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Simple elegance is our mantra for this year’s holidays: Easy over fussy, versatile over specialized, efficient over complicated. In this spirit, we focus on #InspiredIngredients, those savory kitchen saviors that can play multiple roles. Here you will find a treasure trove of recipes and tips from our Estate Chef that extend the reach of central ingredients. Chef’s quick tips and tricks will have you thanking the humble cauliflower and pursuing persimmons. Cheers to paring down the year and making time to pair the perfect bottle of wine with your favorite people. This is #HolidaysDoneRight.

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Raw Organic Orange Fuyu Perssimons, in a wicker basked with blue linen napkin

One of Chef’s favorite #InspiredIngredients is persimmons. The Fuyu variety is great when raw. Thinly slice the persimmons and add them to your favorite holiday salad, or make a nice fresh relish of apple and persimmon as a topping for butternut squash soup or an accompaniment to a rich, creamy Brie. The Hachiya variety is best utilized in baked goods. Persimmon cake and persimmon bread are wonderfully flavorful and delectable when topped with cream cheese frosting. Share your persimmon pursuits with us on @stsupery social media.

Golden roasted Brussels sprouts prepared with bacon in a large serving bowl

Brussels sprouts are one of Chef’s favorite side dishes during the holidays. This #InspiredIngredients is not only tasty but versatile as well. Try them roasted then finished with sage brown butter for a more classic flavor profile. For a fun and easy appetizer, wrap them in bacon, secure with a toothpick and roast them until the bacon is crispy, then serve with a lemon and herb crème fraiche dipping sauce. Brussels Sprouts can also be served raw like in a salad. Thinly slice them and toss with apples, cranberries, toasted pecans and a creamy blue cheese dressing.

Kale Green cabbage in rustic basket

Kale is a hearty winter green that can be much more interesting than one might think. For a fun garnish or unique snack, bake kale in the oven with a little olive oil and salt until crisp. It’s flavorful, light as a feather and melts in your mouth. For a more robust version of pesto, blanch and shock the kale, then blend with parsley, lemon juice, parmesan, roasted pistachios and olive oil. It’s great by itself on pasta, atop pretty much any roasted meat, or simply as a dip for bread. This #InspiredIngredients will have you cheering kale yeah!

Raw baby fennel bulbs and fronts, in closeup.

Fennel is one of Chef’s favorite flavors. It is a versatile #InspiredIngredients and can be made to pair nicely with a whole range of wines. Shaved fennel marinated in citrus is a great addition to salads or fish dishes and has a great freshness and crunch. Fennel and apple puree is delicious with scallops or roasted chicken. Caramelized fennel is awesome in risotto or pureed with roasted cauliflower. Try braising fennel and serving it with butternut squash under a nice pork chop. So many preparations, so little time!

Roasted White Organic Cauliflower with Onions and Garlic

Cauliflower to the rescue! You may even have it in your garden right now. Our Estate Chef recommends three equally enticing preparations for this #InspiredIngredients. Cauliflower can be roasted and tossed with sage brown butter, deep fried and Parmesan crusted, or even combined with cheddar cheese to create a comforting autumn soup. And with three different dishes comes the opportunity to pair three different wines.

Perfectly browned crab cakes in frying pan with steel turning utensil

It’s Dungeness crab season in Northern California! You will often find this celebrated crustacean on locals’ holiday tables. Our Estate Chef’s favorite dish has to be #InspiredIngredients crab cakes with whole grain Dijon aioli. She keeps it clean and simple with lots of fresh herbs and citrus zest, crème fraiche, eggs and just enough panko to hold everything together. Some other great crab-centric dishes are crab ravioli with pink peppercorn beurre blanc, crab bisque with sweet corn fritters and crab salad with frisee, avocado, grapefruit and a sesame lime vinaigrette.

Spinach creamy soup topped with creme fraiche in a white bowl on light background with toast points

Crème fraiche is a much better option than heavy cream for a lot of dishes. Heavy cream adds little flavor and can often dull flavors. But, this #InspiredIngredients has a tanginess that makes a dish more interesting, while still giving you that level of richness and mouthfeel you are looking for. Whisk it into pureed soups as a finishing element, as well as risotto.

Feijoa fruit on wooden background

Not a super common or well-known fruit, pineapple guavas are sweet and tart delights that are in season during the cooler months. They are delicious when eaten raw. Try thinly slicing this #InspiredIngredients and including them on your holiday cheese board, or even over a salad of bitter greens as a sweet element to complement the dish. Scoop out the inside and cook it gently with a touch of honey then strain for a lovely sauce over cheesecake or vanilla gelato. These versatile fruits have a beautifully unique tropical flavor that makes them a great accompaniment to cheeses and desserts and pairs nicely with our Moscato.

Organic sage plants growing in the fields, close up view.

Sage is a wonderful herb for autumn and winter cuisine. Incorporate this #InspiredIngredients it into spice rubs, fry the leaves for use as a garnish on butternut squash soup or pumpkin ravioli, or whip up a quick sage brown butter sauce for gnocchi or grilled salmon.

Cocoa powder in bowl with spoon on rustic wood table

The obvious uses for cocoa, like hot chocolate, brownies and chocolate cream pie, are delicious, but not a lot of people know it’s also great in savory uses. A favorite dish is cocoa crusted pork tenderloin. The earthy, herbaceous characteristics of the #InspiredIngredients cocoa are a great complement to the meat, as well as red wine like Cabernet Franc or Merlot.

Wicker basket full of red and yellow ripe autumn apples top view background.ound. Seasonal fruit gathering, fall harvest in apple garden, agriculture and farming concept

Apples seem like an obvious choice for a holiday #InspiredIngredients. Of course they are great in pies and crisps but apples are delicious in savory applications as well. A roasted apple and fennel puree is lovely with scallops or roasted halibut. Add thinly sliced apples to a salad of kale, faro, cherries, red wine vinaigrette, and blue cheese. A favorite dish is roasted Brussels Sprouts with brown butter apples, cranberries and rosemary.

Pecan nuts in wooden bowl

Pecan pie is by far an amazing holiday pie. Candied pecans are a great holiday gift or garnish for eggnog ice cream. Spicy roasted pecans are great for salads, or a simple snack to tide you over before the big meal. Chop up this #InspiredIngredients and add them to cornbread stuffing for a little crunch and sweet nuttiness.

Fresh ginger whole and chopped on rustic wood surface

Who doesn’t love the refreshing spice of ginger? For a festive holiday cocktail, try juicing fresh ginger and blending it with vodka, lime juice, tonic water and pomegranate seeds. Food wise, incorporate this #InspiredIngredients into dishes like curried butternut squash soup, ginger carrot puree and pork tenderloin with soy and ginger braised shiitake mushrooms.

Close shot of Pomegranate

Pomegranates are a beautiful and unique winter fruit. They add a pop of color, flavor and texture to any holiday meal. Try sprinkling them over a salad of arugula, gorgonzola and toasted pecans, or as a garnish for your favorite fruity cocktail. For a more ambitious application, use the juice of this #InspiredIngredients in a red wine vinaigrette or reduce the juice to a light syrup that is a great finishing touch for something rich like duck, pork belly, or foie gras.

Mustard sauce with grains, old wooden background, selective focus

Our Estate Chef uses mustard in a lot of her dishes, specifically in vinaigrettes and other sauces. Not only does this #InspiredIngredients add a lovely tanginess and pop to food, it is also an emulsifier, binding fats and liquids, giving you a much smoother, perceptively creamier texture, as well as a cohesive presentation with an unbroken sauce.

Sliced lemon, lime, tangerine, orange and grapefruit

Fresh citrus juice and zest is a must for almost all of our Estate Chef’s dishes. Lemon, lime, grapefruit, or orange can add a pop of acidity that brings an otherwise flat dish to life. Not only does citrus, a #InspiredIngredients, amplify flavors and add dimension to food, that zingy element makes the dish pair more effortlessly with the wine.

Bottle pouring virgin olive oil in a bowl close up

Expand your use of this exceptional #InspiredIngredients beyond vinaigrettes and frying/sautéing. Depending on the type, olive oil can be very versatile. The high quality extra virgin olive oils are best utilized as dipping oils or finishing oils, like drizzles over soups or salads, in order to showcase their bright peppery and/or grassy flavors. Mellower, more buttery extra virgin olive oils are great in desserts: lemon olive oil pound cake, olive oil ice cream with balsamic reduction and olive oil cheese cake with raspberry compote are all great examples of sweet applications that are delicious and unique thanks to the texture and flavor of olive oil.

Bowl of Balsamic vinegar on wooden table

Champagne vinegar is one of St. Supéry Chef’s most utilized vinegars. It’s great for salad dressings, aiolis, poaching eggs and adding a little acidity and brightness to soups. Her favorite use of this #InspiredIngredients, however, is beurre blanc. Combine champagne vinegar with some fresh lemon and orange juice, a little white wine and reduce until almost syrupy, then swirl in butter until thick, smooth and glossy and finish with a pinch of salt and fresh herbs. Absolutely delicious over your favorite fish!

Jar of liquid honey with honeycomb inside and bunch of dry lavender over old wooden table. Dark rustic style, selective focus

Just like chefs commonly add salt to their dishes, the same can go for sweetness. Adding some sort of sweet ingredient to savory foods can have a great effect on taste. Chef believes that touching every single flavor on our palates leads to a more satisfying and impressive flavor experience. Honey is one of her favorite sweet #InspiredIngredients. Chances are, if she’s making a salad dressing, there’s going to be a couple teaspoons of wildflower honey. Not only does it take some of the harsh edge off the vinegar, but it adds a nice, smooth texture to the sauce and helps bind all the ingredients.

Bread Crumbs in transparent color spoon

Panko bread crumbs are Chef’s favorite type of bread crumbs. This #InspiredIngredients are much lighter and crispier than other types, making them ideal for breading and achieving a superb, delicately crunchy layer on things like arancini, fried chicken, fried polenta and chevre fritters. She also uses panko in crab cakes, meatballs, or any other type of food requiring the addition of bread crumbs as a binder. Because of their light and airy texture, they easily absorb liquid without getting gummy or heavy, giving you a much lighter texture in the finished product. You don’t even notice they’re there!

fresh ricotta in olive wood bowl on old table, shallow focus

Mild in flavor, Ricotta cheese is amazingly versatile and a wonderful #InspiredIngredients. Whip it with lemon zest and basil and dollop in warm tomato soup; mix it with artichoke, mushroom and thyme for a delicious ravioli filling; fold it into polenta for a rich, creamy accompaniment to braised short ribs. For your sweet tooth, make a Meyer lemon ricotta cheesecake with blueberry compote; fry up some pumpkin ricotta hushpuppies with caramel dipping sauce; indulge in dark chocolate cupcakes with honeyed ricotta frosting and candied orange. Ricotta can take you from appetizers to the dessert course!

Large pink sea salt on blue background.

You can make your own wine salts
to wow holiday party guests, give away as gifts, or just to use up that extra wine you somehow weren’t able to finish! Make sure you buy the coarsest grain salt you can find. Small salt crystals will dissolve in the wine but larger crystals will maintain their solidity. Reduce the wines slowly until thickened, almost syrupy, and gently stir the salt into the reduction. Keep adding salt and continuously stirring until all the wine is absorbed and the crystals no longer clump and stick together. Our Chef uses red, white and rosé…all are beautifully colored and uniquely aromatic. Your beautifully made #InspiredIngredients are best used as finishing salt.

Bundle of Fresh Leeks - Closeup of some fresh Leeks with the white bulb and roots

Leeks are not meek! Chef finds these #InspiredIngredients to be one of the more flavorful members of the onion family. They are delicate enough to melt into a nice sauce or soup, but they can also be fried and used as a perfectly crunchy garnish for any meal.

Raw Organic Maitake Mushrooms in a Bunch on a bamboo serving paddle

Chef loves mushrooms of all kinds but if forced to choose a favorite, Maitake, or hen of the woods, would win the #InspiredIngredients. Not only do they boast a unique flavor, but their texture is lovely and they are aromatically luscious. One of Chef’s favorite dishes is gnocchi topped with sautéed Maitakes and sage brown butter: Simple and satisfying!

Bright green Sicilian Castelvetrano Olives in Terracotta Bowl on a Marble Surface

Castelvetrano olives are mildly briny and fruity olives that are great eaten on their own and also shine when added to dishes paired with crisp white wines. St. Supéry Chef, Britny Maureze blends them with shallots, capers, lemon and fresh herbs for a relish to go with chicken, shrimp, or Chilean sea bass. Or slice these #InspiredIngredients up and sauté with shaved fennel and baby spinach and serve topped with seared halibut and grapefruit supremes.

Heap of garam masala curry powder in a wooden bowl

Although you might associate Garam Masala with Indian cooking, it’s actually a great spice blend to have on hand during the holiday season. In addition to the classic holiday #InspiredIngredients spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, Garam Masala contains several other spices like coriander, cumin, mace, chili and cardamom that add depth of flavor and more nuance to your food.

Holiday Tips and Recipes from St. Supéry Estate Chef, Britny Sundin

St. Supéry Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Wine Pairing: 2014 Napa Valley Estate Moscato

Recipe >

St. Supéry Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Wine Pairing: 2014 Napa Valley Estate Moscato

Recipe >

St. Supéry Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Wine Pairing: 2014 Napa Valley Estate Moscato

Recipe >