Today, Gastil and I drove along the coast, through the Gaviota tunnel into the picturesque Santa Rita Hills ava. Many vineyards and wineries along Santa Rosa Road including the LaFond Vineyards. Their Annual Thank You BBQ for wine club members is a treat. Such a sweet gathering of people, food and wine (yes, plenty of wine). A lovely day with deep, crystal blue skies, row upon row of promising vines and special offerings from the cellars.
Collect the ingredients, most of which came from farmer’s market this morning.
Mussels are rinsed, beards cut off, placed in covered pot of boiling wine and water. [Normally I’ll sautee shallots, garlic and mushrooms before bringing liquid to boil, but this salad will provide plenty of zest and zing.] In about five minutes the shells open, the meat dug out and set aside.
Add juice of a meyer lemon (or lime) and olive oil in glass bowl. Minced garlic, thin Italian Tropea onion slices and cut up tomatoes are added along with herbs, pepper and red cayenne pepper. Lots of sweet basil is cut up and then the mussels added.
While the colorful mixture rests I’ll prepare pasta – whole grain rotini this evening. Mix and serve with a favored wine. The 2016 StolpmanGrenache was tonight’s choice.
Instead of mussels I’ve also regularly used left over roast chicken. Another lovely choice is line-caught king salmon from Saturday market.
This summer I’ve fallen in love with a delightful and simple Italian Summer Salad. It is perfect for a wide range of wines. This weekend we opened a 2016 Grenache from Stolpman Vineyards (Ballard Canyon, AVA). Perfect.
Patagonia (the largest Tom Buhl Typographers client for several years, back in the day) has added PROVISIONS to their offerings. That program shares recipes using their product(s). I appreciate their recipes are simpler than those found in the likes of Sunset Magazine. I am not using Patagonia’s tins of mussels, preferring fresh, local mussels, but I do appreciate the recipe.
Before we can go into the kitchen, we go to market. I look forward to Saturday’s farmers market every week. Below are images from the August 18th market adventure relevant to the salad preparations.
Piedrasassi’s Carbonic Sangiovese is another delightful complement to this salad. So many fine wines available to us these days. We are most fortunate.
In the next post(s) I’ll show staging of ingredients and then the construction. I’m getting hungry writing of it.
In June Gastil and I took a hike of the Stolpman Vineyards and learned of their mission, strategies and passion to do things the right way. Way too many stories and lessons to share but I was taken by their efforts to develop most of their own root stock as well as experiment with “self” rooting which Syrah seems to be the best candidate for extensive success.
They give these guided hikes monthly so check out the web site for details. Highly recommended.
After the hike we sampled a selection of their fine wines at the Los Olivos Tasting Room. Yes, purchases were made in the name of further research. www.stolpmanvineyards.com/
LaFond Vineyards and Santa Barbara Winery (in the Santa Rita Hills AVA) hosted a lovely BBQ Saturday to thank their wine club members. Good food, fun music, gracious hosts, grateful guests and wide range of magnificent wines to explore and savor. Winemaker, Bruce McGuire, rummaged the cellar depths to find interesting wines to share. A delightful day in the valley. See ya’ll next year…or when my wine supply becomes uncomfortably low.