The practice of infusing wine with herbs goes all the way back to ancient times, and today it’s still a fun and tasty way to enjoy and enhance the flavors of your favorite wines with the benefits of herbal extracts.
Organic white and red wine infused with herbs.
Herbal infused wines have a long history throughout the world. The Egyptians used wines as a carrier for herbal remedies. Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania analyzed ceramics from Egyptian wine containers and found herbal residues dating back to over 5000 years ago! The herbs they identified included lemon balm, coriander, sage and mint.
In tenth century Europe, Saint Hildegrad Von Bingen recommended herbal infusions in wine and vinegar for a variety of ailments from weak heart to congestion. Many contemporary North American Herbalists recommend wine infusions as a simple and enjoyable way to incorporate herbs into your diet.
If human beings made herbal infused wines for millenniums, we had to try it too! Infusing a wine is very simple. Harvest a small handful of herbs for each bottle of wine to be infused. Make sure the herbs are clean and dry. Roughly chop them and blend together. Place herbs in a clean glass bottle or jar and pour in the wine and close lid tight. Let sit for 5 to 14 days. Taste your infusion each day starting on day 5 and when you like the flavor, strain out the herbs and enjoy. You can also pour off a portion of the wine and leave some in the herbs to extract more flavor. Don't overdo it with the number of herbs for each infusion. Keep it simple and find out what you like best.
It's simple, healthful fun and the results were wonderfully tasty! Below are more pictures of the steps we took.
The herbs laid out, ready for chopping up, and some fresh lemon zest.
Oregano and rosemary for the red wine, lemon balm and fresh lemon zest for the white wine.
Pouring Frey Biodynamic Cabernet Sauvignon into oregano and rosemary. Five days later, a tasty herbal infusion!
Barrie Lynn at the Cheese Impresario has some great tips to share with you on pairing your favorite Frey wine with fine specialty cheeses. She pairs Frey Organic Chardonnay with mouthwatering Gruyère, Frey Organic Sauvignon Blanc with some creamy goat cheese, and Frey Organic Cab with aged cheddar. Try one of the combinations at your next holiday party! The videos can be found here on YouTube.
This recipe for a classic holiday fruitcake is lightly sweetened with real honey and the fruit is soaked and simmered in Frey Organic Dessertage Port. It's easy to make and certainly will disappear quickly at your holiday party! I use organic ingredients whenever possible, to help organic farmers and the planet.
Holiday Fruitcake with Bitter Chocolate Sauce, made by Chef Tamara Frey.
Recipe makes one cake.
1 cup thinly sliced dried apricots. (organic Turkish apricots are usually not too dry and perfect for this)
1 cup thinly sliced dried figs
1 cup Frey Organic Dessertage Port (Mendocino dessert wine)
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (vegan alternative: coconut butter)
1 cup honey
4 eggs (vegan alternative: an egg-replacer found at health food stores)
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups whole spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg (fresh ground nutmeg is best by using whole nutmegs and rough-grating them on a cheese grater)
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup chopped walnuts
For the Bitter Chocolate Sauce and garnish:
¾ cup heavy cream (vegan alternative: just leave out the cream and simply melt the chocolate as-as; it will only leave the cooled chocolate on the brittle side)
1½ cups chopped bittersweet chocolate
½ to 1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
Preheat oven to 300F and generously butter an angel food cake pan (vegan alternative: coconut oil).
In small saucepan, combine the apricots, figs, and Frey Organic Dessertage sweet wine. Simmer until wine is almost boiled off, which takes 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. In large bowl beat the butter with electric beater until creamy. Add honey and beat until blended. Add eggs (or vegan egg-replacer) one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix that in. Set aside.
In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cranberries, almonds, and walnuts. Then gently mix in the apricots and figs by folding. Spoon it all into the buttered (or oiled) angel food cake pan. Bake approx. 50 minutes or until a knife inserted into center comes out clean. Let it sit 15 minutes, then extract it out of its mold onto a cooling rack. While it cools, bring the cream to a simmer (for vegans, skip to the next step). Add the chopped chocolate. Let melt a few minutes. Stir, then let it cool but not so much that it cannot pour out. Place the cake on serving platter, pour over the chocolate sauce, then garnish with the chopped macadamia nuts. Surround with pine boughs or other seasonal decorative.
A slice of Holiday Fruitcake!
(Recipe copyrighted © Tamara Frey, 2011. All right reserved)
In front of the Frey Vineyards winery this fall were several pumpkins lined up in a row upon which the oak trees settled their orange-hued leaves. The pumpkins were just harvested from the vineyard gardens and that scene inspired this tasty Thanksgiving side dish.
Glazed Pumpkin with Maple Walnuts, by Chef Tamara Frey.
Pumpkins are usually used for pies in the U.S. But the humble pumpkin is a winter squash after all and certainly can be prepared as such. So after some experimentation I came up with this dish in which the texture and taste of this famed North American squash is newly revealed in sweet & spicy tenderness. Serve it as a side dish with your next Thanksgiving dinner!
Serves 6 to 8
There are 2 steps for preparing the pumpkin. It’s first cooked in an oven, then glazed in a sauté pan. For vegans, coconut oil may be used instead of butter.
For the Pumpkin in the Oven:
1 medium pie pumpkin of about 4 lbs.
½ cup Frey Gewurztraminer
6 whole cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil
For the Pumpkin in the Sauté Pan:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil
½ cup Frey Gewurztraminer
2 tablespoons maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste
For the Maple Walnut Garnish:
1 cup walnut pieces (do not chop)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pumpkin in the Oven
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Lay the pumpkin halves face down on a cutting board. Cut off the skin with a knife, slicing downward and rotating as needed. Cut up the skinned pumpkin halves to ½ inch chunks. Spread out the chunks onto a baking dish. Toss on the cinnamon sticks. Before sprinkling on the cardamom, first crush the pods using a knife held flat against a cutting board. Now drizzle on the ½ cup Frey Gewurztraminer. Add the maple syrup and the unsalted butter or coconut oil. Mix the ingredients together a bit and spread out across the baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes. Stir about every 15 minutes. Pumpkin chunks will be al dente.
While the pumpkin is baking, toast the maple walnuts for the garnish. In a smaller baking dish throw in the non-chopped walnut pieces and add the maple syrup and cinnamon. Mix them up well so the walnuts get a real soaking from the syrup. Then spread it all out on a baking dish and toast in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Set it aside. It will be used as the garnish in the final step!
Pumpkin in the Sauté Pan
Fresh from the oven now, throw in the baked pumpkin chunks into a sauté pan of medium-high heat along with 2 of the 4 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil (you’ll be adding the other 2 tablespoons shortly).Pour in the Gewurztraminer and maple syrup, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir and cook down a minute, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter or coconut oil. Swirl and stir till melted and incorporated into the sauce. Then put the glazed pumpkin into your favorite serving bowl. Garnish with the Maple Walnuts spread over the top. Be sure to arrange the cinnamon sticks with an aesthetic and personalized touch!
A cinnamon stick ads the final touch!
(Recipe copyrighted © Tamara Frey, 2011. All right reserved)
Angel Pasta with Salmon, by Chef Tamara Frey.
I’ve always loved salmon with a glass of Syrah, so I came up with this dish especially to enjoy with one of my favorite wines.
Angel Pasta with Salmon
Feeds 4 to 6.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 small red onions, peeled, halved and sliced thin
2 cups thinly sliced crimini mushrooms
1 cup yellow squash cut into matchstick sized pieces (julienne cut)
2 tablespoons fresh slivered garlic (cut garlic cloves very thin)
½ pound salmon steak, cut into ½ inch cubes
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 tablespoons chopped chives
1 teaspoon whole mixed peppercorns
10 cherry tomatoes
½ to cup Frey Biodynamic Syrah
1 cup heavy cream
8 tablespoons fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Melt butter in saucepan. Add the onions, mushrooms and squash. Sauté a minute or so, then add the garlic, peppercorns, salmon pieces, and half the herbs (save other half for garnish). Sauté a minute or so more, until done. Add the Syrah, cook it down until bubbly and thickened a bit. Then add the cream and let it cook until desired thickness. Season with salt to taste.
For the Angel Hair pasta: Cook ¾ pound of Angel Hair or Capellini pasta, following directions on package. Drain it, then season with extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place pasta on a plate, then spoon over the Syrah cream sauce with salmon. Garnish it with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and the remaining half of the fresh herbs. Top it off with freshly sliced tomato halves, and enjoy with a glass of Frey Biodynamic Syrah!
(Recipe copyrighted © Tamara Frey, 20111. All right reserved)
Try out this easy and delicious recipe for a refreshing summertime treat. We made two versions of the recipe: Cabernet Sauvignon with rosemary and Sauvignon Blanc with Tarragon. But there are countless variations and you can eliminate the alcohol or adapt your sorbet to your creative whims. A quick internet search yields dozens of ideas, from champagne grapefruit to red wine with clove, and even hot toddy! Whatever your preference, the basic recipe below will get you started and you can elaborate and embellish from there. The recipe is good for 4-6 hearty servings. Have fun and enjoy!
1 cup spring water or filtered water
3/4 cup organic sugar, or honey, or white grape juice
(Note on sweeteners: We found that heavier red wines absorb the flavor of sugar and the sweetness is more intense for white wines. So for white wines we recommend using a little less sweetener.)
1 1/2 cup wine
1/2 cup lemon juice
herbs and spices to taste (lemon zest is great for white wines)
We suggest either Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc with lemon mint, basil, tarragon, and Zinfandel or Merlot with cinnamon, ginger or cloves. Be bold and experiment!
1) Boil water
2) Stir in sugar, honey or juice until dissolved completely
3) Cover and cool
4) Stir in wine, lemon juice and spices
5) Taste your mixture and make any adjustments. This is your last chance to adjust the sweetness, tartness or spiciness!
6) Prepare in an ice cream maker or see the freezer instructions below.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker you can still make wonderful sorbet. The traditional trick is to interrupt the freezing process as many times as possible so you don’t end up with a block of flavored ice. However, if pinched for time, you can freeze it all at once, then remove it from the freezer and stir it as it softens. When it reaches the desired consistency, you can re-freeze it and serve it later.
1) Pour liquid sorbet mixture into a large baking dish. The depth of the liquid should be about 1/2 inch.
2) Place the dish in the freezer, making sure not to spill.
3) Every 20-40 minutes remove the dish from the freezer and stir with a flat wooden spoon or a plastic spatula, or freeze all at once and stir as it softens, as mentioned above.
This is one of my favorite pasta dishes, easy to make and delicious
Earth Pasta, by Chef Tamara Frey
I’ve always loved the flavorful combination of dessert wines and cream boiled down to a sauce. In culinary school most of these rich and fabulous sauces they teach are from concentrated meat stock bases. I wanted to develop a sauce that was vegetarian and easy to make, but still used the classic French technique of reduction. I came up with Earth Pasta when I developed the first menu for the newly opened Daily Planet Restaurant in the early 1980s.
I remember my father loved cooking with mushrooms and onions sautéed in olive oil with a dash of salt and pepper. He enjoyed it over steak, but the combo works for many dishes, and I included them in this Earth Pasta.
INGREDIENTS (May I suggest you use organic ingredients if you can, to help out our planet, and small farmers)
20 snow peas, leave them whole
4 cups sliced mushrooms (packed in)
2 cups sliced onions
1 cup Frey Dessertage Port (or Madeira sweet wine)
2 cups heavy cream, enough to make a nice sauce for the veggies at the end
linguini for 4 people, cook al dente. Add a dash of salt and a splash of olive oil to the water while pasta boils
Sauté snow peas, mushrooms, and onions with your favorite cooking oil (I recommend unsalted butter, extra-virgin olive oil, or extra-virgin coconut oil). When they’re done, turn up the heat and pour in the Dessertage Port (or Madiera, which was used in the original recipe and it would flambé over a gas stove; Frey Dessertage Port did not flambé for me when I used it for this recipe, but it still tastes great in this dish). Reduce the spirits so the alcohol burns off and the essence remains, then add the heavy cream and bring to a boil and simmer, until thickened to desired consistency for pasta. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh finely grated Romano parmesan or Asiago cheese, fresh-chopped parsley, scallions, and fresh cherry tomato-halves if in season.
This dish goes great with Frey Organic Pinot Noir, one of our lighter red wines.
Instead of cream, use coconut creamer or soy creamer. I tried it with coconut creamer and it tasted great, but I have yet to try it using soy creamer, which may curdle. You may also try it using a thick miso broth as a cream alternative.
Instead of the cheese garnish, try a vegan parmesan made by Eat in the Raw.
(Chef Tamara Frey is working on a cook book about cooking for large groups. We'll announce it here when it's released!)
(Recipe copyrighted © Tamara Frey, 20111. All right reserved)
I created this salad to take advantage of a totally new, superbly rich wine here at Frey Vineyards: our just released Organic Tannat, vintage 2010. Balsamic vinegar reductions are one of my favorite ingredients to make from scratch, so I had to try the same reducing technique with this tasty tannat and its thick-as-ink texture. I was most surprised and pleased. The best flavors of the wine permeated the vinaigrette, along with its gorgeous color.
Roasted Beet Salad with Frey Tannat Vinaigrette.
The vinaigrette is added to a roasted beet salad, with red butter lettuce, fresh avocado and strawberry slices, a touch of onion, and raw chopped almonds. Enjoy with a warm baguette and a glass of Frey Organic Tannat wine.
I use all organic ingredients when possible.
1 large beet
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 large head of red butter lettuce
1 large avocado
1 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup raw chopped almonds
4 slices red onion
3/4 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan cheese)
3/4 cup Frey Organic Tannat wine (a deep red wine)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon maple syrup
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Let’s start with the beet. Cut it into 1/4" thick strips, just like French fries but healthier! Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast in a 350F oven until soft (approx. 20 min. to 1/2 hr.). Let it cool. Then toss with 2 teaspoons of the Tannat vinaigrette, which you will make soon. Set aside.
Roasted beets with Tannat vinaigrette added.
Now on to the main salad ingredients. Keep each separated for now, and handle some ingredients carefully as later you will use some for garnish. Wash and dry the red butter lettuce and tear into pieces by hand (otherwise you will have to eat the salad with the help of a knife, which I prefer not to do). Slice up the avocado and strawberries. Chop up the raw almonds (I prefer the almonds raw, as they are more nutritious and I love the flavor, but you may toast if you prefer). Separate the rings from the red onion slices. Shave the Parmigiano-Reggiano (I use a potato peeler which makes paper-thin translucent slices that are beautiful).
Slicing Parmigiano-Reggiano with a potato peeler.
Time to make the Frey Tannat Vinaigrette! Put into a sauce pan the Tannat wine, balsamic vinegar and the orange zest. Bring to a boil, then let it simmer until it reduces to around 1/4 cup, which takes about 15 minutes. Important: keep an eye on it because it’s possible to reduce it to thin air! Let cool a few minutes, then pour into a blender. Add the salt and pepper and maple syrup. With the blender running, slowly pour in the olive oil in a thin stream. It will thicken nicely (emulsifying technique) and the color will turn to a shade of purple.
Add 2 teaspoons of the vinaigrette to the roasted beets. Mix until the beets are coated.
One quick note about the remaining vinaigrette. I added half a cup to the rest of the salad and found that to my liking. You may prefer to add more or less to your taste. Adding all of it might be too strong for some. If you have leftover vinaigrette, you may use some as dip for the baguettes, marinate a steak in it, or save it for tomorrow’s salad!
Add the vinaigrette to the salad and toss in the salad bowl, so the dressing coats everything. Tossing tends to send the heavier ingredients to the bottom to hide under the lettuce. So for presentation, set aside 4 or 5 beautiful slices of the avocado and strawberries, the onion rings, and some chopped almonds – enough to garnish to your heart’s delight.
(Recipe & images copyrighted © Tamara Frey, 2012. All right reserved.)
Sherried Mushroom Soup
I’ve been making this wonderful creamy and delicious mushroom soup for years, using wild mushrooms when in season, and shitake when out of season. As always, I try to use all organic ingredients, as they taste better and are better for our health and planet.
This recipe can be made with Frey Organic Dessertage Port or Frey Organic Late Harvest Zinfandel as well.
Vegan alternatives are also provided.
Serves 4 to 6
2 cups shitake mushrooms
2 heaping cups sliced meadow mushrooms
2 heaping cups sliced portabella mushroom (usually 1 large portabella mushroom is enough)
1 large leek
3 Tbls chopped garlic. Which was 3 large cloves garlic
2 Tbls fresh chopped thyme. Or 1 tsp dry
6 Tbls unsalted butter (or coconut oil for vegans)
1 cup heavy cream (or almond milk, or coconut milk, for vegans)
1 cup sherry (or Frey Organic Dessertage Port or Frey Organic Late Harvest Zinfandel)
3 cups vegetable stock, or chicken stock
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black or white pepper
Scallions, cayenne for garnishing
Start by slicing the leek down the middle to the white part. Open the stalks under cool water to remove all the dirt which gathers where the green meets the white. Slice up all of the leek, mushrooms, the rest of the vegetables, and set aside
In a large soup pot melt the unsalted butter. Throw in the mushrooms, leeks, thyme, and garlic. Sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn up the heat for 10 seconds, or until the vegetables start hissing (but don't let them smoke!), then deglaze by pouring in the sherry. Immediately turn down the heat and let it all simmer for 2 minutes. Then add the vegetable stock. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are soft and ready to puree. Blend the soup very finely. I use a blender for pureed soups. Return the blended soup to the soup pot. Add the cream and mix it in. Add seasoning, salt and pepper to your liking. Bring the soup back to a simmer ready to serve.
Fill up your prettiest bowls with the soup and garnish with slivered scallions and sprinkled cayenne. If you don’t want it spicy-hot use paprika for color. Serve with a fresh sourdough baguette, sweet butter, a salad, and your favorite Frey Organic White wine.
(Recipe copyrighted © Tamara Frey, 20101. All right reserved)
A big thanks to all of you who submitted a recipe for our 30th Anniversary Recipe Contest. We appreciated your response. Several excellent recipes were submitted, each one delicious. It was tough to choose a winner.
After much cooking, tasting and deliberation, we chose "Italian Lentils,” submitted by Katie S. from Elizabeth, Colorado. I used Frey Organic Syrah in the recipe. It was a very hearty and tasty Autumn dish. Wonderful with a sour dough baguette and a glass of Frey Organic Syrah! Here is Katie's winning recipe:
7 cups of vegetable broth
2 Tbls of olive oil
1 ½ cups of lentils
1 cup of Organic Frey red wine (any variety works great)
8 cloves of minced garlic
4 cups of diced tomatoes in juice
1 tsp salt (or add salt to taste, especially since your vegetable broth might already have salt added)
1 ½ Tbls dried basil
1 ½ tsp lemon pepper
1 cup of pasta
Sliced green olives
Bring broth and oil to boil. Add lentils and red wine and simmer 40 minutes or until lentils are tender. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 8 minutes or until pasta is tender. Top with olives.
Serve with red Frey Organic Wine and a crusty baguette for dipping.