Coconut Rice Pudding (in the slow cooker)

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.

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IMG-20150125-01449I 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.

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).

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Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore (For Kara and Tiffany)

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.

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Mulled Wine Season is HERE!

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:

(Make with 2012 Sangiovese)

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!

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It’s that time again – Krazy Kase Sale Time of Year.  We know that the holidays are the perfect time for gifting and drinking wine. And we are offering discounts up to 50% on some of our most popular vintages.  From now through 12/31/14 (or while supplies last) the following KRAZY LOW PRICES are offered on these wines!  Yes, we are delighted to mix-and-match a case for you.  Case consists of 12 bottles.

2013 Cosa Dolce Riesling –
$150 per case for non wine club members
$120 per case for Club  Vino Members

2013 Pinot Grigio –
$180 per case for non wine club members
$150 per case for Club Vino Members

2011 Cabernet Franc – (6 cases left)
$199 per case for non wine club members
$175 per case for Club Vino Members

2012 Sangiovese – (our mulling wine this season)
$230 per case for non wine club members
$192 per case for Club  Vino Members


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Spiced Apple Sangria (perfect for Halloween)

The perfect warm fall beverage!

The perfect warm fall beverage!

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.


1 bottle Cosa Dolce Riesling
1 t. Masala Chai from the Secret Garden Organic Tea Bar ( )
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!!!

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Easy Creamy Risotto with No Stirring!!

Most of you know that risotto is Mrs. Vino’s favorite 30 minute comfort food.  It’s such a great backdrop for . . . any flavors.  Chopped up rotisserie chicken, sauteed mushrooms, avocado and tomato salad . . . you can put just about anything on top of a risotto and it’s delicious.  Risotto has a reputation as being a bit hard to make.  I don’t believe this is necessarily true – but it does require a bit of focused attention at the stove (pretty much constant stirring).  Sometimes Mrs. Vino is totally into the Zen of stirring a risotto.  Then again, sometimes she’s not.  That’s why I was so excited when I opened up my most recent issue of my fave Cooking Light magazine and saw this tip for no-stir risotto.

I’ve tried some other recipes for no-stir risotto (usually baked).  And they are OK, but just don’t have the creamy, chewy richness of a more traditional risotto.  And I actually did not believe that the technique in this link would be any better.  But the technique looked so easy that I just HAD to try it.

I cannot believe that the super simple step of rinsing the rice in the chicken (or other) stock that you use to make the risotto would make a difference.  I was completely blown away that this made the best, easiest risotto I’ve ever had.

If you love risotto – or if you’ve been afraid to make risotto because it seems hard – please give this a try.  You will be so glad you did.

Easy Creamy Risotto from Cooking Light

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Mahhhhhhvelous Morels!

Earthy, creamy, yummy!

Earthy, creamy, yummy!

Mrs. Vino recently had an interesting life experience that reminded her to count her blessings every day.  A few days ago, I had more blessings to count than usual because a member of our vino family came to pick up a wine shipment and gifted me with a beautiful bag of dried Morel mushrooms.  Coincidentally it was the same day that I received my favorite cooking magazine – Cooking Light – which had a great feature on . . . Morel Mushrooms.  So with HUGE thanks to our Club Member Maria L., here is my tweak on Cooking Light’s Spring Pasta with Morels.

1 T butter
1 t. olive oil
1/2 medium onion finely minced
1 T chopped fresh thyme
1 t Herbs d’Provence
1/2 t. Kosher Salt
2.5 ounces dried Morel mushrooms (1 package of dried Morels)
1 C. chicken stock
1/2 lb of Asparagus
1/4 c. half-and-half
grated rind of 1 lemon
3 ounces low fat cream cheese (softened)
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
Shaved Parmesan or Asiago to garnish
Your favorite dried pasta

PREP: Put the chicken stock into a 2 cup pyrex measuring cup or large coffee cup and microwave for 1 minute to warm.  Immerse the dried mushrooms in the chicken stock and let rehydrate for 15 minutes.  With a vegetable peeler or mandoline (watch your fingers!!!), shave the asparagus into long thin strips. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

COOK:  Scoop the mushrooms out of the stock with a slotted spoon.  Give them a rough chop.  Save the stock.  Melt butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, Herbs d’Provence, salt and mushrooms.  Saute for 4ish minutes.  Add the reserved stock – pour it out slowly, there will be some grit from the dried mushrooms in the bottom of the cup and you do NOT want gritty pasta sauce.  Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer until liquid is reduced by half (about 2 minutes).  Pull off the heat.

Add the dried pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook per package directions.  When there are 2 minutes left in the cooking time of the pasta, add the shaved asparagus to the boiling water.  While that is finishing –

Add the half-and-half to the mushroom mixture, then return the mixture to medium heat.  Add the cream cheese, lemon zest, pepper and thyme, stirring until the cream cheese melts and the sauce thickens (about 2 minutes).  Drain the pasta/asparagus and toss it with the mushroom/cream mixture.  Put on pretty plates.  Top with the shaved parmesan.  We had this with Morovino’s new Merlot and it was just amazing.  Mr. Vino made happy food noises.

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Bleu Cheese Biscuit Donuts

OK, I’m moving this amazing recipe to the blog page so it’s searchable and easier to find, because we’ve had SOOOOOOOO MANY people asking for it.  Enjoy!


1 package large/grand refrigerated biscuits (you know, the Pop-the-tube-against-your-counter kind)
4 ounces bleu cheese crumbles
honey for drizzling
a dab of butter

Cut refrigerator biscuits in quarters

Cut refrigerator biscuits in quarters

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Pop the biscuit roll against your counter (I just LOVE doing that).  Then cut each biscuit into quarters.


Nestle the biscuits together haphazardly

Nestle the biscuits together haphazardly

Lightly butter a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Place the quartered biscuits around the bottom of the 9 x 13 dish nestling them pretty snuggly together (do NOT reassemble the biscuits they should be in a sort of haphazard pattern).

Scatter the cheese crumbles across the top.  Make sure the bleu cheese crumbles get into any gap between biscuit pieces.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits are browned.bake per instructions
Take the pan out of the oven, let cool a few minutes then drizzle the top of the whole shebang with honey.  This is a great appetizer (my friend Alexandra calls them Bleu Cheese Biscuit Donuts).  Or a yummy side dish to a main course salad (like poached pears, bacon and arugula).  These Bleu Cheese Biscuits are highly addictive, so it’s a good thing they are easy to make.

Not only is this a great recipe, it’s an awesome technique!  Don’t have Bleu Cheese and honey?  No problem.  Put the biscuits in the baking dish, then brush the top with your favorite jarred pesto and sprinkle parmesan on top.  OR brush the top of the biscuits with a nice, fruity olive oil, then sprinkle Feta cheese and Kalamata olives on top.  You are limited ONLY by your imagination (try sprinkling grated cheddar, bacon bits and green onions on top – mmmmmmmmmmmmmm).

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Avocado Salad Dressing/Dip

New Year, New Diet.  I found the recipe for this creamy Avocado salad dressing on Facebook, and, with a few tweaks, it has become my favorite! It also makes a great “guacamole” style dip for veggies.  How Easy is This??:


1 baseball sized Avocado
2 T Golden Balsamic (or lemon juice)
1/2 C. Low Fat Greek Yogurt
1/2 t. Chili Garlic Paste (or other hot sauce)
1/4 C olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 t. salt

Put all ingredients in blender.  Whirl.  Put on salad!

(Mrs. Vino’s Note:  I tried using less salt, but the result just wasn’t as good so I suggest using the full amount.  And, depending on the size of your Avocado, this dressing can get pretty thick.  Try thinning it down with a little extra balsamic or water if you need to – it’s still delicious).

Have a favorite recipe?? I’d love to share it.

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