Scallop, Orange and Endive Salad

INGREDIENTS 16 scallops ½ cup extra virgin olive oil 2 TBSP red wine vinegar 1 TSP coriander seeds, toasted and cracked 3 TBSP orange juice concentrate Salt and pepper 3 oranges, peeled and segmented 2 endives, cut lengthwise, ¼ inch slices 1 red onion, thinly sliced ½ cup chopped walnuts (toast for 10 min. @ 400 covered with butter and honey) ¼ cup dried cherries or cranberries

Blend ¼ cup olive oil, orange juice, red wine vinegar, coriander, salt and pepper. Set aside. Combine oranges, endives and red onion in salad bowl. Toss with half of olive oil mixture. Season scallops with salt and pepper. In large pan heat 1 TBSP olive oil over medium heat. Lightly brown scallops (3-4 min/side). Remove from pan, keep warm. Only cook up to 8 scallops at once. Add walnuts to salad. Portion onto 4 plates, scallops on top. Sprinkle with cherries or cranberries.

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This recipe is good, REALLY good. When you chomp into a bite, the subtle orange flavors light up your taste buds like a pinball machine. But it's not just because orange flavors have a tanginess to them, it's because the supporting cast of other nuances compliment different taste regions on your palate. So it's not just about hitting one taste region on your tongue, it's about hitting 'em all at once. I love this salad. When it's complete, it looks like a creation you'd find in a high falutin' restaurant in a cosmopolitan city like San Francisco or New York. It not only tastes good, it looks good--kind of like the type of dish that would be on the front cover of a cook book. But this out when you have someone over you want to impress. And if you really like your guests, pair this salad with a white wine that has more tropical mojo like the Gewurztraminer-like Traminette from Pheasant Ridge in upstate New York. This wine is made from organically grown grapes, and is a hybrid grape which resembles a heartier Gewurztraminer. It's perfect for more interesting chef salads like this one. Bon App!

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Avocado, Apple and Field Greens Salad

Kitchen Still Life
Image by kiddharma via Flickr

. . 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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Grilled Chicken & Honeydew Salad

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1-1/4 cup boneless and skinless chicken breasts 1 TBSP olive oil 1 cup honeydew, cut into small bite sized pieces 1 bunch green onion, finely chopped 1 TSP dijon mustard 1/2 cup mayonnaise (low fat) 2-1/2 TSP brown sugar 1 TBSP Kirin 2 TBSP fresh tarragon, finely chopped 1/4 pecans, toasted and chopped 1 TBSP pepper

In a medium bowl, combine mayo, , mustard, rice vinegar, half the brown sugar, tarragon then season with salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate. Heat grill to medium heat, spray with PAM for grills.  In a small bowl mix together pepper with remaining brown sugar and 1 TBSP olive oil.  Cover chicken breasts with mixture.  Cook chicken on grill turning once.  Chicken is done when juices run clear. Chop chicken into bite sized pieces.  Mix chicken, melon and green onion to dressing mixture.  Serve on salad plates.

Since spring is sprunging around the country, there's a natural desire to savor the fresh veggies and eat something healthy.  Chicken and salads are some of the healthiest things you can eat, but let's face it, they're BOOORRRRING!

So I like to add a little something called flavor to the salad so you actually enjoy eating something that's good for you.  The mayo is the one ingredient that can derail this whole, "I'm eating healthy so I think I'll have seconds" train.  Take a look at cutting the mayo down in half or replacing it altogether with a soy based mayo.

Because there's some creaminess to the salad, a wine pairing that has some acidity to cut through the creaminess is needed.  You can go a few ways with a wine+food pairing.  I'd go for a Chardonnay/Viognier blend or a Pinot Gris.  Why?  'Cause that's how I roll.  But more to the point, a Chardonnay would work fine, but the dijon is going to give a little Jackie Chan kick to it, and there's honeydew.  Bang for the buck I found the Cycles Gladiator has great quality for not very much money.

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Dungeness Crab Cake Salad with Watercress, Fennel and Orange

watercress INGREDIENTS for CRAB CAKES 1 egg, beaten 1 LB fresh Dungeness crab 3/4 cup bread crumbs 1/3 cup grated pecorino cheese 1/4 cup mayonaisse 3 shallots, finely chopped 2 TBSP dijon mustard juice from one lemon 1/4 cup green bell peppers, minced 1/4 cup red bell peppers, minced 1 TBSP green onions 2 TBSP parsley, finely chopped 1 TBSP butter 1/4 TSP cayenne pepper

INGREDIENTS for SALAD 4 cups watercress, rinsed 4 oranges, peeled and separated juice from one lemon 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced 3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil 1 fennel bulb, cleaned and sliced thinly Salt and Pepper to taste . . To prepare the crab cakes, heat butter in a sauté pan over medium low heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together shallots, grated cheese, lemon juice, mayo, egg, mustard, bread crumbs, bell pepper, salt and cayenne.  After mixing, add in crab meat, then divide into 8-10 balls.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To prepare salad, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  In a separate bowl, toss watercress, orange segments, fennel and onion together.

Remove crab balls from refrigerator and flatten into one inch thick cakes.  Heat 2-3 TBSP oil or butter in a skillet and cook for 4 minutes on each side over medium heat.  Distribute salad mix on chilled plates, top with dressing and crab cakes then serve.

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Wine pairings for this dish are pretty easy.  It's a flexible dish suitable for many Chardonnay's or rich whites.  The crab cakes are pretty hearty, so make sure to serve with a white wine that can hang.  I've tried oaked Chardonnay's and unoaked Chardonnays.  The both worked.  Pinot Grigio, Semillion, Viognier and other whites also work.  If I had to pick one wine as the most ideal pairing, it would be the Wente Riva Ranch Chardonnay from Livermore.

I'm more of an unoaked Chardonnay kinda guy, but once in a while, you just want that buttery butter ball that even Mrs. Butterworth thinks is buttery.  The Riva Ranch Chardonnay isn't obnoxious — still refined and a great expression of the vineyard.  Many people don't realize the Wente's were one of the first wine family's in California going back to the 1850's.  They've quietly gone about producing consistent well-priced estate wines.

The Riva Ranch has a creamy "dusty" texture with mineral highlights that can best be described as a combination of wet rocks and smoke.

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Top 10 Bacon Recipes of 2009

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Here it is loyal bacon fans, this year's list of crisp, savory delectables that are sure to light up your taste buds like a pinball machine.  A year ago I provided a list of the top 10 bacon recipes for 2008 that you can see updated here.  This year, bacon became the cosmic glue that wove social media sites together.  There were highlights, and there were lowlights...well, the lowlights were most likely everyone's lipid profile at the doctor.

I selected this year's recipes based on a combination of pushing the boundaries of how bacon should be used and ease of making the recipes.  So here you go in no particular order:

1. Bacon Wrapped Mashed Potatoes

That's right, I said it.  Bacon wrapped around mashed potatoes.  You may want to mow down some Lipitor and fish oil pills before taking on this dish.  It's really quite simple—make the mash potatoes, and if you're like my Mom or Paula Deen, you put a stick of butter in your potatoes.  Because I'm a real health nut, I only put a half stick of butter.  Keep the milk to a minimum because you want the potatoes to have the consistency of spackle.

Once you make the potatoes, slow cook some bacon in a pan half way.  You want to cook the bacon just enough that it starts to crisp, but you can still bend it without breaking.  Let the bacon cool on a paper towel, then weave the bacon together like fabric.  Put the bacon on a cookie sheet then put a dollop of mash potatoes in on the woven pig products.  Wrap the bacon around said potatoes, then bake until the bacon gets crispy.

If you really want to throw caution to the wind, put some cheese in there just to give your arteries the finger.

2. Bacon Candy

I didn't have to look too far for this gem.  As it turns out, this recipe was the catalyst that led to my being hired at St. Supéry winery.  Back in March, Lisa DeBruin aka winedivergirl and I were talking about bacon.  She mentioned she had a friend who had been experimenting with this recipe.  That person turned out to be LesleyKeffer who is now my boss at the winery.  See what happens when you follow your love of bacon?

The recipe is simple: Crisp, savory bacon with BBQ rub, caramel, semisweet chocolate and crystallized ginger.  Check it here.

How lucky am I to work for someone who loves bacon as much as I do?  I freakin' scored!

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3. The Bacon Smootie

My wife was none to pleased when she saw what I was putting in our blender.  I'm not going to lie, it's kinda weird. But it works.  The reason why is the chocolate, which goes with bacon quite nicely.  And chocolate also goes with raspberries, so together, the chocolate, raspberries and bacon are like the Voltron of savory flavor.  The recipe was very tasty, but gasey.  Go here to get the original recipe that started it all.

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4. Bacon Wrapped French Toast Sticks

Contrary to popular belief, this masterpiece is NOT made with Twinkies, it's made with french toast sticks.  Of course if you really had no concern for your own well being you could substitute Twinkies, but I think the creme filling would be gross.  By using french toast sticks this actually qualifies as breakfast rather than a late night snack put together after too many bong rips.  The judges have awarded the Stonehenge concept with high marks, but the execution was lazy, so the judges had to dock them a few points because it wasn't to scale.

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5. The Lowrider Pizza

This recipe is based on a pie served at Proto's in Colorado.  We took something good and made it orgasmic!  How? you might ask.  By adding more crisp, savory bacon.

Get yourself an unbaked pizza crust (we like the Pilsbury pizza dough at most grocery stores).  In a bowl, mix together tomato sauce with about a TSP of chipotle Tabasco sauce or some other chipotle sauce.  Add a little more to give the sauce a little Jackie Chan kick to your tongue if you'd like.  Cover the pizza with shredded mozzarella, crisp bacon bits, small red onion slice and pineapple chunks.  Don't hate on the pineapple going on the pizza, it serves a purpose which is to counter the spice of the chipotle.  Bake the pizza as fast as you can, then cover the pie with chopped cilantro.

Of course, when in doubt, add some more crisp savory bacon bits.  It's a simple pizza to make, but a good twist to feature the bacon.

lowrider baby, yeah!

6. Bouef a la Bourguignonne

This might be one of my favorite recipes of all time for winter.  It has two of my favorite things in life— bacon and wine.  Yum!  This is a hearty dish that you slow cook all day before serving.  It requires a little foresight and preparation the day before, but when you do it right it'll all be worth it.

The recipe calls for 4OZ. of bacon, but by all means don't let that stop you from adding more :D  The meat you select is important, don't get the cheap stew meat, even though it'll be tender, get something that's tender to start with.  Tri tip is a good choice.

Get the recipe here

7. Maple Bacon Cinnamon Rolls

I nearly blew my 'O' ring when I first tried this breakfast item.  I mean, come on, it's bacon wrapped or sprinkled onto or into cinnamon rolls.  Now is probably a good time to make a public service announcement about not eating all these recipes in the same week.  Space it out.  Your doctor will thank you for it.

The recipe is available from Delicious Coma and can be found here.

photo via Delicious Coma

8. Emeril's Brussels Sprouts with Bacon (Video)

Emeril made last year's Top 10 bacon list too.  Hmmm, this guy might be onto something.  This recipe was selected because you need vegetables from time to time, and what makes vegetables better?  Yep.  You got it.

Get it here

photo via Food Network

9. Heirloom Grilled Cheese Sammich w/ Tomato Bacon Soup

Comfort food plain and simple.  It's quick and easy to make and when you think about it, what else do you need in life?  Many of the essential food groups are represented here, which is nice.  Anytime you can get vegetables in with your bacon it's a good thing.

When I saw this recipe from Rick Massa on the Food Network site, I was hooked.  You will be too which is why it's on the top ten list.

10. You Call It!

There are so many great bacon recipes, and throughout the year I've talked to many creative people online who have great uses for bacon, so we're going to crowd source the final pick of the list.  Leave a comment below and let me know which bacon recipe YOU think should be on the top ten.  See you in 2010!

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Bakas TV#15: Willamette Valley Road Trip

Oregon's Willamette Valley is a beautiful place to visit with lush, rolling hillsides and surrounding farm communities.  This time of year is especially nice in the valley because harvest is happening, and it's the time of year when the sun is out for more than one day in a row.  I lived in Portland for 17 years and I can say without a doubt, when the sun is shining, Oregon is the most picturesque place in the U.S. A drive through the Willamette Valley is filled with hidden roads around the bend or over a gentle slope, passing country markets and pumpkin patches along the way.

Farmscape of The Willamette Valley in northern...
Image via Wikipedia

During my time living in Oregon, I fell in love with the Pinot Noirs.  Not hard to do...if you've ever had a good Pinot Noir, it's magic in a bottle.  But if you get it wrong, Pinot Noir can be disappointing and uninspiring.  I find it to be one of the most dramatic grapes in terms of end result.  With grapes like Cabernet or Merlot you can get more consistency year in and year out whereas Pinot Noir is much more temperamental.  You can't handle it the same you handle Cabernet—it requires a more delicate hand.  In fact, wineries often use gravity flow instead of pumps when transferring Pinot from one place to another because it's that sensitive. You'll notice the average price point of a decent Pinot is higher than other grapes, in part because of the extra handling required.

Pinot Noir is a wonderful grape, and it grows exceptionally well in Oregon's Willamette Valley in part because Oregon is situated along the 45th parallel. The climate and terroir in Oregon's fertile Willamette Valley provides ideal growing conditions for the finicky grape. When I met my wife, she was an Australian Shiraz drinker, but then I took her to Oregon and introduced her to good Pinot Noir—now she's hooked! Pinot is a very food friendly wine that goes with so many different kinds of foods it's not even funny. Well, maybe a little bit funny.

After driving up I-5 I arrived in McMinnville, Oregon and checked into McMenamins Hotel Oregon. I headed up to the Rooftop bar to get on my laptop and get some work done. As I sat at my table enjoying a pint of Oktoberfest, I plotted out the next day's itinerary.  At the table next to me were two guys who had been working harvest that day.  They were nice enough to provide some pointers.

McMenamins Hotel Oregon

I awoke the next morning to find a silver tint to the clouded sky overhead. Looking out my hotel window over downtown McMinnville was like a trip back in time to 1950. The old fashioned downtown has a tree lined Main street with old fashioned appliance stores and warm cafes. After getting a fresh baked item from Red Fox Bakery, I headed out to Oregon wine country.

In the south part of the Willamette Valley you'll find long time producers Cristom and Bethel Heights. Both are family owned, and both have been making stellar Pinot Noir since the 1970's. I walked into Bethel Heights to be greeted by a warm aroma of homemade cooking. Right there in their tasting room, one of the founders was making Salmon Chowder (with BACON) for the crew. Another day of harvest was complete and the troops were hungry. I tasted through the Bethel Heights lineup, finding myself going back in time to when I first discovered Pinot nearly 15 years ago. Their whites were good, but their reds were better. I was especially interested in the Southest Block Pinot Noir. That, and the Justice Vineyard Pinot Noirs were every bit as good as what I remember. I took all sorts of great footage of their winemakers picking through grapes that had just come in, but that was lost in the transfer. The view from Bethel Heights tasting room was unreal. You step out onto the balcony and about 10 feet below is the downward sloping vineyard that seems to go on forever. The owner/winemaker mentioned 2009's vintage as not only very good quality, but there were large crops. That's means there's going to be plenty of good Pinot Noir to go around for everyone when the wines are released.

Next stop was Cristom, one of my top 3 favorite producers in Oregon.  Cristom has vineyards that were planted back in the 1970's which is cool because older vines means more complex wines.  The first wine I tasted was the 2006 Pinot Gris, which is made entirely from the 5-acre estate vineyard Emilia. You drink their Gris and it reminds you Oregon makes exceptional wines besides Pinot Noir. This Gris was floral and fun to take for a spin. But I was there for the reds. The Louise, Marjorie and Eileen Pinot Noirs didn't disappoint. All three remind me of three sisters I used to party with back in college who were always the fun girls invited to every social function. Each one has its own personality, but together they all share a common bond. Each year those sisters continually find the balance and walk the line between good girls and frisky while making their parents proud. I left with more bottles than I had intended :D

Last stop was Sokol Blosser, located smack dab in the middle of Oregon's wine country.

@sokolblosser wines

@sokolblosser vineyards

I spent the afternoon with Kitri and Jeff from Sokol Blosser. They took me to the Dundee Bistro, a place that used to have an after meal bacon dish. Sadly, the bistro no longer served that. After lunch (photos are lost) we went next door to the Ponzi tasting bar. There we were able to taste through all sorts of different Oregon wines. Again, I left with more bottles than I had planned but my wife and I are going to drink well for a while :)

Kitri and Jeff were great hosts, and gave me a tour of the winery, barrel room and vineyards. Sokol Blosser is not only one of Oregon's oldest wineries, with some of the oldest vineyards, but they also have the first LEEDS certified winery in the U.S. and practice sustainable farming habits. You might know Sokol Blosser best from their Evolution white wine sold in just about every liquor store across the U.S. The most recent version of Evolution is like the old style—not too dry. We tasted through different vintages of Pinot Noir from different vineyards but the one that really gave me the OMG! reaction was their 2004 Willamette Valley Cuvee. WOW! Everything a Pinot Noir should be. Silky, sexy a great dancer but looks great in an evening gown. A real classy version of a high society wine.

Portland Farmer's Market

Before heading back to Napa, I visited some friends in Portland and spent the day Saturday frequenting farmer's markets.  Besides having incredible Pinot Noirs, Oregon has just about everything else you could want if you enjoy food and wine.  There's local seafood, cattle ranches and local organic produce farms within an hour's drive from Portland.  This was a fun little weekend and when I come back it won't be soon enough.  Cheers!

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A Big, Fat THANK YOU!

This week something fantastic happened—a winery name St. Supéry hired me to talk about their brand using social media. I'm not sure it's sunk in yet, but I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. We ask kids all the time what they want to be when they grow up. I'm pretty sure when I was a kid my answer was not, "I want to be a wine and food blogger." But now that I think about it, that career test they gave me back in high school seems pretty accurate now. This new career change will be a blast, but it'll also be hard work. Without a doubt, this wouldn't have happened without the generosity of so many people who have been supportive along the way, especially on Twitter and Facebook. Here is an honor roll of some of the people who helped make this happen (and who should now proceed directly to the winery in Napa so I can give them the VIP treatment):

Thank you to the following people who have helped (if you don't already, follow these VIPs): @jaimiebakas - You are my every reason and I'd be incomplete without you. Your support makes this possible. @tekee - Ted lives nearby, and is always supporting the Bakas' @totalbev - My local wine shop not only rockin' it on Twitter, but now part of TasteLive.com online tastings. @misternoodle - My co-blogger on BlogBQue.com. Russ and I met on Twitter, then in person in Chicago, now working together. @shellykramer - My other co-blogger on BlogBQue. Shelly, Russ and I talk often and just really clicked. @alohaarleen - One of Twitter's top 3 tweeters spreading her positive vibe far and wide. There's a reason she has such a large following! @zaibatsu - One of the "Big Dogs" in social media. This CO tweeter usually ranks as one of the most influential people on Twitter with over 80,000 followers @robmcnealy - Another "Big Dog" with about 100,000 followers on Twitter. Rob is a CO tweeter who is in another league @Jason_Pollock - A cool film maker from NY. Jason's new film, The Youngest Candidate is produced by Pulp Fiction & An Inconvenient Truth team @lesleykeffer - Lesley is the VP at St. Supéry.  Her vision of where the wine business is going made all this possible. @ginidietrich - Chicago-based wine+food lover. Gini is the CEO of Arment Dietrich and author of spinsucks.com @carece - There's not enough room here to list all the reasons Carece is a Twitter VIP. She is one of the top 3 people you could ever follow. @modishplum - Denver based all around stud chica who has a food blog of her own. @lisaadamswalter - Lisa and I talk wine frequently. She was one of the first people in the wine industry who really seemed to have a good online presence. @OliviaWilder - Internet Talk Radio host, portrait painter, writer, lover of life and laughter. Eternal Optimist. @edo_au - Ed Sullivan and I have been talking, tweeting and sharing since last fall. Ed is a wine & food lover in Sydney, Australia. Check him out! @jansimpson - I like Jan. She has a rather large following for a reason. Discover why. @jennyjenjen - Jen is a recent CU grad who works in PR, and actually gets social media. PR firms would be smart to hire her. @sweetnote - Like her name indicates :) @electromute - One of the coolest people in Boulder, and one of the most kick butt developers at Gnip. @jerell - Husband in love to @Salus, MBA, PMP, CoFounder of Salus Bath and Body Care (Natural, Organic), www.iFollowBack.com, US Marine @salus - Founder/Owner of SALUS, custom natural and organic, bath and body care. @pmabray - Paul is one of the founders of VinTank. He's brought together a group of 8 people under the VinTank 4+ endorsement who are kind of like the Justice League of wine @michelleflores - Michelle brings a positive message every day to Twitter. She's another CO tweeter who's always very supportive of others. @MediaMum - She's Australian, she lives in Boulder, she is a great person and important member of the online community. What's not to like? @StrawberryToast - Victoria is a chef in NY with an impressive track record. She helps make my wine+food pairings better by suggesting things I hadn't thought of to make the meal even better. @MistyMontano - The cosmic glue that connects the state of CO with CBS4 news. She's the eyes and ears of this state. @ThePicMan - One of my first Twitter friends. We started talking about bacon a year and a half ago and haven't looked back. @Spaulds1 - Susan checks in every day with a positive, "how are you today?" greeting. She is supportive of many, lover of all. @Bptbtrfly - Kathleen is a wine and food lover, and helps share my wine+food pairings daily with her followers. @allison1j - When she's not running the PR firm Conking, Fiskum & McCormick she's up for supporting a goode cause @KimSherrell - Anyone who follows Kim knows she is one of the best Twitter personalities mixing humor with good vibes @MayhemStudios - Calvin is often one of the most ReTweeted people on Twitter with good reason. His blog and design tips are the best online. @JaxLicurse - I see Jackie on Twitter just about every day consistently interacting and supporting others. @lorimoreno - Lori is not only THE most positive person on Twitter, but she makes some cool little designs in her tweets using text characters. @StewartStudio - Diane is another CO tweeter who has supported the cause @Iconic88 - One of my favorite Aussie Tweeters sharing good vibes and loves good food! @givemebargains - Nat is awesome and she RT's whenever we're online at the same time. She's consistent and positive. @Tatiana_K - There's so many great people to list, Tatiana should be higher up the list because of her pleasant vibe she brings to Twitter. I look for her tweetage. @birdsall - Maureen runs Birdsall Interactive. She's doing some cool stuff and we have many same interests: wine, food, site design, social media, etc.... @naomimimi - Yet another awesome CO tweeter who "gets" social media, and she's very supportive of others. @passionsista - Quality tweetage from a quality human being. She's awesome, really awesome. @pugofwar - Ef is like my brother in the bonds of bacon from Boulder. @wineevangelist - We love talking about wine! @CMChadwick - I met Chris at a tweetup, and have had lunch a few times. He's a great CO tweeter who's reach is far and wide @geekmommy - If there's anyone in CO who gets social media more than Lucretia I'd like to meet them. She knows how to "mom it forward" @ColeDavid - David is one of the few wine people who "gets" social media. We've been chatting for almost a year now. @buzzedition - Everyone knows Susan aka BuzzEdition and her famous ~hugs~ sign off on each tweet. @ladydreamer823 - She didn't just vote, she voted 3 times! Any friend of Ted (aka @tekee) is a friend of mine. @Whitsundays - Another one of my favorite Aussie tweeters. Alf is the go-to tweeter for all things related to Queensland. @terri5me2000 @froggie775 @ejoep @southplatte - CO based tweeter I hope to meet some day. @TanyaNoel - One of my newer friends on Twitter. We met via @misternoodle. @timbury - Tim is a cool dude, and always has a way of supporting you when you least expect it. @mclinklove - One of the newer Twitter VIPs. This guy gets it. @Bradinator - We love wine. We love bacon. You can still crash at our place when you come for ski season @gravyfloid - The coolest avatar on Twitter. Period. @isweatbutter - We met because I sweat bacon. Paula Deen loves us. @stoc - More great wine and social media vibes. @TheBigKlosowski - Allen is a CO tweeter who has a sizeable following for a reason. Check him out. @EmmaRileySutton - Thank you @mbernier - Matt and I met a few times in person, he's a cool dude working on a useful Twitter app. @Rajean - Supporting my quest on Facebook and Twitter @donnawhite - Thanks for the RT love

If I didn't add you to the list, it isn't on purpose. Please let me know. I have ADD sometimes and forget but you should be acknowledged. Cheers!

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Carneros Crab Salad

This is one full head of garlic beside another...
Image via Wikipedia

This recipe was inspired by my trip to San Francisco last summer.  Rambling up and down the northern California coast led to the discovery of ingredients for this salad. The epiphany struck while sipping bubbly on the patio at Domaine Carneros. Play around with the white pairings you think would work and leave a comment. There's a nice balance of flavors here with equal emphasis on sweet, sour, bitter and salt.

1 LB crab meat Hard egg slices 1 cup chili sauce 1 TBSP horseradish 2 TBSP lemon juice 1/2 cup sour cream 1 Garlic clove, minced 2 TBSP green onion, finely chopped 1/2 cup Rose wine 1/2 TSP fresh dill 1 head butter lettuce, chopped

Combine chili sauce, horseradish, lemon juice, garlic, onion, dill and wine; refrigerate several hours.  Add half of crab and sour cream to sauce.  Arrange lettuce on plates; top with remaining crab meat.  Spoon on crab cocktail sauce.  Garnish with egg slices.

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Boston Bibb Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette, Almonds and Oranges

Flickr Photo Recipe: Faruk's healthy salad (17/18)
Image by kurafire via Flickr

1 head Bibb Lettuce 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil 1 TBSP butter 1/2 cup slivered almonds 2 large oranges 2 TBSP dijon mustard 2 TBSP red-wine vinegar Salt and Pepper to taste

Wash lettuce, chop into large chunks. In small pan, melt butter and toast almonds for 3-4 minutes. Drain almonds. Pell and section oranges. In a small bowl whisk together mustard, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Gently mix in olive oil. Serve on a salad plate with almonds and orange slices with vinaigrette drizzled over top.

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Asian Pear and Blue Cheese Salad with Tamari Pecans

Raisins.
Image via Wikipedia

Serves 4 people

INGREDIENTS 6 cups mixed salad greens (arugula, lovage, mizuna, baby mustard), chopped 4 TSP pear syrup or sauce 1 TSP extra Virgin olive oil 2 TBSP pear or cider vinegar ¼ cup chopped tamari roasted pecans ¼ cup dried currants or chopped raisins ¼ cup blue cheese, crumbled ! ripe asian pear, cored, peeled and sliced thin Salt and Pepper

In small salad bowl, combine the vinegar and pear syrup. Whisk in the olive oil and set aside.

In large serving bowl, mix together salad greens, pecans and currants. Sprinkle mixture with blue cheese and season lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk dressing again, then drizzle over salad. Serve on chilled salad plates. Fan sliced pears over each salad.

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Fusilli Salade Niçoise

Château Musar
Image of Château Musar via Snooth

Serves 4 people

This recipe requires about 2 hours start to finish, including 1 hour marinating time on tuna. Imagine traveling to an outdoor market in the south of France.  You come across some ingredients and decide to go home to make a tasty yet healthy dish.  Depending on what seasonal ingredients are available, the wine pairing will change.  This is a spring and summer inspired pairing. Rosé serves as a pleasant combination that compliments the wide range of flavors you’ll taste in this saladChateau Musar is a legendary winery largely unknown.  The rosé is made with 100% Cinsault, which is similar to a syrah or Grenache.  It’s bone dry, but with enough residual sweetness from the sugars in the wine grapes.

INGREDIENTS SALAD 1 8 OZ tuna fillet (can substitute canned albacore tuna) 1 TSP Dijon mustard 3 TBSP olive oil 1 TBSP red wine vinegar 1 LB. Whole Wheat Fusilli pasta 8 anchovy fillets, drained and chopped ½ red onion, thinly sliced 2 celery stalks, chopped 3 Roma tomatoes, sliced into quarters 1 Red bell pepper, seeded and chopped 18 Niçcoise olives, pitted and halved

DRESSING 6 TBSP. Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 TBSP lemon juice 14 basil leaves, chopped 1 garlic clove, minced ½ TSP sugar or Splenda® salt and pepper to taste 2 cooked eggs, sliced

In small mixing bowl, mix together Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar and 3 TBSP olive oil.    Cover tuna fillet with mixture, let stand 1 hour.

If using canned albacore tuna, skip this step and just marinate for 1 hour in mixture. Preheat broiler.  Broil tuna for 3 minutes (or until browned) each side four inches from heat source.  Transfer to a medium bowl and break tuna into chunks.

In large pot, boil pasta with pinch of salt until tender.  Drain pasta ten rinse with cold water.  Drain, then put into a large bowl.  Toss with 1 TBSP. olive oil, add tuna, anchovies and vegetables.

In medium bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, basil, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper.  Pour over salad and toss together.  Refrigerate for 1 hour, serve in bowls and garnish with sliced egg.

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Asian Cucumber Salad

Cucumbers (specifically, Gherkins) gathered fo...
Image via Wikipedia

INGREDIENTS

10 cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced 1 bunch green onions, finely chopped 2 TSP honey 2 TSP toasted sesame seeds 1/2 cup white wine vinegar 1/2 TSP sesame oil 5 TBSP low sodium soy sauce Mixed salad greens

Arrange cucumber slices and green onions in a shallow glass dish.  In a covered container, shake remaining ingredients together (except salad greens).  Pour mixture over cucumber and green onions.  Refrigerate for at least one hour. Drain dressing from cucumber and onions.  Serve cucumbers and onions on salad greens with dressing drizzled on top.

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Two Bean Salad with Tarragon Dressing

Italian olive oil, both oil and an oil bottle ...
Image via Wikipedia

Serves 8 people

INGREDIENTS FOR DRESSING ¼ cup balsamic vinegar 2 TSP dijon mustard 1 TSP maple syrup 1 garlic clove 1/4 cup olive oil 1 TBS fresh tarragon Salt and Pepper, about 1/8 TSP each

INGREDIENTS FOR SALAD 2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces 15 OZ can chickpeas, drained 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 6 OZ can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped ½ cup pitted kalamata olives, halved ¼ cup sliced red onion ¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley

Steam green beans 2-3 minutes until they are crisp and tender. Cool green beans under cold water. In large salad bowl toss green beans with remaining salad ingredients.

To make tarragon dressing blend vinegar, mustard, syrup, garlic, salt and pepper to taste in blender or food processor until smooth. With machine running gradually add in oil and tarragon and blend until smooth. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat.

A nice, affordable Chardonnay to go with this recipe is the 2005 Red Rover Chardonnay from California's Central Coast. For $8 a bottle it provides an easy-to-enjoy-easy-on-the-pockebook experience. Like many Central Coast Chardonnay's, the Red Rover has a rich, buttery mouthfeel with flavors of pear, green apple and lychee.

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Chipotle Shrimp Salad

1 LB uncooked shrimp2 TBSP vegetable oil 1/2 cup cream cheese 1 TBSP+2TSP lime juice 2 TBSP fresh cilantro, chopped 1 TSP chipotle chiles from a can, minced 1/2 TSP garlic, minced 1/2 TSP fresh oregano, minced 1/2 TSP onion salt 3/4 cup corn kernels cut from ear of corn, uncooked 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced 3 flour tortillas Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

In large skillet, heat 1 TBSP oil over medium-high heat. Season shrimp with salt and pepper, and cook until pink on both side, about 2-3 minutes. When cool, chop shrimp into large pieces. In medium bowl stir together cream cheese, chopped cilantro, lime juice, chipotle chiles, garlic, oregano and onion salt. Add corn, bell peppers and shrimp. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place tortillas in a stack and cut off edges leaving 6-inch squares. Brush both sides with oil. Stack squares then cut into smaller squares, about 16. Press a square firmly into the bottom of a small muffin tin. Season with salt and bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Once cool, fill each tortilla cup with shrimp mixture. Serve as an appetizer with cilantro leaf for garnish.

Scallop and Endive Salad

Serves 4 INGREDIENTS 16 scallops ½ cup extra virgin olive oil 2 TBSP red wine vinegar 1 TSP coriander seeds, toasted and cracked 3 TBSP orange juice concentrate Salt and pepper 3 oranges, peeled and segmented 2 endives, cut lengthwise, ¼ inch slices 1 red onion, thinly sliced ½ cup chopped walnuts (toast for 10 min. @ 400 covered with butter and honey) ¼ cup dried cherries or cranberries

Blend ¼ cup olive oil, orange juice, red wine vinegar, coriander, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Combine oranges, endives and red onion in salad bowl. Toss with half of olive oil mixture.

Season scallops with salt and pepper. In large pan heat 1 TBSP olive oil over medium heat. Lightly brown scallops (3-4 min/side). Remove from pan, keep warm. Only cook up to 8 scallops at once.

Add walnuts to salad. Portion onto 4 plates, scallops on top. Sprinkle with cherries or cranberries.