Monday, July 16, 2012
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
I miss you all. And if you're in the Bay Area, jump on the ferry and head over to Sausalito. We'll have a margarita together!
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
I spent Easter weekend in Napa with one of the highlights being a visit with Michael Trujillo. Many of you wine buffs know Michael. He’s regarded by wine cognoscenti as a cult winemaker even before the term “cult winemaker” became cultish! And to boot, he’s such a great guy.
This Colorado native, and the proud father of Sophia, developed vineyards in Carneros in the mid-80’s, a magical time when wine legends like Andre Tchelistcheff and Tony Soter were mentors to many winemakers including Michael.
Back then, he was gathering advice anywhere he could from the wine world’s greatest consultants, taking classes in the oenology department at UC Davis, and crazy enough “without any money” to launch his wine business, Karl Lawrence. His first Karl Lawrence release was a ’91 Rutherford Cabernet and “it took off to the moon,” Michael says proudly. Today he’s President and Director of Winemaking at Sequoia Grove and still produces some magnificent wines for Karl Lawrence.
But, guess who else he makes wines for?
Last weekend, I was with Michael and my wine partner, Tim McDonald, tasting and talking about what we want to do next together. We tasted a beautiful vertical sampling of vintages and loved the thread of silky quality that ran through 5 vintages of this marvelous Cabernet vineyard. Wow, this guy is a genius. You can taste that wine brilliance in every sip of his wine especially my ‘08 Cabernet.
I am so excited to introduce him to you and have Michael as part of the Joanne Weir Wine team.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
When I was 23 years old, I was given a bottle of wine as a housewarming gift after moving into an apartment in Boston. As my roommate and I finished the last of the bottle, there was a dead fly clinging to the inside of my glass. Yuck!
Disgusted, I wrapped the fly in a piece of aluminum foil and sent it off to a winery in France I'd never heard of. Little did I know that I sent that red wine-drenched fly to one of the top wineries in the world.
A month later,an invitation arrived in my mailbox to be a guest for lunch at Chateau Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux, France.
A Boston high school art teacher at the time, I decided to spend that summer vacation in France and cash in on the invitation for lunch.
Dressed in my favorite blue Diane Von Furstenberg wraparound dress and matching espadrilles, I spent an afternoon at the Chateau eating an extraordinary lunch of duck livers on butter-drenched toast, duck breast and a strawberry tart and drinking wines I will never forget.
We started with a Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1966, then '47 and '24 and ended with Chateau d'Yquem from 1896. I remember thinking that I was drinking nectar of the Gods.
This would be a day that would change my life forever.
For years after, I've thought back on this day... how I fell in puppy love with my host, the Chateau Mouton exporting agent Xavier de Eizaguirre in his white linen suit. He was so much older, oh-so French and oh-so worldly. He was all of 30!
I remember every moment of that day. I was so high on the experience (probably quite tipsy too) that I remember speaking like I was fluent in French. I was so not! But the thing I remember most is singing all the way to Biarritz that late afternoon.
Thus my love affair with wine began!
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Call me crazy, I’ve written 17 cookbooks,-- 11 for Williams Sonoma and 6 on my own plus two rewrites. And for the last several months I’ve been working on my latest,- Joanne Weir’s Cooking Confidence, the companion to my new TV series that was launched nationally last month. Check out my new app too!
Here’s the gist of the book… We all struggle with the same question daily- the-what’s-for-dinner dilemma, right? Nobody labors over what to make for breakfast or lunch but that’s not the case with dinner. Does that happen to you?
For the last several months I’ve been writing recipes for the book and we have been testing them in my kitchen. Testing recipes means making a dish, tasting, refining, sometimes re-testing, rewriting the recipe and correcting all 100 recipes. It’s a lot of work but it’s also the only time I don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner.
I think you’ll like it. I worked hard to include many of my favorite, easy-peasy, delicious, healthy recipes. These are recipes fit for Tuesday night for the family or dolled up with a simple appetizer and dessert fit for company on Saturday night.
Today is the fifth day that the photo team is in my kitchen shooting gorgeous food photos with lots of step-by-step how-to details. And what a team it is,-- we have Erin, the photographer and her assistant, David, who are glued to the set by the west window. In the kitchen is a second Erin, the food stylist, and her assistant, Karen, both up to their elbows in spaghetti, whipped egg whites and radicchio. Allison, the art director, hovers between the set and her laptop while Ethel, the prop stylist, bops in and out with new plates and flatware.
Oh, let’s not forget Nicole… She joins our cast of characters this morning as the hair/make-up artist.
Oh, the doorbell is ringing. I have to go, that must be Nicole. It’s time to shoot the cover.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Her work might look familiar to you. She designed the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, the HankyPanky logo, Bella Cucina logo, my Joanne Weir logo and my new Joanne Weir Wines label. Oops, did I just let the cat out of the bag about the new wine I'm launching?
Anyway, I love her work as you can probably tell and no better way to express love than sending your Valentine a card. Don't forget the stamp!
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Want a chance to win this fabulous set of Le Creuset cookware?
Read on, because you can!
If I was to pick a cooking technique that I like the most, it would have to be braising. I love that long slow cooking that breaks meat down into deliciousness that just melts in your mouth. I also love that big pot bubbling on the stove that sends out those great smells, filling the house with the promise of a terrific dinner.
And for this one-pot wonder, there's only really one thing you need, a Dutch oven.
I'm really excited to be starting my own on-line store with Open Sky. If you haven't heard of it, here goes! I plan to bring you my personal favorite things that I'm going to scout from all over the world. I saw a few things when I was just in Morocco and a couple of weeks ago when I was at the Fancy Food Show, I found delicious honey in sexy glass jars from Spain, the most unbelievable chocolate and really fantastic hard-to-find ingredients, tools and cookware.
Speaking of cookware and braising, you can have your very own Dutch oven by registering to follow me on Open Sky. If you do, you will automatically be registered to win.
TUSCAN POT ROAST
Here's a little sneak preview of what I've been working on for the last several months,- my new book Joanne Weir's Cooking Confidence that will be released in early fall. It's the companion to my new PBS TV series that just began airing a couple weeks ago.
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 1/2 pounds beef chuck
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup full bodied red wine, Chianti or Cabernet
3 cups peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
Pour 3 cups boiling water over the mushroom and let stand until the water is cool.
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy casserole over medium heat. Season the meat with salt and pepper and brown the meat, turning occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized on both sides, 20 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables begin to soften and turn golden, 15 minutes. Strain the porcini and reserve the liquid. Add the revived porcini mushrooms and the garlic to the pan.
In a large bowl, stir together the tomato paste, sugar, red wine, porcini soaking liquid and tomatoes. Increase the heat to high, add the tomato mixture and add the meat back into the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, turning the meat occasionally, until the meat is tender, 2 ½ to 3 hours. To see if the meat is tender, insert a knife or even a fork into the center of the meat. There should be no resistance and the meat should almost fall apart. If the sauce is too thick, add water ½ cup at a time.
Remove the meat from the pan and cover loosely with foil. Puree the sauce in a blender or a food mill until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Slice the meat into ¼-inch slices and place on a platter. Spoon some of the sauce onto the top. Serve the remainder on the side in a small pitcher.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Man, is it ever tough to get back into the swing of things, isn't it? I hit the ground running after the first and have been crazy busy ever since. Maybe I am just crazy but I love to be busy and have my hand in a thousand little projects. Are you the same way?
One of the projects that I've been telling you about is my new TV series, Joanne Weir's Cooking Confidence, that premieres on PBS in most US cities this weekend. Here in SF, it's on channel 9 at noon!
I invited the crew over and I'm recreating the menu I did on the first show with my student Joan (that's pronounced JO-ON) Boada. If you're not familiar with Joan, he's one of the principal dancer for the San Francisco Ballet. Yes, Joan is a guy! If you don't know his name, you will remember it after watching my show. He's so damn handsome, he makes Clooney look like Godzilla.
Joan is genuinely interested in cooking and it's his first time cooking lamb. Wait until you see what he says about the lamb stew. You have to have the recipe!
I'll see you on Saturday, OK? Promise you'll watch! I want to know what you think. Yes, of Joan of course, but I also want to know what you think of the new series.
SPANISH LAMB STEW WITH SMOKED PAPRIKA, TOMATOES AND WHITE BEANSSince fresh shell beans aren't available right now, substitute 1 cup dry white beans.
5 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds lamb stew meat, cut from the shoulder or leg, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cups tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced, fresh or canned
1 bay leaf
2 pounds fresh shell beans, shelled
½ pound dry chorizo, sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon pimenton
2 cloves garlic, sliced
Hot green chilis, optional
In a large heavy soup pot, warm the 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the lamb, onions, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Toss the flour onto the top and stir together. Cook 2 minutes.
Add the minced garlic, bay leaves and 4 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.
Add the beans and chorizo and simmer 40 minutes. Add additional water as needed.
Warm the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan and add the paprika, pimenton and sliced garlic but don’t let it take on color. Pour this mixture over the beans and stir gently together. Add water if needed. Let simmer for 30 seconds. Taste and season with salt.
Serve garnished with hot chilis if desired .