A Winter’s Eve Supper By The Fire

winter-supper1As daylight shortens, it gives way to early cobalt blue starry nights here in Wine Country. The thermometer falls, lulling the now bare grapevines into their winter slumber.

I yearn for the chillier months, for spices like Nutmeg and Cardamom, but most especially the textures of winter…cashmere, wool, velvet, angora and fur, each providing that extra layer of luxurious warmth. Deep jewel tones sparkle to enrich the setting for culinary bliss!

babettesSo, cozy up to a crackling fireplace and immerse yourself in a toasty Sunday night romantic dinner for two and a movie like BABETTE’S FEAST.

Or, warm up your guests with down to earth comfort foods that celebrate the unexpected piquancy and savor of root vegetables, hearty stews and soups, wild game and succulent slow-braised meats with hearth-style breads that nourish the soul as well as the belly.

My wintertime kitchen stove is busy with simmering pots of rich homemade stocks of veal, beef or roasted vegetables which I utilize throughout the year. This is also the height of citrus season,so don’t pass up those blood oranges!

Every January, Sonoma is obsessed with the FEAST OF THE OLIVE FESTIVAL. Plaza restaurants offer up their prized Olive recipes on menus while gourmands like myself table hop from one to another to get their fill. The aroma of Olive oil permeates the chilly air. Sonoma has a long history with the Olive!

winter-supper3As a new culinary member of the Mycological Society of SFO, I look forward to indulging in the winter dinners that we prepare, revealing new recipes featuring the complex flavors of wild forest mushrooms. It is a group united in the love for cooking and a passion for mushrooms-a diverse, delicious world!

Finally,THE GILDED GRAPE’S winter menu is a satisfying “stick to your ribs” list of choices glorifying this special season here in Wine Country! Stay Warm!

STARTERS

  • “Hot Toddy” of Apple, Cranberry, Spiced Oranges & Black Rum
  • Creamy Tartlets of Sautéed Red Chard, Smoky Ham & Cipollini Onions
  • Local Bay Dungeness Crabcakes with Meyer Lemon Aioli
  • Napa Distillery Whiskey-Gruyere Cheese Fondue with Sourdough Baguette
  • Stuffed Potato Skins topped with Maple Glazed Bacon, Sonoma Jack & Chives
  • Generous Bowl of Warm Mission Olives scented with Citrus and Rosemary
  • Melted petit round of Local Cowgirl Creamery Chevre & Fig -Walnut Preserves

SALADS

  • Oven roasted Green Beans Tossed with Blood Oranges and Candied Pistachios
  • Composed Salad of Frisee, Shaved Fennel, Dried Pear, Red Grapes, Dates & Blackstrap Molasses Dressing
  • “Wilted” Baby Spinach, Rings of Red Onion, Hardboiled Egg, Feta Cheese, Pomegranate Seeds & Warm Pancetta Vinaigrette
  • Shredded Salad of Celery Root, Pear, Red Beet, Carrot with Remoulade

ENTREE

  • Classic French Cassoulet of Duck Confit, Sausage, & White Beans
  • Citrus Braised Short Ribs Served Atop Pappadelle Noodles
  • Slow Roasted Pork Loin with Maple Sugar-Candied Ginger Glaze
  • Single Serving Turkey Pot Pies with Sweet Potato Biscuit Crust
  • Spit-Roasted Guinea Fowl or Pheasant Brushed with Seville Orange Marmalade
  • Stout Mustard braised Rabbit with Potatoes & Leeks
  • Hearty Ragout of Escarole & Winter Vegetables with Crusty Peasant Bread
  • Clay Pot Leg of Lamb with Moorish Spices

SIDES

  • Savory Herb Bread Pudding
  • Cheesy Gratin of Potato, Rutabaga, Turnips and Onion
  • Bowl of Creamy Polenta topped with Saute of Porcini Mushrooms, Pecorino
  • Colorful Platter of Oven roasted Root Vegetables,Roasted Garlic Olive Oil
  • Risotto with White Truffle Mushroom Oil

DESSERT

  • Toasted Walnut Cassis Tart
  • Warm Gingerbread Cake topped with sauteed Apples
  • Poached Pear Tart with Blue Cheese Crust
  • Nutmeg Spice cookies
  • Ruby Cranberry Cordial
  • Chocolate Cups filled with White Chocolate Mousse