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Shafer Food and Wine

Shafer Wine & Food

Annette Shafer invites you to enjoy her latest selection of seasonal recipes. Even in the bone-chilling days of winter you can enjoy color on your plate and bright flavors on your palate.

Servings: 6


1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1, 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
½ pound dried black beans, rinsed
2 teaspoons dried chipotle chile
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano
2 cups chicken broth (more as needed)
1 ½ cups butternut squash cut into cubes
½ cup partially cooked faro
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until soft and beginning to brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute.  Sprinkle chili powder and coriander over; stir 1 minute more. Stir in tomatoes with juice, beans, chipotles, and oregano. Add 2 cups chicken broth (more as needed) and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer until the beans are tender.  Season to taste with coarsely ground pepper and salt.  Stir squash and faro into chili. Continue to simmer uncovered until the squash and faro are tender, about 30 minutes. Divide among 6 bowls. Pass the garnishes.

Optional garnishes:

Greek yogurt
Pomegranate seeds
Coarsely grated goat cheddar
Diced red onion
Chopped fresh cilantro
Quick-Pickled Jalapeño rings

Quick-Pickled Jalapeños

½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
A pinch of kosher salt
3 jalapeños, cored (seeded), thinly sliced
Warm water as needed to fully cover the jalapeños


Whisk vinegar, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add jalapeños; toss to coat. Use just enough warm water to make sure the jalapeños are submerged. Let stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally, for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Pickled jalapeños can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.


Side Dish 

Yields: 9 pieces


1¼ cups yellow cornmeal, medium grind
¾ cup white whole-wheat flour
1 Tablespoon agave syrup
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1¼ cups goat kefir (or buttermilk)
2 tablespoons canola oil


Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with oil.
Whisk cornmeal, flour, agave, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Whisk egg, kefir, and oil in a separate bowl. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake the cornbread until the top springs back when touched lightly, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.  Enjoy!



Servings: 12-16

1¾ cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1½  teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
⅛ teaspoon cloves
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
¾ cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup olive oil
1½ teaspoons vanilla
1 cups sugar
½ cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 lb. (2 cups) canned solid pack pumpkin
Confectioner's sugar

Preheat oven to 325F. Generously spray a 10 or 12 cup Bundt pan with cooking spray then flour.

Sift together all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Set aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter with the olive oil and then with the sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula and beating well after each addition. On low speed add half of the dry sifted ingredients, then the pumpkin, and finally the remaining dry ingredients. Do your best not to over mix.

Turn the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top. Bake for 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean and dry. Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes. Cover with a rack and invert. Remove the pan and allow the cake to cool on the rack. Let it stand for several hours or overnight before serving. Dust with confectioner's sugar before serving.
Tastes even better the next day.


Pulled Pork Enjoy the Best of Autumn 2014 With Recipes From Annette Shafer
With the change of seasons comes a new crop of fruits and vegetables that lend themselves to richer, warmer aromas and flavors. In these recipes for fall, Annette Shafer took inspiration from the hearty fare favored by her German grandmother at this time of year.
Fall Greens Salad with Persimmons and Walnuts

Servings: 8-10


¾ cup fresh tangerine juice
1 tablespoon grated tangerine peel
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons walnut oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Sea salt, to taste
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large head Romaine, torn into 2-inch pieces (about 12 cups)
1 large bunch watercress, stemmed (about 6 cups)
2 cups mixed baby greens
2 Fuyu persimmons, peeled, halved, thinly sliced
½ cup walnuts, lighlty toasted


Simmer tangerine juice and tangerine peel in heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced to ¼ cup, about 5 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl. Whisk in next 5 ingredients. Once cooled, season dressing with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Rewhisk before using.)

To serve: Slowly drizzle dressing around the sides of a large salad bowl. (Just enough to gently coat the salad leaves.) Place all greens and half of persimmon slices in large bowl and toss to coat. Divide salad among plates. Top each with remaining persimmon slices and walnuts and serve.

In Your Glass
In our house Champagne or Sparkling wine is more than just a liquid hors d’oeurve; we enjoy it with food all the time and this salad is no exception. A brut rosè is a nice partner here as are a whole range of wines including another house favorite, Shafer’s Red Shoulder Ranch® Chardonnay.


Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder Over Creamy Sage Polenta

Servings: 8


1 skinless, bone-in pork shoulder (5-6 pounds)
Sea Salt, freshly ground pepper
½ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup finely chopped fresh sage (pineapple sage is a nice option)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh marjoram
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped


Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 325°F.

Season pork with salt and pepper. Mix mustard, sage, marjoram, and garlic in a small bowl. Spread over pork thoroughly.

Place the pork, fat side up, on a rack set inside a roasting pan. Roast, basting with pan juices about every hour and tenting with foil if pork browns too quickly, until pork is well browned and very tender, 5-6 hours (depending on size of pork shoulder).

Let pork rest at least 10 minutes before serving (the meat should pull apart easily).

Serve this over a bed of soft sage polenta for catching the juices!

Sage Polenta

If the polenta is ready before the rest of the meal, keep it in the pan and press parchment or waxed paper directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming; partially covering the pan with the lid will also work. Stir well before serving.


10 cups water, plus more as needed
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups coarse Italian polenta
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon dried chili flakes
½ cup grated Pecorino cheese


Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Whisking constantly, add polenta in a slow, steady stream and return to a boil. Reduce heat to a very low simmer. Cover partially; cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is creamy and starting to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30-40 minutes, add sage, and chili flakes during the last 5 minutes. If polenta is too thick to stir, add more water (up to ½ cup), a little at a time, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat. Stir in Pecorino, and season to taste with pepper and salt.
Serve hot.

In Your Glass
Everything that I said about the wines that complement the Winter Squash dish apply here too – this will be a delicious dance partner with Cabernet Franc or Merlot. In addition, I’d recommend opening a Barbera d’Asti, which offers high-toned fruit and soft, beautiful tannins. If you’re a fan of red wines with some age, say a Cabernet like One Point Five®, that’s reached at least the eight or ten year mark, you’re sure to enjoy its soft tannins and elegant fruit as you experience the combination of savory and creamy in this entrée.


Side Dish
Winter Squash with Caramelized Onions

Servings: 8


4 pounds Butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons canola oil
½ cup (about 1 ounce) slivered almonds
6 large onions, thinly sliced
4 teaspoons organic cane sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¾ cup golden raisins, plumped in warm water and drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the squash in an ovenproof dish, drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and bake until tender, 45-50 minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly toast the almonds under the broiler. Remove from oven to cool. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan. Add the onions once the oil is hot. Cook, over a low flame, stirring occasionally, until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the sugar and cinnamon, increase the heat to medium, and continue cooking until the onions turn golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Add the raisins and cook, stirring, until heated through. Toss onions with squash and season with salt and pepper. 

Garnish with the toasted almonds and serve.

In Your Glass
A bottle I like to reach for with this dish is a Cabernet Franc, a red wine that has nice softness and an inviting, pleasant floral character. Try a Chinon Rouge from a region within France’s Loire Valley, where the Cabernet Franc is grown on stony terraces and the wines tend to be dry and medium-bodied with some spice. We’ve also enjoyed this dish with a Merlot, such as Shafer’s, which offers a good deal of red and black fruit that will make your mouth sing.


German Apple Cake (Versunkener Apfelkuchen)

Yield: one 10-inch Bundt cake; 8 to 10 servings


2 cups organic, unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 cup organic, white whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1 ¾ cups organic cane sugar
3 large eggs, separated
½ cup milk, try goat milk for a nice option
8 medium (about 3 pounds) apples, such as Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Jonathan, Pippin, or any combination, peeled, cored and diced


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a kugelhopf or 10-inch Bundt pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat the butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in the flour mixture and milk.

Beat the egg whites on low speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and beat until stiff but not dry. Fold one-fourth of the whites into the batter, then gently fold in the remaining whites.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Spread with half of the apples. Top with the remaining batter, then the remaining apples.

Bake until golden brown, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then transfer to a rack and let cool completely.

In Your Glass
Some combinations seem written in the stars: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Bogart and Bacall, Ben and Jerry. Here’s another — this apple cake and a German Beerenauslese, a late harvest dessert wine made with Reisling grapes. It embodies a gorgeous balance of rich sweetness and acidity. Of course there are lots of others to choose from and not surprisingly, we have loved this one with Shafer’s Firebreak®, a Cabernet Sauvignon dessert wine make from the same fruit as Hillside Select®.


Grilled Halibut Enjoy the Best of SUmmer 2014 with Recipes from Annette Shafer
Summer is perfect for outdoor grilling with friends and family. Annette Shafer’s latest recipes offer tantalizing ideas for zesty seasonal aromas and flavors that will keep your guests wanting more.
Grilled Stone Fruit Salad

Servings: 4

For the Salad
4 cups Mesclun greens
2 cups arugula
2 ripe medium peaches, halved and sliced into wedges
2 medium ripe plums, halved and sliced into wedges
1 cup cherries, pitted and halved
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ cup mint, cut chiffonade
½ cup lightly toasted, coarsely chopped walnut pieces

For the Dressing
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil, or to taste
1 teaspoon honey
1 clove garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

For the Salad: Heat a grill to medium-high. When hot, wipe lightly with oil and grill the peaches and plums about 1 minute, or until char marks form on the flesh. Remove, cool slightly and toss with lemon juice. Just before serving, toss with cherries and mint.

For the Dressing: Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Set aside until needed.

To Serve: Toss the greens gently with a drizzle of the dressing. Divide the greens among 4 plates and top with fruit and nuts and drizzle a scant amount of dressing over the top.

In Your Glass
The summer fruit flavors here are delicious with a range of wines. Doug and I have enjoyed this salad with a crisp Pinot Blanc from Alsace, and, of course, a house favorite, Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay which balances lushness with bright natural acidity.


Grilled Halibut with Lemon Herb Quinoa, Sweet White Corn, Hemp Seeds and Thai Basil

Servings: 4

For the Quinoa
1 cup red quinoa, dry
2 cups water, cold
1 cup quickly-blanched and slightly charred sweet white corn
¼ cup fresh Thai basil, finely chopped
½ small hot red chili, thinly sliced
¼ cup hemp seeds
3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 Tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon organic maple syrup
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

For the Halibut
3 Tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
¼ cup chiffonade of fresh basil
4, 5- to 6-ounce halibut steaks (about 3/4 inch thick)

For the Quinoa: Rinse the quinoa if required in a mesh strainer with cold water. Transfer to a small pot with 2 cups cold water. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking 12-15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let it sit, covered for another 5 minutes. Then, spread it out carefully with a fork onto a sheet pan to cool completely.

Lightly toss together quinoa, white corn, basil, red chili, and hemp seeds.

Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt and black pepper. Pour over quinoa mixture and toss again lightly. Add feta with one more gentle toss.

For the Halibut: Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and lemon peel in small bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat) or preheat broiler. Drizzle 1 Tablespoon vinaigrette over halibut. Season with salt and pepper.

Grill or broil halibut steaks until just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from grill.

To Serve: Divide quinoa mixture among 4 dinner plates. Top with halibut. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette to taste and garnish with basil.

Optional: Garnish with borage blossoms for an extra touch of color.

In Your Glass
This entrée invites many flavorful wine combinations and of course we invite you to enjoy it with a wine that most appeals to you. At our house we have a passion for exploring different flavor combinations when it comes to wine with food. A dry Riesling from Australia, from Clare or Eden Valley, will offer crisp flavors and attractive floral aromas without sweetness getting in the way. An elegant, un-fussy Grenache Rosé provides great accompaniment (and to me even feels like summer) as does a zesty, pleasing Chardonnay such as Shafer’s Red Shoulder Ranch. We’ve also enjoyed this dish with Shafer’s Merlot — I know, I know, that may not follow conventional wisdom but give it a try in the name of adventure!


Merlot & Rosemary Macerated Figs with Fromage Blanc Sorbet

Servings: 4-6

For the Sorbet
¾ cup organic sugar
1 ½ cups water
1 Tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
8 ounces fromage blanc or crème fraiche
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For the Figs
½ cup sugar
2 cups Merlot
2 stems fresh rosemary
3 strips (3 inches each) lemon zest
1 pound fresh figs (any type), quartered

For the Sorbet: Bring the sugar, water, honey, and lemon zest to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, and let stand 10-15 minutes. Whisk in fromage blanc and then the lemon juice. Let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, overnight is best.

Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer to a large container, and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

For the Figs: Sprinkle sugar over bottom of a 10-12-inch sauté pan. Cook over medium-high heat, gently swirling pan occasionally, until sugar is lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add wine in a slow, steady stream, stirring gently to make sure all the sugar dissolves. Add rosemary and lemon zest, and simmer until reduced by half. Add the figs, and simmer until liquid is syrupy and figs are soft, about 3-5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Remove rosemary and lemon zest.

To Serve: Divide sorbet among dessert dishes, and spoon figs and syrup over the top. Enjoy!

In Your Glass
For dessert deliciousness, we’ve enjoyed this end-of-meal dish with several wines including a fruit-forward sparkling Rosé. And, no surprise, another good choice which offers a vivid, youthful profile is Shafer’s Merlot with its enticing blend of blackberry and dark cherry flavors and aromas.


Crostini on plate Enjoy the Best of Spring 2014 with Recipes from Annette Shafer
Springtime offers the first new flavors of the year in all their verve and brightness. Annette Shafer has crafted a dinner’s-worth of recipes that capitalize on the best aromas, colors, and palate-pleasing flavors of the season.
Crostini with Spring Peas, Mint and Parmesan

Yield: 12 pieces


12 slices of seeded baguette bread
1 small garlic clove, crushed plus 1 garlic clove, whole
1 ½ cup fresh, shelled peas
Sea salt, to taste
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint
1 teaspoon minced shallot
2 teaspoons lemon zest

Olive oil, to taste
Fresh mint, chiffonade
Freshly grated aged Asiago cheese


Fill a medium bowl with ice and cold water, and set it aside. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the peas and cook only until the water returns to a boil. Remove peas and immediately submerge them in the ice water. When they have cooled, drain and set them aside.

Preheat an outdoor grill or broiler to medium-high. Slice the baguette into 3-inch-long oval slices, ¼ inch thick. Using an atomizer, spray one side of each slice with the olive oil. Grill on both sides until toasted. Rub top side with garlic clove. Set aside.

On a cutting board, sprinkle ¼ teaspoon salt over 1 teaspoon of the minced garlic. Mash the garlic with the flat side of your knife until the mixture forms a paste. In a small bowl, combine the garlic paste, 2 teaspoons of the extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon chopped mint, shallot, and a couple of grinds of pepper. Mix well, and set aside.

In another small bowl, mash the spring peas with the back of a fork until there are no whole peas; you should have a mixture of pea halves and paste. Add the garlic mixture and stir gently to combine.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the mixture onto each crostini. Repeat with the remaining crostini. Drizzle a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil over the top as desired, and sprinkle with Asiago and the chiffonade of mint.

In Your Glass
As with any dish, there are always so many great options for your wine glass. The light white-peach and floral elements, balanced by the nice the minerality, of an unoaked Viogner – such as a classic from the Condrieu region of France – will provide stellar accompaniment. Perhaps easier to find, and just as delicious, is an Austrian Grüner Veltliner. And with a bit more mouth-richness, but definitely as agreeable, is the honey-hued Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay, always a favorite at our house.

Fusilli with Asparagus, Spring Peas and Lemon Ricotta Sauce

Serves 4 - 6

1 lb asparagus, stem ends snapped off, peeled and cut into 1 ½ inch lengths (about 1 ½ – 2 cups)
1 cup fresh, shelled peas

½ cup low fat ricotta cheese
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon sea salt (to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper

2 cups whole grain fusilli bucati (or pasta of your choice)

1 bunch pea shoots
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon olive oil
Sea salt


Bring a large pot of water to boil. Quickly blanch both asparagus and peas separately and cool each in an ice water bath. Drain and set aside.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil for cooking the fusilli.
Add the fusilli to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally until it is al dente. Reserve 1/3 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta and place in a large bowl.

While the pasta is boiling, stir together the ricotta, ¼ cup of the Parmesan, parsley, lemon zest, garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, sea salt, and pepper in a small bowl until smooth. Add the 1/3 cup reserved pasta cooking water to the ricotta mixture, whisking until smooth.

When ready to serve, toss the pea shoots with lemon juice, olive oil and salt. In a separate bowl, toss the pasta with the ricotta sauce.

To serve, sprinkle with Parmesan and top with pea shoots. Enjoy!

In Your Glass
One of the beauties of this dish is that it can easily be enjoyed with either a red or white wine. I prefer a wine with a bit less tannin giving the asparagus its best chance to shine. In the red category, we would likely pour a Pinot Noir to accompany it. Of course there is also a wide range of white wines that works well too including Shafer’s Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay or, just as likely, the Shafer Merlot. Exploration is a big part of the pleasure when finding the food and wine combinations that work best for you.


Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars

Yield: 6-8


For the streusel
½ cup unsalted butter, melted, plus room temperature butter for pan
½ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup coconut sugar
¼ tsp. sea salt
1 ¼ cup organic, unbleached all-purpose flour

For the bars
½ lb. rhubarb, cut into ½'' pieces
½ lb. strawberries, hulled and sliced ¼" thick
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 cup organic, unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
½ cup white whole wheat flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup agave
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Powdered sugar for dusting finished bars


Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 9'' square baking pan and line with parchment paper. (If you leave a slight overhang of parchment, it is easier to lift from the pan when baked.) Butter and flour parchment paper in pan, tapping out the excess flour. Set aside.

For the streusel
Whisk together the butter, brown sugar, coconut sugar and salt. Add flour and mix with a fork until large crumbs form. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the bars
In a medium bowl, combine rhubarb, strawberries, brown sugar, and ¼ cup of the all-purpose flour. Set aside. In another medium bowl, whisk the remaining all purpose and white whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and agave until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. With mixer on low, beat in vanilla, then flour mixture. Mix just until combined.
Spread batter in prepared pan. Top with rhubarb and strawberry mixture, then top with prepared streusel. Pull a few pieces of strawberry and rhubarb up through the streusel so that you can see it when it has finished baking.

Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a bit of moist crumbs attached, about 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and carefully lift cake from pan. Cut into bars and dust with powdered sugar. Serve as is, or with crème frâiche or unsweetened whipped cream.

In Your Glass
The strawberry and rhubarb in this dessert really invite wines with similar red fruit characteristics such as a Grenache or Shafer Merlot. Or if you want to end your meal on a bubbly note, you can’t go wrong with a Champagne or sparkling blanc-de-noir, such Billecart Salmon, which is always on hand at our house. As a matter of fact, this would be brilliant with the whole meal — or at least in the beginning and back again at the end especially if you wanted to make certain to include a red in the lineup!


Winter Recipes from Annette Shafer Brighten Your Winter Table With Recipes from Annette Shafer
With winter bringing long nights and cold temperatures, it’s high time to chase the gloom away with lively colors and bright aromas and flavors. Check out Annette Shafer’s latest recipes, which offer some of the most enlivening dishes of the season.
Blood Orange, Beet and Radish Salad With Avocado Green Goddess Dressing

Servings: 4


1 ½ pounds roasted, peeled beets, cut vertically into 8 sections each
2 Tablespoons minced shallots
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
2 blood oranges, peeled and sectioned (with juice)
4 radishes, sliced thinly on a mandolin
½ small red onion, peeled, cut in half and sliced thinly
1 ½  cups fresh baby spinach
1 ½  cups fresh arugula
2 Tablespoons fresh mint leaves
¼ cup shelled, unsalted Pistachios


Whisk together shallots, vinegar, oil, mustard, orange juice (reserved from sectioning oranges), and salt and pepper.  Add beets. Toss gently to combine. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, toss radishes, blood orange sections, and red onion together. Set aside.  Combine spinach, arugula, and mint leaves. Remove beets from refrigerator.  Combine beet mixture with orange mixture. To assemble: Place greens on plate. Top with beet mixture and pistachios. Drizzle Avocado Green Goddess Dressing over the top and serve.

Avocado Green Goddess Dressing


1 garlic clove
1 cup packed avocado flesh (2 small avocados)
⅓ cup water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
½ cup packed fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon tarragon leaves, (optional)
1 Tablespoon chives
½ cup packed green onion (green part only)
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3-4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
Pinch of cayenne (optional)

Place garlic clove in food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the avocado, water, oil, herbs, chives & onion. Process until smooth. Add the apple cider vinegar and lemon juice slowly stopping to taste for flavor – you may not need all the lemon juice. Add sea salt and cayenne (optional) to taste. (Thin with water if needed.)

In Your Glass
This salad offers an enticing wintry mix of textures and flavors – the spicy acidity of the Blood Orange, earthiness of beet and radish and the creamy goodness of the avocado. Certainly a clean crisp white wine such as a Grüener Veltliner or something with a bit more richness such as Red Shoulder Ranch® Chardonnay will provide delicious accompaniment. We’ve enjoyed this one, too, with a lighter style red wine, which could be a Rosé or a delicate Pinot Noir.


Curried Lentils, Chicken and Sweet Potatoes with Heirloom Forbidden Rice

Servings: 4-6


1 ½ cups Heirloom Forbidden Rice or Black Japonica Rice
3 cups water
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 teaspoons curry powder*, or to taste
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
Sea salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
1 ½ cups red lentils
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
¾ cup plain yogurt
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves


In a saucepan, bring rice, water and a pinch of salt to a boil over high heat.  Cover, reduce heat to low an simmer until water has been absorbed, 40-45 minutes. When done, fluff with a fork and keep warm for serving.

While rice is simmering: Pat chicken dry and season lightly with salt and pepper. In a heavy, large sauteuse pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the chicken and brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Add the onion to the pan and sauté until opaque. Add garlic and continue just until it is fragrant. Stir in curry powder and fresh ginger. Add chicken broth and sweet potatoes. Stir to combine. Add chicken back to the pan, turn to coat and bring just to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring and turning the chicken over occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add lentils and continue simmering for another 10-15 minutes, or until chicken and vegetables are cooked through. Transfer chicken to a medium bowl and, using 2 forks, shred the meat; return it to the sauteuse.  Add the lime juice and stir to combine. Serve topped with yogurt and cilantro, and (optional) Naan with lime wedges on the side.

*Curry powder
Yield: approx. 2 Tablespoons (note: store remainder that is not used up to 5 days)
2 teaspoons coriander seed

2 teaspoons cumin seed
1½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground fenugreek seeds (optional)
Dash ground cloves
Dash ground cardamom

Heat small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add coriander and cumin. Toast seeds, tossing constantly, until fragrant. Transfer to spice grinder to grind. Toss with remaining ingredients.

In Your Glass
This dish is a favorite in our house in part because it fills the kitchen with the appetizing scents of winter comfort food – chicken, lentils and sweet potatoes – with a curried twist. You’ll have plenty of delicious choices when reaching for a bottle out of your wine rack. There’s lots of natural richness to make me pull out a Cabernet Sauvignon such as One Point Five® and yet at the same time I could easily see loving this with a Malbec or a Merlot. Let the mood in your kitchen help you decide.


Merlot Poached Pears with Crème Fraîche and Spicy Ginger Cookies

Servings: 4-6

Merlot Poached Pears Ingredients
4-6 Peeled, cored and halved pears (Bosc recommended)
2 cups of Merlot
⅓ cup of granulated organic sugar
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 vanilla bean, split open lengthwise
1 cinnamon stick

Crème Fraiche Garnish

8 oz. container crème fraîche, softened
½ cup Greek yogurt
Pinch of cinnamon
2 Tablespoons amber agave syrup (or to taste)

Spicy Ginger Cookies Ingredients
Yield: 2 ½ dozen

6 oz. (hot) brewed espresso
1 cup chopped, pitted dates
2 eggs
3 Tablespoons molasses
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves
Dash allspice
Dash nutmeg
½ cup chopped, crystallized ginger
3 Tablespoons turbinado sugar

Merlot Poached Pears Preparation
Combine all ingredients, except pears, and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer and add the pears. Simmer pears for 10 minutes and then turn pears over and simmer for an additional 8 minutes or until they are tender (to test, fork tines will penetrate easily). Remove pears and let them cool. Continue to simmer wine sauce until the liquid has been reduced by half, cool. To serve, place two pear halves onto plate, pipe crème fraiche mixture into center of pear halves and drizzle lightly with the reduced sauce.

For the Crème Fraîche garnish:  Whisk together crème fraîche, Greek yogurt, cinnamon and agave until smooth. Transfer to a pastry bag and pipe filling into cored pear halves.

Spicy Ginger Cookies Preparation
Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine coffee and dates and let sit for 10 minutes or until dates have softened. Put mixture in a food processor and process until smooth. In a bowl, whisk eggs and molasses. Continue whisking and add date puree. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda salt, and spices. Add ginger pieces, toss. Stir into date mixture. Place in freezer for 30 minutes or until firm but still scoopable.  Using a teaspoon, place dough on a parchment-lined tray, allowing space for them to spread just a bit. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over top. Bake 10 minutes or until they feel spongy yet firm and spring back when gently prodded.

In Your Glass
A dessert like this, which combines two complementary elements, the poached pears and the ginger cookies, offers a lot of delicious wine options. One of my favorites is Shafer's Firebreak®, a Cabernet Sauvignon dessert wine. The Ginger Cookies cry out to be dipped in it while sitting by a crackling, warm fire.


Autumn Favorites from Annette Shafer Enjoy the Best of Autumn 2013 with recipes from Annette Shafer
The days are getting cooler, the nights are getting longer and we’re craving richer food and more luxuriant wines. Check out Annette Shafer’s latest seasonal recipes which deliver the best aromas and flavors of fall.
Abundant Fall Kale Salad

Serves 4


6 cups Lacinato kale, midribs removed and leaves sliced 

Juice of 1 lemon 

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 

2 cloves garlic, minced 

Sea salt & pepper, to taste 

Red pepper flakes, to taste 

2 medium Fuyu persimmons, sliced
⅓ cup, chopped, toasted walnuts
½ cup grated Asiago cheese

Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, sea salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Pour over kale in serving bowl and toss well. Set aside for 5 minutes to let the kale soften a bit.

Next, add persimmons, walnuts and Asiago cheese. Toss lightly and serve.

In Your Glass

As with any dish we love, Doug and I enjoy trying a variety of wines. Two recent favorites, working beautifully with the combination of flavors, have been a good Pinot Gris from the French region of Alsace or a glass of Shafer’s Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay. The pristine acidity in wines like this create a compelling combination with the flavors in this dish.


Pomegranate Marinated Roast Loin of Pork with Roasted Pear Chutney

Serves 6


⅓ cup pomegranate juice
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 - 2.5 pound portion of center cut pork loin (5 oz. portions)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Rosemary sprigs

⅓ cup pomegranate seeds
Flat Leaf Parsley (optional)


Whisk pomegranate juice, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, sea salt and pepper together in a dish large enough to accommodate the pork. Add pork and toss to coat.  Cover and marinate at least 2 hours, or up to 1 day in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Drain and pat pork dry. Trim excess fat off loin if necessary. Straddle a flameproof roasting pan over 2 burners and heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown pork on all sides. Then transfer to large plate. Deglaze the pan with water enough to loosen any browned pieces. The deglazing liquid can remain in the pan.

Put a metal rack in pan and place rosemary sprigs atop it, then place the loin on top of the sprigs, fat side up. Add more water if needed — this is to prevent the drippings from burning on the bottom of the pan and to keep the meat moist during roasting. Transfer to oven and roast until thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 150°F, about 35 minutes. Monitor the pork periodically during the roasting process to ensure that there is enough moisture in the pan to prevent the bottom from scorching. 

Transfer pork to platter and tent with foil to keep warm for a few minutes before serving. Slice after meat has had a bit of a chance to rest and the juices have been reabsorbed.

Slice and plate with Roasted Pear Chutney.  Sprinkle pomegranates atop chutney and allow to fall around plate for a festive presentation. Enjoy!

Roasted Pear Chutney

Yield: 2-3 cups


2 ripe, Bosc pears, medium dice
2 Tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice
3 Tablespoons organic sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons canola oil
¼ cup maple syrup
½ medium red onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons golden raisins
½ cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Toss the pears with lemon juice, 1 Tablespoon of the sugar, cinnamon, allspice and cloves. Transfer to a greased (with 1 teaspoon of canola oil) sheet pan and roast 20 minutes or until tender but still holding their shape. Remove from oven and cool.

Meanwhile, add remaining canola oil to small saucepan and sauté onions over medium heat. When onions are translucent, add garlic and continue to sauté just until the fragrance is evident. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Combine cooled pears and cooled onion mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to combine.


In Your Glass

You are likely to find many wines that will provide real pleasure with this dish. Two favorites in our house are a balanced, fruity Pinot Noir from France’s celebrated Burgundy region or Shafer’s Merlot. The pomegranate and spices make for an intriguing combination with wines that are notably fruit forward.


Spiced Pumpkin Flan

Serves 6 (6, 6 in. ramekins)


Atomized canola oil (canola oil in a pump sprayer) for coating ramekins
½ cup organic sugar
¼ cup water

⅓ cup organic sugar
5 large egg yolks
1 cup roasted pumpkin
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
Dash ground cloves
1 vanilla bean
1 cup nonfat milk
½ cup goat kefir
½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger


Preheat oven to 325°F. 

To prepare caramel, lightly coat 6, 6-ounce ramekins with atomized canola oil. Combine ½ cup organic sugar and ¼ cup water in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook 4-5 minutes or until sugar dissolves stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook, without stirring, 6 minutes or until mixture turns golden brown. Divide evenly into prepared ramekins.  Set aside.

To prepare flan, combine ⅓ cup organic sugar and egg yolks in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in pumpkin, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. In a heavy saucepan, combine milk, fresh ginger and vanilla bean. Heat over medium-high heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges. Take care not to let it come to a full simmer. Remove vanilla bean, scraping inside portion of the pod back into the milk mixture. Gradually whisk in kefir.  Then, add ⅓ of hot milk mixture to egg mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Gradually add this all back to the remaining milk mixture. Reduce heat and cook until almost simmering.   Remove from heat.

Pour milk mixture evenly among prepared ramekins. Place cups in a baking pan large enough to accommodate them all. Add hot water to pan to a depth of 1-inch. Place in oven for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. 

Remove cups from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Chill at least 8 hours. 

To serve: Carefully loosen edges of custards with a knife. Invert ramekins onto plates. Drizzle any remaining caramel over custards.

In Your Glass
At our house we have relished the richness and warm, characteristically autumnal spice of this end-of-meal dish with a glass of Port, whether a vintage Port from the Douro Valley in Portugal or Shafer’s luscious Cabernet Sauvignon dessert wine called “Firebreak.” This is one time you’ll certainly be glad you opted in for this dessert duet!


Summer Favorites from Annette Shafer Taste the Best of Summer 2013 With Recipes from Annette Shafer
It’s time to light up the grill! Annette Shafer rounds up the most mouthwatering flavors of the season for an entire meal that will be ideal for your next outdoor cookout with friends and family.
Grilled Apricot, Burrata and Arugula Salad with Balsamic Drizzle

Serves 4

8 fresh apricots, pitted and halved
1 teaspoon olive oil (to brush apricots prior to grilling)
12 oz. burrata cheese, sliced and divided into four portions (fresh mozzarella can be substituted)
3 cups fresh arugula

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup balsamic vinegar reduced by half

Brush the fresh apricots with olive oil and grill, cut side down just until the grill marks appear.  Remove from grill and let cool.

Meanwhile, toss the arugula with only enough vinaigrette to coat the leaves. Divide arugula among 4 salad plates. Top with cooled apricots and burrata cheese. Drizzle with a small amount of the reduced balsamic vinegar and serve.

In Your Glass
This salad offers a delightful balance of bright, crisp flavors with the creaminess and nuance of the burrata cheese. A number of wines will play well with this salad like a crisp Riesling from the Alsace region of France or a wine closer to home such as Red Shoulder Ranch® Chardonnay.


Mediterranean-spiced Lamb Sliders

Makes: 4 servings


For the topping
½ cup plain, whole milk Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons olive tapenade (or finely chopped olives)

For the sliders
1 ½ pounds ground lamb
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons grated garlic
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
½  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Vegetable oil, for the grill

To assemble
4 whole wheat slider buns, sliced in half and lightly toasted
½ red onion, sliced into 4 rings
1 cup baby arugula, divided into 4 portions
½ cup crumbled feta cheese (about 2 ounces); divided into 4 portions
1 Persian cucumber, thinly sliced and divided into 4 portions


For the topping
Place the yogurt and tapenade (or olives) in a medium bowl and mix to incorporate. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the sliders
Place all of the ingredients except the oil in a large bowl and, using your clean hands, mix until just combined. Split the meat into 4 equal portions and shape each piece into a patty that is ½-inch-thick and roughly ½-inch wider than the burger buns.

Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high (about 450°F to 550°F). Rub grates with oil to prevent sticking.

Place the patties on the grill, close the grill, and cook until grill marks appear on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip each patty and cook with grill closed until the patties are firm to the touch. Remove to a clean plate and let rest in a warm place for a few minutes before assembling sliders.

To assemble
Spread about 1 tablespoon of the topping on each top and bottom bun (you may have some topping leftover). Divide red onions and cucumber slices amongst slider roll bottoms, top with a patty, then garnish each with remaining ingredients. Top with the bun and serve immediately.

Whole-Wheat Slider Buns

Makes: 8 buns

1 cup low-fat milk
⅓ cup lukewarm water
1 package active dry yeast
1 large egg, at room temperature lightly beaten
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, or canola oil
1 ¾ cups whole-wheat flour
1 ¾ cups (approximately) unbleached all-purpose flour
Cornmeal, for sprinkling

Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until the surface just begins to shimmer. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pour water into a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast over the water, stir, then add 1 tablespoon of the all-purpose flour. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Whisk into the milk.

Next, add the egg; whisk well. Whisk in sugar, salt, and oil. Stir in whole-wheat flour. Using a dough hook on the electric mixer, make sure the flour is well incorporated. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

Start adding all-purpose flour to the dough, about ⅓ cup at a time, beating well (with dough hook attachment) after each addition. When the dough is somewhat firm and no longer too sticky to handle, continue to ‘knead’ in the mixer for another 5 minutes or until the dough is no longer tacky to the touch. You may need to add more flour if the dough seems too moist.

Coat a large bowl with olive oil. Add the dough and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free spot to rise until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 ½ hours.

When the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 1 minute. Using a dough cutter or chef's knife, cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 5 minutes.

Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray and dust it with cornmeal. Shape the dough into tight balls and place them about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Coat a large sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place it over the buns, sprayed side down.

Set the buns in a warm, draft-free spot until they have risen by about half, 25 to 30 minutes. Gently press down on the buns, pressing right on the plastic, to flatten them a little. Let them rise for another 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Remove plastic and bake the buns on the center rack until golden and crusty, about 25 minutes. The bottoms should sound hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

In Your Glass
This summer entrée invites fun experimentation with wine. Some of Doug and Annette’s favorite bottles with this have been fruit-forward Pinot Noir from Burgundy, a Syrah-Grenache blend from the Rhône Valley or elegant reds such as Shafer’s Merlot. Ultimately you’ll probably be happiest with a wine offering juicy red and black fruit to go nicely with both the richness of the lamb and the savory Mediterranean flavors of the spices and toppings.


Grilled Corn with Lime and Queso Fresco

Serves 4

4 ears of fresh corn in husk with silk removed; soaked in water 30 minutes prior to preparation
2 limes, cut in half
4 oz. queso fresco

Heat the grill to medium high. Place corn directly onto grill and close the grill. Allow corn to steam for 5-8 minutes. Check doneness. When it is almost cooked, pull back the husks and place directly on the grill. Remove when grill marks are evident. Place back in husk pulling back one or two husks to reveal the corn. Squeeze each ear with juice from ½ lime and sprinkle 1 oz. queso fresco on top.  Serve.


Marion Blackberry Galette

Servings: 4-6

A free-form pie, this French-inspired galette captures the memories of a warm summer afternoon in the country with the captivatingly sweet smell of blackberries carried with every gentle breeze. Simple, yet inspiring. Enjoy!


1 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
¾ cup white whole wheat flour
¼ cup stone-ground cornmeal
¼ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup unsalted, cold butter, cut into small pieces
¼ cup fat-free buttermilk, more as needed

6 cups marion blackberries
⅓ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
1 tablespoon skim milk
1 egg white
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

Pastry: Combine flour(s), sugar, cornmeal and salt and place in a food processor; pulse lightly a couple of times. Add butter to the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Slowly add the buttermilk with another couple of pulses — just until dough forms. Gently press the dough into a flat circle and cover with plastic wrap. Chill one hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375° F. Prepare filling: combine blackberries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice.  Toss to incorporate. 

On parchment paper, roll dough into a 12-14 inch circle. Place on baking sheet. Arrange berry mixture in the center of dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold edges of dough toward center, pressing gently to seal edges. Berries will show in the center.

Whisk together skim milk and egg white. Brush pastry with mixture and sprinkle on turbinado sugar. Bake at 375° F for 30 minutes. Cover and lower oven temperature to 350° F and bake another 20 minutes, or until berries are bubbly and crust is crisp. Let stand to cool; cut into wedges.

In Your Glass
The sweetness and rich berry flavors offer a wide range of possible delicious choices in your glass. For a lighter approach try a blanc de noir Champagne or a French rosé. For something rich and silky Shafer’s Cabernet dessert wine called Firebreak® offers a can’t-miss flavor profile.


Spring Favorites from Annette Shafer Taste the Best of spring 2013 with Recipes from Annette Shafer
Spring has sprung with abundant new flavors. Annette Shafer's latest recipes offer creative, delicious ways to prepare ingredients now showing up in farmers markets and store shelves full of enticing seasonal color, aroma and taste.
Shaved Carrot and Asparagus Salad

Serves 4


1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice
1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
1 medium shallot, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 ounces fresh asparagus, peeled
3 medium carrots, peeled
½ cup thinly sliced dates
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
5 cups arugula

Combine vinegar, mustard, shallot, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Pour in oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly.

Toast sunflower seeds briefly under a broiler or in a hot cast iron pan. Set aside to cool.

Using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, shave asparagus and carrots into a large bowl. Add dates, sunflower seeds, and arugula. Toss.

Sprinkle vinaigrette over salad. Toss gently and season with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately.

In Your Glass
As with most dishes, we’ve tried a few different wine styles with delicious results. The flavors in this salad make me wish for some of the wines we tasted on our last adventure to Italy such as a Pinot Grigio from the Alto Adige region. It’s a medium-bodied white wine with aromas of delicate white flowers, clean acidity, and a distinct mineral quality characteristic of the area. Closer to home, we’ve enjoyed this one with newer vintages of Shafer’s Red Shoulder Ranch® Chardonnay. The 2011 vintage is newly bottled and is loaded with crisp citrus, grapefruit and kiwi flavors.


Ricotta Gnocchi with English Peas and Spring Onions

Serves 4


6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
16 ounces part skim ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Pinch black pepper
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
½ cup organic all-purpose flour
½ cup white whole wheat flour

3 cups shelled fresh English peas (frozen is ok)
½ cup finely sliced spring onions
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
Sea salt and black pepper
½ teaspoon red chile flakes, or to taste
1 cup pea tendrils, washed and dried
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons chiffonade of fresh mint

Shaved Pecorino cheese, to taste


Combine the Parmesan, ricotta, lemon zest, black pepper, sea salt, and nutmeg in a bowl. Mix until well combined. Add the flour(s) and mix into the cheese mixture until it is just incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead gently for a minute.

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion into a long snake shape and cut into gnocchi-sized pieces. Hold a fork in one hand and place a gnocchi against the tines of the fork. Using your thumb, press in and down the length of the fork. The gnocchi should curl after coming off the fork.

Cook the gnocchi in a pot of salted boiling water. When the gnocchi rise to the surface, they are cooked. Remove and drain.

Blanch the fresh peas in boiling water, drain, and cool in an ice bath. (If frozen, bring just up to room temperature.)

Wash the spring onions in a bowl of cold water, taking care to lift the onion slices out and leaving any dirt behind. Drain.

Heat about the olive oil in a sauté pan, add the spring onions and sauté over low heat until they begin to caramelize. Then add the garlic and sauté just until you smell the garlic’s aroma. Add the cooked gnocchi, peas, lemon zest and a little of the cooking water to moisten; heat through. Season with salt, pepper, and chile flakes to taste. Add the pea tendrils just before serving.

Divide the gnocchi and vegetable mixture between four bowls and top with a sprinkling of mint and shaved Pecorino cheese.

In Your Glass
This dish invites a lot of fun experimentation with wine. A favorite of ours is a dry French rosé from Provence – all Provençal rosés have some common characteristics: on the palate they tend to be fresh, crisp, bright, and dry. (In other words these aren’t the sweet pink wines you may have tried from other regions.) Good rosé has enough acid to make it an excellent food wine and enough tannin – from the red grape skins – to give it a little bit of backbone. For a richer experience, we like to pour Shafer Merlot, which has lively red cherry and plum flavors along with an underlay of darker, more elegant fruit.


Cherry Pistachio Biscotti

Yield: 2 dozen


½ cup all purpose flour
½ cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup coarse-ground white or yellow corn meal
⅓ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 medium eggs
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup agave syrup
⅓ cup canola oil
1 Tablespoon finely grated Meyer lemon zest
1 cup dried tart cherries
1 cup shelled, raw pistachios


Heat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, whisk together all purpose and white whole wheat flour, cornmeal, coconut, baking powder and sea salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix eggs, sugar, agave, oil, and zest on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed, add flour mixture, and mix until just combined. Fold in cherries and pistachios.

Transfer dough to a parchment lined baking sheet and pat into a slightly flattened log – 3 inches wide. Bake until firm and golden, 30-35 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack and reduce oven to 325°F. Once cool, transfer log to a cutting board and, using a serrated knife, cut diagonally into ½ inch slices.

Arrange slices on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake, rotating half-way through, until just golden around the edges, 15-18 minutes. Let cool completely.
Store in an airtight container until serving.

In Your Glass
The dried cherry and pistachio in this dessert offer up some appealing flavor options. We’ve enjoyed this at the end of a meal with an older Cabernet Sauvignon such as a 2004 or 2005 One Point Five® Cabernet Sauvignon or even an older Hillside Select® Cabernet Sauvignon. In a different vein, we’ve savored the biscotti with a glass of Sauternes, a French sweet wine from the Sauternais region of the Graves section in Bordeaux, which typically offers some good acidity with its rich sweetness as well as an enticing nutty character.


Seasonal Favorites from Annette Shafer Taste the Best of Winter 2012 with Recipes from Annette Shafer
Annette Shafer invites you to enjoy her latest selection of seasonal recipes. Even in the gray, overcast days of winter you can enjoy color on your plate and bright flavors on your palate.
Citrus and Greens Salad

Serves 6

3 cups baby spinach, washed and spun dry
3 cups arugula, washed and spun dry
2 navel oranges, peeled and sectioned (pith removed); juice reserved
1 ripe Hachiya persimmon, quartered and sliced horizontally
½ small red onion, cut in half and sliced thinly
1 pomegranate, seeds only, outer shell and inner pith removed
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
1 avocado

1/4 cup fresh juice from the oranges
2 Tablespoons lemon juice + 1 teaspoon
2 teaspoons grainy, stone-ground mustard
1 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, mustard, and oil. Set aside. In a large bowl, toss spinach, arugula, orange slices, persimmon pieces, red onion and pomegranate seeds with only as much dressing as needed to thinly coat the leaves of the greens. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss again.

Halve the avocado and remove pit. Scoop out flesh and thinly slice lengthwise; drizzle with remaining 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Arrange on top of salad, sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Serve immediately.

In Your Glass
Doug and I enjoy wines from the Savoie (if you are a Chablis fan you’ll enjoy the similar, crisp character), which go nicely with the bright, tangy, citrusy flavors of the salad. Shafer’s Red Shoulder Ranch® Chardonnay is another can’t-miss choice with its fruit bowl of zesty and exotic flavors. 


Oven-Roasted Acorn Squash with Curried Lentil Stew

Serves 4


2 small acorn squash
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon garam masala *
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 ½ cups water
1 cup red lentils
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup finely diced carrots
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
½ cup finely chopped jalapeños
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 medium tomatoes, diced (or canned, diced)
1/4 cup thinly sliced roasted red peppers
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

To prepare squash: Halve squash through the stem end; scoop out seeds. Cut a small slice off the bottom of each half so it rests flat. Place cut-side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Combine olive oil honey, garam masala and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl; brush the cut sides of the squash. Cover with foil.
Bake until the squash is tender, 40-45 minutes more. To test for doneness, the flesh should be fork tender. Turn off the oven, tent the squash with the foil and leave in the oven to keep warm.

To prepare stuffing: Bring water, lentils and a pinch of salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Adjust heat so the water is simmering, cover pan and cook until the lentils are not hard, but still maintain their shape, about 7 minutes. Drain, saving any lentil-cooking liquid; set lentils and liquid aside.

Heat a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil and cumin seeds and toast, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Place in a spice grinder and grind until fine. Add back to the pan together with leeks, garlic, carrots, shallots, ginger and pinch of salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots begin to soften, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in jalapeños, coriander and turmeric and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Stir in tomatoes and 1 cup of the reserved cooking liquid from the lentils (if there isn’t enough, make up the difference with water). Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved lentils and simmer until they are soft and tender but not falling apart, 1-2 minutes. If the mixture seems dry, add more cooking liquid (or water). Stir in roasted peppers. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Divide the lentil stuffing among the squash (a generous 1 cup per half). Serve garnished with a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt.

* Garam masala, a blend of spices used in Indian cooking, usually includes cardamom, black pepper, cloves, nutmeg, fennel, cumin and coriander. It is available in the spice section of most supermarkets.

In Your Glass
The richness in this dish comes from the carmelization of the squash as well as a bit of hearty olive oil and the blend of savory and spicy herbs. Red wines from Spain’s Rioja region come to mind as a nice compliment to the dish. Some older vintages are now on the market and are tasting great. From Shafer, Doug or I would likely reach first for the Merlot with its enticing red and black fruit flavors.


Cranberry-Pear Tart in a Walnut Shortbread Crust

Yield: 8-12 Servings

1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon plus ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons canola oil

1 ½ cups plus 2 teaspoons plus ⅓ cup and 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon plus 2 dashes salt
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch dice
⅓ cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped

3 large ripe pears, such as Anjou or Bartlett
2 cups fresh cranberries, picked through, rinsed, and dried
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

Make the crust: Position a rack near the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.

In a small bowl, mix the egg yolk, yogurt, vanilla (½ teaspoon) and oil. Put the flour (1 ½ cups), sugar (3 tablespoons), and salt in a food processor; pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarsely ground cornmeal.

With the processor running, add the yolk mixture in a steady stream and then pulse until the moisture is fairly evenly dispersed, 10 seconds or just until the mixture comes together. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Gently knead in the chopped walnuts to distribute them evenly. The dough will be a bit of a crumbly mass.

Pour the mixture into a 9 ½-inch round fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Starting with the sides of the pan, firmly press the crumbs against the pan to create a crust about ¼ - inch thick. Press the remaining crumbs evenly against the bottom of the pan. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork and freeze for about 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and bake until the sides just begin to darken and the bottom is set, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

Peel the pears, quarter them lengthwise, core, and cut crosswise into 1/4 -inch-thick slices.

In a food processor, coarsely chop the cranberries. In a medium bowl, mix the pears and cranberries. In a small bowl, mix the sugar (2/3 cup), flour (2 teaspoons), cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and salt (dash); add to the cranberry-pear mixture, tossing to combine. Spoon the filling into the par-baked crust, leveling the filling and pressing it down slightly.

Make the streusel and bake: In a small bowl, mix the flour (⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon), brown sugar, and salt (dash). Add the melted butter and vanilla (1/4 teaspoon). Combine with a fork or your fingers until the mixture begins to clump together in small pieces when pressed. Sprinkle the streusel over the filling, breaking it into smaller pieces if necessary.

Bake until the fruit is tender when pierced with a fork and the streusel and the edges of the crust are golden brown, about 50 minutes. If the tart begins to get overly brown at the edges, cover with foil. Let the tart cool on a rack – It’s best when fresh from the oven still slightly warm.

Adapted from: Fine Cooking Tarts and Crisps

In Your Glass
This is a dish that you could take in a few different directions in terms of a wine partner and demonstrates that there’s never just one ideal wine option with food. Doug and I might even continue with the Shafer Merlot or perhaps we would move on to a white Port, which would go nicely with the pear and do a lovely dance with the walnut, all-spice and cardamom. Yet another delicious option is Shafer’s Firebreak®, a Cabernet Sauvignon dessert wine made in the style of late-bottled vintage Ports from Portugal. Not overly sweet, this wine offers an ultra-plush Cabernet richness sure to please.


Seasonal Favorites from Annette Shafer The Best of Autumn 2012 From Annette Shafer
As fall comes into full swing we begin to enjoy a whole new season of fruits, vegetables and herbs. Annette is offering recipes for a meal that focuses on the bolder and heartier flavors and textures you’ll find at this time of year.
Arugula, apple, fennel and pomegranate salad with Walnuts

Servings: 8

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 shallot, minced
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 large fresh fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, very thinly sliced
1 8-ounce Breaburn apple (or other tart, crisp apple) , halved, cored, cut into matchstick-size strips
8 cups washed and trimmed arugula leaves
½ cup Pomegranate seeds
½ cup Walnuts, coarsely chopped and lightly toasted

Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and shallots together in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Combine fennel and apple in medium bowl; mix in 2 tablespoons dressing.
Place arugula in large bowl. Add fennel-apple mixture. Toss, adding more dressing to taste. Divide salad among 8 plates. Sprinkle each with walnuts and pomegranate seeds. Serve.

In Your Glass
Doug and I like to move into dinner offering our guests a glass of white wine. With this salad in mind, I like something with brightness and elegance. The salad has a bit of acidity along with a touch of sweetness from the pomegranates. There are many great wines from which to choose. We may select a Chablis, or a Pinot Gris from Alsace, or, of course, Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay.


Cabernet Braised Shortribs with Asiago Polenta

Serves 8


16 (2 ½ to 3-ounce) bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 grinds black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped shallots
½ cup chopped, peeled carrots
½ cup chopped, peeled celery
5 garlic cloves, peeled and gently smashed
2 sprigs rosemary
2 cups cabernet sauvignon or other hearty red wine
2-3 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cold water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

4 cups fat-free milk
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons dried red chili flakes
1 cup dry polenta
⅓ cup grated fresh aged Asiago cheese

Gremolata (optional)
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Grated rind of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced

Heat a large Dutch oven (or a cast iron enameled pan with a tight fitting lid) over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil to the pan. Then, add 8 ribs and sauté, browning them for 5-6 minutes. Remove ribs to a holding platter and then repeat with remaining oil and ribs. When brown, remove to platter.

Preheat your oven at this point to 350°F.

Add onion, shallots, carrots, celery, garlic, and rosemary to the pan. Sauté 3-5 minutes. Add wine to the pan and bring to a simmer, scraping pan to loosen the browned bits and them back into the sauce. Simmer until the wine is reduced by a third. Add broth and bay leaf to the pan and bring back to a simmer.

Return ribs to the pan. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Turn the ribs and bake for another 45 minutes. The meat should be very tender at this point. Remove the ribs from the pan and keep warm.

Over a small bowl, strain the cooking liquid through a fine mesh sieve and discard the solids. Then, skim the fat and discard. Return the cooking liquid to the pan. Whisk together flour and 1 tablespoon cold water in a small bowl. Whisk into the broth and bring just to a boil. Simmer until reduced to about 1 cup. Remove from heat and add vinegar. Keep warm for serving.

Polenta: Bring milk, salt, pepper and red chili flakes to a boil. Turn flame to low and slowly stir in polenta. Cook until thickened, about 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from flame and stir in the Asiago cheese.

Gremolata (optional garnish): Combine all ingredients.

Serving: For each serving, place a ½ cup polenta in a shallow bowl and top with 2 ribs, 2 tablespoons sauce and 1-2 teaspoons of the gremolata mixture (optional).

In Your Glass
This short ribs dish offers a whole host of robust flavors and textures for fall. With its heartiness, you’ll find a lot to choose from among Cabernet Sauvignons or Merlots from various wine-producing areas around the world, especially those originating in New World regions. From California, our go-to for a dish like this is Shafer’s One Point Five® Cabernet Sauvignon. Its elegant profile of bold freshness makes it a compelling companion.


Olive Oil Cake with Glazed Pears

8 servings


2 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
½ cup white whole wheat flour
1 ½ tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
¼ cup agave syrup
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 cup extra virgin olive oil (fruity rather than peppery base flavor)
½ cup Greek yogurt
¾ cup whole milk
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Glazed Pears
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
4 Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and sliced (about 4 cups)
½ cup pear juice (or apple cider can be substituted)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Coat a 9x5 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and place a piece of oiled parchment in the bottom of the pan.

Cake: Whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar until combined; add the lemon zest, orange zest, olive oil, yogurt, milk and brandy and whisk again until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. You may need to cover the cake with foil the last few minutes of baking to prevent the top from becoming too brown.

Let the cake cool on a rack for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the loaf and invert it onto the rack, removing the parchment carefully. Let cool completely.

Pears: In a medium sauté pan, simmer the sugar and water over medium heat, swirling the pan (do not stir with a spoon) until it is a dark amber, about 5-8 minutes. Carefully fold the pears into the caramelized sugar. Add the pear juice and cook over medium heat until the apples are tender and translucent, another 5-8 minutes.

Cut the loaf into 8 slices and divide among plates. Spoon the apple mixture over the cake and serve.

In Your Glass
A number of classic dessert wines could accompany this cake but instead we might lean toward a white port, “leve secco”, or “light dry”, which hails from Portugal’s Douro region. With a little less alcohol than the other traditional ports, and a hint of sweetness, it complements dessert with lovely almond and vanilla aromas and flavors. Doug and I like to find wines that avoid being overly sweet as they tend to mask some of the cake’s more delicate flavors. Of course I’m also partial to Shafer’s Firebreak made in the style of late-bottled vintage Port.


Seasonal Favorites from Annette Shafer The Best of summer 2012 from Annette Shafer
With summertime comes the fresh, alluring flavors of a new season. Annette is offering some of her recipes for a meal that focuses on the abundance you'll find at this time of year in produce sections and farmers markets throughout the country.
Summer Squash and Fresh Fennel Salad

Serves: 4

Light, fresh and clean flavors perfect for a warm Summer’s evening.

4 small zucchini
4 yellow squash
1 fennel bulb
1 pint red cherry tomatoes, halved
2 Tablespoons lightly toasted, coarsely chopped, walnuts
½ cup shaved ricotta salata (feta is a good option)
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of 1-2 Meyer lemons
1 cup fresh basil leaves, cut chiffonade
½ cup fresh mint leaves, cut chiffonade
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Using a mandolin, julienne the zucchini and squash (only as far as you see the seeds are exposed). Cut tops off of fennel bulb and cut into quarters. Shave thinly.

Toss together the zucchini, squash, and fennel. Just before serving, add the olive oil, lemon juice, basil, mint , salt and pepper. Toss just to coat, then add the cherry tomatoes. If plating, save the ricotta salata for garnish as you plate the salad. If serving family style, shave the ricotta salata over the top of the entire salad and serve.

In Your Glass
This salad offers an intriguing balance of bright, distinct flavors with some of the creaminess that the ricotta or feta brings. Annette says she and Doug have enjoyed this on various evenings with a Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc produced in the Sancerre region of France), a crisp Riesling from the Alsace region of France or a wine closer to home, Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay.


Chili crusted (grilled) Wild Salmon with Fresh Corn Salsa

Serves: 6


2 ¼ lbs. fresh Salmon filet (skin on), cut into 6 oz. portions
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
2 teaspoons turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon allspice

4 medium ears fresh corn
¼ cup diced red onion
1 small red bell pepper, diced
½ cup sliced scallions, include some of the green
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon agave syrup (optional)
½ cup cilantro leaves, (additional for garnish)
Freshly ground sea salt and pepper to taste

Heat grill to medium high, around 400°F. Prepare the salmon first by taking the small bones out of each filet. (Easiest if you use small, needle-nose pliers.) Tear a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to hold all of the salmon filets and place on a platter. Place each piece of salmon, skin side down on the foil. Sprinkle with lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix sugar, chili powder, cumin and allspice. Sprinkle mixture liberally atop salmon. Refrigerate until grill is heated.

Salsa: Clean the ears of corn, removing husk and silk. Grill just prior to putting Salmon on the grill – and just long enough to roast the corn until you see a bit of charring on both sides. Remove the corn to cool.
At this point, slide the foil with marinated Salmon off the platter and onto the grill. Close the grill hood and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to 325-350°F and continue to grill until salmon is almost cooked through, approximately 10-12 minutes. Remove from grill and let stand a few minutes before serving.

Salsa: Shave the corn off the ears and place in a medium bowl. Add onion, pepper, scallions lemon juice, olive oil and agave. Toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add cilantro leaves just before serving. (Can be made ahead and refrigerated or served at room temperature.)

Plating: Place one (skinless) salmon filet on plate (skin will stick to the foil for easy removal of the cooked fish). Spoon ⅓ cup salsa (or more as desired) over top of each salmon filet. Garnish with additional Cilantro.

In Your Glass
It’s tempting to play it safe and serve this entrée with a white wine but Annette says she and Doug have enjoyed the delicious rewards of being more adventurous. Their favorite wines with this have been lighter style reds such as a fruit forward Pinot Noir from Burgundy or even a richer style red such as Shafer’s Merlot – something juicy to go nicely with both the richness of the salmon and the flavors of the chili crust.


Almond Crisps with Sweetened Ricotta and Strawberries ‘Pazzo’

Serves: 6 - 8

A fun twist on traditional Strawberry Shortcake. And the term ‘pazzo’ refers to an Italian word for crazy. Adding a bit of Balsamic seems a bit crazy at first, but please hold judgment until you try it!

1 cup whole blanched almonds, toasted lightly
¾ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup all purpose flour
⅓ cup packed brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash ground nutmeg
8 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 Tablespoons ice water, plus more as needed

Sweetened Ricotta
12 ounces fresh ricotta cheese
¼ cup crème fraiche
2 Tablespoons sugar (or more to taste)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
Pinch of sea salt

Strawberries ‘Pazzo’
2 cups of fresh strawberries, quartered
2 Tablespoons superfine sugar
2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar (or more to taste)

Crisps: Pulse the almonds in a food processor until coarsely ground. Add flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; pulse to combine. Add the butter, a little bit at a time, pulsing until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

With the machine running, add the ice water, 1 Tablespoon at a time. Add enough just until dough starts to come together. You may need to add more water – if so, add 1 teaspoon at a time. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold and slightly firm, 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll dough out to ⅓ – ½ inch thickness on a lightly floured work surface and cut with a round biscuit cutter. Cut out 6-8 circles. Transfer the rounds to baking sheets lined with parchment. (Roll out remaining scraps and repeat.)

Bake until the edges of biscuits turn golden brown, about 30 minutes.Transfer to wire racks. Let cool completely. When serving, place a dollop of the ricotta on the crisp and top with the berry mixture.

Sweetened Ricotta: Place the ricotta in a fine sieve and set it over a bowl to drain for 10-20 minutes. Discard excess liquid. Stir together the ricotta, crème fraiche, sugar, vanilla, lemon peel and salt. Refrigerate until serving.

Strawberries ‘Pazzo’: About 30 minutes before serving, toss the strawberries with sugar and vinegar. Keep at room temperature until service.

Plating: Place the biscuit into a shallow bowl, top with ricotta and then strawberries. Enjoy!

In Your Glass
Annette says this one is great with a blanc de noir Champagne, an unexpectedly lovely way to finish a meal. She and Doug have also enjoyed this with a well-chilled, Marsannay rosé or Shafer’s Cabernet dessert wine called Firebreak – each brings its own alluring flavors and textures.


Seasonal Favorites from Annette Shafer The Best of Spring 2012 from Annette Shafer
With the start of spring comes the delicious chance to enjoy the fresh, bright flavors of a new season. Annette is offering some of her recipes for a meal that focuses on the abundance you’ll start finding in produce sections and farmers markets.
Asparagus, English Pea and Leek Soup

Serves: 6

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil or Canola Oil
1 ½ pounds asparagus, stalks peeled and coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
¼ cup chopped shallots
1 cup chopped leeks, both white and tender green parts
½ cup chopped, peeled celery
¼ cup chopped, peeled carrot
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
½ cup white wine
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups freshly shelled English Peas
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Sea salt to taste

Nonfat Greek Yogurt mixed with lemon juice for garnish
6 Tablespoons Greek Yogurt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Whisk together and refrigerate until ready to serve.

In a stockpot, heat the oil and sauté the shallots, leek, celery, and carrots until just translucent. Add the asparagus and continue to sauté until soft, 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to sauté just until the aroma of garlic is noticeable. Then, add the wine, simmer and reduce by half, scraping pan to incorporate into soup. Next, add the stock and bring just to a boil. Turn down heat to a simmer for 10-15 minutes, until all vegetables are soft. Add the peas and cook for 5-6 more minutes just until they are soft.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Pureé with an immersion blender (one of my favorite tools!) if available or alternatively in a blender in small batches. If using a blender, as when pureéing anything warm, leave the blender top ajar and place a dishtowel over the top to catch any soup that escapes.

Serve the soup warm or cold garnished with a swirl of the Greek Yogurt with lemon.

In Your Glass
With the bright yet delicate springtime flavors of this soup we have enjoyed a glass of Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay as well as a selection of wines from Chablis (also Chardonnay). It's also great to try some lesser-known whites such as an elegant Vermentino from Tuscany’s Bolgheri coast with its fruit forward essence and pleasurable minerality.

Seared Halibut with Soba Noodles

Serves: 6

2 pounds Halibut (6 filets)
1 Tablespoon Hoisin sauce
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon finely minced lemon zest
1 Tablespoon white wine
1 Tablespoon canola oil
Freshly ground sea salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon olive oil
6 lemon wedges (for garnish)

Soba Noodle Salad
12 ounces soba noodles or other wholegrain pasta
¾ cup buttermilk
1½ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1½ teaspoons fresh lemon zest
3 Tablespoons minced chives
1 cup watercress
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and julienned
1 scallion, sliced thinly
Freshly ground sea salt and pepper, to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste

Preparation: Rinse halibut under cold running water and pat dry. Remove any bones. Combine hoisin, lemon juice, lemon zest, white wine and canola oil. Place halibut in a glass dish with just enough room for all filets to lay flat. Pour marinade over halibut, making sure to coat both sides. Cover. Let marinate 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

While the fish is marinating, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add soba noodles and cook until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water.

Mix together, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, chives, and salt and pepper to taste. In a large bowl, gently toss soba with buttermilk mixture. Add watercress, cucumber, scallion and salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Toss to incorporate. Serve or refrigerate until ready to eat.

To prepare halibut: Heat a non-stick sauté pan to high heat. Add olive oil and swirl around pan. Add halibut pieces. Sauté just until halibut looses it’s interior translucency – a little bit of translucency is fine since the fish will continue to cook a bit once removed from the heat. Remove from the pan.

To serve: Place one serving of the dressed soba noodles on serving plate. Top with seared Halibut. Squeeze lemon juice over halibut just before serving – or allow guests to make the choice. Enjoy!

In Your Glass
This is one of those great dishes that we have loved trying with both red and white wines. A Shafer Merlot can be a delicious companion as can a Pinot Noir or a white with a medium to full body, such as a favorite Sémillon.

Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cake with Caramel Sauce

Serves: 6 - 8

4 large eggs, separated
1 cup granulated (baker’s) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups lightly toasted walnuts, finely ground
½ cup ground bittersweet chocolate

Caramel Sauce for garnish, optional
1 cup of sugar
6 Tbsp butter
½ cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut parchment in a circle to fit the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan. Butter and flour once parchment has been laid into the pan. With an electric mixer and paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar together until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they just hold stiff peaks using the whisk attachment. Fold ⅓ of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Add the walnuts and chocolate and stir to blend. Fold in the remaining egg whites just until incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-55 minutes or until firm and golden brown. Cool before removing the cake from the pan.

To serve: cut into wedges and garnish with a drizzle of caramel sauce (optional) or a scoop of vanilla gelato.

Caramel Sauce Recipe
Yield: Makes a little over one cup of sauce

Note: Before you begin, make sure you have everything ready to go, your “mise en place”, the cream and the butter measured out and next to the pan. It is important to work quickly, with all ingredients at hand, or the sugar may burn.

Heat sugar on moderately high heat in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart or 3-quart saucepan. (It is important to use a pan with high sides since the addition of the heavy cream will cause the caramel to foam up considerably.) As the sugar begins to melt, stir vigorously with a whisk or wooden spoon. As soon as the sugar comes to a boil, stop stirring. You can swirl the pan a bit if you want, from this point on.
As soon as all of the sugar crystals have melted (the liquid sugar should be dark amber in color), immediately add the butter to the pan. Whisk until the butter has melted.

Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat. After 5 seconds, slowly add the cream to the pan and continue to whisk to incorporate.

Whisk until caramel sauce is smooth. Let cool in the pan for a couple of minutes, then pour into a glass jar and let sit to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, you can store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Warm before serving.

In Your Glass
We've enjoyed finishing a meal with this cake and a little of Shafer's Firebreak, a Cabernet dessert wine, or a double espresso.

Selected Food and Wine pairings

Selected Food and Wine Pairings
Here's a sample of dishes that have matched nicely with various vintages of
Shafer wines.

Tea Smoked Duck

Delicious Staying Power
Chef Cindy Pawlcyn captures the essence of Mustard’s Grill in a cookbook that has as much staying power as her legendary restaurant

The Cookbook Library

Timeless Flavors
The Cookbook Library is a tour de force that goes where no cookbook has gone before – the distant past

Small Plates, Big Flavor

Small Plates, Big Flavor
Little dishes create fun setting for wine discovery

Chanterelle Quail Polenta

Discovering Wild Food
The Wild Table asks: would you like some adventure with your risotto?

Older red wine

Butternut Squash Risotto
Here's a delectable new recipe from Annette Shafer that pairs beautifully with an older red wine such as Hillside Select.

Older red wine

A Delicate Balance
Celebrated author Gerald Asher gives his approach to creating a memorable dinner that pairs with the delicacy of an older red wine.

Bites of Spring

Bites of Spring
In her cookbook, Seasons in Wine Country, Kate Conniff of the Culinary
Institute of American, Greystone, takes readers on a hunger-inspiring journey
through the bounty of spring.

Cheese of course

Cheese of Course
Cheese aficionado and author Janet Fletcher offers delicious pairing tips for
red wine.

Top Chef Dave Martin

Winning recipe from Top Chef Dave Martin
Truffle Mac 'n Cheese was judged to pair show-stoppingly with Hillside Select.

Shafer Tasting Room

A Shafer Early Summer Feast
Check out recipes for a special dinner featuring hearty, authentic seasonal
ingredients prepared by Annette Shafer and Shafer staff members.

red Wine with Lighter Fair

Red Wine with Lighter Fare
Eating less meat? You can still pair your favorite wines with savory, sumptuous cuisine.