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California Wine Country Cooking

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CALIFORNIA WINE COUNTRY COOKING is a collection of traditional, classical and contemporary recipes using wine. The book contains information about California wineries, restaurants, lodging and tourist sights. California sketches by artist Gordon Evans add to the attraction of this book. 

Forward

I’ve known Betty Evans for more years than either one of us probably cares to remember. I was extremely honored to be asked to write this forward. Betty has always been a big supporter of my partner, Robert Bell and my restaurants, and we have been, in turn, big supporters of her many wonderful cookbooks. I was especially honored to write the forward to this cookbook since it is about a subject very dear to my heart.

Coming to California in 1977 after working for a restaurant group in London, England, I began working in California three days after I arrived, opening a new restaurant. Never having been taught anything about California wines, I decided to do a little self-teaching. Most everything in the wine shops was very average and mostly in jugs.

Having no idea there was even a “wine country” in California, I started putting together a wine list for this new restaurant. My only salvation came in asking several knowledgeable people for help. I was introduced to wines from Robert Mondavi, Rutherford Hill, Parducci, and Sterling. I discovered grapes I had never even heard of, like Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay. I grew up with European wines like Pouilly Fuisse, Chianti and Chateau Latour. I had never tasted California sparkling wines; I only knew Champagne.

It quickly became clear that there was real quality in these California wines. I developed a deep need to go and see Napa Valley and Sonoma County and experience what this California Wine Country was all about. I, like many before me, immediately fell in love with the countryside, the grapes, the people and the lifestyle. As the restaurants which I was involved with grew, so did my interest in wine lists and California wines. I became a California wine groupie. Every time I visit the California Wine Country I feel like I am coming home. The sense of countryside and returning to nature is so calming and relaxing, especially to someone living in Los Angeles. Some of the most exciting evenings I’ve experienced have been at the homes of winemakers or at restaurants in the wine country where this camaraderie of drinking wine and eating good food come together.

My love for food and my love for wine have made me a natural to enjoy the marvelous region of the California Wine Country which has so expertly blended the two. California cuisine came out of the northern California area. Certainly Alice Waters of Chez Panisse and Jeremiah Towers, then at the Ventana Inn, started the top-quality production of regional cuisine. Can you imagine anything better than Petaluma duck, the cheeses of Sonoma or the cheeses of Laura Chenel, not to mention the wonderful olive oils now produced all over California? Match these with the wondrous selection of California wines. It has all come together here in Betty’s book. You cannot doubt that California Wine Country Cooking will introduce you to some of the finest cuisine in the world.

Michael Franks Owner Chez Melange Restaurant Redondo Beach, California

Tabs Title

INTRODUCTION

COOKING WITH WINE CHEERS TO MARY FRANCES KENNEDY FISHER, PICKLED SEEDLESS GRAPES

APPETIZERS

HARASZTHY HUNGARIAN CHEESE SPREAD, GENERAL VALLEJO GUACAMOLE, VINELAND STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES (Dolmas) , HOLIDAY TACO TART, PICNIC SPINACH PIE

SOUPS

WINE LACED SPLIT PEA SOUP, MISSION ALBONDIGAS SOUP, NAPA VALLEY MINESTRONE, WINE FLAVORED ONION SOUP, VENETIAN CELERY, RICE AND SAUSAGE SOUP, RUNNING STREAM WATERCRESS SOUP

FISH

SPRING SALMON WITH CUCUMBER SAUCE, SEA BASS IN AN EASY WINE SAUCE, PARTY FISH KEBABS, SOLE WITH FRESH GRAPES, VALLEY TROUT WITH MUSHROOMS,

POULTRY

NAPA CHICKEN CACCIATORA, CHICKEN IN RED WINE SAUCE (Coq au vin), FIESTA CHICKEN ENCHILADAS, DINNER PARTY ROMAN CHICKEN, NANA’S GUMBO,

MEAT DISHES

WINE BRAISED BEEF ROAST, CLASSIC BEEF BURGUNDY, YOSEMITE CAMPFIRE CHILI, RUSSIAN RIVER CABBAGE ROLLS, ROMAN PICNIC FLAT MEATBALLS, CARNITAS WITH SALSA, CHOUCROUTE GARNI (Sauerkraut garnished with sausages and meats)

PASTA AND RICE

CHICKEN AND PASTA CASSEROLE, SYLVIA SEBASTIANI’S SPAGHETTI SAUCE, RICE WITH SOUR CREAM AND CHILES, WHITE WINE MACARONI AND CHEESE, SICILIAN EGGPLANT SAUCE FOR PASTA

SALADS

STERLING VINEYARDS BABY ROMAINE SALAD with parmesan curls, SUNSHINE ORANGE SALAD, HOLLYWOOD COBB SALAD, PROVENÇAL ONION SALAD, WINTER PEAR AND ENDIVE SALAD, SYLVIA SEBASTIANIS BEAN AND TUNA SALAD 

VEGETABLES

RHINELAND RED CABBAGE, DELICATO VINEYARDS BROCCOLI, BURBANK WINE SCALLOPED POTATOES, CALIFORNIA CARROTS, DELICATO’S MARINATED ONIONS

DESSERTS

LAKE COUNTRY POACHED PEARS, GUENOC BROWNIES from Karen MelanderMagoon, GUENOC BROWNIES from Jackie, R.L. STEVENSON OATMEAL COOKIES, JENNY’S WHITE WINE WEDDING CAKE,

VISITING CALIFORNIA WINE COUNTRY

VISITING WINERIES, CALIFORNIA WINE COUNTRY SIGHTS, PLACES TO SPEND THE NIGHT, CALIFORNIA WINE COUNTRY RESTAURANTS

CHICKEN IN RED WINE SAUCE

(Coq au vin)

Red wine is what makes this dish so flavorful and lusty, in contrast to delicate white wine poultry recipes. The chicken pieces are slowly baked in the red wine sauce, and the flavor will improve if it’s made a day ahead. This is a perfect dish for a party, served with boiled potatoes to soak up the juices and a fresh green salad. A Merlot or burgundy is a good choice for the cooking and may also be served with the dinner.

2 chickens, about 3 lbs each, cut in serving pieces
flour for coating the chicken
6 T butter plus Ž T cooking oil
1/4 lb. diced ham (or lean uncooked bacon)
1/4 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
18 small boiling onions, peeled
1 tsp thyme, dried or fresh
salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup brandy or cognac
4 cups dry red wine, plus more if needed

Pat the chicken dry and dredge in the flour. Heat the butter and oil in a large oven casserole. Add the chicken pieces and lightly brown a few at a time, adding more butter or oil if necessary. Return all pieces to the pot and add remaining ingredients except the wine and brandy.

Pour the brandy or cognac over the chicken and light with a match. Do not get your face too close to the flame. When the flame dies out, add the wine. Stir and cover casserole. Bake in a 325° oven for an hour and a half, or until chicken is tender. Stir now and then during the baking, adding more wine if necessary.

This will serve 8.

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON OATMEAL COOKIES

One of the most memorable tales written about the Napa Valley is Stevenson’s “Silverado Squatters.” The story is about the experiences of Stevenson and his wife Fanny, living in a rustic miner’s cabin high above Calistoga, near the famed Silverado mine.oatmeal cookies, cookbook, robert louis stevenson

Stevenson’s domestic duties for the morning consisted of starting the fire in the stove for oatmeal porridge and coffee. The Scots have a passion for oatmeal. As a tribute to this beloved author, oatmeal cookies are a favorite for wine country picnics. This is an “icebox” cookie — the dough is made ahead, chilled, sliced, and baked as the cookies are needed.

1 cup shortening (can be half butter)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups uncooked oatmeal (do not use instant)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Cream the shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Blend into a creamy mixture. Sift the dry ingredients and add to the mixture in the bowl. Mix well. Stir in the oats and nuts.

When well mixed, shape into rolls of desired diameter. Wrap in waxed paper and chill at least four hours. The dough will keep up to a week in the refrigerator, or longer in the freezer. When you’re ready to bake the cookies, slice the dough into 1/4″ slices with a sharp knife. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10 minutes at 350°. Remove from sheet and cool on a rack.

This will make 4-5 dozen cookies.

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