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Tic-tock, tic-tock, tic-tock… only days until Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Festivus (Feats of Strength by Jeff), and New Year’s Eve. I have friends and family that will be hosting, attending, and celebrating all of them.
Every time a bottle of Gentleman Farmer is opened, an angel gets his/her wings.
Remember to collect corks, not wine. Open the good stuff and celebrate the year with those important to you.
Vintner, Cook, Consummate Holiday Host
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Truth be told, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
This generous couple retired from their project in 2017, and my husband, Jeff, picked up the mantel in 2018. He now coordinates all the donations, volunteers, and a very big meal prep over a few days.
Since the pandemic, Jeff has added delivery. It has been eye-opening to see how many people ask for a single meal delivered accompanied by a short visit. There may be some wine served and delivered, and that is legit; after all, it’s not coffee country.
Thanks to Jeff for his years of work and coordination. This year he and his team delivered 42 meals and received 80 people for the sit-down dinner. I know many are grateful for this opportunity for the community to come together.
While Jeff and the volunteers gave due thanks at Community Hall, I was home pulling out all the stops. This year we hosted a whopping 16 people, too many for our table that seats eight comfortably.
Bragging rights; the most guests we have had for Thanksgiving were a stunning 27 in 2019. If you have visited our home, you can imagine the logistic circus with so many guests. Thanks to Jeff and his Italian-American DNA, much of the party takes place at card tables in the garage.
Gearing up for all the entertaining, I have been poring over my mother’s recipe cards. These gems are a multi-generational, mix-of-families, centuries-old collection of recipes from Ireland, Poland, Sunset, Ladies Home Journal, and Good Housekeeping, with a little Arroyo Grande Womens’ Club thrown in.
For those of us watching our weight, I have these Pacific Gas and Electric Calorie-Watchers’ Recipe cards. Clam Dip?
Aside from ideas for the holidays, I am feeling some new takes and angles on that Cookbook-Of-Sorts I keep yammering about.
I can’t wait to riff on these recipes at The Bungalow. We are over two months into construction on our Studio for Gustatory Well-Being. We plan to open our social space with a large kitchen for demonstration and production in the spring of 2023.
This will be a space for Gentleman Farmer Wine Club Collective members and their invited guests. What can you expect? There will be wine, cooking, eating well, music, magic, and a few puppets for good measure.
Politics is not my thing. I’ll leave that to my husband, Jeff. That’s his jam. He served on the Yountville Town Council for six years and continues with advocacy throughout the state. I do have opinions, and I always vote.
Scott Wiener is a California State Senator representing District 11, including all of San Francisco and some surrounding areas. He has been a strong advocate for affordable housing. I turned to him, not for politics, but for some wine, food, and fun.
Joey Wolosz: Outside of politics (which can get creative), do you have any creative outlets?
Scott Wiener: I’ve gotten really into TikTok lately and have started making TikToks multiple times a week. It’s a lot of fun.
JW: Was there a time when you made a connection with wine and food?
SW: During the pandemic, when we were all home all the time, I cooked more than I ever had before. I’m obsessed with pasta and made a lot of pasta dishes. I also found a favorite Chilean wine called Cassiero del Diablo. Drinking it reminded me of spending a year in Chile on a Fulbright after college.
JW: Friends and family excluded, who are two people you’d like to share a long and lingering meal with?
SW: Cher and Kylie Minogue.
JW: What would you serve?
JW: What cookbook(s) are you currently diving into?
SW: I’ll be honest. The only cookbook I really use is my mom. Whenever I need help with a recipe, I call her and she talks me through how to make something. She’s the best.
JW: What is your spirit animal?
JW: What is your motto?
SW: Treat everyone with respect.
It is said Malfatti are a creation of Italian immigrant refugees who escaped the destruction of the San Francisco 1906 earthquake to Napa. NPR.org has an interesting article, “Malfatti, The Dumpling That Became A Napa Valley Legend,” by Lisa Morehouse, if you are interested in the history.
This is Jeff’s Italian grandmother’s recipe. Malfatti are spinach and ricotta dumplings similar to gnocchi and, oddly are sold at different liquor stores in Napa. For our wedding in 2017, we taste-tested the malfatti from Val’s Liquors and Lawler’s Liquors, deciding to go with the dumplings from Lawler’s.
They are served with tomato sauce of your choosing. I offer my recipe for amatriciana. Jeff and I enjoy them with our 2019 Gentleman Farmer Napa Valley Red Wine.