Baccarossa Wine and Food Blog
Revisiting My Grandma’s Swedish Meatballs
It was cold here in California the other day…well, cold for here anyway. The rain has been coming down in sheets, as I am sure many of you have heard about in the news these days. Back home, in Duluth, Minnesota, my parents called to make sure we hadn’t washed away out here on the coast. The call reminded me of some recipes that I want to share here. My mom has always called them “Old Fashioned West Duluth Recipes”, and I have loved them all of my life.
My grandmother’s recipe for Swedish meatballs is exceptional. I remember watching her in her kitchen making them. Even more often, I remember standing in the kitchen watching my mother making them. The recipe has been passed down, as they are…measuring by sight, smell and sound…not necessarily actually measuring anything. Read more.
Beat the Heat with Three Summer Cocktails
It's full-fledge summer and our favorite holiday, the 4th of July, is here. We love gathering with friends on the patio, catching up and sharing cool drinks and food. Here are a three summer cocktails for wine lovers: Chilled Pinot Blush; Pinot Blush Citrus Spritzer; and Red, White and Blue Sangria.
Springtime often makes people think of flowers, sunshine, budding green leaves, rain showers and the anticipation of summer. In my house, there are a few additional things you can count on during the spring season. Baseball, an increase in homework load as the school year comes to the end, and a generally hectic schedule that doesn’t allow for much creative time in the kitchen. It is not uncommon for us to need to be at three different baseball fields at one time, going directly from school to our evening activities, returning home late and unfed, just in time to sit down and do homework before going to bed.
It is exactly times such as spring that I think of tasty, satisfying, simple homemade recipes. I may not have much time to spend in the kitchen during this season, but I insist on preparing food that will nourish these busy boys!
This recipe is a standby in our house. It is a favorite to us all, not only because of how it tastes, but how easy it is to prepare, and how flexible it allows us to be as a family. It takes such a short time to put together, and then all you need to do is let it simmer gently while you go about your business. If you don’t have a lot of time to let it simmer, that is OK. It will taste great anyway. (Read More)
Chocolate Covered Fleur De Sel Caramels, By Jen Sommerness
By far, my favorite chocolates in any Valentine’s Day box are the square ones…the caramels. Other than once a year in February, the only other time that I seem to have them is if I treat myself to one that I find during my travels. Something so fantastic that it makes me raid my Valentine’s Day box, before the rest of my family can find them, is certainly something that I wanted to try to recreate at home.
With a little looking, a little learning, and a little luck, I made some and LOVED them. The recipe that I used did not call for them to be covered in chocolate, but with a little research as to how to temper chocolate correctly, I decided I’d give it a whirl. If you want to leave them undipped, feel free to do so. They are wonderful either way. Read More.
Chicken Enchiladas Suizas
This recipe is one of my absolute favorites to have after coming home from the ski slopes, skating rinks or any other activity that you are doing that makes your family and friends come inside needing something warm and filling for their hungry, tired bodies. It is a true crowd pleaser and couldn’t be an easier meal, especially when you make part of it in advance.
I have adapted this recipe to how my family likes to eat it, with a bit of spice, leaner on the dairy products, and heavy on the veggies. The original recipe called for twice as much cheese, the use of heavy cream (and more of it), as well as a different blend of chiles and salsas. I love my version – it tastes fresh and allows for the different ingredients to stand out. Read More.
Cedar-Planked Salmon with Cherry-Coke BBQ Sauce, By Jen Sommerness
“Mom, you are not telling everyone about your secret BBQ sauce, are you??” Yep, that is what my son asked, as he was using my computer and noticed the recipe that I was getting ready to post. Trust me – if a picky eater such as him asks this question…you know you are in for a treat!
You could make this salmon with any of your favorite BBQ sauces, but take my word for it – this one is truly special made with this sauce. Once you make the sauce, you can use it on anything else that you would use BBQ sauce for, like smoked pulled pork sandwiches…which I used this batch of sauce for as well, but we ate it so fast I couldn’t take a picture of it!! YUM. Read more.
Warm Blue Cheese Dip, By Jen Sommerness
What goes better with wine than cheese, you ask? My answer every time would have to be warm cheese with bacon, garlic and scallions!
This recipe is a
super easy appetizer to make, and gets rave reviews every time I make it. You
can bake it and enjoy it immediately, or cover it with foil and bring it with
you to a friend’s house to share. After you have baked it, it can easily be
re-warmed in a microwave or warm oven, upon arrival at your destination. Read More.
Secret Chili Recipe – One of the Reasons My Hubby Married Me
By Jen Sommerness
You can feel fall is in the air, as kids go back to school, leaves begin to turn colors in many places in the U.S., and the air turns wonderfully crisp in the evenings…if not all day. Living in Minnesota, fall was my absolute favorite time of year. In large part due to time spent in the kitchen on weekends, making things that can simmer slowly all day while multitasking doing things like raking fallen leaves or preparing the yard for the snow that is surely going to come before long.
My husband and I got married in October, nearly 20 years ago now. We chose this time of year because of our love the fall colors, the cool breezes, the light that the fall Midwest sun brings, and the foods that are comforting that go hand and hand with the season.
One of the reasons he married me, he claims still to this day, is my secret chili recipe. I know that he said this at first in jest, but to be honest, as I have made this and tweaked it over the years I think that sentiment holds a definite grain of truth. Even now, my three boys love when I say I am making chili, partly due to how it tastes, and partly due to the excitement it brings as for each batch I divulge one of my secret ingredients. It engages them in the process, as they watch me put the secret ingredient of the day into the pot, and they try to sneak a peek at other secret ingredients too. By the time they go off on their way to college or beyond, my hope is that they will have watched with a close eye how to make the perfect batch themselves, and have an unbelievable recipe to share with their families one day.
I am going to share the ingredients with you, but not the measurements of everything. I do this purposely, so that you can develop your own flavors that you like, and I can keep part of the secret a mystery. ;) Read more.
Happy 4th of July!
The 4th of July is already here and this year it will be a 4-day weekend for most of us. Ready to join in, our newest addition to the crocheted animal kingdom is Roosevelt, pictured above. He’s ready to drink some of that delicious Petit Verdot.
Time to celebrate this great country with food, friends and
great wine. For the fourth, we like to keep it simple and do something on the
BBQ, and burgers are our favorite. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t keep it that
simple. Every year we collect
ideas for how to make the best, and sometimes the most outlandish, burger. Yes,
we’ve tried huge burgers, but they don’t really satisfy anything other than the
first initial shock of seeing a 5 pound burger; big by our home cook-out
standards, but you can easily find 150+ pound monsters on the web!
Dry Rubbed Glazed Ribs and Asparagus Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette: Bring on Memorial Day! By Jen Sommerness
Memorial Day is fast approaching, and if you are like me, it is the season opener for grilling! Nothing is better than al fresco dining, a casual evening spent outside with good company, good wine and a gentle breeze…all made better with a dish that is delicious and easy to prepare.
For me, that means ribs. This recipe is one that is tried and true. It is not a fussy one with mopping of a sauce, or putzy marinades, just a plain and simple dry rub that turns into a glaze as you cook them nice and slowly on the grill, or finish them in the oven.
I love the picture
taken for this post, as it was minutes before we actually dove into the meal. I
was tempted to take another picture shortly after this one, with the bowl of
rib bones picked clean, the empty baked potato skins that remained, and the not-so-white-anymore
napkins showing the sign of an awesome rib meal being had. It was a beautiful
thing! (Read more.)
A Mother’s Day Feast! Grilled Chimayo Chile-Rubbed Filet Mignon with Serrano Mayonnaise, Roasted Garlic Potato Pancakes and Warm Arugula and Tomato Salad
Mother’s Day is coming, and whether you are cooking for your own mother, or the mother of your children…guys…it is time to get grilling! Of course, we women can make this for our mothers as well, but when I was thinking of something special to post about in honor of Mother’s Day, I had forefront in my mind the territory that either gender would feel comfortable trying...the grill.
In my house, I have taken over much of the grilling, but that is mainly because I have come to understand that I am a bit of a control freak in the kitchen. My husband loves to grill, and is very accomplished in his own right. This recipe would be the perfect thing for my special day – and I hope he and my 3 boys give it a try on my behalf. I can see it now…sitting back, drinking a glass of red wine, and relaxing while I wait for it all to come together.
I am going to give you the recipes for all of the components of this meal. That way, you can choose how much you are able to tackle for your special dinner. Much of this can and should be prepared ahead, so even if you choose to do it all, you will also be able to enjoy the time relaxing before dinner together. It is simple and delicious.
The true star of this
dish is the Serrano mayonnaise paired with the Chimayo chile-rubbed filet
mignon. If you think it is ludicrous to top a perfectly grilled steak with
anything at all…this creamy sauce is going to make you reconsider. Chimayo
chile powder has a very mild and subtle flavor. When it is paired with the
slight kick from the Serrano and the tang of the citrus, it is absolutely
fantastic. (Read more)
Roasted Green Chile Soup and a Celebration of a Milestone!
Many of you may know that September is the official Prostate Cancer Awareness month. But for my family, five years ago today was the beginning of prostate cancer awareness. March, 2008 was when we found out that my husband, a 39 year old father of 3 young boys, had prostate cancer.
Today I want to celebrate the milestone of a healthy five years after, tell our story, and share a recipe with you that saw us through many of those days.
In the doctor’s
office, as we sat and listened to the information given to us by a leading
doctor in the country, we realized that surgery needed to happen quickly. To
prepare for surgery, the doctor explained that the goal for my husband was to “starve
himself thin”. Apparently the best results would be achieved from him losing as
much weight as possible in the short time we had before surgery. It was March.
We had until May. Read more.
This dish is one that is seemingly complex, but is really quite simple to make. Once you have preserved lemons in your refrigerator (and I hope you all do!), this can be made as a simple week-night meal in very little time, or used as a centerpiece for a special occasion.
A classic Moroccan dish, the tagine describes both the food itself as well as the vessel it is traditionally made in. If you have a tagine, or have ever wanted to buy one and try it out, this recipe is a perfect place to start. Otherwise, a Dutch oven works equally as well, and is better suited if you need to double the recipe.
Prepared in this way,
the sourness from the preserved lemons and brininess from the cracked olives
complement the chicken perfectly. The brightness that comes from the lemon peel
shines through and allows the complexity of the spice mixture to give the
chicken and the sauce a luxurious quality, perfectly suited for a simple buttered
couscous and side salad. Read more.
Just in Time for Valentine’s Day
Tarte Au Chocolat (French Chocolate Tart) By Jen Sommerness
When thinking of desserts, especially for Valentine’s Day, my thoughts instantly go to chocolate. I am convinced this recipe is one that you will fall in love with.
The day that I learned this recipe, I was at a cooking class in Paris all day, and my husband and I also had plans to go out for dinner and to the Opera to celebrate our anniversary – which was why we were in the “City of Love” to begin with. I remember the day, because it was pouring rain, I became disoriented and lost on my way back to the hotel from my class, and was running very late. Despite the fact that I needed to get ready for our special evening in a quick fashion, while my husband anxiously awaited for me to be ready, I had one saving grace – a single leftover slice of this tart for him to eat while he waited. Needless to say, it was so good that he appreciated every bite, and we made it to our reservation on time. Read more.
Moroccan Preserved Lemons By Jen Sommerness
Preserved lemons are something I have on hand at all times. They are one of those ingredients that I have come to expect be there when I open the doors of my refrigerator, ready and waiting to be added as the perfect little something to many dishes I love to make. When I find I have run out, it is bit unnerving, similar to finding you are out of vanilla in the middle of making chocolate chip cookies.
Although these days you can run out and get them the moment you need them from many specialty stores and some supermarkets, the homemade version is far superior, and so easy to make that you should just commit to making them yourself. The most difficult part to making them is being patient and waiting for them to be ready to use, as they need to cure. Like fine wine, I think you will agree after trying these that it is well worth the wait. Read more.
Molten Chocolate Oozy Cake, By Jen Sommerness
This recipe is one of my all-time
favorites when I am entertaining. It can be baked immediately, or made up to a
day ahead, kept in the fridge, and popped into the oven to bake right at the
moment when you need it. It is an absolute show stopper of a dessert. As
beautiful as it looks when plated, it is even more incredible when you cut into
it to release the molten chocolate and take the first bite. Read more.
This recipe is a fun and
extremely easy way to eat. It is interactive, the colors are gorgeous, and it
has the perfect balance of sweet, sour, spicy and salty flavors achieved through
the fresh condiments, meat and sauce mixtures. I love the freshness of the mint
playing off the creaminess of the coconut milk, and always seem to spoon
additional spicy chile garlic sauce onto my wraps than those
around me, as I love the heat that it brings to the dish. A fresh squeeze of
lime tops it off just perfectly, offering the perfect bite. Read more.
Laverne and Shirley made “Schameel Shlamazel” famous in their hit 70‘s TV show. In that same time period Peter Haywood was looking for the perfect place to plant a vineyard in Sonoma Valley. A mile south of downtown Sonoma he found it, and named it Los Chamizal, Spanish for hardwood thickets that covered the valley. He chose well, as the vineyard has flourished and is now one of the top vineyards in Sonoma Valley. The hillside altitude keeps the grapes warm in the sun and cool in the night air, producing limited quantities of intensely flavored fruit.
We are thrilled that our first Baccarossa Cabernet comes from grapes grown at Los Chimizal vineyard. This 2009 vintage has spent three years aging in French and American oak, concentrating the wine and layering a soft oak flavor onto the delicious dark fruit and long tannin finish. This Cabernet is a wine to savor.
I loved Laverne and Shirley, but for us, it’s definitely Schameel Chamizal!
Our recommendation of the week: “Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes Day.”
We love getting together with friends, sharing food, conversation, and of course good red wine. Last week three families had a pizza night, not in a pizza place, but in our friends’ home. Our Culinary Expert Jen was whipping out gourmet pizzas that you would never find at pizza parlors. (Read more)