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Recipe and Drink Recommendations

Tuna Scallopine with Parsley and Pomegranate Seeds
Adapted from
This healthy meal can be on the table in 30 minutes, perfect for a weeknight dinner, or feeding impromptu guests.

  • 1 Tbs. minced shallot

  • 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar

  • 1 Tbs. maple syrup

  • 1 Tbs. capers, drained

  • salt

  • pepper

  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for rubbing

  • 4 tuna steaks, 5 oz. each, about 1/2-inch thick

  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

  • 1/2 fennel bulb, cored, very thinly sliced

  • hot sauce (optional)

Directions: In a medium mixing bowl, combine the shallot, vinegar, maple syrup, capers, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, then whisk in the olive oil.
Sandwich the tuna steaks between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound until 1/4-inch thick. Rub with some olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Preheat a griddle. Set the tuna on it, and lightly sear one side only, for about 1 minute. Transfer to plates, with the seared side up.
Fold the parsley, pomegranate seeds, and sliced fennel into the dressing, and if using, season to taste with hot sauce. Toss gently to coat, and top each tuna steak with a mound of the salad, and serve immediately.

Star Recommends: Brandborg Oregon Riesling—Bradley Vineyard berries helped create aromas of ripe apple and pear, jasmine, lavender and a whiff of diesel. Freshly cut Granny Smith apple slices and tangy Thompson Seedless flavors validate it as “dry.” Zippy and savory finish brings together lemony acidity and lingering slate notes.

Fennel, Celery, and Pomegranate Salad
Adapted from
This palate-cleansing salad balances out rich winter meals. The recipe calls for the vegetables to be thinly sliced, and a mandoline would come in handy here.

  • 3 fennel bulbs, small, thinly sliced

  • 6 celery stalks, thinly sliced on a diagonal

  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced into rounds

  • 1/2 cup fresh, flat-leaf parsley, very coarsely chopped

  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, divided

  • 1/4 cup lime juice, fresh

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • coarse salt

  • black pepper

Directions: Toss the fennel, celery, shallot, parsley, and half of the pomegranate seeds in a large serving bowl. Add the lime juice and olive oil and toss to coat, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with the remaining pomegranate seeds, and serve. Makes 2 servings.

Star Recommends: Zardetto Prosecco—The Wine Advocate—“The NV Prosecco Brut is a richer, creamier wine than the Brut Cuvee Private. Here the fruit tends towards ripe yellow peaches, with flowers, spices and minerals that add complexity. The finish is long, generous and nicely balanced.”

Pork Loin with Cider-Braised Leeks and Apples
Adapted from
Leftover pork from this easy dinner is fantastic in a sandwich the
next day.

  • 2 boneless pork loins

  • salt

  • black pepper

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil

  • 12 oz. hard cider (dry)

  • 1 1/2 Tbs. Cognac

  • 1/2 Tbs. light brown sugar

  • 1 yellow onion, diced

  • 1 leek, quartered, sliced into half moons, and washed

  • 1 green apple, cored, peeled and diced

  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme

Directions: Remove pork loins from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot. Sear each pork loin for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. Transfer to a plate. Over medium heat, deglaze the Dutch oven with cider and Cognac, scraping up all the browned bits. Stir in the brown sugar, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Stir in the onion and the leek, and simmer 5 minutes. Fold in the apple and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the thyme, then place the pork loins on top. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, until the pork is just cooked through. Allow the pork to rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Makes 4 servings.

Star Recommends: Chateau Le Pey Medoc—Classic stuff showing the polish of merlot that submerges the cab... the wine is made from about half and half. This wine grows broader and more intense after hitting the palate, the mid-palate showing amplification and the length extraordinary.

Coconut Panna Cotta with Pomegranate-Satsuma Compote
Loosely adapted from
A compote made from Satsuma mandarins and both pomegranate juice and seeds makes this rich and creamy panna cotta extra-special.

  • 2 Tbs. cold water

  • 1 tsp. agar agar

  • 15 oz. coconut milk (1 can)

  • 2 Tbs. sugar plus 1/2 cup, divided

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 3 satsumas, zested and juiced

  • 1 pomegranate, seeded

  • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice (unsweetened)

  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Directions: Place the cold water in a small bowl and stir in the agar agar. Set aside. Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan and whisk until smooth. Pour in the agar agar mixture and let sit for 10 minutes. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the 2 tablespoons of sugar, and warm the coconut milk mixture, stirring constantly, until it begins to steam, without bringing to a boil, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla. Divide the mixture into 4 ramekins or small bowls, and refrigerate for 5 hours, or until set.

In the meantime, make the pomegranate compote. Combine the satsuma zest in a saucepan with the pomegranatejuice and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Stir to combine, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves and a thin syrup forms. Remove from heat, and use a fine mesh strainer to strain the syrup into a small bowl. Whisk in the satsuma juice, and return the mixture to the saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat and bring to a boil until reduced enough to coat a spoon, about 8 minutes. Place the pomegranate seeds in a small bowl. Add the syrup to the pomegranate seeds and stir to coat. Refrigerate until cool. Serve the coconut panna cotta with a spoonful of compote. Makes 4 servings.

Star Recommends: Caymus Conundrum—This delicious blend of five white wine grapes is one of the best of its type from California.  It’s a complex wine, with an array of ripe, concentrated flavors—pear, honey, fig, vanilla, peach and nectarine, finishing with lots of character and a dash of spice. Delicious. -Wine Spectator

Spiced Brisket with Shallots and Satsuma Mandarins
Adapted from

  • 3 lb. flat-cut beef brisket, trimmed of visible fat

  • 2 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp. black pepper

  • 8 shallots, cut into 1/4-inch slices

  • 4 satsuma mandarins, peels on, halved, sliced into 1/4-inch slices, any seeds picked out

  • 1 3/4 cup low-sodium beef broth

  • 3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

  • 2 Tbs. arrowroot powder

Directions: Preheat oven to 375ºF. Sprinkle brisket on both sides with five-spice, salt, and pepper. Set brisket in a 9x13-inch baking dish, with the side trimmed of fat facing up. Place the shallots and satsumas on and around the brisket. Roast, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Whisk together the beef broth, balsamic vinegar, and arrowroot powder in a bowl or measuring cup with a spout. Whisk until arrowroot is fully dissolved. Remove the brisket, and pour the broth mixture into the baking dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil, and continue to cook about 3 hours, until the brisket is very tender. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board, and slice against the grain. Serve brisket with satsuma-shallot mixture ladled on top.

Star Recommends: Chateau Chamille—Ripe, blue and black fruits with a touch of mint and herb to the fore—beneath it an interesting graphite quality which provides complexity. Merlot 90%, Cabernet Sauvignon 8% and Cabernet Franc 2%.

Leek, Pear, and Oyster Mushroom Toasts
Adapted from
After a long day, this is a good, easy dinner to throw together that’s fast but still tastes incredible.

  • 4 Tbs. olive oil, divided

  • 4 1/2 cups sliced leeks, white and very light green parts only

  • 1 pear, finely diced

  • 1/4 cup white wine

  • salt

  • pepper

  • 1/4 lb. oyster mushrooms, large ones cut into 1-inch pieces, stems trimmed

  • 1 shallot, minced

  • 4 slices thick country bread

  • 1/2 cup goat cheese

Directions: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until wilted. Add the diced pears and white wine, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to very low. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a separate small pan. Add the mushrooms and shallot, and let simmer, until the mushrooms and shallot are tender and the liquid has reduced, 5-10 minutes. Place the sliced bread under the broiler until lightly toasted, just a couple minutes. Spread goat cheese on each slice of toast, then arrange the leek and pear mixture on top, followed by the oyster mushroom and shallot mixture and any juices. Makes 2 servings.

Star Recommends: Chateau La Grangeotte—Crafted from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, sustainably grown in the clay-limestone soils of the historic Chateau Coustaut La Grangeotte in Madoc, this wine is a beautiful crimson Bordeaux red with a rich, complex fruity bouquet boasting aromas of strawberry, raspberry and blackberry. It is a harmonious wine with smooth tannins and fruity, long-lasting flavors.

Potato Leek au Gratin
Adapted from
Scented with leek and garlic and enriched with cream and Gruyére, this gratin is baked in a low oven, which leaves a crispy crust and buttery potatoes. A mandoline will make quick work of the potatoes!

  • 2 medium leeks, trimmed, green leaves removed, white parts washed and dried, sliced lengthwise in half, then sliced into thin half-moons

  • 2 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter, divided

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 splash dry white wine or vermouth

  • 2 1/4 boiling potatoes (like Yukon Gold), peeled, sliced into 1/8-inch slices, placed in a bowl and covered in cold water

  • salt

  • pepper

  • 1 1/2 cup grated Gruyére

  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream

Directions: Preheat oven to 300ºF. Sauté the leeks over medium-low heat in 1 tablespoon of the butter for 6-8 minutes, until tender, but not brown. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 more minute. Add the splash of white wine or vermouth, and sauté for another minute until most of the liquid has evaporated. The leeks should be damp, but not swimming in liquid. Cover and remove from heat, and allow to rest.

Lightly butter a baking dish. Carefully drain the potatoes and pat with a clean towel. Arrange one layer of potatoes in the baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Layer with sautéed leeks, followed by some Gruyére, and some dots of butter. Repeat layering until all the potatoes are used, saving some Gruyére for the top. The last layer should just be potato slices. Slowly cover with cream, then finish with the reserved Gruyére. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, until the top is golden brown, the potatoes are fork tender, and the cream has thickened and slightly reduced. Allow to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving. Makes 4-6 servings.

Star Recommends: Chateau Petit Bois Lussac St Emilion—Lovely. Smokey taste is first impression. Bramble fruits with black currant dominating. Bordeaux and winter were made for one another.

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