Sunday, February 28, 2010

President's Week Share

On February 16, I picked our fruity booty share. We received a varity of colorful, flavorful and delcious fruits and vegetables. Some of the items we received included florida strawberries, fair trade bananas, Valencia oranges, cucumbers, collard greens, baby spinach, celery, and much more. I am really most excited about the fingerling potatoes and leeks. Fingerling potatoes can be roasted, grilled, and baked. They are so delicious. I like them roasted with rosemary, olive oil, and sea salt.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Parsnip Spice Cake

Parsnips are a root vegetable that look like a bleached carrot.  They have a stronger flavor than carrots. This cake is a excellent alternative to Carrot Cake. It was delicious with the ginger cream cheese frosting.

Adapted from Bon App├ętit Magazine - March 2008

Parsnip Spice Cake

3/4 cup of all purpose flour
3/4 cup of whole whear flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup 2% milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
2 cups (packed) shredded peeled parsnips (about 3-4 large)
1 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 9-inch spring-form baking pan. Combine flour, sugar, ground ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves in large bowl; whisk to combine. Whisk eggs, oil, milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in medium bowl to combine. Pour egg mixture over dry ingredients; stir until just combined. Stir in parsnips and walnuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan on a rack.

Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in fresh ginger and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until frosting is smooth. Spread over cake. (Frosting can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pineapple Berry Juice

Another of my favorite juice recipes is the Pineapple Berry Juice. Even though we rotate days for fruits and vegetables, the fruit days are my favorite. They are always delicious. The other morning, I had a container of pineapple leftover from family so I combined it with an apple, strawberries, and blueberries. Although fruit juices are high in sugar; they are the "good and real" kind of sugar. Pineapple juice has a protein digesting enzymes and can help relieve sore throats & bronchitis.

Pineapple Berry Juice

1 cup of pineapple, skinned and diced
1 cup of strawberries, washed and hulled
3/4 cup of blueberries, washed
1 apple, washed

yeilds 2 cups of juice

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bold Pinot Noir

I love wine, Justin love's wine, We all love a glass of wine. But there's nothing greater than drinking your favorite grape varietal that is everything you want in a red wine.

Z'ivo Winery is located in Williamette Valley, Oregon, which produces some excellent Pinot's. At 14.5% Alcohol, this 2004 Z'ivo Pinot Noir is one of those big, bold, jammy, and absolutely delicious Pinot Noir's. Z'ivo only produced 800 cases of this wine. This Pinot Noir has flavors of plum & black cherry with hints of earthy notes. Ripe tannins balance the fruit with a smooth finish.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Superbowl Party Box

On February 2nd, I picked up our organic produce share. Annie included items we could use for a superbowl party. We received avocades, limes and red onions for gaucomole; potatoes and scallions for potato skins; tomatoes and garlic for salsa; and plenty of other items to make a variety of meals during the week. My personal favorite from our last share was fresh arugula. I love making fresh salads with this peppery tasting lettuce. Yum!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Wine Dinners

Another element to this blog, is something that is a really big part of our life: Wine Dinners. Justin has two to three wine dinners a month. These wine dinners help promote wines in the Opici Wine Portofolio and gain public exposure. He works with various restuarants picking wines to complement the dishes prepared. Justin is truly passionate about wine and gives a wide range of wine knowledge to the guests of these dinners.

On January 23, 2010, Secrets Piano Bar & Grill at The Windsor Garden Hotel had their most recent monthly wine dinner. Chef Joe Angelucci, F&B Director Kyle Pinterelli, and Justin work closely together to develop these dinners into outstanding events. These wine dinners were rated #1 Best Monthly Event in Palm Beach County by the Palm Beach Post. Chef Joe outdid himself on this dinner. It was the perfect combination of "street food" and funky wines.

First Course

Kanu Chenin Blanc

Bouquet and Palate: This crisp, crowd-pleasing white from Mulderbosch’s sister winery displays fresh peach, melon, citrus, and tropical fruit flavors, with hints of almond and delicate floral and spice notes. A versatile and refreshing alternative to boring Pinot Grigio.
Winemaking: This Chenin Blanc was hand picked from low yielding bush vines with an average age of 31 years. The grapes were lightly crushed and the juice was left in contact with the skins for 2 – 4 hours, after which the free run and press juices were separated. The barrel and tank components were both aged on their lees for 5 months. Small amounts of Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, and late harvest Chenin Blanc (5%) were blended in for added richness and complexity.
Ratings: 89 points Wine Enthusiast “Best Buy”; 87 points Wine Spectator “Best Value”

Food Pairing: Char Grilled Madras Chicken Skewers paired with an Edamame Hummus

Second Course

White Knight Viognier

Bouquet and Palate: This pale straw colored wine bears a slight glint of steely blue. Intense aromas of jasmine and clove unfold with hints of apricot and peach. The palate has a luscious, nectar like texture, abundant with apricot grit and sweet white peach flavors, and a finish of star anise, vanilla and juicy Bartlett pear.
Winemaking: This viognier was aged and lees for about 3 months, it saw a bit of neutral oak but, most of the wine was fermented in stainless steel, with about 50% going through malolatic fermentation. 8,500 cases produced.
Ratings: The 2007 received 89 points from the Wine Enthusiast, and was a best buy.

Food Pairing: Singapore Street Noodles with Marinated Rock Shrimp, topped with Wasabi Pea & Roasted Almond Gremolata, Infused with Kaffir Lime Leaves

Third Course

Squids Fist “Sangiovese / Shiraz” Blend

Bouquet and Palate: Don't let the funky label and screwcap “stelvin enclosure” fool you: this is a serious wine, with a deep, almost inky red color. The nose is floral and the dark fruit is quite pronounced. Great flavors of currant/cassis, dark cherry, and tart apple. The tannins are firm yet well balanced with a nice amount of acid to round out the wine.
Winemaking: Neutral older French oak, with skin contact up to 23 days, only 750 cases produced

Food Pairing: Trio of Dim Sum: Vegetable, Scallop Mousse and Korean Short Rib

Fourth Course

Mulderbosch Faith Hound “Bordeaux Blend”

Bouquet and Palate: This supple Bordeaux blend was created by the legendary Mike Dobrovic as a tribute to Boes, the loyal dog who kept watch over Mulderbosch farm for nearly three years after his owner’s death, waiting beneath an oak tree for the return of his beloved master. Enticing aromas of blackcurrant, mulberry, coffee, and spice lead to intense flavors of ripe plum, blackberry, and licorice enhanced by signature Bordeaux notes of tobacco, forest floor and graphite.
Winemaking: The grapes were handpicked and crushed into stainless steel fermenters, and the must was cold soaked overnight. Fermentation began naturally, and the must was then inoculated with selected yeasts and fermented until dry. After pressing, the wine underwent malolactic fermentation in tank and
was then blended and racked to barrels for maturation. It was lightly fined and filtered before bottling. The wine was aged 18 months in French Oak 42% new and 58% 2nd fill.
Ratings: The Mulderbosch 2005 Faithful Hound received 90 points from the Wine Spectator, the 2006 has yet to be rated.

Food Pairing: Greek Souvlaki with Tahini Lemon Falafal

Fifth Course

Meletti Cioccolato “Liqour”

The Meletti family, through skillful blending, has created a delicious cocoa based liqueur. Meletti Cioccolato
was created by Silvio Meletti as a winter drink. Meletti Cioccolato is a richly flavored and smoothly textured liqueur that can best be described as “Cocoa for Adults”.
Food Pairing: Homemade "Moon Pie" with a Meletti Chocolate Egg Cream

Check out Secrets Piano Bar & Grill: 11360 U.S. Highway One, Palm Beach Gardens, FL; 561-844-8448;

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Unique Merlot -- both inside the bottle and outside

One of our favorite Merlot's is the Meeker Hand-Print Merlot. A few years ago, We discovered this wine at Winestyles in Palm Beach Gardens. Since then, we have opened numerous vintages. Meeker is distributed by Opici Distribution Company.

The Meeker Vineyard was established in 1977, their tasting room is in a historic bank building in Geyersville, California. Meeker's signature wine is the Handprint Merlot. One of the winemakers (Matt or Charlie) handprints each and every bottle to confirm their pride in this super Merlot, which they make in only the best vintage years. In the Meeker tradition, this wine is truly a “handmade” wine. They leave colorful "handprints" that ensure your Meeker Merlot is a work of art ~ both inside the bottle and outside. Their motto for this wine is "From our hands to yours!"

2003 Meeker Hand-print Merlot is from Sonoma County, California.

Packed with deep, dark berry fruit and nuances with hints of cocoa, herb and earthy notes followed by soft structured tannins. Its velvety texture makes Merlot instantly appealing and an obvious alternative to similar, more tannic Bordeaux varieties. Loaded with flavors of rasberry and pepper on the finish.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Simple Cauliflower Recipe

Cauliflower has a milky, sweet, almost nutty flavor. Cauliflower can take on different flavors and adapts well in many dishes. It makes a great low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes. The cauliflower growing season is December through March.

Heidi Swanson is one of my all-time favorite vegetarian chefs. She keeps her recipes simple, healthy, and delicious. I have been wanting to test out this cauliflower recipe for quite some time. The recipe turned out perfectly; the lemon zest added a bit of zing.

Simple Cauliflower Recipe
Adapted From Heidi Swanson at

To make this recipe vegan, just omit the Parmesan cheese.

1 Large head of Cauliflower
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small bunch of chives, chopped
zest of one lemon
1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons of sea salt

To prep the cauliflower, remove the leaves at the base and trim the stem. Now cut it into tiny florets. About the size of an olive and all equal in size, so they cook in the same amount of time. Rinse under running water, and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cauliflower and stir until the florets are coated. Wait until they get a bit golden brown on the bottom, then toss the cauliflower in the pan. Brown a bit more and continue to saute until the pieces are deeply golden - about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and remove from heat.

Stir in the chives and lemon zest. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a pinch of sea salt. Serve immediately.

Serves 3-4 as a side.