Wine and cheese

Say “Cheese” – Fall 2015 Wine & Cheese Pairings

Puppy Love

2013 with 2-Year Aged Gouda

Semi-Hard, Pasteurized, Cow’s Milk – Netherlands

By now, you probably think that I must love this cheese. While that may be true, you see it featured in my pairings a lot because my wines and this cheese actually love each other. This is the same cheese that paired well with Cheap Date last spring; however, as Cheap Date started to age, the flavor dynamics changed and so I changed the pairing for Cheap Date. If you come do a private tasting, or an in-home wine/cheese pairing, you can find out what that is. But back to Puppy Love and Gouda – this is a great pairing right now. I think you’ll find that many young, fruity red
wines like Puppy Love with great balance, acidity and low alcohol will go well with this cheese.

The 2-year Gouda is smooth and creamy, which counter-balances the bright acidity of the 2013 Puppy Love (like many of the Puppy Loves before it.)


Just right chili

Becky’s Goldilocks Chili con Carne – It’s just right!

If you missed the Harvest Birthday Bash/pickup party, you also missed out tasting my chili. Over the years, I’ve tried many different chili recipes, trying to find the right one. This one is the result of all of those trials and tribulations. Some have been too hot, some not tomato-y enough, but this one is just right! Everyone loved it so I decided to feature it as the recipe for the fall wine club newsletter. I served it with yellow corn muffins, and a topping bar including cheddar cheese, onions and sour cream.

For me, cooking is like therapy and cooking comfort food only adds to the therapeutic process. There’s nothing better than cooking up some chili for weekend football festivities, winter cookouts and barbecues, or just to have with burgers or a hot dog. If you’re not cooking for a crowd, just freeze the leftovers and you’ll get several great meals.

The ingredient list may look intimidating but it’s really very easy! So grease up your frying pan and let the chili games begin!!READ MORE

Wine and cheese

Say “Cheese” – Spring 2015 Wine & Cheese Pairings

Puppy Love with BellaVitano Basil Asiago

Semi-Soft, Pasteurized, Cow’s Milk – Wisconsin

In this pairing, the wine and cheese are both moderate intensity and the creaminess of the cheese marries well with the medium tannins. Basil is a symbol of love in present-day Italy, and its sweet romance with this savory Asiago is a timeless match. At least six months of careful aging prepares the Asiago wheels to be hand-rubbed with basil and extra-virgin olive oil for a flavor that is both unique and award winning. When paired with Puppy Love, the herbaceous notes of the wine marry harmoniously with the Basil. We invite you to live vicariously through this passionate union.



Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Roasted Red Peppers and Portabella Mushrooms

I love Chevré (goat cheese) and am always looking for ways to serve it. (Someday I dream about writing a goat cheese cookbook but that will probably have to wait for my next life.) These are great as appetizers or serve them with a salad for a nice, vegetarian meal.

1 package softened cracker bread (I use the pre-softened brand from Trader Joe’s)
11 oz. package Chevré (keep chilled so it’s easier to crumble)
3 roasted red bell peppers
3 Portabella mushrooms
8 oz. jack cheese (grated) – Use more if you want them cheesier
Olive oil for basting

Arugula and orange salad

Eye-Opening Salad

Arugula citrus salad with Pacific Spice Orange Vinaigrette – paired with NOONER – 2012 Picpoul Blanc

You have to use your own hand and imagination for this one. No measurements necessary. For a nicer presentation, I like to individually plate my salads and layer the ingredients. But if you like flavors infused; put all ingredients in a bowl (except cheese) and TOSS (sprinkle cheese on last). SERVE! Paired with Nooner, your friends will think you’re a genius.

Roast turkey

Roast Turkey

Herbed Salt

½ C + 1 T coarse Kosher salt
1 ½ t dried Rosemary
1 ½ t dried Thyme
1 t Black Peppercorns, crushed
1 t Bay Leaves, coarsely torn
1 t Lemon Peel, freshly grated

Combine first six ingredients in small bowl and crush herbs finely. (Can be made up to 1 week ahead. Cover and store at room temperature.) Stir in fresh lemon peel before using.

Cover of Cellar Notes Fall/Winter 2014 edition

Cellar Notes Fall/Winter 2014

We have a nice ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ story, wine and cheese pairings and gift ideas in the Fall/Winter 2014 edition of Cellar Notes.

Fig and goat cheese salad

The Simply Irresistible Fig & Goat Cheese Salad

Either Puppy Love or Irresistible will work with this salad but I find it more enticing with Irresistible. A recipe I gleaned from Martha and then personalized to call my own.

¾ cup Walnut halves (3 oz) roasted*
1 T Dijon mustard
2 T Balsamic vinegar
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
5 T Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
8-10 oz Baby spinach
4 oz.  Chevre (fresh goat cheese) crumbled
8-10 Fresh figs (I prefer Mission), halved


Vegetable turkey sculpture

The Incredible, Edible Vegetable Turkey

An original recipe from Becky

I’ve been making this Turkey centerpiece for more than 30 years now and he’s always the star of the show. Every year I mix it up with different vegetables and lettuces to give each centerpiece a unique personality. Feel free to take creative license and add your own style. And PLEASE…if you make one, please take a picture and post it on our Facebook page (include link) with your own turkey tale. If you have any questions, send me an email or call our turkey hotline (aka office) at (805) 434-2772.


Salmon on cedar plank

Grilled Cedar Planked Salmon

Cedar BBQ Planks (can be found at most hardware stores — Lowe’s, Home Depot or online)
Whole Fresh Salmon, Filets or Steaks (without skin)
Fresh Dill
Olive Oil (I used Olea Farms Lemon Olive Oil)
Fresh Ground Pepper
Course Salt (Kosher or Sea Salt)