Ten Recipe Twists on the Cinco de Mayo Margarita

Ten Recipe Twists on the Cinco de Mayo Margarita

Whether it is Cinco de Mayo, National Margarita Day, National Tequila Day, National Cocktail Day, Your Birthday, or Someone else’s Birthday, just about any day is a good day for a Margarita. Here are a few Margarita Recipes to get your spirit moving!

History of the Margarita

Where did the Margarita originate? Over the years many have taken claim to the creation of the infamous tequila drink – “The Margarita.” The cocktail the “Daisy” was a similar drink made with brandy instead of Tequila. Though during prohibition people traveled over the border and picked up tequila which was substituted for the brandy. Daisy in Spanish is Margarita.

In 1937, there was a recipe for a “Picador” using the same mix of tequila, triple sec, and lime juice in a cocktail book. There are others that claim that Dallas socialite Margarita Sames created the drink for her guests at her Acapulco vacation home in 1948. The first known published recipe was in the December 1953 issue of Esquire. Though in 1945, the first importer of Jose Cuervo promoted the slogan – “Margarita: it’s more than a girl’s name.”

Nowadays, there are so many creators and mixologists of tequila drinks with different versions and flavors of the Margarita with so many variations of Margarita recipes. In essence, all of us who have concocted our own Margarita recipes can take our own five minutes of claim to fame too. Here are a few of some of my favorite twists on the colorful Margarita, some with my own input and diversions to the recipe. It’s your turn to take it and run with it!

It’s Margarita-Thirty!! Cheers and Happy Cinco Mayo!

The Traditional Margarita

The Traditional Margarita

Makes 2 Margaritas – increase ingredients as needed depending on the number of Margaritas you are preparing.

  • 4 OZ Blanco tequila
  • 2 OZ Cointreau or triple sec
  • 4 OZ fresh lime juice
  • Ice
  • Slices of lime or lime wedges

Fill a Cocktail shaker with ice along with the tequila, Cointreau, and fresh lime juice. Shake well, then strain into a chilled glass or serve on the rocks.

Another Spin on the Traditional Rita – The San Antonio Margarita

San Antonio Margarita

Recipe Inspired by well-known Texan Josie Davidson whose father received this recipe from Mario Cantu, owner of Mario’s, an old-line Mexican Restaurant in San Antonio. This famed Margarita recipe was passed on to the New York Times in 2015. It’s a five-star winner with 818 five star ratings!

  • 1 cup plus a splash of tequila
  • 1 cup plus a splash of orange liquor
  • 1 cup plus a splash of freshly squeezed lime juice

Combine all of the liquids in a pitcher with 6 ounces of water and stir to combine. Place in the refrigerator to chill. Then serve over ice in glasses with salted rims. Garnish with a wedge of lime.

24 Karat Gold Margarita by Loews Miami Beach Hotel

24 Karat Margarita

It seems like ages ago, but just like yesterday that we traveled across the country to Loews Miami Beach Hotel. It was only a few months ago in February that we were invited to participate in the exquisite festivities held at the hotel for the South Beach Wine and Food Festival in South Beach. During our visit, we had the distinct pleasure of joining Steve Turk – Food and Beverage Director for Loews, Linda Villafane – Director of Public Relations for Loews Miami Beach and Contributing Food Writer for Forbes in the hotel’s spectacular lounge, Bar Collins, for a pre-celebration toast. We were all dressed to the nines, looking like royalty for the evening’s formal festivities celebrating SOBEWFF. This set the perfect stage and the perfect opportunity to toast with the bar’s famous in-house Margarita, the “24 Karat Rita.”

These brilliantly decorated tumblers arrived at our table glowing of effervescent sparkles adorning the glass rims and the floating lime wheels. Almost to pretty to drink, but feeling decadent and adventurous, we all cheered and jumped right into these jeweled libations.

Their specific recipe remains a bit of a secret. We do know it includes a generous pour of Roca Patron Silver over crushed ice, with fresh lime juice, a bit of Cointreau, adorned with edible 24k gold leaf and lime zest! Bravo Bar Collins – you definitely knocked it out of the park!

Black Grape and Chili Margarita – Courtesy Food and Wine

Black Grape and Chili Margarita

Serves – 2

  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 oz fresh lime juice
  • Lime wedges for garnish
  • Ice
  • 4 oz Concord grape juice
  • 3 oz Reposado Tequila
  • 5 ox triple sec
  • Serrano chili pepper with seeds thinly sliced
  • Black Grapes for garnish

Mix the chili powder with the salt and sugar. Moisten the rim of the two glasses with a lime wedge and dip the glasses into the coast around the rim.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the grape juice, tequila, lime juice, triple sec, and 4 slices of serrano Chilies and then strain into the two glasses. Garnish with sliced serranos, lime wedges, and grapes to serve.

Blue Margarita

If you are dreaming of the Azur waters of Mexico or the Caribbean and can’t get there right now, this refreshing Blue Margarita will definitely take you there. Take a sip, close your eyes, and just imagine being there! I do it every time, and if it’s a little too chilly outside, I just turn on my favorite travel video of the beaches of Mexico and it takes me right back!

Serves 4-6

  • 1 cup of tequila, preferably Reposado
  • 1/3 cup of Curacao (Blue)
  • 1/3 Cup of Cointreau or Triple Sec (orange-flavored liquor)
  • 2/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 8 limes)
  • Limes wedges for garnish

Combine the tequila, Curacao, triple sec, and lime juice in a large pitcher with crushed ice or you can pour it on the rocks into tumbler glasses or decorative glasses for a straight-up Margarita.

According to master mixologist Dale DeGroff, a drink called the Tequila Daisy was served at Tijuana’s Agua Caliente racetrack in the 1920s. It was made with lemon juice, tequila, and a sweet ingredient—the template for a Margarita.

The Jalapeno Basil Lime Frozen Margarita

This recipe is inspired by the recipe created by the Vancouver duo – The Food Gays. I just love the Jalapeno kick and the twist with the basil added.

  • ¼ cup basil
  • ½ cup jalapeno with seeds
  • 6 oz of barrel-aged tequila – or a good Reposado
  • 3 oz triple sec
  • Juice from 4 limes
  • 2 Tablespoons of honey or agave syrup
  • 2-3 cups ice
  • Salt for the rim
  • Lime wedges for the garnish

Muddle the basil and jalapeno together, then add the tequila. Let it infuse for 24 hours in the refrigerator. The next day strain and just keep the liquid, discard the basil, and jalapeno. In a blender add the tequila mix the triple sec, the lime juice, the honey, and ice, then blend until smooth. Pour into your salt-rimmed glasses and garnish with lime wedges.

Spicy Margarita Punch

Serves 10

Spicy Margarita Punch

It’s the combination of the cucumber, jalapeno, cilantro, and mint that takes the flavors of this Margarita off the charts. This is a perfect libation to pre-make ahead of time for your Cinco de Mayo celebration.

  • 1 large or 2 medium cucumbers
  • 2 jalapenos thinly sliced – one for the mixture and one for the garnish
  • ¼ up of de-stemmed cilantro
  • ¼ cup of mint
  • One bottle of Silver Tequila – 750 mills
  • 2 cups fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup of agave nectar
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • Ice, lime wedges, and salt for serving

In a large bowl or punch bowl if you intend to use one, muddle (mash) the cucumber with the jalapeno, cilantro, and mint. Add the tequila, lime juice, agave, orange juice and stir well. Refrigerate for at least an hour or you can keep if overnight if you are making it ahead of time.

Strain the liquids from the mixture and discard the solids. Keep it in the punch bowl or put the mixture into a large service pitcher along with some ice. Serve into salted rimmed glasses and garnish with thinly sliced cucumber, jalapeno slices, and limes wedges.

The Mayan Mule

The Mayan Mule Margarita

Well, what can I say about this one except you just have to try it!

Serving Size per glass 1

A South of the Border twist on the Moscow Mule

  • 5 ounces of aged gold tequila preferably a Reposado
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • 3-4 ounces of ginger beer
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Sliced lime into a wheel to garnish
  • Mint sprig to garnish

Combine the tequila and lime juice in a tall glass.

Add Ice.

Add the ginger beer and Angostura bitters and stir.

Garnish with the lime wheel and sprig of mint.

The “DanaRita”

“DanaRita”

A recipe created and made for many years by my husband Dana which is a Margarita that has become legendary amongst our family and friends. It is one of the most requested and popular libations when we all congregate. “Dana, can you make me one of your DanaRitas?”

Dana’s Inspiration – Simplicity – Make people smile, feel smart and witty, and dance in public.

Key observations to making a really stellar margarita – A quality margarita is not green or slushy. Look for a golden color and pour over ice cubes.

Preferences – Salt on the rim (optional but traditional for sure); any size glass but tall one is preferable. And for the tequila – Reposado is preferred which is more flavorful and has that rich golden color from the toast of the barrel aging.

  • 50/50 ratio of tequila to everything else
  • Everything Else – Orange flavor liquor (Cointreau, Grand Marnier or just fresh-squeezed oranges)
  • Fresh Squeezed Lime – Lots of it
  • Splash of Sparkling water to give it a little zest
  • Ice

Using an 8-ounce glass, salted rim or not, squeeze a whole lime into the glass, squeeze a half orange (about 2 oz juice)

Add 2 ounces tequila, then add about 1 ounce of sparkling water. Add ice then a splash of Cointreau or Grand Marnier on the top.

Mango Coconut Chili Margarita

Mango Coconut Chili Margarita

If you are lucky enough to be spending the Cinco de Mayo celebration someplace tropical you may want to make this spin on the traditional margarita. I am sure you will find plenty of fresh mangos and coconuts in abundance. Just the thought of it makes we want to beam up someplace tropical right now, sit under a palm tree listening to waves crashing, and the warm ocean breezes blowing across my body while relaxing to the soft sounds in the distance to a steel drum band. Can I go now, please?

Almost the next best thing to being in the tropics right now is indulging in this delightful tropical tequila libation.

2 -3 servings

  • 1 ripe mango (1 cup cubed or if you can’t find it fresh, a bag of frozen mango, or mango sorbet as a last resort)
  • 1 cup of Orange juice – fresh squeezed preferred
  • 1 cup of Fresh Coconut Water or Store-bought Coconut water
  • A few Chunks of Fresh Coconut or a small scoop coconut sorbet or coconut flavor rum – your preference
  • Several Medium-Sized Limes
  • 3 ounces of Silver Tequila or Reposado
  • 5 ounces of Cointreau or Triple Sec Orange Liqueur
  • A dash of hot sauce – your preference or not, some like it hot!
  • 1-3 Tablespoons of Agave Nectar (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • ¼ Cup Lime Juice
  • Lime Wedges for Garnish
  • Chili Powder and Sea Salt mixed for rimming the glass. I also like to use Tajin Clasico con Limon

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and mix until creamy. Be sure to taste it so that you can adjust it whether you want to add more Tequila, Orange Liqueur or Agave Nectar. If you like the spice of it, add in a bit more chili powder or hot sauce.

The Brave Bull

The Brave Bull

After a long day of Cinco de Mayo festivities or any fiesta activities, it’s time to relax before siesta in the evening with a Brave Bull. It is sometimes referred to as a Mexican Black Russian. It is a cocktail that was introduced in a 1960’s action movie and it truly lives up to its name. This is a unique and quirky combination of Kahlua and Tequila Blanco, but you can use your tequila of preference. This is my husband’s go-to late-night libation and his preference on which tequila is to use one of his favorite Reposado tequilas we usually have on hand. Sometimes we add in a little milk or cream, somewhat like a White Russian or you could call it a Brave White Bull! Buenos Noches!

The recipe is easy – it is one part Kahlua and 2 parts tequila over ice. Though you can also do 50/50 on the mixture too!

 

Please post your comments and photos of your own versions of the famed Margarita!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Napa Valley Spa Resorts and Wellness Retreats

Napa Valley Spa Resorts and Wellness Retreats

The Best Places to Relax, Chill and Pamper Yourself in the Napa Valley

Napa Valley Spa Resorts and Wellness Retreats

Visiting Napa Valley for the Spa and Wellness Retreats is one of the major draws to visiting this wine country region. The Napa Valley truly sets itself apart from other premier travel destinations around the planet, with so much to offer. Travelers venture to this world-class wine country mecca to experience all of the flavors, sights, sounds, and sensations. Guests to our valley seek to taste selections of some the highest rated wines from around the globe, dine at the finest restaurants featuring Michelin Star Chefs and rising celebrity chefs, be entertained at the best shows and venues from BottleRock to the Napa Valley Film Festival, play championship golf courses, and of course, relax and luxuriate at exclusive premier 5-star spas and wellness centers.

After a day of wine tastings or before your evening dining out, let your journey take you on the pursuit of luxurious excellence and pamper yourself with the ultimate spa experiences. Whether your mission to rejuvenate and revitalize with a holistic treatment or practice yoga amongst the vineyards, you will find a vast variety of locally inspired treatments. Each spa and wellness center will offer you a unique sanctuary that will restore, renew, and revitalize the mind, body, and spirit.

Calistoga Ranch

These Napa Valley destination spa retreats offer the opportunity to escape, pamper, and indulge in an intimate environment of tranquility and Zen. You can get-a-way from your hectic day-to-day and retreat amongst the vines to nurture and rejuvenate your body. Your perfect personalized treatment will take you to nirvana. In addition, many of the spa resorts offer spa-inspired cuisine with healthy culinary menus while constantly committing to creating the perfect guest experience.luxury

The Spa Terra at The Meritage Resort – Napa

Spa Terra is recognized as one of California’s premier spas offering locally-inspired treatments in the sanctuary of their inviting underground estate cave. Their vast menu of services and luxurious amenities are there for your sheer enjoyment, also offering a relaxation lounge, Jacuzzi, and steam room. They offer skincare treatments for both men and women, packages such as the couples escape and Spa Terra Journey, and a wonderful selection of massages and body treatments. www.spaterra.com

Carneros Resort and Spa – Napa

The Spa at Carneros Resort

The resort and spa are located on 28 acres in the Carneros region of Napa surrounded by rolling hills and scenic vineyards. Their spa provides tranquility and nature to mend the body mind and spirit. They offer an inviting selection of treatments incorporating detoxifying “from the land” culinary ingredients, they also offer healing treatments that aim to cater to every guests’ personal needs. The spa director’s favorite pick from the menu is the “Tranquility Pro Sleep Massage” which is a unique treatment that acts on three different sensory pathways to achieve a peaceful mind and body state for profound relaxation. Fitness center and classes are also offered. For a complete list of their services go to www.carnerosresort.com

The Spa at Silverado Resort – Napa

Girls Afternoon at Silverado Spa

Their 16,000 square-foot spa facility has 16 indoor and 3 outdoor treatment rooms in the Meyer Lemon Garden. They also feature the Boost Café offering delicious spa cuisine, a Relaxation Pool, and Spa Boutique. In addition to their vast selection of spa packages, massages, body treatments, they also offer a full-service nail and hair salon, wellness coaches, and skincare. The state of the art fitness center with more than 30 fitness classes weekly, also provides assisted weight machines, outdoor running, and stretching areas as well as strength training and cardio equipment with private TV’s and headsets. The Spa at Silverado’s signature treatment is the “Lomi Lomi Massage” – a rhythmic full-body massage technique where the therapist works gently yet deeply into the muscles with continuous flowing strokes enabling the recipient to relax and feel their Aloha. www.silveradoresort.com/spa/

The Spa at the Estate – Yountville

The Spa at the Estate In Yountville

Wellness at the heart of Yountville where soothing fountains, cascading waterfalls, and serene reflecting pools envelop their guests in an atmosphere of quietude and creature comforts. They offer seven treatment rooms and five private spa suites appointed with relaxation lounges with indoor and outdoor fireplaces, Swiss experience showers, steam showers, saunas, and outdoor hydrotherapy soaking baths. They offer Holistic Body Therapies, blending ancient traditions, and cutting-edge technology where their therapies are designed to soothe sore muscles from 50 minutes to 110 minutes. They also offer a selection of massage therapies and facial therapies. For those on the go, they offer a tasting menu of 25-minute treatments or combine them to have a multi-treatment experience. Gentlemen you weren’t left out, there are special treatments for you too! http://www.villagio.com/spa-villagio-en.html

The Spa at Bardessono – Yountville

Bardessono Spa Yountville

They are nestled amid the picturesque Napa Valley hills in the heart of the hamlet of Yountville where nature guides the nourishment of the body and spirit. You will come away relaxed from head to toe with their luxury spa packages. Combining the best of the East and the West their spa massage treatments promote health and wellness and are customized to fit their guests’ unique needs and personal preferences. You choose your desired style and pressure for relief from stress, for relaxation, or for aching muscles. It also includes your choice of a special seasonal blend of essential oils or unscented organic oil. Non-guests can also take advantage of Bardessono’s spa services with Day Guest options. Weekly yoga is complimentary for guests and also available for non-guests with drop-in and weekly pass options. www.bardessono.com

Meadowood Spa Resort – St. Helena

Meadowood Spa Treehouse Retreat Room

The new Meadowood Spa offers a unique all-suite concept, creating an elevated spa experience and giving guests a true sense of retreat and privacy. These intimate private treatment suites include a private bathroom, steam shower, and built-in seating area in from of tranquil views through open sliding windows to nature beyond. They offer facials, scrubs, wraps, massage, treatments designed for men, in guest room services, and a spa boutique. Meadowood Chef Victoria Acosta has designed a culinary seasonal menu, offering delicious and healthy options for guests to enjoy in their spa suites or in the relaxation gardens. http://www.meadowood.com/spa

Auberge du Soleil Spa – Rutherford

The Spa at Auberge du Soleil

The spa at Auberge is based on the design of a Zen master, creating a physical and emotional barrier from the outside world, which allows guests to focus inward while taking in the beauty of nature. Their new seasonal treatment, “Winter Harmony Retreat” will treat you with an array of luxurious services to nourish, refresh and replenish your skin. In addition to a warm aromatic sesame oil massage, you also choose one or more treatments of Peppermint Sugar Body Scrub, Winter Forest Clay Wrap, Pink Himalayan Salt Bath, Balancing Energy work, Hand & Foot, Reflexology, Hair and Scalp Renewal. 30, 90, or 120 minutes. In addition to their inviting variety of spa treatments, they also offer the highest in quality fitness classes and private instruction. https://aubergedusoleil.aubergeresorts.com/spa/

Solage Resort and Spa – Calistoga

Solage Couples Treatments

The spa facility is artfully designed and ecologically conscious creating the ultimate retreat to experience relaxing and invigorating services including new twists on the renowned “Calistoga Mud” and mineral water therapies. The Bathhouse as Spa Solage offers the ultimate wellness experience, featuring healing geo-thermal pools and mineral-rich mud therapy in a restful, restorative setting. Their spa menu offers a vast selection of services – massage, body renewal, body scrubs, enhancements, signature facials, advanced skincare, facial enhancements, waxing, couples connecting, and just for him. In addition, there are mid-week wellness packages, fitness programs, and specialty wellness sessions. Try the “Chai Spice Body Renewal” – body brushing, a warming vanilla coconut oil massage, and finished with a nurturing wrap and foot treatment. They also serve deliciously inspired spa cuisine at the Solbar outdoor patio. https://solage.aubergeresorts.com/spa/

The Spa at Calistoga Ranch – Calistoga

Yoga at Calistoga Ranch

The experience is one of the most unique spa experiences nestled away in a wooden canyon. It provides an oasis where you will find soothing soaking pools overlooking a creek and moss-laden oaks. They offer restorative organic spa treatments in restful private rooms where you will enter upon a journey to pure relaxation. In addition to their signature treatments, they also offer complimentary classes in their state of the art fitness facility or out amongst nature. Classes range from Yoga to Qigong to Pilates and Circuit Training. One of their newest seasonal treatments is “Toastie Toes and Fell Good Fingers” where you will receive a revitalizing hand and foot treatment, exfoliates, hydrates and nourishes with warm towel wraps and relaxing reflexology. https://calistogaranch.aubergeresorts.com/spa/

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Spa Getaways in the Napa Valley, The Best Places to Relax in Wine Country - NapaFoodGalTravels

Linguine with Shrimp and Peas

Linguine with Shrimp and Peas

What to Cook Tonight – If it’s Tuesday it must Be Pasta Night

Linguine with Shrimp and Peas

Tonight was the night to do a pasta dish. So linguine with Shrimp and Peas was the dinner ticket! We have been eating meat pretty much every night whether it is a burger, tri-tip, chicken, or BBQ Ribs. It is time to mix it up a little bit with a refreshing but easy to prepare pasta dish. Our course I rely on what I happen to have fresh in the fridge, frozen in the freezer, and what’s available in our stocked pantry.

Since we don’t just run out to the store these days on a daily basis to pick up ingredients for the evening meal if we don’t have it on hand. My grocery curbside pick-up day isn’t until Thursday, so for tonight’s meal sourced the ingredients from what I have on hand. Good thing we usually always have a good selection available to us at home. My recent delivery from Costco just brought us a large bag of lovely frozen shrimp, so for tonight – shrimp it is. Along with imported linguine and frozen peas from the pantry and freezer. I took a recipe that I usually do and adapted it to use the ingredients I have on hand here at home.

The original recipe calls for fresh shrimp, I used fresh-frozen. It also called for fresh basil which I have just run out of, but fortunately, we always keep on hand cubes of frozen Pesto Sauce which worked as a perfect substitute. The only other item the I had to change up a bit as I used Trader Joes Frozen Peas instead of fresh sugar snap peas since I did not have any of those available either. I also added sliced and quartered zucchini and halved cherry tomatoes.

As we all know in a pasta dish, you can create just about anything with what you have available at home provided you have the key ingredients which are, of course, good pasta, garlic, parmesan, and extra virgin olive oil (I like to use the freshest I can get from my quarterly delivery from my olive oil club). All of the rest you can easily improvise with your own choice of ingredients.

Please make comments and share photos of your dish that you created from this recipe!

Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon

Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon

 

Mastering the Art of Cooking One of Julia Child’s Most Famous Dishes!

 

Movies and cooking! I decided to prepare the famed recipe Boeuf Bourguignon from the movie Julie and Julia, inspired by Julia Child’s iconic cookbook – “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. It seems like every time I watch a foodie movie I get motivated to cook one of the dishes prepared in whatever feature foodie film I am watching. This time was not much different. Last week, I was doing a food movie binge watch and one of the films that I indulged in was Julie and Julia which was released in 2009. It is still a foodie movie classic and always one of my favorites.

The storyline of Julie and Julia is a deliciously delightful feature about writer Julie Powell who has a mission over the course of one year to cook every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child’s famous cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” She showcases her cooking journey in a food blog “The Julie/Julia Project” as she chronicles her daily cooking efforts in her tiny New York kitchen. Her book was originally called “Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen.

Meryl Streep as Julie Child in Julie and Julia

Julia Child in Julia’s Kitchen

The plot of the movie is intertwined with Julia Child’s autobiography “My Life in France” written with Alex Prud’homme and Julie Powell’s memoir, “Julie and Julia, My Year of Cooking Dangerously”. Though the two never had the actual opportunity to meet, the movie “Julie and Julia” intertwines their lives. It segues back and forth from Julie’s trials and tribulations cooking page by page in her tiny kitchen in 2002. Then the scene transitions into 1950’s Paris to Julia Childs foray into actually learning and mastering the art of French cooking while living in France and along the way collaborating the tumultuous adventure to get her monumental cookbook published.

During the course of Julie’s year profiling her day to day adventures in the kitchen through the pages of Julia’s cookbook, the Julie/Julia Project blog after a while began to amass a cult following, so much so that Judith Jones who was Julia Child’s editor asked to meet with Julie and to prepare a dish for her. Of course, Julie chose Julia’s infamous Beef Bourguignon from the cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking – Volume One on page 315. Listed in the books’ INDEX under Beef and then Stews. The recipe titled Boeuf Bourguignon – Boeuf A La Bourguignonne (Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions, and Mushrooms).

Movie – Julie and Julia

Though due to extenuating circumstances the meeting between Judith and Julie never had the chance to take place. What actually did result after Julie’s second attempt at the recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon was a masterpiece of the dish as she conquered Julia’s Boeuf Bourguignon recipe to perfection according to her husband, who remained her loyal follower and taste-tester.

Cheers Julia Child – You are My Hero!

Excerpt from the cookbook with the intro to the recipe:

“As is the case with most famous dishes, there are more ways than one to arrive at a good boeuf bourguignon. Carefully done, and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man and can well the main course for a buffet dinner. Fortunately, you can prepare it completely ahead, even a day in advance, and it only gains in flavor when reheated.”

Are you ready to get cooking? Here’s the recipe. Trust me, It is really is very easy to prepare. It just takes a bit of time, which we all have plenty of right now. You will love the journey in your kitchen. Bon Appetit!

Another excerpt from the cookbook – Mastering the Art of French Cooking gives you recommendations for the vegetables, sides, and wine. Of course, according to the cookbook, all of the wine suggestions are French wines. However, there are plenty of wines from around the world that will pair nicely with this hearty dish.

Vegetable and Wine Suggestions

 “Boiled potatoes are traditionally served with this dish. Buttered noodles or steamed rice may be substituted. If you also wish a green vegetable, buttered peas would be your best choice. Serve the beef with a fairly full-bodied, young red wine, such as a Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, Bordeaux-St. Emilion, or Burgundy.”

 

Visit Willamette Valley – The Majestic Oregon Wine Trail

Visit Willamette Valley – The Majestic Oregon Wine Trail

Penner-Ash Wine Cellars

Planning a Visit to Willamette Valley Wine Region

Sip, Explore and Stay In Oregon Wine Country

Visit Willamette Valley – If you are planning to visit the Oregon Wine Country, the Willamette Valley Wine Region is one to surely put on your list. The Willamette Valley has over two-thirds of Oregon’s Vineyards and is now home to over 700 wineries and vineyards. Oregon Wines have made a significant mark in the wine industry and as a popular travel wine destination.  The Oregon Pinot Noirs are awarding-winning wines and their winemakers produce some of the best in the world.

Up until 1979, which is not so long ago, the Willamette Valley Wineries and the presence of vineyards and winemaking in Oregon were somewhat of a fledgling undertaking. The tides turned shortly after Oregon vintner David Lett returned from a blind tasting in France where he was invited to submit a red wine to go up against the haughty, aristocratic French, German and Italian vintages, including the illustrious French Burgundies and similar European varietals.

Willamette Valley History

David Lett

Willamette Valley History. This came only three short years after the California wine industry put their name on the map at a similar competition in France creating the “French Paradox” with an award-winning Chardonnay. Lett stunned the judges in the Gault-Millau French Wine Olympiades in 1979 finishing among the top 10 out of over 330 entrants. It was a mere year later that renowned French Burgundian winemaker, Robert Drouhin, stepped up and instigated a re-match. To even greater acclaim, Lett’s Pinot finished second to Drouhin’s Chambolle-Mussigny, by only two-tenths. Not a surprise that Drouhin, then himself crossed the pond to the open his Oregon Domaine Drouhin in the stunning town of Dayton in the Willamette Valley.

Thus the “Oregon Story” was created which put an impressive stake on the map for the Oregon-made French-Style Pinot Noirs. Lett had left the Napa Valley only 10 years prior, shortly after studying at UC Davis. Despite the advice against it from his viticulture colleagues, Lett left his native California to put his own stake in the terroirs of the Pacific Northwest. His hunches proved him right.

The Oregon Story – David Lett

Lett’s success from the competition fueled his notoriety stemming from the accolades he gained as a result of the infamous competition with his Eyrie Vineyards South Block Pinot Noir. A short 15 years down the road from the renowned competition in France; Oregon exploded on the wine scene bringing some of his doubtful colleagues from the UC Davis and other eager winemaking pioneers, many from the Napa Valley, to jump on the bandwagon to lay their roots in the rich Oregon soils.

Domaine Drouhin

The richness of the valley’s soils can be attributed to the Missoula Floods from the Glacial Lake Missoula which impacted the region more than 40 times at the end of the ice age over 13,000 years ago. Floodwaters swept into the region bringing rich volcanic and glacier soil. You will find that a good majority of the wineries in the area are perched on knolls or hillside vineyards where the most optimum soils for grape growing are found.

Soter Vineyards

The Willamette Valley has over two-thirds of Oregon’s Vineyards and is now home to over 700 wineries and vineyards, with many vintners who found their way there from the Napa Valley. The region known initially for their outstanding Pinot Noir production has brought in many notable varietals to great success, such as Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc and in addition, further expanding is the burgeoning sparkling wine production with the méthode champenoise. Some of the lesser produced varietals in the region are Syrah, Cabernet, and Merlot. There are 6 sub-appellations in the Willamette Valley – Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Ribbon Ridge, and Yamhill-Carlton.

Where to Sip:

Soter Vineyards

Well-known Napa Valley Vintner creator of Etude Wines, Tony Soter, who was a 30 plus year veteran in winemaking in the Napa Valley, left the Valley in 2007. Much to the surprise of his colleagues, he took off for Oregon to go full time at the winery he owned since the mid-1990s with his wife Michelle, Soter Vineyards. He was an applauded consulting winemaker for Napa Valley well-known wineries, such as Stags Leap Wine Cellars, Shafer, Sequoia Grove, Viader, Robert Pepi, Etude, Chappellet, Spottswoode, Dalle Valle, Spring Mountain, Niebaum Coppola, and Stonegate.

Tony Soter

Michelle and Tony working together formed a dynamic team to follow in their own philosophy to consistently produce the highest caliber of wines that treads softly on the earth utilizing his over 4-decades of expertise and dedication to allow the character of the land to resonate in wines.

Soter Vineyards

Their stunning winery is in an architecturally re-crafted 1943 barn where open spaces abound, and views of the surrounding hills resonate with every turn. They also have a state-of-the-art kitchen for wine events on the property. They are located in the Yamhill-Carton AVA on a 240-acre bio-dynamic farm planted to 32 acres of vines including 30 acres of Pinot and 2 acres of Chardonnay which they use for their award-winning Brut Rose. In addition to their Mineral Springs location, they also have a second property that showcases their North Valley Vineyards Label and their Planet Oregon wines where $1 from the proceeds of every bottle sold is donated to the Oregon Environmental Council.

: Tastings by Reservation: Mineral Springs Ranch 10880 NE Mineral Springs Road, Carlton 97111 www.sotervineyards.com503-662-5600

Monks Gate

Monks Gate

The Moore family originally from the Napa Valley also migrated to the Yamhill Carlton AVA several decades ago. Ronald Moore was a cargo pilot and his wife, Linda was a software consultant. They were in search of a retirement venture with the mission of getting back to the land. The Willamette Valley drew them in with Its rolling hills and cool climates and the region’s notoriety for growing outstanding Pinots. Their 50-acre family farm is adjacent to the land owned by Trappist Abbey who helped the Moores clear their land for planting in 2000. The creation for the winery name was inspired by the actual gate entering to the Trappist Abbey estate, which was actually built to allow the monks to access the land over the years. Today sits a statue near the gateway of Saint Francis of Assisi commemorating their frequent passages across the lands.

Monks Gate

The vineyard is dry-farmed and also sustainably farmed to ensure that it will be environmentally and economically viable for generations to come. It is a two-generation operation, as their daughter Rebecca Moore also transplanted to the family compound from the Bay area and is the overall hands-on chief for every aspect for the winery from driving the tractor to pouring in the tasting room. Of the 50 acres, twenty are planted to Pinot Noir and Riesling.

: Carlton: Tastings by appointment: Open Thursday to Monday 12-5: www.monksgate.com503-852-6521

Alexana Winery

Dr. Madaiah Revana who is the proprietor of Napa Valley’s Revana Family Vineyards in Saint Helena had a love of the great wines of Burgundy and in 2005 began a search for the ideal location for his winery in Oregon. In addition to seeking out the perfect parcel of land for his winery and vineyards, he was also in search for a premier winemaker of Burgundian-style wines in the Willamette Valley. His quest led him to Lynn Penner-Ash, who had transplanted years before to this Pinot Noir abundant region from the Napa Valley.

Dr. Revana

Both Lynn and Dr. Revana were of the same philosophy with a commitment to producing world-class wines. Lynn’s vivid descriptions of the soils, the micro-climates, and elevations that would create the ultimate growing environment, presented them with a specific focus. They came upon the perfect location in the Dundee Hills, which offered 80-acres of which coincidentally sixteen acres had already been meticulously planted to Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris and the next year the launched Alexana Winery with their first estate 2006 vintages of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. Today in addition to their stunning Pinot Noir Collection, they also offer Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, a Bordeaux Blend, and a Rhone Blend. Keep an eye out for the touring helicopters which frequently bring in guests for a wine tasting experience at Alexana.

: Newberg: Reservations Preferred and a must for parties of 6 or more: www.alexanawinery.com503-537-3100

Penner-Ash Wine Cellars

After getting her kick-start in the wine business at Domaine Chandon and Stags Leap in Napa, Lynn Penner-Ash decided to leave for Oregon in 1988 to work at Rex Hill Winery as one of Oregon’s first female winemakers. Thirty years later as a renowned veteran winemaker, she and her husband Ron Penner-Ash celebrate the success of their mutually collaborated Penner-Ash brand which they founded in 1998.

Lynn and Ron Penner-Ash

In 2005, they designed and built their sustainable, gravity-flow estate winery in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, though their portfolio of wines also includes varietals from 7 major AVA’s of the Willamette Valley. Their winery, tasting room, and perfectly landscaped grounds offer majestic 360-degree views from their hillside perch overlooking the stunning vineyards of surrounding Newberg area.

In addition to their award-winning Pinot Noirs, they also produce Viognier, Roseo, Riesling, and Syrah.

: Newberg: Open 7 Days 11am to 5pm: Reservations Preferred and a must for parties of 6 or more: www.pennerash.com503-554-5545

Gran Moraine

Gran Moraine

Eugenia Keegan, Estate Manager and Winemaker at Gran Moraine, part of the Jackson Family Wines, continued her wine career in the eighties in Napa Valley after working in Burgundy for several years honing her skills in Burgundian style wines. Upon arriving back in Napa, she took on the post as Bouchaine’s business manager at their Carneros location during their start-up days, and then later being promoted to President and CEO. In the late 90’s she moved over to Vine Cliff Winery in Oakville as president. In 2003, she took the plunge and moved on to the Henry Wine Group in Oregon until 2009. Prior to taking over at Gran Moraine in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, Eugenia managed her own wine brand on two different continents, Keegan Cellars in Russian River and Roussillon, France.

Eugenia Keegan

Gran Moraine, founded in 2014, is located in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA on 220 acres planted to the classic Burgundian varietals of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on the hillsides behind the winery. Teaming up with Shane Moore – Winemaker and Ken Kupperman – Vineyard Director, they have certainly created the trifecta for success at Gran Moraine. She is indeed a grand dame of Pinot Noir the Willamette Valley and continues to be committed to sustainable practices and creating elegance and finesse in a glass.

: Yamhill: Open Daily: 11am to 5pm: www.granmoraine.com855-831-6631

Archery Summit

Archery Summit

Gary and Nancy Andrus founders of Napa Valley’s Pine Ridge Winery expanded their wine world and opened Archery Summit in 1993. Now owned by the Crimson Wine Group, Archery Summit now lays claim to an expanding vineyard portfolio which includes 6 vineyards across 120 estate acres in Dayton in the Dundee Hills. They are known for producing some of the most luxurious New World Pinot Noirs.

They celebrate over two decades of crafting their estate-grown pinots and have just introduced their newest estate vineyard, Archer’s Edge. Winemaker, Ian Burch, has worked harvests across Sonoma County, Barossa Valley, New Zealand, and South Africa before settling in the Willamette Valley in 2008. Many of their Pinots have received outstanding marks from both Wine Spectator and Robert Parker.

: Dayton: Open Daily except Holidays: 10am to 4pm: Please call Tasting Room for Appointments or Availability: 503-714-2030: www.archerysummit.com

Domaine Drouhin

Domaine Drouhin

A visit to Domaine Drouhin is also a must to put on your list when visiting the Willamette Valley as its roots take you back to wine country in Burgundy where it all started 130 years ago when Maison Joseph Drouhin introduced their outstanding Pinot Noirs to the world. Run now by fourth-generation Drouhin’s at the helm, Veronique Boss-Drouhin, and Philippe Drouhin. Domaine Drouhin Oregon was built in 1988 for $10,000,000 in the Dundee Hills by then patriarch Robert Drouhin.

Domaine Drouhin

Their Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays continue the family legacy and tradition of fine winemaking in France and now in Oregon with finesse and elegance. As the saying goes, “French Soul, Oregon Soil.”

: Dayton: Open Daily 11am to 4pm: For larger groups, please call Tasting Room for Appointments and Tours: www.domainedrouhin.com: 503-864-2700

(Please note that when visiting many of the Wineries in Willamette Valley, picnicking and outside food may not be permitted)

Where to Stay

The Allison Inn and Spa

Allison Inn and Spa

Celebrating their 10thAnniversary, The Allison Inn and Spa offers guests a casually elegant and luxurious experience in the heart of the Willamette Valley. No attention to detail has been overlooked at this stunning spa resort hosting 77 luxury guest rooms and 8 suites all with gas fireplaces, a terrace or balcony, and spa-like bathrooms with outstanding views of the luscious landscape of the surrounding rolling hills and vineyards. No other place in the Willamette Valley offers this kind of unique guest experience. Whether you are taking off right from the property on a helicopter tour, a luxury private car, a hot air balloon, or even by horseback, the Allison can personalize your visit and choose from more than 200 area wineries. They will also prepare a customized picnic basket to take along with you.

Allison Inn and Spa

Upon your return from tasting some of the best Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in the world, take time to chill a little in their award-winning spa offering an extensive spa menu utilizing the energies, and ecological elements stemmed from the fertile soils of the Willamette Valley.

Dining at the Jory Restaurant at the Allison provides yet another memorable sensory experience. This one is offering a journey that accentuates the native flavors of the region sourcing seasonal and farm to table products in every dish specially prepared to create your culinary memory of the Willamette Valley.

Brunch on the deck at The Allison Inn and Spa

: 2525 Allison Lane, Newberg, OR: www.theallison.com: 877-294-2525

Black Walnut Inn and Vineyards

Black Walnut Inn

If it is a luxury bed and breakfast you are in search of, then look no further than the exquisite Black Walnut Inn and Vineyards in the Dundee Hills. This majestic Inn is nestled on a knoll surrounded by rolling vineyards on their 42 acres. Each of the nine guest rooms all with private baths are uniquely adorned with their individual designer décor, many with balconies or private patios. These inviting rooms offer guests a relaxing retreat where you will enjoy spectacular evening sunsets and vistas on your patio with an afternoon glass of wine from their expansive wine cellar along with a Charcuterie and Cheeseboard.

Black Walnut Inn

You can expect your stay to be absolutely memorable as this dynamic property sets the stage for the perfect romantic getaway. Before rushing out to a full day of visiting the region’s wineries, you will indulge in Black Walnuts Inn’s signature breakfast where each dish is made to order with the freshest of local ingredients. What a perfect way to start your perfect day! Owners Rick and Erika Miller are hands-on hosts who look after your every need.

Guest Suite at the Black Walnut Inn

: 9600 NE Worden Hill Road, Dundee, OR: www.blackwalnutvineyard.com  503-538-8663

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spinach Mushroom Lasagna

Spinach Mushroom Lasagna

Homemade Lasagna with Spinach, Mushrooms and Italian Sausage

There are so many different variations of lasagna and so many different preparations to choose from. I actually like to do something a little bit different every time depending on what I have on hand. This time I wanted to change it up a bit and add in spinach and mushrooms since I had both of the ingredients conveniently available. I usually do the more traditional style of lasagna noodles where you actually cook them by boiling them before putting them in my lasagna layers but only cook them until they are a bit al dente. Remember that the noodles get cooked twice with this method and you don’t want to have them get mushy.

In this instance, I actually had two boxes in the panty of Trader Joe’s Italian no-boil oven-ready noodles. Since this was not the usual route I take when making lasagna, this was to be a slightly new adventure for me. As it turned out, the result was surprisingly perfect. One of the tricks that I did use before adding them to the casserole dish and the mixture was to moisten them up just a bit with a quick dunk in warm water before putting them into the casserole layers.

I always love the journey of the preparation in the kitchen as the aromas begin to permeate the house. Here are my steps from pan to plate!