. Add the smoked duck and the second half of the Hoisin sauce and heat until just warmed through – 2-3 minutes. Pull out the veggies, top them with the smoked duck, then sprinkle with the green onions. Serve atop the rice with the Morovino Dolcetto vintage of your choice. Amazing.
We are so excited to have received TTB approval on our new “small batch” label! Several of
you have asked why a “small batch” label when we are already a very small producer (2,000ish cases/year)?
We are a small producer tasting and selling out of a destination beach town. Because our town is so exceptionally beautiful, we are lucky enough to get repeat visitors – people who come to see us every six months, or even once per year. We call these customers the Morovino “irregulars”. We’ve sensed some frustration with our irregulars that they visit and taste a wine, but when they come back 6 months or a year later, they can’t get the same great wine they loved on their last visit.
Our core Italian varietals – Dolcetto, Barbera and Sangiovese – are typically produced in 200 – 300 case lots. While that’s small to most producers, we typically expect to sell out of a 300 case lot in a bit more than a year. The “small batch” label is to help identify wines that were produced in lots of 50 – 75 cases. These are wines that will move in and out of the tasting room quickly (probably a 3-4 month lifespan). The cool new label will help our customers know that if they LOVE a small batch wine, they might want to consider getting an extra bottle – it probably won’t be around the next time they visit.
Plus, Mrs. Vino is just loving the burgundy background. Small Batch wines should be in the tasting room by the end of February. We hope you come and check them out!!
It’s always fun when another great wine site does a feature about you!! Our friends at California Winery Advisor (a really great wine website – you should totally check them out), used a photo of Morovino for their article on the Avila Wine Trail.
Thanks, California Winery Advisor! Check out the article here:
A big, bold wine doesn’t always need to go with a meat dish. Our new Tango (Syrah/Petit Sirah) blend is just amazing with this hearty vegetarian dish! This is a perfect starter, or use like a salad. ENJOY.
2 Cloves garlic, diced
4 large Portobello Mushrooms
4 fresh mozzarella cheese balls, sliced thinly
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced
Fresh Basil – leaves only, sliced in chiffonade
¼ C Balsamic Vinegar
2 t. Brown Sugar
Set your oven to 400 degrees and place one oven rack on the second rung from the bottom, and another oven rack on the second rung from the top. Melt butter and garlic together in a microwave safe bowl. This will soften the garlic flavor a tiny bit. Prepare the mushrooms by removing the stem (save them to use in soup), and using a teaspoon to scrape out the brown gills. Brush the mushrooms, inside and out, with the garlic butter mixture. Put mushrooms on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Start with a layer of tomato, then a layer of cheese, the tomato, then cheese (you see where I’m going with this) until the mushroom cap is full. Make sure to finish up with a layer of cheese on top. Put the baking sheet with the mushrooms in the oven on the rack at the second rung from the bottom and cook for 10 minutes.
While the mushrooms are cooking, make the balsamic glaze. Or just pull it out of your fridge, cuz you should always have some of this on hand. When in doubt, put Balsamic Glaze on it!! You could put it on rocks and they would be delicious. To make the glaze, put the sugar and vinegar in a very small sauce pan over medium high heat and bring to the boil. Turn the heat to low and allow to simmer for 8 minutes or so – the glaze should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Turn the oven to broil and move the pan with the mushrooms to the rack at the second rung from the top. Broil mushrooms until the mozarella turns bubbly brown.
Pretty plating – put some nice arugula on a plate. Put two mushrooms on top of the arugula. Drizzle the mushrooms and greens with the balsamic glaze. Sprinkle the fresh basil shreds on top of the whole shebang. Mmmmmmmmmmmm
Don’t know how to chiffonade basil? Here’s a great tutorial on YouTube.
Quick-pickling (also known as refrigerator pickle) is a great way to take advantage of the amazing summer produce available at your Farmer’s Market. This recipe works with: Bell Peppers, cucumbers (non-waxed), zucchini, spring onions, carrots, green beans, radishes (but if you use red radishes, the color bleeds into the pickling liquid and they are . . . interesting looking – I use Daikon)…..
Mrs. Vino finds most recipes for quick-pickles available on the internet to be tooooooooooo sweeeeeeeeeet. I prefer a really tangy, sour pickle. This one works just perfectly for me.
Makes 2 pint (8 ounce) jars of quick pickles
2 cups of thinly sliced veggies
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t. mustard seed
1/4 t. Red pepper flake
Place sliced veggies into clean jars. In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar, water, salt and sugar over medium low heat until the salt and sugar dissolve. Add the garlic, mustard seed and red pepper flake to the saucepan. Pour the hot liquid over the veggies. Add lids and put in fridge. Let sit at least 2 hours before serving. Will last a week in the fridge (theoretically – they last about 2 days in the Vino household).
If you don’t have mustard seed, dill seed or fennel seed also work well.
This amazingly easy, lightly sweet Sangria is both beautiful and tasty. It’s Summer In A Glass.
1 pint strawberries (local is better, my dears), hulled and quartered
1 bottle Cosa Dolce Riesling
1 small orange, sliced and quartered (leave the peel on, but cut the nasty end bits off!)
1/4 C. Agave Syrup (or 1/2 C. honey) – Feel Free to adjust to taste
1 C. Club Soda
In a large pitcher, combine all ingredients except club soda and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 4 hours). Add the club soda to the pitcher just before serving and stir.
Do you like your BBQ Sauce Sweet? Spicy? How about a super easy sauce that’s a bit of both. This is one of those recipes that looks a bit complicated because it has more than 3 or 4 ingredients. BUT, I’ll bet you have most of these in your cupboards anyway! If you can’t bring yourself to use the Morovino Cab in the sauce (and I can’t really blame you), use any full bodied red.
1 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ t. smoked paprika
¼ t. cumin
1 C. Morovino 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon (or other full bodied red)
1 T brown sugar
½ C. Ketchup
2 t. Sriracha sauce (Asian hot sauce)
1T soy sauce
1T cider vinegar
1 t. Worcestershire Sauce
½ C orange juice
2 T orange marmalade
This is one of those recipes that looks a bit complicated because it has more than 3 or 4 ingredients. BUT, I’ll bet you have most of these in your cupboards anyway! If you can’t bring yourself to use the Morovino Cab in the sauce (and I can’t really blame you), use any full bodied red. In a saucepan over medium heat, saute garlic and smoked paprika in the olive oil until garlic turns light gold – about 1 minute. Add wine and brown sugar and simmer until reduced by half(ish)–about 4-5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, except the marmalade and simmer until they start to thicken a bit. Finish by stirring in the marmalade. Let cool before using.
This sauce is lightly sweet and lightly spicy. Try it with meatballs on a sourdough roll for a yummy meatball sandwich. Marinate cut up chicken overnight in ½ the sauce, remove the chicken to the grill, then use the other ½ of the sauce for basting. It’s YUMMY on pork tenderloin, or use with a pork tri-tip in the slow cooker for a pulled pork sandwich.
EZ Baked Shrimp and Tomatoes (adapted from Cooking Light)
Make and serve with 2015 Beach Blonde
2 leftover heels of French bread
3T. minced fresh dill or 1 T dried
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T butter, divided use
2 T olive oil, divided use
1 ½ lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined (save shrimp shells)
¼ t salt, divided use
¼ t black pepper, divided use
¼ c. Beach Blonde or other dry white wine
2 large tomatoes (preferably one red, one green)
2T balsamic vinegar
Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Vino are fans of the heels of French Bread. So Mrs. Vino pops them in her freezer to use whenever she needs bread crumbs. This is both frugal and delicious – packaged bread crumbs taste like cardboard. To begin, cut the bread heels into slightly smaller pieces and send them for a spin in your food processor or mini chopper until coarsely crumbed. Then add the dill and garlic and pulse a few more times until you have fine crumbs. Heat 1 T of butter and 1T of oil in a small non stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the crumb mixture to the butter, watching carefully cuz they are gonna want to burn, and cook for about 3 minutes until lightly browned – stir frequently.
Then, preheat your oven to 450. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish (or a prettier one if you have it – or even 6 individual gratin dishes) with the remaining 1 T of olive oil. Arrange peeled shrimp in a single layer in dish(es). Sprinkle with 1/8 t. salt and 1/8 t. pepper (that’s about 4 twists of Mrs. Vino’s grinders). Sprinkle shrimp with wine, then scatter half of the bread crumbs on top of the shrimp.
Now, about those tomatoes. Many grocery stores are now offering a clamshell container with heirloom tomatoes. These heirlooms taste much better than any other grocery store tomato. And, in some cases, they are priced less than 2 lbs of the “cluster tomatoes” from the supermarket that basically taste like plastic. Frequently the heirloom tomatoes feature a green tomato. The green tomato really brightens this dish. Do you have to use it? No, of course not. If no green tomatoes are available, use whatever you have. Back to the dish.
Slice the tomatoes into thin ¼” slices. Put an overlapping layer of tomatoes on top of the bread crumbs (which are on top of the shrimp). Sprinkle the tomatoes with 1/8 t. each of salt and pepper. Then top with the remaining breadcrumbs. Dot the casserole with the remaining 1 T of butter. Bake it at 450 for about 15 minutes or until shrimp are opaque and pink. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar just before serving.
This dish is great all by itself with a big green salad and loaf of bread. Or, for extra credit, make a big batch of risotto (using the recipe on the package of Arborio rice or from the Morovino website). Then top risotto with a big spoonful of this shrimp dish. That will stretch the shrimp dish from feeding 2-4 to feeding 6-8 for just a few cents more. And it is incredibly yummy.
A great way to celebrate the start of strawberry season!
2 pints fresh strawberries
½ C. plus 4 T. Cosa Dolce
2 large seedless oranges, peeled and sectioned
Angel food cake
Whipped cream and/or chocolate sauce
Sometimes the simple things are the best! This dessert is really easy and very fancy looking. It’s a great way to use strawberries that may be a little past their prime. Hull and quarter strawberries and place in a large non-reactive bowl. Peel oranges and section them to remove membrane. Do the sectioning over the strawberry bowl to catch the orange juice. Add orange sections to berries. If you have never sectioned an orange before, it’s a great skill to have. Cooking.com has a great video tutorial. You can find it on You Tube. Just go to www.YouTube.com and type in “section an orange.”
Add ½ cup of Cosa Dolce. Stir gently, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Cube 3 1-inch slices of Angel Food cake. In the bottom of a martini glass, put 5 cubes of Angel Food cake. Top with ½ c. to ¾ c. of the berry and orange mixture. Be sure to include some of the juice. Drizzle the top of each dessert with 1T of Cosa Dolce.
THEN, go crazy! Drizzle the top of the strawberries with chocolate sauce or top with a big dollop of whipped cream. What the heck, do both! Prepare for the rave reviews. Serves 4.
We were lucky enough to be gifted this holiday season with a wonderful pasta called Pici (Thanks Robert & Mary!). This is similar to a thick spaghetti or Bucatini, but it includes the germ of the wheat – making it a big mouthful of nutty pasta-y goodness. I had so much fun trying to decide how to top the Pici. I wanted something that would be hearty enough to stand up to it, without overwhelming it. This pasta was inspired by a lunchtime BLT Sandwich. In this case, the Pancetta takes the place of the Bacon, Arugula Pesto takes the place of the Lettuce. And the tomato is roasted. The yummy, nutty pasta replaces a great whole grain bread. It’s super simple to make and delicious with Barbera! Enjoy.
Serve with Morovino 2013 Barbera
4 Roma Tomatoes halved lengthwise
1/2 lb Pancetta (a slab, not sliced)
4 C. Arugula (4 big handfuls)
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley (mostly leaves, not stems)
4 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus 1 t for drizzling
2 Garlic Cloves, roughly chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 t. salt
9 ounces of Pici (or other hearty pasta)
1/4 c. shredded or shaved Asiago
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with sides (sometimes called a jelly roll pan) with parchment paper. Cut the slab of pancetta into 1/2″ish cubes. Scatter the pancetta cubes on the jelly roll pan. Place the tomato halves, cut side up, amongst the pancetta on the pan. Put into the oven for 30-35 minutes – stirring every 10 minutes or so to flip the pancetta cubes and the tomato pieces so they brown evenly. Cook the Pici (or pasta according to package directions).
In the bowl of your food processor, add the arugula, parsley, garlic, salt, olive oil and lemon juice. Pulse until smooth.
Drain the pasta and drizzle with th 1 t of olive oil to prevent sticking. Plate a nest of the pasta. Top with the Arugula Pesto. Add the roasted tomato and pancetta, then top with the shaved Asiago. Salty, tangy, nutty, hearty – perfect winter comfort pasta!