December 3, 2007
Fireside croutons with Meyer Family Port
Aren’t holidays the reason we’re looking for to share time with friends and family?
Wonderful though dinner parties may be, sometimes a glass of port and warm nosh enjoyed fireside is a sublime way to savor the season.
We’ve harvested the fruits of three family farmsteads for a fireside party along with an original recipe to unite them. Meyer Family Cellars’ California port is the legacy of Silver Oak Cellars’ late founder Justin Meyer for his family. Son, Matt, with his Australian wife Karen are the winemakers at the Yorkville Highlands winery and literally live over the winery with their daughter Sidney.
Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese is made at the fourth-generation Giacomini dairy just north of San Francisco. Like the Meyer Family, the Giacominis have lived the story Americans love best, beginning with the sparest of resources—10 cows and a few chickens. By 1998 four Giacomini daughters, Karen, Diana, Lynn and Jill, had moved away for college, careers, to marry and to have children of their own. A shared commitment to farm fresh food brought them home to create and breathe life into a vision that would give the family dairy new life and fulfill their father’s dream. It is Original Blue, California’s only classic-style blue cheese.
Finally, Chandler walnuts were developed by the University of California, Davis. This variety is more inclined to retain integrity in shelling making it a pretty appetizer or dessert ingredient. Chandlers are low in acid, giving them an appealing buttery flavor. John and Linda Patrick grow Red Barn Chandler Walnuts on their 128-acre ranch.
So that’s our holiday party in a box. Pop the cork on a bottle of Meyer Family Port, cook up a batch of croutons and build yourself a roaring fire.
To make your own fireside croutons:
6.5 ounces Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese
¾ cup cream
1 ½ cups halved Red Barn Chandler Walnuts
1 cup Meyer Family Port
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup walnut oil
¼ cup shallots, minced
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon honey
1 bunch sage
Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Place walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown, approximately 12 minutes.
- When the walnuts are fully toasted, cool and rough chop.
- In a sauté pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and ½ tablespoon of walnut oil. Add shallots and sauté.
- Add the chopped walnuts, cayenne pepper, honey, and Meyer Family Port to the sauté pan with the cooked shallots. Reduce about half, until it is syrup like consistency.
- Emulsify the blue cheese and cream in a food processor, season with salt and pepper.
- Cut the baguette along the bias and season in a bowl with the rest of the walnut oil, salt and pepper.
- Toast baguette slices in a 350°F oven until golden brown, remove and cool.
- Add a tablespoon of the blue cheese mixture on top of each baguette slice.
- Top with a good teaspoon of the Meyer Family Port, shallot, and walnut confit.
- Garnish with chiffonade of sage.
Recipe by Ashley Teplin, Studio-707