Roasted Portobello Mushroom Caprese

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.

2T Butter
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.

Leave a comment

Quick-Pickled Peppers

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.20160517_171400

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.

Leave a comment

Summer Strawberry Sangria

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.

WOW.20160521_172723

Leave a comment

Cab-Tastic Barbecue Sauce

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

bbq chickenThis 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.

, , ,

Leave a comment

Easy Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes

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.

tomatoes2Now, 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.

, ,

Leave a comment

Strawberries Dolce

A great way to celebrate the start of strawberry season!

strawberry2 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.

Leave a comment

BLT Pasta

BLT PastaWe 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.

BLT Pasta

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!

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Mrs. Vino’s World-Famous Mulled Wine

OK, maybe not world-famous – but famous in the tasting room!

MRS.VINO’S MULLED WINEMulled Wine
(Make with 2014 Sangiovese or Tango blend)

1 bottle of 2014 Tango
1/2 bottle of tap water (use the wine 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!

 

Leave a comment

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Chicken Pot Pie Soup
Make and serve with 2014 Beach Blonde Pinot Grigio

super easy soup that you make from ingredients that you probably already have on hand.

super easy soup that you make from ingredients that you probably already have on hand.

4 C. chicken broth
1/4 onion, diced
1/2 C. Beach Blonde (or other dry white wine)
1 rib celery, diced
1 t. Herbs d’Provence
4 baby carrots, diced (or 1 regular carrot)
1 T olive oil
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 C. cooked diced chicken (or leftover turkey)
4 T cooked rice (or orzo pasta, or Quinoa, or . . .)
1/2 C. spinach or kale or collards or other tangy green, chopped
4 scallions, finely sliced
2 T. Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream

This is a pantry soup because it uses things you probably already have in your pantry or fridge. We get so little rain in California these days, that when rain finally comes, it’s nice to be able to create a soup without having to go shopping! In a big pot over medium heat, saute the onion, celery and carrotsin the olive oil until softened. Add the Herbs d’Provence and stir for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the wine and let the wine reduce by halfish. Add the broth, the cream of chicken soup and the chicken or turkey and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the greens and let simmer for 5 more minutes (until greens are tender). Add salt and pepper to taste. Put 2 T of rice, grains or pasta in the bottom of each of 2 pretty bowls. Ladel the soup on top. Top with a float of Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream and a sprinkle of scallions. Tastes just like Chicken Pot Pie – in a soup!! So easy. So comforting!!

, ,

Leave a comment

Truffled Pasta with Soft Boiled Egg

Truffled Pasta
Serve with 2013 Barbera

No, I’m not referring to the chocolate dessert truffles (although they are amazing). Yes, yes. Mrs. Vino knows that truffle oil is expensive. But it’s a great way to add flashy decadence to a dish. And if there is anything Mrs. Vino loves it’s a dish that flashy/easy/delicious. In fact, if Mrs. Vino were to get her own television show on a cooking channel – that’s what she’d call it:
FLASHY/EASY/DELICIOUS! Until you can find F/E/D on your local channel, here’s a great recipe:

1/2 lb of the pasta of your choice – I like Fettucine with this
1/4 c. good olive oil
2t Black Truffle Oil*
1/4 c parmesan cheese
2 farm fresh eggs
1 dried morel mushroom
Salt & Pepper to tastesteamer basket

This recipe is ALL ABOUT THE EGG!  So first, get your water boiling and your pasta started – according to package directions.  The perfect soft boiled egg isn’t really boiled, it’s steamed (ditto the perfect
hard boiled egg).  So put about 1″ of water in the bottom of a small saucepan.  Insert a steamer basket (this is a $4 tool that is indispensible in your kitchen – you can get them at most grocery stores in the
kitchen tool aisle). Its the little strainer that folds up to fit in
different sized pots.

Put the steamer basket in the pot with the boiling water.  There’s a bit of multi tasking with this recipe – when in doubt spend time on the egg – the pasta can be drained and sit a bit.  When you have about 2 minutes left on your pasta, place 2 eggs in the steamer basket (remember, the pot already has the water boiling in it) and cover the pot. You are going to let the eggs steam for EXACTLY 6 minutes (TIP: steam them for 15 minutes if you are doing hard boiled eggs). While eggs are steaming, drain the pasta, toss with the olive oil, truffle oil, salt and pepper and set aside.  When the eggs have reached the 6 minute mark, pull the pot off the heat, take off the lid and run cold water in the pot to stop the cooking. When the eggs have 20150806_195054cooled a tiny bit and can be handled, crack the large end of the shell (where the air bubble usually lives) and CAREFULLY peel them under warm running water. Your goal here is a whole egg with no shell.  Set aside on paper towels for a moment.  Plate the pasta. Top it with the cheese, split the eggs in half and quickly place two egg halves on top of each pile of pasta – the yolk should still be  a bit runny.  Grab the dried morel and your microplane grater (a microplane is a kitchen MUST HAVE). Grate the mushroom over the pasta and egg – voila, Mushroom Dust.  And you are done.  There’s a reason that there is a hashtag called #eggporn.

*Black truffle oil is a bit stronger and earthier than white truffle oil.  Start with 2 t, but feel free to add more if you desire.  Also, please check the ingredient list on your truffle oil. If it says “Truffle Essence” or “Truffle Flavor” you don’t want it. Truffle Oil can also be drizzled on steamed veggies, on air-popped popcorn (oh yeah, that’s a good one), or in your morning scrambled eggs.

Leave a comment