Holiday 09 November 2017

Perfect Wine Pairings for Holiday Parties

(Family Features) With the holidays quickly approaching, it is time to begin planning menus and shopping for groceries, which may leave you facing endless shelves of wine.  Choosing wines to pair with your holiday meal is an important part of the menu planning process.

A smart rule is to select quality wines that pair with a variety of dishes, such as crisp, medium-bodied chardonnays and medium-to-full-bodied, flavorful merlots.

“I love having a bright, crisp chardonnay on hand for holiday entertaining,” said Katie Madigan, winemaker at St. Francis Winery. “Chardonnay complements so many holiday flavors. It’s a great choice to serve with appetizers and it also transitions nicely to dinner.”

A certified sustainable winery in Sonoma County, California, St. Francis Winery offers a full range of varietal wines ideal for holiday entertaining, such as the St. Francis Sonoma County Chardonnay 2015 (SRP $16.99), which is made from grapes picked in the cool of night to create delicate aromas, crisp acidity and a rich, lingering finish.

With notes of fresh pear and pineapple, it pairs well with mild cheeses and rich seafood appetizers, such as Pan Fried Crab Cakes. If you are looking for inspiration to get your holiday menu planning started, consider this simple hors d’oeuvre, which can be made the night before and cooked just before guests arrive. Pair it with a chilled glass of crisp chardonnay to start the party off just right.

A complementary option for guests who prefer red wine is the Sonoma Valley Merlot (SRP $20.99). This wine has multiple layers of aromatics with flavors of red cherry, plum, dried cranberry, espresso bean and savory spices that match well with hard cheeses, roasted turkey, lamb or steaks with blue cheese butter. Find more tips for pairing wines and recipes ideal for holiday entertaining at

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Pan Fried Crab Cakes

  • 1/4       cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4       cup minced green onions
  • 2          large egg yolks
  • 2          tablespoons fresh lemon juice  
  • 1          teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
  • 1          teaspoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1          tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1          tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 1/4       teaspoon black pepper
  • 1          pound Dungeness crab meat
  • 2          cups panko, divided
  • 2          tablespoons butter
  • 4          tablespoons olive oil
  • Remoulade sauce, for serving
  1. Line baking sheet with waxed paper.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, green onions, egg yolks, lemon juice, tarragon, cilantro, mustard, lemon peel and black pepper. Add crabmeat and 1 cup panko, breaking up crabmeat slightly. Let mix stand 10 minutes.
  3. Form crab mixture into 16 2-inch patties, using about 1/4 cup for each cake. Place patties on baking sheet. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Using remaining panko, lightly coat each crab cake.
  4. Heat two heavy, large skillets over medium-high heat. In each skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add crab cakes to skillets and cook until golden on both sides (adding more butter and oil as needed), about 5 minutes total.
  5. Transfer cakes to napkins to drain excess oil. Plate crab cakes with dollop of remoulade on top.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Kobrand Wine and Spirits

Meal Ideas 18 September 2017

Flavor Infusion

(Family Features) When your taste buds can’t settle on just one flavor, a fusion dish may be just the answer. Fusion dishes combine some of the best ethnic culinary traditions from around the world, and Asian influences are among the most popular building blocks for fusion cuisine.

One secret to achieving great fusion dishes is the use of cooking wines. For many chefs and home cooks alike, cooking wine is a go-to cooking essential because it can be used in everyday meals. With its versatile array of uses, an option like Holland House®, a line of flavor-enhancing, premium cooking wines, can boost any dish with one of five flavors including Marsala, Sherry, White, Red and White with Lemon.

In addition to these featured dishes, you can find more quick tips for boosting the flavor of your everyday meals on the label of each bottle and explore more recipes at

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Sweet and Spicy Korean-Chinese Fusion Cauliflower Bites

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4, about 1 1/2 cups per portion

  • 6          cups fresh cauliflower florets
  • 2          tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1          teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4       cup Holland House Sherry Cooking Wine
  • 1/4       cup honey
  • 2          tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1          tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2          teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2          tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1          small fresh yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1          tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1          tablespoon Korean-style chili flakes
  • 1/4       cup chopped fresh green onions
  • 1          tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. In large bowl, toss cauliflower, sesame oil and salt until well coated. Arrange on nonstick baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown and tender.
  3. In small bowl, whisk cooking wine, honey, soy sauce, vinegar and cornstarch until well blended; set aside.
  4. In large, nonstick skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add yellow onions and garlic; cook 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in chili flakes and wine mixture.
  5. Return pan to stove and adjust to medium heat. Bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Continue cooking and stirring 1-2 minutes, or until thickened. Add cooked cauliflower; stir gently to coat.
  6. Transfer cauliflower to serving dish. Top with green onions and sesame seeds.

Tips: The sauce mixture can also be used on chicken wings or grilled pork chops. In place of Korean-style chili flakes, use 1 teaspoon regular crushed red pepper flakes or 1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper.

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Lettuce-Wrapped Korean Short Ribs

Prep time: 10 minutes, plus marinating
Cook time: 4 minutes
Servings: 4, about 6 ounces (pre-cooked) per portion

  • 3          tablespoons packed dark brown sugar, divided
  • 2          teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1          teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2       teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2    pounds thinly sliced, boneless beef short ribs
  • 1          cup Holland House Marsala Cooking Wine
  • 6          tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4       cup roasted garlic paste
  • 2          tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2       cup chopped green onions, divided
  • 1          teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1          head fresh romaine lettuce, separated into large leaves         
  • 1/2       cup sliced fresh red radishes
  • 1/2       cup shredded fresh carrots dipping sauce
  1. In small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons brown sugar, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle evenly over short rib slices, gently rubbing into both sides. Place in re-sealable plastic bag.
  2. In bowl, whisk cooking wine, sesame oil, garlic paste, soy sauce and remaining brown sugar. Pour half of mixture into bag with meat and add 1/4 cup green onions. To marinate, refrigerate at least 1 hour, or up to 12 hours.
  3. In small saucepan, whisk remaining wine mixture and cornstarch until smooth. Bring to simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook 1 minute, or until thickened, stirring constantly. Set aside until cool. Stir in 2 tablespoons green onions.
  4. Heat grill to medium-high.
  5. Remove ribs from marinade, allowing excess to drip off. Discard marinade. Grill 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through.
  6. Cut ribs into 1-inch pieces. Serve with remaining green onions, lettuce, radishes, carrots and warm dipping sauce.

Tips: For fusion tacos, substitute corn or flour tortillas for lettuce leaves. In place of garlic paste, 2 tablespoons minced garlic can be substituted.

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Sizzling Asian Vegetable Fried Rice with Savory White Wine Glaze

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
Servings: 4-6, about 1 cup per portion

  • 2          tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1          tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2       cup fresh chopped yellow onions
  • 1          cup fresh small white mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2       cup chopped fresh carrots
  • 1/2       cup chopped fresh zucchini
  • 1/2       cup chopped fresh red bell peppers
  • 1/2       cup chopped fresh yellow bell peppers
  • 3          cups cold, cooked, long-grain white rice
  • 1/2       cup Holland House White Cooking Wine
  • 2          tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1/2       cup fresh green onions, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2          teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Heat heavy-bottomed, nonstick skillet over high heat. Add vegetable oil, garlic and onions. Stir-fry 1-2 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, red bell peppers and yellow bell peppers; stir-fry 3 minutes. Add rice; stir-fry 3 minutes.
  2. Add cooking wine; stir-fry 2 minutes, or until dry. Add oyster sauce; stir-fry 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in green onions, sesame oil and black pepper. Transfer to dish or bowl and serve.

Tip: To turn into a main course, add cooked beef, chicken or pork and serve topped with a fried egg.

Source: Holland House

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