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This Throwback Thursday, our guest host for the evening was Vic Roberts, owner & winemaker of Victor Hugo Winery.
I think Vic and I hit it off because A. His wines are delicious and B. He was running a small, family-operated vineyard and winery. I mean very small, as in just two people (he and his wife Leslie) do everything!! Like Jim and I starting Southern Napa.
We've seen Vic every Spring for the last seven years. That picture was his most recent visit. He hasn't changed! My mom would tell you he is a 'handsome man'! When Southern Napa opened, my mom (Mary) was my sous chef, executive chef, expediter, dishwasher, etc. She's sort of retired now and helps out on occasion but, she hasn't missed a Vic Roberts Wine Tasting yet!
This particular tasting was on April 16, 2013. Yes, the day after tax day. We figured after the Monday that was Tax day, folks would want some wine, that actually may be why we decided on that day and date.
What we didn't know would happen on Monday, was the Boston Marathon bombing. We considered cancelling the tasting as things were uneasy. But, we did decide to go forward with it. Vic told us story after story while we nibbled on crudite, tuna nachos, Shiitake mushrooms, etc. and finished with his delightful late harvest Zinfandel 'Quasi'.
Ultimately, Vic was what we all needed that night! We were grateful to have had 90 plus minutes to distract us from such an awful tragedy.
This Spring has been obviously different. We didn't get to see Vic this year, which makes me more anxious to see Vic Roberts in Spring 2021!
The Wine: Victor Hugo Estate Cabernet
The Pairing: Shiitake and two-cheese biegnet
The Match: Mushrooms and Gruyere would most often be better paired with a Pinot Noir but, the 2010 Victor Hugo Estate Cabernet was a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in French and Hungarian Oak. It was a beautiful, light bodied, elegant cabernet. When you took a bite of the fried beignet, it brought out some of the lighter, earthy flavors of the oak on the wine and the saltiness of the gruyere and parmesan made the cherry notes even brighter in the wine.
I still think this recipe will pair well with the current vintage of Victor Hugo Estate Cabernet even though it is now blended with Merlot and Tannat.
Grab the recipe here and get to cookin'!
Shiitake & Two-Cheese Beignets
9 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 packed cup shredded Gruyère cheese (4 ounces)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 quart vegetable oil, for frying
In a medium skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shiitakes, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring, until tender and golden, 8 minutes. Finely chop the mushrooms.
In a large saucepan, bring the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter, the milk, cayenne and 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the flour, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon until combined. Cook the dough over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until it comes away from the sides of the pan, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions, until a soft, silky dough forms. Stir in the shiitakes, Gruyère, Parmesan and parsley. Step 3
In a large saucepan, heat the oil to 375°. Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon and working in batches, add 12 level scoops of the batter to the hot oil. Fry until the beignets are golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beignets to a paper towel-lined rack to drain. Serve hot.
Yields 4 dozen
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