This is not going to be one of Mrs. Vino’s frothy recipe posts – so if you are looking for that, no worries – she’ll get back to them in a week or so. Never fear though, there is a recipe at the end of this long, long blog post.
We’d like to take a moment to share some things with you, our Morovino family. This has been a particularly interesting and challenging year for David and I. It’s been year of tremendous fear and amazing growth. A year when the two of us have connected more deeply than I ever thought possible. And here’s why.
In March of this year, just before our annual wine club celebration, David had a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack), which is sometimes called a mini-stroke. If you haven’t seen a lot of David in the tasting room, this is mainly why. There was no significant lasting damage – but he gets tired easily and occasionally has to reach for words. But his wicked sense of humor remains untouched.
Naturally, there were lots and lots of tests associated with what we like to call “The Incident.” Despite the fact that he really hates needles, he’s held up well. but for awhile it seemed like every time David took a test, the results came back with another problem. Blood tests showed an elevated PSA (male friends over 50, please go get tested). Repeated, more extensive blood tests confirmed that there might be a problem. Biopsy scheduled. Results were not what we wanted to hear. David has prostate cancer. Cue full body bone scan. Bring on the CAT scan of the abdomen and pelvis. “Whoops, there’s something there we really don’t like on that scan.” Interestingly, you can get a colonoscopy scheduled within a couple of days if you really need one.
At this point, I told David that he’d obviously reached his “best by” date and I was trading him in on a newer model.
The colonoscopy finally offered some better news – David does NOT have colon cancer. I burst into tears when the gastroenterologist told me (David being incredibly high on Propofol at the time wasn’t paying much attention – he was completely hilarious on the drive home). The doctor said that tears weren’t the usual reaction for that announcement, but it was such a relief. Prostate cancer can be treated very effectively (more on our journey to figure out treatment in the next post). Colon cancer less so.
We love our gastroenterologist. One of the discussions that we had with him was about nutrition/diet and how it impacts cancer cells. Based on his recommendation, we have started a Ketogenic diet. Not to lose weight, but to hopefully starve cancer cells. Please note, this is not an ALTERNATIVE treatment for his prostate cancer. But an ADJUNCT to whatever treatment David decides is best for him.
All that being said, we have both lost about 7 lbs in 2-3 weeks and are feeling pretty great. I’ve been learning how to cook Keto and will be transposing some of my recipes from this blog into Keto-friendly dishes over the next few weeks. I’ll also be giving updates on our Keto journey. I will make sure to tag them all “Keto” for our friends who are going low carb.
If you are interested in Ketogenic diets, I recommend this book Fat for Fuel by Dr. Joseph Mercola. If you buy it in digital form, it includes links to most of the studies it references and the “Mrs. Vino” in me loves the history of food/diet and how the US got to its current pretty unhealthy state.
And, the tool that really helped us were these So Nourished Ketone Test Strips– super affordable, it comes with a FREE 14 day meal plan AND they follow up with you via email to see if you need help using the test strips. Love them.
Full disclosure: Please always, always support your local merchants and small businesses. But if you can’t find this book or these products locally, Morovino is now an Amazon Affiliate. If you purchase the book through our link, there’s no extra charge to you, but Amazon tosses a couple of bucks our way – which are going to help with David’s medical expenses. And those of you who know me know that I won’t be gratuitously linking to anything that I don’t use and love.
With our deepest love and gratitude,
David and Andrea
AND NOW FOR THE RECIPE:
VERY easy slow cooker bone broth (adapted from All Recipes)
Bone broth appears to be the foundation of a Ketogenic diet. We used to just call it broth – but now it has better marketing.
3-5 lbs beef bones (Grass fed beef is best. But pretty much any bones work. This also works with chicken and turkey bones. I was lucky enough to get venison bones from my friend Angela – the real Pioneer Woman).
3 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 T fresh cracked black pepper
2 Bay Leaves
2T Balsamic vinegar – yes, it has carbs, but you aren’t using enough to hurt your diet and it makes a big flavor difference. Use cider vinegar instead if you are hard-core.
1 T dehydrated garlic (or 4 fresh cloves, diced)
1 T dehydrated parsley
Salt to taste (I used about 2-3T – seems like a lot, but it helps balance your electrolytes)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Put the beef bones on a baking sheet lined with foil and drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Roast the bones for about 30 minutes – until they start to take on color.
Add the carrots, celery, bell pepper, bay leaves, garlic, salt, pepper and vinegar into your 6.5 Quart Slow Cooker. Add the bones. Add water to cover the bones and veggies. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove the bones. Pour the broth through a strainer to remove veggies. I make sure to get any bone marrow out of the bones and add it back to the broth (cuz that’s good stuff!!). For non-keto diets, you can skim the fat off this once it cools. For keto diets – why would you do that, the fat is kind of the point. This broth freezes really well.
So so easy and absolutely delicious!
2 bottles 2016 Pinot Grigio
1 pint strawberries, rinsed, hulled and halved
1 pint blueberries
2T Agave syrup
Put the blueberries in the bottom of a pitcher and muddle them (crush them up a bit with a long spoon). Add the strawberries and the agave syrup. Dump the bottles of Pinot Grigio on top and give a stir to dissolve the agave.
Refrigerate at least two hours – but best overnight. Serve the sangria in nice wine glasses, and add a few of the boozy strawberries!
Happy Fourth of July.
We are so excited that the Avila Beach Farmer’s Market is back! It makes dinner so much easier. And ooooh, the spring goodness we can find there. We were pulling a long day at the tasting room and Mr. Vino suggested hitting the Farmer’s Market for dinner. I think that he was thinking to pick up some fish tacos. Me, I hit the produce guys and the fresh pasta guy for this riff on a recipe from Cooking Light. And oh, my – it was amazing with our new 2016 Beach Blonde Pinot Grigio!!
Pea and Snap Pea Pasta
6 oz fresh sugar snap peas (get 8 ounces cuz you are going to eat some of them while prepping)
1 C fresh shelled peas
3 T really nice olive oil
Juice and grated lemon peel from one fresh lemon
2 oz shaved Asiago or Parmesan
Salt & Pepper
Radish Microgreens (yep, back in the day we called them “sprouts”)
Lobster ravioli (or other delicate pasta like Pappardelle. It’s vegetarian with plain pasta!!)
This is so dang easy it’s almost embarrassing and the whole thing comes together in the time it takes to cook the pasta.
Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Once boiling, add snap peas and cook until they turn really bright green (1 minute or so – don’t overcook). Remove the snap peas with a slotted spoon and put them in a bowl of cold water to shock them. The drain on paper towels.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook per package instructions. Add the fresh peas during the last 30 seconds.
While pasta is cooking, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. When pasta is done, drain pasta and pea mixture. Add pasta, peas and snap peas to bowl and toss lightly to combine.
Plate pasta and top with shaved cheese and microgreens. Don’t have Asiago or Parm? This also is really nice with Feta.
Fresh, healthy, delicious.
Mrs. Vino’s Riff on Beef Bourguignon – only where’s the beef????
Make & Serve with 2014 Morovno Petite Sirah
Many of you know that Mr. & Mrs. Vino are trying for a more vegetable-forward diet. This has provided some super fun opportunities for Mrs. Vino to play in the kitchen. This riff on Beef Bourguignon uses a Petite Sirah (a Rhone varietal) instead of burgundy and hearty mushrooms instead of beef. And is vegegarian (you will NEVER miss the meat). This is easily converted to a vegan dish by using a slurry of 1 T water and 1 T cornstarch instead of the Beurre Marni to thicken. PS, Beurre Marni was a new technique for me, taught to me by chef Google. But I will totally use it again.
This recipe looks really long – but only because I had fun writing it. Took about 40 minutes total to prepare.
2 large Portobella Mushrooms
1 little blue Styrofoam package of Crimini mushrooms (or Baby Portobellas), sliced
1/2 C. Dried Shiitake mushrooms (I get mine from Costco and it is my new kitchen staple)
1 C. boiling water
½ Onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 C. vegetable broth
1 C. Morovino Petite Sirah
3 T Olive Oil (divided)
2 t. Herbs de Provence
2T Balsamic Vinegar
2 t. Salt
2 t. Pepper
1T Butter, softened
In a large coffee mug or small bowl, rehydrate the dried mushrooms in the boiling water – this will take about 20 minutes. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Remove the stems from the large Portobella mushrooms by breaking them off. Then remove the dark gills by scraping them out with a spoon. Put the mushrooms gill side down on your cutting board and cut the caps into thick slices (like 3/4” thick). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the mushrooms on the baking sheet, drizzle with 1 T of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the mushroom caps 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and using your kitchen tongs, turn the mushrooms over. Return sheet to oven and roast for an additional 15 minutes.
While Portobellas are roasting, heat 1 T of oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and saute until soft (4-5 minutes). Remove the onions and carrots to a small bowl. Add the remaining Tablespoon of olive oil, notch the heat up to medium high and add the sliced Crimini to pan. You don’t need to add more oil – no matter how much oil you add the mushrooms will absorb it. Just keep stirring the mushrooms around so they don’t stick and they will release their own juicy goodness. Saute the mushrooms for 5 ish minutes, until they start to brown.
While mushrooms are sauteing, use the back of a fork to cream together the butter and flour in a small bowl. If you were to then roll it into pea sized balls, you’d have Beurre Marni – great for thickening soups and sauces. Me? Really? Roll into pea sized balls – not likely. Just leave the mixture in the bowl for now.
When the mushrooms have browned, add the Petite Sirah to the pan and deglaze for a minute (aah, I love the sound of a good deglaze). Drain the Shiitakes (reserving the liquid) and add them into the pan with the carrots and onions. Add the vegetable broth and the reserved liquid in which you rehydrated the mushrooms (mushroom broth) to the pan. Reduce heat back to medium. Add the Herbs de Provence and simmer strongly (not quite boil) for 10 minutes until liquid starts to thicken. At this point, your roasted Portobellas are probably ready. Turn the heat off in the oven, but leave them in to keep warm until the sauce is ready.
Back to the Beurre Marni. Instead of rolling it into ridiculous pea sized balls then adding them to the sauce, just use the fork to add the butter/flour mixture to the simmering sauce in small increments – stirring between additions. Continue at a strong simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Add Balsamic vinegar. Stir, then add salt and pepper to taste.
I serve Mushrooms du Rhone over a hearty pasta, but it’s also great over polenta, mashed potatoes or a toasted hearty bread. Arrange thusly. Pasta/bread/polenta/potatoes on plate (choose one, not all). Slices of roasted Portobella on top of pasta, or whichever. Spoonfuls of mushroomy sauce atop Portobellas. Top with a sprinkle of chopped parsley for extra credit. Green salad on the side. Serves 4.
Some of you know that my go-to food style is Asian influenced. I love Asian-style cuisine because it’s quick, easy, fresh and pretty healthy. My love of Asian cooking started when I used to get to pick out a restaurant for my birthday dinner – you can read the blog post about that here. And Miso soup is my absolute favorite cold weather comfort food. So I stopped by our local grocery and saw a Miso I wasn’t familiar with (most stores carry Red, Yellow and/or White Miso). The Miso was called Mugi and it is made with aged, fermented barley in addition to soybeans. Well you know Mrs. Vino loves her a new food toy – so I had to take it home and check it out.
So I made my basic Miso Soup recipe to check it out. Mugi is much milder and less salty than Red/White/Yellow Miso. It’s got a really interesting barley-y, malty aroma and slightly sweet flavor. It’s really delicious and I recommend it for a basic miso soup. But it reminded me very much of Guiness Stout (which I love with Salmon) and got the wheels turning for a new recipe.
So here it is: Glazed Salmon in Miso-Stout broth. Mr. Vino loves it. I love it. AND, it’s a great way to use up any Stout beer left over from St. Patrick’s Day!!
Glazed Salmon in Miso-Stout Broth
Serve with Morovino Petite Sirah
4 C. chicken broth
1 Shitake mushroom, remove stem, slice cap thinly on diagonal
1” of ginger, sliced into 4 or 5 coins
3 cloves of garlic, whole, but peeled
pinch of red pepper flake (to taste)
¼ c. rice wine vinegar
¾ c. dark beer, like Stout
6 ounces of soba noodles
2T Mugi Miso (aged, fermented barley and soy beans)
1 Carrot, peeled and sliced thinly on the diagonal
1 rib of celery, sliced thinly on the diagonal
¼ c. shelled edamame
¼ c. Garlic Hoisin Sauce
1 2-lb Salmon or Steelhead filet, skin removed
2 scallions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
In a large saucepan over medium low heat, add the chicken broth, shitake mushroom stem, ginger, garlic, red pepper flake, rice wine vinegar and stout. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place the salmon. Spread the garlic hoisin sauce atop the salmon. Fill a second pot with water and bring to a boil.
Using a slotted spoon, take all the funky, chunky bits out of the broth (garlic, ginger, mushroom). Reduce heat to low. Add in the miso, carrot, mushroom, celery and edamame and let simmer for an additional 10 minutes. While the broth is simmering, add the soba noodles to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions. AND put the salmon in the oven to roast.
When soba is ready, drain well and put a little nest of noodles in the bottom of a pretty bowl. Ladle the broth over the noodles. Cut the salmon into 4 pieces and place a piece atop each nest of noodles. Garnish with sliced scallions. Serve with a green salad or quick-pickled cucumbers.
If you eliminate the Stout and use Yellow or White Miso, this is my standard Miso Soup recipe. You can add tofu and/or whatever fresh veggies you have in the fridge and it’s really delicious.
OH YEAH, if you still have Stout beer left over, use it to make your own whole grain mustard – see the recipe/blog post for it here.
Make and serve this dish with Morovino 2014 Syrah (or not, see directions)!
I love this super easy dish that was adapted from the Hillshire Farm website. Sorry Hillshire Farm, I really like to use Aidells Bacon & Pineapple Sausage with this dish!
1 package Aidells Bacon & Pineapple Sausage (or any smoky sausage that you like), cut diagonally into 1/2” slices
2 T Olive Oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 small head of broccoli, cut into bite sized florets or (1 small package frozen broccoli, thawed)
1 red bell pepper, diced
½ C. mild Roasted Pepper Salsa
½ C. Morovino Syrah
2 t. smoked paprika
2 C. prepared Orzo pasta (you can use rice, but Orzo is faster)
Add olive oil to the bottom of a heavy skillet and heat over medium heat until it starts to shimmer. Add sausage and saute until browned (3ish minutes). Add onion, broccoli and pepper sand saute for 5 minutes until veggies take on color and begin to soften. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute until fragrant (not browned). Add salsa and smoked paprika. Add Syrah (OK, that stings a bit – alternately add ½ c. of other smooth red wine and drink the Syrah while you are cooking). Heat for 4-5 more minutes until sauce thickens. Serve over Orzo pasta and top with shredded Asiago or Parmesan. Yum.
Make Reuben Pizza!
We love our Wine Family. They know we love to cook and we love to eat. So when Tom B. smoked us a Pastrami, we immediately thought about a Reuben Pizza that Linda G. made for us a couple of months ago. It’s not really complicated enough to call a recipe – may be we’ll just call it assembly instructions. But it will definitely be featured in our Superbowl party this year. Enjoy.
Ingredients: Thousand Island Dressing. Canned Sauerkraut. Pastrami. Swiss Cheese. Pizza Crust. PS, if you want to make any of this from scratch – awesome. But sometimes I love/need a pantry supper.
Start with your favorite pizza crust. I’m a fan of the Pizza Dough In a Poppin’ Fresh tube. But this also works really nicely with a premade pizza crust like a Boboli.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees (or whatever temperature is appropriate for your preferred crust).
Top your pizza crust with Thousand Island Dressing. Rinse and Drain the Saurkraut. Scatter the sauerkraut on top of the dressing. Chop the pastrami and scatter on top of the sauerkraut. Top with slices of swiss cheese. Bake until the cheese is melty and bubbly.
See? Easy Peasy. And delicious. Thanks Linda and Tom for the inspiration.
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: