While Mrs. Vino loves to cook, she is not a baker! You see baking has rules, my dears, and I quite simply don’t like that. So it’s important to have a flashy, go-to party dessert that doesn’t necessarily involve baking! And here you go.
EASIEST PARTY DESSERT IN THE WORLD
4 Martini Glasses
4 Brownie Bites (from Costco – cuz they fit in a martini glass perfectly and they are a bit stale so they absorb all the Tesoro-y, ice cream-y goodness)
4 Quenelles (small scoops) Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
8 T. Tesoro
Start with a martini glass – because everything is prettier in a martini glass. Put a brownie bite (I get mine from Costco) in the bottom of each martini glass. Put a scoop of Vanilla Bean ice cream on top of the brownie bite. Drizzle 2T of Tesoro (more, less, whatever you want) over the ice cream. The dessert wine will melt over the top of the ice cream, down through the brownie bite and end up pooled in the bottom of the martini glass like a crumbly, creamy shot. Top it with whipped cream, if you dare.
Sometimes it’s hard for people to envision pairing a sweet wine with a savory dish! But this beautiful recipe has it ALL goin’ on – Sweet, tart, salty, spicy, and umami – it tickles all your taste buds. And the spicy black pepper is the perfect foil for the lightly sweet riesling. You are going to love it!
MAPLE ROASTED CHICKEN THIGHS
Serve with Cosa Dolce Riesling
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 T olive oil
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 t. kosher salt
1 t. ground black pepper
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/3 c. real maple syrup (Use the closest thing to real maple syrup you can find – NOT Aunt Jemima Lite)
zest of 1 lemon
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large ovenproof baking dish, combine the sweet potatoes and the olive oil. Toss well to coat. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, salt and black pepper. sprinkle half of this mixture over the sweet potatoes and toss or stir to coat. Arrange the sweet potatoes in an even layer in the bottom of the baking dish.
Rub the remaining sugar mixture over the chicken thighs with your hands (sure it’s a little messy – but so much fun). Arrange the chicken in a single layer over the sweet potatoes. (I don’t need to tell you to wash your hands thoroughly at this point, do I?) Drizzle the maple syrup over the thighs. Cover the baking dish with foil and roast for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and roast for another 15 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165 degrees at the thickest part of the thighs. Serve the chicken on top of the sweet potatoes – just before serving, sprinkle the lemon zest over the chicken. It’s great served with biscuits to sop up all the yummy maple juices.
Yes, Mrs. Vino knows that braising takes a looooooonnnnngggggg time. But most of this is completely hands off. No really. Don’t lift the lid and peek. Keep your hands off! This recipe actually only has about 10 minutes of active cooking – and the way your house will smell is totally worth it.
BRAISED BEEF SHANKS
Serve with 2012 Dolcetto (also good with the Merlot)
2 1/2 lbs of beef short ribs or cross-cut beef shanks
1/4 c. flour
1 t. salt (plus more to taste at very end of dish)
1 t. granulated garlic (garlic powder – if using garlic salt, omit the salt referenced above)
1/2 t. black pepper
1 T canola oil
a 1-gallon zip lock bag
1 small onion sliced thinly
1 Bay leaf
1/2 C beef broth
1/2 C red wine
Mrs. Vino loves a good braise! This long, slow cooking method doesn’t have to be hard. Put the flour, garlic, salt and pepper into the gallon zip lock bag. Heat a sauteuse pan over medium high heat (that’s a round pan with a thick bottom, a cover and 3-4″ tall sides) and then add the Canola Oil and heat til it shimmers. While the oil is heating, put the shanks/short ribs in the zip lock bag, seal and toss with flour mixture to coat (it’s best if you do the meat one piece at a time). Remove the meat, shake off excess flour and place in the hot oil. Brown all sides of the meat (The secret to good browning is not to move the meat – let is sit on each side for at least 3-4 minutes – no peeking. You can smell it if it starts to burn and it will release from the pan as it starts to brown. If it sticks or you feel like you have to force it, it’s not browned yet.)
When the meat is completely browned, add the broth, Bay leaf, wine and sliced onion to the pan. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and let braise for 2 1/2 hours. Check the pan after a few minutes, you are looking for a simmer – not a boil). Once it is simmering, leave it alone. No peeking needed. After 2 1/2 hours, remove the lid, carefully take the meat out of the pan (it will be fall apart tender) and keep it warm, then adjust the sauce/gravy as needed. Depending on how lean your meat is, you might need to add extra wine or you might need to turn the heat up to a boil to thicken/reduce. When the sauce is to the consistency you like, remove the Bay leaf and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve the meat with roasted or mashed potato (polenta is also yummy) and cover everything with the sauce. Comfort food at its easiest/most affordable.
This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite vegan blogs (Oh She Glows) – which you should definitely check out. The sauce is also amazing on zucchini noodles for a refreshing summer salad!
CREAMY AVOCADO & SHRIMP PASTA
Serve with Morovino 2012 Sangiovese (but any of our Barberas are also awesome with this)
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
1 tablespoon citrus olive oil (I like Robbins Family Farm Mandarin Olive Oil, but lemon or other orange olive oil works just as well. Don’t have citrus olive oil – no problem it’s delicious with plain extra virgin olive oil, too)
1 ripe medium avocado, pitted
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt (1/4 t if you use 1T of lemon juice, 1/2 t if you use 2T of lemon juice – the salt balances out the acidity)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 lb bay shrimp (the tiny salad shrimp)
1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
Zest from the lemon
1/2 lb of your favorite pasta (I like fettucine with this)
While your pasta – whatever kind you like – cooks, make the sauce. Cuz Avocados turn brown pretty quickly – this sauce is not a make ahead. OK, Kids, this is pretty simple. Place everything through black pepper into your food processor or blender. Actually, I use my “knock-off” magic bullet for this, cuz it works perfectly! If the sauce feels a bit thick, add 1 or 2 T of the pasta water to the blender.
When your past is cooked, drain it and place it back in the pot. Add the avocado sauce and toss until combined. Put it on a big plate (or individual plates). Top with lemon zest, shrimp and feta. Yummmmmmm.
Oh my dears, this recipe is perfect with Morovino’s 2012 Pinot Noir. This is our new, go-to, honey-I-really don’t-feel-like-cooking-let’s-do-something-easy recipe!
TEA-POACHED SALMON FILET
Serve with 2012 Pinot Noir
2 C. water
4 Oolong tea bags (Smoky Lapsang Souchong tea is also awesome)
1 lime, zested then halved
1 t. toasted sesame oil
2″ fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into “coins”
4 garlic cloves, slivered
1/2 c. dry white wine, divided use (I use Beach Blonde)
3 T soy sauce, divided use
1 T honey
2, 1/2-lb salmon filets (or steaks)
Salt & Pepper
1/8 t. Sriracha (literally 2 tiny drops)
Super easy, super delicious and pretty healthy, Mrs. Vino loves poached salmon because it is basically impossible to over cook. First, let’s make the poaching liquid!
In a sautese (That’s a saute pan with high straight sides – you must invest in one, my dears! Mrs. Vino uses it for everything.), combine the water, tea bags, 2 T soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, 1/4 c. wine and the juice of 1/2 of the lime (not the zest). Simmer liquid over medium low heat for 5 minutes. While the poaching liquid is simmering, salt and pepper the salmon filets/steaks. Remove the tea bags from the poaching liquid and discard. Remove 1/2 c. of poaching liquid (liquid only, no bits) and set aside for a minute. Slide the salmon into the remaining poaching liquid and cover. Simmer for 7 minutes.
Put the poaching liquid in a very small saucepan over high heat with the second 1/4 c wine and 1 T of soy sauce and reduce down by half (this will become the sauce for the salmon). When the sauce is reduced, add the honey, Sriracha and the juice and zest of the lime and whisk together. Put the salmon on a plate and drizzle with a tiny bit of the sauce. Serve with salad and rice or a nice crusty French bread. YUMMMMMM. Really, one of Mr. Vino’s new faves.
For our friends who read Delicious Living magazine – I moved this post up to the top to make it easier for you to find. Hope you enjoy this Morovino Family Favorite!
I LOVE this great recipe for slow cooker rice pudding! The only trick to this is at the 4 hour mark you do have to keep an eye on it – it comes together very quickly at the end. Enjoy!
Coconut Rice Pudding
Serve with your favorite light dessert wine like Cosa Dolce, a sweet Riesling or a late harvest . . . something or other.
3 C water
1 C dry Arborio (Risotto) rice
1 15-ounce can of cream of coconut (like you use for Pina Coladas, not coconut milk – I find it in the liquor aisle in my store)
1 12 ounce can evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed milk)
¼ C raisins (cuz it’s not rice pudding without raisins)
2/3 c. sweetened flaked coconut (optional)
Slow cooker. 2. Comfort food. 3. Super Easy! In a 4.5 to 6 quart slow cooker, combine the water, rice, cream of coconut and evaporated milk and stir to blend. Cover slow cooker and cook for 4.5 hours on low. Add raisins in last ½ hour. Start checking this at about 3.5 to 4 hours – slow cookers do vary. When the mixture in the slow cooker reaches a rice-puddingy (puddingie?) consistency, remove bowl from slow cooker. While pudding stands (10 minutes) toast coconut flakes – either in a small nonstick skillet or on a rimmed baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. To serve, transfer pudding to individual serving bowls and top with toasted coconut. Extra credit points: top each bowl of rice pudding with a spoonful of crushed pineapple before topping with coconut. Mmmmm.
I started making this for the tasting room around Halloween (when it was 85 degrees out) and it was a huge hit. So I’m bringing it back to the tasting room for Superbowl – cuz who doesn’t love a good sangria. It’s super easy to make your own – just 4 ingredients and a pitcher – we even put Cosa Dolce on sale to make it easier/cheaper for you.
MOROVINO SUPERBOWL SANGRIA
1 bottle of Cosa Dolce Riesling (or other semi sweet wine)
1 medium apple (peeled, cored and sliced into thick slices)
1 cinnamon stick (no cinnamon sticks? Use 1/4 t. powdered cinnamon)
1 Chai tea bag (I use the Chai from Avila’s Secret Garden Organic Tea bar – feel free to use your favorite)
Dump the bottle of wine in a pitcher big enough to hold it. Add the slices of apple. Add the cinnamon and the tea bag. Put everything in the fridge overnight and let it infuse. Take the tea bag out. You can leave the cinnamon and apple slices in – cuz the apple slices are delicious and the cinnamon is pretty.
Pour into wine glasses and enjoy!
* Best to make 2 bottles cuz this goes pretty quickly. Cosa Dolce is currently 2 bottles for $35 (through Superbowl Weekend).
For Kara and Tiffany – super easy and delicious. Tiffany, if you want to use boneless thighs, reduce cooking time to 4 hours! Enjoy ladies!
1 ½ lb skinless chicken thighs
1 large onion, chopped
2 t. salt
1 t. freshly cracked ground pepper or more, to taste
1 large red bell pepper (green or yellow work great too, get what’s on sale)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 C. Morovino ’09 Barbera
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
¼ C. diced sundried tomatoes (packed in oil, or water, or dried—it’s all good!)
3 T capers, drained (but only if you like capers—use sliced black olives if you don’t)
1 ½ t. dried oregano
¼ C. fresh basil leaves, chopped or chiffonade (sliced real thin)
1 lemon, very, very, very thinly sliced
Combine everything except the basil and the capers in your slow cooker. If you are always pressed for time in the morning, like Mrs. Vino (who likes to sleep in), you can combine everthing except the chicken, Barbera and tomatoes in the slow cooker the night before. Just put the insert (covered) in the fridge. Add the chicken, Barbera and tomatoes as you fly out the door on the way to work! Once everything is in the slow cooker, turn it on low and let it cook 6-8 hours, depending on how long your work day is! When you get home, dish up the chicken cacciatore and top with a few capers and a bit of chopped basil leaves. Serve this with a the rest of the 09 Barbera and a crusty loaf of French bread. Or, serve over Mrs. Vino’s baked Polenta (check the “sides” category). Divine.
Wait! What’s that wonderful aroma in the tasting room??? It’s November so it’s Mulled Wine Season. This year I think the Mulled Wine is the best ever (OK, I’m pretty sure I say that every year – but this year I mean it). For those of you who misplaced your recipe for Mrs. Vino’s Holiday Mulled Wine in all the holiday craziness – here you go:
1 bottle of 2012 Sangiovese by Morovino*
1/2 bottle of tap water (use the Sangiovese bottle)
1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 package Morovino mulling spices
1/4 c. dried fruit (used dried cherries, plums, raisins, apricots or blueberries for best results)
OK, last year Mrs. Vino took a LOT of guff because the recipe she was handing out in the tasting room was not exactly the same recipe she used to make wine for the tasting room – it was the easier version of the recipe that she uses when she makes Mulled Wine at home. SO, this year, here are 3 different ways to make your mulled wine – based on time and inclination.
To make mulled wine EXACTLY like the tasting room version: 1) Put the wine, water, sugar, dried fruit and spice package (take tag off, leave cork on and spices in bag) all in a saucepan. 2) Simmer over low heat (do not boil – it will volatilize the alcohol) for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Mrs. Vino usually makes her mulled wine for the tasting room the night before she serves it – that’s the difference. So for this version, when the wine has finished simmering, 3) take the pot off the stove and cover it. Let it cool down a bit. Then put it in the refrigerator overnight (leave the spice bag and dried fruit in it). When you are ready to serve it, put it back on the stove top on low heat and bring it back up to a simmer. Discard the spice bag and ladle into glasses as desired. NOTE: Mrs. Vino usually uses a combination of raisins and dried apricots for the tasting room mulled wine.
To make Mulled Wine like Mrs. Vino makes it at home, follow steps 1 and 2 – and serve immediately. Still delicious, but leaving the bag and fruit in the wine overnight does concentrate the flavors a bit.
To make Mulled Wine in your Crock Pot, put the wine, water, sugar, spices and dried fruit in your slow cooker and simmer covered for 1 hour on high and then uncovered for at least an additional 30 minutes on low. Keep the slow cooker on low and serve directly from the slow cooker.
Serve it with cookies, holiday carols, and friends – it’s a perfect pairing!
**If you don’t use Morovino Sangiovese, use a light, fruity red wine like Merlot, Grenache or Barbera. For wines other than our Sangiovese, start with 1/4 cup of sugar. Then taste and add more if necessary. Too much sugar is when Mulled Wine goes horribly, horribly wrong!
Mrs. Vino would love to be able to serve something a little special for Halloween – like mulled wine. But, unfortunately, it’s usually way to warm on the Central Coast on October 31 to make that feasible. But now, we have the perfect concoction for your Halloween holiday – or ANY TIME! And it’s so so simple.
SPICED APPLE SANGRIA
1 bottle Cosa Dolce Riesling
1 t. Masala Chai from the Secret Garden Organic Tea Bar ( https://www.facebook.com/sgteabar )
1 cinnamon stick
1 large apple, cored and peeled, then sliced
Start with a pitcher big enough to hold at least 1 quart. If you have a small muslin tea bag, put the tea and the cinnamon stick in the bag. If you don’t have one, dump the tea and the cinnamon stick in the pitcher. Add the apple slices to the pitcher. Add the wine to the pitcher. Put in the fridge and let all the goodness infuse overnight. If you had a muslin bag, remove it and discard. If you didn’t then you need to pour the mixture through a fine strainer into another container. Serve well chilled. So perfect with pumpkin spice cookies!!!