Wente Vineyards has been on the forefront of California’s rich winemaking tradition for more than a century. Almost 20 years ago, fourth-generation owner Carolyn Wente envisioned a restaurant on the vineyard’s scenic grounds that would immerse its guests in the simple pleasures of honest food and good wine. She brings her own style to her leadership role at the Winery and oversees their diverse lifestyle operations.
Carolyn learned the wine business from her father and grandfather. Born and raised in Livermore, California, she lives there with her husband and son. Carolyn is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier.
THE CASUAL VINEYARD TABLE is a cookbook collaboration between Carolyn Wente and Kimball Jones, executive chef of Wente Vineyards, and features California-style dishes that can easily be prepared for friends and family.
Kimball Jones joined the Wente Vineyards Restaurant as executive chef in 1989 and is now the corporate chef for Wente Family Estates. A graduate of the California Culinary Academy, he lives in Oakland, California, with his wife and three sons.
Incorporate the good life into everyday life by capping off each day with a flavorful meal accompanied by a robust glass of wine. The concepts for the cookbook recipes are simple but the flavors are complex. Favorite recipes include Heirloom Tomato Soup with Poached Salmon, Meyer Lemon Souffle, Cantaloupe and Shrimp Salad, Rack of Lamb with Pomegranate Glaze, and Apple Tart with Riesling Ice Cream. The lamb is a favorite of Carolyn’s young son, Bucky.
Good food and fine wine are part of everyday living at Carolyn and Kimball’s table. Recipes in THE CASUAL VINEYARD TABLE give wine recommendations; cooking times take about one hour. The cookbook features full-color location photography and styled food photographs. The culinary duo’s first cookbook was, SHARING THE VINEYARD TABLE.
The Wente Vineyards Restaurant has repeatedly won the Distinguished Restaurants of North America Award and has been presented with Wine Spectator’s Best Award of Excellence every year since opening.
Format: Trade Paperback, 128 pages; price, $19.95
ISBN: 978-1-58008-485-7 (1-58008-485-0)
MAPLE HERB ROASTED NUTS
An addictively salty & spicy cocktail snack. Consider doubling the recipe!
2 cups whole shelled pecans (about 8 ounces)
2 cups whole shelled almonds (about 10 ounces)
2 cups whole shelled walnuts (about 8 ounces)
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons mixed finely chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, lavender, sage, marjoram, thyme, lavender or oregano)
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large
bowl, toss all the nuts with the oil, maple syrup, herbs and cayenne pepper. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and toasted. The nuts will start sticking to each other when almost done. Remove from oven and cool, tossing frequently while cooling to prevent sticking. When cool, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve at once or store in an airtight container at room temperature up to one month. If frozen, refresh in a 350 oven 3 to 5 minutes. From Kimball Jones.
MINTED WATERMELON AND MULTICOLORED TOMATO SALAD
Carolyn likes to add orange or yellow tomatoes for visual contrast with the bright red watermelon. She serves it at room temperature to enhance the flavors of the delicate fruit. She recommends pairing the salad with a slightly chilled, dry Rose-style wine.
1 4-pound seedless watermelon (about 8 cups)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 pounds vine-ripened orange or yellow tomatoes (about 8)
1/2 red onion, cut into 1/8-inch slices, rings separated (makes about cup)
1 lemon or 1/2 small regular cucumber, thinly sliced into rounds
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons fresh mint, julienned, for garnish; cilantro or flat-leafed parsley can be substituted
Place a colander over a large bowl. Remove rind and any seeds from the watermelon and cut into bite-sized pieces. Put the pieces into the colander, trying to catch as much of the juice as you can.
Cut each tomato into 6 wedges and add to the watermelon in the colander. Sprinkle the fruit with salt and toss well. Let stand for 45 minutes at room temperature to allow the juices to drain into the bowl.
Remove the colander from the bowl and pour the fruit juices into a saucepan. Place over medium heat and simmer until reduced to about 3 tablespoons, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the fruit to the bowl, add the onion and cucumber and toss well.
In a small bowl, combine the reduced juices, lime juice, ginger and sugar. Pour over the watermelon mixture and toss gently to coat well. Garnish with mint and serve immediately.
Per Serving: 91 Calories; 1g Fat; 2g Protein; 21g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 330mg Sodium.