Nothing says comfort food like cinnamon, apples, and a cream-cheese frosting. This is an amazingly flavorful cake that has been a part of our “repertoire” for more than 20 years. It is especially wonderful since we grow the Granny Smith apples on our property! We enjoy this cake with homemade, Mincemeat made in the Traditional English Fashion, which you can access by clicking on that recipe title.
This classic, French soup is simple and easy to make ahead of dinner and just warm it again before you serve it. It is an outstanding choice for entertaining when asparagus is in season, and one of our favorites from another vegetable in our garden.
For many of the recipes on our website, we grow all the fruits and vegetables. For this recipe, we grow the bananas at our home. Over several attempts, we have refined this recipe to produce the best banana bread we have tried, so that we can share it with you.
Béchamel Sauce is a sauce traditionally made from a white roux (butter and flour in a 1:1 mixture) and milk with a long history of use in multiple countries, it may also be referred to as besciamella in Italy, or besamel in Greece, or a white sauce in the U.S.A Regardless of the style of cuisine, a Béchamel Sauce is a very versatile white sauce that's used in many different dishes. It is terrific in lasagna dishes -- such as the Zucchini and Eggplant Lasagna (and you can easily access that recipe by clicking on those recipe title)-- because it provides a rich, creamy flavor. It is also terrific in creamy pasta dishes, such as our Creamy Baked Pasta and Cheese / Pasta E Formaggio al Forno (and you can easily access that recipe by clicking on those recipe title).
This is a very dense and intense bittersweet chocolate cake that we have enjoyed for more that 20 years. When Blair and Simone met, in February 2000, this was the first cake that Simone made for Blair. It was near Valentine’s Day, so she made it in the shape of a heart. To this day whenever we make this cake, we still use the same heart shaped pan to remind us of our very first homemade meal together. We hope you enjoy this delicious cake. We enjoy it with a bit of homemade whipped cream and fresh fruit (blueberries or raspberries) in a little bit of Grand Marnier liqueur. These are optional but we highly encourage you to top the cake with a bit of Pomegranate and Balsamic Reduction sauce (and you can easily access that recipe by clicking on that recipe title).
We enjoy soup and this bisque is absolutely delicious! This can be served as an appetizer, with a salad, or sometimes we enjoy it as our meal with some warm, homemade Sourdough Bread (and you can access that recipe easily by clicking on that recipe title).
This is a terrific accompaniment with a nice sorbet. We enjoy the very fresh/tart flavor of our Lemon and Lime Sorbet (and you can access that recipe easily by clicking on that recipe title) and then we place a piece of this Candied Lime Peel on the side to provide a wonderful “pop” to the flavor of the sorbet. This can be made with any citrus fruit.
One of the most delicious dishes found in all of Italian cuisine is Caprese salad or the Insalata Caprese. This dish marries some of the most notable ingredients in Italian cuisine including tomatoes, olive oil, fresh burrata cheese, and fresh basil. The dish has been popular for many decades. The first story of Caprese salad dates to post-World War I Italy. A patriotic chef wanted to make a dish that was a true tribute to Italy and that visually incorporated the tricolor of the Italian flag into the presentation. The first printed mention of the Caprese salad was on a menu at the Grand Hotel Quisisana in Capri. We grow our own heirloom tomatoes and basil, and when they are ripe and in season, there is nothing better than this wonderful salad!
We love fine Indian cuisine prepared in the style that you might find in Delhi. As a result, we love to enjoy papadum and garlic naan bread with chutney and different dals at the outset of a great Indian dinner. This is one of the different dals that we like to make for our table, and we're sure you'll enjoy it as well!
The origins of this dish are debated. Some think it is a dish that was originated in Scotland, some think it was originated in India. In any event, my husband lived for ten years in London, where he was introduced to Chicken Tikka Masala and he has loved it ever since. I love the flavor infused into the chicken from the buttermilk in this recipe.
Chinese Cabbage Salad with Duck and Plum Vinaigrette
We enjoy preparing Duck Roasted in a Chinese Style with Plum Sauce periodically, which you can access by clicking that title. When we do that, we generally have a little bit of the roasted duck left over and this is one of the wonderful dishes that we enjoy preparing with the left-over roasted duck.
We enjoy the recipe for Duck Roasted in a Chinese Style with Plum Sauce(and you can easily access that recipe by clicking on that title). When we roast the White Pekin / Long-Island Duck, we enjoy this recipe as another way to enjoy the left-over duck.
Creamy Baked Pasta and Cheese / Pasta e Formaggio al Forno
This is an amazing dish that is absolutely creamy and delicious! It is a great side dish because it pairs nicely with so many main courses, such as our Pot Roast with Mushrooms with Gravy (and you can access that recipe easily by clicking on that recipe title), or any of our veal dishes. It is even a great side for a fish dish.
Dijon Mustard and Pink Grapefruit Vinaigrette on a Spinach, Kale and Pink Grapefruit Salad with Salmon
When coupled with a piece of Salmon, this is an amazing entrée course salad. Or, it can be used as a side salad. We are so blessed to grow so many different types of fruits and vegetables at our home in the Santa Rosa Valley. This salad has some added meaning to us because we have included a number of items in it from our garden: the pink grapefruit, the garlic cloves, the kale, the avocado, and the red onion.
This is an easy and delicious soup made with Chinese dumplings or potstickers. The broth of the soup definitely has a Chinese flair and would pair well with several of our salads – such as the Zippy, Spicy Ginger Salad Dressing and Chinese Salad -- or any of our Lo Mein dishes like:
Eggplant Parmigiana, Parmigiana di Melanzane in Italian, is one of the classic preparations of southern Italy. It is a preparation associated with the cooking of Naples, but it is popular in the Campanian countryside and Calabria and Sicily too. There are several theories about the origin of Eggplant Parmigiana. The most obvious is that the name of the dish derives from parmigiano cheese, the predominate cheese used in the dish. Many have voiced suspicion for this explanation because parmigiano is not native to Naples or other regions of southern Italy where Eggplant Parmigiana is found. Instead, most of us believe that the name of the dish became altered when the Sicilian word “parmiciana” (dialect for “shingle”) was changed to “parmigiana”, in reference to the famous cheese from Parma that is used in this dish. “Parmicana” referred to the way the fried slices of eggplant are arranged in the baking dish–overlapping in the same way shingles are arranged on a rooftop. Whatever the history of the dish and its distinctive name, it’s one of our favorites from the eggplant we grow in our garden. We know you will love it!
As the story goes, fish soup was developed in the late 1800s by Italian immigrants who fished off Meiggs Wharf and lived in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco; many of them were from the port city of Genoa, Italy. When a fisherman came back empty handed, they would walk around with a pot to the other fishermen asking them to chip in whatever they could. Whatever ended up in the pot became their fish soup. The fishermen that chipped in expected the same treatment if they came back empty handed in the future. This is a wonderful example of a fine fish soup that is sure to impress your guests!
This tangy dressing is wonderful for all different types of green salads. It is especially tasty with the different flavors included in this salad with frisée. Because of its naturally somewhat bolder flavor, frisée needs a tangier dressing – like this French Dressing -- when it comes to putting together a salad.
We are so blessed to grow many different fruits and vegetables at our home in addition to our wine grapes. This recipe is a remarkably simple but delicious recipe that we make as an appetizer when our Black Mission Figs are ripe.
We enjoy Indian cuisine, and this is a favorite recipe to pair with Indian dishes. This recipe will yield about 20 individual pieces of Garlic Naan Bread. We enjoy making the full recipe and then freezing some of the Garlic Naan Bread for future use. We put the topping on the bread just before we serve it.
This is a delicious fall soup, which includes wonderful vegetables from our garden. It would be a great soup to have as an appetizer for your Thanksgiving meal! This recipe makes a large stockpot full of soup. We usually freeze half of the soup and enjoy the other half when we make it.
We are so fortunate to grow wonderful pink grapefruit, plums, and many other amazing fruits. This morning, I went out into our garden and picked 2 wonderfully ripe, pink grapefruit as well as two beautiful plums. I then created a simple recipe that we will certainly make again and again. It is delicious!
This is a wonderful side dish to several Chinese dishes, and it includes the delicious XO Sauce, which you can access by clicking that title. We grow many of the vegetables that we eat, and in this instance, we have grown the green beans, garlic and onion.
Whenever a ham is baked at our home, I enjoy making a ham soup. This variation on Ham and White Bean Soup includes many vegetables fresh from our garden including tomatillos, celery, carrots, shallots, collard greens and tomatoes. We enjoy this soup along with a slice of our warm bread -- either our Sourdough Bread or our Bread with an Italian Flair / Pane Italiano – and you can access either of these recipes easily by clicking on those recipe titles.
We love using our slow cooker! It makes dinner so easy! This recipe is so simple and delicious, and it takes only a few minutes to prepare and then the slow cooker does all of the work. We enjoy this dish with several of the recipes included on our website such as: Garlic Naan Bread, Basmati Rice with Indian Flavors, either of the two dals that we have included on our website – Chana Dal or Black Lentils' Dal (Makhni Dal), and the Tomato Chutney (and you can access each of these recipes easily by clicking on their respective title).
This is a wonderful Italian meat sauce that can be used with various pasta dishes like Cauliflower Gnocchi (which you can access easily here by clicking on the recipe title), lasagna, or Eggplant Parmigiana (which you can access easily here by clicking on the recipe title), or even on Pork Chops with Italian Red Meat Sauce(which you can access easily here by clicking on the recipe title). We love it!
Jerk Red Snapper Fillets with Sautéed Kale, Spinach and Grilled Fruit
We had an amazing vacation in Jamaica a few years ago. As a result, we really enjoy Jamaican cuisine and flavors. Whenever I cook with a Jamaican flare, it always brings us back to the memories of our great vacation. I was fortunate to have a one-on-one, hands-on cooking class with the Executive Chef at the resort where we were staying, and he gave me some great insight into Jamaican flavors. Similar to other international foods, I enjoy creating a fusion version of Jamaican cuisine and that is what I have done with this dish below.
This is a wonderful, very refreshing palate cleanser that we serve when we have guests over and we are serving multi-course meals. As with many of our fruits and vegetables, we grow lemons and limes here on our property, so it is nice when we have ripe lemons and limes in the orchard to make this very refreshing sorbet. We enjoy serving this with Candied Lime Peels / Citrus Peels (and you can access that recipe easily by clicking on that recipe title).
This sauce is delicious on vegetables, seafood, and also on quiche. We drizzle it over the Quiche with Seafood (and you can easily access that recipe by clicking on that title) and it is a perfect pairing.
This is a delicious Cantonese side dish for any Chinese meal, and one of our favorites because we grow most of the vegetables in it in our home garden. Similar to the egg noodle that is commonly used in this noodle, this recipe uses an organic version of “lo mein” noodle made from wheat flour, which translates to "stirred noodles". We particularly enjoy it with one of our favorite Chinese main courses -- Orange Chicken -- and you can access that recipe easily by clicking on that recipe title.
Mahi-mahi with Compound Butter of Lemon, Garlic, and Parmesan Cheese
Mahi-mahi is a firm-fleshed, mild-tasting fish. We genuinely enjoy mahi-mahi when it is fresh. I did not want to fire up the grill, so in this instance I decided to cook the mahi-mahi in the oven. It turned out fantastic! The fish was moist and perfectly cooked.
We love mincemeat made it in the traditional English fashion, especially around the holidays. We have served mincemeat alongside our Apple Walnut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (which you can access easily by clicking on that recipe title). We are very blessed because we grow many fruits on our property, and we enjoy them in this recipe!
We really enjoy homemade pasta! This is a delicious, and incredibly special recipe that highlights mushrooms. It is an amazing pasta to serve along side many different main courses, or as an appetizer.
We love poached, fresh Atlantic Salmon – particularly during the summer months – and we love to use this Niçoise Sauce on that salmon dish. If you would like to review our favorite, Atlantic Salmon Fillet Poached recipe, just click here.
We love seafood and we fell in love with paella years ago. Paella is one of the best-known dishes in Spanish cuisine. Paella takes its name from the wide, shallow traditional pan used to cook the dish on an open fire. Paella means "frying pan" in Valencian – the regional language of Valencia, Spain. Paella Mixta (mixed paella) combines meat with seafood and vegetables (and sometimes beans) with the traditional rice. We enjoy this paella which has loads of seafood!
This is a wonderful pasta dish from the Sicilian region of Italy, but there is a unique spin on it in this recipe. If you want to make it the “traditional” way, I have added a few notes in this recipe to guide you. The name of the dish is said to originate from the exclamation by the Italian writer, Nino Martoglio, who, upon tasting the original dish, exclaimed "This is a real 'Norma'!", comparing it with the exceptional perfection of the Vincenzo Bellini opera of that name – “Norma”. We absolutely love this pasta dish because it features eggplant, which is one of the wonderful vegetables that we grow in our home garden.
My father was born in Italy and he loved pesto sauce. From a very early age, I remember loving this very colorful, flavorful sauce on pasta. I have found so many other uses for this great sauce, including on top of fish (for our Salmon with Pesto recipe, please click here), on sandwiches, etc. This pasta recipe combines the wonderful flavor of pesto with a flavorful salami and garlic to create a great dish.
This year we planted radishes and ended up with abundance, so beyond eating them fresh and raw (which was delicious), I decided to create a recipe for pickling them. After a bit of experimentation, we came up with this terrific recipe.
We grow pomegranates and really enjoy the benefits of the pomegranate juice in many different recipes. This recipe is one that we particularly enjoy because it is so versatile; it can be used on top of desserts, ice cream or even over pork or lamb.
This is an amazingly simple, but delicious appetizer that pairs nicely with many of our recipes for main dishes – especially those that are Italian. (Often when we make this recipe, we use half of the cantaloupe for this recipe and the other half to make this delicious Cantaloupe and Mint Sorbet, which you can access easily by clicking on that recipe title).
This creamy, rice dish is completely unconventional, but it is absolutely delicious! It features Carolina Plantation Aromatic Rice:
which has a nutty flavor and is amazingly aromatic. The type and quality of rice used is extremely important in this dish. Also, you can feel good about cooking with this rice because it is made with Green-e-Certified Renewable Energy. Carolina Plantation Rice also devotes a substantial portion of its revenues to enhance the habitat for wild ducks and geese at Plumfield Plantation, which is a designated waterfowl preserve. The rice easily stores in the freezer, and we order several bags at a time. It is truly a very unique and amazing rice. To order call 1-877-742-3496 or go to www.carolinaplantationrice.com.
NOTE: We are not affiliated with Carolina Plantation Rice in anyway; we just enjoy their rice!!! It is terrific if you follow the directions right on the bag, but the recipe below is one that we have come to really enjoy.
Soft shell crabs are actually "hard-shelled crabs" that are going through the molting process. A crab’s shell is external and must therefore be shed and replaced (or "molted") as the crab grows. To initiate the molting process, the crab releases a chemical agent, which separate its old shell from the underlying skin. Over the course of several weeks, the crab then grows a new, soft, paper-like shell under the old shell. The crab then ingests enough water to bloat itself, loosening the old shell. As a result, this means that almost the entire crab can be eaten, rather than having to shell the crab to reach the meat. In the United States, the finest species of soft-shell crabs is the Blue Crab, which appears in markets from April to September, and the best source is the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Soft-shell crabs are delicious, and this recipe is a wonderful way to enjoy them. Our favorite source for ordering soft-shell, Blue Crabs from the Chesapeake Bay is Cameron’s Seafood (https://www.cameronsseafood.com/buy-seafood-online/), located in Rockville, MD. Their whale-sized (measuring 5+ inches in each crab), unbreaded, pre-cleaned, soft-shell, Blue Crabs are absolutely wonderful! We cannot recommend them more highly than we do!
We enjoy a warm slice of sourdough bread with some butter or some extra virgin olive oil with some minced garlic and a bit of salt and a few red chili flakes…and it is absolutely delicious when it is homemade! This recipe takes time, but it is one I have made about once a week and “fine-tuned” it over time. After experimenting with several variations, this recipe has proven to be relatively fool-proof and it consistently produces wonderful bread.
In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic changed our lifestyles completely. With more time at home, we took the opportunity (like many Americans) to make a sourdough starter and to create our own, personalized recipe for baking sourdough bread–-in a way that has become fool-proof for us after five months of experimenting. Of course, every loaf of sourdough bread starts with the starter. We have affectionately named our starter “The Beast”. The important note to consider when you decide to begin the process of making the sourdough starter is that you will have a lot of excess starter. Certainly, you can discard the excess starter, but I was raised with the philosophy that nothing should be thrown out if you can use it in some way. As a result, I save all of our “excess” starter in a platic container in the refrigerator; I now have several favorite recipes that use the excess Sourdough Bread Starter, including a great Sourdough Pizza Crust recipe (which you can access easily by clicking that recipe title).
Like many people, I decided to learn how to make sourdough bread during the 2020 pandemic. I made my starter, fed it twice a day for a week, and then every day for another week. The Sourdough Bread Starter has been used to make excellent Sourdough Bread, and you can follow our approach by clicking on those recipe titles to access our recipes. If you decide to make sourdough, it is quite time consuming and a labor of love. We think it is certainly worthy of the time and focus. If you decide to take this on, extra sourdough starter is inevitably created, because you will discard the surplus sourdough starter frequently. We now store our surplus sourdough starter in the refrigerator and use it in a few recipes like this one. It makes a very nice pizza dough.
We enjoy lamb and we particularly enjoy this sweet and sour mint sauce with our lamb, no matter if it is lamb chops, or Rack of Lamb (and you can easily access that wonderful recipe by clicking on that recipe title).
From the eclectic array of recipes on this website, you can see that we enjoy foods from all over the world, and one of our favorites is Indian cuisine. This tomato chutney has become one of our favorite recipes. We enjoy this chutney with papadums (also known as papads).
We purchased Lijjat Punjabi Masala Special Papad, which you can purchase on Amazon or through an Indian grocery store, if there is one near you. Lijjat offers many different flavors of papadums so you can choose the flavor that you enjoy.
Tzatziki Salad Dressing on a Radish and Cucumber Salad
As with many of the wonderful salads we eat, we grow most of the vegetables on our property. This fresh salad includes fresh radishes picked right from our garden this morning and a perfectly ripe avocado, picked from one of our trees a few days ago. It also includes some freshly picked and chopped chives.
One of our favorite steak house restaurants is Mastro’s Steakhouse in Westlake Village, California. Their steaks are wonderful, and we love the spicy “Mambo” salad dressing, which is a delicious dressing that gets its spicy punch from the addition of wasabi. We have created the recipe below so we that we can enjoy a spicy wasabi dressing at home. We really enjoy this salad dressing over a green salad and we serve it with one of our favorite steak recipes -- Steak Fiorentina (to read that recipe, please click here.)
Wellington of Beef Tenderloin with Red-Wine Reduction Sauce and Creamy Green Peppercorn Brandy Sauce
It is generally agreed that Beef Wellington was created in celebration of the first Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, and his victory at the Battle of Waterloo on June 18th, 1815. The Duke was given his title after defeating Napoleon Bonaparte the year before, and not long after that he became the English Prime Minister. For such an iconic character, they name a pastry-ensconced beef dish after him. The Beef Wellington resembles the French filet de boeuf en croute and may have been renamed the Beef Wellington after the Battle of Waterloo, and includes a wonderful mushroom Duxelles. Duxelles was created by the 17th-century French chef François Pierre La Varenne (1615–1678) and was named after his employer, Nicolas Chalon du Blé, Marquis d'Uxelles. This is an amazing and very impressive dish that is certain to amaze your guests!! We enjoy serving this after a nice Caprese Salad with a Flair / Insalata Caprese along with a wonderful Potato Cake / Gattò Di Patate and Asparagus Spears and Pine-Nuts. (You can access each of these recipes easily by clicking on those recipe titles.)
The term XO is often identified with high quality, prestige, and luxury, such as the cognac that bears that moniker. The sauce has its roots in the great Cantonese kitchens of Hong Kong. Consequently, when an ingenious chef in the 1980s first slapped the "XO" label on his new creation, diners intuitively knew that they were in for something decadent. They were not disappointed, and you won’t be either. It is a more expensive sauce or condiment, but it is worth it!
We are very fortunate to have great access to amazing fresh fish. We enjoy ahi tuna, and this recipe combines the fresh and amazing flavor of rare ahi tuna with the delicious depth of flavor of our homemade XO Sauce (you can access that recipe easily by clicking on that title). We enjoy this preparation of the ahi tuna with a nice cabbage salad -- XO Vinaigrette on a Chinese Salad (again you can access easily by clicking on that recipe title).
Pad thai is a stir-fried rice noodle dish commonly served at most restaurants in Thailand as part of the country's cuisine. It is often made with rice noodles, chicken, beef or seafood, among other vegetables. The ingredients are sautéed together in a wok, which creates an even heat distribution. Once the dish is completed, it is tossed in a pad thai sauce, which gives the dish its signature tangy salty flavor with a hint of sweetness. This is a wonderful recipe that combines several delicious Thai flavors.
For invitations to our future events, for information on our corporate gift programs, or to subscribe to our free, monthly, educational newsletter on wine-making, wine tasting, and the wine industry generally, please complete and submit this form...
We will contact you shortly to provide you with additional information based on your preferences to help you learn more about Al Lago Wines’ events and programs. Thank you for your interest in Al Lago Wines!