March 2, 2021 15:29
Soup is always welcome in our house-from Minestrone to French Onion Soup and everything in between. In my house we are a year round soup family. Of course there are changes in types and vegetables as the seasons and temperature outside comes into play. Pairing wines with soup is as easy as pairing with any other dish. I have so many to choose from among the recipes posted on our site-but these are some of my favorites.
The other day my dad had a hankering for Split Pea Soup. Ed is a fan of this soup as well so away I went gathering the ingredients. It is one of those hearty winter-time choices with the wonderful aromas of the herbs and the ham filling the air. Nice and thick with tender chunks of carrot and smoky ham this soup calls for our Rosé or on of our red blends-friends.red or Sonoma Classico. And sharing the pot of soup with my parents made me happy.
Another favorite of many is Classic French Onion Soup. I often think this takes sooo much time but it really is just a matter of cooking down the onions and then letting the herbs and beef broth do their magic. Toasting slices from a local bakery’s French bread and then piling some Gruyere on top and melting it all over the soup gives such depth of flavor and richness. Pair with our Wisdom Cabernet or try our Chardonnay if you want something lighter.
Minestrone is much loved and a hearty soup all on its own-just add bread. And you don’t have to be Italian-American to enjoy it. I had read about using parmesan rind in a soup as it cooks-it adds a depth of parm-deliciousness. If you have some pesto handy that will perk up the flavors in this soup even more. Paired with Sangiovese or Sonoma Classico you are set.
With a swirl of pistou (or pesto) you have a tasty vegetable-based soup. Soup Au Pistou is a great combination of veggies and herbs with the piquant flavors of pistou. Paired with our Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay you have a winning combination.
I have made this one for a very long time-I found it in a newspaper so the clipping is well used and now I can make it from memory. I have brought my Turkey Sausage Vegetable Soup to church soup night and found many fans of the flavor-especially our friend Barb. I’d make this once a week for 9 months of the year if I could-and you can never have too much chard! Pair up with our Mother Clone Zinfandel for a treat.
November 2, 2020 14:40
I still remember the first time I attempted making sautéed mushrooms for dinner when I was around 18. It was the rare chance that my mom was out of town and it was just my dad and I kicking around for dinner. The recipe? I 'didn't need one' and boy was that a mistake. I wanted to try mushrooms in a red wine sauce. It was an unmitigated disaster-it was just mushrooms in red wine-no butter, shallot, garlic, salt or pepper. Yuck. My dad also scratched one of my mom's frying pans making his steak. Needless to say we didn't eat the mushrooms.
Well I am here to tell you if I stopped then I wouldn’t have developed a love for these bites of tastiness. Over the course of many meals either homemade or enjoyed at friends’ homes and restaurants the mushroom (or should I say funghi?) is one of the foods I think matches well with wines. Sometimes it’s the sauce, the protein or the combination of herbs and spices. In my opinion it is the most versatile of all the vegetables and there are unlimited options for pairing up with the right wine.
There is another way to test out the funghi factor. I learned this from the WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) program. One of the tests is designed to help find out how foods interact with wine and they chose the mushroom as the trial pairing. Pour a sample of wine-white or red-and eat a bite of raw mushroom and assess. Then put another mushroom in the microwave for a few seconds to ‘cook’ it or roast a mushroom and then take a bite with the same wine. And there you have it, a way to find out how food and wine, in raw and cooked form, work together.
The cooler weather (between yesterday and today we went from 86 degrees to 61 degrees) makes me think of all the dishes I can make with the wonderful mushroom-either as the star or as a supporting player. This is the best time of year according to my sensibilities! I love the weather change, the meals that come with the cooler season including slow cookers, braising, stews and soups. In my humble opinion I truly believe mushrooms were made to go with wine!
For ease of finding all the recipes I talk about here I have put them into one easy to find folder entitled Mushrooms on our website.
Salads & Sides:
I developed the Portobello and Parmigiana Salad for a wine dinner I hosted a while ago. I was trying to find a way to bridge the salad dressing with the wine (Pinot Noir) and I came up with adding some of the ‘jus’ from the roasted Portobello. -the great thing about the dressing is I included a small amount of the mushroom ‘jus’ to the dressing-bridging the salad with the wine for a flawless pairing.
This warm and lemony spinach salad takes the chill off of a cold evening. If you want to add some flavor I’d substitute bacon fat for the sauté of the mushrooms and garlic. Paired up with a nice glass of Chardonnay. Spinach Salad with Mushrooms, Croutons and Warm Lemon dressing.
Local chef Michele Anna Jordan always puts together great wine-friendly recipes. This one uses root vegetables as a base for the mushrooms. Roasted lamb or beef would make a great side to this side: Sautéed Mushrooms Over Parsnip, Celery Root, & Potato Purée
Would you like to wow your guests over the holidays? Try this bowl of deliciousness featuring mushrooms and tangy goat cheese. Our Rosé would go nicely especially with some turkey on the plate. Focaccia Bread Pudding with Mushrooms & Goat Cheese
Stews & Soups:
I have been making this Wild Mushroom Soup ever since I found it in a newsletter by Julee Rosso (of Silver Palate fame). I was lucky enough to subscribe over a couple of years and many of her recipes are in my rotation. This one however gets the most play especially now during the holidays. Serve it as an appetizer, pour it in demitasse cups for a buffet or serve up a bowl during the week-made ahead it just gets better. Pinot Noir is my choice as a pairing.
Ed and I came up with this recipe in our early years of marriage-a take on Beef Bourguignon-Beef Mother Clone starring our flagship Zin and we gilded the lily with dried porcini. Long cooking tenderizes the beef and the flavors meld perfectly. I recommend pairing with any of our Zinfandels!
Portobellos are very versatile as you can roast and slice like a steak or make this Quinoa Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms-don’t skip the prosciutto which adds a nice salty kick. Pair up with our Merlot for a tasty combination.
Ribeye Steak with Black Trumpet Mushrooms and Blue Cheese, from local chef Michele Anna Jordan, has a secret ingredient-Porcini Powder. Along with the black trumpet mushrooms (if you don’t have any of these you can substitute shitake or morel) you have an amazing steak dish with depth of flavor. Pair with any of our Cabernet Sauvignons-you won’t be disappointed!
Slow cookers are the greatest kitchen help during the fall and winter-I always love walking in the door and taking in the wonderful aromas of a long cooked meal. The Slow Cooker Beef with Pasta & Porcini is one of those fragrant and virtually easy dishes to make with deep flavors to boot. Pair up with our Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.
September 29, 2020 11:36
Our grape harvest is over and many gardens around the nation are finishing up their summer crops. This time of year I am reminded of the many summers spent during my childhood while growing up in the middle of the winery, vineyards and enjoying the abundance from a large garden.
When my grandparents purchased the property in 1927 it came with space to farm-and it is what sustained the young and growing family for many years. When I was growing the garden area was surrounded by buildings and eventually became the place where our bottling warehouse is today. In it’s heyday it featured several fruit trees, including citrus, pear, apple, peach, prune, apricot, cherry, olive along with hazelnut and walnut trees. When we moved there my parents kept up the garden which, in the summertime, was planted to many annuals with beans, zucchini, tomatoes and more. Preserving these fruits and vegetables was a focus in our family and every year we helped process the produce into jams, quarts of pears and peaches, applesauce, pints of zucchini pickles and more. We had a basement with many shelves lined with enough home canned treats to last to the next summer. I remember as well the privilege of going down to the dark basement and picking out a jar of applesauce or apricot jam!
Having a garden in those years was important. It engaged you with the earth. It fed your family. It was sustainable. Another way of using all the abundance from this garden was to have alfresco gatherings that my grandparents hosted over their early years-up until the 1960s when they retired. Of course vino was always part of the experience and these meals wouldn’t be the same without Giovanni’s favorite bottle of red wine in the mix. Wine was a natural part of dinnertime at my childhood home and continues today to be part of our meals today. I have been regaled with many stories of those lunches and dinners-people came from all over the Bay Area-friends or family-to join in this wonderful Sunday ritual and the food prepared by my grandmother made it all the more delicious.
I do have a COVID confession: I didn’t get the garden bug. We grow a few herbs at home (just started this during the pandemic) and when we are finished with the house project in a year or two we have a dream of putting in a nice garden-Ed also grew up with a similar experience in his family. In the meantime, we’ll depend on the farmer’s market and friends dropping off their garden extras! Here are some great recipes with the idea of using up the last of the season’s produce!
Creamy Corn Soup with Red Pepper Sauce
Mathilde’s Tomato Tart
Zucchini Pickles (Bread & Butter style)
April 30, 2020 13:29
A picture is worth a thousand yums don’t you think? How many of us take photos of our beautifully plated dinners in a restaurant? Or at home we’ve made something special and want to show it off? There are many examples across social media when it comes to showing off our creations. I realized there were just a handful of photos included in my recipe section of the website-how interesting is that? So I made a goal starting during this pandemic and working from home to recreate a few recipes a week and photograph them in order to be included alongside the recipe. Kind of a riff off of the Julie/Julia movie.
In fact some of you might remember how we have been connected to Julia Child over the years. The weekly magazine, Parade, featured photos of celebrities and their refrigerators. Julia is standing in front of her door-lo and behold our Chardonnay is there and the only wine in her fridge! We are also part of the National Museum of American History’s Food Transforming America where many of my family’s artifacts (including my grandmother’s polenta pot) are in the same exhibit near the recreation of Julia’s kitchen. And here we are replicating many of the recipes from the website just like the movie. For a refresher, this is what I wrote 4 years ago: https://www.pedroncelli.com/vino-in-my-dino/post/womens-history-month-julia-child/
Now onto the recipes!
Notes: When I tried this I immediately regretted not doubling the recipe. Such a subtle sweetness that complements the braised pork. Paired very well with our Mother Clone Zinfandel, the fruity notes from the Zin making this a zen meal.
Notes: For a quicker turn around you can make the glaze ahead of time and marinate overnight, then just brown it in the pan and roast in oven-or grill it-either way this is a very tasty combination. It packs some heat and we liked it with our Sonoma Classico or you might even try our friends.red with it.
Notes: This is a side dish which we paired with steak and roasted creamer potatoes. I suggest pairing the veggies with Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc but with the steak we paired up with our Three Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon and it worked. This would be a great side dish for simply prepared chicken or fish.
Notes: This one was a delicious surprise-it was very easy with it all being made in one pan. Browning the lemon wedges and then roasting with the chicken-so tasty. Paired up with our Sauvignon Blanc it was the perfect ending to our busy shelter in place work at home week.
Notes: A crowd pleaser and kid pleaser all in one-from our daughter’s cookbook 30 years ago and we have been making them ever since. You can use beef for Sloppy Joes but we like the taste of the ground turkey. Use your favorite form of bun and dig in along with a bottle of our friends.red or Sonoma Classico.
While the Julie in the movie took a year to make all the recipes in Julia’s Art of French Cooking this might take a little longer. If you make one of the recipes, tell me how it turned out, which wine you paired it with and how you first came to know Pedroncelli. I'll make it worth your while... All you need to do is send to my email address firstname.lastname@example.org and as Julia would say Bon Apetit!
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