5 California Wine Country Recipes — Plus Wine Pairings
Fight the boredom and feed the family with some irresistible California cuisine.
A kitchen stocked with ingredients, a house full of kids and the new reality that you don’t really have anywhere to be — what do you do? Cook, of course. With this in mind, we tapped into the chefs at some of our favorite wine country eateries and they provided some great recipe ideas for cooking with kids, delicious comfort foods and even some irresistible sweet treats. Here’s what we’ll be whipping up in the days and weeks to come.
Jordan Winery, Healdsburg
Made daily for Jordan Winery’s Estate Tour & Tasting guests, these scones are always a crowd pleaser. The fruit changes seasonally and depends on what is fresh in the estate’s garden. Blueberry is always a crowd pleaser, but feel free to experiment with whatever is in season.
4 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
¾ cups sugar
1 tbsp orange zest (lemon zest may be substituted)
8 oz cold butter, cut into cubes
1 ½ cups blueberries, dried (any dried or fresh fruit may be substituted)
2 ½ cups heavy cream
3 tbsp butter, melted
sugar for sprinkling
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and zest. Cut the cold butter cubes and then add the fruit. Using a fork or pastry scraper to stir in the heavy cream until the dough is sticky.
3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board and dust the top of the dough with flour. With your hands or a rolling pin, gently pat the dough into a thick circle approximately 8-9 inches around. Cut the circle into 12 wedges and place each wedge on the baking sheet, allowing approximately an inch between each piece.
4. Brush each scone with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Sweet Pea and Fennel Soup
Freeman Vineyard & Winery, Sebastopol
2 tbsp butter
2 medium to large fennel bulbs, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
5 cups chicken stock
20 oz sweet peas (If it’s not season, frozen peas works great for this)
Salt and pepper
Heavy cream (optional)
1. Melt butter on a large pot, add olive oil when butter is melted. Add onion and fennel — cook stirring occasionally until softened about 15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste as you cook.
2. Add chicken broth and peas. Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer, partially covered, and cook for another 15 minutes.
3. Cool the soup and puree in batches in a blender or food processor until completely smooth. Add about ¼ cup cream if you like to finish.
4. Check the taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
5. If you are serving the soup cold, cover and chill it in refrigerator at least 6 hours.
If you like an onion flavor, top with chopped chives. You can also add chopped tomato if you like. If the soup is too thick, add more chicken stock later. This soup is very forgiving.
Pasta with Green Olives & Walnuts
Charlie Palmer, Dry Creek Kitchen, Healdsburg
We love this recipe because sometimes a work of art can come together in less than 20 minutes. And the best part? You probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry.
1 ½ cups olive oil
2 cups chopped walnuts
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 ½ cups chopped Sicilian green olives
Pinch of crushed red chili flakes
1 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
Fresh chives, snipped (if you have some)
1 pound rigatoni, or another pasta shape that has twists or ridges that can grab the sauce
1. In a 10-inch skillet, warm ¼ cup of the olive oil over low heat. Add the walnuts and toast, stirring occasionally until you can smell them. About 4 minutes.
2. Add the remainder of the olive oil and the garlic and cook, stirring well until the garlic colors slightly, just a few minutes. Stir in the olives and chili flakes. Remove from the heat.
3. Toss the olive mixture with the grated cheese and add those optional snipped chives for color and a little extra flavor bump.
4. Cook the pasta until al dente according to the package directions. Drain, reserving some of the pasta water. Toss with the olive mixture, adding a bit of the pasta water if needed. Serve immediately with grated cheese for sprinkling.
Chef’s tip: Pair with Paul Hobbs Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2016
Chile Rubbed Steak
Ram’s Gate Winery, Sonoma
Usually indulgent recipes like this are delegated to weekends when time is less of an issue, but now that the evening commute is a non-issue evenings are suddenly wide open for meal prep and restaurant-quality dishes like this one.
16 oz skirt steak, bone-in ribeye or New York
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Rub Mixture
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp golden brown sugar
1 tbsp pasilla powder
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp espresso powder
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
1. Combine 2 tablespoons of the rub mixture and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
2. Coat steak and refrigerate overnight. (If you own a circulator, circulate marinated steak at 128 degrees for 1 hour).
3. Pull steak out of refrigerator and let it come to right below room temperature. Heat grill or pan. Sear and cook to desired temperature, we recommend medium rare, and enjoy.
4. Rub Mixture: mix dry ingredients together, store in an airtight container. Use for meat and veggies.
5. Serve this delicious steak with white cheesy grits, roasted potatoes and carrots or a nice spring mix salad with blue cheese vinaigrette.
Chef’s tip: Pair with Ram’s Gate 2016 Vent de Colline Ram’s Gate Estate
Wild Mushroom Risotto
From RUSTIC: Francis’s Favorites restaurant, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Geyserville
Risotto, the most comforting of all comfort foods. And this particular recipe has an extra kick with the addition of the pinot noir — it’s also the perfect pairing for this delicious dish. We can certainly see why this is one of Francis Ford Coppola’s favorites.
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound fresh mushrooms, halved
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 cups vegetable stock or water
1 cup finely diced leeks (white portion only)
½ cup Arborio rice
1 glass Francis Coppola Reserve Pinot Noir
2 tbps unsalted butter
¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1. Preheat a large sauté pan over high heat and pour in the olive oil. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender.
2. Set the mushrooms aside. In a small saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer.
3. Preheat a wide-bottomed, high-sided pan over medium heat for 2 minutes, then add the leeks and season with salt and pepper.
4. Cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks are soft and translucent. Add the rice to the pan and stir frequently until the grains begin to toast slightly.
4. Add the wine and cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits until all of the liquid is evaporated. Add the stock one ladle at a time and cook, stirring, until the rice is al dente and creamy. Finish the dish with the reserved wild mushrooms, butter and cheese.
Ackerman Heritage House Meyer Lemon Meringue
By Jennifer Smith, Batter and Bliss
Courtesy of Ackerman Family Vineyards, Napa
For the Pie Dough
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
¼ cup very cold water
Make pie dough
By hand: In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. (Some people like to do this by freezing the stick of butter and coarsely grating it into the flour.) Add ¼ cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add another tablespoon of water.
With a food processor: In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add butter and pulse machine until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. Turn mixture out into mixing bowl. Add ¼ cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, add the last tablespoon of water.
Both methods: Wrap dough in a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours. Longer than 2 days, it’s best to freeze it until needed.
Heat oven: To 400°F (205°C).
Roll out crust: On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a 12- to 13-inch circle shape. Fold dough gently in quarters without creasing and transfer to a 9 ½-inch standard (not deep-dish) pie plate. Unfold dough and trim overhang to about ½-inch. Fold overhang under edge of pie crust and crimp decoratively. Save trim in fridge, just in case. Par-bake crust: Freeze for 15 minutes, until solid. Dock all over with a fork. Coat a piece of foil with butter or nonstick spray and press tightly against frozen pie shell, covering the dough and rim and molding it to fit the shape of the edges. Bake for 20 minutes, then carefully, gently remove foil. If any parts have puffed, just press them gently back into place.
For the Meyer Lemon Curd Filling
12 large egg yolks
Zest of 2 Meyer lemons
1 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cup unsalted butter, cold and cut in pieces
Combine the yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar in a stainless steel bowl over a double boiler. Whisk the mixture to combine, Whisk constantly over medium heat. Cook until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat. Add the butter, one piece at a time, whisking to incorporate into a smooth mixture. Pour warm lemon curd into baked pie crust and smooth out with an offset spatula, refrigerate for 2 hours or until curd is set. Top with meringue.
For the Swiss Meringue:
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
½ cup granulated white sugar
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
In a heatproof bowl (preferably stainless steel), whisk the egg whites with the sugar and cream of tartar. Place over a saucepan of simmering water and, whisking or stirring constantly, heat the egg whites until the sugar has melted and the mixture is hot (160 degrees F). Remove from heat and transfer the egg whites to your mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment (or you can use a hand mixer). Beat the whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Beat in the vanilla extract. Using the back of a large spoon spread the meringue on top of the set lemon curd or use a piping tip and pastry bag to create a fun design. Place under broiler to brown meringue for 4 mins or use a food grade blow torch to toast the meringue.
Chef’s tip: Pair with Ackerman Family Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc
If you love to cook, here are some other great recipe ideas:
Casey Gillespie is the editor-in-chief of SPACES magazine, but she doesn’t only write about design. Fashion, beauty, art, culture, luxury and wellness are favorite topics as well. Her work has been featured in Elle, The Telegraph, Furthermore, London Evening Standard, Haute Living, Sphere, Belmond, Modern Luxury and more. And when she is not pounding it out on the keyboard, you’ll find her hiking the trails in Marin County with her husband and French bulldog, Henry, or drinking wine and eating cheese. But probably drinking wine and eating cheese.