Hamachi Sliders

Hamachi Sliders

 The perfect summer delight! Light, nutritious, & packed with protein. 



½ pound fresh Hamachi, skin and bloodline removed

1 tbsp chives, chopped


Ponzu sauce




Mash avocado in bowl with lime juice and salt to taste.  Slice cucumber into rounds about 1/8” thick.  You will need about 16 pieces, so you will not use the whole cucumber.

Cut Hamachi in half lengthwise.  Slice each half into pieces about 1/8” in thickness.  You should have about 16 or so pieces.

Place cucumber slices on serving dish and sprinkle with salt.  Using a small spoon, place a dollop of mashed avocado on top of cucumber slice (about 1 tsp or more to taste).  Place one piece of Hamachi on top of avocado.  Sprinkle ponzu sauce on top of fish, then sprinkle with salt and chopped chives.


Serves 4-6 as a snack

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Butter Poached Lobster and Beet

Butter Poached Lobster and Beet

The inspiration for this dish came from Thomas Keller of French Laundry and Per Se- considered two of the best restaurants in the United States. While we don't live in Maine and can't access lobster all the time we do consider it a complete treat when we can get it. This definitely takes a little prep time but is relatively straightforward to make. One of the big bonuses of this dish is that the leftover lobster infused butter can be stored in the freezer and used for making scrambled eggs - how decadent.

We thought the dish itself might be a nice one to share coming up to the holidays when we all should find a way to treat ourselves and our loved ones. Enjoy.


2 live lobsters - 1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds

2 medium red beets

1 pound unsalted butter (we're partial to KerryGold Irish Butter)

1 cup dry white wine

1 tbsp chives, finely chopped

¼ cup white vinegar




Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Trim greens and root from beets so there is about ½ inch remaining, then rinse in water and pat dry.  Wrap each beet in heavy duty foil, place on small baking sheet, then roast in oven until tender, about one hour.

Bring 12 quarts of water to a boil in a large stock pot.  Place lobsters in a wide pot, so they fit tightly.  When water boils, add vinegar, stir, then pour over lobsters.  Let sit for two minutes, then remove lobsters.  Separate the legs and claws and return to the water for five more minutes.  Remove meat from tail by snapping off the whole tail and back flipper, then pushing meat through with your thumb and set aside. (The meat will look translucent as it is not completely cooked) When ready, remove legs and claws from water, then remove meat by cracking the shell and carefully removing the whole pieces. 

When beets are nearly finished, create the poaching butter for the lobster.  Chop the butter into chunks.  Set a small saucepan over medium heat, add white wine, and bring to simmer.  Reduce heat to low, then whisk in pieces of butter, one chunk as a time, until it is all melted, but still emulsified.  Whisk occasionally to keep it emulsified.

Remove beets from oven.  Remove from foil and slice the top and bottom off.  Remove skin, then slice each into four equal rounds. 

Turn up heat on butter emulsion to medium low.  Slice each lobster tail in half lengthwise, then put all lobster pieces into butter and poach until just cooked through, about 4 or 5 minutes.  Stir occasionally to be sure all pieces of lobster are submerged in liquid.  While lobster is cooking, place one beet round onto each plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Stack second beet round on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Remove lobster from butter and stack on top of beets, being careful that each portion has a claw, a tail piece and knuckle meat.  Spoon some of the butter poaching mixture over top of lobster, season to taste with salt, then sprinkle chives over the top.


Serve immediately.  Serves four people as an entrée.


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Rock Shrimp Pasta

Rock Shrimp Pasta



1 pound Rock Shrimp, deveined, rinsed and patted dry

4 tomatoes, chopped (preferably seeded and skinned)

4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

2 shallots, minced

1 cup dry white wine

2 cups dried penne pasta

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. butter


Pepper (preferably Aleppo pepper)

½ cup grated parmesan

¼ cup chopped Italian parsley


  1. Bring six quarts of water to a boil and cook pasta using package instructions.

    Heat a large saucepan or skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil.  When fragrant, add shallot and sauté until soft, about one minute.  Add garlic and cook for one minute while stirring.  Add fresh tomatoes and cook until melted, about five minutes.  Add white wine and return to simmer.  Add rock shrimp and cook until shrimp are cooked through, about four minutes.  Turn off heat and add butter, stirring to melt.  Drain pasta and add to saucepan.  Season with salt and pepper, then toss to combine (check seasoning) and divide into four warm bowls. 

    Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and chopped parsley.


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Ricotta Dumplings with Peas

Ricotta Dumplings with Peas



2 cups ricotta cheese (I like Bellwether Farms Sheep’s Milk Ricotta)

2 large egg yolks

½ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

½ cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

⅛ teaspoon salt

1 cup diced shallot

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 cups sliced Shiitake mushrooms

1 cup (or more) fresh or frozen peas

½ cup mascarpone cheese

½ cup vegetable stock

extra-virgin olive oil

Shaved Parmesan cheese & arugula for garnish


  • Bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil. Dust a large baking sheet with flour. Line another baking sheet with paper towels.
  • Stir ricotta, egg yolks, flour, basil, pepper and salt together in a medium bowl until combined. Form the mixture into about 20 oblong dumplings using about 1 heaping tablespoon for each. Place them on the floured pan.  (Hint - use 2 spoons to form your dumplings into ovals. Scoop one tablespoon of the ricotta mixture from one spoon onto the other, until you end up with a smooth football-shaped dumpling.)
  • Carefully drop the dumplings into the boiling water and cook until they begin to float, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the paper-towel-lined pan.
  • Heat one tablespoon of oil in large nonstick pan.  Add sliced mushrooms and cook stirring occasionally until water is released and they are slightly browned – about 6 minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Heat another tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add half the dumplings and cook, turning once, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a clean plate. Repeat with another tablespoon oil and dumplings.
  • Add shallot and garlic to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add peas, vegetable stock and marscapone. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add reserved, cooked mushrooms and stir to combine.  Serve the dumplings with the sauce, garnished with Parmesan, arugula and more basil, if desired.

    Serves Four




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    Beef and Guinness Stew by Darina Allen

    Beef and Guinness Stew by Darina Allen


    • 900g lean stewing beef
    • 3 tablespoons oil or dripping
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    • Salt, freshly ground pepper and cayenne
    • 2 large onions (about 285g), coarsely chopped
    • 1 large garlic clove, crushed (optional)
    • 2 tablespoons tomato purée, dissolved in 4 tablespoons water or 1 tbsp of Tomato Paste
    • 300ml (½ pint) Guinness
    • 225g carrots, cut into chunks
    • Sprig of thyme
    • Chopped parsley for garnish


    1. Trim the meat of any fat or gristle, cut into cubes of 5cm and toss them in a bowl with 1 tablespoon oil. Season the flour with salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch or two of cayenne. Toss the meat in this mixture.

      Heat the remaining oil or dripping in a wide frying pan over a high heat. Brown the meat on all sides. Add the onions, crushed garlic (if using) and tomato purée to the pan, cover and cook gently for about 5 minutes.

      Transfer the contents of the pan to a casserole, and pour some of the Guinness into the frying pan. Bring to the boil and stir to dissolve the caramelized meat juices in the pan. Pour on to the meat with the remaining Guinness; add the carrots and the thyme. Stir, taste, and add a little more salt if necessary.

      Cover with the lid of the casserole and simmer very gently until the meat is tender - 2 to 3 hours. The stew may be cooked on top of the stove or in a low oven at 150C/gas mark 2. Taste and correct the seasoning.

      Scatter with lots of chopped parsley and serve with champ, colcannon or plain boiled potatoes.

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    We discovered this terrific dish when we attended the International Housewares Show in 2016 at a wonderful little restaurant called Osteria Langhe. It was recommended to us by a friend from our wine days, Brian Duncan and we'll be forever grateful. It was a major highlight of our trip and now the restaurant is a regular pitstop once a year when we visit Chicago. On returning home we were obsessed with how to make it and Walt immediately set to figuring out how. It helped a lot that our daughter knew how to make pasta. It is now a classic dish in our home. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do every time. 

    For Pasta (Follow your favorite pasta recipe or cheat by using won ton skins)






    La Tur Cheese (Italian soft cheese somewhat like brie but in a little tub)

    For Sauce

    ¼ cup     White Wine

    ¾ cup    Chicken Stock

    1             Garlic clove (smashed)

    3             Thyme sprigs

    1 tsp      Thyme leaves

    3tbsp     Butter



    Make pasta and roll into thin sheets, then cut into three inch squares.  Alternatively, use square won ton wrappers.

    Remove La Tur cheese from refrigerator and spoon about ½ tablespoon into center of pasta square.  Wet the edges and seal into a triangular package.  Please on a parchment lined, floured baking sheet.  Repeat until you have made the desired quantity. (5 is a good number per person for a hearty appetizer)

    Boil six quarts of water to cook pasta.  Meanwhile heat white wine and chicken stock in a small saucepan.  Add smashed garlic and thyme sprigs and simmer until pasta water is ready.  If liquid evaporates too quickly, add more chicken stock as needed.  You will want about ¾ cup of liquid when finished.

    When water comes to a boil, salt generously and cook the plin until they are al dente and rise to the top – about three minutes.  While this is cooking, strain the sauce into a clean bowl and return liquid to pan and simmer.  Whisk in butter one tablespoon at a time until incorporated in sauce and remove from heat.

    Drain the plin and divide evenly into small bowls.  Spoon the sauce equally over the top of each and sprinkle with thyme leaves.

    Serve with something delicious - this past week we opted to enjoy it at the restaurant with a bottle of delicious Arneis from Vietti. 

     Word of note - this is Mr CapaBunga's version of the dish - the picture of the actual dish from the restaurant is above. 



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    Uncle Waltie's Quick Local Halibut Perfection

    Uncle Waltie's Quick Local Halibut Perfection

    This delicious dish, I have to admit, was from a truly fantastic Valentine Dinner made by, non other than our resident chef, Mr CapaBunga, earlier this week! It was our first meal after a 3 day cleanse but still worked within a non sugar, carb, gluten diet (Plant Paradox) we've been trying. Walt, who can often make quite elaborate meals, tells me that this one is super simple so it seemed like a perfect one for our next blog post. We served it with a delicious Gobelsburger Riesling 2015  which really brought out the best in the wine and in the dish - ENJOY, I know we certainly did even though diet wise, we weren't meant to have the wine (well, it was Valentine's after all)

    See recipe below. 


    4             Wild caught California (not Alaskan) Halibut Fillets – 4 oz each (Substitute snapper if halibut unavailable)

    4             Heads of baby bok choi, roughly chopped and washed

    4             stems of green(spring) garlic

    ½ tbsp   grated ginger

    ½ tbsp   white wine

    2 tbsp    French butter

                   Olive oil




    Preheat oven to 400 degrees

    Remove outer, slightly red portion of green garlic and chop only the white portion.

    Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper and drizzle with a small coating of olive oil.  Pat halibut dry and place on parchment.  Season with salt and pepper.

    Heat a large non-stick skillet to medium and melt one tablespoon of butter.  Add ginger and green garlic and sautée for one minute.  While this is cooking, put halibut in the oven and set timer for six minutes.  Add bok choi to skillet and sauté with the ginger and green garlic.  Meanwhile, heat white wine in small saucepan on medium-low until just simmering, then whisk in one tablespoon of butter and turn off heat.

    After six minutes in the oven, turn on high broiler and cook halibut for two more minutes.  During this time, place bok choi mixture in the center of each plate.  When halibut is finished, remove from oven and place one fillet on top of each bok choi mix, then spoon the butter/wine “sauce” over the top of each piece of fish.  Sprinkle with salt and serve with a delicious bottle of Riesling - we chose Gobelsburger, a veritable bargain at around $15-$20! 

    Serves 4 – Approximate time 20 minutes


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    Chicken Wings and a Lifelong Support of the Rams

    Chicken Wings and a Lifelong Support of the Rams

    Well as you can see our attempt to get the blog thing going went awry after the fires and the crazy fundraiser we did to raise $70K for our neighbors who lost their homes.

    Here we are over a year later with very welcome rain pounding on the windows and we're dreaming about getting the blog going again with recipes from the wine country and wine recommendations from two wine industry veterans, Walt and Máire. Walt cooks some terrific meals which you'll see pics of on our instagram account with #mrcapabungarocks but we're going to start accompanying the pictures with recipes.

    Currently we're thinking about a weekend at home in our PJs after a very busy show season and are excited for a Rams/Pats game on SuperBowl Sunday. Walt grew up in LA and followed the Rams to St Louis and now back, sometimes it feels like half his wardrobe is Rams Gear, the other half is CapaBunga. Máire lived in Beantown for 12yrs so it should make for an interesting Sunday!

    Every year we go to a friend's to watch the game and Máire brings her version of Chicken Wings. It seemed like a fitting way to kick off recipes on the blog. Something easy to make but always satisfying. 

    Barbecued Chicken Wings

    5lbs Chicken Wings

    1 Cup Brown Sugar

    3/4 Cup Sherry

    1/2tsp Dry Mustard

    1 Cup Soy Sauce

    2 Cloves Garlic, minced

    Cut off tips of chicken wings (you can freeze for soup broth). Cut wings into 2 pieces at the joint. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake at 350 for 30minutes. Combine brown sugar, sherry, mustard, soy sauce and garlic in saucepan and bring to a simmer. Pour over wings. Cover the pan and set aside for later. After wings sit for a while bake for 2 hours until sauce has been absorbed and wings are well glazed. Makes 50 or 60 pieces. 




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