Are you starting off 2021 with a resolution to eat healthier? One terrific way to start building healthy habits into your weekly regimine is to practice Meatless Monday. Meatless Monday is a global movement that encourages people to reduce meat in their diet, not only for their health but for the health of the planet. The campaign was started in 2003 by Sid Lerner, the Founder of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.
Foregoing meat one day a week doesn't have to mean dull dinners with a side order of deprevation. And most importantly, it doesn't mean you have to go without the wine (unless you're doing Dry January, and after the events of last year, believe me, we're not). To prove the point, we turned to our good friend, food writer Karista Bennett. She's the chef behind the wildly-popular food blog and the author of The Oregon Farm Table Cookbook: 101 Homegrown Recipes From The Pacific Wonderland.
"Meat doesn't have to be the center of every meal," Karista told us. "There are so many amazing flavors and textures to explore, and so many delicious ways to eat healthier!"
Karista shared with us three of her favorite meatless recipes from her new cookbook, and it's our pleasure to present them to you, paired with three of the most delicious varietals Cultivar Wine has to offer:
In a soup pot over low heat, add the chicken broth, fresh thyme, bay leaf and parmesan cheese rind. Heat the broth to a very slow simmer.
Prepare the mushrooms. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot add the mushrooms and sauté until slightly browned and a little crispy. Then stir in the minced garlic, fresh chopped herbs and squeeze of lemon. Take the skillet off the heat and season lightly with a bit of salt and pepper. Reserve.
In a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat add 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter. Then stir in the diced onion and cook until slightly wilted. Stir in the garlic and rice and cook for 1-2 minutes longer.
Add the wine and stir until the wine is almost absorbed. Next stir in about 1 cup of the simmering chicken broth (don’t add the herbs or parmesan) and continue to stir constantly until the liquid is almost absorbed.
Continue to repeat this process with ½ cup of broth at a time, stirring consistently and allowing each addition of broth to be absorbed before adding the next ½ cup. This process should take about 20-30 minutes or until the rice is almost tender, al dente.
When the risotto is done, take it off the heat and stir in the grated parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons butter and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide the risotto into four bowls and top each bowl with the crispy mushrooms and herbs. Serve immediately.
Pair it with: 2018 Cultivar Wine Chardonnay, Oak Knoll, Napa Valley.
Sprinkled with notes of ginger, toast, honey, and butter-baked apples, this Chardonnay with the rich, cheesy texture of the risotto.
Serves 6-8 as an appetizer or 4 as an entrée
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Whisk together the ricotta, lemon zest, fresh thyme leaves, garlic and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve.
Trim the root ends of the leeks but be sure not to cut the ends completely off as we want the leeks to stay together during cooking. Then trim the leeks just at the point where the leeks turn to pale green. Slice each leek in half lengthwise.
Heat a skillet with 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Just as the butter melts and the butter/oil mixture is hot, add the leeks cut side down. Place a lid over the skillet, turning the heat to medium low if needed and cook for about 2-3 minutes. With tongs, gently turn the leeks once and let them cook another 2-3 minutes until soft and wilted.
Take the pan off the heat and reserve. Next, line a baking sheet with parchment and brush the parchment with a little oil. Unfold the puff pastry and place it on the parchment. Roll it out just a bit, to smooth out the seams, but not too much as puff pastry needs to be ¼” to 1/3” thick to puff. Pierce the puff pastry with a fork several times in all corners and the middle of the pastry.
Spread the ricotta evenly over the pastry, leaving a one-inch border on all sides. Place the butter braised leeks evenly over the ricotta.
Whisk together the egg and cold water to make an egg wash. Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg wash and then place the baking pan in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
Remove the pastry from the oven and let it cool slightly before slicing.
Garnish with a handful of lemon juice and olive oil dressed pea shoots, watercress, arugula, carrot swirls or edible flowers. Serve warm.
Pair it with: The 2019 Cultivar Wine Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley.
We recommend using Caspar Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Leeks, puff pastry and ricotta call for a wine with a bright acid to bring out the flavors and clear the pallate. With its notes of citrus fruit and melon, our Sauvignon Blanc make the perfect accompanyment to this delicious, savory tart.
Got a Meatless Monday recipe you love? Share it with us on our Facebook page!
About Karista Bennett:
Chef, Food Writer & Author | Girl Mama and Cattle Dog Wrangler | Creating fresh ingredient recipes
"I’ve always had a poetic view of food. Hunger-enticing aromas swirling about my place at the table and causing a most soul-filled joy. With the first bite, I pause, relishing the beauty of the flavors dancing on my tongue. Food is the element that brings us to the table, where life is lived and memories are made. " Karista Bennett
We are thrilled to announce that we won many gold medals at the SF Chronicle Wine Competition! The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is currently the largest wine competition in North America. Professional wine judges are sourced throughout the major wine regions in North America to offer diversity of expertise to each judging panel. There were nearly 6,700 entries.
2017 Cultivar Wine Cabernet Franc Oak Knoll District Double Gold
2016 Caspar Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Gold - in our February Wine Club shipment
2017 Cultivar Wine Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Barrel Aged Gold - in our February Wine Club shipment
2018 Cultivar Wine Chardonnay Oak Knoll District Barrel Aged Gold
2018 Caspar Estate Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley Gold - in our February Wine Club shipment
These wines are available for purchase on our website and at Cultivar San Francisco - 2379 Chestnut Street in San Francisco's marina district, just a few blocks from the Presidio and the Palace of Fine Arts, minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge. At Cultivar SF you can book a wine tasting, have weekend brunch, lunch on Thursdays and Fridays, weekday happy hours and dinner. We offer a Cultivar Wine Club and a mix of Caspar Estate and Cultivar Club as well. Join the club now for these wonderful wines delivered to your door!
We are thrilled to share with you a post by one of our Cultivar Wine Bloggers, Kelly of A Side of Sweet. This is a sneak peak of the post. Please visit A Side of Sweet for the entire recipe (Cheese, crackers, greenery and other yummyness featured below). Kudos Kelly on such a fabulous casual cheese & wine spread. We love it and are thrilled to share it with our readers.
"Putting Together a Fancy Wine & Cheese Spread"
Cheese :: "I figured this was my chance to go crazy and get a whole bunch of cheese! I definitely went overboard, which was fine by me because it meant I got to eat my favorite meal of cheese and crackers for dinner the next few nights."
"My first stop was Trader Joe’s where you can get some delicious options that are great for a budget. The I hit up Whole Foods. Although it’s a bit more expensive, the nice thing about Whole Foods is that the staff is super knowledgable and will go out of their way to help you pick the perfect cheese for your occasion. They also had a better selection of local cheeses. Here are the cheeses I got."
Creamy Toscano soaked in Syrah
Italian Truffle Cheese
Le Delice de Bourgogne Triple Cream Soft Ripened Cheese
Assortment of Chèvre
Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam cheese
Point Reyes Original Blue cheese
Spanish Tapa’s Assortment
Goat’s Milk Feta
Wine :: "I wanted to go with local wine, so I served Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc from Cultivar Wines. Cultivar is a family-run winery in Napa Valley, California. They make their wines from some of the best grapes in Napa and it shows – when we opened our first bottle I almost fell over! This wine is some of the best I’ve had in California, even with all the trips to wine country that we’ve made since we moved here! I think it was one of the highlights of the night – our guests kept commenting on how good it was!"
To read more about the Charcuterie, Crackers and other tips for this amazing dish visit A Side Of Sweet.
We are excited to announce our first Napa Valley Chardonnay: our 2013 Oak Knoll District Chardonnay. This Chardonnay is the perfect wine to drink now: on its own, with a light meal, or with your starter course at dinner.
Stock up now to be ready for the Spring weather that’s just around the corner! Bottles are $28 / $22.40 Wine Club and Cases are $285 / $268 Wine Club.
Swirl your Chardonnay to coat the glass and then bring up to your nose. Inhale aromas of baked apples, pear and melon with a hint of spice. Close your eyes and savor the wine as it hits your tongue. Enjoy baked apple, caramel, and a hint of brown butter that ends with a delicate finish. Serve chilled.
The Oak Knoll appellation, located south of Yountville in the heart of Napa Valley is known for a climate that is cooler and more moderate than any region in Napa Valley outside of Carneros. This cooler climate delivers restrained, delicate Chardonnays with the perfect balance of sugar and acid.
One of the most popular and traditional California Chardonnay pairings is with Dungeness Crab or crab cakes. And you won’t go wrong with this match up.
To shake things up a bit and truly delight the taste buds of your guests, pick a few goat cheeses to start your evening: Bucheron, a fresh French goat cheese; Garrotxa, an aged Spanish goat cheese; or mild American goat cheddar. Goat cheese further heightens the fruit in the 2013 Cultivar Oak Knoll District Chardonnay.
Another less common match you should experiment with is sweet corn. For something off the beaten path that our guests may not have enjoyed, match our Chardonnay with either a Corn Chowder or Corn Salsa.
What will you pair your Chardonnay with?
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and you’re being barraged with reminders. Reminders to buy jewelry. Get flowers. Pair chocolate with wine.
Before you rush out and grab your favorite bottle of Cultivar and box of local artisan chocolates or truffles, stop. Not all chocolate and wine is a match made in heaven. (If you’re unsure, finish your wine before sampling your chocolate.)
Between the wine and the chocolate you are looking for a balance of sweetness, fruit, and acidity. To help you achieve this balance, there are a couple of general guidelines to keep in mind.
Truly successful matches go beyond these guidelines.
What are the exact characteristics of a successful match? It depends; it’s a matter of personal taste. Some feel chocolate never pairs with wine. I believe it’s not that straightforward, and matches can only be found through experimentation. When pairing wine with chocolates, I look first to the aromas I’m inhaling when I first raise my glass. Then I think about the nuanced flavors I’m tasting.
Interested in learning more about the art of chocolate and wine pairing? Check out the three-part series on The Nibble: Part 1 – Introduction; Part II – Pairing Chart; and Hosting a Chocolate Tasting Party.
If you want a memorable bite, try one or all of these three pairings.
Rose is the perfect Spring wine. For Valentine’s Day, our 2014 Cultivar Napa Valley Rose is a great way to start your evening, light and crisp with just the right balance of tart cranberry and hint of strawberry.
Why this pairing works: The interplay between cranberry and strawberry notes is why our 2014 Cultivar Napa Valley Rose pairs with a Peanut Butter and Strawberry chocolate. The fresh strawberry jam in the chocolate brings the strawberry notes of the wine to center stage while the creamy peanut butter softens the sweetness of the milk chocolate with its saltiness for a soft finish.
Our 2013 Cultivar Napa Valley Rose (currently only available in keg), on the other hand, which is sweeter than our 2014 vintage, paired with a Candy Cane chocolate. This unusual pairing worked because organic candy canes were crushed into Strauss cream, organic butter, and white chocolate. The peppermint accented the strawberry notes while the cream coated the mouth and balanced the wine’s crisp finish.
A wine for scotch drinkers is how our 2013 Cultivar Oak Knoll District Chardonnay has been described. This characteristic is why when chilled you can enjoy with an Old Fashioned Chocolate which is a combination of single barrel bourbon, Fee Brothers bitters, a twist of orange all blended into Solstice Madagascar chocolate.
Why this pairing works: Our 2013 Cultivar Oak Knoll District Chardonnay, fermented in neutral oak barrels, delivers fruit on the nose and hints of baking spices that finishes with caramel and brown butter. These apple, pear, and melon notes in the wine balance the bitters and hint of orange in the chocolate for a richer experience. Where alone the wine has a delicate finish, the single barrel bourbon in the chocolate intensifies the wine’s caramel finish and adds a touch of oakiness.
At first glance, our last pairing looks as if the caramel might be sweeter than the wine. It’s not. Passion fruit is a tad bit sweet and yet also slightly sour. It is this contradiction that makes this match complementing the structure of our 2011 Cultivar Leaky Lake Cabernet Sauvignon.
Why this pairing works: On your inhale, nutmeg and cinnamon tantalize with a hint of mocha and cedar. These aromas scream for caramel and passion fruit. The Passion Fruit caramel combines these flavors into a creamy decadent bite that’s slightly bittersweet. Because the chocolate isn’t overly sweet and the flavors are those present in the 2011 Cultivar Leaky Lake Cabernet Sauvignon you have a match made in heaven.
Which ever way you enjoy your chocolate and your wine--together or separately, have fun this Valentine’s! Jot down notes about what you like as well as what you dislike. Then, the next time you’re standing in front of a chocolate counter pick up a few more to try.
Want to be daring while reducing the likelihood of a mismatch? Check out The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. Simply find the wine you’re trying to match, for example Cabernet Sauvignon, and see what fruit flavors or dessert ingredients work with it, for example strawberries. (If there’s no fruit or dessert ingredient such as butter or cream, start with one of the aromas or one of the flavors on your palette that you experience with the wine.) Then look up strawberries (or the other fruit).
What chocolates do you enjoy with your Cultivar Wine?