Tag Archives: vegetarian

a summer picnic with francis ford coppola winery | recipes for travel-ready hummus + pesto

With the summer season here at the vineyard in full-swing, it has been a little challenging to take a break, let alone plan a getaway. This past week has entailed thinning excess shoots within the vines, repairing a downed fence post, untangling stray guide wires, and getting the house ready for a visit from a close Denver friend. Even these exciting moments, albeit invigorating ones, can prove a little taxing.

I’ve partnered with Drizly, the online beer, wine, and spirits marketplace, and the Francis Ford Coppola Winery to share with you one of my favorite wines from their new premium wine series, Diamond Collection Cans, along with two wine-friendly, travel-ready recipes I routinely make over the summer that are the perfect complement to an impromptu picnic, afternoon hike, or camping excursion.

Steve and I decided to come in a little early one afternoon and pack a quick picnic to catch the sunset. Instead of scouting out a new hiking spot, we chose to simply drive over to the west side of our property, open the newly installed back gate, and just enjoy the gorgeous western Colorado scenery already around us. We chilled down the wine, made our go-to pesto recipe, whipped up a batch of hummus, and packed up the necessities into the back of the Gator.

Work was happily set aside for the next few hours.

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rosé with a spice-roasted carrot + avocado salad | emilie raffa’s “the clever cookbook” + a GIVEAWAY

Happy Friday, everyone!

I’m celebrating extra hard because I survived Valentine’s Day at the restaurant. It was no small feat. We served over 500 guests each evening last weekend. I am still tending to my battle wounds. Couples lingered a little longer than we anticipated, so our reservations ran behind by almost an hour each night. In order to appease the anticipation and impatience of awaiting guests, we ended up having to pour nearly eight cases’ worth of complimentary Prosecco.

I’m still asking, where’s my complimentary case of bubbles?!

Today I’m changing things up a little and hosting Emilie Raffa of the Clever Carrot here on the blog. Emilie has been a longtime favorite blogger of mine, and she recently released her first cookbook, aptly titled, The Clever Cookbook. I’m giddy with excitement! It’s filled with get-ahead strategies and tips for “stress-free home cooking,” and it is quickly becoming a favorite resource in my kitchen. It was also recently named one of Epicurious’ Top 30 Most Exciting New Spring Cookbooks! Get it, Emilie!!

Emilie is kindly letting me share with you, one of my favorite recipes I’ve tried from her new cookbook, a spice-roasted carrot and avocado salad. Of course, I couldn’t resist pairing it with a bottle of wine. So, to celebrate Emilie’s cookbook release, I’m giving away a copy of her cookbook, along with a bottle of wine from my cellar that pairs perfectly with this particular salad! Simply share one of your favorite time-saving tips in the kitchen down below in the comments OR clue me in one of your favorite springtime rosés.

Cheers!

rosé with spice-roasted carrot + avocado salad | emilie raffa's "the clever cookbook" + a giveaway

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winter citrus salad + blood orange shrub dressing | paired with chenin blanc

Don’t we all wish we could view and present our lives through an Instagram filter? We could give our day-to-day messiness a hazy, golden glow; smudge away the imperfections, late-fees, traffic tickets; paint a ray of sunshine on our grey days; make our piles of laundry, dirty dishes, and dark circles look, somehow, like awe-inspiring works of art; and delete those harsh remarks we’ve made. Count me in!

But how do we ever make changes in our lives, unless we examine ourselves, under close scrutiny, raw and un-retouched? How else do we know when we need to progress or say goodbye to places, people, or habits, which no longer serve us? I remember visiting with a financial planner years ago, a time when my finances were in a bad place. In order to see where my problem areas existed, I was instructed to look back, tally up my past expenditures, and write down everything I was spending on a daily basis. I begged to skip this step. I just wanted to scratch the past and simply move forward from where I was.

Exposing my poor choices to a stranger was terrifying to me. But even more terrifying was coming to grips with my own addictions, my lack of discipline, and my frivolity. I can tell you, however, that if I hadn’t gone through that bitter process of digging deeper, realizing the patterns I’d created, I would most likely be making those same poor choices today.

winter citrus salad | paired with a chenin blanc blend

You know what’s even more difficult than self-evaluation? When someone else evaluates you, without a prompt, unsolicited. Gulp. I recently came across a blog comment that I must have overlooked somehow. It was written back in October in response to a recipe I had posted. As I read the words, I cringed inside and felt defensive, at first. I adjusted my robe, mirroring the way I felt inside: like someone saw something I didn’t want them to see. But really that was just my ego getting in the way. Someone actually took the time and let me know that the recipe was unclear and even offered a suggestion to enhance my post’s readability.

You know? I am seriously grateful that this person deemed it important to kindly share his thoughts in a constructive fashion. I immediately fixed the problem and even began to look at my recipes with a keener eye {that’s not to say that I am mistake-free from now on!}. If that reader hadn’t taken the time to share his thoughts, I wouldn’t have grown as a writer or matured a little as an individual.

My boyfriend and I sat down together this past week and took a critical look at our garden. The promise of spring, along with the time change and some warmer weather, has gotten us into “planning mode” for our garden. We took out a piece of paper and sketched out three categories: garden failures, garden successes, and aspects we need to improve upon. Granted, it is much easier to discuss the ins and outs of gardening, as opposed to deep soul-searching, but the concept is similar. You’ve got to know your starting point, know your strengths and weaknesses, so that you can move forward and see the results you want – in your life or in your tomato patch.

winter citrus salad | paired with a chenin blanc blend winter citrus salad | paired with a chenin blanc blend

Okay. I’ll bring a little levity to this post and talk about a salad I’ve been making lately. I don’t really follow recipes for making salads. In fact, most of the time, I end up either grabbing what’s in season at the store, pulling something from the garden, or sifting through my fridge and assembling something tasty with what’s on hand. I’ve also mentioned it before: you don’t need to follow a strict recipe for a salad dressing, either. And you definitely don’t need to purchase salad dressing from the store. Ever. It is really a simply process and tastes so much more delicious, when you make your own. I tend to follow the following ratio, and it suits me perfectly every time:

—  3 parts oil + 1 part vinegar + squeeze of citrus + seasonings  —

I have recently caught the shrub-making bug and have made three kinds already. I detailed a how-to post last week, in case you missed it. I used my blood orange shrub in the dressing for this citrus salad. It provides a tangy, sweet-sour taste and can substitute the vinegar usually found in dressing recipes.


blood orange shrub vinaigrette


  • 1/3 cup great quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons blood orange shrub
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 cup crushed raw pistachios
  • If you don’t have blood orange shrub on hand, you may substitute the shrub with 2 tablespoons red wine or cider vinegar. This combo makes a great vinaigrette, but if you’d like a little more blood orange flavor, just add the juice of half a blood orange, or more to taste.
  • I like to combine all of the ingredients in a mason jar and shake well until emulsified.

winter citrus salad | paired with a chenin blanc blendwinter citrus salad | paired with a chenin blanc blendwinter citrus salad | paired with a chenin blanc blendwinter citrus salad | paired with a chenin blanc blend


winter citrus salad


  • 5 oranges {a mixture of your choice}, skins removed and sliced width-wise
  • 1 Meyer lemon, skins removed and sliced width-wise
  • 1/2 a fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 a head of radicchio, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • chiffonade of mint leaves {about 10 leaves}
  • handful of raw, sprouted pumpkin seeds
  • sprinkle of feta cheese
  1. Remove the skins of the citrus with a knife. Slice the citrus width-wise.
  2. Using either a mandoline or a very sharp knife, thinly slice the fennel bulb and the radicchio.
  3. Peel the shallot and slice it super thin.
  4. To make the chiffonade of mint, take the 10 mint leaves, stack them on top of each other, roll them from top to bottom, and slice the roll of leaves thinly.
  5. Arrange the citrus slices, fennel, radicchio, and shallot on two plates {or one, if you’re hungry} and sprinkle the mint, pumpkin seeds, and feta over the top.
  6. Drizzle the salad with dressing and enjoy with a glass of Chenin Blanc.
  • This video show an excellent example of removing the skins of citrus with a knife. Be sure to remove the pith {white part} from the fruit. It’s perfectly fine to eat, but it offers a bitter taste.
  • Don’t know how to chiffonade? Here’s a great visual.
  • This recipe yields about 2 salads.

winter citrus salad | paired with a chenin blanc blend winter citrus salad | paired with a chenin blanc blend

I paired this salad with Marvelous “Yellow,” which is a Chenin Blanc-dominated blend from South Africa. This wine is one of my favorite white wines I’ve tasted this past year, and it pairs perfectly with this citrus-fennel salad. The Marvelous wine portfolio is a collaboration among winemaker Adam Mason, chef Peter Tempelhoff and passionate wine entrepreneur Charles Banks. They also make the “Red” {a Syrah-led blend} and the “Blue” {a Cab Franc-led blend}.


Marvelous “Yellow”, Chenin Blanc Blend, South Africa, 2012


  • Off the vine  –  Chenin Blanc {60%}, Chardonnay {30%}, and Viognier {10%}, sourced from the Western Cape.
  • On the eyes  –  brilliant, pale yellow.
  • On the nose  –  wildly aromatic, with notes of white flowers, lush, tropical fruits, and a hint of golden apple and lime.
  • On the palate  –  dry, medium-bodied, with a silky mouth-feel, vibrant acidity, and a mineral-driven finish. The palate confirms the nose with bright, tropical fruits, a hint of vanilla, citrus, and ripe, golden apple. It’s the perfect balance of flavor, texture, and acidity. You can really sense what each grape brings to the wine.
  • On the table  –  perfect with citrus salads, grilled chicken, or a buttery, spring pea risotto.
  • On the shelf  –  around $15, which is a crazy value.
  • On the ears  –  paired with some Samia Farah from her 1999 self-titled album. This Tunisian-French singer’s style mingles among the jazz, pop, and reggae genres and conjures up images of lazy, hazy summers. This album is a standard for the sunny months of June, July, and August. It is the perfect putzing-around-in-the-yard music. I especially like the track, “Je Sais”; I tend to blast it on mornings-off, over coffee, out in the garden. This video will clue you in on her sound even further.

tulips before the snowstormour backayard in the snowcat pawprints in the snow

I’ll close with some wintry shots I took with my iPhone on a walk a few days ago. We finally got some well-deserved sunshine and warmth today, and I even cracked some sparkling rosé and donned the tank top. Maybe it was a bit premature {insert goosebumps and a little teeth-chattering}, but it was worth it!

Cheers to an amazing rest-of-the-week, peppered with a little introspection and some self-growth!

XO,

Jayme

snowy walk snowy walk snowy walk snowy walk snowy walksnowy walksnowy walksnowy walksnowy walk...and my sorrelssnowy walk

 

spring pea + arugula + spinach ravioli

This past week has been a crazy one. I think I repeat this line quite often. We have been in the midst of changing over our wines-by-the-glass list at the restaurant, which requires a lot of tasting, note-taking, and discussion amongst the sommeliers. It is an arduous but exciting process. After we make the final decisions, we send the menu proofs to the printer, make revisions, and begin the task of educating the staff on the changes. It really sounds simple on paper, but selecting the wines is also a battle of politics – which distribution company needs support, which winery needs recognition, which varietals are our guests demanding…and, the most important question, which bottle would I most likely reach for at the end of a long shift for a much-needed sip?

Sigh.

On a brighter note, the garden is progressing quite beautifully, and our seedlings are growing up, with only minor casualties along the way. I did lose a few basil sprouts due to the indecisive weather patterns we have been dealing with; however, two of our cold-hardy plants, arugula and parsley, remained alive over the winter and have already given us an early spring harvest. There really is nothing like heading outside to the garden, clipping fresh vegetables and herbs, and, moments later, cooking up something fresh and delicious with them.

I was recently inspired by a post from one of the new contributors at the Kitchn, Sarah Crowder. She is also the author of the blog, Punctuated with Food. Her recipe for Minty Pea & Arugula Wonton Ravioli was visually captivating and sounded delicious. I had never used wonton wrappers to make ravioli, so I was up for the challenge. It was the ease of the process, however, that sealed the deal on my trying a twist on her recipe.

I poured myself a glass of Chardonnay and set out to clip some of the aforementioned spring arugula. It was about to flower, so it had to be harvested soon, in order to preserve its optimal flavor. I called up a good friend and asked her to join me for a glass. One glass turned into two, and this quick and simple recipe turned into a lovely afternoon snack.


Spring Pea + Arugula + Spinach Ravioli


  • 1/2 cup spring peas {about 24 pods or 3 1/2 ounces}
  • 2 cups loosely packed arugula
  • 1 cup loosely packed spinach
  • 1 tablespoon high-heat oil, like safflower oil
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped white onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning {I use my dried herb blend from the garden}
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream {more, if you want a creamier filling}
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten, plus 1 tablespoon of water
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil, for the sauce
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, for garnish
  • micro-greens, chives, or sprouts, for garnish
  • 72 wonton wrappers

Begin by setting aside a large bowl of ice and water. In a medium saucepan, bring 1/2 inch of water to a boil. Carefully toss the shelled peas into the water and cook for only one minute. Add the arugula and spinach and continue boiling for another 15 seconds. Drain the water and transfer the veggies to the ice water bath. Strain the veggies, removing any cubes of ice. Set aside.

In a sauté pan, heat the safflower oil over medium-high heat. Toss in the onion and garlic, along with a pinch of salt, and sauté for four minutes, until the onions are slightly caramelized and toasty. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the peas, arugula, spinach, and onions & garlic mixture. Add the Italian seasoning, cheeses, and heavy cream to the food processor. Pulse to your desired consistency. I like a coarser filling. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you desire a richer consistency, add a little more heavy cream or pulse the mixture a little longer.

This is the fun part – stuffing the wonton wrappers to make the ravioli. Set out 36 wrappers on a baking tin or other surface. Measure 1/2 tablespoon of the filling and place in the center of each square.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg and water together to prepare the egg wash. Brush the egg mixture on the outer edges of the wonton square and carefully place another wrapper on top, pressing lightly to seal. Try pressing out any air pockets by lightly squeezing from the center toward the outer edges. I enjoy a little less “pasta-y” {not exactly a word, but I think you get the idea!} ravioli, so I used a ravioli cutter and trimmed them a little. I think they turned out pretty darned adorable!

Like Sarah mentioned, you can freeze the uncooked ravioli, if you are not ready to enjoy them right away. This is a perfect solution for make-ahead meals. I will definitely experiment with other fillings over the summer and pack them away for future enjoyment!

To cook the ravioli, toss 6 pieces into boiling water for a strict 2 minutes. I found that if I cooked them longer, they would burst. For the sauce, I tried two variations – a simple browned butter sauce {shown in these photos} and a simple toss of extra virgin olive oil, with a squeeze of lemon juice. I liked both options equally. The browned butter sauce was rich and savory, whereas the olive oil and lemon juice combination was vibrant and fresh. I garnished the ravioli with fresh chives from the garden, toasted pine nuts, and micro-greens.

If you haven’t ever made browned butter and feel a little intimidated, this visual tutorial helped me conceptualize the process. You’ll feel even more accomplished and versatile as a home cook, when you can make a good browned butter sauce!

I paired this recipe with one of my favorite Chardonnays. The wine really shines with the browned butter preparation. I also added a squeeze of fresh lemon juice over the finished dish to add a needed dash of acidity. The flavors and textures really came together. A wine with great acidity, like a squeeze of lemon, also fills in the gap, when acidity is missing from a dish. A mouth-watering sip of crisp wine encourages the next bite and brings balance to the pairing.


Paul Lato “le Souvenir” Chardonnay, Sierra Madre Vineyard, 2011


  • On the eyes – brilliant, pale straw.
  • On the nose – toasted hazelnut, baked apple tart, squeezed lemon, orange blossom, with hints of vanilla.
  • On the palate – rich-textured, exhibiting notes of baked apples, Meyer lemon, honeyed hazelnuts, with a lingering finish and medium acidity.
  • On the table – perfect alone or with poached halibut, roasted chicken, and pasta dishes with either lean or rich sauces.
  • On the shelf – about $75 {yep, I splurged}.
  • On the ears – paired with Phantogram’s “Black Out Days” from their recent album, Voices. Steve and I saw them perform at the Ogden here in Denver last month, and I have listened to their current album at least 50 times. Truth. I think I chose this track not only because of the harmonic layers and trance-like beats, but also because I can really identify with the “crazy voices in my head” theme, as of late. Good wine always helps quiet those crazy thoughts, though. 😉

Have a great weekend, sip something delicious, and, even better, share it with a friend!

Oh, I almost forgot. I am also posting more about wine on my new Tumblr blog, Sommthing to Talk About. Steve thinks the title is a tad silly, but I dig catchy, witty plays on words! I will be directly linking to all of the wine posts that I write for the Kitchn, so it will be easier to follow those. It is wine-focused and is still taking shape, but you can find me there now, as well! Cheers!

frozen kale power cubes

Why do I procrastinate, when I know that if I just applied a little elbow grease right now and set aside a little time at the present, I would be rewarded in the future? Rewarded with peace, bounty, satisfaction, and even extra time. Discussing the whys and hows of the roots of procrastination in my personal life is a completely different and challenging topic. I will save (er…postpone!) that conversation for another post. Plus, this is more exciting! One thing that I do have a handle on is purchasing and harvesting fruits and vegetables, when they are in season or on sale. This way, I can preserve the produce at its prime and use it later on, when it is unavailable, more expensive, or sourced from another country.

Almost a month ago, I spotted bundles of organic kale for just under two dollars. That’s a great price for organic kale, here in Colorado, in the middle of early spring. I immediately stock-piled about six bundles and set out to preserve them. I love using kale in green smoothies, and freezing pureed kale in ice cube trays couldn’t be easier or more efficient.

kale cube trays

You could make kale cubes simply by pureeing kale and water together. Kale, alone, is too fibrous for a blender to process, so adding a liquid component is a necessity. Instead of adding only water, I like to toss in several other components to “amp up” the nutritional factor; thus, the “kale power cube” is born:


frozen kale power cubes


  • 2-3 bundles of fresh, organic kale
  • 4 tablespoons tart cherry concentrate
  • fresh fruit or a bag of frozen fruit {mango, peach, and pineapple are favorites}
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • a liquid of your choice: filtered water, coconut water, or a juice
  1. Wash the kale. I use the entire plant (both stems and leaves).
  2. Tear into smaller pieces and place in the blender. I absolutely love my Vitamix because it blends so thoroughly; it leaves no particulates or fibrous pieces behind.
  3. Add the cherry concentrate, frozen fruit, and flax seed.
  4. Add your liquid component. I used coconut water (high in electrolytes) and 100% cranberry juice.
  5. Blend away! Add more liquid, as needed.
  6. Pour liquid into ice cube trays and freeze.
  7. Once frozen, label and seal in freezer bags.

Use this recipe as a guide and experiment with combinations of different vegetables and fruits. What are some other players that I frequently use? Blueberries, acai berries, spinach, pomegranate juice, protein powder, chia seeds, or spirulina. I try to use the most highly concentrated ingredients in the cubes, in combination with whatever fresh fruits and vegetables that I have on hand: carrots, bananas, apples, peaches, etc. I toss one or two of these kale power cubes into my daily smoothie. I get a boost of fiber from the organic greens, omega-3 fatty acids from the flax seeds, and anti-inflammatory properties from the tart cherry concentrate and fruit. All of this in a conveniently sized, little cube!

Some advice that I had to learn the hard way? Remember to empty the ice cube trays, once the kale has frozen! If you don’t have an automatic ice cube maker, like me, you will be sorely disappointed when you decide to make an iced tea or a refreshing cocktail, and you have no ice on hand, because all of your trays are filled with green matter!

kale cubes awaiting their destiny...

Signing off with some photos of recent happenings around the house and garden…cheers!

The flip-side of procrastination: don’t procrastinate or postpone the pleasures right in front of us, this very moment. This tattered fortune cookie slip has a permanent home at eye-level, on our refrigerator.

The first flower, a purple crocus, spotted this past March, in our front yard.

Dragon’s Blood waking up from its winter sleep.

The view from our back porch last week. What a mood-swinging spring! One day, we would be enjoying sunny, 50 degree afternoons, and the next day, we would be dealing with five inches of snow. So ready for the warm season…

perennial thyme emerging between the flagstones.

Perennial thyme, emerging through the flagstones on the garden path.