• A french inspiration.

        Two weeks ago my 8-year-old daughter and I were in Paris for 6 days and we both arrived home with our souls full of inspiration. I must say it, I love everything French. It's an amazing country of fantastic flavors & smells. Your senses are on overload.  Every store window is eye candy. With a visit to the Le Bon Marché in the 6th which happened to be around the corner from our apartment - I was in pure bliss and amazement. The selection of foods internationally was a mouth-watering experience.

        Simple ingredients give such pleasure for everyday cooking - this is what the French believe in. This leads into my inspiration for a fresh, green mixed salad for Saturday evening with my husband and children.

        Salad Nicoise tossed with a simple French Vinaigrette.

        For the salad,

        1 pound small new potatoes
        18 cherry tomatoes halved
        5 small radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
        3 small carrots, thinly sliced
        3 hard boiled eggs, halved lengthwise
        2 ahi tuna fillet - slightly grilled - 3 minutes
        1/4 cup scallions
        8 salt packed anchovies, rinsed & drained
        1 handful haricot verts, blanched
        1/4 cup cilantro, for garnish

        Mixed together gently with vinaigrette. Place ahi tuna on top and serve with a glass of crisp, clean Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc.

        Makes about 1/4 cup (60 ml), enough for one large green salad

            • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
            • 1 tablespoon sherry or red wine vinegar
            • 3 tablespoons verjus
            • 1/2 small shallot, peeled and minced (about 1 tablespoon)
            • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
            • 3T to 4T (45 ml to 60 ml) olive oil

        fresh herbs, if desired

        1. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, vinegar, and shallot. Let stand for about ten minutes.

        2. Mix in the Dijon mustard, then add 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of olive oil. Stir well, then taste. If too sharp, add the additional olive oil and more salt, if necessary. 

        If you wish to add fresh herbs, it’s best to chop and mix them in shortly before serving so they retain their flavor.

        Storage: This dressing will keep for about eight hours at room temperature. If you want to make it farther in advance, it’s best to add the shallots closer to serving so they don’t lose their verve.

        After a long lazy day in the garden, a fresh green salad made for a delicious, satisfying evening.


        -- Karin

      • time to indulge.

        The holidays are upon us and that means it's time to enjoy Crab from the Sonoma coast. My husband Justin went early morning crab fishing a few weeks ago and brought home fresh crab to feast on!

        Enjoy a glass of luscious bright Alexander Valley or Sonoma Coast Chardonnay... or a bottle of California Brut Sparkling or a Vintage Champagne.

        Crab Butterleaf Lettuce with Verjus Vinaigrette | serves 4

        1 pound fresh cooked crab meat
        3 tablespoons Terra Sonoma Verjus
        1 ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
        1 ½ tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
        Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
        5 tablespoons olive oil
        2 heads butter lettuce, torn into large pieces
        1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into slices
        IN A SMALL BOWL, whisk together the Verjus + mustard + tarragon + salt + pepper. Add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until smooth and blended.

        In a large bowl, combine the lettuce with about 2 tablespoons of the dressing and gently toss to coat the lettuce evenly. Transfer the lettuce to a chilled platter.

        COMBINE CRAB with about 1 tablespoon of dressing and gently toss to coat evenly. Scatter crab over the lettuce and garnish with the avocado. Pass the remaining vinaigrette.

        Cheers from California!