Bob Blumer has New Idiom for 2022: ‘When Pigs Swim Upstream’
As we wish all of our friends and family a Happy New Year, we also thought we’d wrap Bob Blumer’s ‘Pescatarian Holiday’ Recipe Series by committing the wonderful sin of adding bacon into the mix. It’s been seven weeks of this series – inspired by the Feast of the Seven Fishes and Winemaker Rob Lloyd’s pescatarian ways – so it’s only fair to our meat-eating fans to feed their need for some fatty goodness. Right?
This is the seventh and final installment of Blumer’s ‘Pescatarian Holiday’ 2021 recipes series with Lloyd Cellars. If you’d like to see all of his ‘Pescatarian Holiday’ recipes, we invite you to scroll through our Online Recipes section. Shop our Online Store or utilize our Store Locatorfor local shopping!
Rinse and pat dry fish inside and out. Drizzle cavity of trout with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Stuff cavity with 4 lemon slices and 2 sprigs of thyme.
Wrap trout with bacon like a mummy, using toothpicks to hold bacon in place. Each trout will require approximately 6 strips of bacon.
Grill for approximately 5 minutes per side, or until bacon is crispy and trout is cooked throughout. Resist moving fish around, but peek underneath to ensure that bacon isn’t burning. If necessary, modulate the heat so that the bacon doesn’t burn before the fish is cooked.
Level of difficulty: As easy as wrapping a gift, then putting it on the BBQ
Active prep/cooking time: 20 minutes Grilling time: 10 minutes
Pan version: Trout can be pan-seared in a dry pan over medium-high heat for approximately 5 minutes per side, or until cooked throughout.
Advance work: Trout can be wrapped in bacon and refrigerated earlier in the day.
Tired of eating Holiday Leftovers? We recommend Bob Blumer’s Lobster Tacos to reset fatigued palates
Please, no more turkey and gravy and tryptophan crashes. Give me some energizing south-of-the-boarder zing to brighten a winter day – and pair it with the hedonistic pleasure of eating lobster. Now that’s a reset! The other bonus is that tacos are finger food, so how nice is a meal that doesn’t create another pile of dishes in the sink.
This is the sixth installment of Blumer’s ‘Pescatarian Holiday’ 2021 recipes series with Lloyd Cellars. If you’d like to see all of his ‘Pescatarian Holiday’ recipes, we invite you to scroll through our Online Recipes section. Shop our Online Store or utilize our Store Locatorfor local shopping!
3ouncesbest-available butter(about 3/4 of a stick)
½jalapeno chiliideally red for color, stemmed, seeded and minced
zest of 1 lemon + 3 tablespoons juicedivided
zest of 1 orange
4medium sizeroughly 6-inches flour or corn tortillas
2green onionssliced finely
Your favorite salsa or hot sauce
1limequartered for serving
Use a heavy sharp knife to cut the lobster tails in half. (Place your knife on the end where the flesh is exposed and cut down through to the tail.)
Brush 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, half of the cilantro, jalapeno, citrus zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Stir for 1 minute, then remove from heat and reserve.
Half and pit avocados. In a medium bowl, mash avocado with 2 tablespoons lemon juice, the remaining cilantro and the green onion. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve.
Preheat grill to medium/medium-high direct heat, or heat a heavy skillet to medium-high.
Place lobster tails cut-side down on grill or pan and cook for 4 minutes. Flip, and baste generously with butter mixture. Cook for 2 more minutes, or until tails are cooked throughout.
As the tails are cooking, burnish the tortillas on the grill or stovetop until toasted.
Spread avocado mixture and salsa over each of the tortillas, then place lobster tails, in their shells, overtop. Instruct the diners to pull their own lobster meat.
Either or: Serve 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a main
Shopping tip: Frozen lobster tails are not as expensive as you might imagine, and are available in the fish section of many large grocery stores.
Celeb Chef & Cookbook Author Bob Blumer is also an artist who fills his world with surreal works of visual deliciousness, like his Candy Cane Shrimp illustration above!
Bob Blumer and Ms. Claus got together recently to plot out a menu for St. Nick’s return from his annual worldwide gifting tour. We can only imagine how hungry he is on Christmas Day, right? Early on in the appetizer planning, the two decided they could do some gift giving themselves by sharing, in advance, Blumer’s famous ‘Shrimp on the Barbie’ recipe, with a holiday twist. The recipe comes with the option to grill or pan sear.
This is the fifth installment of Blumer’s ‘Pescatarian Holiday’ 2021 recipes series with Lloyd Cellars. If you’d like to see all of his ‘Pescatarian Holiday’ recipes, we invite you to scroll through our Online Recipes section. Shop our Online Store or utilize our Store Locatorfor local shopping!
1½poundsuncooked 16/20 count shrimpideally wild, or whatever size shrimp you prefer
2tablespoonsneutral oil + extra if pan searing
Shell and devein shrimp.
Ina medium bowlmix all dry seasonings. Add shrimp and oil and toss to thoroughly cover shrimp. Reserve.
Blistered Jalapeno Salsa Verde
2jalapeno chilisstemmed and halved length-wise
1/4white onionlayers separated
1cupfresh cilantrolightly packed
Ina large sauté pan over highadd oil. When oil is hot, add jalapenos, onion and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes, tossing frequently, or until blistered and toasted on the outside. Let cool.
Transfer pan contents to a blender. Add cilantrocumin, salt, vinegar and 1/3 cup of water. Puree until very smooth. Reserve.
Preheat grill to direct high heat.
Grill shrimp for 1-2 minutes per side, or until shrimp are marked and no longer translucent. Serve with dipping sauce.
Open a window to avoid setting off your smoke alarm.
Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. When it is smoking hot, add 1 – 2 tablespoons oil. Wait a beat, then add as many shrimp as pan will accommodate without overlapping. Cook for about one minute per side, or until no longer translucent.
Serve with dipping sauce.
Advance Work: The dry rub can be made ahead and stored in a sealed jar. Make extra—it lasts almost indefinitely. Shrimp can be peeled and deveined up to a day in advance.
Growing up should never mean loosing your sense of whimsy or adventure – especially in the kitchen!
In our fourth installment of Celeb Chef and Cookbook Author Bob Blumer’s seven-part ‘Pescatarian Holiday’ series for Lloyd Cellars, he delivers his crazy-delicious ‘Ahi Sno-Cone’ recipe while evoking fond childhood memories. Oh, the joy of childhood when your parents would give in to ‘Please, please, please, can we get a sno-cone!’ They’d fane reluctance as they slipped you change and allowed you to make the purchase on your own. It was part of growing up, learning to negotiate, and managing a transaction. Blumer constantly reminds us to revel in the joy and memories of eating our favorite things by flavor bombing nostalgic bites for the here and now of our adult lives!
12, 4 or 6-ounce paper cones (available in office water coolers and at restaurant supply stores)
1cuppeanut oil for brushing wonton wrappers
16 3½-inchsquare wonton wrappers4 are back-ups
10ouncessushi-quality ahi tunadiced finely
1fragrant peachpapaya or mango peeled, pitted and diced into ¼-inch cubes
2green onionssliced finely
10mint leaveschopped finely
zest of 1 lime
2teaspoonstoasted sesame oil
1teaspoonfreshly grated ginger
1ripe avocadopeeled and pitted
salt and pepper
Pinchof ground cayenne pepper
12teeny weenie cherry tomatoesor cranberries, or pomegranate seeds
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a small bowl, set out 1 cup peanut oil along with a small pastry brush. On a baking sheet, set out 12 paper cones.
Trim 12 wonton wrappers according to diagram (see below). Generously brush both sides of each wrapper with peanut oil. Wrap 1 wrapper around each cone and press seam together. Twist the bottom around itself and pinch to seal. Bake for 5 – 7 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. When cones cool, twist them off the cups. Reserve.
In a medium bowl, combine tuna, peach, green onion, mint, zest and sesame seeds. Reserve.
In a small bowl, combine wasabi, sesame oil, soy, honey, ginger and lime juice. Taste and adjust if necessary. Reserve.
In a mini food processor, or in a bowl with a whisk, puree avocado and lemon juice until it is super smooth. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne. Transfer to a small piping bag or a small resealable bag with the corner clipped. Reserve.
To Finish & Serve
Add dressing to tuna, starting with half. Toss and add more as required to dress, but not drench. Taste and add a pinch of salt if necessary. Spoon tuna into cones. Top with a dollop of avocado puree and a cherry tomato. Serve cones in shot glasses, or your own cone holder.
Uncommon Goods: Cone-shaped paper cups (available in office water coolers, at restaurant supply stores like Smart & Final, or on Amazon.com); sushi quality tuna is available at most groceries with a fresh fish counter. Have the fishmonger sign off on you consuming it raw before purchasing.
Level of Difficulty: Wonton cones require the pattern-making skills and dexterity of an amateur seamstress.
Shortcuts: Skip the wonton cups and serve tartare in paper cones or mini paper cups.
Advance Work: Wonton cones, dressing, and the slicing and dicing of tartare ingredients can be done earlier in the day. Toss just before serving.
Lloyd Cellars is recommending that you embrace and fight being crabby this holiday season. First, by supporting Blumer’s efforts in fighting hunger through Chefs Cycle for No Kid Hungry. You’ll feel so good knowing you’re helping feed hungry children. Second, by embracing Blumer’s savory Crab (Cup)cakes recipe below to share with friends and family this holiday season. This magical recipe, which pairs beautifully with both our Carneros Chardonnay and Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir is guaranteed to lift the spirits of even the most committed Grinch in your social circle.
About No Kid Hungry
No child should go hungry in America. But 1 in 6 kids will face hunger this year. No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger through effective programs that provide kids with the food they need. This is a problem we know how to solve. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of Share Our Strength, an organization working to end hunger and poverty.
This December, Blumer launched his 12 Drops of Christmas campaign on Instagram @BobBlumer. Every day he is offering an item from his art archives or cookbooks. Where noted, 100% of the selling price will be in the form of a direct, tax-deductible donation to @NoKidHungry, as part of his fundraising for the upcoming 2-day, 200-mile Chefscycle.
Other items—which will be noted—are conventional sales. His first drop was a signed, limited-edition lithograph he illustrated for his book Surreal Gourmet Entertains. It is 22” x 32” on fine art paper. The price is a $200usd, tax-deductible donation to NoKidHungry. He’s covering the postage and is happy to personalize it. There are a few available. DM him on Instagram @BobBlumer to order and arrange for the direct donation.
cupcake liners; muffin tin (not uncommon, but crucial); piping bag with a startip (ideal, but not necessary)
2medium russet potatoespeeled and quartered
2tablespoonsheavy creamat room temperature
2tablespoonsbutterat room temperature
Salt and pepper
1green onionfinely sliced
2tablespoonsred bell pepperfinely chopped
2tablespoonsbread crumbs or panko
zest of 1 lemon + 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2tablespoonsfinely chopped Italian parsley leaves
1garlic clovefinely chopped
¼jalapeño pepperseeds discarded, minced
8ouncesfreshfrozen or tinned crab meat (your choices will vary depending on your shopping options. But fear not, all versions will be tasty in this recipe)
To Finish & Serve
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Spray interior of muffin tin with spray oil. Line the tin with 4 paper liners. Generously spray interior of liners. Spoon crab mixture into liners. Gently press crab mixture down and flatten level with the top of the tin.
Just before putting cupcakes in the oven, reheat potatoes by covering the bowl with aluminum foil and placing it over a pot of boiling water for 5 – 10 minutes. When potatoes are steaming hot, finely grate approximately 1 tablespoon of beet and add it to potatoes. Blend thoroughly with a fork. Add more beet for a deeper color if desired.
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.
Level of difficulty: About the same as making cupcakes from scratch
Advance work: The crab 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; Mashed potatoes can be made earlier in the day then reheated over a double boiler just before serving (add grated beet after reheating)
Keyword Bob Blumer, Crab Appetizer, Lloyd Cellars, Recipe
Brighten Your Next Holiday Party with Some Tropical Sunshine!
In this season of giving, it’s important to put thought into what you want to share with friends and family, and this extends to what you bring to your table. Sure, there are times when time isn’t on your side and turning a quick appetizer is what makes sense. Other times, and quite honestly it’s a foodie personality trait, we want to serve up a show-stopper both visually and in taste. If you’re looking for a memorable app for your next holiday gathering, these lollies are sure to make a big impression.
In our second installment of Bob Blumer’s seven-part ‘Pescatarian Holiday’ series with Lloyd Cellars, we present his Coconut-Crusted Scallop Lollies recipe. At first glance, it may seem a bit daunting. However, as Bob notes in the recipe below, “Mastering this recipe is like learning how to line dance. If you attempt all of the steps together, it can be intimidating the first time around. But if you tackle each of the four individual steps of this recipe one at a time, they are a cinch to master.”
2tablespoonsseasoned rice vinegar or freshly squeezed lime juice
1tablespoongrated fresh ginger
Note: Place all dipping sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor. Purée. Reserve.
Coconut-Crusted Scallop Lollies Ingredients
1coconutfirst timers should buy a spare coconut—or see shortcuts at the end of the recipe
12medium-size scallops20/30—which refers to the number of scallops in a pound
3-5cupspeanut oilor vegetable oil, for frying
1navel orangefor presentation
12 6-inchbamboo skewers
With the coconut and a medium-size bowl in hand, go find yourself a concrete step. Break the coconut in half by banging the center along the equator of the coconut repeatedly on the edge of the step. Split the coconut over the bowl and salvage as much of the coconut water as possible. Reserve the smaller half of the coconut. Bang the larger half on the concrete to break it into smaller pieces.
Back in your kitchen, use a table knife to separate the coconut meat from the shell. Then use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to remove the brown skin from the meat. Using the fine-to-medium section of your grater, shred 2 cups of coconut. Reserve in a shallow bowl.
Pour coconut water into a measuring cup and if necessary, top off with beer or sparkling water until you have 3/4 cup of liquid. Reserve. If you are using store-bought shredded coconut (and consequently do not have any coconut water), replace mixture with 3/4 cup of beer or sparkling water.
In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of flour, coconut water/beer mixture, egg, cayenne, baking powder, and salt. Beat until it is smooth. Add a bit more flour or beer, if necessary, so that the batter has the consistency of thick pancake batter. Reserve.
Use a paper towel to pat dry the scallops. In a medium bowl, toss scallops with the remaining ¼ cup of flour, then shake off excess flour. Then skewer one scallop on the end of each bamboo skewer (do this gently so as not to tear scallops with the skewers). Reserve.
Pour oil into a small, tall pot until it is 3 inches deep. Heat oil until it reaches 350°F.
While oil is heating, dip and roll each scallop in the batter, then pat it down in the coconut shreds so that the entire “lollie” is covered in coconut shreds. Transfer to a plate.
When oil is ready, submerge 4 scallops at a time into the oil. (Don’t worry if the skewers go into the oil). Fry for approximately 2 – 3 minutes, or until coconut is golden brown. Rotate once or twice as they fry. Transfer finished lollies to a paper towel.
Skim any wayward coconut shreds from the oil. Adjust heat, wait until oil returns to 350°F, and continue with next batch.
Cut the bottom off the orange and skewer with lollies. Serve the dipping sauce in the reserved coconut half. (Use a napkin ring, an onion slice, or a small ramekin to support the coconut shell).
Level of Difficulty: Like learning how to line dance. If you attempt all of the steps together, it can be intimidating the first time around. But if you tackle each of the four individual steps of this recipe one at a time, they are a cinch to master.
Bob Blumer comes clean on making the Thanksgiving kitchen way more interesting!
To celebrate the 2021 Holiday Season, Lloyd Cellars and Celebrity Chef and Cookbook Author Bob Blumer will share seven fish recipes beginning the week of Thanksgiving.
Inspired by Winemaker Rob Lloyd’s pescatarian predilections and the annual Feast of the Seven Fishes, Chef Blumer brings his creative and playful twist to each recipe.
We all know that smiles over delicious food are one of the world’s greatest gifts, especially these days!
Additionally, the Thanksgiving turkey can be a challenge at times to deliver a juicy bird to the table – and it takes hours. Blumer’s surreal ‘Dishwasher Salmon with Honey-Ginger Sauce’ is, believe it or not, one of the most consistent, quick and entertaining ways to deliver perfectly poached filets to your guests.
Bob Blumer, host of Food Network's The Surreal Gourmet, has been doing it for years, claiming to have cooked salmon in dishwashers around the world. All you have to do is wrap the salmon tightly in foil, stick the packet in the top rack, and run it on a regular cycle. ~ Food Network
Place 1 fillet in the center of each square and fold up the outer edges.
Cut 4 14-inch(ish) square sheets of aluminum foil.
Drizzle 1 tablespoon lemon juice over each fillet. Season with salt and pepper.
Fold the last ¼-inch of each seam over itself 2 or 3 times and pinch the aluminum foil extra tightly to create an airtight and watertight seal around each packet (see photo). To test if the packets are airtight, press down gently on each one with your hand. If any air escapes, rewrap. (SEE PHOTOS BELOW)
Place foil packets on the top rack of the dishwasher. Run dishwasher for the entire “normal” cycle.
While salmon is “cooking”, prepare the honey-ginger sauce.
When cycle is complete, take out salmon, discard foil, place one fillet on each plate. (Note: Don’t be concerned about the opaque white beads that appear on the fillets. They are simply a redistribution of the salmon’s natural fats.)
To a small saucepan add honey, soy, sesame oil, ginger, orange zest and black pepper.
Simmer over medium-low heat for about 3 – 5 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken. Add hot sauce to taste, if desired. Reserve. Reheat over a low heat just before serving.
To Serve Spoon honey ginger sauce overtop each fillet and finish with sesame seeds and green onion.
Do not attempt to cook a whole fish (don’t think it hasn’t been tried).
Always place fish packets on the top rack.
Make sure other items in the dishwasher, such as silverware, are securely stowed so that they do not fly around and pierce the foil packets.
Set the dishwasher to the “normal” cycle. Some modern dishwashers have “economy” and “cool dry” settings, which are undesirable because they conserve heat. On the other end of the spectrum, the “pots and pans” setting can overcook the fish.
Run salmon through the entire wash-and-dry cycle.
Only attempt to cook salmon while doing the dishes after you have mastered the art of creating air-tight packages.
Level of difficulty: As easy as loading the dishwasher
Shortcuts: Skip the sauce
Advance work: Salmon packets can be prepared earlier in the day
Oven method: Don’t have a dishwasher? Bake foil-wrapped packets in a preheated 400°F oven for 12 minutes (imagine that!).
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’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!
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.
4tablespoonsblack currant jamideally unsweetened, black cherry, or similar preserve
2tablespoonsCrème de Cassis
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.
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.
Lloyd Cellars 2017 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Keyword Bob Blumer, Liberty Duck, Lloyd Cellars, Pinot Noir
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.
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!
½poundAssorted mushroomsthe more exotic the better, stemmed and cleaned of any dirt, then sliced
1/4Red bell pepperdiced finely
4Sprigs fresh thymestems discarded
1ozBrandy or cognacoptional
¼cupPanko or bread crumbs
1Lemon for zesting
2ouncesGoat’s cheeselog form, crumbled
Salt and pepperTo Taste
Vegetable oil spray
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.
Vegetable oil spray; cupcake liners; muffin tin (not uncommon, but crucial); piping bag with a star tip (ideal, but not necessary)
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.
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 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.
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
1Bouquet garnis with 6 sprigs fresh thymeor 2 teaspoons dried thyme and 2 bay leaves, broken.
Salt and pepper
¼ – ½cupHeavy creamoptional
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.