Chef Bleifer says, “Do not fear the risotto, embrace its meditative deliciousness.”

Chef Bleifer Mushroom Risotto

The making of Chef Rob Bleifer’s Triple-Mushroom Risotto can help reset life’s priorities


As an everyday staple dish in Northern Italy, we ask ourselves how risotto came to be considered the realm of trained chefs, or at the very least, accomplished home cooks in America. Making risotto does take attention, like systematically stirring in whatever stock a recipe calls for – here Chef Rob Bleifer’s dish is made from chicken and mushroom stock.

Perhaps it’s because instant gratification and a lack of patience are a hallmark of American culture, especially today when answers to anything are a quick Siri question away and overnight shipping has become a standard. As a society, we all need to slow down a bit and taste the beauty of life, and the meditative process of making a delicious risotto is something to embrace, not fear.

Chef Bleifer recommends that you pour yourself a glass of Lloyd Cellars Carneros Chardonnay, take a deep breath, and gently stir his Triple-Mushroom Risotto into existence for the good of humankind…

Follow the former Food Network Executive Chef’s adventures on Instagram: @chef_robear

Chef Bleifer Mushroom Risotto

Chef Bleifer Triple-Mushroom Risotto

Chef Robert Bleifer

Chef Robert Bleifer delivers the rich earthiness to the bowl with his Triple-Mushroom Risotto to pair with our Lloyd Cellars Carneros Chardonnay!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients

  

  • 8 oz cremini or white button mushrooms
  • 8 oz mixed wild mushrooms
  • 4 cups chicken stock not broth
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parm
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley optional

Instructions

 

  • Remove the stems from cremini mushrooms and chop the caps.
  • Trim the stems from wild mushrooms and slice mushrooms.
  • Place mushroom stems into a small saucepan with the stock and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 1 hour. Strain and discard mushroom stems.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over high heat. Add chopped creminis and saute for 3 minutes. Season with salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper, reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until the mushrooms have released and then reabsorbed their liquid. Add the onions to the cooked creminis, lower the heat to medium-low and cook for about 7 minutes, or until the onions are wilted, but not browned. Add the garlic and rice and saute for 1 minute, until the garlic is fragrant and the rice is completely coated in oil.
  • Add the white wine and stirring often, let reduce completely.
  • Add 2 ladles of hot chicken/mushroom stock to the rice and stir often, until almost the stock is completely absorbed. Repeat with remaining stock until the rice is tender, but not mushy. If all of the stock has been used and the rice is still undercooked, add water 1 ladle at a time, until the rice is tender.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, stir in grated and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Heat a large saute pan over high heat. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and saute the mushrooms until browned and just cooked through. Season with salt & pepper, deglaze with the remaining 1/4 cup of wine and let the wine reduce completely.
  • If the risotto has thickened too much, add a touch more of the hot stock or water, until the proper consistency. (Perfect risotto is neither pasty nor soupy.)
  • Transfer the risotto to a serving dish and top with the sauteed mushrooms.
  • Top with chopped parsley, if desired.
  • Serve, as in Italy, as its own course, or serve it as a side dish to virtually any fish, chicken, pork, or beef dish.

Keyword Chardonnay, Chef Robert Bleifer, Lloyd Cellars, Mushrooms, Risotta

Chef Bleifer’s Roast Pork Recipe Carries the Fourth of July Weekend!

Chef Rob Bleifer's Fourth-of-July Menu

Make this delicious Roast Pork with House Rub entree for Saturday dinner; turn leftovers into Sunday picnic sandwiches!

We’re very excited that the Fourth of July is on an actual weekend this year. (Honestly, it’s kind of a bummer when it lands on a Wednesday, right?) This weekend we’re making Chef Rob Bleifer’s Roast Pork recipe for our Saturday evening entree and pairing it with our Lloyd Cellars Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir. Then for our Sunday Fourth of July celebration, we’re going to chop up the leftover pork and toss it with barbecue sauce to make pork sandwiches. This strategy allows for less time in the kitchen and more time to celebrate with friends and family…and to sip more Pinot Noir! Follow the former Food Network Executive Chef’s adventures on Instagram: @chef_robear

P.S. We plan to make pork tacos on Monday 🙂

Shop >>> Lloyd Cellars Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Roast Pork with House Rub

Chef Robert Bleifer goes for a classic, pairing pork with our Lloyd Cellars Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir. What makes this recipe so satisfying is the rub and the technique to bring it to the table.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American

Ingredients

  

Pork Roast

  • 1 Pork Shoulder about 2 inches thick and 4 pounds.
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons dry rub recipe below
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

RUB

  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Instructions

 

  • Combine all the rub ingredients in 1 cup jar with a lid and shake until completely mixed. Store for up to 6 months with your spices.
  • Preheat oven to 230 degrees.
  • Rub pork all over with oil. Season with herbs and salt.
  • Place on a large sheet pan or shallow roasting pan and roast for about 4 hours or, when internal temperature is at least 180 and as high as 207.
  • Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
  • Slice and serve either on your favorite bread or with roast potatoes and your favorite seasonal vegetable.

Notes

Chop leftover pork, toss with BBQ sauce for delicious leftover sandwiches.

Keyword Chef Robert Bleifer, Lloyd Cellars, Pinot Noir, Recipe, Roast Pork

String Theory: Unifying a Single-Bowl Meal with Spaghetti Noodles

Chef Bleifer Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs
The Pastafarians were the first to connect String Theory and single-bowl noodle dishes through abstract thought. We arrived at this saucy mind space after a couple of glasses of Lloyd Cellars Pinot Noir. Image courtesy of venganza.org.

As the world of science continues to pursue a unifying theory to explain physics, known as String Theory, the culinary world solved the one-bowl meal conundrum centuries ago. In 2005, a team of archaeologists reported finding an earthenware bowl that contained 4000-year-old noodles at the Lajia archaeological site in China. So from Asian noodles to Italian spaghetti (there’s a Marco Polo relativity joke somewhere here), these unleavened dough strings have been the cookery connectors in serving up endless deliciousness in single-bowl servings.

Our good friend Chef Robert Bleifer, former Executive Chef at Food Network and father, knows the advantages of serving up healthy, one-bowl meals to the family. Here, he shares his Spaghetti & Turkey Meatballs recipe. But, of course, he’s ‘adulted’ the meal by pairing our Lloyd Cellars Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir with this tasty and easy recipe. Dish up this combo to friends and family and let your minds wander off to places yet unexplored!

Make sure to follow Chef Bleifer’s culinary adventures on Instagram: @chef_robear

Shop >>> Lloyd Cellars Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Chef Bleifer Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

Chef Bleifer Spaghetti & Turkey Meatballs

You'll want to gobble down Chef Robert Bleifer's turkey meatball and spaghetti recipe – each bite followed by a sip from a goblet full of our robust Lloyd Cellars Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian

Ingredients

  

  • 1 pound ground turkey not lean!
  • 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs place 1 large slice of bread in a spice grinder or mini-chopper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmeggiano
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs basil, marjoram, oregano, thyme
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 4 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • Fresh grated parm and basil for serving optional

Instructions

 

  • In a medium-large bowl, mix together: turkey, breadcrumbs, parm, herbs, garlic, egg yolk, and salt. Mix thoroughly and form into balls slightly smaller than ping-pong balls. You should have close to 20.
  • Place a large saute pan medium-high heat, add the oil, and brown the meatball on all sides (adjusting the heat as necessary to keep from burning.)
  • When fully browned, deglaze with red wine, scrape up any stuck browned bits and let reduce until just a tablespoon remains. Transfer to a medium saucepan with the stock and marinara. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 45 minutes. If the sauce has gotten too thick, add water to bring back to the consistency of the jarred sauce.
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil and add 3 tablespoons of kosher salt. Add pasta and cook al dente, according to packaged directions.
  • Drain pasta, immediately toss with sauce and serve immediately.
  • Serve with extra grated parm and fresh basil if desired.

Keyword Chef Robert Bleifer, Lloyd Cellars, Pinot Noir, Recipe, Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

Celebrate National ‘Bloomsday’ with Chef Rob Bleifer’s Herb-Roasted Chicken

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist, short story writer, poet, teacher, and literary critic. He contributed to the modernist avant-garde movement and is regarded as one of the most influential and important writers of the 20th century.

Our Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir is a Classic Pairing with Roast Chicken and a Good Read

June 16th is National Bloomsday, commemorating the life and legend of Irish writer James Joyce. The significance of June 16 is taken from his 1922 novel, “Ulysses,” which takes place on June 16, 1904, and follows a day in the life of the story’s protagonist Leopold Bloom. (Coincidently, “Ulysses” was published just after the end of the Spanish Flu Pandemic.)

Throughout Ulysses, food plays an important role in revealing the characters’ personalities. Food and its consumption receive a complex and subtle significance reflecting social class, temperament, and offers opportunities for interaction.

Lloyd Cellars is all about the role food plays in our lives, and over the past year-and-a-half, the impact it’s had on the hospitality world and especially restaurants. We’re celebrating the resilience of restaurateurs, chefs, servers, and front- and back-of-house folk with our ‘Back to Fine Dining’ campaign to inspire people to get out and support!

We’re also sharing recipes from our friend Chef Robert Bleifer to inspire families to once again gather around the table with friends to break bread and toast to better times. We thought Chef’s Herb-Roasted Chicken recipe was a good fit for the day, though we’re sure Joyce would have requested the bird’s livers fried.

Enjoy and remember to follow Chef Bleifer on Instagram at @chef_robear!

Click here to order our Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Chef Bleifer Herb-Roasted Chicken

Chef Bleifer is all about the spatchcock technique – the chicken cooks more evenly as it's on a level surface, so the breast and thigh meat are done at the same time. It's all about balance, just like our Lloyd Cellars Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir, a blend from the Rio Vista and La Viña vineyards.

Ingredients

  

  • 1 chicken 4-5 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 sprigs rosemary stems removed and chopped
  • 4 sprigs thyme stems removed and chopped
  • 4 sprigs marjoram stems removed and chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic sliced thin
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

 

  • If you choose, you can marinate the chicken at room temperature for 2 hours before cooking, or just go straight into the oven.
  • Spatchcock the chicken, aka remove the backbone, so that the chicken can lay flat for cooking.
  • The easiest way to remove the backbone is to cut along each side of the backbone with kitchen shears, starting next to the tail and working your way down towards the neck.
  • Once the backbone is removed, either press hard on the middle of the breast to help flatten the chicken or make a slight cut on the underside by the keel bone to make this easier.
  • Once the chicken is spatchcocked, gently slide your fingers under the skin and place half of the chopped herbs and garlic under the skin.
  • Rub the chicken all over with olive oil.
  • Season liberally with salt and pepper and season the underside with the remaining chopped herbs and garlic.
  • Heat oven to 400.
  • Place the chicken on a large sheet pan or shallow roasting pan and place in oven with the legs towards the back of the oven. Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes, rotating the chicken after 45 minutes. An instant-read thermometer should register 160 in the breast and 180 in the thighs.
  • If you had marinated the chicken at room temperature, cooking time should be somewhat shorter. Begin checking the internal temperature after 60 minutes.
  • When the chicken is cooked, remove from the oven and place on a carving board and let cool for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
  • Serve with rice or potatoes and your favorite seasonal vegetable.

Source material: https://nationaltoday.com/bloomsday/

Chef Robert Bleifer’s Curried Chicken Salad Pairs Beautifully with Lloyd Chardonnay

Chef Bleifer Curried Chicken Salad
Photo courtesy of Institute of Culinary Education
Curry Up and Try This Delicious Food and Wine Pairing

As we transition from spring to summertime, outdoor dining and picnics can become a weekly event. Creating simple all-in-one dishes that hold up well to time and travel is a winning strategy. Chef Robert Bleifer’s Curried Chicken Salad is the perfect East-meets-West dish that can be served on bread, in a lettuce wrap, or over a fresh green salad. We hope you enjoy and remember to follow Chef Bleifer on Instagram at @chef_robear!

Tip: keep your curry on the milder side when pairing with wines.

Need more of our Lloyd Cellars Carneros Chardonnay? Click to order here!

Chef Bleifer Curried Chicken Salad

Chef Bleifer Curried Chicken Salad

Chef Robert Bleifer

Chef Robert Bleifer created this East-meets-West simple and classic recipe to pair with our Lloyd Cellars Carneros Chardonnay!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian

Ingredients

  

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or safflower or sunflower
  • 2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 ½ cups chopped cooked chicken leftover or rotisserie
  • 1 small apple chopped into ¼ inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1 small stalk celery chopped into ¼ inch pieces (optional)
  • Salt & pepper to taste my chicken was very well seasoned, and I didn’t need to add additional salt
  • Bread and baby romaine for serving

Instructions

 

  • Add oil to a small saute pan, stir in curry powder and place over low heat. 

    Stir often for about 3 minutes, or until the curry mixture gets fragrant and just starts to bubble. 

    Pour the curry into a medium bowl and add mayo. 

    Stir in remaining ingredients and season with salt andpepper to taste.

    Serve with bread and greens.

Notes

Chef Bleifer Curried Chicken Salad

Keyword Chardonnay, Curried Chicken Salad, Lloyd Cellars

Former Food Network Exec Chef Rob Bleifer Partners w/Lloyd Cellars – Serves Up Savory Biscotti as Starter!

Che Bleifer Cameo - Savory Biscotti
Chef Robert Bleifer
Chef Rob Bleifer teases his Lloyd Cellars ‘Back to Fine Dining’ six-part recipe series with his Savory Biscotti

As part of our June 2021 celebration of getting ‘Back to fine dining’ (yes!), we’re excited to announce our partnership with Chef Robert Bleifer, who most recently served as Executive Chef & Vice President of Culinary Production for Food Network for 24-years. Chef Rob has created six recipe pairings to share with our Members and fans, which we’ll dole out in a six-part blog series now through June!

Chef Rob was responsible for everything from managing the kitchen of 18 Food Stylists and Recipe Developers to coordinating with Production teams, Chefs/Hosts, Guest Chefs, and much more. He was also an on-air presence, judging numerous Food Network Challenges, catering the three Food Network Wedding specials, and many other “cameo” appearances.

We invite you to follow Chef Rob on Instagram @chef_robear! He’s got a lot of new projects in works and you’re going to want to be the first to know!

FYI, sister winery Prescription Vineyards is also celebrating ‘Back to Fine Dining’ by being the exclusive wine sponsor for Tampa Bay Restaurant Week this June 17 through 27. Click here to learn more…

We’re going to jump-start Chef Rob’s series with something we’ve never seen before, a Savory Biscotti recipe to pair with our Lloyd Cellars Carneros Chardonnay. This certainly redefines the idea of ‘breakfast for dinner.’

Happy home cheffing!

Chef Bleifer's Savory Biscotti

Chef Bleifer Savory Biscotti

Sure, you love biscotti with your coffee in the morning, but now it's wine-thirty and you're still craving pastry. Chef Robert Bleifer comes to the rescue with his Savory Biscotti to pair with our Lloyd Cellars Carneros Chardonnay!

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients

  

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parm
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Instructions

 

  • Set an oven rack to the middle shelf and preheat oven to 350.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together, flour, salt, and baking powder.
  • In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk eggs and then whisk in oil and cheese, herbs, and honey.
  • Add the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix with a rubber spatula.
  • With floured hands, transfer the dough to a floured work-surface.
  • Roll into a log about 12 inches long and 4 inches wide (it will be flat).
  • Place the log on the cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, until the dough is firm to the touch and lightly golden in color.
  • Cool the log on a rack and lower the oven temperature to 325.
  • With a serrated knife, cut the log into 1/4 inch wide cookies (slice straight across for shorter biscotti or at a 45 degree angle for longer biscotti.
  • Place the sliced biscotti cut-side down onto the cookie sheet and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until dry and golden.
  • Cool on racks and serve immediately, or when fully cool, store in an air-tight cookie tin for several days.

Keyword Chardonnay, Chef Robert Bleifer, Lloyd Cellars, Savory Biscotti

We Duck for Lloyd Cellars Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir!

Gastronaut Bob Blumer's Liberty Duck Breast
Jim Reichardt and daughter Jennifer of Sonoma County Poultry. Click the FeedPeopleDuck.com logo above to see a list of featured restaurants! (photo: radiomisfits.com)

In the fifth and final installment of our Blumer Recipe Series, we champion small ranchers like our friends at Liberty Duck

Throughout the United States, there are local ranchers and farmers whose specialty is raising ethically produced foods. Many of these folks had created such a demand for their quality products that they only had enough to sell exclusively to restaurants. Then the pandemic hit, and again the word for 2020 pivot became a necessity with these producers having to open up direct-to-consumer channels immediately. Not an easy task.

A great example of this is the San Francisco Bay Area’s Sonoma County Poultry, producers of Liberty Duck, some of the finest duck raised in the nation. Sonoma County Poultry was founded in 1992 by Jim Reichardt, a fourth-generation duck farmer, in response to chefs’ demands for a larger, meatier, more flavorful duck. Their Liberty Ducks are a strain of Pekin Duck that was developed in Denmark and is suited to a slower, less stressful style of rearing. Of note, the Reichardt family has been raising ducks since the early 1900s in the Bay Area.

Currently, in addition to supplying the finer Bay Area Restaurants with their fresh duck needs, Sonoma County Poultry ships Liberty Ducks directly to restaurants and individuals across the United States. In the western United States, shipping is accomplished economically by using Golden State Overnight. Further east, they use UPS Next Day Air Saver or Two Day Air service (source: libertyducks.com).

We have been extreme fans of Liberty Duck for decades, and can certainly remember the days when we could only taste it at our favorite Bay Area restaurants – direct ordering was about impossible. In celebration of Gastronaut and Author Bob Blumer’s new cookbook, Flavorbomb, he has paired his Pan-seared Liberty Duck Breast recipe below with our Lloyd Cellars 2017 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that Jim Reichardt’s daughter, Jennifer Reichardt, has become an integral partner in Sonoma County Poultry over the years. She is also an accomplished winemaker and launched her own label in 2016, Raft Wines. She produces classic varietals such as Syrah, Grenache, and Sangiovese, yet more rare varieties for Califonia such as Primitivo and Grenache Blanc!

Check out Eatwild.com to find quality regional products throughout the United States and Canada!

Gastronaut Bob Blumer's Liberty Duck Breast

Pan-Seared Liberty Duck Breast

Duck has the texture of a fine cut of steak, but a flavor that is deeper and far more distinctive. That’s why it’s a perennial favorite of French chefs. Cooking a whole duck can be an unwieldy experience because of the thick layer of fat that insulates it. Fortunately for those of us whose kitchens don’t come equipped with six-burner stoves and an army of sous chefs, duck breasts deliver all the flavor without the fuss.

~ Pair with Lloyd Cellars 2017 Sta. Rita Hills Pinto Noir

Cook Time 20 d

Course Main Course
Cuisine American

Servings 2 People

Ingredients

  

  • 2 6 – 8-ounce Liberty boneless duck breasts
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper divided
  • 2 shallots diced finely
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons black currant jam ideally unsweetened, black cherry, or similar preserve
  • 2 tablespoons Crème de Cassis

Instructions

 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and set out a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil
  • Use a paper towel to pat dry duck. Using a sharp knife, score four ¼-inch-deep cuts across the duck skin at a 45-degree angle. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper over the meat side of each duck breast.
  • Heat a heavy pan over high heat. When pan is hot, add duck breasts to the dry pan, skin side down, and cook for approximately 5 minutes, or until skin is brown and crispy. Flip and cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Remove pan from heat, reserve the drippings in pan, and transfer duck breasts, skin side up, to cookie sheet. Bake on the top rack of the oven for about 7 minutes for medium rare, or to your desired degree of doneness.
  • While duck is roasting, carefully discard all but two tablespoons of duck drippings from the pan. Return pan to medium heat and add shallot. Stir occasionally for 3 minutes, or until shallot begins to turn golden. Remove from heat, Add vinegar to the pan and stir with a wooden spoon to loosen up the browned bits left by the duck. Add jam, Cassis, and remaining teaspoon of black pepper. Return to heat and stir occasionally for 3 minutes. Reserve.
  • Remove duck from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let rest, for 5 minutes. Slice each breast at a 45-degree angle into ¼-inch-thick strips (properly cooked duck should resemble medium-rare steak). Arrange in a fanlike pattern on a warmed plate and spoon cassis compote overtop. Serve immediately.

Notes

Advance Work

Duck and sauce can be prepared an hour in advance. In this case, duck should be slightly undercooked and left uncut. Reheat in a 425°F oven for 3 – 4 minutes just before slicing and serving. Sauce should be rewarmed just before serving.

Liquidity

Lloyd Cellars 2017 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Keyword Bob Blumer, Liberty Duck, Lloyd Cellars, Pinot Noir

Down to Earth – Blumer Mushroom Cupcakes Paired with Our Pinot!

Blumer's Mushroom Cupcake

We’ve certainly been having a lot much fun partnering with Gastronaut and Author Bob Blumer on his new cookbook, Flavorbomb! A few years back, we also teamed up for one of Blumer’s Surreal Dinners in the Napa Valley. On the menu were Blumer’s deceptive and delicious Lamb Cupcakes (recipe in Blumer’s previous cookbook, Glutton for Pleasure).

Considering Blumer was pairing his dishes with wines made by Rob Lloyd, a pescatarian, he pivoted. Our favorite Gastronaut came down to earth and made Rob a variation, Mushroom Cupcakes with Sweet Potato Icing, to pair with the Pinot Noir. As a call back to this tasty memory, Blumer has formalized the recipe as the fourth post in our five-part recipe series.

Pinot gets 91 Points from Wine Enthusiast

The artistry of Blumer’s dishes blew me away at that Surreal Dinner – and then I took a bite of his mushroom cupcake. I’ve been a fan ever since!

~ Winemaker Rob Lloyd

Purchase our Lloyd Cellars 2017 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Blumer's Mushroom Cupcake

Mushroom Cupcakes with Sweet Potato Icing

Gastronaut Bob Blumer

These Pinot Noir-friendly mushroom cupcakes never fail to confuse and amuse.

~ Paired with Lloyd Cellars 2017 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Course Main Course
Cuisine American

Servings 4 People

Ingredients

  

  • 2 Sweet potatoes aka yams
  • 4 Tablespoons butter divided
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Cloves garlic minced
  • 3 Green onions trimmed and sliced finely
  • ½ pound Assorted mushrooms the more exotic the better, stemmed and cleaned of any dirt, then sliced
  • 1/4 Red bell pepper diced finely
  • 4 Sprigs fresh thyme stems discarded
  • 1 oz Brandy or cognac optional
  • ¼ cup Panko or bread crumbs
  • 1 Egg beaten
  • 1 Lemon for zesting
  • 2 ounces Goat’s cheese log form, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper To Taste
  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 4 Cupcake liners
  • 1 Muffin tin

Instructions

 

  • In a preheated 400F° oven, bake sweet potatoes for 1 hour. Reserve
  • In a sauté pan over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons butter and olive oil. When butter is bubbling, add garlic, green onions, mushrooms, bell pepper and thyme. Sauté for 10 minutes, or until mushrooms are well browned.
  • Add Cognac to pan, let sit for five seconds and then light a match to it. Flame should burn out after approximately 10 seconds. (Note: keep your distance. If you have a gas stove, be aware that spattering particles will likely cause the alcohol to ignite prematurely as soon as it is poured in the pan. And if you have big hair, keep it under wraps! If flame continues to burn, put it out by placing a lid on the pan).
  • Transfer contents to a bowl and let cool.
  • Add panko, egg, zest of the lemon, goat cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly with a fork.
  • TO FINISH & SERVE
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Line a muffin tin with 4 foil or paper liners. Generously spray interior of liners with spray oil. Spoon mushroom mixture into liners. Gently press mixture down and flatten level with the top of the tin.
  • Just before putting mushroom cupcakes in the oven, spoon sweet potatoes out of their skin, transfer to a mixing bowl, cover with aluminum foil and place it over a pot of boiling water for 5 – 10 minutes. When potatoes are steaming hot, add 2 tablespoons butter and a pinch of salt. Blend thoroughly with a fork.
  • Bake cupcakes for 8 minutes, or until cakes are fully set, yet still moist. Remove cakes from tin immediately so that they do not continue to cook.
  • Use a piping bag with a star tip, or a table knife to ice the cupcakes with the sweet potato icing.

Notes

Uncommon Goods

Vegetable oil spray; cupcake liners; muffin tin (not uncommon, but crucial); piping bag with a star tip (ideal, but not necessary)

Advance Work

The mushroom mixture can be prepared earlier in the day, to the point that the cakes are ready to be baked. Bake and ice just before serving; Sweet potatoes can be made earlier in the day then reheated over a double boiler just before serving.

Liquidity

Lloyd Cellars Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Keyword Bob Blumer, Lloyd Cellars, Mushrooms, Pinot Noir, Sweet Potatos, Vegetarian

We’re Celebrating 91 Point Pinot Noir Score from Wine Enthusiast w/New Blumer Recipe!

Gastronaut Bob Blumer’s Cream of Nostalgia Soup with Bacon & Grilled Cheese

Our recent 91 Point score from Wine Enthusiast for our 2017 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir truly warms our hearts during these chilly days. So it feels appropriate to celebrate the news with a heart-warming recipe from gastronaut and author Bob Blumer – the third installment of our blog series, as we raise a toast to his new cookbook, Flavorbomb!

Pinot gets 91 Points from Wine Enthusiast

Read installment one. Read installment two.

Pinot Noir is a classic holiday meal pairing as it’s so versatile the many holiday dishes that can land on one table. We also have a lot of nostalgic memories of sipping our Pinot Noir with family and friends during the holidays. This is why we thought a classic recipe like Blumer’s Cream of Nostalgia Soup with Bacon & Grilled Cheese was the perfect pairing to celebrate with.

CLICK HERE to order our 2017 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir or gift our Flavorbomb Your Holidays Collection!
Gastronaut Bob Blumer’s Cream of Nostalgia Soup with Bacon & Grilled Cheese

Cream of Nostalgia Soup with Bacon & Grilled Cheese

Gastronaut Bob Blumer

Few things in life that can compete with the nostalgia of cream of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. But if anything can, it’s this deeply satisfying, modern-day version. Add a grilled cheese sandwich with a complex, aromatic cheese and an extra crispy crust, and you will be flooded with memories of your youth—as channeled through the sophisticated tastes of your adult life. Cream of nostalgia soup with bacon

~ Pair with Lloyd Cellars 2017 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Prep Time 1 hr 15 mins

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American

Servings 6 People

Ingredients

  

  • 1 Head garlic
  • 12 Strips best-available bacon about ½ pound
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Small yellow onion diced
  • ½ Fennel bulb cored and chopped, or 3 celery stalks
  • 1 Carrot chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Flour
  • 1 – 28 ounce Can tomatoes whole or chopped
  • 5 cups Best-available chicken stock
  • 1 Bouquet garnis with 6 sprigs fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme and 2 bay leaves, broken.
  • 2 teaspoons Harissa
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ – ½ cup Heavy cream optional

Instructions

 

  • Preheat toaster oven or oven to 400°F.
  • Slice the pointy top off garlic to expose each of the cloves. Set on a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in the foil. Roast until cloves are lightly browned and tender, about 50 minutes. Reserve.
  • In a large pot, cook bacon until crispy. Remove bacon and all but roughly 1 tablespoon bacon fat. Reserve bacon.
  • To the pot, over medium-high heat, add butter, onion, fennel and carrot. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables start to brown. Add flour and stir constantly for 1 minute, allowing the flour to brown slightly (this thickens the soup in the same way that a roux is used to thicken gumbo). Add tomatoes along with all the juices, stock, 10 strips of bacon, and bouquet garnis.

    Simmer for 30 minutes.

    Let soup cool, remove bouquet garnis and squeeze out remaining juices back into the pot. Squeeze roasted garlic cloves directly into the pot and add harissa.

    Purée soup in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The soup is plenty rich and creamy as is, but if you really want to go for the gusto, finish with cream or drizzle a bit over top before serving.

    Serve in warmed soup bowls. Crumble remaining bacon over top.

    For the grilled cheese sandwich (per sandwich)

    2 slices sourdough loaf

    2 slices cave-aged Gruyere cheese, or any Gruyere, or emmental

    2 tablespoons mayonnaise

    Make a cheese sandwich, then spread the outside of each side with mayonnaise. Grill in a panini makeror a frying pan until well-browned and crispy.

Keyword Bacon, Bob Blumer, Grilled Cheese, Lloyd Cellars, Pinot Noir, Soup

Gastronauts, Pescetarians & Barbie Agree, Lloyd Chard is the Bomb!

Grilled Lobster Tails with Citrus-Infused Butter

Don’t let Barbie tempt you, this blog feature is about Bob Blumer’s lobster recipe, not shrimp!

If you haven’t heard the rumor swirling around the Napa Valley, winemaker Rob Lloyd is a pescetarian. This may have been why Rob selected our next recipe ‘Grilled Lobster Tails with Citrus-Infused Butter’ by Gastronaut and ‘Flavorbomb‘ cookbook author Bob Blumer in Part II of our five-part Holiday Series. Read Part I…

Blumer has long been known for his surreal recipes that look like, say, a flower pot, yet turns out to be a to-die-for salad. Humor has also been a signature of Blumer’s culinary artistry. On one occasion, a couple of years back, Blumer served up his famous ‘Shrimp on the Barbie’ recipe at a Napa Valley dinner to appease Rob’s pescetarianism ways. The guests were quite amused and then sated by the pure deliciousness of the dish!

For our Holiday Series, we’re taking the crustacean-theme up a couple of notches with Blumer’s grilled lobster recipe. As Blumer says, “Nothing says decadence like grilled lobster tails basted with a cilantro-chili-citrus butter.”

Of course, we’re pairing the dish with the equally decadent Lloyd Cellars 2019 Carneros Chardonnay! Order your Chardonnay now…

Gastronaut Bob Blumer's Lobster Tails

Grilled Lobster Tails with Citrus-Infused Butter

Gastronaut Bob Blumer

Paired with Lloyd Cellars 2019 Carneros Chardonnay

Prep Time 20 mins

Course Main Course
Cuisine American

Servings 4 People

Equipment

  • Grill

Ingredients

  

  • 4 lobster tails
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper To taste
  • 3 ounces best-available butter about 1/3 of a cup
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ¼ cup cilantro minced
  • 1 red jalapeno chili stemmed, seeded and minced
  • zest of 1 lime + 1 tablespoon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon + 1 tablespoon juice
  • zest of 1 orange

Instructions

 

  • Using a heavy sharp knife, cut the lobster tails in half. Place your knife on the end where the flesh is exposed and cut down through to the tail. Alternatively, you can butterfly the tail by cutting through the top shell and the flesh, but not through the bottom shell.
  • Brush all of the exposed flesh with oil and season with salt and pepper. Reserve.
  • In a small pan, over medium heat, melt butter. When it starts to bubble, add garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, citrus zest and juice. Stir for 1 minute, then remove from heat and reserve.
  • Preheat grill to medium/medium-high direct heat, or heat a heavy skillet to medium-high.
  • If you have halved the tails, place cut side down on grill or pan and cook for 4 minutes. Flip, and baste generously with butter. Cook for 2 more minutes, or until tails are cooked throughout.
  • If you have butterflied the tails, place cut side down on grill or pan and cook for 4 minutes. Flip, and baste generously with butter. Cook for 4 more minutes, or until tails are cooked throughout.
  • Serve immediately with remaining butter.

Notes

Fresh and frozen lobster tails can be sourced year-round at Kolikof.com

Keyword Chardonnay, Lloyd Cellars