Avocado, Apple and Field Greens Salad

Kitchen Still Life
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. . Serves 4

INGREDIENTS 5 cups greens such as watercress 1/3 cut rice vinegar 1 TBSP finely chopped Walla Walla sweet onion ¼ cup finely chopped Fuji apple 4 TSP soy sauce 3 TBSP olive oil 1 ripe avocado 1 TSP sugar

In small bowl mix together vinegar, olive oil, onion, apple, sugar and soy sauce. Trim greens keeping thin stems and leaves only.  Toss greens with enough dressing to lightly coat greens.  Quarter, pit and peel avocado then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices.  Toss with greens.  Serve on a chilled salad plate.

Wine Pairings: This is a pretty straight forward recipe that's quick, healthy and tasty. There's some nice tanginess from the soy and rice vinegar, which is offset by the creamy texture of a nice ripe avocado. You want a white wine, and probably one with some acidity that cuts through the avocado without tasting weird with the tanginess.  The apple helps bring it all together with a white like a French white like a Pouilly-Fuisse or Chablis.  Those are likely to be grown in limestone soils in climates that provide more acidity.  I recently had the Louis Jadot 2008 Pouilly-Fuisse and thought it was decent for the price:

Jadot is pretty widely available.  If you want to try something that's domestic, check out what they're doing in Washington's Horse Heaven Hills appellation.  Great stuff starting to come out of there at very reasonable prices.  One of my favorite places to visit is Walla Walla because the drive from Portland, Oregon to Walla Walla is incredible.  Woodward Canyon is one of the first wines I started collecting back in the day.  Their 2008 effort is awesome (like all their other wines).

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Seared Duck Breast with Cherry Port Sauce

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INGREDIENTS 1 cup Soy Sauce 1 cup Sherry 4 6-OZ duck breast halves 12 frozen dark sweet cherries, thawed and halved 1 cup chicken stock 1 cup beef stock 1/2 cup ruby port 1 fresh thyme sprig 1 TSP cornstarch dissolved into 2 TBSP water 1/4 cup butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Whisk soy sauce and Sherry in medium bowl to blend. Using a sharp knife, make diagonal slits on the duck breasts 1/2-inch apart making sure to not cut too deep (not through meat). Place duck, skin side up into glass baking dish. Pour marinade over. Cover duck with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours. Bring cherries, chicken stock, beef stock, port and thyme spring to boil in a heavy medium saucepan over high heat. Simmer until mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup.

marinate the duck breasts

Meanwhile, heat heavy large skillet over medium heat. Remove duck from marinade. Add duck breasts, skin side down to skillet. Cook until skin is crispy, about 10 minutes. Turn duck over and continue cooking to desired doneness, about 5 minutes for medium. Transfer duck to cutting board or other surface. Add cornstarch mixture to port-cherry sauce. Bring to simmer, whisking constantly. Add butter one piece at a time until melted.

Slice duck breast and fan out on plates. Spoon sauce over duck then serve.

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Colorado Baby Back Ribs

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MARINADE: 2 cups chicken stock 1/4 cup soy sauce 1/4 cup dry sherry 2 TBSP brown sugar 1 TSP fennel seeds, crushed 8 black peppercorns OTHER INGREDIENTS: 1 rack of baby back ribs 3 green onions, chopped

In a saucepan, Bring marinade ingredients to a boil. Simmer 10 minutes, then cool. Place ribs in a shallow pan, cover with marinade. Refrigerate over night, or at least for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350ºF as ribs come to room temp. Bake ribbs for 45 minutes, basting occasionallly. Heat grill to medium. Cook ribs for 5-7 minutes each side basting with marinade. Serve garnished with green onions and marinade on the side.

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Asian Orange Chicken

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Orange and orange zest. Photo taken with a Can...
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4 chicken breasts 2 TBSP soy sauce 2 TBSP brown sugar 2 TBSP orange juice concentrate 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 TSP finely grated orange zest 1 TSP minced fresh ginger 1 TSP kosher salt 1/2 TSP pepper

Preheat oven to 500ºF. In medium bowl, combine, soy sauce with brown sugar, orange juice concentrate, garlic, orange zest, ginger, salt and pepper. Add chicken breasts and turn to coat. Transfer to baking dish. Roast chicken for 25 minutes basting occasionally. Turn on broiler and broil chicken for 2-3 minutes, browning on each side.

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Maple Soy Salmon

Grades of Vermont maple syrup. From left to ri...
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Serves 4 people

2 6-OZ salmon fillets with skin 1/3 cup maple syrup 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce 1 TSP adobo sauce ¼ TSP garlic salt Hollandaise (mix or from scratch)

In small bowl whisk together maple syrup, soy sauce, adobo and garlic salt.  Place salmon skin down in an 8x8 glass dish.  Pour mixture over salmon, flip salmon over and marinate skin side up for at least 3 hours (marinating longer will cover up fishy flavor).

Cook salmon on grill over medium heat 4-6 minutes skin side up, then about 4-6 minutes skin side down.  Salmon grilling tips here.

Remove salmon from grill, make sure to remove skin thoroughly.  Serve with hollandaise on the side or spooned over salmon.

To pair with this recipe I like Pinot Noir.  Pinot is a great wine to pair with salmon anyway, but the maple-soy flavors really work well with the nuances of a quality Pinot Noir.  Some of the Pinots I've found to be ideal with this are Soter Beacon Hill from Oregon, Klee from Oregon, Aresti from Chile or Sebastiani Pinot from CA.

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