Collard Greens Salad with Black Eyed Peas and Peanut Dressing
Adapted from Saveur Magazine
Serving collard greens with black-eyed peas in considered to be a lucky dish in the new year. The greens symbolize wealth, the black-eyed peas health. Enjoy this salad as 2010 winds down—its delicious spicy flavors will ring you into the new year.

  • 1 c. peanuts
  • 1 c. oil (grapeseed, olive or sunflower recommended—separate 2 Tbs. out)
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 6 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced into a paste
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled
  • 8 oz. baby collard greens, stemmed, or 8 oz. collard greens, stemmed and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 15-oz. can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 hot pepper, stemmed, seeded, and julienned (optional, depending on how spicy you like your food!)
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, halved
  • 1/2 c. loosely packed cilantro leaves

Directions: Preheat your oven to 325ºF. Combine the peanuts, separated 2 Tbs. of oil, the paprika and the salt in a bowl. Spread onto a baking sheet. Bake in the oven until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes depending on your oven. Cool on a cooling rack completely. Once cool, crush the peanuts, or grind them in a clean coffee grinder (this, by the way, is a great way to utilize dried spices—grinding them freshly ensure top flavors for you!) Be sure to keep the texture somewhat coarse. Separate the crushed peanuts into two bowls. Put one of those bowls aside. To the remaining bowl, add the rest of the oil, the apple cider vinegar, the garlic and the shallots. Whisk these things together until they are well combined. Season to your liking with salt and pepper. You have now made your peanut vinaigrette! Set it aside. Shave a carrot lengthwise into thin ribbons. Place these carrot ribbons into a large bowl with the peas, the greens and the peppers. Coat with vinaigrette. Toss all of these goodies together and season it with as much salt or pepper as you like. Plate the salads and drizzle with a bit more dressing. Garnish with the chopped eggs, the peanuts you set aside, and the cilantro leaves!


(Purple) Kale Winter Pasta
From www.myyearoffood.wordpress.com

  • 4 cloves of garlic (peeled)
  • 6 shallots (peeled)
  • 1 bunch (purple) kale (leaves separated from stem)
  • 1/3 c. olive oil (or sunflower oil)
  • pepper
  • 6 oz soft tofu (optional)
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice (optional)
  • sea salt
  • 3.5 oz. goat cheese OR feta cheese, separated into 2 oz and 1.5 oz
  • fresh thyme
  • pasta (we used whole wheat penne, (enough for 4 people)

Directions: Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Once it’s boiling, throw in a generous amount of sea salt. Toss in the garlic and the shallots. Let them bubble along for 2-3 minutes. After 2-3 minutes has passed, toss the kale into the boiling water. Make sure that the kale is completely submerged. Let cook for approximately 10 seconds. DO NOT OVERCOOK, or the kale will lose both its color and its sprightly good flavor. When kale has finished cooking, use a slotted spoon to scoop it, along with the garlic and shallots, out of the water. Place the cooked produce into a blender or food processor. Add in the oil, as much pepper as you’d like, the soft tofu (if using), and the 2 oz. portion of cheese. Blend until the sauce reaches a consistency that looks creamy and delicious to you. If you need more liquid, feel free to scoop a couple of tablespoons out of the water you used to boil the veggies. If your sauce needs a little kick, toss in a bit of lemon juice. Tweak and taste until it is just right. Bring the water back to a boil. Once boiling, add your pasta. Cook until done, than drain and rinse. Toss the pasta with the sauce, additional cheese and fresh thyme. Serve with a wedge of lemon and some thyme branches. Serves 3-4. 

Star Recommends: Marietta Petit Sirah
This hearty and rustic dish calls for a brazen red wine to match it as a truly complete meal. Often Petit Sirah is mistaken for Syrah and people assume it is a soft and fruity wine. Nothing could be further from the truth. This bottle is flashy and tannic, and will not be overwhelmed. Give it a try and it will not disappoint. You will go back for more.


Couscous with Carrots
Adapted from www.mochasoft.ca

  • 1 c. couscous
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/4 c. freshly chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. veggie oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Bring 1 1/2 c. water to boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the couscous, and then remove the pan from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to a bowl and fluff with a fork. Let the couscous cool for 10 minutes. While it is cooling, shred the carrots and add them to the couscous. Add the parsley to the couscous carrot mixture as well. Separately, whisk together the lemon juice, oil, and 1 Tbs. water, along with garlic, salt and pepper. If you like, adding a touch of sugar can add a nice flavor to the dish. Pour over the couscous carrot parsley mixture and toss gently to coat. 

Star Recomends: Mas Carlot Rose
One of the great pink wines from the south of France. We tend to think of roses as purely beverage wines and often forget how exceptional they are with food. Soft and fruity with hints of wild strawberries on the palate this wine finishes with a wonderful crisp acidity.


Warm Winter-Vegetable Salad
Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine, March 2010
This healthy and flavorful salad is just the lunch or dinnertime trick. Make extra large portions and serve as a platter salad with a side of sliced baguettes and hummus. Yum!
Another great thing about this recipe is that you can really use any combo of winter veggies you’d like. Not a fan of beets? Why not throw in a turnip! Can’t stand carrots? Throw in some red potatoes! It’s really up to you.

  • 1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 parsnip, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 1 medium Jerusalem artichoke, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 1 medium beet, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 3 Tbs. olive or sunflower oil, separated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 c. walnuts
  • 1 3/4 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 3/4 tsp. lemon juice, fresh
  • 3/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbs. chopped parsley, flat leaf preferred
  • 2 oz. feta, crumbled (1/2 c.)

Directions: Preheat oven to 425ºF. Toss all of the root veggies with 2 Tbs. of the oil. Salt and pepper the veggies, than roast them for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, until they are tender and lightly browned. While the veggies are roasting, toast the walnuts in the oven until they are golden. This will take between 4-6 minutes, depending on your oven. You will know they are nearly done by the wonderful fragrance that will fill your kitchen. In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard and last bit of oil together. Gently stir in the chopped parsley and season to your liking with salt and pepper. When the veggies are done, let them cool briefly (about 5 minutes). Add to the bowl with the dressing and toss, adding in the walnuts. Serve this beautiful salad on a platter with the feta crumbled across the top. You can serve this warm, or let it cool completely to room temperature. Garnish with a couple of sprigs of parsley and enjoy! Serves 4.
 

Star Recommends: Qupe Marsanne
A classic example of Marsanne. This wine is flinty, minerally, and has just a hint of green pear and orange rind. It is great as an apertif or paired with salads or appetizers.


Spinach with Pine Nuts
Adapted from Sundays at Moosewood
This fast and interesting preparation of spinach is found all over the Mediterranean and shows the influence of Saracen (Persian) cooking. The spinach may be steamed ahead of time, but the sautéing must be done at the last minute. Chard and escarole are also excellent prepared in this way.

  • 3 Tbs. raisins (golden add a lovely colorful touch)
  • 2 lb. fresh spinach
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced into thin rounds
  • 3 Tbs. pine nuts
  • 1 1/4 c olive oil
  • salt and ground pepper to taste

Directions: Soak the raisins in hot water. Cover until ready to add. Remove the coarse stems from spinach, rinse leaves and shake off excess water. Place in large pot and steam for 2-3 minutes, tossing the leaves several times. Spinach should be bright green and leaves still retain some of their shape, though the volume has decreased. Drain well. Sauté the garlic and pine nuts in olive oil until golden (a few minutes). Add spinach and raisins. Toss to coat the spinach with hot oil. Serve immediately and salt/pepper to taste.
 

Star Recommends: Casa all Terra Chianti Colli Sensi
Chianti may well be the king of all food wines. It has a natural simplicity while still offering the rich pleasures not uncommon to its Tuscan home. A great balance of fruit and spice make this dry red and excellent compliment to the simple yet satisfying flavors of this dish.


Chai-Spiced Crumb Coffee Cake
Recipe courtesy of Helene Dujardin from www.mytartelette.com
Cinnamon is the standard spice for topping a crumb coffee cake. This coffee cake keeps the crumb topping and spices it up a little more by using some of the same flavors that are found in chai, including cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and allspice.
 

Note: the only change I made to the recipe was to fill my baking pan with half the batter, sprinkle some of the topping and add the remaining batter and topping.
Topping:

  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. butter, melted and cooled slightly

Cake:

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 c. butter, room temperature
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2/3 c. sour cream, full or low fat

Directions: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or lightly greased aluminum foil.

Make the Topping: In a medium bowl, combine all topping ingredients except butter. Whisk to blend. Gradually stir in the melted butter, using a large fork or spatula to mix. When all the butter has been incorporated and the mixture looks like wet sand, squeeze small clumps together to make large crumbs ranging in size from that of a pea to that of a grape. Set aside.

Make the Cake: In another medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. With the mixer set on a low speed (or by hand), alternately add in flour and sour cream in two or three additions. When no streaks of flour remain, pour into prepared pan. Top evenly with crumb mixture.

Bake at 350ºF for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before slicing. Serves 9-12.

Star Recommends: Justin Obtuse
This little beauty is a fortified wine that is made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. This allows it to be a somewhat drier version of what we usually expect from a port. It is still very rich and lush but not quite as powerful, which makes it pair wonderfully with this yummy cake.


AS&A’s Puffed Pancake
This is the perfect breakfast for a house full of guests over the holidays. Pop it in the oven and before you know it, you’ll have delicious breakfast for everyone. Kids can definitely play a leading role in this recipe as well!

  • 1 Tbs. butter (to grease pan)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/3 c. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 - 2 c. fruit of your choice (optional. Cranberries are delicious this time of year!)

Directions: Preheat oven to 375ºF. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with your butter. Combine milk and eggs in a bowl. Whisk until well combined. Stir in vanilla, sugar and cinnamon. Add in the flour, salt and baking powder. Whisk until there are no lumps of flour left. Stir in your fruit, if using. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top of the puffed pancake is lightly browned in places. Garnish with powdered sugar and cinnamon, serve with maple syrup. Yum! Serves 4-6 (depending on serving size).

Star Recommends: Menage a Trois White
This wine gets its name because it is a blend of three white wines. Together they create a truly harmonious symphony of flavors. Lightly sweet but not overpowering, this tasty blend will complement but not overwhelm the sugar and cinnamon in this dish.