Indian Spicy Salad with Pomegranate seeds
Adapted from www.kayotic.nl/blog
This inventive salad is a nutrition powerhouse, and sure to zest up these blah winter days!

  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1/2-inch ginger, grated
  • 1 red chili, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 cucumber, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground chili
  • 1 Tbs. garam masala
  • 2 Tbs. sesame or peanut oil
  • 1 c. chickpeas
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 c. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds removed and set aside.
  • 4 Tbs. yogurt (Greek-style strongly recommended)
  • Additional cilantro for garnish
  • Naan or Papadums on the side

Directions: Heat oil in a skillet/frying pan. Add the ginger, onion, and chopped chili to the oil. Fry over medium heat until onions are soft (about 5 minutes). Add the chickpeas and cook for an additional 5 minutes or so, until golden. Add the chili powder and garam masala and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, until fragrant and even more golden. Remove from heat and add salt/pepper or additional spices as desired. Combine the cucumber, chopped cilantro, and tomatoes in a separate bowl. Toss with a good squeeze of lemon juice. Divide the cucumber/tomato/cilantro mixture between 4 plates and top with chickpea mixture. Dollop each plate with a tablespoon of yogurt. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over the salads. Serve naan or papadums on the side. Enjoy! Makes 4 servings

Star Recommends: Weingut Eugen Muller Gewurztraminer Spatlese
With essence of violets and cherry wood smoke this Gewurztraminer is neither dry nor over sweet. The residual sugar it does possess will complement the spicy elements of this salad. German wines and spicy food make a delightfully perfect pairing.


Chocolate Satsumas
Adapted from valleynaturalfoods.com

  • 6 satsumas or seedless clementimes, peeled
  • 6 3.5 oz milk or dark chocolate bars, broken into pieces

Directions: Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with parchment or wax paper. Set aside. Using a double boiler, very slowly melt the chocolate bars over low to medium-low heat. Do not stir. When the chocolate looks soft and malleable, remove from heat. Stir until creamy. Dunk one whole, peeled fruit at a time into the melted chocolate. Rotate using a couple of spoons until it is thoroughly coated. Place on your prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with all of the satsumas. Set in a cool place to harden. Store in refrigerator and eat within 3 days. Makes 6.

Star Recommends: Educated Guess Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine also contains Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot making it more of a Bordeaux blend than simply a Cabernet Sauvignon. The rich, jammy flavors win over a bright note to complement the bitterness of the dark chocolate here and they will also match well with the acidity of the Satsumas.


Eggplant Sauté with Shallots, Basil and Oregano
Adapted from www.foodfit.com
A wonderful dish that is excellent over rice, couscous or quinoa.

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 4 c. cubed eggplant
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. freshly chopped basil
  • 1 Tbs. freshly chopped oregano
  • 2 Tbs. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallot and cook for about 1 minute, infusing the oil with their flavors. Add the eggplant cubes, salt, pepper, oregano and basil. Sauté with olive oil mixture until the eggplant is slightly browned and becomes tender (about 5 minutes). Remove from skillet and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve hot! Serves 4.

Star Recommends: Bodega Tintaralbla Garanacha Spanish Inspiration
Truly a Spanish inspiration from the Almansa region! This is a passionate young red wine filled with hope, a hint of spice and rich with lustiness. A hearty dish like this deserves a wine like this.


Roasted Endive with Satsuma Glaze
Adapted from www.yummly.com
The sweetness of the satsuma glaze provides a lovely counterpoint to the bitterness of the endive. This is a lovely holiday side dish option.

  • 1 c. freshly squeezed satsuma juice (takes about 4 satsumas)
  • 6 heads Belgian endive, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tsp. grated satsuma rind
  • 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 3 Satsuma oranges, peeled and sectioned.

Directions: Preheat oven to 450ºF. Oil a jellyroll pan. Bring the satsuma orange juice to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced to about 1/3 c. Set aside 4 tsp. reduced juice. Cut each endive in half lengthwise. Arrange in a single layer on your prepared jellyroll pan. Brush each endive with the reduced juice. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Combine 1 Tbs. olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, chives, reserved 4 tsp. of juice, coriander, honey, lemon juice, satsuma zest and whisk thoroughly. Place roasted endives on a platter and top with the Satsuma sections. Drizzle with glaze. Enjoy! Serves 6.

Star Recommends: Morgan Sauvignon Blanc: To quote the winemaker
“Our Sauvignon Blanc is a proprietary blending of the Sauvignon Musque and classic Sauvignon Blanc clones. Sauvignon Musque is a cultivar that we prize for its aromatic intensity and citrus, tropical fruit flavors.” Those exact flavors are what make this a great pairing for this dish.


Satsuma/Avocado Sandwich Spread
Adapted from www.sabjimatablog.com

  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1 satsuma orange, peeled and seeded
  • 1 large avocado, pitted and diced
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Directions: Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse until smooth and creamy. That’s it! Makes approximately 1/2 c.

Star Recommends: Francis Coppola Pinot Noir
Offers a rich, velvety texture, profuse aromatics, and a beautiful tapestry of juicy fruits and spice nuances. Describing the wine almost sounds like describing the spread.


Roasted Butternut Squash and Shallot Soup
Adapted from Cooking Light, Nov 2008 and www.myrecipes.com

  • 4 c. cubed butternut squash, peeled (~1 1/2 lb.)
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 large shallots, peeled and halved
  • 1 1/2-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 1/2 c. chicken or veggie broth, or water
  • 2 Tbs. chives, chopped
  • Black pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 375ºF. Pull out a roasting pan or cookie sheet large enough for your squash pieces. Combine the squash, olive oil, salt, shallots and ginger in a bowl. Toss, making sure everything is thoroughly coated with oil. Bake at 375º for 50 minutes or until tender, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Cool for 10 minutes. Combine the roasted squash mixture and the broth/water in a blender or food processor. Blend until creamy and smooth. (This may need to be done in rounds—be careful not to burn yourself!) Pour the puree into a large saucepan and cook over medium heat 5 minutes, or until hot and steaming. Top with chives and pepper. Serve and enjoy!

Star Recommends: Dona Paula Los Cardos Malbec
The rich rustic flavors of this soup will be perfectly married to the lush, plum and chocolate goodness that this terrific value of a Malbec provides. Our guess is that you will not stop at one cup of soup, or one glass of wine.


Yogurt with Pomegranate, Honey and Pistachios
Adapted from www.junglefrogcooking.com
A light but sumptuous dessert—perfect in the middle of the holiday season! This dish is simple, tasty, sweet and tangy, and it is also quite pretty.

  • 8 oz. Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 c. whipping cream
  • 1 handful of pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c. pomegranate seeds
  • 4 Tbs. honey (+/- a Tbs., according to your tastes)

Directions: Take two small glasses and pour a layer of honey in the bottom of the glass. The honey is surprisingly effective as a sweetener, so be conservative with the amount! Place your chopped pistachios in one small bowl, and your pomegranate seeds in another. Combine the yogurt and whipping cream together in a bowl. Whisk until it begins to thicken. Continue to whisk until the texture is thick enough to loosely hold its shape on a spoon. Carefully spoon this delicious whipped mixture on top of your honey layer. Add another small layer of honey on top of the yogurt. Then sprinkle alternating layers of pomegranate seeds and pistachios. Makes 2 servings.

Star Recommends: Pedro Romero Cream Sherry
This sherry was rated 90 points by Wine Advocate and is a heck of a bargain. It is medium dark amber colored and has soft, sweet, creamy nutty flavors. This will complement the honey and pistachios and offer a nice contrast to the tangy flavors in this dish.


Pomegranate Chicken
Adapted from allrecipes.com
The tangy pomegranate seeds infuse the sauce for this savory chicken dish. Excellent with a rice pilaf and leafy green.

  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 1 chicken (3-4 lbs), quartered
  • 1 pomegranate, halved
  • 1/4 c. dry white wine
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbs. cinnamon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 375ºF. Mix oil and garlic together in a shallow dish. I recommend using a spoon to mash the garlic slightly in the oil, to further release its delicious flavors. Brush the chicken with the garlic oil, making sure to cover all surface areas. Place the oiled chicken in a shallow baking dish and drizzle the remaining oil over the chicken. Bake for 45 minutes, basting several times with the juices from the pan. If necessary, add a bit of water to the pan for basting purposes. When the skin is browned and juices run clear when a thigh is pierced at its thickest point with a fork, you know your meat is done. Remove 1 Tbs. of seeds from the pomegranate. Set these aside for garnishing the dish later. Take the rest of the seeds out of the pomegranate and squeeze out the juice through a sieve into a dish. Set aside. In a small, non-reactive saucepan, mix the pomegranate juice, wine, lemon juice and cinnamon sugar together. Bring this mixture to a boil, than immediately reduce the heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. Transfer the roasted chicken to a serving platter and pierce each piece several times. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with the extra pomegranate seeds and serve at room temperature. Serves 4.

Star Recommends: Sebastiani Chardonnay
A great example of what Sonoma Chardonnay can be at a very reasonable price. Balanced and crisp with a good dose of oak, this wine will complement nicely the pomegranate and chicken.


Caramelized Shallots
Adapted from www.smittenkitchen.com
Serve alongside a salad, chicken, lamb... whatever you like. These shallots are phenomenal. If you’re an onion lover like me, you might not even bother to pair them with anything!

  • 6 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 lbs fresh shallots, peeled with roots intact
  • 3 Tbs. sugar
  • 3 Tbs. good red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions: Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Pull out a 12-inch ovenproof sauce/fry pan. If you do not have such a pan, start the shallots in a frying pan and then transfer to a baking dish when it’s time to put it in the oven. Melt the butter in your saucepan of choice over medium heat. Once it is completely melted, add the shallots and sugar. Toss to coat. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the shallots start to brown. At this point, add the vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss well! If necessary, transfer your shallots and sauce into the baking dish. Place shallots in oven and roast for 15-30 minutes, until the shallots are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, sprinkled with parsley. Enjoy! Serves 4.

Star Recommends: Clayhouse Winery Adobe White
The Adobe White has a golden straw color and fine floral notes of orange blossom and lemon citrus. Pear, peach and honeydew melon aromas jump from the glass. The creamy mouthfeel comes from a short time on the lees. The mouthwatering fruit flavors are of apple and stone fruit, with nuances of pumpkin pie spice and tea. The finish is crisp and balanced.

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