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‘Tis the Season

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Can you believe it??? We are at that time of year when we visit family and friends for the holidays. This year has gone by so fast…what did I do all year? Well…since you asked, here is a list of some of the things Passaggio Wines accomplished in the year 2014. I couldn’t have done it without the help of some wonderful friends!!! 

* We teamed up with The Sassy Kitchen to have small intimate wine maker dinners and introduce recipes that pair with Passaggio Wines.

* Introduced new clubs to the Passaggio Wines Clubs

* Visited the Finger Lakes area and found some wonderful wines

* Opened a tasting room on the Historic Sonoma Square

* We tripled our production this year and added a few new varietals to the Passaggio Line up!!

* Joined Vin65 and revamped the Passaggio Website

* Got a puppy!!!

* We met a lot of wonderful new friends!!!

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Thank you for a wonderful year…

Have a safe and joyous holiday!!!

Passaggio Wines

Passionistas and The Sassy Kitchen

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There is nothing like getting together with wonderful friends. This video displays the fantastic evening with wonderful friends, great food, and awesome wines. Passaggio Wines loves these small intimate gatherings…I think we will do more of them 😉

Dungeness Crab Bisque with Passaggio Unoaked Chardonnay

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We had so much fun during the Passaggio Passionista Wine, Food, and Friends Get Together, we are planning another!!! Take a look at what The Sassy Kitchen might be cooking for us… “YUM” – and what a great recipe for Valentine’s Day!!! Enjoy!

Here in the bay area, it is Dungeness Crab Season.  This makes me very happy.  🙂

A few days ago I had the pleasure of attending one of my best friends 50th birthday party.  The part was a surprise and we were all asked to bring something yummy.  I had an hour drive so I needed something that would transport well, reheat in a crock pot and still be delicious.

For me, there was an easy answer. Dungeness Crab Bisque!!!

I had never made it so I searched recipes, read reviews and chose one.  Of course then I changed it.

This soup can be prepared in a couple of hours if you are using live crab and in under an hour if using shelled crab meat.

Are you ready?

You will need

2 Dungeness Crab (approx 2 pounds each)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Medium Carrot, Chopped
1 Stalk Celery, Chopped
1 Medium to Large Tomato, Chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
3 Medium Shallots, Chopped
2 Springs Fresh Tarragon Leaves, Chopped
2 to 3 Tbsp Cognac (Brandy)
1/3 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Passaggio Unoaked Chardonnay
1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
5 Cups Crab Boiling Water (you can use stock or water )
1/2 Dried Bay Leaf (or 1 small – you want a subtle flavor)
Fresh Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
Salt
2 Sprigs Thyme Leaves
1 Cup Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp Butter
Parsley or Chives (optional)
Long Matches – I’m adding this because it’s important for lighting the Cognac

My recipe is based on one made by Wolfgang Puck. I loved it but it was too thin for me  so I made it a little thicker. I also precooked the crab in my recipe.  I have no problem putting live crabs into boiling water, I can’t bring myself to cut them in half while they are still trying to pinch me. It’s just one of those weird things.  (I’m the same with lobster.  Ok killing it one way but not another – weird but true)  The original recipe was also doubled.  It makes a lot and for Valentine’s day, this could be the perfect “Dinner for Two”.
Start by filling a large stock pot with water and bringing to a boil.  Add crab ( I had to do them one at a time).  Bring back to a boil, cover and turn off burner.  Leave the crab in the pot for 10 minutes.  They will not be fully cooked.  Move them to a sink or large bowl full of cold or ice water to stop the cooking.
Reserve the boiling water.  I only have one stock pot that large so I poured the water into a large bowl.

When the crab is cool enough to handle, pull of the claws and legs and cut the body in half.  Pull off the top shell and toss it.  (You can keep and freeze it for stock)  Clean out the gills.  You really don’t want those getting mixed up in your soup.

Add the Olive Oil to stock pot over medium heat.  Add the crab legs and bodies.  Saute for about 10 minutes.  This is bringing the flavor to what will be your soup base.  (and it will finish the cooking of the crab)  Remove the legs in about 5 minutes, keep stirring and turning over the bodies and claws.  Pull out of the pot and set aside.

Add the tomato, carrot, celery, shallot, garlic, tarragon to the pot.  Cook for 15 minutes.

Add the cognac and light it using a long “fireplace” match.

Once the flames die out, sprinkle the vegetable mixture with the flour and stir until well coated.

THEN add that delicious Passaggio Unoaked Chardonnay (that you’re probably already sipping)
Add slowly while using it to de-glaze the pan and loosen the floured vegetable mix.

Now add the tomato paste, crab boil water, the bay leaf, thyme, a little salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne.

NOW add the crab bodies again.  Not the legs or claws, just the body pieces.

Bring up to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Pull out the crab and set aside.

With either an immersion blender or a standard blender, blend the soup.

Reduce heat to low.  Keep the soup warm but do not boil. Taste and adjust salt, pepper and cayenne as desired.

In a small sauce pan add the cream and butter.  Reduce by about 1/2 (less is fine, it still works well)

SLOWLY add the cream to the soup.  DO NOT BOIL.

Still well to blend.

Taste and adjust seasoning.

Now it’s time to get back to that crab.  Crack and clean the crab.  (I did the claws and legs while the soup was simmering and then the bodies as soon as they were cool enough to handle)

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and add the crab meat. Top with chives or parsley if desired.

Serve with Passaggio Unoaked Chardonnay.
The Sassy Kitchen Crab
CHEERS!
The Sassy Kitchen

Check out the New Page – Follow Your Passion

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Check out the new page on the Passaggio Wines blog – Follow Your Passion. I have moved the Follow Your Passion blog from blogger to WordPress.

Check out these wonderful friends of mine…

 

Cheers

Passaggio Wines

When in Rome…

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It has been a wonderful summer thus far…oh my! Is it actually summer already? LOL

This summer, for me, has started off with an amazing Mediterranean Cruise! What a trip! We went to Rome, Sorrento, Sicily, Zakynthos and Corfu, Dubrovnik and ended with Venice. Rome was my absolute favorite place! We arrived in the city several days before meeting with the cruise ship and spent every moment walking through Rome…what a gorgeous place! My first time in Italy! I am still smiling from the experience…

When in Rome…they say, do as the Romans do. See the Vatican, visit the Colosseum, eat gelato, walk the Spanish Steps, eat at tables outside the restaurants, eat gelato, order the pasta, drink the wine, eat gelato…need I go on…? It was so much to take in…did I say eat gelato? I am ready to go back…

I soaked up the lifestyle while I was there. I realized that I do not do it right here. Being too hurried every day, too stressed, too many things on my calendar, etc. This trip changed my life, so to speak. I am trying to find that happy medium, that moment of “ahhh…bliss…”  It will take some time, but I know I can do it!

Another unexpected plus in Rome…I also met a Facebook friend for the first time! Barbara, who lives in Italy, saw in my postings that I was heading her way and caught a train to meet me in Rome…how cool was that?!?

barbara_in_Italy

Cheers

Passaggio Wines

Sliders for Super Bowl 2013

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What an exciting time for so many sports fans out there!!!! Happy Super Bowl XLVII…are you ready?

Super Bowl 2013
Super Bowl 2013

I want to share a great Super Bowl recipe from one of my favorite recipe books “100 perfect pairings” written by a good friend, Jill Silverman Hough. I thought these mini pesto burgers would go great with the 2011 Passaggio UNMARKED Pinot Noir. What could be better than sitting in front of the big screen watching your favorite team, surrounded by wonderful friends, awesome food, and great wine. These sliders will be a big hit – trust me!

100 perfect pairings
Mini Pesto Burgers

mini pesto burgers – serves 6

3/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef
6 slices provolone cheese
1 tomato, cut into 6 slices
6 white, whole wheat, or sourdough dinner rolls, split horizontally

(photo taken from page 106 in “100 perfect pairings”)

  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts,garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper and pulse to finely chop, scraping down the bowl as necessary. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and process until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Set the pesto aside. 
  • Shape the beef into 6 patties, about 3 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick. Cut the provolone cheese slices so that they are 2 1/2 inches in diameter.
  • Prepare the grill to medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate. Sprinkle both sides of the patties with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
  • Grill the patties to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium. During the last minute, place a slice of provolone cheese on top of each patty and place the rolls cut side down on the grill, to melt the cheese and lightly toast the buns.
  • Place the tomato slices on the bottom halves of the rolls, pesto, and the top halves of the rolls and serve.

Have a great Super Bowl Sunday – I hope your favorite team wins…

Cheers

Cynthia Cosco

Passaggio Wines