Sunchoke-Kale Hash with Farro
Adapted from www.foodandwine.com
This earthy winter hash highlights sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes. They become crispy and caramelized.

  • 3/4 cup farro
  • 2 1/2 lb. sunchokes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • Salt
  • 1 lb. lacinato kale, washed and stems removed
  • 6 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1 red onion, small, sliced
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1/2 lb. oyster mushrooms, cleaned, and halved if large
  • Pepper

Directions: Place the farro in a medium saucepan and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and lower the heat to low. Cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and set aside. While the farro is cooking, place the sunchokes in a large pot and cover with water. Add a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices. Set aside. Cook the kale in a pot of boiling water until barley tender, about 3 minutes. Drain, and then squeeze dry with tongs. Chop coarsely. In a large skillet over low heat, heat 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the red onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until browned, 10-12 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside. Place 2 more Tbs. of oil in the skillet with the butter. Melt over high heat, then add the sunchokes in an even layer. Cook until browned on the bottom, 3 minutes. Flip the sunchokes over and cook another 2 minutes, until they’re starting to brown. Move them to the side of the skillet and add the oyster mushrooms and 1 Tbs. of the oil. Cook until browned, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the last Tbs. of oil, and fold in the farro, kale, and onion to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve. 8 servings.

Star Recommends: Trapiche Broquel Cabernet Sauvignon
Rich, perfumed, with a good balance between depth and power. Aromas of cassis and raspberry jam. Elegant touch of smoke, roasted pepper and chocolate. Soft, complex and very long aftertaste.


Beet Gratin with Gruyere and Thyme
Adapted from TasteFoodblog.com
This beautiful dish will have everyone asking for seconds.

  • Unsalted butter
  • 6 medium beets, peeled and sliced as thinly as possible
  • olive oil
  • 6 oz. Gruyere cheese, finely grated
  • 3 Tbs. fresh thyme
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter a casserole dish. Arrange a layer of beets in the casserole. Brush lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle with a bit of cheese, a little thyme, and a pinch of nutmeg, then salt and pepper. Continue to layer the rest of the ingredients, pressing down lightly as you go. Bake until gratin is bubbling, the beets are tender and the cheese is golden, about 45 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 6.

Star Recommends: Mas de Gourgonnier Reserve du Mas
This is a very dark reddish-purple wine, almost black, shading to clear garnet at the edge. Fresh, ripe cherry-berry aromas, raspberries and black cherries, add an earthy, discreet and not unpleasant whiff of the barnyard that I find typical of Gourgonnier.


Sunchoke Dip
Adapted from www.sunset.com
This is a dip similar to hummus that goes great with tortilla chips.

  • 1 1/2 lb. sunchokes, peeled and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. minced jalapeño chili
  • salt

Directions: Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil over high heat. Add the sunchokes and cook until tender, 10-12 minutes. Drain.

Place the sunchokes in a blender or in the bowl of a food processor. Add the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, then process until you have a smooth purée. Transfer to a bowl, then add the minced jalapeño and salt to taste. Enjoy with chips. Makes 2 cups.

Star Recommends: Raymond Sauvignon Blanc
The wine opens with layered and complex notes of grapefruit, jasmine, guava and citrus followed by white pepper and tropical fruit. On the palate, the wine features a satiny texture with lots of minerality, and hints of wet stone and tarragon leading to a creamy lingering finish.


Chocolate Beet Cake
Loosely adapted from www.marthstewart.com
Crushed beets are an inexpensive way to make a nearly molten, incredibly moist cake and highlight deep chocolate flavor.

  • 4 medium beets, scrubbed
  • Butter (for cake pan)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup safflower oil or other neutral oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup crème fraîche
  • 1 Tbs. poppy seeds

Directions: In boiling water, cook the beets whole and unpeeled. Cook until tender and easily pierced with a sharp knife, 30-40 minutes. Drain, then cool under running water. When cool enough to handle, trim stem and root ends and peel. In a food processor or blender, process into a smooth purée.

Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line with a round of baking parchment. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk in eggs, water, oil, vanilla, and 1 1/4 cups of the beet purée. Reserve any remaining purée for another use. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake about 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then transfer to a dish and let cool completely. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche and a sprinkle of poppy seeds on each slice. Makes 1 9-inch cake.

Star Recommends: Warre’s Otima 10yr Tawny Port
A ripe and rich tawny. Loads of caramel, honey and dried fruit. Full-bodied, sweet and very toffee-like on the palate. Long finish.


No-Fail Pie Crust
Adapted from www.orangette.blogspot.com
This recipe calls for a food processor, but if you don’t have one, you can make this by hand with a pastry cutter or two forks. It will take longer, but it’ll work! Keep your ingredients COLD for best results; I keep mine in the freezer. This recipe can be doubled, just keep extra dough wrapped in plastic in the freezer for up to three months. I’ve adapted this to be vegan by substituting Earth Balance Buttery Sticks for the butter and it turns out perfect.

  • 4 Tbs. ice water, plus more as needed
  • 3/4 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 9 Tbs. unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

Directions: In a small bowl, mix together 4 Tbs. of ice water and the apple cider vinegar.
Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the cubes of butter and pulse until it resembles a coarse meal. With the motor running, drizzle in the vinegar and water mixture and process until moist clumps form. Pick up a handful of dough and squeeze it in your hand. If it holds together, you’re done. If it seems crumbly, add more ice water, just one teaspoon at a time, and pulse until just incorporated. Don’t overwork the dough.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured countertop and gather it until it just holds together. Shape it into a ball, then press into a disk about 1 1/2 inches thick. It’s okay if it cracks a bit at the edges, just smooth away with your fingertips. Wrap snugly in plastic wrap and press it a little more. Smooth away the cracks around the edges. Put the disk in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

Remove from the fridge about 10 minutes before you’re ready to roll the dough out. Remove from plastic wrap, then, with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle large enough to fit a 9-inch pie dish. Transfer to the pie dish and gently press into the dish. Trim the edge, leaving a 2-inch overhang. Fold the overhang under and lightly press against the rim of the pie dish, and with your fingertips, crimp the edge. Place the crust in the freezer for up to 10 minutes, or in the fridge for at least 30 minutes while you prepare your filling. Bake as pie recipe directs. Makes 1 pie crust.

Star Recommends: Gloria Ferrar Blanc de Blancs
I am not really sure you pair wine with just a pie crust, so I figured if you are making pies from scratch, why not have a little bubbly? The wine is full and creamy yet clean and refreshing, with a lively mineral notes on a fresh, well balanced and dry finish.


Coconut Oil Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from www.nytimes.com
Roasting sweet potatoes in coconut oil enhances their delicate caramelized flavor.

  • 1 3/4 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp. light brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Place the sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add the melted coconut oil, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and stir to coat. Transfer the sweet potatoes onto a baking dish in an even layer. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and caramelized, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve hot. 4 servings.

Star Recommends: Catalpa Malbec
This wine starts with an explosion of blackberry, plum, and currant with touches of chocolate and coffee. A lovely soft, rich mouth feel leads to supple tannins and a long lingering finish. This is a great wine for chilly winter weather.


Sweet Potato Soup with Ginger, Leek, and Apple
Adapted from www.nytimes.com

  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and sliced
  • 4 tsp. minced ginger
  • 2 1/4 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 lb. potatoes (Yukon Gold or russets), peeled and diced
  • 1 lb. tart apples (Braeburn or Granny Smith), peeled, cored and diced
  • 2 quarts water
  • Salt
  • Fresh lime juice, for garnish
  • Chili powder, for garnish

Directions: Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the sliced leeks and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the sweet potatoes, potatoes, apples and water, and bring to a simmer. Sprinkle in salt to taste, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until the ingredients are tender.

Purée the soup using a blender (work in batches and place a kitchen towel on top to avoid splashing) or use an immersion blender. Purée until very smooth. Return to pot and allow to heat through. Adjust the salt if needed. Serve hot with a bit of lime juice and chili powder sprinkled onto each bowlful. 6 servings.

Star Recommends: Catalpa Chardonnay
Delicate aromas of white apples, flowers, honey and pineapple mingle with vanilla essences. The mouth is lovely with fresh citrus laced with toast, supple acidity and a fruit-filled finish.


Sweet Potato Pie
Adapted from www.saveur.com
How about making a delicious sweet potato pie for your sweetie pie this Valentine’s Day?

  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 Tbs. butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves, ground
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, ground
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 9-inch unbaked pie shell (use a frozen one, or try our recipe on the upper left of this page.)

Directions: Preheat oven to 450˚F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes to the pot and cook over high heat until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well, then transfer to a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher and measure out 1 1/2 cups. (If you have extra, reserve it for another use.)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, melted butter, brown sugar, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the mashed sweet potatoes and beat until smooth. Pour into an unbaked 9” pie shell. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350˚F and bake an additional 20-25 minutes until set. Allow to cool completely before serving. Makes one pie.

Star Recommends: Warre’s Warrior Port
Deep purple with ruby rim. Massive concentration of ripe, black currant fruit with mint and chocolate hovering over and an underlay of cherries and plums in youthful guise. Deep and full on the palate with great tannic structure and terrific length. Mouth-warming and vibrantly youthful.
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