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Life happens in the vineyard

Shrimp linguini with garlic, tomatoes, and basil

This is a family favorite.  We’ve been making this simply delicious shrimp pasta for years and it’s even better made with the bounty of end of summer tomatoes and basil from the garden.  By request I usually double the garlic and pepper flakes and throw in more fresh herbs since my garden is in full production by then.  Garnish with sliced lemon to add a fresh burst of citrus before digging in.

Makes 4 entrée servings or 6 appetizer serving

½ pound pasta, (linguini, fettuccini or cappellini) cooked according to package directions

½ lb peeled, deveined shrimp with tails on

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 large cloves of garlic, pressed

4 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs or 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or oregano

4 ounces grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese

½ teaspoon hot sauce or hot pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 whole lemon, sliced into 6 wedges

Over medium high heat add 1 tablespoon olive oil to hot sauté pan.  Lightly salt shrimp and add to pan.  Cook 1 to 1 ½ minutes on each side until shrimp turns pink and no longer translucent and remove to a bowl.  Add 2 tablespoons of oil and hot sauce to the hot pan then add garlic, tomatoes, and herbs.   Saute until heated through. Toss back shrimp to tomato mixture and rewarm. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve over pasta and drizzle with remaining olive oil, sprinkle with cheese and top with more fresh herbs if available. Garnish with a slice of lemon.

Wine recommendations:

Serve with 2014 Chardonnay, El Dorado, 2015 Melange Blanc, Estate or 2013 Grenache, Estate

Exotic Spice and Orange Zest Marinated Goat Cheese

We served this impressive, yet simple, wine-friendly appetizer paired with Narrow Gate Vineyards 2012 Dunamis, Estate (GSM) as part of a tasting plate at this past weekend’s Sunday in the Country event. It was such a hit I wanted to share with you here the original recipe for Marinated Goat Cheese with Herbs and Spices, bon appetit May 2017. Below is my individual serving adaptation with increased olive oil and more ground spices (so no one misses out on all the exotic flavors).  We served these along with Alice Medrich’s rustic, wheat-free, Seeded Crackers that I baked from her fantastic book, Flavor Flours.

Makes 20 rounds

11 ounce log goat cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
3 garlic cloves, smashed and sliced lengthwise into slivers
2 teaspoons orange zest
3 bay leaves, each torn into 8 pieces
1 star anise* pod, coarsely ground
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Using a thread slice goat cheese lengthwise.  Lay each piece flat-side down and slice each into 10 half-moons.  Using your hands roll each into a ball and set them in a single layer in a shallow resealable dish or lidded container. In a saucepan set on medium high heat combine the remaining ingredients and heat for 10 to 15 minutes until garlic begins to turn golden. When marinade is cooled pour it over the goat cheese, seal with a lid and gently shake and turn over several times and refrigerate for three hours before serving.

Serve in individual 2-ounce ramekins with crackers or toasted sliced baguettes

*Note: On her last trip to Thailand my good friend Mitzi Jacob surprised me with a bag of star anise that she brought back from there. It’s worth the effort to special order a high quality star anise as it has way more intense anise/black licorice flavor than other readily available star anise. I also found that the whole star anise pod called for in the original recipe did not release much flavor so I coursely ground it in a coffee bean grinder and that did the trick.

 

 

Baked Eggs on Hearty Greens with yogurt and chile

The cure for what ails you: Baked Eggs on Hearty Greens with yogurt and chile

Enjoy this adaptation of a Turkish baked egg and Chili recipe my friend Connie shared with me recently.  Here’s my version that I made in individual crocks and works for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. This healthy, high protein, “lower fat” version (I cut the butter in half) pairs well with our Melange Rouge (mourvedre, syrah, grenache) and is also perfect after a good workout or yoga.

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Herb & Dijon grilled Lamb chops

Serves 4

8  – 1 ¼ inch thick Lamb loin chops
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Herbs de Provence
1 large clove of Garlic, pressed or finely chopped
½ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
Fresh cracked pepper to taste

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Do You Not See It?

Do you not see it? It’s hard to see the forest for the trees. This is where we found ourselves back in 2000 with minuscule faith and only the tiny whispers of God to guide us. Up to that point we’d spent most of our lives tuned out. But you’d never know it; we were successful, working and traveling in the fashion industry, quickly climbing the corporate ladder and acquiring the top five on the “Am I successful?” list: a house, new cars, a golden retriever, 1.7 kids (fortunately we managed to have 2.0 – a girl and boy), and a retirement plan. Layer on our mutual passion for all things fashion and wine and we had the perfect recipe for glamorous happiness.

Like Pavlov’s classical conditioning these surrogate markers of success kept us salivating for completeness, that feeling or state of lacking nothing. That feeling, also known as peace or contentment was, and sometimes still is, a real addiction. And when it fades a massive pursuit for those markers resumes. For us, we only need look back at our roots, to our upbringing, and realize the trailhead formed there. That place where our well-intentioned parents set up camp and determined we have endless opportunity to be educated and more successful than they were simply because that’s the course they rode out from their own Ziploc-saving, Great Generation parents.

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When We Eat Together

“When we eat together, when we set out to do so deliberately, life is better, no matter what your circumstances.” Thomas Keller, Ad Hoc at Home

My mom recently told me she is in the winter of her life and then quickly followed with, “And you are in the fall of your life. Did you know that?” she reassuringly inserted. I quickly thought I don’t like winter. It’s cold, dark and where I live it’s long! I didn’t like thinking of her there – in the winter of her life. I wanted to be in the summer of my life and her to be in the fall of hers but that’s just not reality.

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Generations

“Let each generation tell its children about your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power.” Psalm 145:4

Every once in a while I get on a trail. This time the trail is the word “generations”. Like the wisp of a rabbit’s scent carried in the wind, then wildly sniffed out in hyperventilating fashion, I can’t seem to shut it down. Perhaps it’s from recent exposure to 8th generation winemakers in France that’s stoked this obsession or that both of our children are maturing into adulthood, at lightening speed – growing more curious about family history and its influence in their lives as their futures unfold. Whatever it is I keep reflecting on the newest generation of winemakers that we’ve had the pleasure of meeting in the past year, many the children of winemaking families going back as far as seven generations. It is these winemaking “kids” that defy their generation’s stereotype.

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The 2015 Vintage: Short, Sweet…and Spontaneous!

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year in El Dorado wine country. The intensity of harvest winds down as fast as the vine’s leaves turn shades of crimson and gold. Pomegranates, pumpkins and persimmons start showing up everywhere. The ground is covered with acorns and a carpet of dried pine needles blankets the entrance & winery. Fall also marks the harvest finish line and gives Frank some breathing room to reflect on the 2015 vintage, communicate daily with our winemaker daughter in France, and throw together our own spontaneous trip to France!

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Taking Ground

When we launched into our dream, of owning and operating a winery, our idea of what it would look like versus what it actually looks like today is much different. I remember, in 1997, sitting at our dining table in Huntington Beach watching our two little ones, a one and five year-old, play in the living room. Frank loosened his tie and threw his suit coat over the back of the chair, the single Cabernet Sauvignon vine he planted in ‘95 sprawled across the outdoor stucco wall that filled the four foot deep side yard outside the dining room window.

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Unsettled Ground

“He is before all things and in Him all things hold together” Colossians 1:17 NIV

I admire Frank’s dad, “Franco”. He’s almost 90, never owned a laptop, barely uses a cell phone, and spent the first half of his life just working hard in his auto electric repair shop in downtown Woodland, California repairing tractors, trucks and cars for the locals. He did so well at it that at 50 years old he sold his interest and retired.

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