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Recipe and Drink Recommendations

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fennel and Lemon
Adapted from
This quick, one-pan meal will surely become a favorite.

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs

  • 1 1/4 lb. fennel bulbs (about 2 small bulbs)

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil

  • 2 Tbs. white wine

  • 1 Meyer lemon, zest and juice (substitute regular lemon if unavailable)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • Black pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 425˚F. Place the chicken in a large bowl.

Trim the stalks and fronds from the fennel bulbs, reserving 1 tablespoon of the fronds, and slice each bulb into quarters. Slice the quarters into 1” slices. Add to the bowl with the chicken. Mince the fennel fronds and add to the bowl. Add the minced garlic, olive oil, white wine, lemon zest and juice, salt, and a generous pinch of pepper. Toss to combine.

Transfer the chicken and fennel to a large rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the chicken in the center of the baking sheet with the fennel surrounding it. Pour anyremaining juices from the bowl over the chicken.

Roast 30 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160˚F, and the fennel is tender and turning brown. Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving. Serves 4.

Star Recommends: Villa Carfaggio Chianti Classico—Pretty aromas of dried flowers, raspberries and sweet spices abound. The palate is medium bodied, dry with lively acidity and fine grained tannins. Flavors of black cherry, plum, tea leaves and savory spice characterize the wine.

Fennel and Black Olive Ciabatta Pizza
Adapted from
Using ciabatta bread for pizza crust makes getting dinner on the table fast and easy. This pizza is topped with a tasty and classic Italian combination of sweet cherry tomatoes, fennel, briny black olives and savory Parmesan.

  • 1 loaf ciabatta, sliced in half lengthwise, then cut into 4 large slices total

  • 2 cups Parmesan, a mix of freshly grated and chunks

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil

  • 2 fennel bulbs, stalks trimmed, fronds reserved, bulbs sliced

  • 12 pitted Kalamata olives, cut in half

  • 8 cherry tomatoes, cut in thirds

Directions: Preheat oven to 350˚F. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over high heat. Add the fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly charred, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the fennel fronds. Set aside. Brush the cut sides of the bread with some olive oil. Layer with the fennel, then olives and tomatoes, and finish with Parmesan.

Cook 10 minutes, then finish in the broiler for 4-5 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and lightly golden. Serve hot. Serves 4.

Star Recommends: Cantele Salice Salento—Good full ruby-red. An enticing spicy character lifts dark cherry and graphite aromas. Supple, spicy and sweet, offering an uncanny combination of vibrancy, fat and density. Finishes suave and long, with fine, sweet tannins and very good lift.

Beet and Poppy Seed Muffins
Adapted from
These rosy-hued muffins flecked with dark poppy seeds are great in the morning on your way out the door. Dairy- and gluten-free, they’ll be a hit with everyone in the house.

  • 1 medium red beet

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (canned, shaken before measuring)

  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (superfine if you can find it)

  • 1/2 cup almond meal

  • 1/4 cup quinoa flour*

  • 2 tsp. poppy seeds

  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 1 egg

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons

  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

Directions: Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the beet, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook until the beet is fork-tender. Drain and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel and chop into chunks. Place in the bowl of a food processor and purée until smooth. Measure out 1/4 cup of purée and reserve the rest for another use (you can freeze it).

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Prepare a muffin pan by lining with papers or liners. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk and lemon juice. Set aside for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the brown rice flour, almond meal, quinoa flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add egg, brown sugar, vanilla seeds, coconut oil, and reserved beet purée to the bowl of coconut milk and lemon juice mixture. Whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and whisk to combine.

Scoop the batter into prepared muffin pan, and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick insertedinto the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack. Makes 9 muffins.

*To make: rinse 2 cups of quinoa through a fine mesh sieve for at least 1 minute. Spread on a large, ungreased rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 12 to 15 minutes until dry, slightly golden and fragrant. Cool completely, then grind in 1/4 cup batches in a coffee grinder until finely and evenly ground. Store tightly covered for 6 months in the refrigerator, or up to a year in the freezer.

Star Recommends: Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc—Overflowing with ripe, sweet flavors of grapefruit and lemon, the palate is infused with delicate herbal characters, this zesty white’s finish is crisp and refreshing.

Stewed Sweet Italian Sausages in Fennel-Tomato Sauce
Adapted from
Slow-cooked fennel gives this dish a nice soft creaminess, a perfect counterpoint to the Italian sausage. This is excellent served over polenta or pasta.

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 1/2 lbs. sweet Italian sausage (about 12 links)

  • 3 fennel bulbs, trimmed, fronds reserved and chopped, bulbs each cut into 8 wedges

  • 1 onion, medium, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed with a mortar and pestle

  • Salt

  • 28-oz. can whole tomatoes, crushed with your hands, juices reserved

  • 1 cup dry white wine

  • 3 dried pequin chiles or 2 dried chiles de arbol, or a generous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Directions: Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add half the sausages and cook until browed all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining sausages, setting aside all the sausages on the plate. Add the fennel to the pot and cook, stirring, about 5 minutes, until golden. Add the onion, garlic, fennel seeds, and a teaspoon of salt. Cook until fennel is lightly browned, about 3 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the wine, and the chiles. Return the sausages to the pot, lower the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer until the sausages are cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 45 more minutes. Garnish with fennel fronds and serve hot. Serves 8.

Star Recommends: Resonata Nero d’ Avola—This smooth, young red wine from Sicily is a fantastic value. It has a body comparable to a fine Beaujolais, but a spicy, earthier Italian character to it. There’s plenty of black cherry fruit and enough backbone to keep it drinking well into next year.

Linguini with Roasted Beets, Tarragon, and Caraway
Adapted from
This striking, dark pink pasta dish looks as good as it tastes. A simple green salad is all you need to make this the star of a special meal.

  • 6 red beets, baked and peeled

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 1/2 tsp. caraway seeds

  • 1 Tbs. salt, plus 3/4 teaspoon, divided

  • 1 lb. linguini

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh tarragon

  • Black pepper

Directions: Slice the beets into 1/8” slices, then cut into julienned strips. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Heat a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Add the oil, caraway seeds, and sliced beets. Sauté 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beets look dark around the edges and lose their moisture. Remove from heat and set aside. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add tablespoon of salt, then add the pasta and cook according to package directions, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Heat the beets over high heat. Stir in garlic and vinegar, and sauté for 1 minute. Add the drained pasta, reserved cooking water, and tarragon. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of black pepper. Remove from heat and use tongs to toss the pasta until well-coated with sauce. Serve immediately. 4 servings

Star Recommends: Leese Fitch Zinfandel—With deep garnet color, the 2012 Leese Fitch Zinfandel has aromas of raspberries, fresh grated ginger, cinnamon stick, black cherry, and vanilla cream pie. The flavors marry seamlessly with the aroma showing notes of black cherry, fresh cranberry, raspberry hard candy, crème soda, nutmeg, and finishes with American oak flavors of vanilla and coconut.

Maple Spiced Delicata, Fennel, and Kale Bowl
Adapted from
Serve with some good bread for a wholesome, warming dinner.

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided

  • 1 Tbs. maple syrup

  • 1 tsp. whole-grain mustard

  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne

  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • 1 1/2 lb. delicata squash (about 3 small), skin on, halved lengthwise and seeded

  • 1 large fennel bulb

  • 1 bunch purple kale, stems discarded, torn into large pieces

  • 3 Tbs. minced red onion

Directions: Preheat oven to 400˚F. Arrange oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the maple syrup, mustard, cayenne, crushed red pepper flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Set aside.

Spread the kale on a baking sheet and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside. Slice the delicata squash into 1” half moons. Slice fennel in half and remove and discard tough core. Slice into 1/2” wedges. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and maple syrup mixture, and toss to coat. Add another drizzle of olive oil if it seems too dry. Roast in the upper third of the oven for 30 minutes, tossing vegetables halfway through cooking time. Transfer the baking sheet to the lower rack to cook the last 10 minutes, until tender and caramelized. After moving the squash to the lower rack, place the baking sheet of kale on the top rack to cook for 10 minutes, until the edges are crisp. Transfer the squash, fennel, and kale to a large serving bowl. Toss with the minced red onion, and serve warm. 4 servings.

Star Recommends: Hilanda Monastrell—A decadent Spanish red at an amazing price! Featuring black cherry and plum aromas with full bodied flavors of vanilla and spice with a smooth finish. This is a balanced and powerful red; strong on the palate with dark chocolate and mint flavors with a persistent lingering finish.

Grapefruit-and-Sugar-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

Adapted from
Grapefruit, brown sugar, and spices coat pork tenderloin and turn into a caramelized, flavorful crust.

  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar

  • 1 Tbs. smoked paprika

  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

  • 1/2 tsp. ground fennel

  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne

  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 2 grapefruit, zested and supremed

  • Coarse salt

  • Black pepper

  • 1 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin

Directions: Preheat oven to 450˚F. Place the sugar, paprika, cumin, fennel, cayenne, garlic, grapefruit zest and segments, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Purée until smooth and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pork tenderloin and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Transfer the pork to a parchment-lined baking sheet fitted with a wire rack. Cook about 20-45 minutes until the internal temperature of the pork reaches140˚F, and the outside is lightly caramelized. Let rest for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

Star Recommends: Brandborg Riesling—The many merits of an Elkton AVA are borne out in this just off-dry, classically varietal Riesling. Rhine-like peach and citrus mingle with Mosel-style minerality to create a come-back-for-more palate-pleaser. Hints of musk, yeast and effervescence add their assets.

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