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Sunday, December 12, 2010

12/14 - Mark Caldwell, Executive Chef for J Vineyards & Winery and John Robertson, Undersheriff for Napa County

Executive Chef Mark Caldwell
of J Vineyards & Winery
Slow Living Radio saluted the holidays with sparkling effervescence and a message of community mindfulness. First we'll met J Vineyards Executive Chef, Mark Caldwell to talk about holiday entertaining, sumptuous recipes and celebrating with bubbles!  Next, Napa County Undersheriff, John Robertson shared a timely holiday message about yuletide mindfulness and slowing down from Napa County's new "Stop & Think" community awareness program.
Executive Chef, Mark E. Caldwell works from an intimate knowledge of J wines to match them with the finest seasonal Sonoma County fare.  Mark grew up helping his mother make meals for their family of 10 children. Every meal was the size of a dinner party, and it seemed natural for him to move from the family kitchen to the restaurants of Northern California. He joined J Vineyards & Winery in 2003, and loves changing the menu regularly to reflect the freshest local ingredients. Some of his favorites include Prawns with Spicy Peanut Sauce paired with J Pinot Gris, or Braised Painted Hills Beef Short Rib Parmentier with J Pinot Noir. His favorite part of the job? Watching a guest take a bite of his food, a sip of J wines — and smile with pleasure.
A Legacy that Sparkles 
(from J Vineyards & Winery)

Founded by Judy Jordan in 1986, J Vineyards & Winery began as a producer of critically-acclaimed sparkling wines like our J Vintage BrutJ Late-Disgorged Vintage BrutBrut Rosé, and Cuvée 20 Brut. However, Judy, always curious and innovating, came to the realization that her vineyards would also be ideal for producing site-specific, cool-climate Russian River Valley varietal wines like Pinot NoirChardonnay, and Pinot Gris, as well as the highly lauded sparkling wines.

Founder and President, Judy Jordan, holds a degree in Earth Sciences/Geology from Stanford University and knows something about rocks and soil. Her passion for the land and understanding of what goes into making world-class wines has no boundaries. Accompanying Judy on this exploration of wine excellence are veteran Winemaker, George Bursick, and Viticulturist, John Erbe. Both have become knowledgeable experts on all aspects of  Russian River Valley terrain, and their dedication shines through in all J wines.

As one of the largest estate vineyards in the Russian River Valley, J Vineyards & Winery has embarked on a journey of exploration of their terroir, that while already 25 years in the making, has really only just begun. In geologic terms, we are still in the embryonic stage. The wide variety of alluvial soils found in the 254-acres of Russian River Valley estate vineyards have been forming for millions of years and are continually revealing new nuances.
Today, they continue to build on Judy's 25 year legacy of excellence to bring you both award-winning sparkling wines as well as highly-lauded varietal wines. Visit J Vineyards & Winery today at

Recipes for Our Tasting & Pairing Menu of the Night!

Roasted Chestnut - Fennel Soup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped
½ teaspoon minced garlic
½ fennel bulb, stalks and core discarded and bulb coarsely chopped
 ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon thyme, chopped fine
2 cups roasted, shelled, and skinned chestnuts(1 lb in shell or 14 oz bottled whole)
4 cup chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup half-and-half
Kosher salt and white pepper to taste
1 bunch chives, chopped fine
White truffle oil as needed

Place a 5-quart stock pot over medium heat, then add first six ingredients and cook until softened. Add chestnuts and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and bay leaf, bring to a simmer and cover, cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat; add half and half. Purée soup in batches in a blender until smooth. Return soup to pot and heat to desired temperature. Garnish with chives and truffle oil.

Serves 6-8

Serve with J Cuvée 20 Brut NV, Russian River Valley

Dungeness Crab Caskets with Melted Leeks

1 sheet puff pastry

Preheat oven to 425º.
Cut pastry into 1-inch by 2-inch rectangles. Carefully score top in a crosshatch pattern. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cut in two, creating a top and bottom.

Dungeness Crab:
½ pound Dungeness crab meat, picked through to remove shell
Extra virgin olive oil as needed

Lightly dress crab with oil; refrigerate until ready to assemble.

Melted Leeks:
3 cups cleaned leeks, white part only, sliced thin
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
4 ounces butter
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup Crème Fraîche
Salt and Pepper to taste

Melt butter in heavy bottomed pot over very low heat; add leeks and thyme, cover. Cook till leeks are tender, about 1-2 hours, stirring to ensure no browning. Add cream and bring just to a simmer. Pour into blender and purée. Strain through a Chinois. Let cool and stir in Crème Fraîche.

To serve, spoon leek mixture on bottom half of casket. Add crab and cover with lid.

Makes about 30-40 pieces

Serve with J Cuvée 20 Brut NV, Russian River Valley

Apple-Apricot Scone, Granny Smith Apple Butter, Crème Fraîche

Yields 24 one and half inch triangle scones

2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 ounces cold butter, cubed
1 egg
1/2 cup cream
1/3 cup diced dried apple
1/4 cup diced dried apricot
Preheat oven to 425º. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in mixer. Once mixed add butter one cube at a time. Then add egg, cream and blueberries. Roll dough to ½ inch thick and cut into desired shape. Place on a greased sheet tray and bake for 12 minutes.

Apple Butter:
5 pounds Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons orange juice
Bouquet Sachet*
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup honey
In a large heavy bottomed pot place apples, cider vinegar and orange juice; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Stir occasionally, until apples are soft, 40-50 minutes. Add sachet, sugar and honey. Cook partially covered, over very low heat. Stir occasionally, until apples fall apart (resembling sauce) about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Remove from heat and let cool before storing in refrigerator.

*To make Bouquet Sachet:
1 cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves
4 whole allspice
2 teaspoons dried lavender
Place above ingredients in cheesecloth. Secure with cooking twine.

Crème Fraîche:
4 ounces Crème Fraîche

Whip in a mixer until light and fluffy.

Makes 24 pieces

Serve with 1999 J "RRV" Vintage Brut, Late Disgorged

Spiced Apple Cake, Robiola, Hector's Honeycomb

Apple Spiced Cake
Yields 4 small loaves

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ¼ cups sugar
¾ cup (packed) golden brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons bourbon or brandy
1 ½ cups unsweetened applesauce
3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/3 inch cubes
Robiola cheese

Preheat oven to 350º.
Whisk first seven ingredients in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter
until fluffy. Add both sugars and beat until smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla, then bourbon. Mixture may look curdled. Add flour to egg mixture in 3 additions alternately with applesauce in 2 additions, beating until blended after each addition. Stir in apples. Divide batter into well greased small loaf pans (2 inch x 7 inch) filling about ¾ full. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35-45 minutes. Due to oven variations it may take as long as 50-60 minutes. Transfer to racks and allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove from loaf pan once cooled. Serve with Robiola cheese topped with honeycomb.

Makes about 40 pieces

Serve with 1999 J "RRV" Vintage Brut, Late Disgorged

All Recipes Courtesy of Chef Mark E. Caldwell
J Vineyards & Winery

John Robertson
Napa County Undersheriff
Undersheriff John Robertson started his law enforcement career with the San Mateo, CA Police Department in 1981. He moved to the Napa Sheriff's Office in 1991 where he worked his way through the ranks to his current assignment as Undersheriff in the Sheriff’s Office. John holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from San Diego State University and is a graduate of the Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Academy, Leadership Napa Valley and the Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP - Boston, MA).  John is a certified Hazardous Devices Technician and is a member of the California Peace Officers Association, Police Executive Research Forum and Leadership Napa Valley.  As Undersheriff, John recommends policy to the Sheriff and oversees the daily operation of the Napa Sheriff's Office.

Community Mindfulness in Tune with Slow Living

Starting in September, the Napa County Sheriff’s Office launched its own, very simple messaging campaign; “Stop and Think”.  “Stop and Think” is an effort to remind residents, visitors, and ourselves, to slow down, stop, and think about how our actions may affect others and ourselves.

You should begin to see their “Stop and Think” message in many locations, including:

• Bumper stickers on Napa County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Vehicles.
• Napa County Sheriff’s POPP Deputies will be distributing 4”x 4” static cling window stickers (“Stop and Think”) to businesses and residents, water bottles (“Stop and Think”) to cyclists, and 4”x 4” rubber coasters (“Stop and Think”) to winery tasting rooms. 
• Napa County Sheriff’s Deputies will be issuing 4”x 4” rubber markers (“Stop and Think”) to motorists/cyclists/field contacts in lieu of citations, when a warning is appropriate.

Life can be complicated ……but their message is simple: The Napa County Sheriff’s Office would like you to “Stop and Think” about the consequences of your actions.

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