Vintner's Press Report
We don’t make or eat a lot of red meat, but when we do, we want it to be special, like when we make this easy cast iron skillet-fried porterhouse with a simple Béarnaise sauce, which helps to brighten the whole dish. We pair the steak with homemade hand-cut French fries, which are perfect for dipping in Béarnaise, and we usually add a green bean side dish sautéed with shallots and garlic, and sometimes a bit of small green zucchini to add sweetness. (Sean worked as a short-order cook in college, and he used to hand-make three hundred pounds of potatoes per day. He still uses the same recipe he picked up during those years, calling for hand-cut potatoes fried twice.) The trick, if you can call it that, is getting everything off the stove top at the right moment, so we pre-prep all three dishes, and prepare the Béarnaise sauce first and set it aside in the fridge while we fry the steaks and potatoes and sauté the green beans. Bon apetit!
We love to pair our 2014 Crosby's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon with this steak dinner. The soft but concentrated wine compliments the porterhouse perfectly!
- A cast iron 12”-skillet
- A meat thermometer
- An immersion blender
- Something to deep fry potatoes with: we use a 3-quart sauce pan with a 6-quart fry basket, but a deep fryer would work just as well
Ingredients for the steaks:
- Two thick-cut porterhouse steaks, at least 2" thick
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
Ingredients for the French fries:
- Four large russet potatoes
- About 8 cups of vegetable oil
Ingredients for the Béarnaise Sauce:
- 2 tbsp dry white wine
- 2 tbsp Champagne vinegar
- 2 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves, minced
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
Ingredients for the green beans:
- 1 lb fresh green beans, ends trimmed
- 1 small green zucchini, ends trimmed
- 1 shallot, sliced thinly
- 1 bulb garlic, sliced thinly
- 1 tbsp. fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- Coarse sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Pre-prep & make the sauce:
- Season the steaks liberally with salt, set aside.
- Prep the French fries:
- Skin the potatoes
- Cut the potatoes into 1cm-thick slices, then into 1cm-cube sticks
- Wash the cut potatoes in cold water, making sure to rinse off as much starch as possible, then pat dry with a clean dish towel or paper towels
- Set the potatoes to the side
- Bring your cooking oil to 350 degrees in your fry pan
- Working in batches, fry the potatoes for 5 minutes, just until they start to take on a bubbly appearance and brown only lightly at the edges, then remove them from oil and set aside.
Prepare the sauce:
- Combine the dry white wine, Champagne vinegar, and 1 tbsp fresh minced tarragon leaves in a small saucepan.
- On medium heat, reduce the vinegar mixture for two minutes, or until the shallots are translucent, then set aside to cool.
- Melt the butter
- Meanwhile, place the 2 large egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk in the vinegar tarragon and blend briefly with the handheld immersion blender on high
- Next, add the remaining 1 tbsp. tarragon and slowly add the melted butter to the egg mixture with the immersion blender on high. (It may take a couple minutes to blend fully; make sure to incorporate all the solids.)
- Let the sauce chill in the refrigerator as you prepare the rest of the meal.
Prep the green beans:
- Thinly slice the shallot and garlic, then set aside
- Bring 1 quart of water to a boil, and blanch the green beans for three minutes.
- Remove the beans from the boiling water and run under cold water. Then set aside.
- Meanwhile, slice the zucchini on a bias roughly ¼ inch thick, set aside.
Now that you have everything prepped, it’s time to put it all together! Sauté the steaks at the same time as you re-fry the potatoes and sauté the green beans.
- Bring the oil for the fries back up to 350F and pre-heat the oven to 450F.
- Working in batches, re-fry the potatoes until they are golden brown.
- When done, transfer to a rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
- As each batch of potatoes is finished, transfer them to paper towels, sprinkle with sea salt, then incorporate into them into the previously cooked batches.
- As your potatoes are cooking, bring your cast iron skillet up to high heat with 2 tbsp of vegetable oil. When the oil starts to smoke, sauté the steaks 4 minutes per side, then transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and put in the oven at 450F for 2 minutes. Check the internal temperature of the steaks every two minutes until it reaches 125F. Then remove the steaks from the oven and let them rest for 5 minutes.
- As the steaks are cooking, bring a medium sauté pan up to medium-high heat. Add olive oil. After a minute, add shallots, garlic, zucchini, and green beans. Sauté, turning consistently, until the shallots and garlic have browned and the zucchini has softened and lightly browned. Cook the green beans to taste … we prefer them still a little crunchy. When they are done according to your preference, remove immediately from the heat, and top with coarse sea salt and a cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.
We’ve fallen in love with this recipe we picked up a from a fellow winemaker. It’s a wonderful appetizer to cheer up a Saturday night dinner at home; it’s not hard to make, and it makes you look legit!
Seared Sea Scallops in a bed of Sautéed Leeks and Cauliflower Puree
Cauliflower puree (separate recipe below)
4 leeks, thinly sliced (3-4mm)
9-12 medium sea scallops, patted dry, season with salt
1 oz. domestic farm raised sturgeon caviar
sea salt and pepper to taste
olive oil and butter for sautee
Prepare the cauliflower puree from instructions. Plate in shallow bowl in wide circle.
Thinly slice the leeks and sauté in butter and oil till just crunchy; remove to top cauliflower puree.
Add more butter to pan and sear scallops 1-2 minutes per side. Place 3-4 scallops per plate on top of leeks.
One teaspoon caviar in the middle of the scallops
1 head cauliflower, stem and tough stalks trimmed, florets roughly chopped
1 cup chicken stock (or water)
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
2-3 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine cauliflower and chicken stock in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until cauliflower is very tender, about 5 minutes. There should only be a very small amount of liquid remaining.
Add the butter, and, using a manual food processor (you can find one here), process until smooth, adding the heavy cream slowly as you go. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.
As Thanksgiving is approaching, we find ourselves in a contemplative and particularly grateful kind of mood, so while we usually illustrate news and goings on around our valley in the world of wine, like our recent posts on harvest and the wine country fires, this month we thought we would step out of that mold and discuss some other topics. We were inspired in this endeavor by a particularly fun blog post from Sam Sifton at the New York Times.
Naturally Thanksgiving affords us a time to reflect, and to count our blessings. As the holiday falls right around the birth of our daughters, we are naturally thankful for them, for the myriad ways they’ve changed our lives for the better, for the ineffable joy they give us. We are also in eternal gratitude for the bounty of new experiences we share together and for the journey our life is taking together. It’s hard work, all of it, but these moments together to stop, reflect, share a meal and a good bottle of wine, make it all worth it, no matter where we are.
As Audrey would put it, “I realize that only two months ago my home, Sonoma, was in flames. I also realize how lucky I am to have such amazing family to go to when this happened, and to be with, and snuggle with every day of those fires. I am so grateful to be able to spend that time with them, and also be able to go back to an unharmed home.”
We are also posting our Thanksgiving recipes for this year – not the traditional roast turkey with dressings, but, seeing as how we are going to be overseas for the holiday and want to tone down the kitchen time – something a little bit more relaxed and easier to cook. You can find the recipe for our Turkey Pot Pie, below.
And seeing as how each of us is going to be lazing on the beach this Thanksgiving weekend, we want to share our beach reading for the weekend. Audrey and Scarlett are newly obsessed with the Rick Riordan series … it’s something about a boy who finds out he’s the demigod offspring of Poseidon – here is the link to Amazon to find The Lightning Thief. Juliana is suggesting a trio of books, including Anything is Possible, by Elizabeth Strout, and Sean, as usual, is bumbling through Plato’s Complete Works, although no one, including him, can figure out why.
Finally, we wanted to share our harvest mix tape with you … it’s a bit of mishmash this year, including some new and some old from all our recent favorites. You can email us to request a free copy of the CD, if you’re a trilobite like Sean, or download the Spotify tracklist here.
Wishing you and your families the best this Thanksgiving season!
With love from Napa Valley,
Audrey & Scarlett & Juliana & Sean
Turkey Pot Pie
Adapted from our kitchen staple (the book that sits out on the kitchen counter more than any other) Bride & Groom, First and Forever Cookbook, by Mary Corpening Barber and Sara Corpening Whiteford.
- Some olive oil, a tablespoon of unsalted butter
- A yellow onion, chopped kind of finely
- Some garlic, chopped
- A carrot, chopped into half inch squares
- Some fresh thyme, or dried thyme
- Some salt and pepper
- A little white wine (optional, or not)
- A dash of flour (also optional)
- 1 jar Alfredo sauce, like Classico
- About three cups a purchased roast chicken, shredded
- A package of frozen peas
- Frozen pie crust, defrosted
- An egg yolk, beaten
Saute the onion, garlic, and carrot in olive oil and butter. Season with salt and a dash of pepper, add the thyme. Add the white wine and scoop up the brown bits on the pan. Add the flour, and blend. Set aside and let this cool briefly. This whole process takes about 10 minutes.
Add the Alfredo sauce to the mixture, and mix in the shredded chicken and frozen peas. Blend this all together, and crack a bit of pepper into it. Scoop the mixture into four 1½-cup ramekins (French onion bowls also work well, if you have those but no ramekins).
Roll out the pie crust and put a ramekin on it. Cut a wide circle around the ramekin – this is the size of the pie crust topping that you need for each bowl, so repeat four times. Cover the ramekins with the pie crust and pinch down the edges.
At this point, you’re pretty much all set, but here’s the really fun part, especially for kids – take the remaining pie crust and cut out the first initial of your guests’s names. This initial should be gently placed on top of each ramekin. Use a pastry brush to coat the pie crust with beaten egg yolk and glue the initials down.
Place the pot pies on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes; they should be golden brown, if not, keep baking!
How did it get to be the middle of June already? Although the days are heating up, and the kids are out of school, it never truly feels like summer until we hit the 4th of July. Which, unbelievably, is just around the corner. And nothing says “summer and 4th of July” like a cool, deliciously refreshing bottle of Rosé pulled directly from the ice chest.
Every year we make just one barrel of this quintessentially “Summer BBQ” wine. Our Rosé is a Saignée of our Oak Knoll District Merlot. Therefore the color is a little darker…more patriotic perhaps. The flavors, while still floral, hit you with a pleasing stone fruit note on the mid palette, and the finish is dry, never sweet, and always crisp.
We only have two cases left of our 2015 Napa Valley Rosé left at the winery. We’d suggest ordering before June 21st to ensure delivery for your July 4th celebrations.
And because we believe firmly in the marriage of food and wine, we thought we’d share two of our favorite and super easy summer recipes below. Our daughter Audrey actually created the first recipe (by herself!). The second could not pair better with both the Rosé and the salad. We like to add fresh grilled corn to the mix below and voilà! Instant happiness.
Happy summer and happy birthday America!
Juliana & Sean
Audrey’s Watermelon Salad:
+ 1 small watermelon, halved and scooped out
+ 2 crisp apples
+ 1 fresh lemon
+ fresh dill
This can all be done by your children: Cube the watermelon that has been carefully scooped out of the watermelon rind. Set in a glass mixing bowl. Peel and cube the two apples (we like Fuji’s) and add to the mixing bowl. Squeeze the juice of half to one whole lemon on top of the fruit. Add a healthy amount of chopped fresh dill (about 1 and a half tablespoons) to the bowl and toss. Empty the tossed salad back into the watermelon “bowl” and serve.
Sean’s Grilled Chicken:
+ 3 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs seasoned with our homemade BBQ rub:
+ 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
+ 1 tablespoon brown sugar
+ 1 tablespoon Cayenne pepper
+ 1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian Paprika
Prepare the rub above in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Generously rub both sides of the chicken thighs with the prepared seasoning. Get the clean grill nice and hot and cook the chicken starting with the skin side down about 6-8 minutes, then flip and generously coat with your choice of BBQ sauce and continue to grill another 6-8 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F. We use Sweet Baby Ray’s Authentic Original BBQ sauce for dipping — “The Sauce Is the Boss!”
We had a pretty amazing Saturday night at the winery at our Spring Fever dinner. The food by chef Sarah Pinkin was outstanding, and really highlighted the best produce, meat, and fish of the season. Along with the fantastic food we served a wide variety of wines including a a 2010 Chardonnay from magnum — which may have been the wine of the night — the now out of stock 2013 Pinot Noir alongside the current release 2014, the library 2010 Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon in magnum (Juliana’s favorite Cab we’ve ever produced) and the 2011 Crosby’s Reserve. Sprinkled throughout were a few favorites from other producers who have influenced us over the years. These dinner events are a lot of fun, and we hope you’ll consider joining us at one in the future. If you’re interested in purchasing any of the library wines, please email Juliana for availability and pricing. Thank you so much for everyone who joined us!
We’ve been fortunate to have had a few good press hits in the past couple of months, and we’ve got a few more things cooking for the future. Up next are those March member wine shipments! And look out for our Mother’s Day announcement in the next couple of weeks.
Juliana & Sean