Sep 132014
Winter Panzanella + Rosso di Montalcino

I’ve gotten an early (wishful thinking) jump on colder temperatures with this wintery hybrid of two classic Italian salads — panzanella and puntarelle alla Romana. Panzanella typically features a lot of bread cubes and summer-ripe tomatoes, plus a variety of other accents — depending on who’s making it. Puntarelle alla Romana involves an Italian variety of chicory called puntarelle that shows up in Rome in late fall and throughout winter, […]

Aug 102014
Marinated Bocconcini + Crisp Italian Whites

Bocconcini (“little mouthfuls” in Italian) are traditionally served as part of an antipasto selection, but I wonder if they’ve been forgotten lately in all the burrata craze? And I guess I can understand. What chance do these little mozzarella balls stand against the dreamy, creamy center of burrata? Or against slices of 100% mozzarella di bufala, for that matter. Bocconcini are typically made from a blend of buffalo and cow’s […]

Aug 042014
Sardine & Potato Salad with Pine Nuts + Quinta da Aveleda

I suppose there are people who cannot stomach the idea of sardines in any form, much less the ones out of a can. (If you qualify, I guess you can skip this post!) But it’s a pity, because these lovely little fishes are so tasty — and so good for you! And here’s an easy summer salad that makes good use of them. I highly recommend sourcing a good quality […]

Jul 202014
Humboldt Fog "Caprese" + California Sauvignon Blanc

Here’s a take on a classic caprese salad — that popular combination of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. All I’ve done is swap out the mozzarella for thin slices of Humboldt Fog, mostly because I had the other ingredients but no mozzarella, but also because Humboldt Fog is an all-time favorite cheese. The first time I tasted it was at a Sonoma winery visit years ago, and it was definitely […]

Jul 132014
Balsamic Strawberries + Lambrusco

Here’s a sweet ending for a summer dinner — gorgeously sweet, ripe strawberries, macerated in a bit of balsamic vinegar and served over vanilla ice cream. This is one of those moments when there is only a handful of ingredients, so quality is everything. Using seasonal, organic strawberries, aged balsamic, the best vanilla ice cream you can find — makes all the difference. If mixing strawberries and balsamic vinegar seems […]

Jul 062014
Cabernet Sauvignon Roundup + Summer Grilling

Hope everybody had a happy holiday weekend! Mine involved some much needed downtime, several really satisfying thunderstorms, revisiting an old favorite series on DVD, and feasting on these gorgeous plums: And then to cap off the weekend, a free-for-all grilling evening to go with a Cabernet Sauvignon tasting. I provided the wines and a couple of sides, and friends brought an array of grillable goodies to cook (themselves) to their […]

Jun 292014
Pleasant Ridge Reserve + Donelan Syrah Cuvée Christine

This is a sublime wine and cheese pairing — Pleasant Ridge Reserve alpine-style cow’s milk cheese with an absolutely lovely New World Syrah. Pleasant Ridge Reserve is made by the Uplands Cheese Company in Wisconsin. Their cows are reportedly happily grazing away on ridgetop grasses and fresh herbs — and I believe that only a happy cow could produce the kind of milk that ends up tasting this good in […]