Clif Notes

Cavalo Salad

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Friday, February 12, 2016

From the Bruschetteria Food Truck
Recipe by Chef John McConnell

One of the most popular items on our Bruschetteria Food Truck menu is the farm fresh Cavalo Salad. This salad brings together kale, cabbage and apples from the Clif Family Farm, tossed with a garlic-anchovy dressing. It’s delicious as a side salad for one of our seasonal bruschetta or on its’ own as a simple and healthy lunch.

Salad Ingredients:
1 medium head kale, washed and cut into 2 inch pieces
1 small head of cabbage, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 large apples, chopped into ½ inch pieces
¼ cup pecorino, grated fine

Dressing Ingredients:
5 to 6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 TBSP: capers, drained
1 TBSP: anchovy filets packed in oil, rinsed and squeezed of excess oil
1 TBSP: plus Dijon mustard (slightly heaping tablespoon measure)
2 TBSP + 2 tsp: fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup: neutral vegetable oil (safflower, canola, grapeseed or light olive oil)
1/4 cup: Clif Family Kitchen Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 to 3 dashes: Asian fish sauce (add to taste)

Mash the garlic, capers and anchovies together, either in a mortar with a pestle or on a cutting board with a chefs’ knife. Transfer to a bowl if not using a mortar. Add the mustard and lemon juice, stir to mix well. Measure the two oils into a cup measure with a pouring spout. Slowly pour a thin stream of oil into the dressing ingredients as you stir vigorously with the pestle or whisk to create an emulsion. Once emulsified, add a few dashes of fish sauce and whisk until incorporated, taste for seasoning.

To assemble the salad, mix the kale, cabbage, and apples. Liberally dress with garlic-anchovy vinaigrette coating all ingredients evenly and sprinkle with pecorino.

Snapper Crudo with Clif Family Kitchen Gewürz Salt

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Recipe by Executive Chef John McConnell

2--8-ounce filets fresh snapper, skin removed
2 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp Clif Family Kitchen Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp Clif Family Kitchen Gewürztraminer Salt
1 tsp pink peppercorns, crushed
2 stalks celery, shaved thin
Seasonal garnishes such as shaved beets, radishes, edible flowers and micro greens

Season both sides of each snapper filet with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Set the filets on a paper towel lined plate and refrigerate for 2-3 hours, depending on the thickness of the filets. This is a quick cure or crudo that allows for the salt to increase firmness of the raw fish and rid it of taste impurities. After 2-3 hours, wash any excess salt from the snapper and pat dry. With a very sharp knife, cut thin slices of crudo and arrange on a platter. Drizzle the snapper crudo with CFK Olive Oil, and lemon juice. Sprinkle CFK Gewürztraminer Salt and crushed pink peppercorns directly on top of the fish. Garnish with celery and delicate farm fresh produce. Enjoy with a glass of chilled Clif Family Gewürztraminer or Rosé Of Grenache.

Winter in the Vineyard

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Thursday, January 21, 2016

Blog Post Written By Laura Barrett

The winter months in the vineyard are quiet and peaceful. The leaves have fallen off the vines, leaving them bare, and dormancy sets in. This gives the crew some time off, Mother Nature an opportunity to saturate the ground, and Winemakers time to plan for the coming season. Here is what is happening at the Clif Family Vineyards this winter….

On Howell Mountain we are welcoming the 20+ inches of rain (and even some snow!) that has already fallen this season. The cover crops that were planted in the fall are thriving in this wet ground. We are doing some off season projects, such as maintaining the fence line and installing additional irrigation line so we can water weak sections of the vineyard separately. We are also thinning shrub in the forest area between our two blocks of Cabernet at Croquet Vineyard. During the growing season, this will improve air flow and reduce mildew pressure. And, at Cold Springs we are preparing to receive two new frost fans that will help protect our precious vines come April. Pruning will begin in just few weeks. In an effort to improve uniformity, we will retrain the vines at Cold Springs from cane pruning to cordon.

As we button up all these winter projects, the 2016 growing season is just around the corner. This is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the 2015 vintage, taste the newly made wines, and set vineyard goals for our next vintage.

Vegetable Couscous Salad

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Recipe by Executive Chef John McConnell

2 cups couscous
½ cup raisins
1 1/3 vegetable stock
1/3 Clif Family Kitchen Extra Virgin Oil
1-4 ounce package Clif Family Kitchen Lemon Ginger Almonds, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, minced
2 medium zucchini, small dice
1 large red bell pepper, small dice
6 scallions cut into ½ inch pieces
2 tsp salt
4-5 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cumin

Bring all the vegetable stock to a boil. Place the couscous, raisins and one tablespoon of Clif Family Kitchen Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a bowl. Pour the boiling stock over the couscous, stir with a fork and let stand covered with plastic wrap for 5 minutes.

Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped Clif Family Kitchen Lemon Ginger Almonds and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove the nuts with a slotted spoon and drain over a paper towel lined plate.

Add the minced onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high and add the chopped zucchini and bell pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and add scallions and salt.

Add the vegetable mixture to the couscous. Stir in toasted Clif Family Kitchen Lemon Ginger Almonds, lemon juice and cumin. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

5 Steps to Finishing White Wine

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Blog Post Written By Laura Barrett

Winter months in the winery bring many different types of projects, such as restarting this year’s stuck fermentations, racking last year’s wines out of barrel, deep cleaning crush equipment or preparing wines for bottling. For me, this winter marks an exciting time as I prepare to bottle my very first wines that I made for Clif Family from grape to bottle - the 2015 Sauvignon Blanc and the 2015 Rose of Grenache. In preparation for this process, the white wines will be carefully finished in this step by step process:

1. Evaluation – At this stage, I look at each lot of wine, grouped into its individual components, such as neutral French oaks barrels, stainless steel barrels, and the press fraction. This is an opportunity to declassify any barrels that do not meet our quality standards.

2. Blending – Once I know the base group of barrels that I am working with, the blending process begins. How will these wines best fit together? It’s quite random at the start, with many trial tastes, but quickly becomes more focused and strategic. At this point, I will call in other tasters for blind evaluations and feedback.

3. Adjustments – Once I land on a final base blend, I look for any adjustments that the wine may need. I might do an acid trial where I taste the wine with slightly varied acidity. Or, I may do a color trial where I slightly adjust the pink tone of the Rose. Most often, the decision is made to do nothing at all.

4. Stabilize – Clarity in white wine can be an important factor to winemakers. Many consumers are accustomed to a clear glass of white wine, free of any solid matter or haze. Prior to bottling, wines are typically stable in their environment, which is a constant cellar temperature of 58 degrees. When the wine temperature varies much above or below that, the wine will precipitate solids. In the consumer world, this can be simply leaving the wine in your refrigerator for a week or in a hot car on a summer day. Though a highly debatable topic amongst winemakers, many will prepare the wine for these unfortunate circumstances. At Clif Family, careful fining trials are used to determine the most minimal process needed for stabilization.

5. Filter and Bottle – Final filtration prior to bottling insures clarity and stability in the bottle.

So, with the cold weather settling in, many are enjoying their big red wines with winters stews or roasts. Me, I’m working on these fine white wines, so that when the warm sun peeks through in February and we all have spring fever, the 2015 Clif Family Rose will be ready and waiting.

Pork Spare Ribs with Porcini Spice Rub

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Recipe by Executive Chef John McConnell

1 (3 pound) rack of pork spare ribs, fresh or thawed
1 (2.5 ounce) jar Clif Family Kitchen Porcini Spice Rub

Preheat oven to 450F. Lightly season pork ribs with kosher salt and let stand for five minutes. Next, over a sheet pan or baking dish lined with aluminum foil, rub a ¼ cup of rub on the meat side and 2 tablespoons on the rack side. Season meat side of ribs once again with salt and place ribs on the sheet pan meat side up. Bake for 25-28 minutes, rotating ribs every 10 minutes, basting with juices and checking to ensure that they are caramelizing without burning the spice rub. Once ribs are golden brown and you begin to smell the aromas of the rub, remove ribs from oven. Lower temp of your oven to 250F. Take the rack of ribs and wrap securely in foil to create an aluminum pouch. By trapping the steam during cooking, the ribs will tenderize in their own juices and fall-off-the-bone. Cooking time depends on size and meatiness your ribs and requires patience and constant checking. I recommend one hour of cooking per every two pounds of ribs i.e 1.5 hours for this recipe. Once the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender, remove ribs from the oven and open foil pouch to allow the ribs to rest for ten minutes. Serve as is or with some delicious Peachy BBQ Sauce.

Peachy BBQ Sauce
(yields 3 cups)

1 TBSP Clif Family Kitchen Estate Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 TBSP fresh garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Pinch of chili powder, New Mexican preferably
½ cup yellow onion, minced
1 TBSP yellow mustard
1 ½ cups ketchup
1 10 oz. jar Clif Family Kitchen O’Henry Peach Preserve
1-2 TBSP Clif Family Kitchen Red Wine Vinegar (to taste), add more for Carolina style BBQ
3-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2-3 dashes hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
*optional: 6 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped

Place olive oil, garlic and pepper flakes in a stainless steel, non-reactive pot. On medium heat, caramelize garlic to a light golden brown. Add onion and sweat until tender and translucent. Add remaining ingredients, except for basil, and whisk sauce to incorporate. Once sauce has come to a simmer, remove from heat and stir in basil. Season to taste and keep warm on stove top.

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