You guys already know that we love our vino around here. But we love it even more when we are sharing it with friends around the dinner table. We really wanted to capture this for our next blog post with our new friends from Murrieta’s Well (a wine estate established back in the 1800s in California). We love their small-batch approach to wine making. And since we were already fans of wine blends we were stoked to learn that blends are their speciality.
Anyway, shortly after partnering with Murrieta’s Well we received a few bottles of wine, The Spur (a delicious red-blend) and The Whip (a buttery and aromatic white blend). We already felt so sophisticated saying things like ‘aromatic’ and ‘balanced’. And as we were sipping the vino and brainstorming about the perfect menu to complement the wine (not the other way around mind you) and the perfect, ever-elusive laid-back, chic atmosphere. Let’s make it classy but not intimidating. A menu that’s a bit elevated but not stuffy.
Then we’d have a cute photoshoot and give you guys the recipes and BAM! you’d live it at home. But we realized that maybe giving just our opinion on the evening may not be as refreshing or inspiring so we’re trying something new today.
Why don’t we let someone from our dinner party actually tell you how it really went (and if the wine is even good). Let us know if you’d like to see more blog posts like this in the future.
And so without further ado, we’ll Andrea tell you all about it.
I remember Sunday lunches. I was in charge of setting the table while my mom and sister were busy in the kitchen preparing the food. The tablecloth had to be leveled on each side of the table; the silverware with swirls and flowers on the handles had to be void of waterspots; the napkins folded neatly into a triangle or that one time I learned how to make a flower. I’d take the cream colored plates with blue tulip pattern out of the cabinet four at a time, because any more would risk me dropping them. What I understand now was that my ritual of setting the Sunday table set the mood for a more meaningful meal with friends and family. It felt differently than eating in the kitchen with the white rimmed plates and plain silverware. I’m even sure that if I had eaten just regular Cheerios in the dinning room it would have tasted differently.
There is just something about a pretty tablescape set with the plates we don’t normally use. And good food is really what we’re all about, plain and simple, but sometimes making a fuss just gets it to taste even better. And there’s nothing that takes dining to a new level than wine. Wine elevates, or is it alleviates? Anyway, all you had to do was add sparkling grape juice to the Sunday table and all the kids were sipping with their pinkies out and suddenly remembered to keep the napkin on their lap. We were sophisticated.
At least that’s what I felt like for this shoot. I sat down at the table and I swear I haven’t admired plates since those blue tulip plates. The color, the feel everything let me know that the meal that was going to be served was special. And then the wine bottle popped open, and it was yet another cue for sophistication. Dinner served with wine. Or maybe wine served with dinner. Because I had never had a red blend before and this one from Murrieta’s Well was The Spur. I’m not going to lie, I don’t know wines, okay? I’m still the child trying to be like an adult. But everyone else around me liked it very much and I know they’re wine drinkers.
I knew it was a really special occasion when we had dessert, palmiers with roasted pears and we were served a second wine, The Whip. Again, not your wine connoisseur but wine really does taste good with everything. It just feels right, you know, the occasional, for the sake of feeling VIP, a treat-yourself kind of dinner. Or maybe if you’re really up for it, bring back the Sunday lunch, and find your people to help cook the food, set the table, and bring the wine.
Playlist: The Sunday Table
Creamy Pappardelle with Braised Short Ribs & Autumn Vegetables
- 2 lb bone-in beef short ribs, brought to room temperature
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 head garlic, peeled and minced
- ⅔ cup white wine, like Murietta’s Well “The Whip” White Wine Blend
- ½ cup water, or broth
- ½ butternut squash, or a super small squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
- 2 poblano peppers, finely diced
- 2 sweet peppers, large, finely diced
- 1 lb pappardelle
- ⅓ cup crème fraîche
- ½ bunch fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
- sea salt
- black pepper, freshly ground
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Heat a large, lidded braiser or oven-safe pot over medium-high heat. Drizzle in oil and toss in 2 tablespoons of butter. Very generously season the short ribs on all sides. Once butter is melted and sizzling, set in short ribs in one layer. There should be at least an inch between them so the pan is not overcrowded. Work in 2 batches if needed.
- Sear on each side undisturbed for 3-4 minutes until nicely browned. Transfer to a plate.
- Add onions to the pot and stir up all the goodness left behind. Sauté for 5 minutes until soft, then add in garlic for 30 seconds.
- Pour in wine, scrape up all the brown bits, and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add ½ cup of broth or water, nestle in short ribs, cover and slide in the oven for 2 hours or until meat is tender, falling off the bone, and easily shredded.
- Now turn oven off and set pot back on the stovetop over medium heat. Remove short ribs onto a plate. Start shredding the meat into bite-sized chunks, discarding the fat and bone.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta just 2 minutes shy of package directions. You can drain it or time it so it’s done just after the vegetables finish cooking. The latter is ideal because you’ll dirty less dishes and the pasta won’t clump together. Either way, save 2 cups of pasta water.
- While, you’re working on shredding the meat and water is boiling, add all the diced vegetables to the pot with a few cracks of pepper and a couple pinches of salt—about ½ teaspoon. It’ll look like autumn vegetable confetti—greens, oranges, reds, yellows. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8-10 minutes or until cooked through. Add shredded meat to the mixture and turn off the heat if you’re still waiting for the pasta to cook.
- Using tongs or a spider strainer, transfer pappardelle to the vegetable-short-rib mix (heat should be on low). Take ⅔ cup of pasta water into a heat-proof measuring cup and whisk in the crème fraîche really well. Pour over pasta and toss carefully with tongs. Sprinkle in the parsley and add remaining tablespoon of butter; it’ll melt and make the pasta extra velvety as you’re tossing.
- If the pasta looks like it would benefit from some more sauce, simply drizzle on more pasta water gradually. Crack in more pepper, taste for salt, and adjust accordingly.
- Serve with shaved or grated parmesan and a glass of red (like Murietta’s Well “The Spur” Red Wine Blend)… because the rest of the white disappeared during the pasta-making process with friends in the kitchen.
Vanilla Baked Pear & Chai Palmier Sundaes
- 3 bosc or bartlett pears, 6 if they are tiny pears
- 6 tbsp sugar, divided
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
- ½ lemon, juiced
- ¼ cup white wine, like Murietta’s Well “The Whip” White Wine Blend
- 2 tbsp unsweetened chai spice mix, or pumpkin spice mix
- 1 sheet puff pastry, cold, but defrosted according to package directions, we use Dufour brand
- sea salt
- ¾ cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 pint vanilla bean ice cream
- Pears: Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Peel and halve pears. Scoop out seeds, leaving a round, neat little scoop mark if possible. Nestle them into a high-sided medium baking dish that will fit all of them snugly, in one layer.
- Sprinkle on 2 tablespoons sugar, and drizzle on the vanilla bean paste, lemon juice, and wine. Slice up 2 tablespoons of butter and add little pats to each pear half.
- Slide in the oven for 45-60 minutes, basting with the sweet, buttery syrup a couple times throughout baking. Turn the pears if they look like they’re not cooking evenly, but otherwise it’s not necessary. Pears are done when a knife goes through to the center very easily. You should be able to easily “cut” it with the side of a spoon as you eat dessert.
- Palmiers: Meanwhile, in a tiny bowl mix 2 tablespoons sugar with pumpkin or chai spice and a pinch of salt. If you don’t have any, eyeball a bunch of cinnamon and a bit of ginger, nutmeg, all spice, cloves, cardamom, etc., whatever you have in your spice cabinet.
- Unfold puff pastry on a clean countertop. Dust evenly with sugar-spice mixture and press into the dough. You can use a rolling pin to do this too.
- You’re going to make 5 folds, kind of like you’d fold a letter. Imagine a line drawn in the middle of the rectangle. Bring both sides of the dough sheet to the middle and press lightly (your first 2 folds). Now repeat with this smaller rectangle, bringing the ends into the middle (your second 2 folds). Now simply bring both “rolled” sides together to create a sort of log. Set on a parchment-lined baking sheet and slide in the fridge to firm up for slicing. You can also do this a day ahead.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice chilled dough log into ¼-inch almost-rounds and place 2 inches apart on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Slide in the oven for about 12-14 minutes until dark golden-brown. Set aside to cool.
- Walnuts: While palmiers are in the oven, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons butter and once melted, add in walnuts with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir occasionally for 5-8 minutes until they smell buttery and toasted. Remove from heat.
- Sundae assembly: For serving, have 6 small, shallow bowls or dainty coffee cups ready to go. First, in goes the pear with a big scoop of ice cream. Nestle in a couple palmers and sprinkle with walnuts. Dig in!