California dreaming can sneak up on you while savoring a California wine paired with a meal inspired by California cuisine. California is a state with an abundance of food products from top quality wines to year-round seasonal vegetables, cheese, and meat products. If you are in a cooking rut or need some ideas as we head into Springtime, look no further then California cooking Gaby style with California wine pairings.
This month the Wine Pairing Weekend Group (#WinePW) is channeling our California foodie spirit. We will be cooking from a California themed cookbook and pairing our recipes with California wines. Join us on Twitter, March 14th, at 11:00 AM ET for our chat, “Tasting California: Cookbook Tour Paired with California Wines.” Don’t miss more articles on California food and wine from the Wine Pairing Weekend group at the bottom of this post.
My collection of cookbooks, specifically California themed cookbooks, runs deep. Having once lived in California, I can attest it is difficult not to become a foodie while there. I still remember when I moved to Georgia and asked my neighbors where a good farmers market was, they sent me to a grocery store that was called “Harry’s Farmers Market,” I assure you it was NOT a farmers market. Thank goodness farmers markets in Georgia have evolved, and I have two favorites that I faithfully go to almost every Saturday, Morningside Farmers Market and Freedom Farmers Market. While I have lived in Georgia for over ten years now, I still long for the foods of California and the seasonal and healthy approach to cooking and eating.
It wasn’t long after moving to Georgia from California that I discovered a blog called “What’s Gaby Cooking.” Whenever I needed some California fresh inspiration, I logged on to her blog. Fast forward to today. Gaby is still inspiring me with her blog, Instagram stories (they always make me smile and sometimes laugh out loud!), and cookbook; ” What’s Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food.” (Another cookbook, “What’s Gaby Cooking: Eat What You Want” will be released April 28, 2020.)
My “Tasting California Cookbook Tour Paired with California Wines,” features a number of my favorite “What’s Gaby Cooking,” recipes. The recipes highlight fresh seasonal ingredients and are perfect for everyday (aka weekday easy).
California Cooking Gaby Style with California Wine Pairings
Kicking off this “Tasting California” tour with one of my favorite California sparkling wines, Schramsberg Brut Rosé paired with “What’s Gaby Cooking,” Winter Cobb Salad with Pomegranates.
Schramsberg Vineyards dates back to the 19th century when a German immigrant named Jacob Schram settled and started a winery on Diamond Mountain in Napa Valley. In 1965, Jack and Jamie Davies would purchase the neglected historic property with the goal to produce world-class sparkling wines. President Nixon would serve Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc in 1972 to China’s Premier Zhou Enlai in a “Toast to Peace.” Ever since that famous toast, Schramsberg sparkling wines have been served at every official state function by every U.S. Presidential administration. Today Jack and Jamie Davies son, Hugh, is CEO/Proprietor of Schramsberg and lives on the property with his wife and three sons.Tasting Notes
Schramberg Brut Rose Vintage 2016, North Coast, California
12.6% abv | $45.00 wine.com | 64% Pinot Noir & 36% Chardonnay
Pale salmon in color. Medium-bodied with medium(+) acidity. On the palate, fresh acidity with notes of ginger, raspberry, fresh bread, toasted nuts, and minerality.
Pairing Notes – Schramsberg Brut Rosé with Winter Cobb Salad and Pomegranates
I tweaked Gaby’s recipe slightly as we transition from winter to late winter/early spring ingredients. The sparkling brut rosé and salad are in balance with their freshness and lightness. Sharing flavor affinities that complement and enhance both the wine and salad; the bread notes, juicy acidity in the pomegranate seeds and mandarin oranges, and minerality found in the wine and salad leaves. While the salty, smoky bacon is met with the wine’s acidity and cleansing bubbles. (recipe below)
Another popular recipe from “What’s Gaby Cooking” and wine pairing in our house is the “Southwestern Sweet Potato with Quinoa Chili paired with classic California Zinfandel. This recipe takes its inspiration from Mexican flavors and ingredients like chili powder, cumin, black beans, corn, and cilantro.
Bedrock Wine Co. was founded in 2007 by Morgan Twain- Peterson (son of Joel Peterson of Ravenswood Winery) with a focus on making “personality-filled wine.” As stated on their website, “The winery is first and foremost a mission-driven operation dedicated to preserving and rehabilitating old vineyards around California.” These vineyards date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Plantings are mostly Zinfandel, but also include Mataro(Mourvedre), Carignan, Petit Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Grenache, Semillon, Gewürztraminer, Trousseau Gris, and Riesling, among dozens of other varieties. It is Bedrock’s goal to produce wines in a range of styles that express the diverse terroirs in California.
2017 Bedrock Wine Co. Old Vine Zinfandel, California
14.4% abv | $29.00 wine.com | 86% Zinfandel, 5% Petit Sirah, 5% Carignan, and 4% Field Blend Reds
Medium ruby in color. Medium(+) bodied and tannins with medium acidity. On the nose, blackberry, raspberry, and white pepper. On the palate, polished tannins with intense notes of black cherries, black fruit, and fennel seeds. Well balanced with a nice lingering finish.
Dry Creek Vineyard, located in Sonoma County, is a family-owned winery, founded in 1972 by David S Stare. The winery’s mission, as stated on their website, “is to produce distinctive wines that over-deliver on quality.” Today, Kim Stare Wallace, second generation, is the President of Dry Creek Vineyard.
2017 Dry Creek Vineyard Heritage Vines Zinfandel, Sonoma County
14.8% abv | $19.00 Total Wines | 77% Zinfandel, 21% Petit Sirah, 2% Carignane
Medium ruby in color. Medium(+) bodied and tannins with medium acidity. On the nose, plums, clove, and sage. On the palate, tight grippy tannins, bright acidity with bold flavors of blackberry, black cherry, plum, dark chocolate, and black pepper. Well structured.
Pairing Notes – Bedrock & Dry Creek Zinfandel with Southwestern Sweet Potato with Quinoa Chili
The heartiness of the chili matches the bold flavors of the wines. The fruity notes in the wine complement the spicy notes in the chili and the sweet elements of the sweet potatoes and corn. Overall, a pairing that is well balanced. (recipe here from Gaby’s blog, in her book she adds sautéd ground turkey).
- 1/2 loaf French bread, (a few days old), crust removed and torn into bite size pieces
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 3-4 small heads little gem lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 2 Persian cucumbers, sliced
- 2 Satsuma Mmandarin oranges, peeled and sectioned
- 1 Honeycrisp apple, cored and cut into cubes
- 1 small fennel bulb, cored and thinnly sliced
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, mashed and minced
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl or mini food processor, whisk or process to combine.
Taste for salt and pepper. Can be stored in an airtight jar for up to 5 days in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the bread pieces on the baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle the garlic, salt, pepper, and spices. Toss to combine.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, Toss and stir the croutons half way through the cooking time. Remove from oven and cool.
In a large bowl or platter, line the bottom with the lettuce. Artfully add the remaining ingredients. Toss with just enough vinaigrette to moisten the salad. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
More Wine Pairing Weekend articles on “Tasting California: Cookbook Tour Paired with California Wines”
Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Savory Dutch Baby, Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut Rosé, and a Few Other California Favorites.”
Gwendolyn at Wine Predator shares “A Taste of Ojai: Chef Robin Goldstein and Topa Mountain Wines.”
Cindy at Grape Experiences shares “Tasting California with Merry Edwards Pinot Noir and Gaby Dalkin’s Pulled Pork Sliders.”
Jeff at Food Wine Click! shares “Picturing California on the Plate & in the Glass.”
Linda at My Full Wine Glass shares “Eat your peas – pairing, California-style.”
Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “Bean and Cheese Panchos with a California Rosé.”
Terri at Our Good Life shares “Cabbage Soup with a California Red.”
Deanna at Asian Test Kitchen shares “Pair Homeroom Mac ‘n Cheese with Sparkling Wine.”
Nicole at Somm’s Table “Napa History with Gamble Family Wines & a Lamb Feast with Friends.”
David at Cooking Chat shares “Sirloin Steak Tacos with Paso Robles Zinfandel.”
Here on Always Ravenous, I am sharing “California Cooking Gaby Style with California Wine Pairings.”