Friday, May 27, 2011

Chicken parmigiana

Since we haven’t really gotten into spring or summer weather I decided that for this month’s recipe I was going to do a staff favorite comfort food - chicken parmigiana. This one is a staple for myself and my co-workers and I would eat it once a week if I could get away with it. Lately at the winery, we have been making chicken parmesan sandwiches (or grinders as they are called in New York) a lot. So here is the recipe we use to make them.

Chicken cutlets:
4 boneless chicken breast halves (approximately 2 pounds) – have butcher thin-slice them or pound per instruction #1
21/4 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cups grated parmesan cheese
11/2 cups all purpose flour
3 large eggs, beaten with a fork
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup olive oil for frying (approximate)


1.) (Do only if butcher hasn't thin-sliced them.) Place chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper, and pound with a kitchen mallet or rolling pin until they are evenly about 1/4-inch thick.

2.) Set up a dredging station of flour, eggs, beaten with a tablespoon of grated parmesan and the breadcrumbs. Get a large sauté pan to medium on the burner. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken pieces on both sides. Coat first in the flour, patting off extra, then egg, allowing excess to drip into the bowl. Dredge in breadcrumbs. Set the chicken pieces on a plate.

3.) Heat the oil in the hot pan. When hot, add chicken cutlets, cooking to a golden brown on each side -- no more than a couple of minutes each. Set on paper towel-lined plate to drain a minute.

Pre-heat oven to 400.  Take your pieces of French bread (or other crusty bread) and place them in the oven for a few minutes until they become crispy. Top one slice of bread with a cutlet and homemade tomato sauce (see below for that recipe) and slices of mozzeralla and bake until mozzarella is melted, about five minutes. Enjoy!

Homemade tomato sauce:
2 small onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped (optional)
1 small carrot, chopped
2 28 oz can crushed tomatoes -- san marazanos are the best
1/4 cup red wine
1 - 2 bay leaves
Red pepper flakes

Saute veggies in olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once tender, add crushed tomatoes. Stir. Add wine. Stir. Add seasonings. Lower heat to low or simmer, and continue cooking for minimum of 30 minutes. Flavors develop best when the sauce has been on the stove for a long time, so if possible start early and allow 2- 3 hrs to cook.  

Until Mother Nature gets on board with my wishes for summer (sunshine and heat, please and thank you) I will be posting comfort food recipes in defiance. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Spring Release 2011

We are gearing up for another busy weekend. Starting tomorrow, Friday, May 6th and running through Sunday, May 8th we will be celebrating Spring Release in our Reserve House. We will be pouring our 2009 Washington State Chardonnay, 2009 Estate Barbera, Non-Vintage Red Wine, newly released 2009 Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 "Artist Series" Cabernet Sauvignon and 2008 "Old Vines" Cabernet Sauvignon ($5 tasting fee, refundable with purchase). For this weekend only, we will be offering a special library tasting of our 1998 Charbonneau Red for an additional, non-refundable, $5 tasting fee. We will also be selling a limited amount of this wine on a first come, first serve basis, limit of three bottles, no discounts available. You don't have to be present to purchase the 1998 Charbonneau, we are also taking orders over our website or phone.

Hope to see everyone in town this weekend!



Growth in the vineyard

Cabernet Franc buds, April 12th
I did a quick trip up to the Estate Vineyard earlier today to see how the growth in the vineyard was coming along. It's been a little over three weeks since I was up there last and things have really seemed to have taken off. The vineyard crew has gone through and pruned most of the cabernet franc, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay. What were tiny buds, barely noticeable when I was up there the middle of April, are now full bloom buds.

Cabernet Franc buds, May 2nd
 Now we just have to be concerned about the late Spring freezes that we seem to be getting more regularly. If we can keep the buds from becoming damaged at this point we may just have a nice harvest, in sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and cabernet franc, after all.

Tomato starts in the green house
Genaro, our vineyard manager's father

On my way up to the vineyard I stopped to check out the Estate Garden that is planted just below. Genaro, Juan's father, who is a retired vineyard worker likes to spend his time in the garden taking care of things. I also stepped into our greenhouse to take a look at the tomato plant starts. Because of the cool spring the starts are a little smaller than they were last year. We're hoping for a bit of warm weather so they can catch up before we transplant them outside. 

On the way back to the winery, I stopped to take a couple of pictures and came across a kestrel falcon that had been injured. Concerned about the other birds of prey in the area, I had Juan help me catch him and then took him to Animal Clinic East, in Walla Walla. They did an initial evaluation on him and then sent him on a shuttle to Blue Mountain Wildlife in Pendleton, Oregon where they specialize in the care and treatment of injured or orphaned animals, specifically birds of prey. I spoke with Lynne this afternoon and our kestrel is doing fine. She hopes to bring him back to the Estate Vineyard to release him back to the wild sometime this week.