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RECIPES AND DRINK RECOMMENDATIONS

Peach and Parma Ham Salad

Adapted from www.houseandgarden.co.uk.

This salad needs perfectly ripe peaches—slightly soft, and very fragrant. The recipe is written to  serve four as a side, but would be a nice main dish for two.

6 large ripe peaches

8 slices Parma ham

2 oz. tender salad greens

4 Tbs. olive oil

1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/3 c. toasted pine nuts

Directions: Divide the peaches among 4 plates, and top each plate with 2 slices of ham. Place the greens in a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard until combined. Drizzle enough dressing over the greens to lightly dress them. Toss to coat. 

Divide the salad between the plates and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts. Serve with more dressing on the side. 4 servings

Star Recommends: Jean De Roze Sauvignon Blanc: A clear yellow color with reflections of green, bouquet earthy, a distinct and lasting taste in the mouth, well balanced. Sauvignon Blanc is hugely popular. Crisp, dry, and refreshing.

Peach Sangria with Cava

Adapted from www.winefolly.com.

When peaches are in season and the days are still long and sweltering, pour yourself a chilled glass of this refreshing sangria. 

1/4 c. brandy

1 lemon, juiced

2-3 Tbs. sugar

3 large peaches, pitted, cut into cubes

2 cups ice cubes

1 750ml bottle of Cava (or Prosecco, or a dry, zesty Torrontes or Chenin Blanc)

Directions: Pour brandy, lemon juice and sugar into a pitcher. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add the peaches and the ice. Add the Cava, give it a stir, and serve immediately. 4 servings

Star Recommends: Cristalino  Cava Brut:  Fresh, toasty nose, beautiful citrus, green apple and mineral flavors, supple, lively mouth-feel, and clean, crisp finish make it the ultimate celebratory wine.

Roasted Peach Sherbet

Adapted from www.alwayswithbutterblog.com.

Roasting the peaches for this sherbet will intensify their flavor and sweetness.

7-8 ripe peaches, quartered, pitted

1 lemon, zested and juiced

3/4 c. sugar

1 c. heavy cream

Directions: Preheat oven to 400ºFArrange the peaches skin-side down on a baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes. Place the peaches, lemon zest and lemon juice, sugar and heavy cream in the pitcher of a blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a container and chill in the refrigerator until completely cool, about 60 minutes. Churn in an ice cream maker, and freeze in a freezer-safe container until set. Let sit at room temperature about 10 minutes, then scoop into bowls and enjoy. Makes 1 quart.

Star Recommends: Avinyo Cava Rosé Brut: Bright red fruits combine with toast notes. On the palate the wine is fresh and vibrant with light spicy elements.

Grilled Peaches with Mint Pesto

Adapted from www.loveandlemons.com.

This savory side dish goes nicely with grilled meats or kebabs, when it’s so hot out that you don’t want to turn on the stove. The mint and basil pesto is a unique accompaniment that you’ll want to make again and again.

2 peaches, firm but ripe, sliced into 6 wedges each

2 tsp. olive oil, plus 1/4 cup, divided

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

2 c. arugula, or other tender greens

1/2 c. packed fresh mint

1/2 c. packed fresh basil 

1/4 c. pine nuts, toasted (or walnuts)

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

1 lemon, zested and juiced

red pepper flakes

salt

pepper

Directions: Toss the peaches with 2 teaspoons of the oil, balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of salt. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium and brush with oil. Place the peach wedges on the grill, and cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes on each side, until grill marks appear and the peaches are heated through. Transfer to a dish and allow to cool to room temperature.

Combine the mint and basil in the bowl of a food processor. Add the 1/4 cup of olive oil, toasted pine nuts, chopped garlic, lemon juice, and lemon zest, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth. If the pesto seems too dry, add a bit of water, a teaspoon at a time.

Toss the arugula with a drizzle of olive oil and arrange on a serving platter. Top with the grilled peaches, dollops of the mint pesto, and serve. Serves 4.

Star Recommends: Bongiovanni Arneis: Light straw yellow in color; delicate fruit aromas of pear and white peach evolve into complex floral notes with hints of aniseed, confirmed on the palate.

Sweet Onion-Marinated Skirt Steak

Adapted from www.bonappetit.com.

This marinade, though light on ingredients, packs a punch that makes flavorful, tender steak every time.

1 sweet onion, small, coarsely grated

2 Tbs. light brown sugar

1 Tbs. white vinegar

1 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for the grill

1 1/4 lbs. skirt steak

salt

pepper

2 Tbs. minced chives

Directions: You can use a deep casserole dish or a large resealable plastic bag to marinate the beef. Combine the onion, brown sugar, vinegar and oil in either the dish or the bag. Sprinkle the steak generously with salt and pepper, and add it to the dish or the bag. Turn to coat in marinade, and let it sit for at least 20 minutes, or refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

Heat a grill to high, and lightly oil the grate. Pat the steak dry and set on the grill. Cook 2-3 minutes per side, turning it just once, until browned and medium-rare. 

Let sit on a cutting board for 10 minutes. Slice thinly and serve sprinkled with salt and minced chives. Serves 4.

Star Recommends: Vina Sastre Roble: Lots of flowers on the nose, particularly violets and lavender, and also some roasted coffee notes. Smooth with mellow tannins, this wine is savory and lightly smoky. The finish is long and mineral with an iron quality.

Avocado and Sweet Onion Salad

Adapted from Gourmet, August 1999.

This salad is so good alongside anything grilled. Its dressing has a healthy kick from jalapenos, but the creamy avocado and sweet onion work to balance it out. 

3 limes

2 jalapeno chiles, coarsely chopped

1/3 c. olive oil

1 1/2 tsp. sugar

salt

pepper

1 large sweet onion

4 avocados

1 c. packed fresh cilantro sprigs

Directions: Squeeze 1/4 cup of juice from the limes. Place the lime juice, chiles, olive oil, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste in a blender. Purée until smooth. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed. 

Slice the onion in half through the stem and slice thinly crosswise. Cut avocados in half, remove pits, then slice in half again lengthwise. Peel and slice lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Arrange the avocado, onion, and cilantro on a serving platter. Drizzle the dressing on top, and serve. Makes 4 generous servings.

Star Recommends: Nisia Rueda Verdejo: Pungent aromas of mustard, lees and citrus peel set up a slightly oily feeling palate. This tastes of salty citrus fruits, orange in particular. A solid, acidic finish is fresh for the most part but with a skin-driven texture.

Sweet Onion and Corn Quinoa Fritters with Corn and Basil Salad

Adapted from www.food52.com.

Savor the last of the summer’s bounty with this produce-heavy meal. Bonus—it’s vegan, and you can make it gluten-free with a 1:1 swap of gluten-free flour for the all-purpose.

1 c. uncooked quinoa, rinsed well and drained

2 Tbs. flaxseed meal

6 Tbs. boiling water

2 ears fresh corn, shucked, divided

1/2 c.  loosely packed minced fresh basil, plus 1/2 cup loosely packed torn fresh basil, divided

1/3 c. finely minced sweet onion, plus 1/4 c., divided

1/2 c. all-purpose flour

2 Tbs. nutritional yeast, optional

2 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. crushed red pepper

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. lime juice

2 tsp. olive oil

neutral oil for frying

Directions: Place the quinoa in a saucepan over medium-high heat and toast, stirring constantly, for 4-5 minutes, until fragrant. Add two cups of water and bring to a boil. Stir, reduce the heat to very low, cover, and cook 12-15 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Uncover and let cool completely before continuing with the recipe.

In a small bowl, whisk the flaxseed meal with the 6 Tbs. boiling water. Set aside and let cool completely.

Use a box grater over a large bowl to grate the kernels from one of the ears of corn. The grated corn will be very mushy. Add the cooled quinoa to the bowl of corn, plus the 1/3 cup of minced onion, 1/2 cup of minced basil, flour, nutritional yeast, salt, crushed red pepper and paprika. Stir to combine, being careful not to over mix. Stir in the cooled flax mixture. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. 

Use a tablespoon to scoop out the fritter dough. Make small patties, dusting your hands with a little flour if the dough seems sticky. Set the fritters on a baking sheet or dish while you make the salad. 

Use a sharp, heavy knife to slice off the kernels from the remaining ear of corn. Place in a mixing bowl. Fold in the 1/2 cup of torn basil and the remaining 1/4 cup of minced sweet onion. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, lime juice and olive oil. Pour the dressing over the corn and basil salad and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Set aside.

Place a few layers of paper towels on a dish. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the fritters in batches for 3-4 minutes per side, until golden-brown and crispy, adding more oil as needed. Set them on the paper towel-lined plate as you cook them. 

Serve the fritters with the corn and basil salad. Serves 4.

Star Recommends: Mondeco Dao Tinto: This complex wine offers notes of black cherry, raspberry liqueur, strawberry compote, cocoa, leather and cardamom. Very smooth, very yummy.

Sweet Onion Poppyseed Dressing

Adapted from www.thenourishinggourmet.com.

A versatile dressing that pairs well with all kinds of salad—from a vegetable-heavy green salad to fruit salad to sliced grilled chicken over arugula or spinach. Using a blender will result in a characteristically creamy, pale dressing, but whisking works too.

1/2 sweet onion, grated on a box grater

1 Tbs. brown mustard or Dijon mustard

1 tsp. salt

1/4 c. honey

1/3 c. apple cider vinegar

3/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbs. poppyseeds

Directions: Combine the onion, mustard, honey, salt and vinegar in a blender and purée until creamy (see note). Drizzle in the olive oil and continue to blend until combined and smooth. Pour into a jar or cruet and add the poppyseeds, giving it a stir or gentle shake to combine. Keeps covered and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Note: You can use a bowl and a whisk instead—the dressing won’t be quite as creamy, but still delicious.  Makes 1 1/3 cups.

Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Lemons and Capers

Adapted from www.blue-kitchen.com

1 chicken, 3 1/2-4 lbs.

salt

black pepper

2 lemons

1 sprig of fresh rosemary, plus 2 Tbs. of rosemary leaves

olive oil

12 small red potatoes, scrubbed and halved

1 medium onion, peeled, halved and thickly sliced

2 Tbs. capers, drained

Directions: Preheat oven to 450ºF. Remove giblets from chicken and reserve for another use, if you like. Rinse chicken inside and out; pat dry with paper towels. Season the inside with salt and pepper. Slice one of the lemons in half and place in the cavity, squeezing the lemon to release some juice. Use the side of a heavy knife to smoosh the rosemary sprig, and add it to the cavity. Rub the outside of the chicken with some olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Lightly grease a skillet or shallow roasting dish with olive oil. Set the chicken breast-up in the pan and roast for 20 minutes. 

Place the potatoes in a mixing bowl and toss with olive oil, rosemary leaves, and salt and pepper. Slice the remaining lemon into thick slices and drizzle them with olive oil.

Reduce heat to 375ºF. Arrange the potatoes around the chicken. Return to the oven and roast for an additional 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and arrange the sliced lemon, onion and capers around it. Continue to roast for another 25 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (away from bone) reads 165ºF, and the juices run clear.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let sit for 5 minutes before carving. Arrange the chicken and roasted vegetables, lemon and capers on a serving dish. Serve warm. Serves 4.

Star Recommends: Mercer Estate Chardonnay: This elegant Chardonnay opens with aromas of fresh green and golden apples, pears,  vanilla and lemon. The body is full and lush with a clean, smooth finish.

Gorgonzola Scalloped Potatoes

Adapted from www.biscuitsandsuch.com.

These scalloped potatoes are a decadent twist on a classic, with tangy and buttery gorgonzola layered with thinly-sliced potatoes, heavy cream, garlic and three other kinds of cheese.

8 medium red potatoes, washed and sliced into 1/8-inch slices, divided into 3 piles

1 c. gorgonzola cheese

2 c. grated mozzarella

1/2 c. grated Parmesan

1/2 c. grated Asiago

2 c. heavy cream

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp. salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Arrange a layer of overlapping potatoes in a medium casserole dish. Top with 1/2 of the gorgonzola and about 1/3 of the mozzarella. Arrange a 2nd layer of potatoes over the cheese, then add the rest of the gorgonzola and another 1/3 of the mozzarella. Arrange the remaining potatoes in a final layer, then sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella on top, followed by the Parmesan, Asiago, salt and crushed red pepper flakes.

In a small heavy saucepan, whisk together the heavy cream and minced garlic over medium-high heat. Bring just to a boil, but then immediately remove from heat. Add the cream to the dish of potatoes, pouring it around the perimeter of the baking dish so you don’t disturb the layers.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown. Let rest for 15 minutes at room temperature before serving. Serves 6.

 

Star Recommends: Sassoregale Sangiovese: Its color is a bright ruby red. On the nose, it is clean and precise, with hints of morello cherries, wild berries and a moderate spiciness. On the palate it reveals a full-bodied, assertive flavor, which expresses both great intensity and elegance.

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