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Recipes and Drink Recommendations

Grilled Turkey-Zucchini Burgers
Adapted from Sunset magazine, September 2012.
Adding a generous amount of shredded zucchini to these turkey burgers ensures that they’ll stay juicy on the grill.

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 medium zucchini, shredded
  • 5 large button or crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbs. ketchup
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced into thick rounds
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 6 sourdough English muffins (or your favorite burger buns)
  • 6 lettuce leaves

Directions: Prepare grill for cooking over medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat if using gas). In a medium bowl, combine the turkey, zucchini, mushrooms, salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, and 1 tablespoon of water. Form into six patties. Brush both the patties and the sliced onion with vegetable oil. Grill both, flipping once, until the burgers are cooked through and the onions are starting to brown, about 8 minutes. In the last few minutes of cooking, place the English muffins or buns on the grill to toast. Assemble the burgers on the English muffins with grilled onion and lettuce. Enjoy! 6 burgers.

Star Recommends: Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone—Be ready to taste a Côtes du Rhône full of fruit and fresh aromas, with a nice tight texture. A mouthfilling core of plum sauce and blackberry paste is backed by charcoal and anise on the finish. Solid, direct, pure and driven.

Vietnamese-Style Beef Salad
Adapted from
This is a really fast, easy dinner, and is ideally suited to summer: no cooking required!

  • 1/2 large Mediterranean cucumber
  • 5 Tbs. lime juice, fresh
  • 3 Tbs. Asian fish sauce
  • 3 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups fresh pineapple chunks
  • 3/4 lb. deli-sliced roast beef
  • 12 sprigs fresh mint

Directions: Halve cucumber in half lengthwise, then slice in diagonal 1/4-inch-thick slices.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, crushed red pepper, and shallot. Add 3 tablespoons water, and whisk until the sugar is dissolved.

Place the cucumber and pineapple on a serving platter, and drizzle with some of the dressing. Arrange the roast beef on top and place the mint sprigs alongside. Serve, passing the remaining dressing at the table. 4 servings.

Star Recommends: Chateau de Segries Tavel Rose—Possessing a deep raspberry color, this superb Tavel is loaded with ripe black cherries, lavender and melon-like aromas and flavors that give way to a substantial, rich, yet pure and classy palate. A big rose, it stays beautifully fresh and lively.

Miso Pasta Salad
Adapted from
Miso dressing is an unexpected but enjoyable choice for pasta salad, giving it a nice umami punch!

  • 2 Tbs. white miso paste
  • 2 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
  • 4 Tbs. neutral oil
  • 4 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • black pepper
  • 2 cups pasta (bowties, shells, or your favorite shape)
  • 2 cucumbers, sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 large red pepper, cored, seeded, sliced into strips
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and sliced, white and green parts
  • 2 Tbs. sesame seeds (black or white)

Directions: In a small bowl, whisk together the miso, rice vinegar, neutral oil, sesame oil, and lemon juice. Season to taste with black pepper. Set aside. Cook the pasta in boiling water according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cool water. Give it a gentle shake to get rid of excess water. Place the pasta in a large bowl with the peppers and cucumbers. Drizzle with some of the miso dressing, a little at a time (you may have leftover dressing), and toss to coat. Serve topped with green onions and sesame seeds. Enjoy! 4 servings

Star Recommends: H & M Hofer Gruner Veltliner—A wonderful value for a sleek, clear and lentilly-peppery Gruner; some phenolic nip, lilacy and apple-y, the graceful finish is the most delicate part of the wine, full of finesse.

Thai Green Coconut Curry with Chicken and Summer Squash
Adapted from

  • 1 Tbs. canola or sunflower oil
  • 2-4 oz. Thai green curry paste
  • 2 cans full-fat coconut milk, not stirred
  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breast or thighs, sliced into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 lb. summer squash, sliced into ?-inch thick half-moons (or quarters, if the squash is very large), or into ?-inch chunks, if using pattypan squash
  • fish sauce, to taste
  • sugar, to taste,
  • soy sauce, to taste

Directions: Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. If you like a lot of heat, stir in 4 ounces of the curry and if you’d like a milder curry, use 2 ounces. Cook the curry paste in the oil, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Scoop the thick layer of coconut milk solids out of the cans, leaving the watery milk, and stir into the curry paste. Stir for 2 minutes, then add the chicken pieces. Sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the remaining coconut milk. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Add the squash, and simmer for 4-5 minutes, until just tender. Taste, and adjust seasoning with fish sauce, sugar, and soy sauce. Serve hot, with rice noodles or rice. 6 generous servings.

Star Recommends: Setzer Gruner Veltliner—This light, refreshing Gruner Veltliner has an enticing palate of citrus and stone fruits, complemented by crisp acidity and a hint of minerality on the finish. A good combo with the strong curry flavors.

Turkish Zucchini Pancakes with Garlic Yogurt
Adapted from Aytekin Yar’s recipe in the New York Times.
Turkish people know how to cook vegetables like no one else, and these incredible zucchini fritters are no exception. Served with an easy salad of sliced tomatoes drizzled in olive oil, this is a perfect summer meal.

  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt, full-fat, Greek-style
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt
  • 3 medium zucchini, shredded
  • black pepper
  • 3 eggs, large, beaten
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 cup crumbled feta
  • 3 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 4-6 Tbs. vegetable oil, plus more as needed

Directions: Preheat oven to 250˚F. In a small bowl, stir together theyogurt, crushed garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Set aside.

Mix the shredded zucchini with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and place in a colander over the sink or a bowl. Let drain for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cloth kitchen towel, and squeeze hard to extract as much moisture as possible. Squeeze again. The volume will be about half of what you started with.

Combine the zucchini and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, olive oil, feta, scallions, dill, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Mix well to incorporate. Mix in the baking powder.

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Scoop the zucchini batter into the skillet (each pancake should be a heaping tablespoon or so), leaving several inches between each pancake. Each one should be about 3/8-inch-thick—flatten with a spatula if necessary. Fry until the underside is golden, then flip and fry the other side, about 2 1/2-3 minutes on each side, until crisp and deep golden. As they cook, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more oil to the skillet as needed.

Serve the zucchini pancakes hot, (or at room temperature, or cold—they’re as delicious the next day) with dollops of garlic yogurt. 12 pancakes.

Star Recommends: Beso de Vino Old Vine Garnacha—Displays super fragrant aromas of black cherry, red licorice, and lavender leading to a dense, layered wine that over-delivers big-time for its humble price.

Cherry, Arugula, and Wild Rice Salad
Adapted from
This is a very well-rounded salad: spicy arugula and toothsome wild rice are tossed with sweet-tart cherries, creamy feta, savory sautéed shallots, then drizzled with a light and simple balsamic vinaigrette.

  • 4 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup sliced shallots
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3 cups arugula
  • 1 1/2 cups cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice
  • 3/4 cup marinated feta (or regular feta, crumbled)

Directions: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the shallots, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden and soft, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Place the arugula in a large serving bowl. Toss with the cherries, wild rice, and sautéed shallots. Drizzle with the dressing and toss to coat. Top with the feta, and serve. Two meal-sized servings.

Star Recommends: Tres Ojos Rosado—Fresh, crisp and juicy Rose made of 50% Garnacha and 50% Tempranillo displaying beautiful strawberry and raspberry fruits.

Almond Butter Cake with Cherries
Adapted from
This is a decadent, beautiful cake. The almond cake complements cherries really nicely, but when they’re not in season, try using other stone fruit – plums might be especially nice.

  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing pan
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 cup ground almonds (or almond meal)
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted, and split in half
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. Demerara sugar (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350˚F. Generously butter a 10-inch springform pan, and set aside.

With a hand beater, or with a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed,and add the eggs one at a time, beating until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl regularly.

In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. In a medium bowl, sift together the ground almonds, flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add half of the flour to the butter mixture, beating until blended. Beat in the sour cream mixture. Add the remaining flour mixture, and stir until just combined.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Evenly top with the sliced cherries, then sprinkle with the slivered almonds. If using, finish with Demerara sugar. Bake for about 40 minutes, until lightly golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Let stand in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Gently run a sharp, thin knife between the edge of the pan and the cake and remove the rim. Serve warm or at room temperature. 12 servings.

Star Recommends: Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d’ Asti—A darling of a Moscato; fresh, sweet and delicate; lots of apricots and flowers here.

Tuscan Grilled Zucchini and Yellow Crookneck Squash
Adapted from Stefano Coppola’s recipe on
Summer squash soaks up the garlic, herbs, and lemon in this marinade like a sponge, and bursts with flavor after a quick turn on the grill. Use the extra marinade (you’ll have some leftover) to drizzle over a grain salad or to grill more vegetables.

  • 3 lemons
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 sprigs rosemary, fresh, chopped
  • 1 sprig oregano, fresh, chopped
  • 2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups olive oil
  • 3 zucchini, cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 3 yellow crookneck squash, cut into 1-inch rounds
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 red onions, unpeeled, sliced in half

Directions: Zest and juice the lemons, and combine in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the garlic, rosemary, oregano, crushed red pepper, and red wine vinegar. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Place the squash into a large resealable plastic bag*, pour the marinade into the bag, press out any air, and seal. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes, up to 3 hours.
If using wooden skewers and not metal ones, place in a shallow dish and cover in warm water to soak for 30 minutes. Prepare grill for cooking over medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat if using gas).

Remove squash from marinade (reserve the marinade) and thread onto skewers, spearing the rounds horizontally so that the cut sides will lie flat on the grill. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Place the unpeeled onion halves on the grill and allow to char, turning occasionally. Remove and place in a bowl, and cover with a plate to steam.

Grill the skewers, flipping them once, until squash is tender and lightly browned, 6-10 minutes. If you’re using a gas grill, cover while grilling.

Peel and slice the onions and place on a serving platter. Remove the squash from the skewers and toss with the onion. Season lightly with salt and pepper, drizzle with a tablespoon of reserved marinade, and serve. These are equally good at room temperature.

* Many people have better results using this plastic bag marinating method, but if you’d prefer not to use plastic, place the squash in a casserole dish, cover with marinade, and proceed with recipe. Serves 4.

Star Recommends: Waters Prelude—From the winemaker:“We call this wine our tweener wine. Its fermentedhalf in stainless steel and half in French oak, and it hits the middle ground between an austere Riesling or Pinot Gris type wine vs. the more richer, fuller Chardonnay-type wines perfectly.”

Cucumber Salad
Adapted from
Classic, cool, and refreshing, cucumber salads are a welcome summer side dish, and a nice counter to grilled meats.

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 2 Mediterranean cucumbers, partially peeled in long stripes
  • 4 small shallots, thinly sliced (crosswise)
  • black pepper

Directions: In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, and salt. Set aside. Slice the cucumber into 1/8-inch-thick rounds, and place in the bowl of vinegar dressing. Add the sliced shallots, and toss to combine. Season to taste with pepper and more salt. Chill in the refrigerator, then serve. Serves 6.

Star Recommends: Aveleda Vihno Verde: The Aveleda Vinho Verde brings fresh, tart fruit flavors and a light bodied to the palate, crisp and slight effervescent in the finish; a wonderful choice.

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