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Recipe and Drink Recommendations

Broccoli and Feta Pasta Sauce
Adapted from
This bright green sauce is creamy and tangy, and stirred into pasta is a great alternative to tomato sauce or pesto.

  • 1 lb. broccoli, trimmed and cut into florets
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 c. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1/2 c. feta cheese, divided
  • 1/4 c. water

Directions: Steam the broccoli until tender. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook until it begins to soften, then stir in the broccoli. Cook until the onion is translucent. Fold in the parsley, lemon juice and zest, and simmer for two minutes. Transfer to a blender or a food processor, and add 1/4 c. of the feta cheese and the water. Purée until smooth, adding a glug of olive oil and a little more water if it becomes too thick. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Stir into cooked pasta and serve. Top with rest of feta. Serves 4.

Star Recommends; Di Giovana Nero d’ Avola­—Bright plum color with shades of violet. Notes of cherry, plum, and wild berry lead to a fresh lively pallate.

Whole Grain Caramel Apple Hand Pies
Adapted from
These hand pies are a perfect use for the first local apples of the season. You’ll have extra caramel sauce left after making these: nice for spooning over ice cream (or eating out of the jar!).

  • 1 can coconut milk, full-fat, refrigerated overnight
  • 3/4 c. sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 c. whole-wheat flour
  • 1 c. spelt flour
  • 4 Tbs. sugar, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. coconut oil, melted
  • 12-14 Tbs. water, ice cold
  • 2 Tbs. tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
  • 2 tart apples, peeled, cored, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. almond milk

Directions: Begin by preparing caramel sauce. Scoop the thick, creamy coconut milk fat from the can, leaving the coconut water, and set in a small bowl. Pour the coconut water into a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in 1/2 c. of the sugar and bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes, whisking occasionally, then stir in 1 c. of the reserved coconut milk fat (you may have more or less than one cup, which is fine). Lower the heat to medium, and boil for 5 minutes, whisking every minute. If you had less than 1 c. of coconut milk fat, boil for an additional 2-3 minutes. Transfer the caramel sauce to a glass container and allow to cool, uncovered, Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

In a large bowl, whisk together the whole-wheat flour, spelt flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and salt. Drizzle in the coconut oil, a tablespoon at a time, and use your fingers to gently press the coconut oil into the flour. Continue using your fingers to mix for 30 seconds or so, until the mixture looks like sandy meal with a few large clumps. Transfer the bowl to the freezer for 15 minutes, then use your fingers again to break down any hard clumps of coconut oil. Drizzle in the water, about 1/4 c. (4 tablespoons) at a time, rubbing the water into the dough with your fingers, until you’ve added 3/4 c. of water. Add an additional tablespoon or two of water if the dough seems too dry. Gently knead the dough for just 10-15 seconds, taking care not to overwork it. Divide and flatten into two disks, and wrap in plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon of sugar, tapioca starch, and cinnamon.  In a medium bowl, toss the apples with lemon juice, then sprinkle with the sugar-tapioca starch mixture to evenly coat. Drizzle with 1/2 c. of the caramel sauce, and stir to coat. Transfer the mixture to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (note: if your caramel is very liquid, place in the freezer instead).

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

Sprinkle a clean countertop with flour. Unwrap one of the disks of dough and roll out to 1/8-inch thick. Use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to cut out rounds. Transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheet. Gather the dough scraps together and roll out to 1/4-inch thick, and cut out rounds. Top each 1/8-inch thick round with a spoonful of the caramel apple mixture. Gently stretch out the 1/4-inch thick rounds to make them a smidge larger, and use them to cover the apple filling. Press the edges of the rounds to seal, and use a fork to crimp. Trim the rounds if needed. Use a toothpick or sharp paring knife to poke holes in the top of each pie. Brush each one with almond milk and sprinkle with the last tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat process with the second batch of dough.  Makes 14-16 3-inch pies

Star Recommends: Grand Jauga Sauternes—Extremely fine, dried apricots, figs, tangerines, honey, notes of wood barely noticeable. An olfactory symphony that prepares royal mouth. The balance between sweetness and freshness is perfect.

Apple Strudel
Adapted from
This is a relatively traditional strudel recipe, delicious as is, but it lends itself to improvisation. For best results, make the apple filling the day before.

  • 5 lbs. peeled, halved, cored apples (5 lbs after peeling and coring), sliced into wedges, Gala or Golden Delicious
  • 4 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 2/3 c. raisins or currants
  • 4 Tbs. rum (optional)
  • 6 Tbs. butter, plus 1 cup, divided
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/2 c. chopped, toasted almonds (or walnuts)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • pinch salt
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 Tbs. sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 c. milk at room temperature
  • 3 cups breadcrumbs
  • powdered sugar

Directions: Place the apple wedges in a large bowl. Drizzle with lemon juice and toss to coat. Heat the rum, if using, to a simmer. Place the raisins in a bowl and cover with the hot rum. Set aside. Melt the 6 tablespoons of butter in a large, lidded pot. Add the apples with juices, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon zest. Cover the pot and allow to cook 12 minutes, then uncover and cook an additional 10-15 minutes until the liquid evaporates. Fold in the rum-soaked (or not) raisins into the apple mixture, then spread the filling out onto a sheet pan to cool.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle, combine the flour and salt. Whisk together the eggs and oil in a medium bowl. Pour the eggs and oil into a measuring cup and while whisking, add enough milk to reach the 1 1/4 c. line. With the mixer on low, pour the egg and milk mixture into the bowl with the flour. Mix until a shaggy dough comes together, then remove the paddle and switch to a dough hook. Knead until a smooth, elastic dough forms, about 2 minutes. Turn off the machine, form the dough into a ball, and turn it into a lightly oiled bowl. Let it sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour, and up to 2.

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Melt the remaining c. of butter in a small saucepan. Cover a large table with a clean sheet and dust it liberally with flour, rubbing the flour into the sheet where you’ll roll out the dough. Remove the dough from the bowl and use a paper towel to wipe off any excess oil. Place on the floured surface and dust with more flour. Use a rolling pin to roll it out to a 24-inch square. Brush the dough with melted butter, all the way to the edges. Gently tug the dough gently around the edges, very gently stretching it out. Use the palms of your hands to reach further underneath the dough to stretch out the center. If it starts to tear, move to a different area (don’t worry about small tears). You’ll want the dough to be thin enough to be able to see a printed page through it. When you’re ready to add the filling, trim of the outside edge with scissors or a sharp knife. Brush the sheet with butter again. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs onto the pastry near one edge in a long stripe, as wide or as narrow as you like. Top the breadcrumbs with the chopped nuts, then with the apple raisin filling.

Bring the edge of the sheet up and use the sheet to flip the edge of the dough over onto the filling. Gather up the sheet behind the strudel and repeat, over and over, until it’s all rolled up. Leaving about 2 inches on each end, trim the ends of any spare dough. Tuck the excess dough underneath the strudel. Transfer the strudel to a sheet pan, seam-side-down. You can bend the strudel, making a “U” or an “S” to make it fit the pan (if needed, you can use two pans side by side, but you’ll need help getting them in and out of the oven. Brush with more melted butter. Allow to rest for 15 minutes, then transfer to the oven and bake for 40 minutes until dark golden brown. Allow to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar, and slice and serve.  Note: For a video tutorial on assembling the strudel, go to:

Star Recommends: Donhoff Riesling—Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of green apples and jasmine flowers. In the mouth bright, crisp, and lovely green apple wet stones and white flowers crackle with bright acidity, and linger for a crisp, long finish.

Stir-fried Beef and Broccoli
Adapted from
This classic Chinese dish is quick to make, with deep, rich flavor from soy sauce, ginger, and rice wine. Serve over steamed white rice.

  • 3/4 lb. flank steak, cut into 2-inch-wide strips, 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. soy sauce or tamari, divided
  • 2 tsp. plus 1 Tbs. rice wine, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 Tbs. chicken broth
  • 2 Tbs. oyster sauce
  • 2 Tbs. peanut oil, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 12 oz. broccoli florets and stems, cut into 1/4-inch-thick pieces, blanched

Directions: In a large bowl, toss together the beef, 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of the rice wine, cornstarch, sesame oil, ginger, salt, and pepper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining tablespoon of rice wine, the chicken broth, oyster sauce, and remaining 2 teaspoons soy sauce. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of peanut sauce in a 12-inch wok or nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beef and accumulated juices, and cook in a single layer without stirring for 1 minute. Stir, then cook for 2 more minutes and transfer to a plate. Heat the last tablespoon of peanut oil over high heat and cook the onions about 2 minutes, until translucent. Add the broccoli and cook, stirring constantly, until heated through. Add the beef with its juices, and stir in the reserved bowl of sauce. Cook an additional 1 minute. Serve hot, with steamed rice.  Serves 4.

Star Recommends: Artezin Zinfandel—The color is bright crimson red with a violet hue. The aroma is very bright, showing fresh raspberry, boysenberry and pomegranate fruit, followed by classic zinny spice of nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper.

Roasted Broccoli Chickpea Burgers with Spicy Cashew Mayo
Adapted from
Topped with decadent dairy-free mayonnaise, these hearty broccoli burgers make a delicious meatless meal.

  • 1 large head of broccoli, chopped into florets (about 4 cups)
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 c. raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours, or overnight, drained
  • 3 Tbs. hot sauce, divided
  • 2 1/2 Tbs. hot water
  • 15 oz. chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 2 cups of cooked chickpeas)
  • 2 Tbs. flaxseed meal
  • 2 Tbs. vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (or regular if you don’t need these to be meat-free)
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/3 c. breadcrumbs
  • 4 hamburger buns, toasted

Directions: Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

Arrange the broccoli florets on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and set side to cool.

Make the cashew mayo by combining the cashews with 2 tablespoons of the hot sauce and the hot water in the bowl of a food processor. Process for a few minutes, scraping down the sides, until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Place the broccoli, chickpeas, flaxseed meal, Worcestershire sauce, the remaining tablespoon of hot sauce, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times until well-combined. Use a wooden spoon to fold in the breadcrumbs.

Shape the broccoli-chickpea mixture into 4 tightly-packed patties. Lightly coat a large skillet with olive oil over medium heat. Cook the patties about 6 minutes per side, until lightly golden-brown and cooked through.
Serve on the toasted buns, topped with cashew mayo. Serves 4.

Star Recommends: Yvon Mau Merlot—This Merlot boasts an intense red robe with flashes of deep crimson. The nose is elegant and expansive, with prominent red fruit aromas. Supple yet ample on the palate, and undeniably rich.

Fresh Fig and Mint Salad
Adapted from
This simple salad is worthy of a dinner party, but is so easy to make, it’s good for a casual weeknight dinner too.

  • 2 lbs. ripe figs, halved
  • 14 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • salt
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • 3 thin slices prosciutto, fat removed, torn into bite-sized pieces

Directions:: Place the figs on a serving platter and refrigerate for 1 hour in the coolest part of the refrigerator.
Smash half of the mint leaves and set in a medium bowl. Cover with the lemon juice and let sit for 20-30 minutes. Discard the leaves. Stir the salt into the bowl of lemon juice until it dissolves. Very slowly, while whisking, pour in the heavy cream, just a little at a time. Taste and add salt if needed.

Arrange the prosciutto over the figs, and drizzle with the cream sauce. Top with the remaining mint leaves. 5 large servings

Star Recommends: Lustau Amontillado—Naturally dry and soft, its palate gives a hint of wood and smoky raisins. A powerful and distinctive nutty bouquet. A better Amontillado would be difficult to find.

Quinoa and Fig Salad
Adapted from
This is a hearty salad with an unexpected and satisfying combination of ingredients.

  • 2 c. quinoa, rinsed
  • 3 c. water
  • 1 c. chopped fennel bulb
  • 1/2 c. chopped green onions
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh dill
  • 2 medium apples, cored and diced
  • 1 c. sliced fresh figs
  • 1/2 c. toasted slivered almonds
  • 3 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. fennel seeds
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions: Combine quinoa and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, the stir, cover, reduce heat to low, and let cook, undisturbed, until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and chill.

In a large serving bowl, toss together the fennel, green onion, dill, figs, apples and almonds. Add the cooled quinoa and gently toss to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegars, olive oil, fennel seeds, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the quinoa salad and toss to coat. Serve. 8 servings.

Star Recommends; Altes Garnatxa Negra: Bright crimson in colour, this wine is very expressive with notes of red fruits and minerals that leap from the glass. Plenty of fruit on the palate, a touch of complexity and sweet tannins.

Seared Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Broccoli
Adapted from
Sautéed spiced pork tenderloin with broccoli, apples, shallots, and bracing apple cider tastes just like fall. Served with a simple green salad and some good bread, it’s the perfect meal for a cool autumn evening.

  • 1 pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 2 apples, thinly sliced
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 lb. broccoli, cut into small florets
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions: In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, and salt and pepper. Sprinkle both sides of the pork with the spice mixture.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the pork for 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through and browned on both sides. Transfer to a plate and cover.

Melt the butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the shallots for 2 minutes, until they begin to soften. Stir in the apples and broccoli, and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Add the apple cider and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Return the cooked pork to the skillet, and cook for another minute, until heated through and the flavors mingle. Serve immediately. 4 servings

Star Recommends: Domaine LaFage Cuvee Nicolas—100% Grenache that spent six months in barrel, on lees, prior to being bottle unfiltered. It offers up a forward, mid-weight, sexy feel in its kirsch, dried herbs, earth and spring-flower-driven bouquet.


Braised Chicken with Tart Apples and Calvados
Adapted from
Three forms of apples (apple brandy, apple cider vinegar, and crisp Granny Smith apples) infuse this chicken with intense apple flavor.

  • 1/4 c. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 lb. shiitake mushrroms, stems discarded, caps sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 4-lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. flour
  • 1/4 c. Calvados
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. caraway seeds
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbs. cold unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh chives

Directions: Preheat oven to 350˚F.  In a large, deep, ovenproof skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

Heat the last two tablespoons of oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and place skin-side-down in the skillet, and cook about 4 minutes, until the skin-side is browned, Flip and brown the other side, about 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate, and pour off all but two tablespoons of fat from the skillet. Cook the chopped apples in the skillet over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes, until browned. Stir in the shallots and garlic and reduce heat to low. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Stir in the flour, then the Calvados. Cook for 1 minute. Stir in the chicken stock, apple cider vinegar, caraway seeds, and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer.

Return the chicken pieces, skin-side-up, to the skillet with any juices. Braise the chicken in the oven for 20 minutes, until the breast meat is just cooked, and transfer the breast pieces to a large (ovenproof) platter. Continue to cook the rest of the chicken for 10 minutes. Add to the platter and keep warm.

Boil the pan juices with the apples over medium-high heat until it begins to thicken, 5-6 minutes. Fold in the cooked mushrooms. Remove skillet from heat, and stir in the butter, a tablespoon at a time. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper and stir in half of the chives. Serve the chicken with the sauce spooned over it, and garnish with the remaining chives. Serves 4.

Star Recommends: Domaine LaFage Cuvee Centenaire—Jeb Dunnuck of The Wine Advocate sums it up pretty well saying, “It’s a year in, year out, spectacular value that should not be missed.” 

Fresh Fig and Date Smoothie
Adapted from
This thick, date-sweetened smoothie is an excellent way to enjoy fresh figs when they’re in season.

  • 4 ripe figs
  • 2 plump Medjool dates
  • 1/2 c. orange juice (or almond milk)
  • 4 ice cubes

Directions: Blend all the ingredients in a blender until frothy and creamy Pour into a glass and serve immediately. Serves 1.

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