Saturday, January 13, 2018

Celebrating Sonoma #WinePW #SonomaStrong

Today we are going to look back to that horrible period in October when the wildfires raged over northern California.

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These fires dealt a terrible blow to the tourism industry that supports this area.  Not only did many people lose their loved ones and their homes, they also lost their jobs and financial security.  While the fires are contained the devastation continues.

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You can read about how all these fires affected the economy and jobs of all those who live and work in the wine industry which is huge in that area in this article

Our friend, Jill of L'Occasion , invited all wine bloggers to join the members of our Wine Pairing Weekend group this month to honor this area's winemakers and join in the relief project known as #SonomaStrong.  You can read her invitation and get more information here.  Should you be interested in helping with this cause you can make a donation through United Way Relief and Recovery Fund.

The folks over at Geyser Peak Winery decided to show their appreciation and offered their support by sending some of us 2 bottles of their wines to sample.

"One of California’s oldest and most renowned wineries, Geyser Peak Winery was founded in 1880 by Augustus Quitzow, a pioneer in Alexander Valley winemaking, Geyser Peak has flourished as an award-winning winery for more than 130 years. Quitzow chose the original winery site in Geyserville for its vantage point of the famed Geysers Geothermal area. The white steam that billowed from the geysers along the mountain slopes provided the winery with a spectacular ‘view of the clouds’. Today, Geyser Peak pays fond tribute to its past roots in Alexander Valley as it sets forth on a new path into the Dry Creek Valley Appellation where the winery has recently relocated. Although the address is new, the commitment to the highest quality artisan winemaking is not. Geyser Peak will continue to “Reach For Peak” for many years to come."

I have enjoyed Geyser Peak wines in the past and was excited to create a meal with which we could enjoy these bottles.  All opinions and thoughts in this and all of my posts are strictly my own.  Purchasing wines from this area is another great way to help get the economy in that area back on stable footing and offer support to the people affected by this disaster.

I tried to make sure that over the holidays all bottles bought as gifts were from this area.  Just my little way of saying "I got your back".  It was easy for me because, as a California wine lover, I know that a label from Napa and/or Sonoma are sure to contain a quality wine even if I'm not familiar with the winery itself.

I served the Sauvignon Blanc with Chicken Alfredo Lasagna last Saturday. This was the entrée for our last Dinner party of the Christmas season, shared with our family who lives up north and was bringing our great niece back down for the next semester of University.

I wasn't sure how this wine was going to be.  You see, we are in the middle of a deep freeze here in Michigan.  Indeed, throughout most of the Midwest and Eastern States of the Country.  When my wine was delivered, this bottle was partially frozen and slushy.  Luckily the bottle was still intact.

As it thawed, the color of the wine looked fine and I wondered if, perhaps, we often buy wine that has frozen during transport and then thawed in the store without ever realizing it.

I opened the wine and took a taste while I was making dinner.  I was pleased that it tasted exactly as I expected.  It was citrusy and bright with hints of grass.  I used it to deglaze my pan while making the sauce with the chicken breasts.

The crispness and brightness of the wine cut through the richness of the lasagna making it a wonderful pairing that we all enjoyed.

I served the Cabernet Sauvignon on a Meatless Monday with a Roasted Vegetable Tart.  Say what?!! Cabernet Sauvignon and no meat?  Yes, folks, I did it and it was amazing!!

If there is a better pairing than blue cheese and Cabernet Sauvignon, I have yet to find it.  This tart has just a hint of blue cheese that gives the perfect flavor to the sweet earthiness of the roasted veggies.  

And my crust....that rustic, homely crust......was the flakiest most tender crust I have yet to make.  That adage not to judge a book by it's cover was certainly true in this case.  

This recipe was inspired by  this one found in Food and Wine that recommended pairing a Roasted Veggie Tart with a Cabernet Sauvignon wine.  

The wine, a 2014 Walking Tree, was aged for 21 months in small oak barrels.  It is smooth and full bodied.  I think it would complement a nice juicy steak or black and blue burger as well as it did this recipe I am sharing with you today.

Savory oven roasted veggies covering a blue cheese sauce and enfolded in a flaky, tender all butter crust, this Rustic Tart makes a perfect Meatless Monday or Vegetarian Dinner.  Paired with a full bodied aromatic wine it made a great casual dinner.  The recipe could easily be doubled or even tripled to serve at a dinner party.

Please stop by and visit the other members of our group who are supporting Sonoma during this terrible disaster.  They will have additional options available for those who want to assist in this endeavor.

Rustic Roasted Vegetable Tart
inspired by Food&Wine

1 1/2 c. flour
pinch of salt
pinch of baking powder
10 T. butter, well chilled and cut into 1/4" dice
ice water
6 (1/4") slices eggplant
1 portabella mushroom cap, sliced 1/4" thick
1/4 of a Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
1 small zucchini, cut into 1/4" thick moons
1/2 of a  red or orange bell pepper, diced
1 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 oz. gorgonzola cheese
2 oz. Neufchatel cheese
1 egg, beaten
2 t. parmesan 

Place the flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.  Add the butter and pulse until crumbs are pea sized.  Add 2 Tablespoons of the ice water and pulse 5 or 6 times until incorporated.  Add 1 teaspoon at a time, pulsing after each until the dough holds together when pinched.  You do not want it to turn into a ball in the food processor.  As soon as it holds together, turn onto a floured counter and form into a ball with your hands.  Press into a disc shape and wrap with plastic wrap, covering completely.  Refrigerate for one hour.

Remove dough from refrigerator.  Unwrap and place on a floured work surface.  Let rest for about 10 minutes so that it warms up enough to be pliable.

While dough is resting, toss the eggplant, mushrooms, onion, zucchini and pepper with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with parchment or a silicone mat.  Place in a preheated 450* oven and roast for 10-12 minutes, stirring once.  Remove from the pan onto a plate and set aside.

Mix together the gorgonzola and Neufchatel cheese until smooth.  Beat in the egg and parmesan cheese.

Roll the dough into a round, you don't need to worry about trimming the edges or making it look pretty.  Place the round onto the same lined baking sheet that you used for the veggies.  Spread the blue cheese mixture on the crust, leaving a 2" border.  Arrange the veggies over the cheese mixture.  Fold the dough up partially covering the veggies.  Return to the oven and bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown.  Print Recipe

Let's Keep #SonomaStrong by visiting the others' posts


  1. I absolutely love your rustic roasted vegetable tart! It looks delicious and, I bet you could pair any number of wines with it. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  2. Chicken alfredo lasagna sounds so good! similar to my dish with Fume Blanc. Its a great pairing

  3. Pairing Cabernet Sauvignon with a vegetable tart is a gutsy move! The blue cheese was a masterful addition, I need to give that a try!

  4. California has certainly had it rough lately! Your tart looks amazing!

  5. I love the rustic look to this tart, Wendy! I can see this as a side dish or a main lunch entree.

  6. I can't wait to make the rustic vegetable tart soon! Thank you!!!

  7. Wendy, I am all in on the rustic vegetable tart paired with the Geyser Peak Cabernet Sauvignon. Looks delicious and an unexpected pairing! Love it!!

  8. I wish we lived closer, I'd come crash your dining room table on a regular basis. That tart! I'm swooning over here.

    1. I wish so too would be so welcome at our table and we could crash yours regularly as well.

  9. Thanks Wendy - I’m always looking for meatless ideas. This is a lovely idea for any season!

  10. Glad both of your wines survived the cold! At least I got to enjoy the Sauv Blanc. Both of your meals wound wonderful!

  11. I'm so hungry after reading this. Both that lasagna and the veggie tart look delicious! I also have to say that I completely agree. I love Cab with a steak, but it can be just as delicious with a hearty veggie dish like this! Yum!

    1. Thanks Nicole, this was a wonderful theme for this month and I have another post coming up on Monday.


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