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Six Wines Under $15 - April Edition

Six Wines Under $15 - April Edition

We have to be completely honest - for this April edition we nudged the $15 boundary a little - two of the wines are more like $16. We felt they were such strong contenders we had to include them - we're sure you understand.  

Download a printable list HERE

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Vegetarian Bolognese

Vegetarian Bolognese

This wonderful dish came out of a lazy weekend at the Sonoma Coast with just the two of us. Our kid was off galivanting in Italy, we were missing her and dreaming of eating all that amazing pasta. We consider this the perfect Sunday afternoon thing to have simmering away on the stove making the house smell amazing. It's healthier than it's meaty original but tastes just as rich, if not richer. We hope you enjoy it.

Ingredients

One medium onion, chopped 10 oz pappardelle pasta
One medium fennel bulb, chopped 4 oz package of ‘nduja
15 cloves garlic, crushed ½ tbsp espelette pepper
1 pound cremini mushrooms One cup dry wine, preferably Riesling
 24 oz tomato puree Olive oil
 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees.

Clean mushrooms and chop into quarters.  Toss with some olive oil and about one tablespoon of garlic.  Spread evenly on baking sheet and roast until soft, but not completely dehydrated, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Set aside to cool.

Heat large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add olive oil, then onion, fennel, white wine and Espellete Pepper and stir frequently.  Once softened, reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook until very soft and slightly brown.  Add garlic and ‘nduja and cook and stir until ‘nduja is broken apart and incorporated completely, about three minutes.  Add roasted mushrooms and tomato puree and reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes or so to incorporate flavors.

Boil a large stock pot and add pasta.  Cook according to package instructions or until desired doneness.  Before pasta finishes cooking, add torn basil into sauce and stir to combine.

When pasta is ready, add one cup of pasta water to sauce and stir to combine.  Drain pasta and dump into large mixing bowl.  Add sauce with a ladle one scoop at a time until you have enough to coat pasta.  Season with salt to taste.  Save or freeze remaining sauce for another time.

Divide pasta into four large bowls and top with fresh parmesan.

Serve with a hearty red like Aglianico or Zinfandel

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Six Wines Under $15 - March Edition

Six Wines Under $15 - March Edition

The third installment of affordable yet lip smacking wines under $15 starts here a little late but better late than...  Please remember taxes and prices change per state so we can't vouch for the price in your state but suffice to say these are all delicious and a GREAT value! 

Download a printable list HERE

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Springy Black Cod

Springy Black Cod

Spring is springing loud and clear in California - here's a tasty riff on a classic Miso Cod dish. It's very therapeutic to shell the peas - it feels like sloughing off the winter coat (especially the one that feels like a 2yr Covid winter coat)

Ingredients

1 lb fresh black cod fillets (divided into four equal portions)

2 cups fresh, shelled English peas, blanched (can substitute frozen peas)

1 cup chopped spring garlic

1 pound shiitake mushrooms

1 tbsp mirin

1 tbsp white miso

½ teaspoon rice vinegar

½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Sesame oil

2 tbsp unsalted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

To make the topping, preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice mushrooms, toss with some sesame oil and place on baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast until nearly dehydrated, about 25 minutes.  Once cooled, place in food processor and add ½ cup spring garlic, mirin, miso, vinegar and toasted sesame oil.  Pulse until a smooth paste is formed.  If it is too think, add a little water or mirin to thin until desired texture is reached.

Place cod fillets on baking sheet, skin side down, season with salt and pepper, then roast in 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes until firm but not flaky.

Meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat in sauté pan and add remaining green garlic.  Cook for about one minute, then add peas and cook, stirring occasionally until heated through.

Arrange four warm plates and place peas in center.  Top with cooked cod, then scoop mushroom mixture and dollop on top.

Serves four as an entrée.

 

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The Life of an Inventor - a follow up

It's been a while since I've ruminated about The Life of an Inventor and small business owner - the joy, the ecstasy and yes, sometimes the PAIN of it all.  I realize it's been three years since we talked about the trials and tribulations of having an idea and the cost of taking it through invention, patent and launch. The last few weeks however have pushed us more than most so it was time to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.  Continue reading

Ahi, Cepe SnackAttack

Ahi, Cepe SnackAttack
The last few Friday nights, our soon to graduate Senior has abandoned us to hang with her buds - I can't blame her, we all did the same when we were 17 and we didn't have a pandemic to process. When she gets home, however, she loves to grumble about what her Dad has made and what we've been eating when she's gone but really more about what deliciousness she has missed. This is a perfect example of one of those stellar appetizers, so good it may make the grade for New Year's Eve dinner - her 18th birthday. I've a feeling she won't be grumbling that night. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did/do. For the recipe  Continue reading

Six Wines Under $15 - February Edition

Six Wines Under $15 - February Edition

Here goes the second installment of affordable yet lip smacking wines under $15.  Please remember taxes and prices change per state so we can't vouch for the price in your state but suffice to say these are all delicious and a GREAT value! 

Download a printable list HERE

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Winter Radicchio Salad with Balsamic Drizzle

Winter Radicchio Salad with Balsamic Drizzle
If there's a season, there's a salad.... By now you've probably realized we like salad. Winter definitely offers challenges in this regard but that doesn't stop us. Radicchio is a much loved vegetable in Italian cooking and we've even grilled it but it really shines in this salad raw with basil, balsamic and parmesan. As usual it is a quick and easy recipe. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
One head radicchio  Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn ¾ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
Balsamic vinegar ¼ cup toasted pine nuts (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil Drizzle of 25 year old balsamic vinegar (optional)
Sherry vinegar

Cut radicchio in half through the core, then slice into ribbons from top to core and place in large mixing bowl.  Tear basil into small pieces and add to bowl.  Stir to combine.

Add enough oil to barely coat the salad, one to two tablespoons.  You can always add more if you need it.  Stir to combine.  Add ½ tablespoon of sherry vinegar and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.  Toss to combine and taste.  You may need to add more balsamic depending on size of radicchio head.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add pine nuts, if using, and ½ cup parmesan cheese, then toss again to combine. 

Place salad in serving bowl, or separate onto individual plates.  Dust the top with remaining parmesan cheese and add a small drizzle of aged balsamic if desired.

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Six Wines Under $15 - January Edition

Six Wines Under $15 - January Edition

For over 20 years Walt and I enjoyed all the benefits that came with being wine professionals. From lavish meals at five star restaurants to drinking some of the world's best wines in some of the prettiest vineyards. We could wax lyrically with the best of them about the pluses of a fine Burgundy, Bordeaux, Chateauneuf du Pape or Single Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel and we bartered with many fellow professionals swapping great finds. However, the benefit we probably miss the most is being able to buy expensive wine at drastically reduced prices (often wholesale)!!

When you've been a wine professional as long as we have, it can be hard not to drink quality wine all the time but we all have limits and in our case a kid's college payment looming. So can you drink quality wine at affordable prices? With a little bit of knowledge and a good relationship with your local wine store you can (our local fave is Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa, CA). We'd like to share some of our value finds with you. Today we're going to start monthly recommendations of 6 wines, all under $15 (taxes and prices change per state)

So to kick off January's recommendations we're choosing three whites and three reds, all of which we drink and/or share with friends regularly. We highly recommend, if you don't have one already, finding a local wine store where you can build rapport with the wine professional. Once they start to understand your palate and what you like, it will be easier for them to make recommendations you'll love.

If you know what you like already, we hope our selections broaden your horizons and if you're a relative novice, we hope they'll help get you started, The good news is, they're all delicious and affordable - a winning combo. 

Download a printable list HERE

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Ahi/Hamachi Napoleon

Ahi/Hamachi Napoleon
This is one of our girl's favorite dishes, feel free to substitute any kind of sushi grade fish. 
 ½ pound Sushi Grade Hamachi 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
½ pound Sushi Grade Ahi 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 avocado 1 tbsp sesame oil
3-4 radishes Edible flowers   
12 won ton skins (round or square) Canola oil
¼ tsp grated fresh ginger Sea salt
2 tbsp soy sauce
Add canola oil to medium saucepan.  Fill to 1/2 inch deep and place on medium heat.  When oil is hot and shimmering, fry won ton skins one at a time. Drop into oil to cover.  Using tongs, submerge until it becomes firm, then flip over and submerge until golden brown.  Remove from oil and place on paper towels to cool and remove excess oil.  Repeat for all 12 skins.

Mix sauce by combining ginger, soy, lime, vinegar and sesame oil in metal bowl.  Whisk to combine and set aside.

Prepare fish.  Remove skin (if present) and cut into ¼ inch cubes.  Please into large ceramic mixing bowl, then cover and keep cool in refrigerator. 

Dice radishes and cut avocado into small cubes (similar size to fish).

Assemble.  Remove fish from refrigerator, then add radishes and avocado to bowl.  Whisk sauce again, then add to bowl and stir to combine thoroughly.  Add salt, if needed, to adjust seasoning.  Set out four plates and place one won ton skin on each plate, then place fish mixture on top in an even layer.  Add second skin, then more fish mixture.  Top with third skin, then divide remaining fish mixture between the four plates on top of last layer.  Sprinkle flower petals over top to garnish.

Serve immediately.  Serves four.  Pair with a crisp Gruner Veltliner.

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