Saturday, April 29, 2017

French Food, California Style

French recipes are my favorite to prepare for some reason. I think it's the savory flavors... I love Allspice, Herbes de Provence, and lavender. This time I prepared a repeat dish, Tourtiere. The meal just seemed so old-fashioned and elegant, I dug out my wedding china from the eighties. It fit just right.

California Caviar (Sturgeon)
Creme Fraiche

Baked Brie
et Craquelins

Spiralized Zucchini, Carrots, and
Tomatoes with Olives Oil Spritz
and Truffle Salt.

Sherry Tomato

Tourtiere with Sauce Aux
Champignons (Mushrooms)
Puree de Pomme de Terre
(Creamed Potatoes)

Glace a la Vanille Avec
Puree de Mangue (Mango)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Valentines at the Shetler's

These people crack me up! The dinner was thrown together because they were short on time... Check out this menu! It would take me months to come up with food like this (3 to be exact) and it wouldn't taste as good :)

Let's start by saying the wine competition was white wine. White wine? Mark said the food was too light to pair with red, so white it was.


Salmon Dip on Hearts of Celery,
Cheddar Pennies,
Shrimp Cakes (I'm allergic to shellfish) with Red Pepper Spread,


I don't know what it's called, but it was yummy


Corn Crab Chowder (and Shrimp Chowder for me) with Avocado Chunks and Cilantro Puree, 
Sourdough Garlic Bread,


Lemon Mousse with Raspberries


1st Wades with Tamber Bay, Chardonnay, 2014

2nd Shetlers with Lambert Bridge, Viognier, 2014

3rd Gilberts with Rombauer, Chardonnay, 2015

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Un Assaggio di Toscana at the Wade's

Look at this beautiful Tuscany table setting! The Wades produced a lovely night of delicious wine and food paired with friendship. They called for an Italian wine for the competition. Check out this menu!

Assortimento di salume e formaggi con i cracker
Olive e peperoni
Pate' di fegato Toscano con bruschetta

Pappa al pomodoro

Ragu' di manzo brasato con pappardelle

Insalata di arancia e finocchio

Biscotti al cioccolato con pistacchi
Biscotti arancia e ricotta

We finally won the competition! It's been a long time. Joe and I brought a Sicilian wine--Mario Ercolino, Saserello, 2013. Second was Renieri, Brunello di Montalcino, 2011. Third was Modus, Ruffino, 2012

Friday, December 16, 2016

California Dinner (Celebrating Cheese)

It always takes me forever to post our own dinner party, especially if we lost the wine competition... which we did :(  But it was still a blast! Joe and I had been gone for a month down in Puerto Escondido (check out my travel blog:, and our dinner was scheduled for the Friday after we got home. Less than a week! So that's my excuse for making my fall-back spaghetti. I called for Zinfandel.

Cheese Drizzled with Olive Oil
Black Finger-Olives
Crunchy Parmesan Wafers
Marcona Almonds & Dates

First Course:
Caprese Salad

Main Course:
Roasted Carrots,
Spaghetti with Spicy Meatballs,
Olive Cheese Bread

New York Style Cheesecake with Kona/Caramel Sauce and Berries

Wine competition:
Wades 1st place with Opolo, Mountain Zin, 2014 (Paso Robles)
Gilberts 2nd with Dobra Zemla, Zin, 2014 (Amador)
Shetlers 3rd with the prettiest bottle of Poizin, Zin 2013 (Sonoma)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

A Visit to Peru at the Shetler's

I just don't know how these people do it? Mark had a procedure to his shoulder the week of their dinner party, yet he still managed to prepare a feast (with a lot of help from Melissa of course). She'd given him a Peruvian cookbook for a present, so there ya go... he made a Peruvian dinner. Naturally that called for a Cabernet Sauvignon from South America :)

This time we did something a little different. We brought our house-guests from Italy, Gianluca and Egle. We don't usually have additional guests at our parties, and this is the first time we invited them to compete... they came in second place!!!

We started with Chilcanos:
Chilcano de Pisco and Sauvignon Blanc (no photo)

Then we had three different types of Ceviche:
Ceviche Clasico
Ceviche de Mango
Ceviche de Champinones

Then an Aperitivo:
Pastel de Chocio

Plato Principal:
Papas Rellenas
Pechugas de Pollo con Salsa de Quinua
Ensalada de Vegetales

Alfajor Clasico con Dulce de Leche
Helado de Canela y Coco

1st - Cruz Alta 2012, Argentina (Wades)
2nd - Medalla Real 2012, Chile (Fersinis)
3rd - de Gras 2013, Chile (Gilberts)
4th - Mascota Vineyards 2013, Argentina (Shetlers)

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Texas BBQ at the Wade's

My mouth was watering in anticipation of this one, and I wasn't disappointed. But first we had to be properly welcomed to the Wade Family Ranch by their 4 year old granddaughter, Mina. She had us sign in on her Frozen magnetic drawing board, then she escorted us outside to the "dining area."

They had called for a Red Wine Blend so I dragged one from the cellar from the cabin :)

Rustic Cheese Board with Assorted Crackers
Texas Sweet Tea (This was a cool idea of putting the tea in mason jars with the lids on, in a bucket of ice... clever)
DWs Texas Smoked Brisket
Mom's Potato Salad
Southern Coleslaw with Granny Smith Apples
Mom's Best Baked Beans
Sweet Corn Bread
Sloughhouse Corn-on-the-Cob
Ol' Fashioned Peach Cobbler A La Mode with Haagen Daz Vanilla Ice Cream

The Shetler's won with a bottle of One Armed Man  The Wades came in second with their favorite wine, Stephanie. We trailed in last with Hatcher Meritage. That tells you how good the wine was if a Hatcher came in last!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Gilbert's Garden Party

We’ve been working feverishly on our backyard garden for months. We let it die during the drought and decided to create a happy space for us to sit and visit. This dinner party was a celebration of the (almost) finished product.
We started with cheese from Carmel-by-the-Sea, crackers, grapes, nectarines, and this really cool bread-cake thing made out of figs and nuts, and we opened a lovely Sobon Estate, 2013 Tannat for pre-competition.
The next appetizer was bite-size chunks of barbecued tri-tip
Dinner was a potato bar with big fat Russets (chives, maple bacon, shredded cheese, butter and sour cream)
And barbecued ribs and chicken thighs to go with the potato
Dessert was a slice of New York style cheesecake surrounded with seasonal raspberries and blackberries

I called for a petite verdot, but it was too difficult for them so I settled for a blend with petite verdot. Sadly the strength of one of the blends arm-wrestled and won, but we came in second! The Pessimist, 2013 red blend out of Paso Robles from the Wade’s came in first, our Modus Operandi, (one of my favorite wineries) 2012 petite verdot came in second, and the Shetler’s Justin, 2013 red wine out of Paso Robles came in third. They were all super yummy.