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Archive for June 18, 2013

FOOD HOLIDAY: Robert Mondavi’s Birthday

Today’s the day to pick up a bottle or two of Robert Mondavi wine.

It’s Mondavi’s 100th birthday (June 18, 1913 – May 16, 2008). The American wine pioneer and innovator made technical improvements and developed marketing strategies that brought worldwide recognition for the wines of California’s Napa Valley. Until then, California wines “got no respect”: American wine buyers were French-wine-focused.

A bottle of Robert Mondavi Winery’s 2011 Fume Blanc is a beautiful warm weather wine and a great choice for a birthday celebration. It’s an exceptionally well-balanced, fruit-forward varietal (Sauvignon Blanc) that is enjoyable on its own or as a food wine, with fish, shellfish and lighter dishes. Fume Blanc, a name Mondavi trademarked, is made in the style of French Sauvignon Blanc (Sancerre wines), with citrusy fruit and herbal flavors, minerality and racy acidity. It’s one of our favorite wines.

One of Mondavi’s innovations was to promote the labeling of wines by their varietal names, i.e., Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc/Fume Blanc. The European tradition is to name the wine based on its village, region or other geography (Burgundy, Bordeaux, Port, etc.).

 

Robert Mondavi’s acclaimed Fume Blanc. Photo courtesy Robert Mondavi Winery.

 
How It All Began

Mondavi‘s father had a business in California that shipped grapes to the East Coast for home winemaking. The family then acquired the Charles Krug Winery in Napa, and after graduating from Stanford, Mondavi joined his father and brother Peter in the business.

You can read the story—a saga worthy of a motion picture or mini series—in The House Of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty.

Today, the Robert Mondavi Winery produces a large variety of wines in multiple lines, ranging from connoisseur wines to everyday wines: Reserve Wines, District Wines, Napa Valley Wines and Winery Exclusive Wines, the latter of which can only be purchased at the winery.

Learn more at RobertMondaviWinery.com. And plan a trip to visit the lovely winery. It’s an easy drive from San Francisco.

  

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TIP OF THE DAY: Things To Do With Overripe Bananas

Dolce de bananas becomes a banana toffee
pie. Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy
OurBestBites.com.

 

We went overboard at Trader Joe’s, buying too many bananas with the thought that we’d eat one or two each day. You can guess the outcome: a lot of overripe bananas.

So we headed to our mental archive of delicious things to make with overripe bananas:

  • Banana bread/banana cake/banana muffins
  • Banana cream pie
  • Banana daiquiris
  • Banana ice cream
  • Banana pancakes
  • Banana pudding
  • Banana smoothies
  •  

    Dolce de bananas (in Italian) or dulce de bananas (in Spanish) is a type of banana pudding. Some recipes are “wet”—the consistency of American chocolate pudding—or “dry,” like a bread pudding.

     

    Here’s a basic “wet” pudding recipe from Dole, which slow-cooks the overripe bananas into a pudding consistency. Unlike American puddings, it uses no dairy. The recipe makes 4 servings. Prep time 15 minutes, cook time: 3 hours.

    RECIPE: DOLCE DE BANANAS or DULCE DE BANANAS or BANANA PUDDING

    Ingredients

  • 5 very ripe medium bananas or 2 large bananas, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 cups water
  • Optinal garnish: chopped nuts, crème fraîche, ice cream, mascarpone, mini chocolate chips, sour cream, toffee bits, whipped cream
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients in a saucepan.

    2. COOK slowly over low heat for 3 hours. If the mixture becomes too thick, thin with a little water.

    3. COOL for 10 minutes. Garnish as desired; serve.
     
    MORE RECIPES FOR OVERRIPE BANANAS

    Dolce De Bananas Pie. Blogger Kate from OurBestBites.com fills a chocolate cookie pie crust with her own recipe for dolce de bananas, using sweetened condensed milk and cream, plus brown sugar, cream cheese and toffee chocolate bars. She calls it a “naughty, naughty pie that should only be eaten once a year.”

     

    Pretty ripe but not really overripe (those bananas aren’t as pretty). Photo courtesy BakingLibrary.Blogspot.

     

    But you can throw caution to the wind and have it more frequently. Here‘s the recipe.

    Banana Chocolate Cake.
    This recipe, from BakingLibrary.com, turns those overripe bananas into a delicious cake.

    Bananas & Sour Cream. One of our favorite childhood treats with ripe—but not overripe—bananas: Top them with sour cream and brown sugar. We still love this in adulthood. Try it for dessert or a snack.
     
    No time to bake right now?

    Mash the bananas and freeze them in cup or half-cup portions, in airtight containers. You can add the frozen bananas into a milkshake or smoothie when the mood strikes.

    Or, blend in some sweetener and freeze the mashed banana in ice pop molds.

      

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