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RECIPES AND DRINK RECOMMENDATIONS

Lentil and Sausage Soup

Adapted from www.food52.com.

With a loaf of crusty whole grain bread, this hearty soup makes a wholesome dinner for a cold winter’s night. It’s filled with flavor from garlicky sausage, red wine and marjoram, and best of all is easy to make.

1 1/2 c. French green lentils, picked over and rinsed

2 bay leaves

3 Tbs. olive oil, divided

1 lb. Italian pork sausage

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped

salt

3 celery stalks, with leaves, chopped

1 Tbs. dried marjoram

1/2 c. full-bodied red wine

4 large carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice

4 c. chicken stock

3 Tbs. ketchup

2 c. chopped spinach (if using frozen, use 1 1/2 cups instead)

1/4 c. chopped parsley

black pepper

red wine vinegar

Directions: Place the lentils in a large pot and cover with 3 cups of water. Add the bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Warm 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the sausage and brown, stirring frequently. Transfer the sausage to a cutting board and slice into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Set aside.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the soup pot over medium heat. Stir in the onions and garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender. Stir in the celery and marjoram, and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring. Pour in the wine and cook until it has reduced by half. Add the lentils with their cooking water to the soup pot, then pour in the chicken stock, cooked sausage, carrots. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils and carrots are tender, and the broth is rich and concentrated, about 30-45 minutes.

Ten minutes before serving, stir in the ketchup, spinach and parsley. Simmer an additional 5 minutes, then add some black pepper and a splash of red wine vinegar. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Serves 4, with lots of leftovers.

Star Recommends: Colossal Reserva: Wine Spectator 91 “Colossal” is defined by something gigantic in place and time. Made from selected grapes grown in wide and beautiful areas of Casa Santos Lima vineyards, this full bodied blend of Touriga Nacional, Syrah, Tinta Roriz and Alicante Bouschet features intense color with ripe black fruit and spicy flavors, well balanced with smooth tannins and a long, full and pleasant finish.” -G.S.

 

Celery Gratin

Adapted from www.italianfoodforever.com.

Celery is often used alongside many other ingredients, but this simple gratin brings its delicious flavor to the spotlight, and pairs nicely with roasted meat or chicken. 

1 lb. celery, about 8-10 stalks, thinly sliced crosswise

3/4 c. grated Pecorino, divided

3/4 c. heavy cream

Salt

Pepper

1 c. coarse breadcrumbs

3 Tbs. chopped parsley

2 Tbs. olive oil

Directions: Preheat oven to 400ºF.Ligthly grease a large casserole dish.

Combine the celery, 2/3 of the cheese and the cream in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the casserole dish and bake until tender, 30-35 minutes. 

In a small bowl, combine the remaining cheese with the breadcrumbs, parsley and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the celery and return to the oven for another 10 minutes, until the top is lightly browned. Let rest 5 minutes, then serve. Serves 4.

Star Recommends: Poggio Anima Nero d’ Avola: Ruby colored with fragrances of cherries, plum and blueberry. This is a universally gratifying wine. It’s well balanced with red fruit, spice and soft tannins.

 

Pomegranate Braised Short Ribs

Adapted from www.foodlustpeoplelove.com.

With pomegranate molasses and pomegranate seeds, this is a celebration of the ruby red fruit. The short ribs are braised long and slow, and turn succulent and flavorful. Serve with fluffy couscous for a special meal.

2 lbs. beef short ribs, cut in four pieces

salt

black pepper

2 onions, chopped

1 c. beef stock

1/2 c. pomegranate molasses

3 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 medium carrots, peeled, chopped

1 bunch cilantro, trimmed, chopped

1 c. pomegranate seeds

Directions: Season the short ribs liberally with salt and pepper. Warm a large, heavy pot with alid over medium-high heat, and starting with the sides with the most fat on them, sear the short ribs all over until golden. Transfer the ribs to a plate. Add the onions and a splash of beef stock to the pot and sauté for 1-2 minutes, using the back of a wooden spoon to loosen up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir in the pomegranate molasses. Return the short ribs to the pot and turn to coat in pomegranate molasses. Add the rosemary sprigs and the remaining beef stock. Cover and simmer gently for about 1 1/2 hours, until the short ribs are tender. Baste the ribs with sauce periodically and flip them over halfway through the cooking time. Fold in the carrots after 1 hour of cooking.  Check the pot occasionally and add a bit of water if needed.

If the short ribs are very fatty, you may want to skim some of the fat from the top of the sauce before serving.

Serve hot, topped with the chopped cilantro and pomegranate seeds. Serves 4.

Star Recommends: Tikal Patriota Malbec Bonarda: Bright medium ruby. Aromas of blackberry, black cherry, licorice pastille, cocoa powder and dark chocolate. Plush, supple and sweet, with broad blackberry and spicy oak flavors nicely framed by well-integrated acidity. The Bonarda component serves to fill out the wine’s mid-palate, giving it a silky smoothness. Not at all overly sweet on the back end, which shows solid tannic support. A fairly large-scaled, generous blend to drink now or hold, and an outstanding value. 90 Points Vinous

 

Sweet Potatoes with Coconut and Pomegranate

Adapted from www.marthastewart.com.

Sweet potatoes and rich coconut milk are a great pairing, and adding pomegranate seeds and lime juice to the mix is even better!

4 sweet potatoes

1/2 c. coconut milk (canned, light is fine)

1/4 c. toasted unsweetened coconut flakes

1 c. pomegranate seeds

2 Tbs. chopped cilantro

salt

lime wedges

Directions: Preheat the oven to 400ªF. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and prick all over with a fork. Roast about 45 minutes, until tender. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

Slice the tops of the sweet potatoes open. Divide the coconut milk among the sweet potatoes and give each one a gentle stir to help the coconut milk soak in. Top the sweet potatoes with the coconut flakes, pomegranate seeds and chopped cilantro. Season with salt, and serve with lime wedges. Serves 4.

Star Recommends: Hunter’s Pinot Noir Rose: Pure, fresh, ripe berry fruit in this charming Pinot Noir rosé from New Zealand’s Marlborough. This Gold medal winner is from one of the top family cellars there, which every year wins oodles of medals and trophies. Elegant, crisp and delectable.

 

Chocolate Pomegranate Bark

Adapted from www.superhealthykids.com.

This is a fun recipe to make with help from kids. As written, it calls for almonds and pomegranate seeds, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t use coconut flakes, pistachios, or any combination of dried fruit and nuts. Make it vegan with dairy-free chocolate.

14 oz. dark chocolate

1 1/2 c. pomegranate seeds

1 c. dry roasted almonds

Directions: Line 2 baking dishes with parchment. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Fold half of the pomegranate seeds and almonds into the chocolate. Spread the chocolate mixture into the baking dishes, as thick or thin as you’d like. Scatter the remaining pomegranate seeds and almonds onto the chocolate and gently press to make them stick. Refrigerate until firm, 2-3 hours. Break the bark into pieces, uneven is just fine.

Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Serves 8.

Star Recommends: Quinta Infantado Ruby Port: Elegant and rich, this dark, juicy port has an excellent balance of fruit, acid, sugar, and tannin. Not too sweet, not too big, it is all-around easy to drink and enjoy.

Cider-Braised Pork Chops with Apple and Rutabaga

Adapted from www.carolinescooking.com.

Cider-braised pork chops are quite common in Britain, with lots of regional variations. Adding apples and rutabagas impart sweetness to the dish, and make it a hearty, one-pot meal.

2 pork loin chops (boneless or bone-in)

salt

pepper

1/2 Tbs. butter

1/2 Tbs. olive oil

1/4 lb. smoked bacon

1 small onion, diced

3/4 lb. rutabaga, trimmed, cut into chunks

1 large apple, cored, cut into chunks

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

12 oz. hard cider

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

Directions: Preheat oven to 400˚F. Pat the pork chops dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. 

Combine the butter and olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the pork chops all over, cooking just 2-3 minutes per side, until browned. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the bacon and onion to the pan and cook until the onion softens and the bacon is cooked through but not crisp, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the rutabaga, apple and mustard, and cook 2 minutes before returning the pork chops to the pan, nestling them in amongst the vegetables. Pour the cider into the skillet, then sprinkle with thyme. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil, and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pork is cooked through and the rutabaga is tender. Serves 2, generously.

Star Recommends: Chateau Grand Cassange Rouge: Light aromas and round, ripe flavors of red and black fruits, herbs, tobacco, and black pepper. This lovely blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah was aged in concrete. 


Baked Garlic and Herb Shoestring Rutabagas

Adapted from www.simpleseasonal.com.

Sweet, savory and nourishing all at the same time. All you need is a spiralizer to make these shoestring rutabagas.

2 lbs. rutabagas, peeled, ends trimmed off

3 Tbs. olive oil,divided

1/4 tsp. salt

black pepper

6 cloves minced garlic

2 Tbs. finely grated Parmesan or nutritional yeast flakes

1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley

Directions: Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. On the finest setting, run the rutabagas through a spiralizer. Place the spiralized rutabagas on the baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the salt, and some pepper to taste. Toss to coat, then arrange in an even layer. Bake 30-35 minutes, until the rutabagas are tender, darker in color, and slightly translucent. 

In a small skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the minced garlic and cook 1-2 minutes, until fragrant and lightly golden. Remove from heat.

Transfer the cooked rutabagas to a serving bowl and drizzle with the garlic and herb oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan or nutritional yeast and the chopped parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Star Recommends: Fess Parker Chardonnay: Aromas of citrus, lemon cream and honey combine with toasty oak, nutmeg, yellow apple and orange blossom to create this refreshing Chardonnay. On the palate, flavors of citrus, green apple, honey, light cream and cantaloupe, with great texture, bright acidity and balance, making this Chardonnay a great food-friendly wine.

Roasted Rutabaga Pasta with Creamy Cashew Sauce

Adapted from www.naturallyella.com.

This pasta is a perfect balance of rich and nutritious—comfort food that you can feel good about. And apart from the time you’ll need to soak the cashews (two hours), this takes less than an hour to make.

1 c. raw cashews

1/2 c. low-sodium vegetable broth

2 clove garlic

juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

2 Tbs. olive oil

2 lb. rutabaga, trimmed, diced into 1/2-inch cubes

12 oz. linguine

2 bunches of kale, stemmed and sliced into thin ribbons

crushed red pepper

Directions: Place cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Let soak for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 400˚F.

Spread the rutabaga in a single layer on 1 or 2 baking sheets and drizzle with olive oil. Roast until tender and lightly golden-brown, 25-35 minutes.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions. Two to three minutes before the pasta is done, add the kale to the pot, using tongs to submerge it completely in water. Set aside 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta and kale in a colander.

In a blender, combine the drained cashews, vegetable broth, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add 1/2 of the pasta-cooking liquid, then blend until smooth, adding some or all if the remaining pasta water to achieve a smooth and creamy sauce. 

Place the pasta and roasted rutabaga in a large serving bowl and toss with the sauce. Serve sprinkled with crushed red pepper. Serves 4.

 

Star Recommends: Gen 5 Ancestral Red: The meaty, spicy aromas of this medium-bodied wine are quickly followed by a flood of ripe, grapy fruit flavors that seem lightly sweet as they coat the sides of the mouth. It’s big in flavor and rather soft and easy in texture.

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