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Posts tagged ‘napa style’


The long summer days and warm summer nights we have been enjoying here in New York have me thinking about summers past. When I spent a summer up in Napa while working at a winery, we had lots of friends who wanted to visit. We would grill and play bocci ball in the yard, drinking chilled wine and laughing. Occasionally it would be too hot to grill so I want to share one of my favorite recipes for backyard parties ~ sans grill. Whip this up the day before so you can enjoy a cold glass of rosé with your friends!

summer salad


(serves 4 people)

1 bunch asparagus (sliced and blanched)

1 cup peas thawed (blanched if fresh)

1 cup snap peas or fava beans (blanched & shelled if fava)

5-8 leave of fresh basil sliced into thin ribbons

5-8 leaves of fresh mint sliced into thin ribbons

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

Zest of one lemon

Juice of half a lemon

Drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil

A few cracks of fresh pepper

Good pinch of salt

0.3 LB Pecorino Foja De Noce (or any pecorino) Sliced thin and served over the salad)

20 slices of  prosciutto

4 slice of rustic bread charred on the grill or in the oven, (you could also serve this without charring)

This salad is something that you can make either the day before or an hour before you expect people to arrive. Just let it come up to room temperature before serving.

Boil water in a large saucepan. When bubbling, blanch the fresh peas, asparagus, fava beans/ snap peas individually until bright green. Careful not to over cook them as you want them to have “snap” when cooled. Remove from boiling water and shock in ice bath until cooled, drain. Then pile them into a big serving bowl. Toast the pine nuts in a skillet over medium high heat, careful not to burn them. Remove from heat, cool the nuts and add them to the bowl.  Zest one lemon over the top of the veggies and squeeze the juice of half over as well. Drizzle some olive oil over the top and season with salt & pepper. Thinly slice the mint & basil and add to the salad. Mix to combine.

Grab a large platter or plate for the prosciutto and other charcuterie. Plate them up nicely and drizzle with a touch of olive oil salt and pepper.  Plate the cheese on a cheese board and serve it room temperature. If charring the bread, prepare it while toasting the pine nuts, otherwise serve sliced as is with olive oil to dip in.

I usually serve this with a bottle of rosé from France or a white wine from Italy like a vermentino.

Also, feel free to make lots of this salad if you want to make great left overs. Maybe grilled shrimp or calamari would be ideal for a day after compliment.


At last, the weather is responding to the calendar and temperatures are rising, friends are calling and parties are being planned. I for one, love this time of year since I get to explore new wines for parties and gatherings. Wines that will excite your guests without breaking the bank!

Here is a wine I love, perfect for drinking now that is under $15 a bottle! It has lots of character and will pair perfectly with the fun summer dishes you enjoy most. I have also included my favorite go to order when I am having guests at the apartment – Cow Girl Creamery!



WINEBERRY, Baronne Du Chatelard Borgoune Blanc 2009

Now I know what you are thinking…my god is she suggesting boxed wine? Yes. This wine is surprisingly delicious, fun, and just the right price to lubricate a small gathering of friends. The Wineberry holds 4 bottles of wine in one of these little boxes! That’s enough for a small dinner party or picnic, easily. The wooden construction of the box acts as a thermal case and the bottom slides open to reveal an ice pack to keep it chilled if you are on the go. The wine inside is well-balanced, bright, fresh, delicious and if I might say, a perfect summer go-to for me. And if all that isn’t impressive enough the price was $48 for this magic box wine. That’s $12 per bottle! When you are done drinking all the wine, recycle the plastic bladder and reuse the box as a bird house!



So I have been ordering from Cowgirl Creamery for years both for my own parties and those I have hosted up in Napa. This company has the best cheeses and service. I most often order the “Entertainers package” or “just the cheese” package for dinner parties and events. It’s so much cheese, charcuterie and crackers that I usually just buy some seasonal fruits and honey to pair with it. Trust me, it feeds a lot of people… Thankfully the lovely ladies as cowgirl deliver since we don’t have one of their shops in Manhattan. I’ve included the link for you to check it out for yourselves. (But don’t hold me responsible if you order the cheese of the month club shipment…it’s amazing!)

One of the greatest ways to set up your cheese plate is to do it with a cheese board or butcher block. I use my pizza boards since they have a handle and are lighter than my butcher block. Serve the cheese room temperature with baguette, crackers or just charcuterie and a little bowl of fruit or olives. That’s all you need.

So there you have it, a guide to what to serve for quick Napa Style parties this summer. Amazing wine, good food and friends. Just remember, “wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, every day more civilized.” André Simon