Saturday, April 30, 2011

Passport Day 1: Barndiva

After a day of drinking wine, I really want something OTHER than wine. Barndiva has become one of our Passport traditions because of their cocktail selection. I started the night with the Grow a Pear (Spiced Pear Vodka, Domaine de Canton, Luxardo Maraschino, Meyer Lemon Juice) but I think the hit of the evening was Debbie’s requested Mojito (made with Ginger Beer instead of Simple Syrup). John will soon be trying to replicate that at home.

Dinner was wonderful as always! We started with Goat Cheese Croquettes for the table and we were able to avoid any fighting.

Heirloom Beet & Endive
Avocado, Apple, Walnut, Warm Chèvre

Bacon Wrapped Gleason Ranch Pork Loin
Yukon Gold Potato Purée, Crème de Morel, Spring Favas


Passport Day 1: Passalacqua

050311122034Passalacqua was our last stop for the day. Wines featured included: 2008 Dry Creeek Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, 2008 Dry Creek Valley Estate Zinfandel, 2007 Dry Creek Valley Old Vine Zinfandel, 2007 Dry Creek Valley Saini Farms Sangiovese, and the 2007 Dry Creek Valley TR Passalacqua Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines were paired with Pizza Margherita with Proscuitto di Parma; Pizza Blanco with Mozzarella, Parmigiano, Ricotta and Arugula; Cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery – Parmigniano Reggiano Organico & Fiore Sardo with Sourdough Baguettes; and Stracciatell Gelato by Massimio.

Seven wineries in one day is a lot!!!! And probably one too many.

Passport Day 1: Quivira

050311120500Another winery that John and I discovered years ago. Quivira was a last minute addition to the winery list for the weekend thanks to Gateway to Passport. During Gateway, they were pouring a Sauvignon Blanc – Gewürztraminer blend which was limited release ONLY available at the winery. In addition, John and I picked up some of the very last 2007 Quivira Zinfandel. Yippee!!!

Passport Day 1: A. Rafanelli

050311121207John and I have been visiting Rafanelli since we first started coming to Dry Creek 20 years ago. A family owned winery known for their Zinfandel, they go all out for Passport Weekend. In addition to the wine from last year, everyone was looking forward to the estate grown olives marinated in the secret family recipe. We tasted both the Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel along with an unbelievable amount of food. Rafanelli is a must visit for Passport weekend.

Passport Day 1: Michel-Schlumberger

050311120904I wanted to visit Michel-Schlumberger because (1) they are organic and (2) because of their sister winery, Humanitas. Humanitas is a unique winery with a very compelling story.  Simply they make wine, sell it, and give the profits to charity!  PERFECT!

We tasted the 2010 Michel Schlumberger La Bise Pinot Blanc, 2006 Michel Schlumberger La Source Syrah, and the 2006 Humanitas Gaps’ Crown Pinot Noir.

Passport Day 1: Lambert Bridge

Waiting for the Lamb from the wood fired ovenEveryone was looking forward to our stop at Lambert Bridge and we were not disappointed. Lambert Bridge wines were paired with food from Chef Andrea Mugnaini’s recipes from Discover the Art of Wood Fired Cooking. We are looking forward to Rodney and Don’s wood oven.


2009 Bevill Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc
Chilled Thai Chicken Mince in Endive Leaves

2008 Forchini Vineyard Zinfandel
Moroccan Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Zinfandel Jelly

2006 Sonoma County Merlot
Quattro Fromaggio, Fresh Oregano, Fra’Mani Lardo Pizza

VIP Area @ Lambert BridgeLast year, as Club Members John and I “snuck” off to the VIP tasting area. It is hard to sneak in 8 other people. So this year, Rod and Don and David all joined the Club allowing us to get everyone in and enjoy the special VIP pairings.


2009 Bevill Vineyard Viognier
Pt. Reyes Miyago Oysters with Cilantro Mignonette

2008 Sonoma County Chardonnay
Aged Gouda, Roasted Fennel Agrodolce, Pancetta Pizza

2006 Crane Creek Cuvee
Wood-Roasted Baby Lamb Chops with Mint Pesto

John and I are lucky enough to have all of these wines in our cellar!!!

Passport Day 1: Armida

2011-04-30_12-02-41_579Next stop was Armida which starts with a heaven and hell barrel tasting. We got stuck in the barrel tasting room not realizing that there was more to taste (and eat) outside. So I’m not sure we really gave them a fair shake. Although, you notice John looks right at home.

Passport Day 1: Mill Creek

Mill Creek VineyardsOur starting winery is Mill Creek. We enjoy being the first guests to arrive because it gives us a chance to talk to Dan and Ann…two of the volunteers who greet us. The theme at Mill Creek is Hawaii and some great deals 35% off a case of wine. Yippee!!!


Waiting for the weekend to beginOur welcome wine was the 2009 Estate Sauvignon Blanc. We also tasted the 2010 Dry Rose, 2007 Reserve Chardonnay, 2006 Kreck Family Zinfandel (Gold Medal Winner), and 2006 “Pocket Corner” Syrah (Gold Medal Winner). We had Huli-Huli Pork, Coconut Prawns with Mango Chutney, Coconut Rice with nuts and peas, and Hawaiian Fruit Skewers with raspberry yogurt dressing.

Step up and get your picture taken at Mill CreekIn addition to the Passport wines being tasted, we tasted the 2006 Reserve Merlot, 2004 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, and the 2003 Reflections Meritage.

Definitely a GREAT start to Passport weekend!

2011-04-30_11-04-00_296John @ the start of the weekend

Passport Weekend: Gateway to Passport

2011-04-29_18-50-02_562Gateway to Passport at Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen is the kickoff for the weekend. We didn’t attend this event last year…a mistake we will never make again. The wineries participating were: Dry Creek Vineyards, Rued, Quivera, Pasterick, Williamson, Montemaggiore, West, Pezzi King, Dutcher Crossing, Del Carlo, Mantra, and Truett Hurst. (Photo: John Smith and John Germroth enjoying the sun and a little vino)

Charlie Palmer and the staff at Dry Creek Kitchen really outdid themselves. I had about 6 cups of the Wild Mushroom Veloute…and can’t figure out how I missed the Panko and Sesame Crusted Shrimp.


Wild Mushroom Veloute with Cognac Crème Fraîche, Truffle Essence
Truffled Arancini  - with Gruyere Cheese
Smoked Salmon and Caviar Tarts
Dungeness Crab Salad in Puff Pastry
Pulled Pork Sliders with Mustard Aioli
Panko and Sesame Crusted Shrimp with Citrus Aioli


Roasted Whole New York Strip Loin - Wood Fire Charred
Garlic and Thyme Crusted Ham  - Hawaiian Alaea Sea Salt
Stuffed and Slow Cooked Duck Breast - Brown Butter Poached


Hawaiian Ahi ‘Tartare Station’
House Cured Andouille Sausage and Roasted Pepper Tarts
Seared and Chilled Hamachi with Crispy Tempura and Carrot Threads
Wild Arugula and Watercress Salad with Pickled Red Onions
Poached Shrimp, Oysters shooters, Chilled Lemongrass Steamed Mussels, Fennel Infused Manila Clams


Balsamic Glazed Portabella Mushroom with Cracked Bulgur Wheat Pilaf and Pickled Red Onion
Seared and Chilled Filet Mignon with Espelette Grilled Local Vegetables and Pt. Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company – Original Blue


Charcuterie Display Assorted House Made Charcuterie including Whole Prosciutto, Pork Terrine, Mortadella, and Spicy Salami
Locally Produced Assorted Cheeses Cowgirl Creamery - Fog Lights, Bohemian Creamery - Bo Poisse, Pt. Reyes Farmstead Cheese
Company - Original Blue
Antipasto Station - Pickled Cauliflower, Carrots, Jalapeños, Mushrooms, Roasted Peppers and Onion, Hummus with Pita Chips
and Yogurt Relish, Marinated Olives, Pickled Cornichon
Locally Produced Bread Station with Assorted Accompaniments

Finished off with a fabulous sampling of desserts.

That is just a small sampling of the wines that were available to taste and a GREAT preview of what we can expect over the two days that is passport! Oh, and we’ve already started planning next year’s trip…let me know if you want to join us!

Passport Weekend: Just Getting Geared up

After getting a manicure and pedicure at The Spa @ Hotel Healdsburg, it was off to explore the town before the rest of the Dayton contingent arrived.

Lunch at Bistro Ralph, a favorite that John and I love to visit when we are here. Unfortunately, it is not conducive to large groups. We had the special Skate Wing with a Kelley and Young (as in Robert Young) Rose followed by a cheese plate (a hard goat cheese, crottin, and a nice Point Reyes blue). Then it was off to taste wine at a few of the many tasting rooms right in Downtown Healdsburg.

First stop, The Wine Shop which is home to the distribution of many small wineries. We were specifically looking for some Saxon Brown but they were out. Instead, Anthony introduced us to some other great finds. Grow Chardonnay had no oak but sill some of the butter qualities that many associate with a chardonnay. 2009 Tre Rici Chardonnay has great balance. Lobjet Pinot Noir had a lot going on. OMG!!! That is all I can say about the George 2009 Hansen Vineyard Pinot Noir. The 2008 Gamba Zinfandel reminded us of the old Zins we drank in the 80’s. Anthony promised we would find the 2008 Vision Cellars Grenache to be a special find and he was correct. It is an affordable summer wine that would be great with a light chill…or not. Anthony was great because he listened to what we like to drink…then gave us a sampling of things that fit our tastes. And our first case purchase of the weekend was complete before Passport even officially begins.

Next, we wandered over to Topel. Again, we found knowledgeable staff to help us. There were about 10 wines to choose from…John and I chose to taste 6. Zephyr Chardonnay was aged in stainless and is clean and crisp. Birdsong is a great blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, and Sauvignon Blanc. We enjoyed the Monhoff Vineyard Zinfandel. The Battuello Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was spectacular. The Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon was drinking well now but has a lot left to give. We learned a lot about Howell Mountain from the staff. There is a lot going on in Le Marriage, the meritage. And we finally finished with the Syrah Noir. We demonstrated considerable restraint and only sent 6 bottles home.

RoadhouseWe finished the afternoon at Roadhouse…a stop recommended by the people at Topel. We walked in to Disco Music that they were preparing for their upcoming release party. Even with flashbacks we enjoyed each of the wines we tasted: 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, 2008 Yellow Label Pinot Noir, 2009 Purple Label Pinot Noir, 2008 Black Label Pinot Noir, and the 2008 Grenache. Oops…there goes another wine club membership. And we can bring all of our friends to the release party on Sunday!

Now to rest before Gateway to Passport…

Friday, April 29, 2011

Passport to Dry Creek: The Adventure Begins

So, after bring awaken by storms 3 hours before my alarm and not bring able to go back to sleep, my day began with only 3 hours sleep.

Flights were ontime and I planned on taking the Sonoma Airporter where John would pick me up. Unfortunately, the bus broke down. Not wanting to wait around any longer, I'm now on the Bart headed to Pittsburg/Bay Point where (hopefully) John will pick me up.

Finally made out to Healdsburg around 2pm and made a quick stop for lunch at restaurant Charcuterie. Potato leek soup, Risotto cake with duck and mushrooms and a Hawley Sauvignon Blanc. Fabulous!

Off to the hotel to shower then out and about.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Belgian Rocket

For 42 drinks (roughly the drink dispenser):

4 cans frozen concentrated limeade

208 oz water (26 cups)

42 oz fresh lime juice (1 btl Sysco plus 1¼ cups)

42 oz vodka

42 oz club soda added last

Stir first four ingredients until well-blended. Stir in club soda. Serve in a tall ice-filled glass with lime wedge.

Star Daisy

Equal parts gin, Applejack, orange Curacao, fresh lemon juice

1/4 oz blood orange bitters


1/4 oz green Chartreuse

1 1/4 oz sweet vermouth

1 1/4 oz London dry gin

1 1/4 oz apple brandy or Calvados

Mix and strain into cocktail glass.


1/4 oz grapefruit juice (5 dashes)

1 dash sweet vermouth

1 dash dry vermouth

2 oz apple brandy or Calvados

2 oz London dry gin

Shake and strain into cocktail glass


1/4 oz grapefruit juice (5 dashes)

1 dash sweet vermouth

1 dash dry vermouth

2 oz apple brandy or Calvados

2 oz London dry gin

Shake and strain into cocktail glass


1 3/4 oz apple brandy or Calvados

3/4 oz Dubonnet

1/4 oz Cointreau

1 dash Angostura bitters

Serve in a cocktail glass (6.0 oz)


Johns Notes: unappealing color, probably from pink grapefruit instead of yellow. Calvados astringency and finish dominate but don’t overwhelm. Gin flavor (Beefeater) very subtle, more a balancing factor. May need ¾ oz Grand Marnier vs. ½, or a little more grapefruit juice. Considerable alcohol kick.

1 1/4 oz Calvados

1 1/2 oz gin

3/4 oz grapefruit juice

1/2 oz Van der Hum (South African tangerine liqueur…substitute Grand Marnier?)

Shake and strain.

Serve in a cocktail glass (6.0 oz)

Jack Rose

lemon wheel or lime wheel

1 oz grenadine (1 oz, 3 cl, 1/4 gills) pomegranate liqueur

3 oz applejack or Calvados (3 oz, 9 cl, 3/4 gills)

Shake and strain into cocktail glass

Serve in a cocktail glass (6.0 oz)

Calvados Cocktail

1 1/4 oz Calvados

1 1/4 oz orange juice

3/4 oz Cointreau

3/4 oz orange bitters

Add plenty of ice and shake carefully

Serve in a cocktail glass (6.0 oz)

John’s Green Ghost


2 oz Bombay Sapphire gin

2/3 oz lime juice

1 oz green Chartreuse

1/3 oz simple syrup

Consider reducing simple syrup or replacing with Chartreuse.


1/2 oz Galliano

1 oz vodka

1/2 oz creme de cassis

3/4 oz fresh lime juice

1/2 oz cranberry juice

Shake and strain into martini glass. Substituted Chartreuse for Galliano and used 1½ oz vodka. Consider 1 oz vodka.

Watermelon Martini

2 oz vodka (grape-distilled preferred, e.g. Boomerang or Ciroc)

2-2/3 oz watermelon puree

1-1/3 oz fresh lime juice

2/3 oz simple syrup

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into martini glass.

Martinez Variation

Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain

2 oz Plymouth gin (3.5 cl, 5/16 gills)

1 oz dry vermouth or Lillet Blanc (preferred) (original Martinez uses sweet vermouth)

1/4 oz orange curacao (Substitute maraschino liqueur e.g. Luxardo) (original uses dash of simple syrup)

1-2 dashes orange bitters (original uses dash of aromatic bitters)

Add strip of orange peel (no pith) (not in original)


With John spending so much time browsing what is available at the liquor store, I sometimes stumble on something that I want to try. I liked the Tyku bottle.

2 oz Ciroc or Boomerang vodka

2 oz Tyku

¼ oz Cointreau

Mango Tutu-Tini

From Meeker Vineyards

1½ parts Meeker Tutu Luna

1 part citrus vodka (Citron or Limon)

2 parts fresh mango juice

Kiwi slice

Strawberry Tutu-tini

From Meeker Vineyards

1½ parts Meeker Tutu Luna

1 part vodka

2 mashed strawberries

Shake with ice and strain into martini glass. Garnish with a strawberry.

Hendrick’s Martini

2.5 oz Hendrick’s gin

½ oz dry vermouth

Cucumber slice or lemon twist

Shake with ice and strain

Pear or Peach Tutu-Tini

Another recipe from Meeker Vineyards

1½ parts Meeker Tutu Luna

1 part vodka

1 T pear or peach nectar

Shake with ice and strain into martini glass.


We picked this recipe up at Meeker Vineyard tasting room.

1 part Meeker FroZin

1 part vodka

Orange twist

Stir with ice until well-chilled and strain into martini glass. Rim with dark chocolate (optional) and garnish with orange slice.

Pama Martini

2 oz vodka (Ciroc or Boomerang)

2 oz Pama

2/3 oz Grand Marnier

Chocolate-Coffee Martini

This is one of my favorite after dinner beverages.

One part chocolate vodka

One part coffee vodka

One part Starbucks liqueur

Stir with ice until well-chilled and strain into a martini glass.

Rhum Manhattan

A nice little cocktail for after dinner

2 oz aged rum (e.g. Metusalem or Neisson Rhum Agricole Reserve Speciale)

2/3 oz Sweet vermouth

3/8 oz Orange bitters

1 oz Cointreau


Sugar cube

2-3 large dashes of Angostura bitters

3 ice cubes

2 oz bourbon, rye, aromatic gin, aged rum, Armagnac, or Calvados

Strip of lemon peel without pith

Add bitters to sugar cube and crush until dissolved. Add ice and stir in liquor. Twist lemon peel to release oil.

John’s Rye Manhattan

2 oz Russell’s Reserve rye

1 1/3 oz Grand Marnier (DO NOT substitute Cointreau because it will be too sweet)

2/3 oz sweet vermouth

Stir in an ice-filled glass.

John’s Bourbon Manhattan

2 oz Jim Beam Black label

1 1/3 oz Grand Marnier (can substitute Cointreau which is slightly sweeter)

2/3 oz sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica) (Lillet Blanc makes more astringent…dry vermouth even more astringent...dubonnet blanc in between)

Stir in an ice-filled glass.

Apple and Ginger Cocktail

1 3/4 oz applejack

1 oz ginger liqueur

3/4 oz lime juice


2 oz bourbon

1 oz Carpano Antica

3/4 - 1 oz orange curacao

1/8 oz blood orange bitters or grenadine


1 oz gin, sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica), red dubonnet

1/4? oz Luxardo maraschino


2 oz gin

3/4 oz Dubonnet blanc

3/4 oz Luxardo maraschino


White Port Spritzer

One part white port

Half-part fresh lime juice

Pour in a tall ice-filled glass. Top with tonic water and stir.


1/4 oz lime juice

1/4 oz yuzu juice

1/2 oz St Germain

1/2 oz Cointreau

1 1/2 oz Hendrick's gin

Stir in an ice-filled glass, top with Q tonic (cut St Germain and Cointreau in half if using grocery tonic).


2 oz gin

1 oz ginger syrup or ginger liqueur

1/4 oz grenadine if using ginger liqueur

1-1.5 oz fresh lemon juice

Stir in a tall ice-filled glass. Top with club soda, Q tonic, or champagne.


¾ oz St. Germain

¼ oz Aperol/Campari

1 oz gin

¼ oz fresh lemon juice

Shake with ice, strain into Champagne flute, top with Champagne


I love the Pama version that John has created for me.

2 oz Hendrick’s gin
1/4 oz lime juice
1/4 oz yuzu juice
½ oz raspberry syrup, cassis, or 1 oz Pama (more tart, less sweet than cassis) or 1 oz Campari
Bermuda-style ginger beer or Q tonic or tonic (sweeter)

Stir first 3 ingredients in a tall ice-filled glass. Top with ginger beer and stir. Top with lime wedge.


1.5 oz Hendrick’s or Plymouth

1 oz St. Germain

3 oz tonic water

Stir in tall ice-filled glass.

Blue Star

Stir with ice and strain into cocktail glass

¾ oz blue curacao

¾ oz gin (tried with Plymouth)

¾ oz Lillet

¾ oz fresh orange juice

Strip of orange peel

Polo Variation

2 oz Hendrick’s or Plymouth

½ oz fresh grapefruit juice

½ oz fresh orange juice

Shake and strain into cocktail glass


This is a cocktail John adjusted for our neighbor Lillian…he was trying to recreate a cocktail she had somewhere else…

1 1/3 oz lemon juice

1 oz limoncello

2 oz Tito's or Buckeye vodka

1/2 oz simple syrup


2 oz gin

1/4 oz apricot brandy

1/4 oz Luxardo maraschino

3/4 oz lemon



John’s Cocktail Collection

1 1/4 oz Tuaca

1 1/4 oz lemon juice

3/4 oz Luxardo maraschino

shake/strain, garnish with real maraschino cherry

Bitter Sweet

Adding this one to John’s cocktail collection

Shake with ice and strain

½ oz Cerasella or Luxardo
1 ½ oz gin
¾ oz apricot brandy
½ oz orange juice
lemon if required more dry

Orange Burst


1.5 oz Hendrick’s gin
¾ oz orange juice
Splash Angostura bitters
Equal parts ginger ale and soda water (try with ginger beer)
Lemon wedge

Stir in tall ice-filled glass.

Pomegranate-Champagne Punch

2 bottles chilled brut Champagne
1 1/2 cups white rum
1 1/4 cups pomegranate juice
1 large lemon, thinly sliced
Pomegranate seeds
Fresh mint leaves
1 ice block

Bring 1/2 cup water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes. Cool syrup completely.

Combine Champagne, rum, and pomegranate juice in punch bowl. Mix lemon slices, pomegranate seeds, and mint leaves. Add ice block to bowl.

Blueberry Pomegranate Margarita

042211183535Picked this recipe card up at Dos Caminos in New York City.

1 1/2 oz Gran Centenario Plata Tequila
1/2 oz triple sec
1/2 oz lime juice
1 oz blueberry pomegranate juice

Fill cocktail shaker with ice and shake all ingredients twenty times. Strain over rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with three blueberries

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rue Dumaine Rose Wine Tasting

Domaine du Salvard, 2010 Cheverny Rose
Domaine de Fontsainte, 2008 Gris de Gris Rose
Chateau Trinquevedel, 2010 Tavel Rose

Butternut squash soup with pancetta-shallot-thyme relish
Fricassee: Chicken fricassee with mushrooms, spring peas, and fingerling potato coins

Frick Zinfandel

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fig Charoses

This recipe was sent to me in an email and I wanted to capture it for later.

Fine Cooking
by John Besh

Our Southern contribution adds figs to the classic sweet apple-and-nut mixture that symbolizes mortar for the bricks the Jews made in Egypt.
Serves 6



1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup diced onion
1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1 cup diced dried figs
1/2 cup diced pitted dates
1/4 cup chopped roasted pistachios
1 pinch ground allspice
1 pinch ground cardamom
1 pinch ground cinnamon

Put the vinegar, sugar, and wine into a small saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the onions and apples and cook until the onions are translucent, about 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the figs, dates, pistachios, and ground spices. Set aside to let cool before serving.

photo: Ditte Isager
From Book My New Orleans, pp. 104
March 26, 2010

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lazy Sunday Dinner

Looks like it has been a lazy weekend…

Grilled Pork with Garlic Lime Sauce

Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Succotash of Fresh Corn, Lima Beans, Tomatoes and Onions
Okay…we are using frozen fresh corn from last season, not lima beans because we are apparently out of those, and substituting shallots for the onion

Drinking 2006 Gloria Ferrer Brut Rose - #wine

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lazy Saturday Dinner

It’s 7:30 and we are just starting to think about cooking dinner. So it will be something quick and easy. The greens from the CSA are starting to pile up so I think we’ll tackle those tonight.

Grilled Halibut with Hoisin Grilling Sauce (Cook’s Illustrated, May 2011)
Tuscan Kale with Shallots and Crispy Salami (or Bacon) (Fine Cooking)
Fettuccine Alfredo

Drinking 2006 Montevina Zinfandel Terra d'Oro S.H.R. Field Blend - #wine

Tuscan Kale with Shallots and Crisp Salami

by Susie Middleton
The salty, sweet, and spicy ingredients in this recipe support the earthy flavor of the kale beautifully. Briefly boiling the kale first means that it’s cooked perfectly before it gets a quick toss with the aromatic ingredients in the pan.
Watch a quick video tip from our Test Kitchen to learn how to trim the kale.
Serves four.

2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. sherry vinegar
Kosher salt
14 oz. Tuscan kale (also called cavolo nero, black, dinosaur, and Lacinato kale)
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 large or 4 small shallots (about 4 oz.), sliced into thin rings
2 oz. thinly sliced Genoa salami, cut into thin strips (1/8 to 1/4 inch wide)
NOTE: We don’t have any salami so we are going to use bacon
1 Tbs. unsalted butter, well softened

In a small bowl, whisk the honey and vinegar. Set aside.
Fill a 5- to 6-quart pot about three-quarters full with water. Add 1 Tbs. salt and bring to a boil over high heat.
To trim the kale, grab each stem with one hand and rip the two leafy sides away from it with the other hand. Discard the stems. Rip the leaves into 3 or 4 pieces. Add the kale to the boiling water and cook until just tender, 4 to 7 minutes. Drain and spread it out on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a clean dishtowel to steam and release excess moisture, 10 to 15 minutes.
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook the bacon with olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot rings and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the shallots to a plate. Increase the heat to medium high, add the salami strips and cook, stirring and breaking them up into smaller bits, until crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer the salami to a plate.
Add the kale to the pan and toss with the fat until the kale is just heated through (do not cook it for long or it will begin to weep moisture). Off the heat, Add the honey mixture and toss well. Add the reserved shallots and the butter and toss until the butter is melted. Season to taste with salt. Transfer the kale to a serving platter. Garnish with the salami. Serve immediately.
nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 150; Fat (g): 10; Fat Calories (kcal): 90; Saturated Fat (g): 4; Protein (g): 5; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5; Carbohydrates (g): 10; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): 420; Cholesterol (mg): 20; Fiber (g): 2;
photo: Amy Neunsinger
From Fine Cooking 105, pp. 62
May 6, 2010

John’s Daigueri

Again, John is again experimenting from the H2hotel bar menu. 2 kinds of light rum, lime juice, simple syrup (substituted for agave nectar), marashino liqueur, and angostura bitters.

John used a light and dark rum but thinks it might be better using 2 light rums. Check back as he experiments more with this recipe.

John’s Not So Pedestrian

Last year, John discovered cocktails. And because he doesn’t do anything halfway, he is constantly tweaking and experimenting with things that he finds. He’s got this crazy notebook where he is tracking the things he tries. I’m hoping to get him to post them here.

Today, he went out to get Vodka. Dayton now has a locally produced vodka called Buckeye…only available in the State of Ohio. Pretty hilarious since Ohio has some of the craziest liquor laws on the books anywhere. So, tonight we are experimenting with vodka beverages made with Buckeye Vodka.

John’s variation on something called a Pedestrian

2 oz Buckeye Vodka
1/3 oz Lime Juice
1/3 oz Yuzu
1/3 oz Grenadine
1 oz Ginger Liqueur

Shake with ice and serve in a martini class. Very, very nice!!

NOTE: Pedestrian would normally be made with Mandarin Orange Blossom Vodka, Lime, Sudachi, Ginger, and Natural Grenadine and is from the H2hotel Healdsburg bar menu. We will be there

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

He got home at 7pm dinner!

Okay…it really didn’t matter that he got home at 7pm because I already had dinner planned. But it was really quick and easy so that worked to my advantage.

Asian Glazed Salmon

Coconut Rice from Cook What You Love by Robert and Melinda Blanchard

Grilled Asparagus with Orange Olive Oil and Smoked Sea Salt

2007 Lambert Bridge Cabernet Franc - #wine

Mt. Tam Cheese with Walnut Raisin Bread


Quick, Easy, Delicious!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Back to Work Sunday After the #Readathon Dinner

I was sitting here playing around on the computer just before we decided to start cooking dinner when I told John I was trying NOT to read anymore today. He looked at me like I was crazy. I LOVE my husband! Looking for something quick and easy!

Grilled Pork with Garlic Lime Sauce

Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa

And the rest of the 2009 Dutch Henry Rose I wouldn’t let John finish last night

Saturday, April 09, 2011

2011 April Readathon Dinner

John is a great #readathon supporter…making sure I’m well fed and taking care of the clean up afterwards.

Okay, I admin started with one of his Pama Flora Dora’s….probably shouldn’t have but they really are irresistible.

Grilled Chicken Thighs

Fettuccine Alfredo

Grilled Carrots

2008 Dutch Henry Rose
Okay, I had one glass and I forbid John from drinking any more of it because it was absolutely fabulous. Saving the rest for tomorrow…after I wake up.


Grilled Chicken Thighs

This is one of our favorite quick, week night dinners

yield: Makes 6 servings

Dark meat stands up nicely to bold Asian flavors.



  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 12 skinless boneless chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
print a shopping list for this recipe


Whisk soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic in large bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Add chicken to marinade; toss to coat. Let marinate at room temperature 15 minutes. Brush grill with oil. Grill chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.

Wrap grilled chicken with the Sticky Rice in Seasoned Nori Wrappers .

Read More

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Late Getting Home from Work Weeknight Dinner

John  is still at work so I want something super quick for dinner tonight.

Using the leftover Asian BBQ sauce from Sunday’s meal. This time over portabella mushroom caps which I will grill on the grill pan.

Serving with Fettuccine with Lemon Cheese Sauce…this is a new recipe that I haven’t tried before. I like that it calls for spinach (or I can substitute any of the greens that we are luckily getting from the CSA right now).

UPDATE: After making this, I thought it was just Liked the citrus and the greens but the pasta got gummy when the cream cheese cooled a little. Will probably try an alfredo style sauce but add greens and/or citrus to it to give it a little different flair.

Drinking 2009 Fritz Winery Estate Rosé - #wine #noumena12_dining

Fettuccine with Lemon Cheese Sauce

Source: The Housewives Understudy

UPDATE: After making this, I thought it was just Liked the citrus and the greens but the pasta got gummy when the cream cheese cooled a little. Will probably try an alfredo style sauce but add greens and/or citrus to it to give it a little different flair.

  • 3 tbsp cream cheese
  • 2 c spinach (loose chiffonade)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 c pasta water
  • lemon zest to garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

    Bring a pot of salted water (should taste like the sea) to a boil and add enough Fettuccine for three servings.

    Melt the cream cheese in a small pan on very low heat. This should take about 10 minutes. While you're melting the cheese, juice one lemon, zest the rhind, and loosely chiffonade 2 cups of spinach.

    When the cheese is melted, whisk in 1 tbsp of lemon juice and 3/4 c water until you have a nice smooth, cheese sauce consistency. If the amount of water was too much for the thickness you desire, let the sauce bubble a little longer. If you want more lemon flavor, add a few more dashes of lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste.

    Once you have the sauce just how you like it, add the hot, cooked pasta and using a salad tongs, coat it with the cheese. Then, while it's still bubbling, add the spinach. The heat will be just enough to wilt it.

    Serve immediately and garnish with lemon zest to taste. Enjoy!


  • Tuesday, April 05, 2011

    Hedges Family Wine Tasting @ Rue Dumaine

    Hedges Family Estate 2009 CMS White
    Hedges Family Estate 2008 CMS Red
    Hedges Family Estate 2007 Red Mountain

    Mushroom Crepes and Pomme Frites

    Monday, April 04, 2011

    It’s a Week Night: What’s for Dinner?


    Basketball is on tonight…and while it felt like Spring yesterday…not so much today.

    Chile-Glazed Halibut with Avocado-Tomatillo Sauce

    Instead of grilling the Halibut, we will pop it in the oven to bake it making it even simpler to prepare.

    Fettuccine Alfredo

    Drinking 2007 Frick Winery Cotes du Dry Creek - #wine

    Fettuccine Alfredo

    This is one of my favorite side dishes to make on a weeknight. It is quick and easy!

    Gourmet  | October 2008
    by Shelley Wisema

    yield: Makes 4 servings
    active time: 10 min
    total time: 20 min

    This creamy fettuccine is truly indulgent, and yet so simple. You’ll be rewarded for using the very best pasta and parmesan.


    • 8 to 9 ounce egg fettuccine in nests
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


    Cook fettuccine in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta.

    Meanwhile, bring cream and butter to a simmer in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-low heat, adding 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

    Add fettuccine, 1/4 cup reserved water, and cheese to sauce and toss. Add more cooking water if necessary.

    Read More

    Chile-Glazed Halibut with Avocado-Tomatillo Sauce



    Bon Appétit  | July 2006
    Barbara Pool Fenzl
    Read More



    • 6 tablespoons fresh orange juice
    • 6 tablespoons honey
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles*
    • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    • 1 large avocado, halved, pitted, peeled
    • 2 medium tomatillos (about 4 ounces), husked, rinsed, coarsely chopped**
    • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
    • 1/4 teaspoon (or more) hot pepper sauce

    • 6 5-ounce halibut fillets (each about 1 inch thick)
    • 1 orange with skin, cut lengthwise in half, thinly sliced crosswise
    • Ground cumin


    For glaze:
    Mix all ingredients in blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

    Do ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Stir before using.

    For Sauce:
    Combine all ingredients in blender; blend until smooth. Do ahead: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover; let stand at room temperature.

    For fish:
    Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Make crosswise slits in each fillet, cutting to within 1/4 inch of bottom and spacing slits about 3/4 inch apart. Brush glaze over top and into slits. Place orange slices in slits. Sprinkle fish with ground cumin, salt, and pepper. Place fish, orange side up, on grill; cover and cook until fish is opaque, about 8 minutes. Using wide spatula, carefully transfer fish to platter. Let rest several minutes. Spoon avocado sauce onto plates, spreading slightly. Arrange 1 fillet over sauce on each plate and serve.

    *Chipotle chiles are dried, smoked jalapeños canned in adobo sauce. They are available at some supermarkets, at specialty foods stores, and at Latin markets.

    **Green and tomato-like with a papery husk, tomatillos are sold in the produce section of some supermarkets and at Latin markets

    Read More

    Sunday, April 03, 2011

    Sunday Dinner

    Tonight  we are having people John works with for dinner because they “got” to spend the weekend in Dayton.

    Asian BBQ Marinated Hanger Steak
    (Source: Fusion Food Cookbook, Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison)

    Potato & Leek Gratin (Fine Cooking)

    Honey Glazed Carrots and Parsnips

    Lemon Crunch Cake (DLM) with Balsamic Glazed Strawberries and Whipped Cream

    I’m leaning toward another Lambert Bridge Cabernet Franc…the 2006 and 2007 have both been very good.

    Potato & Leek Gratin – Fine Cooking


    Potato & Leek Gratin

    by Beth Dooley, Lucia Watson

    One Star Two Stars Three Stars Four Stars Five Stars read reviews (1)

    The ham in this gratin is optional. If you do use it, however, taste it first. If it's very salty, use a bit less ham and be careful with the added salt.Serves four.

    Test Kitchen Guaranteed


    1/2 cup homemade or low-salt chicken or vegetable broth
    1-1/2 cups heavy cream
    1 clove garlic, crushed
    1 bay leaf
    2-1/2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/8 inch thick
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
    1 large leek (white and light green parts only), sliced very thinly, washed well, and drained (about 2 cups)
    4 oz. thinly sliced baked or cured ham, chopped (about 1 cup)
    1/2 cup grated Gruyère

    In a small saucepan, combine the broth, cream, garlic, and bay leaf; bring just to a boil. Take it from the heat and let the flavors infuse as you assemble the gratin.

    Heat the oven to 350°F. Spread about one-third of the potatoes in the bottom of a 2-qt. gratin or heavy baking dish. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Next, spread about half of the leeks and half of the ham on the potatoes. Top with another one-third of the potatoes, season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg again, and top with the rest of the leeks and ham. Arrange the remaining potatoes on top, and season.

    Put the gratin dish on a baking sheet (to catch any spills). Pour the cream mixture over the potatoes, discarding the garlic. Tuck the bay leaf in the center of the gratin for decoration (but don't let anyone eat it), or discard it, too. Sprinkle with the cheese.

    Cover the dish loosely with foil and bake in the hot oven until the potatoes start to get tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking, basting occasionally with the liquid in the dish, until the potatoes and leeks are very tender when pierced with a knife and a golden crust forms on top, another 30 to 45 minutes. Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

    nutrition information (per serving):
    Calories (kcal): 660; Fat (g): 39; Fat Calories (kcal): 350; Saturated Fat (g): 24; Protein (g): 18; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 12; Carbohydrates (g): 61; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): 810; Cholesterol (mg): 150; Fiber (g): 5;

    photo: Martha Holmberg
    From Fine Cooking 32, pp. 26-30
    January 1, 1997

    Saturday, April 02, 2011

    Family Dinner

    Family dinner in this house applies to anyone who happens to show up. It is come as you are. Tonight it is Bruce, Ellen and NCAA Final Four basketball

    Grilled Chicken with Soy Lime Sauce

    Honey Glazed Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

    Coconut Rice (Cook What You Love by Bob and Melinda Blanchard)

    Drinking 2007 Lambert Bridge Cabernet Franc - #wine

    Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More