Tag: Wine Pairings

The Williams Selyem Harvest Party 2017

The Williams Selyem Harvest Party 2017

What an honor it was to be asked to cook a festive supper for the men and women who make this incredible winery tick. After such a devastating October in wine country it was an extra special afternoon as everyone shared good cheer and soaked […]

Wedding Album – A West County Garden in June

Wedding Album – A West County Garden in June

Here at BLC, we feel lucky to have the opportunity to cook for clients on their wedding day.  The enthusiasm & excitement of the wedding planning process is infectious & it inspires us to create menus that are as unique & multi-faceted as the couples […]

Squash & Gourds!

Squash & Gourds!

Autumn’s full bounty is on display right before Thanksgiving in Western Sonoma County. Just before the weather turns really dark and nasty, Mother Earth gives us one last glimpse of our long summer growing season that usually lasts deep into November. Winter Squash by different names, these garden gems start with edible blossoms before Labor Day and end with their golden flesh in roasting pans on Thanksgiving tables everywhere across the region. The gourds, a beautiful ornamental cousin to squash, set the tone of harvest-time annually in farm country and beyond. The following are a few different types of very special squash and gourds. A very heartfelt thank you to Dehlinger Winery for allowing us to photograph and post such a beautiful cornucopia. See Below for some recipes featuring winter squash from Chef Christopher Greenwald.

Butternuts
Butternuts
Spaghettis
Spaghettis
Delicatas
Delicatas
Mini Jack Sugars
Mini Jack Sugars
The Gourds
The Gourds

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Salad with Delicata Squash and Arugula
Local Chevre and Mint

2 pork tenderloins (trimmed and trussed)
2 T. olive oil
3 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
1 t. chili powder
1 t. thyme
½ t. cumin
1 delicata Squash ( split, seeded and cut into ½ moons)
¼ # Baby Arugula
¼ # Chèvre
½ bunch mint (leaves only)
1 recipe vinaigrette (below)

Rub pork with 1 T. olive oil, 2 t. salt, ½ t. pepper, 1 t. chili powder, 1 t. thyme and ½ t. cumin. Let the pork sit at room temperature while heating your grill. Meanwhile, heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. When pan is hot add 1 T. olive oil and squash moons. Sprinkle vegetable with 1 t. salt and ½ t. pepper. Cook squash al dente and remove from heat. Grill pork on all sides until medium, then let pork rest off of heat covered loosely with foil while assembling salad. Combine Arugula, chevre, warm squash and mint leaves in a large bowl and toss with no more than ¾ ‘s of vinaigrette. Divide salad between 6 plates. Slice pork and top salad with warm meat. Drizzle vinaigrette on pork and serve.

Serves 6

Vinaigrette

1 shallot (minced)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 t. salt
1 t. brown sugar
½ t. black pepper
3 T. white balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil

Place shallot, garlic, salt, sugar and pepper in a small bowl and cover with vinegar. Let mixture sit for 10 minutes. Whisk in olive oil and serve.

 

 

Butternut Squash and Tarragon Soup

2 Butternut Squash (Split lengthwise)
4 T. Olive oil
2 T. + 1 t. Kosher salt
2 T. Muscavado sugar
2 t. Ground cinnamon
2 t. Ground nutmeg
2 t. Ground allspice
2 Onion (Chopped)
2 Leek (white part only, chopped)
4 Celery ribs (chopped)
2 t. Dried tarragon
2 Quarts Vegetable stock
4 T. Pernod
2 Small bunches fresh tarragon
2 T. Coarse ground black peppercorns

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lay squash cut side up on sheet pan and sprinkle evenly with 2 T. olive oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake until soft, about 1 hour. While squash is roasting put soup pot over medium high heat and sweat onion, leek and celery in remaining 2 T. of olive oil. Add salt and dried tarragon to sauté. When vegetables are soft add vegetable stock and simmer (there should be no caramelization on bottom of pot), if vegetables begin to color early, turn down heat and add a little stock. When squash is done scoop out flesh and add to soup base, discard tough skin. Simmer for twenty minute to let flavors blend. Purée the soup in a blender then strain through a chinois into another pot. Put soup back on low heat reduce to desired consistency. Just before service add Pernod and check for seasoning, adding a bit more salt if needed. Ladle into warm bowls and garnish with a sprig of tarragon and a pinch of coarse ground black pepper.
Serves 12

Vineyards!

Vineyards!

We work in them, play in them, get drink from them and marvel at their beauty! Here is a look at some of our favorite local vineyards…

BLC Gets Back To Its Roots

A drizzly evening in early May set the stage for an incredible night of Zinfandel and family style dining at Limerick Lane Cellars in Heladsburg, Ca. Members of the Historical Vineyard Society were treated to an ‘old school’ menu of classic Italian-American standards like meatballs, […]

The Tomahawk

We talked to our butcher about cutting some big steaks for us.

Asked to create a menu to pair with an iconic Napa Valley Cabernet, we met the challenge by offering a dry-aged, prime beef bone-in ribeye steak for 4 grilled over mesquite wood. The steaks, AKA the ‘Tomahawk’ cut, are taken from the largest part of the rib area, three bones thick but with only the middle bone left on for presentation. The entire piece weighs in at about 4 pounds and measures from tip to tip about 18 inches long. Impressive to look at no doubt, but, when cooked correctly, is by far the juiciest, most succulent and flavorful piece of the entire beast.

When working with a raw product such as this, restraint is paramount and simple is better when it comes to the chef’s process. Using just a a couple of key flavoring agents in the marinade, we let the boldness of the beef and the heat and smoke from the fire take the starring roles on the table that night.

Herbs are key in our cooking process and we consider the fresher the better. We harvest our bay leaves from the tree in front of our kitchen and we use them both green and dried. For this particular marinade we combined bay, black pepper and olive oil.

Bay Leaves on the Tree
Bay Leaves on the Tree

This may not look very big in the picture, but know that this steak was sitting on a full sheet pan…

A 4 Pound Tomahawk Steak with Bay Leaf-Peppercorn Marinade
A 4 Pound Tomahawk Steak with Bay Leaf-Peppercorn Marinade

Here we stacked the steaks in an attempt to show how massive they were.

The Steaks in the Marinade
The Steaks in the Marinade

An important part of the process was to use real wood logs to grill the ‘Tomahawks’. Real wood smoke and real wood heat is much harder to control than charcoal but the pay off for the guests was huge.

Mesquite Logs Catching Fire under the Grill
Mesquite Logs Catching Fire under the Grill

A few days before Spring, the rain clouds parted and left a lovely view before the crew as we cooked.

Mt. St. Helena as Seen from the Grill
Mt. St. Helena as Seen from the Grill

As we were ready to load the steaks onto the grill, we couldn’t help ourselves. Just one shot to put these massive steaks into perspective…

Sometimes its OK to Play with the Food
Sometimes its OK to Play with the Food

Mesquite wood burns incredibly hot with amazing smoke. It also burns quite quickly which allowed us here to sear the steaks on both sides before letting them finish as the fire and coals dropped slightly in temperature.

Cooking 'Tomahawk' Steaks Over a Real Mesquite Wood Fire
Cooking ‘Tomahawk’ Steaks Over a Real Mesquite Wood Fire

After a good resting period, the warm steaks are then taken to large wooden cutting boards; and, one at a time, sliced before being plated for family style service.

Rested and Sliced, the Steak with Bay Leaf Branch Awaits its Platter and Trip to the Table
Rested and Sliced, the Steak with Bay Leaf Branch Awaits its Platter and Trip to the Table

Each steak was presented with the bone, finished with sea salt and easily fed four hungry diners.

A Perfectly Medium Rare Steak is Presented on its Platter for the Table
A Perfectly Medium Rare Steak is Presented on its Platter for the Table

The Winners Circle

We were extremely pleased to prepare hors d’oeuvre and dinner for a small group of wine aficionados in early March ’16 at Winner’s Circle at Vine Hill Ranch. The house and grounds are stunning and the views are a great example of what makes people […]

A couple of Cabernet Pairings

No better time to pull out that stash of Cabernet Sauvignon than mid-winter. The days are chilly and short, the nights can be perfect with a warm fire and a culinary spread of braised meats and potatoes, mineral rich greens and savory mushrooms. Here are a […]

Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter & Sage

We refer to ourselves as a 100% from scratch cooking company. This doesn’t mean we make everything we use (cheese, bread, etc often come from local artisanal sources) but we do not buy packaged or pre-made foods to use as ingredients in our recipes. Ravioli is something that is available to caterers everywhere as fabricated and frozen, some of good quality, most rather poorly made and stored. We believe that the best stuff we can serve our clients is food we make with our own hands from start to finish. So, yes, we make our own ravioli. Here are a few snapshots of something we are fond of this holiday season: Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter & Sage. What a great way to use up the many different kinds of winter squash available at the farmers market this time of year. These are filled with a sugar pumpkin puree but feel free to experiment with kabocha, butternut or even red kuri squash.

 

To start organic flour is mixed on the table top with pasture eggs in the classic way and mixed with a fork until the pasta dough comes together. It is then kneaded and put aside to rest until rolled into super thin sheets.

While the pasta rests, the filling is made by slow roasting  sugar pumpkins with salt, olive oil and a very light handed sprinkling of spices. When finished roasting, the flesh is scooped out of the skin and pureed with parmesan cheese, egg yolk and a touch of freshly grounded nutmeg.  Before the filling is encased in pasta we check it one last time for seasoning; adding salt and white pepper as needed.  The ravioli is then made by filling the pasta sheets with small scoops of pumpkin mix and gently enclosing so that no air pockets exist and the little packages are sealed tightly.

Once the ravioli are completed the brown butter sauce is made and the sage is fried in olive oil. Making the brown butter should be a slow process (get the butter as brown and as nutty as possible but don’t burn it). We use McClelland Dairy organic butter for a sauce like this. It is always important for us to use the very best ingredients we can find and we are lucky enough to call McClelland Dairy a neighbor in Petaluma. The sage is fried until crispy but still green. When sauce and sage are ready, the ravioli are dropped into the barely boiling, salted water until done. Once removed and drained, the pasta is bathed in the butter sauce and garnished with the herb.

We wouldn’t really be doing our job if we didn’t end with a wine recommendation. A dish as rich and buttery as this with notes of sweetness from the pumpkin and nuttiness from the brown butter calls out for a wine with good structure and excellent acidity. A white wine that brings out the floral notes of the squash and compliments the rustic greenness of the fried sage. The 2014 Chenin Blanc from Leo Steen is our pick.

Our Offering This Year for Russian River Passport 2015

Our Offering This Year for Russian River Passport 2015

We were honored this year to be asked by Hartford Family Winery to provide a bite to pair with their fine 2011 Hartford Court MacLean’s Block Pinot Noir. Behold our offering: Pug’s Leap Tomme Arancini with Maitake Mushroom Ragu and Mixed Herb Salad