It all started with a conversation backstage at the Greek Theater in Berkeley. Mat Kearney, a singer-songwriter from Oregon’s Willamette Valley, was talking with friends, including Ian White (president of J.W. Thomas Group and a member of the Peju family) and John Truchard (John Anthony Vineyards), when they collectively decided to make some wine. The end result, a Bordeaux-style blend (87 percent Merlot, 13 percent Cabernet Sauvignon), was crafted by winemaker Rob Lloyd with grapes hand selected by Truchard. The group effort of the Truchard and Peju families, along with Kearney from start to finish, results in a rich, complex wine that’s a perfect pairing for robust dishes like the one provided here by Executive Chef Steven Snook at Kenwood Inn & Spa, which carries the 2012 Verse & Chorus Napa Valley red wine at its wine bar and restaurant for guests to enjoy. You can also find Verse & Chorus at www.verseandchoruswine.com.
Beef Short Ribs with Rosemary Polenta and Guanciale Roasted Brussels Sprouts
8 chuck flats (cut into 3- to 4-ounce pieces)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. salt
2 carrots (rough chopped)
1 onion (rough chopped)
2 celery stalks (rough chopped)
1 head of garlic(whole, split in half)
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. peppercorns
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
5 rosemary tips
1/2 bottle Nebbiolo
1/2 bottle Port wine (ruby)
1 quart veal jus
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
In a smoking hot rondeau (or braising pan), add oil and sear all sides of the beef chuck flats. Remove from pan and reserve. Add carrots, onion, celery, garlic, coriander, peppercorn, fennel seeds, bay leaf, thyme and rosemary tips to the hot pan and roast until brown, being sure to scrape and stir the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to prevent burning.
Add the tomato paste and 1/4 cup of water to begin the first deglazing. Let water evaporate and a new fond (base) to develop. The tomato paste will begin to brown. Continue scraping and stirring. Once the final fond has developed, deglaze with the 1/2 bottle of Nebbiolo and reduce slightly to cook off any alcohol.
Arrange the chuck flats evenly in the pan and add the Port and brown veal stock. Bring to a simmer. Once simmering, cover and place in a 400-degree oven for three hours. After the cooking time, check the meat by pushing the handle of a small spoon through it. It should give no resistance. Carefully remove the meat and reserve.
Strain the liquid remaining and place in a saucepan to reduce. Cook the liquid down until it coats the back of a spoon. Add the red wine vinegar to brighten the sauce. Reheat the meat in the sauce and serve with rosemary polenta and guanciale roasted Brussels sprouts.
1 cup polenta
2 cups milk
2 cups water
1 tbsp. rosemary (finely chopped)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan (finely grated)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Combine milk, water, polenta, olive oil and rosemary in a saucepot and bring to a boil, whisking continuously. Cover and reduce heat to low. Whisk in Parmesan. Stir regularly to make sure the bottom doesn’t scorch. Once tender and cooked fully (about 15 min.), season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Serve immediately.
Guanciale Roasted Brussels Sprouts
16 Brussels sprouts (washed and split)
1/2 cup guanciale (medium dice)
2 sprigs thyme (whole)
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
In a hot pan (medium-high heat), roast the guanciale for about two minutes until fat renders out and they begin to crisp. Remove guaniciale and reserve fat in the pan. Place Brussels sprouts flat side down, evenly spaced, and roast in fat until browned (about three minutes). Turn out onto tray and reserve. Discard fat.
Combine the cooked sprouts and guanciale with thyme and fresh ground black pepper and mix together. Place in the oven and heat until Brussels sprouts reach desired texture (a little crunch or soft—they’re both delicious). Serve immediately.
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