Posts Categorized: Recipes

Embracing Social Distancing: Finding Peace and Tranquility on the Sandy River

“Truth is stranger than fishin’.” -Richard Brautigan, Trout Fishing in America

Union Wine Co Fishing

There is no question that right now the world is a scary and confusing place. As we each do our part to stay safe and healthy—so everyone will stay safe and healthy—those once simple actions require much more discipline than ever before. A day off every so often to hide from the world and veg out on Netflix was once a welcome escape, but as it becomes more and more the norm, the novelty begins to fade. But, just because we need to practice social distancing doesn’t mean we have to stay locked away in our homes. We just have to think a little outside the box and a little outside the normal boundaries of our lives.

Besides being a well known Portland personality, and all-around great guy, my friend Bob Rhoads is a true outdoorsman. So, when I was thinking of things to do to get myself out of the house but still steer clear of people, he was the first person I called. I requested something that would be a close drive from Portland where I could meet him. He suggested we go fishing.

Now, to our north, Washington has temporarily outlawed recreational fishing, effective this week, and this may be the case in many places right now.

For most of Oregon however, fishing is currently still allowed as long as you’re careful of how you do it, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. They recommend you maintain a social distance of at least six feet from other people who don’t live in your household, including during travel to and from a fishing spot. Officials also stress that anglers should minimize traveling and stay as close to home as possible.

Rob and I followed these recommendations and traveled only a few miles to the Sandy River. As I sat on the banks of the river I couldn’t see another person in any direction (save for Bob, of course) and I was filled with peace and tranquility which I had not felt—nor realized I had not felt—in many weeks. For the first time in a while, I was at peace and the fears and uncertainty of life had momentarily faded.

Union Wine Co Fishing

But enough introspection. Let’s talk about Bob and fishing for Steelhead on the Sandy River. Some refer to fishing for Steelhead as ‘chasing the ghost’ because it can be a very elusive fish to catch (spoiler alert…we didn’t catch one that day) but fly fishing can be a very meditative and relaxing activity. I learned quite a bit from Bob that day.

Steelhead are actually trout but look much more like Salmon. That is because they are Anadromous, meaning that unlike the smaller trout that live their whole lives in the local rivers, Steelhead swim upstream in the freshwater to spawn but they reside in saltwater. Rainbow trout, on the other hand, stay in freshwater all their lives. When fishing for Steelhead you are only allowed to keep the ones raised in local hatcheries, which can be identified by a lack of an adipose fin (the small fin just in front of the tail.) All other Steelhead must be caught and released.

Union Wine Co Fishing

Bob practices a style of fly fishing called Spey casting (named after a style of fishing developed on the River Spey in Scotland). In short, this technique allows for longer casts without the overhead backcasting motion and presenting larger flies. As for equipment, Bob has a collection of flies, some he has bought but many he has made himself. His rod is a custom-made CF Burkheimer, (made for the specific technique just mentioned) a local company that Bob was an apprentice rod builder for. Once we found a suitable spot, we cracked a few cans of Underwood Pinot Noir, Bob chose his fly and got suited up.

Union Wine Co Fishing

Union Wine Co Fishing

I was more than content sitting on the bank, documenting the day and imbibing the tranquility (and the Pinot Noir). Plus, I’ve tried to fly fish and it is really freaking hard until you get the hang of it! Anyway, who would complain in such surroundings? As I mentioned, we didn’t catch any fish that day but just getting outside in the sunshine and fresh air made the whole adventure a complete success.

Union Wine Co Fishing

Even though we didn’t catch anything, I now had Steelhead on the brain and needed to cook some up ASAP. Luckily, Flying Fish Company just reopened about a mile from me and they have a wide selection of some of the freshest local fish around. I was in luck and they were stocked (no pun intended) with some gorgeous Steelhead fillets. As you can see, although it is a trout, Steelhead very much resemble Salmon.

Union Wine Co Fishing

I decided to cook the fish “En Papillote” or in paper. The technique, which makes for an incredibly easy and delicious meal simply requires putting all the ingredients into securely wrapped parchment paper and then baked for about 15 minutes—easy, peasy, lemon squeezy.

Steelhead and Vegetables En Papillote

1 Steelhead fillet, about 7 oz
Half a large zucchini
1 small pepper
3 slices of lemon
5 sprigs of fresh oregano (reserve 2 for presentation)
1/2 t coarse sea salt
1/4 C Kings Ridge Pinot Gris
Parchment paper

TECHNIQUE:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay a large piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Place the fish on the lower part of a large piece of parchment paper so you will be able to have enough paper to fold over everything and securely crimp.

Set the fish down, season with salt and place vegetables, lemon slices and oregano on and around the fish. Squeeze a little lemon juice on top and drizzle with white wine.

Tightly crimp the edges of the parchment paper, leaving a little space inside for the fish to steam.

Union Wine Co Fishing

Union Wine Co Fishing

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Carefully cut through and peel back paper and Voila! You have a complete meal ready to eat.

The oregano will be pretty dark and wilted, so I recommend replacing it with a fresh sprig before serving.

Pour yourself a glass of Kings Ridge Pinot Gris and dig in. Bon Appétit.

Union Wine Co Fishing

My sincerest thanks again to Bob Rhoads, not only for his vast fishing knowledge but for taking me out of my funk and filling me with a renewed sense of hope and happiness.

Union Wine Co Fishing

Photography, Text and Recipe by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)

You can follow Bob’s adventures on IG at @ptowndutch

Chefs at Home Series: Sunday Dinner with the Ruckers

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker

It’s safe to say that Gabriel Rucker is one busy guy. With 2 restaurants, 3 children, a creatively explosive wife with the drive of the Energizer Bunny, and a weekly run club,  there isn’t a whole lot of time in the day to relax. Throw in travel events and cooking demonstrations and life gets even more hectic. Anyone who knows Gabriel, or has eaten at his restaurants, knows that he is a tremendously talented chef who puts his whole soul into every dish. But Gabriel is also a consummate family man and in between all the craziness that fills his days, he always makes sure there is quality time for his family. I’ve personally been watching him do it for 10 years and it’s quite an impressive balancing act.

So, I considered myself and my wife very lucky to be able to spend a Sunday evening with him and his family as he created a delicious home-cooked Sunday evening meal. Of Gabriel’s 3 children, the middle one (and only daughter) Babette, age 6, is the one who will most likely be following in her fathers’ culinary footsteps. At age 3 or 4 she was already shadowing her Dad in the kitchen, helping wherever she could. Now that her knife skills have improved, she is even allowed to cut and chop, which I must say she does with more acumen than a few OCI grads I know. In organizing this project with Gabriel, he decided on three dishes that he often makes for his family on the weekend that make a well rounded, delicious and healthy meal that can all be done in just over an hour. Of course, when you have a pro like Babette as your live-in Sous Chef, everything runs that much smoother.

On the menu for the evening was:

Braised Chicken with Mushrooms, Onions and ‘Dad Rice’

Cast Iron Roasted Leeks with Garlic

Dinosaur Kale Salad with Apples and Warm Kumquat Vinaigrette 

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker

Some kitchen tasks Babs can do on her own, others require a little extra supervision…

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker

There were a lot of moving parts all going at the same time while dinner was being prepped so I will do my best to keep everything well organized throughout the post.  Also, Gabriel approaches all of his kitchen projects with a confident but laidback vibe which I will do my best to replicate here. There is little to no pomp and circumstance when Gabriel is in the kitchen, and no ingredient is off-limits as you will soon see.

The first thing you want to do is get the chicken and rice going because that will take about 45 minutes in the oven. Gabriel cooks the rice, mushrooms, onions, and chicken all together in a large ceramic dutch oven. Here, the ‘Dad Rice’ refers literally to the addition of a powdered Ranch Dressing seasoning that Gabriel adds because his kids love it (and it’s pretty freakin’ delicious!)

Braised Chicken with Mushrooms, Onions and ‘Dad Rice

1 whole chicken, separated into 1/2 breasts, thighs and legs
2 1/2 C rice (Gabriel uses sushi rice but feel free to substitute brown or white)
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 large package of mixed mushrooms (about 1/2 lb)
1 C Underwood Pinot Gris
4 C chicken stock or broth
olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 C Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
 

Heat oil in a deep dutch oven and carefully sear off all pieces of chicken. Remove chicken from the pan, add the onion, mushrooms, and rice. Sauté for 5 minutes, add the Ranch Seasoning and salt and pepper to taste, then deglaze with the Pinot Gris. Reduce slightly, add the chicken stock and all the chicken pieces, nestling the chicken pieces partway down into the rice and vegetables. Cover and put in the oven for 45 minutes or until rice is tender and chicken is fully cooked.

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker
Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker
Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker

This is what the finished product will look like:

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker

Once the chicken is in the oven, it’s time to deal with the leeks. Gabriel prefers to use his locally made Finex Cast Iron Pan, but any thick bottomed pan will do the trick.

Cast Iron Roasted Leeks with Garlic

10-12 full sized leeks
8 cloves of garlic, skins removed
1 T celery seed
1/2 T dried tarragon
1/4 C sherry vinegar
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Cut the dark green tops off of the leeks and remove the butt ends. Cut each leek longways down the center, trying to keep them together. Rinse gently under cool water to remove any dirt and gently dry. Chop your garlic cloves in half. Place the leek halves and garlic in the cast iron pan, sprinkle liberally with remaining ingredients, cover with tin foil and place in the oven for about 30 minutes or until leeks are tender.  *You do not have to heat the pan or do any searing ahead of time for this one.

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker

Once the leeks are tender, remove from heat and keep covered until ready to serve.

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker

While everything is cooking, its time to prep your salad and make the vinaigrette. Dad demonstrates the proper Kumquat prepping technique and then feels comfortable leaving Babette to her own devices.

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker
Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker

Dinosaur Kale Salad with Apples and Warm Kumquat Vinaigrette

For Vinaigrette:
15 kumquats
1/4 C Underwood Pinot Gris
1/4 honey
1/3 C apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Halve the kumquats longways, remove the seeds and pith and slice thinly. Put all ingredients into a small sauté pan, bring to a boil and then immediately shut off the heat. Keep warm until ready to use.

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker
For salad:
2 large bunches of dinosaur kale
2 honey crisp apples
1/4 of the hot liquid with kumquat slices
2T balsamic vinegar
1/3 C extra virgin olive oil

1/3 C grated parmesan cheese

 

Slice kale and apples. Put in a large bowl. Just before you are ready to serve, dress with the warm vinaigrette, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and parmesan cheese. By keeping the vinaigrette warm, it will soften the kale without wilting it too much.

Union Wine Co Gabriel Rucker

And just like that… dinner is served!  Bon Appétit.

Gabriel asked that we give a special shout out to his newest endeavor, the Bird Dog Run Club. Completely free and open to all, the club meets every Thursday at 930 AM in front of Canard.

Bird Dog Run Club
You can follow the run club on IG @birddogrunclub.  Also check out Gabriel’s two restaurants: Le Pigeon and Canard.
Photography and Text by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)
Recipes by Gabriel Rucker (@ruckergabriel)
Expert Prepping and Tie-Dyed Good Vibes by Babette Rucker

Take your Super Bowl Snacks to the Next Level

Underwood Wine Super Bowl

This Sunday, whether you will be rooting for that dreamboat Jimmy G. and his 49ers, or the insanely talented Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, I think we can all agree on a few things; One, let’s just hope its a close game. Two, at least we don’t have to watch the Patriots again. And three, whoever is in charge of snacks better not disappoint.

For those Super Bowl party-goers who are more interested in the commercials and the J-Lo halftime performance (you know who you are), the afternoon’s snacks become that much more crucial. So, we figured we’d suggest a few classic treats made in a new way that are bound to impress your guests and make you the hit of the party.

Underwood Wine Jello Shots

First off, we thought we would show you our take on the classic Jello Shot. There are few constants in this crazy and unpredictable world of ours, but I think it’s safe to say that everyone loves Jello Shots. The original ones, made with vodka or grain alcohol, can really sneak up on you and pack quite the punch. So, we decided to mellow it out a bit and make two flavors using our Underwood Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. We had planned on matching team colors, but since it’s going to be red all the way around, we went a little off-script. (Thanks a lot, Aaron Rodgers!)

Blue Raspberry Pinot Noir Jello Shots

You don’t need to be a culinary wizard to pull off Jello, that’s a big part of the allure. Simply combine one package of Blue Raspberry Jello with 1 Cup of boiling water. Whisk to combine. Let cool slightly and add 1 C Pinot Noir. Separate into small cups. Makes about 15.

Strawberry Pinot Gris Jello Shots

Repeat the same steps as above, just use the Strawberry Jello and 1 Cup of boiling water with 1 Cup of Pinot Gris. Both of these turned out delicious and hopefully won’t be quite as strong as the ones you may have had back in your college days. (We all have to get up early on Monday for work.)

Underwood Wine Jello Shots

Underwood Wine Jello Shots

Another game day favorite is Chex Mix. There are lots of different variations on the classic baked mix and we encourage you to add any ingredients that strike your fancy. We recently discovered the Jacobsen Ramen Seasoning and thought we would try something a bit cross-cultural. The wasabi peas really add an amazing and unexpected kick.

Underwood Wine Super Bowl Snacks

Japanese Ramen Chex Mix

2 C Rice Chex
2 C Wheat Chex
1 1/2 C baby pretzels
1 1/12 C bagel chips (broken into smaller pieces)
1 C Wasabi Peas
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 (heaping) T Jacobsen’s Ramen Seasoning
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Spread the first 4 ingredients equally among two half-sheet pans. (Don’t add the wasabi peas until after cooking is complete.)
On the stovetop, melt butter and whisk in remaining ingredients. Evenly coat all dried ingredients and cook for one hour, removing the pans every 15 minutes to stir for even cooking. Once cooled, stir in the peas and store in glass Mason jars.

Underwood Wine Chex Mix

Underwood Wine Chex Mix

For our final recommendation, we wanted to stick with a tried and true classic—Pigs in a Blanket. We recently tried some pre-made, store-bought ones and they were terrible and crazy expensive. There is no substitute for making them from scratch, and it is so easy, there is no excuse not to.

Underwood Wine Super Bowl Snacks

Literally the hardest part of this is how Pillsbury makes you open the rolls with the back of a spoon. It’s so weird, but it works, so I guess you can’t argue with success.

Take the Lit’l Smokies out of their packaging, rinse them well, dry them off and set them aside. Then open the crescent rolls. There will be 4 separate squares and each square is divided into 2 triangles. Cut each triangle into 3 smaller triangles. Place a Lit’l Smokey on each triangle, and roll it up. Place these evenly spaced on an ungreased cookie sheet and keep refrigerated until ready to cook.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and cook for about 12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway thru to ensure even cooking. Remove any that are getting too brown. Then just squeeze out some ketchup and mustard for dipping and you will be good to go!

Underwood Wine Super Bowl Snacks

Whoever you end up rooting for, everyone here at Union wishes you a safe and exciting Super Bowl Sunday!

Bon Appétit! And make sure you have plenty of Underwood Cans on hand for all your guests.

Underwood Wine Super Bowl Snacks

Photography, Text, and Recipes by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)

Starting your day right: Big Batch Homemade Granola

Union Wine Company Granola
I know it sounds cliche, but a healthy breakfast is still the most important way to start every day. This month, our Field Notes has been focusing on ways to begin the new year right, with healthy approaches to diet and lifestyle. The habits you start now will hopefully carry you along and help create a more active and positive focus for the whole year.
Many years ago, in what almost seems like a past lifetime, I was a professional cook before making the switch to a full-time photographer. My last full-time cooking job was at the (now unfortunately defunct) restaurant Tasty & Sons. But after cooking there, I was lucky enough to be chosen to photograph their cookbook, “Hello! My Name is Tasty.”  The book is filled with a panoply of amazing recipes, (and photos!!) mostly originating from chef/owner John Gorham’s childhood all along the Eastern Seaboard.
Hello Tasty
There are also several recipes that were developed by John’s cooks and chefs, and this specific granola recipe was one of those. Kyle Prewitt, the opening chef at Tasty & Sons was tasked by John to create a light but healthy breakfast dish that John could eat in the crazy-busy early days of the opening of the restaurant that would fill him up and not slow him down.
This is what Kyle created. It’s a simple but very delicious recipe that lends itself to lots of variations as per your personal tastes. I will reprint the exact recipe here from the book, but feel free to make any adjustments you see fit.
KYLE’S HOUSE-MADE GRANOLA
6 C rolled oats (we highly recommend the local brand Bob’s Red Mill)
1 stick of unsalted butter
1/2 C local honey
1/4 C high quality maple syrup
1 1/2 C raw slivered almonds
1 1/2 C raw walnut pieces
2 C light brown sugar
1 T ground cinnamon
1 t ground nutmeg
2 t kosher salt
1/2 C dried currants or raisins
1/2 C dried cherries
Bob's Red Mill
STEP ONE
Preheat your oven to 275 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine butter, honey and maple syrup until butter is melted and the mixture is warm but not boiling.
STEP TWO
In a large mixing bowl, stir together oats, almonds and walnuts. Break up any clumps in the brown sugar and add this to the oats as well as the cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir well to evenly combine. Pour the warm butter mixture into the bowl and coat evenly with a heavy spatula or spoon.
Union Wine Co Granola
STEP THREE
Lightly butter 2 baking sheets and even spread the mixture between both. Place on separate racks in the oven and cook for roughly 2 hours. It is best to check the granola every 25 minutes, stirring it and rotating the pans to ensure even cooking. After the 2 hours, the granola will still seem a little wet and sticky, but not to worry. As it cools, the granola will crisp up. Most important is to not overcook the granola.
Union Wine Co Granola
STEP FOUR
Once the granola has fully cooled, fold in the dried fruit. This mixture can now be stored in airtight Mason jars and kept in a cool dry pantry for up to 1 month.
Union Wine Co Granola
SUGGESTIONS FOR SERVING:
 
This recipe will ensure delicious and healthy granola, but we encourage you to take any liberties you want with the recipe. This could include:
*other raw nuts such as pine nuts, almonds or macadamias
*different dried fruit such as golden raisins, blueberries or apricots
*coconut oil in place of the butter or agave instead of maple syrup and honey
This granola is perfect on its own, but can be served with milk, yogurt or fresh fruit as well.
Good Luck and Bon Appétit!
Photography and Text by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)
Recipe by Kyle Prewitt.

Here’s to a Healthier New Year: Two Ways to Cook with Wine

January is definitely a time of reflection and revision, a chance to clear out all the excesses that seem to pile up during the holiday months. Gym memberships are on the rise and most people are looking for ways to cut calories and just generally start this year healthier than they ended the last one.
 
Lots of people even (gasp) take a hiatus from drinking. Now, you might think that being winemakers we would hold this practice anathema, but on the contrary, here at Union we support that 100%. A little break is always a good thing to realign mind, spirit and body. And if this includes a short sojourn into teetotaling, then have at it. But we would be remiss if we didn’t mention there are many other, specifically culinary uses for our wines that will help you stick to your resolutions by making your healthy choices that much more delicious.
 
This week we present two recipes that each employ the use of our Underwood Pinot Noir. The first is an arugula salad with red wine vinaigrette; the second is oven-roasted lentils with red wine and winter vegetables. Both recipes are well rounded, healthy options to bolster your January resolutions.

Arugula Salad with roasted hazelnuts, quinoa, dried apricots, ricotta salata and a red wine vinaigrette 

 

For the salad, you will need:
1 large bunch of Arugula
1 C roasted hazelnuts
1 C cooked quinoa
1/2 C quality dried apricots
1/2 C ricotta salata cheese (or other crumbly salty cheese)
For the vinaigrette, you will need:
6 oz olive oil
2 oz red wine vinegar
2 oz Underwood Pinot Noir
juice of half a lemon
1/4 of a shallot, peeled and diced
1/2 t white sugar
salt and pepper

Kitchen Tip: How to skin hazelnuts

In most supermarket bulk sections, you can buy raw hazelnuts. These come with the skin on them. It’s okay to eat the skin, but much more delicious if most is removed. There is a very simple way to do this. First, roast the hazelnuts in a pan at 350 degrees until they just begin to darken. Let them cool slightly and then, in batches, place the nuts in a rough kitchen towel, vigorously rubbing to remove the skins. Pick out the skinned ones and repeat with all nuts until they are mostly skin free. (Some skin will always remain no matter how diligently you do this.)

Making the vinaigrette

Simply combine all the ingredients in a measuring cup and then transfer to a glass jar for storage. Since there are no eggs or dairy in the vinaigrette, it will stay good for a long time. You can store this in the refrigerator or the pantry. Shake well before using.

To finish the dish, dress the arugula in a bowl with the vinaigrette and then add all the other ingredients. And Voila!

 

Next up….

Oven Roasted Lentils with red wine, thyme and winter vegetables

For the uninitiated, lentils are in the legume family and come in three main color types, black, green and red. I recommend the green for this dish because I find them to be the most hearty. You can boil lentils,  but roasting them in the oven gives them a much richer flavor. (I was personally not a fan of lentils until I discovered this method.)

 

For this recipe, you will need:
1 C dried green lentils
4 C water
1 C Underwood Pinot Noir
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 medium carrots—cut into chunks
1 large shallot—thinly sliced
2 medium parsnips
1/2 bunch of hearty kale
olive oil
salt & pepper

 

STEP ONE:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a metal or ceramic roasting dish, place the lentils, sliced shallot, carrot chunks, and fresh thyme. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast uncovered for about 25 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes.

STEP TWO:
 
While you are roasting the lentils, sauté the parsnips and kale on high heat. You want some color on the parsnips, but do not cook them all the way thru.
STEP THREE:
Remove the pan from the oven. Add roughly 1 cup of the wine and return to the oven, still uncovered. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the wine begins to reduce. Then add the water and cover with tin foil. Cook for about 40 minutes.

 

STEP FOUR:
Remove the tin foil, add the parsnips and kale and return the dish to the oven, cooking uncovered for another 20 minutes or until lentils are tender but not mushy. Add more water if necessary. Remove the thyme, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

 

Bon Appétit!

 

Photography, Text and Recipes by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)