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Frey Organic Wine Blog

Tamara Frey
 
November 16, 2016 | Tamara Frey

Mushroom Leek and Gorgonzola Tart

Leek mushroom dish with Frey Organic wine

For two 12 inch tarts

One of my favorite dishes is a tomato tart that I learned at the California Culinary Academy so many years ago (don’t ask how many!).  In this new dish tomatoes get demoted to the role of garnish and, just in time for autumn, mushrooms and leeks take the leading role!  It paired nicely with Frey Organic Syrah, which I also used for the sauté.   

Heat oven to 350F.

Ingredients:
2 sliced leeks (rinse to wash out dirt)
1 large red pepper (cut in half and then into strips)
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
½ pound cremini mushrooms (sliced)
½ pound shitake mushrooms (sliced)
2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
1 stick of butter
2 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups Frey Organic Syrah red wine
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted cold butter (cut into pieces)
2 tablespoons cold water
½ pound Gruyere cheese (grated)
½ pound Gorgonzola cheese (crumbled)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (for painting the tart shells)
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Cherry tomato halves for garnish

Prepping the filling
In a sauce pan, sauté the leeks, red peppers, garlic, cremini mushrooms and shitake mushrooms, the stick of butter and herbes de Provence until done.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Place the dry porcini mushrooms in a saucepan with the Frey Organic Syrah red wine and the honey. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the wine is reduced and thickened.

Making the tart shell
Place the whole-wheat pastry flour, cold chopped butter, fresh chopped rosemary and salt into a Cuisinart, or use a mixing bowl.  If you have a Cuisinart, use the blade and pulse it a few times until the butter is the size of peas.  Slowly add the cold water or ice water until the dough is not too dry, not too wet.  If you’re using a bowl, rub the flour, butter, etc., between your hands until the butter is the size of peas.  Add very cold water or ice water until dough not too dry, not too wet. 

Now whip out the rolling pin!  Roll half the dough on a floured surface to about ¼ inch thick.  Make it a circle just over the width of your tart pan or pie pan, so you have plenty to fit up the side and for crimping.  Now let’s get the rolled dough into the tart pan.  With tart pan nearby, gently roll-up the dough around the rolling pin.  Lightly sprinkle with more flour as needed, so that the dough doesn’t stick to everything.  Unroll the dough onto your tart pan.  You can also fold the dough in quarters before lifting it to the tart pan.  Pinch and prod your dough until it fits nicely into the pan.  Cut the dough sides flush with the edge.

Note: You could buy pre-made pie crusts at the supermarket.  But don’t be intimidated by making the dough yourself.  Have a culinary adventure!  You’ll enjoy the dish that much more when you make it fresh and nothing like taking a little risk in the kitchen to make everything taste better.

Baking the tart shells
Gently lay a piece of tin foil over the crust and carefully form it into the shape of the crust (up the sides and a little bit over the edges).  Cover the bottom with a single layer of raw beans.  This weighs down your dough as it cooks.  Bake the tart shells at 350F.  After baking 15 minutes gently lift off the foil with the beans in it.  (The beans are still good for another day.)  Cook another 10 to 15 minutes or until the tart shells are golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.

Assembling the tarts
Paint the bottom of the baked tart shells with the mustard and sprinkle with a third of the grated Gruyere cheese.  Mix another third of the grated Gruyere cheese, along with the crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, into the mushroom and leek filling.  Then distribute the filling evenly between the two tarts.  Arrange the cherry tomato-halves in an attractive pattern on top and sprinkle with the remainder of the grated Gruyere.  Add a few sprigs of rosemary for a final touch.

Final baking
Bake the tarts in the oven, still at 350F, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tart is hot and the cheese melted.  Remove from the oven and serve immediately.  Bon appetite!

Rolling pie doughChef Tamara rolling the pie dough.

Pinching the pie edgePinching the pie edge.

Chopped veggies.Chopped veggies, ready to sauté!

Leek mushroom dish closeup.Ready to serve!

Frey Vineyards
 
October 11, 2016 | Frey Vineyards

Panzanella Salad with Frey Organic Pinot Grigio

Panzanella Salad with Frey Organic Pinot Grigio

Panzanella Salad with Frey Organic Pinot Grigio

• ½ loaf of Sourdough bread (about 10oz), cubed
• 2 cups cherry tomatoes
• 2-3 large heirloom tomatoes
• ½ red onion, thinly sliced
• 1 English cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
• Handful of basil leaves, torn into small pieces
• 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
• ½ cup of extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
• 3 cloves of garlic (crushed)
• Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
• Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
• Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat.
• Remove the skillet from the heat, add crushed garlic and bread and mix well.
• Transfer skillet to the oven and bake for 15 minutes until the bread is golden brown. Let it cool down.
• In the meantime, prepare the tomatoes. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, and core and slice the large tomatoes into medium cubes.
• In a large bowl, mix tomatoes, cucumbers and onions.
• Combine vinegar with remaining olive oil, salt and pepper and pour over the salad. Mix well.
• Add toasted bread and basil, and toss everything together.
• Enjoy with a glass of Frey Organic Pinot Grigio!

 

Tamara Frey
 
June 7, 2016 | Tamara Frey

Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

Our in-house chef Tamara Frey especially created this dish for our Organic Wine Club members.  Copyrighted 2016, Tamara Frey.

Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

Spinach stuffed mushrooms are a longtime favorite of mine and are delicious served with a crisp, cold glass of Frey Organic Sauvignon Blanc. This tasty appetizer serves about seven people.

Ingredients:
1 ½ lbs crimini mushrooms
1 large leek, washed and chopped fine (about 3 cups)
1 bulb garlic (approx. 10 cloves) peeled and chopped fine
1/3 cup fresh chopped mint
2 cups raw cashews
1 cup Frey Sauvignon Blanc
1 tablespoon honey
4 tablespoons olive oil (or butter)
1 8 oz. block Parmesan or Asiago cheese, grate small
(save ¼ cup for garnish)
4 cups chopped fresh spinach
Slivered roasted red peppers for garnish
Chopped parsley for garnish
Salt and black pepper and cayenne for seasoning

Preparation:
-Break off the mushroom stems, set aside the tops. Chop the stems fine, or blend them in a Cuisinart until coarsely ground.
-Place in a bowl and add the finely chopped leek, garlic, and mint.
Set aside.

Meanwhile:
-Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees. Spread the raw cashews on a baking pan, roast them approx. ½ hour to 40 minutes until nice and toasty. Then blend in Cuisinart to medium coarse crumbs (not pulverized, but not too large either). Set aside.
-Place the Frey Organic Sauvignon Blanc and honey in a saucepan, simmer approx. 15 to 20 minutes until reduced approx. by half.
-In another pan, heat the oil (or butter) and sauté the leeks, garlic, coarsely ground mushroom stems, and mint, until sweated and done. Deglaze it with the reduced Sauvignon Blanc. Sauté a bit until not too wet. Then add the grated cheese (but set aside ¼ cup of the grated cheese for garnish), add the chopped spinach and cashew crumbs. Heat a few seconds more, just enough for the spinach to cook and for the cheese to melt to act as a bonding agent.
-Mix all together and season to taste with the salt, black pepper and cayenne. Stuff the raw mushroom tops. (I like to do this by first rolling the mixture together into balls just under the size of the mushroom top, like rolling meatballs. Then I stuff the tops as high as possible, like little mountains) and place them on a baking pan. If there’s stuffing left over, enjoy by the spoonful as the mushrooms bake!
-Sprinkle on the remaining Parmesan or Asiago cheese and bake the stuffed mushrooms in a 350 degree oven for approx. fifteen minutes, or until they are soft when squeezed. Garnish with the slivered roasted red peppers and the chopped parsley.

Enjoy! 

Frey Vineyards
 
December 3, 2015 | Frey Vineyards

Guest Chef: Sitarani Palomar of "An Organic Conversation"

Organic Heirloom Tomato SoupSitarani Palomar, co-host of "An Organic Conversation" made this delicious soup for us served with an arugula salad with beluga lentils at a recent organic food event.

Ingredients:

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 large yellow onion, sliced
¼ cup + ¼ cup Frey Vineyards Biodynamic Chardonnay
5 threads of saffron
2 ½ pounds heirloom tomatoes
2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Core and quarter the tomatoes and set aside. 

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and when warmed, add the garlic, sautéing until golden, but not browned. Add the sliced onions, sea salt, and black pepper, and sauté until onions begin to soften. Add ¼ cup of white wine and saffron, and simmer until the wine cooks off, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat add tomatoes, and then divide the ingredients between high-sided sheet trays or casserole dishes. Place in oven and roast for 1 hour. 

Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion from the oven and deglaze with the remaining ¼ cup of wine, stirring to dissolve as much of the browned ingredients as possible. Transfer all vegetables and juices to a high-speed blender with vegetable stock or water. Purée until smooth, and pour back into the larger saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until desired consistency is reached and flavors have melded. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Pairs perfectly with Frey Vineyards 2014 Biodynamic Chardonnay at lunch for its balanced acidity and complementary depth from light oak flavor. Alternatively, enjoy with the velvety richness of Frey Vineyards 2014 Organic Merlot for a satisfying dinner. Serves 4.

Time Posted: Dec 3, 2015 at 11:55 AM
Frey Vineyards
 
April 8, 2015 | Frey Vineyards

Berry Baklava with a Honey Rosé Balsamic Glaze

By Darlene Buerger, 1st place winner in our Frey Wine Recipe Contest.

Berry Baklava
Berry Baklava

 

I love summertime and the abundance of sweet berries. For me that means berry pie, berry sauce, berries and ice cream or just about anything I can make to enjoy fresh berries. I also love the fresh taste and sweet aroma of Frey Organic Natural Rosé Wine. I decided to incorporate my two favorites into this easy to make, elegant recipe. Who says “You can’t have your wine and eat it too?” This recipe is best when served with an additional glass (or two) of Frey Organic Natural Rosé Wine. Enjoy!   

Ingredients:
1-8oz roll phyllo dough, thawed
½ cup butter, melted
1½ cup walnuts, chopped
6oz raspberries
6oz blueberries
½ cup cherries, pitted, chopped
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Glaze
½ cup honey
½ cup sugar
½ cup Frey’s Organic Natural Rosé Wine
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

*Topping
2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons shredded sweetened coconut, toasted
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions:
Spray 9x11 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
1) In a medium saucepan combine berries, sugar, flour and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Cook over low heat 2 to 3 minutes or until berries have broken down and sauce has started to thicken. Cool slightly. 

2) Unroll phyllo and remove single sheet.  Place on flat surface. Brush with butter and repeat until you have 5 layers. Place phyllo in pan and place ¾ cup walnuts on top of phyllo. Top walnuts with 5 more layers phyllo and butter. Top this layer with berries and 5 more sheets of phyllo and butter. Top this layer with remaining walnuts and 5 more sheets of phyllo and butter. Generously butter top of final layer of phyllo and score top, cutting through all layers into desired size pieces. (3x3 inch squares or diamonds)

3) Bake baklava at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes or until golden brown.

4) Glaze: In a saucepan combine honey, sugar, wine and lemon. Heat to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer 6 to 8 minutes or until sauce starts to thicken. (Stir sauce to keep it from burning.) Remove sauce from burner and stir in balsamic vinegar.

5) Pour cooled sauce over the baklava. Sprinkle with *Topping. Allow to set for at least 1 hour before serving.
Serves 8

Tamara Frey
 
November 13, 2014 | Tamara Frey

Wild Mushroom Soup with Roasted Red Pepper Purée

Our in-house chef Tamara Frey especially created this soup for our Organic Wine Club members.  Copyrighted 2014, Tamara Frey

Mushroom Soup

The pumpkins are gathered and the vines and oak trees are turning orange here at Frey Vineyards.  In the nearby forests mushrooms are popping up!  So I had to do a mushroom soup to welcome the new season.  This soup has the earthy essence of mushrooms, potatoes, and Frey Biodynamic Syrah.  It’s topped with a squirt of Roasted Red Pepper Jalapeno Purée, a Pumpkin Seed Spinach Purée (created by family-friend Julie St. Pierre), and a mini-raft of goat brie set adrift.  I am heavy handed on the garlic and herbs, which is what I like.  You can experiment to your taste.  I love the smells that permeate the house as the Syrah reduces with the dried mushrooms!  Enjoy this rich soup, the very essence of wild mushrooms and organic wine.

Serves 10

1 oz. dried porcini
1 oz. dried mushroom medley
1 bottle Frey Biodynamic Syrah
1/2 pound unsalted butter
3 large leeks
1 large bulb garlic
4 tablespoons fresh thyme (or 2 tablespoons dried)
2 tablespoons dried tarragon (or fresh)
1 tablespoons fresh grated nutmeg
1 pound shitake mushrooms
1 pound white mushrooms
1 pound cremini mushrooms
4 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 cups vegetable stock (or water)
1 tablespoon salt (or add to taste)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1.5 pounds red fingerling potatoes
1 pound yams (Japanese yams or sweet potatoes)
A sprinkle of fresh lemon juice
A sprinkle cayenne

In a saucepan combine the Syrah and the dried mushrooms. Bring to a boil and simmer for a half hour.

Wash and chop coarsely the leeks. Peel the garlic and chop coarsely.  Meanwhile, melt the unsalted butter in a large saucepan. Add the leeks and garlic.  Sweat a few minutes and add the thyme, tarragon, nutmeg and fresh mushrooms.  Throw the mushrooms in whole.  Sauté ten minutes, then add the wine and dried mushroom mixture.  Cover and simmer until mushrooms are soft.  Blend in a Cuisinart or Vita Mix along with the cream and stock.  Pour the purée back into the cooking pot and add the chopped yams or sweet potatoes.  Simmer until potatoes are soft.  Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and cayenne to taste.

Garnish with:
Goat Brie, Roasted Red Pepper Jalapeno Sauce and Pumpkin Seed Spinach Sauce

Roasted Red Pepper Jalapeno Purée:
2 large red peppers
4 large jalapenos
1 large clove garlic
salt to taste
Roast the pepper and jalapenos on a flame, on stove top (or chop them and grill them with a little butter).  When blackened, let cool down a little.  Rinse under running water while removing seeds. Blend in Cuisinart or Vita Mix with the garlic clove.
Place in bowl, add salt to taste. Set aside.

Pumpkin Seed Spinach Purée:
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup packed spinach leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil, extra virgin
1/4 cup water, or until desired consistency
Salt to taste
Blend all above ingredients in Cuisinart or Vita Mix.  If it’s too thick, add water

For each bowl of soup served, pour on tablespoon each of these red and green purées with artistic flair!  Don’t forget a thin slice of goat brie cheese on each bowl as well.

Copyrighted 2014, Tamara Frey

Tamara Frey
 
December 4, 2013 | Tamara Frey

Challah Bread

This traditional Jewish recipe has been enjoyed by our family since the early 1970’s when a dear friend of ours introduced it to us. It was a version of the sacred bread used for the Jewish Sabbath, and passed down from her family. We have always enjoyed this special bread at weddings, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and would like to pass it on to you.

Fresh challah bread
Fresh Challah Bread.

Makes two large loaves

8 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tbsp. dry yeast
3 ½ cups milk
4 tbsp. honey
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 eggs
1 cup walnuts (optional)
5 more cups of flour

In a large bowl, stir together 4 cups of the flour with the salt and dry yeast. Save the remaining 4 cups of flour for later.

Next, place a sauce pan on low heat and mash up the butter, milk and honey. You can use a large fork or a whisk to do the mashing and mixing. Don’t let it get too hot or it will kill the yeast.  When butter is melted and mixed with the milk and honey, remove from heat and add to the dry ingredients. Beat with a whisk until well mixed. This mixture is called a sponge. Cover with a damp cloth. Then place the sponge in a warm draft-free area for 15 minutes to let the yeast activate.

With the mixture still in the bowl, whisk in 3 eggs (as well as the optional 1 cup of walnuts.) Slowly add the remaining flour one cup at a time for the first 3 cups.  Beat well with a wooden spoon after each addition.  As the dough develops it will slowly come away from the sides of the bowl and become less sticky.  At this point take the dough out and put it on a floured surface to start the kneading.  Keep adding the flour in small increments until the Challah dough is smooth, elastic, and forms a ball.  Knead the ball of dough for about 10 minutes more to develop the gluten. This is a great upper-body strengthening exercise!

I was taught that when you pull the dough apart, if it stretch’s thin, and does not break, it’s ready.  (If you used whole wheat dough it will not be as elastic.)

Now, let’s let it rise. Dust a large bowl with flour, or smear with softened butter. Put in the dough and cover with a damp cloth and let sit in a warm place for approx. 45 minutes.  A warm oven works well in cold weather. Let the dough rise until it doubles in bulk.  (When using whole wheat flour, it rises and softens, but does not double in size.)  Punch the dough down back to size, put it back on a board, and knead into a ball. Divide dough in half.  Then divide each half into three. Roll each of the 6 pieces of dough into a long, thin strand. Braid three strands at a time, forming 2 loaves. Place braided dough on a cookie sheet in a warm area and let them rise. After they rise and are soft to the touch, beat an egg in a small bowl and very, very gently brush the egg wash onto the loaves using a pastry brush.  Sprinkle with poppy seeds.  (The risen dough is a bit fragile at this stage when ready to go in the oven.  Don’t jostle it.  If it deflates, knead it again and let it rise again.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the two breads in oven and bake for approx. 35 to 40 minutes, or until Challah is golden brown and sounds hollow when knocked gently with your knuckles.

It’s superb when served with sweet butter!

Challah dough
Challah dough made with whole wheat and added wallnuts.

(Recipe & images copyrighted © Tamara Frey, 2013. All right reserved.)

Tamara Frey
 
August 11, 2013 | Tamara Frey

Roasted Vegetables in a Frey Chardonnay Marinade

This is a simple veggie dish, and both vegans and meat eaters will love it.  It will go perfectly with a pesto pasta or grilled chicken, or even as the main course.  It has no meat, no dairy products, yet has an almost meaty flavor and texture!

Rosted Veggie Marinade

Serves 6 to 8

1 cup Frey Biodynamic Chardonnay
4 cloves peeled garlic
1 apple, core removed
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. chopped rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
3/4 cup olive oil

2 red bell peppers
2 yellow bell peppers
4 portobello mushrooms
3 onions (1 red, 1 yellow, 1 white, if possible)
2 zucchinis

2 fresh tomatoes, or 8 cherry tomatoes

The Marinade: Except for the olive oil, put all the ingredients for the marinade into a blender, (or Cuisinart).  Pour in the Chardonnay, then throw in the garlic cloves, the apple, cayenne, rosemary, bay leaves, honey, Dijon mustard, and the salt.  Blend it for a few seconds.  Then pour in the olive oil very slowly, in a thin stream, with the blender running.  Your marinade is ready!

Chop the Veggies: Chop them up but not too much!  Leave them big and chunky, like large slices of meat.  I prefer red and yellow bell peppers as their colorful hues are not lost to the roasting as much as green peppers.  I also prefer various colors of onions to have in the mix, all of which adds to the visual delight of the final product.  If the bit of stem on the portobellos look dried or aged, you can cut them off, but keep those portobello slices big and thick.  The same for the zucchini slices.

Let’s Marinate!  Put the chopped veggies into a large bowl and pour over the marinade. Stir the veggies thoroughly so the marinade coats every piece.  Let it sit for 4 hours, remixing about every 45 minutes as the marinade tends to settle to the bottom of the bowl.

Let’s Roast! Put the marinated veggies into a wide roasting pan (such as a cookie sheet or lasagna pan) and spread it out about an inch high.  Put in pre-heated oven at 400 degree.  After fifteen minutes, stir the veggies with a spoon.  Cook for another 10 minutes and check if veggies are done to your liking.  I prefer them al dente, with some firmness still on the insides and not mushy through and through.  Garnish with slices of fresh tomatoes. Enjoy with a glass of Frey Biodynamic Chardonnay!

(Recipe & images copyrighted © Tamara Frey, 2013. All right reserved.)

Below are photos of some of the steps for this recipe:

Chopped portabella
Portobellos sliced thick.

Pouring the Marinade
Pouring in the marinade over the chopped vegetables.

Mixing veggies & Marinade
Stirring and coating the veggies with the marinade.

Veggies coasted with marinade
Veggies marinating.

(Recipe & images copyrighted © Tamara Frey, 2013. All right reserved.)

Tamara Frey
 
May 9, 2013 | Tamara Frey

Blood Orange Sole Salad with Dessertage Vinaigrette

This is a wonderful salad topped with a fillet of sole and drizzled with a vinaigrette made with Frey Dessertage Port, a flavorful organic sweet wine.  The sole is best if fresh, when it smells like scallops.

Carolyn Dismuke will be showcasing the creative ways of cooking with Dessertage Port atDrinkThoseWords.com in the coming months. Be sure to check it out!

Blood Orange Sole Salad
Pouring on the Dessertage Vinaigrette to the Sole Salad.

Serves 4
Ingredients:
1 lb. sole fish (vegan alternative: portobello mushroom, 4 large caps)
salt
pepper, coarsely ground
1 cup & 6 tablespoons Frey Dessertage Port organic sweet wine
2/3 cup & 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large head red butter lettuce
½ cup raw pecans
1/2 red onion
1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger root
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 blood orange
1 avocado
2 teaspoons coconut oil

Marinating the filet
Marinating the sole fillets with Dessertage Port.

1.  Let’s get the sole marinating in the Dessertage Port by first laying out the fillets in a dish. (Vegan alternative: use 4 large caps of portobello mushrooms and prepare the same way).  With a sharp knife slice into the fillets about halfway through, each slice half inch apart.  This will allow the marinade to seep in better.  Sprinkle a large pinch of salt, pinch of pepper.  Then drizzle over the fillets 4 tablespoons Frey Dessertage Port, followed by drizzling 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  Let them marinade while preparing the rest of the salad.  Return every few minutes to spoon the marinade back over them again.

2.  Now to the head of red butter lettuce.  I like to take a knife and cut out the core from the bottom so the leaves peel off easily.  Rinse and dry in a salad spinner.  Then tear into smaller pieces.  I prefer red butter lettuce leaves about 3 inches long, somewhat big.  Set aside.

3.  Time to toast the raw pecans: chop them up and put them in a dry pan on low heat.  Don’t forget about them because they will burn quickly.  It’s best to stay with them until done, stirring frequently on low heat.  You know they’re ready after a few minutes when they release that distinct toasty aroma, and they darken a little.

Toasting pecans
Flambéing the toasted oats!

Now, with 2 tablespoons of Dessertage Port at the ready, crank the heat up to high and quickly pour it in to flambé the toasted pecans.  If you have a gas stove, tip the pan so the Port catches the flame and lights up, or use a match.  After the flames die out, turn the heat back to low and simmer off the Port.  The pecans will burn if left on high, so please do turn the heat down!  Stir until the pecans are dry and coated with a sweet layer of caramelized Dessertage.  It will take a few minutes.  Then spread the pecans out on a plate and set aside to cool.

(Remember to take time out now and then to spoon the marinade over the fillets again!)

4.  Now let’s make the Dessertage Port Vinaigrette:  in a pot pour in 1 cup of Dessertage Port, 2 tablespoons minced red onion, and 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger.  We’re going to make the reduction for the base of our Dessertage Vinaigrette by bringing this to a boil and reducing it until there’s about ¼ cup left and it’s syrupy.  It will take a few minutes.

Remove the reduction from heat, let it cool down a little, pour into a bowl with a whisk at the ready, then add 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar and a pinch or two of salt.  While whisking continuously, very slowly pour in 2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil, just a thin stream.  When the pouring is finished, it should be thick and creamy and take on a gorgeous crimson hue, like a Hawaiian sunset.  You may also do it in a snap using a Cuisinart.  But like the furniture maker who eschews electric tools for the sake of a forgotten art, I often prefer to do these steps by hand.  I practice my old techniques, and it’s good exercise!  Each time I grab a whisk I recall a chef instructor at the California Culinary Academy years ago who would yell out, “Whisk it!  Whisk it good! Whisk it ‘til your arms fall off!”

Making vinaigrette
Very slowly pour in the vinaigrette while whisking.

5.  Before cooking the fillets, let’s get the rest of the salad ingredients ready by cutting four thin slices of red onion, 4 thin slices of blood orange, and slice up completely the avocado.  I like to serve the fillets piping hot over the salad, so let’s now get the beds of lettuce ready, spread out over the four separate plates.

6.  It’s time to cook the marinated sole fillets  Put 2 teaspoons of coconut oil in a pan on medium heat to get it nicely coated.  Put in the fillets  They will cook quickly, about 2 minutes.  

Place the fillets on each of the four beds of lettuce. (For the portobello vegan alternative, slice up the cooked mushrooms before laying them on the bed of lettuce.)  Quickly arrange the rest of the salad ingredients to the delight of your artistic whims: the rings of raw onion, the slices of blood orange and avocado.  Drizzle on the Dessertage Vinaigrette.  And finally, sprinkle on the toasted pecans.

Watch out for the bones.  Bon appétit!

(Recipe & images copyrighted © Tamara Frey, 2013. All right reserved.)

Eliza Frey
 
January 31, 2013 | Eliza Frey

Pairing Wine with Spicy Foods

We live in a time where we have access to almost all cuisines from across the globe and wine is no longer being overlooked as a compliment for spicy or ethnic foods.  In the past spicy food wine pairings were limited to white wines but there are wonderful options among rosés and reds.  For spice loving foodies it’s time to start sipping outside the box!

Spicy foods are as varied as the wines they can be paired with.  Low alcohol wines are best for the spiciest dishes, since spice can accentuate alcohol and make high alcohol wines taste hot and abrasive.  Spice can also enhance the astringency of tannins in wine, so heavy red wines are not a good choice with fiery dishes.  The spice of ginger, with citrus and lemongrass, is balanced well by wines with crisp acidity and floral aromas, like Sauvignon Blanc and other aromatic whites.  Savory spice like garlic, onions, oregano, sage and rosemary are right at home with deep spicy reds like Zinfandel and Petite Sirah.   Brown, earthy spice like cumin, coriander and cardamom are best paired with earthy Syrahs and low tannin Merlots.

Below is a list of Frey wines that are best served with spicy fare, and pairing suggestions that will highlight both the food and wine.

Frey Organic Rosé – The floral acidity of our rosé is great with sweet and spicy foods like southern barbeque, Jamaican Jerk spice or Tom Kha Thai coconut soup with lemongrass, galangal (ginger’s spicy cousin) and chilies.

Frey Organic Gewurztraminer – The spicy aromatic nose of gewürztraminer is slightly sweet.  We enjoy it with ginger flavored stir-fries and coconut curry dishes with kefir lime.

Frey Organic Sauvignon Blanc – Our Sauvignon Blanc is grown in a warm climate and has tropical aromas and flavors with not too rigid acidity.  We recommend it with the cilantro, lime and zest of Mexican and Southwest dishes.

Frey Organic Pinot Noir – Wonderful with spicy Baja fish stew (see our recipe below!), chile verde sauce or basil and eggplant sautéed with garlic and hot peppers.

Frey Organic Zinfandel – Zinfandel has a naturally fruity and spicy character that lends itself to ethnic foods.  Great with garlicky dishes like Shrimp Diablo, spicy meat dishes and sautéed pardon peppers.

Frey Biodynamic Chardonnay – The roundness of Chardonnay can cut through the spice and smoke in chipotle sauce.  Since Chardonnay is a full bodied white wine it can stand up well to dishes that include chicken or other poultry.

Frey Biodynamic Syrah – The spicy notes of Syrah go great with Indian and Middle Eastern dishes with warm spices like cumin, coriander, fennel or cardamom. The wine’s earthiness is great with the lentils, chickpeas and potatoes often found in such fare.

Frey Organic Petite Sirah – Petite Sirah is known for its peppery character and is a great choice for heavier, tomato based dishes like spicy tomato gratin, or spicy chutney with grilled lamb.

As with all wine and food pairing, at the end of it all we should drink and eat what we love.  Combine what sounds good to you, and always remember to try new dishes with wine and food – in moderation of course. 

Cheers and Bon Appetite!

(Copyrighted © Eliza Frey, Frey Vineyards, 2013. All right reserved.)

Time Posted: Jan 31, 2013 at 10:22 AM