Thursday, July 26, 2007

Not so Little Vineyards

The wine tasting trips never seem to end, especially with so many friends crashing on our floor.

We had our most memorable wine stop yet at Little Vineyards in Glen Ellen. The wine was delicious (it was our last stop of the day, so it's pretty hard for me to say anything about the wine with confidence), and OH the people!

It began with the usual swirling and sniffing, but soon the owner pulled out his chapman stick, R's sister was singing Mercedes Benz, and we were all pouring wine into our own glasses (we were past all that. . .). And it was all being caught incriminatingly on tape.

You must go there. Now.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Caparone Winery

On our recent road trip, R & I stumbled into Caparone winery. The Sangiovese (which R previously thought a dud of a varietal) and Nebbiolo were DELICIOUS. It was really nice to taste something a little less California-y. The winemaker himself poured our wine, and we sang the wine's praises all day.

(The $14/bottle thing they have going doesn't hurt)

While tasting at another winery, we raved about Caparone and were greeted with a grimace. Apparently their wine is a little too 'earthy' for some people, so it may not be for everyone. . . .

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Squash & Potato Enchiladas with Mole

In a rare attempt at entertaining a crowd, Robert and I invited some traveling friends over for a vegetarian enchilada dinner.

There are few things to complain about in the Bay Area related to sourcing food, but even my local market that has a great selection of many specialty goods, has an abysmal selection of tortillas. I'm sure that my time spent in San Antonio, Texas, eating homemade tortillas at even the cheap-cheap-CHEAP-est of taquerias has spoiled me a bit, but what can you do? I've found some delicious tortillas at farmer's markets and markets in the Mission, but nothing weekday-convenient thus far. I only include this information to let you know that I really like tortillas, and we just ended up using Mission tortillas in the following recipe. Not exactly my first choice.

My usually meat-eating boyfriend has fallen in love with an old cookbook called Vegetarian Planet, and a particularly delicious meal we've made from the book is the Squash and Potato Enchiladas with Mole Sauce.

We served the enchiladas with simple sides of romaine salad and rice. These enchiladas benefit from being served with something un-sweet because of the plantains and squash. The salad we made (chock-full of cilantro) was much better than an earlier pairing with a too-sweet citrusy salad.

Though the recipe didn't call for it, you should definitely grease the bottom of the pan, or, like us, you'll miss out on the best part of the enchilada--the crispy bottom.

4 T. Olive Oil
2 t. chopped fresh oregano, or 1 t. dried
1 t. salt, and more to taste
1/2 t. ground pepper
1-1/2 lb medium potatoes (about 3), cut into 1-in. cubes
1 small butternut squash (about 1-1/2 lb), split in half & seeded
1 jalapeno
1 c. chopped onion
1 t. minced garlic
16 almonds
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
1/2 ripe plantain (or 1 ripe banana), cut into 1/2-in. rounds
3 tomatoes, cut into 1-in. cubes
1/2 c. water
1/2 t. salt
pepper to taste
8 ten-in. flour tortillas
5 oz Monterey Jack cheese, grated (about 1-1/2 c.)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine 2 T. olive oil, the oregano, and 1/2 t. each salt & pepper. Add potatoes, and toss to coat. Put potatoes and squash (flesh side up) into a roasting pan. Drizzle squash with 1 T. olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes, or until tender. Remove from oven (but leave oven on) and let cool. Spoon squash out of skin & discard skin.

2. While veggies bake, roast the jalapeno: If using electric stove, place the jalapeno directly on the burner on med-hi. Char pepper, turning frequently. It should be black in spots, but not all over. If using gas stove, insert fork into pepper and turn over a med. flame until black spots develop. When jalapeno is cool enough to handle, peel off its skin. Stem & chop jalapeno, removing some seeds if you want less heat.

3. Make the sauce: In med. skillet, heat 1 T. olive oil. Saute onion, garlic, and almonds for about 5 minutes. Add cinnamon and cloves and saute for 2 minutes more. Add plantain & tomatoes and cook mixture over med. heat about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer mix to blender. Add water & jalapeno & blend well. Season with salt & pepper.

4. Fill tortillas: Grease a casserole dish. Spread 1/8 of potatoes & squash down middle of 1 tortilla. Add some grated cheese and roll the tortilla tightly. Fill remaining 7 tortillas, saving some cheese for the top. Fit tortillas snugly into casserole dish.

5. Pour mole sauce over tortillas & sprinkle with grated cheese. Cover with foil & bake for about 35 minutes.

Monday, March 5, 2007


Stay tuned for small bites and the occasional meal.