Make Dad Dinner!


You need to make Dad a meal on his special day.  And what does he want? MEAT!  What kind of meat?  Steak of course.  Grilling a steak may seem like the simplest thing to do, but if you add a special sauce on the side it seems fancier.  Sauce seems like it would be tricky, but this is so fast and easy you will be making it all the time.  Chimichurri sauce comes from Argentina, the land of red meat.  This recipe has a little spice to it.  If that is too much? Skip the peppers. We won't tell.  And Dad will love it and that was the point of this anyway, right?

Chimichurri Sauce

(makes about 2 cups)

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped

  • 1 Fresno chile or red jalapeño, finely chopped

  • 3–4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or finely chopped

  • ¾ cup red wine vinegar

  • 1½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more

  • ½ cup finely chopped cilantro

  • ¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped oregano

  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Pairing suggestion: Oak Cliff Cellars Firebrick Zin (it holds up to the spice.)

Qorkz Kitchen - ZaZa Zin & Smokey Chipotle Chili


Our own, Jill Hoffman is making this chili in Dunphy Park in Sausalito for the city’s 40th Annual Chili Cook-off! If you are surprised by the addition of the chocolate, remember that Mexico is the origin of the cocoa plant and chili peppers! And who doesn’t love wine and chocolate?


  • 1 lb ground beef

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, diced*

  • 2 red bell peppers, roasted and diced

  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced

  • 4 15 oz. cans dark red kidney beans

  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste

  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar

  • 2 28 oz. cans whole tomatoes

  • 2 tbsp. chili powder

  • 2 tbsp. cumin

  • 1 can chipotle peppers, diced (use to taste, these will be smokey and spicy)

  • 4-6 oz. dark chocolate

  • 1/2 cup red wine, zinfandel recommended

  • ½ cup beef broth

  • 1 tsp salt

  • Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

  • Sour cream (optional)


Brown the ground beef over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or the bowl of a slow cooker with a sauté function. (Alternatively, complete steps one and two in a separate pan on the stove and then transfer to a slow cooker.)

Add the olive oil, onions, peppers and garlic to the browned beef, sauté until the onions become translucent.

Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Simmer on low heat/cook on the slow cooker's low function for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Crush the tomatoes as you go.

Serve with sour cream and cheddar cheese.

Note: This recipe makes eight 1 1/2 cup servings. 

To celebrate this recipe Calstar Cellars is offering a special sale on it’s 2014 ZaZa Zinfandel for $200 a case. Use the Promo Code: CHILI ZIN

You can also buy on the 2012 Sangiacomo Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2016 Pinot Meunier Rose and 2013 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay for $250 a case using Promo Code: CHILI

Qorkz Kitchen - Lamb Skewers


Lamb Skewers  -  Recipe by Chef Jayne Reichert

Serves 6

  • 2 pounds lamb sirloin
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Greek dried Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried Thyme
  • 1 cup red wine
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • 1 or 2 oranges, zest, and juice from 1
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For Serving:

  • 1 Onion
  • Splash of vinegar
  • Fresh oregano
  • Tzatziki
  • Flatbreads

Pound 2 of the cloves of garlic into a paste with a bit of salt.  Remove all of the surface fat from the sirloin of lamb and rub the garlic paste into the lamb.  Allow this to sit for an hour or so, then cut the lamb into 1-inch cubes.  Make a spice rub for the lamb by combining the salt, pepper, thyme and Greek Oregano.   Season the lamb pieces generously with the rub and allow this to sit for an hour.  

Pound the remaining 2 cloves of garlic into a paste and in a mixing bowl combine with the olive oil, red wine, orange zest, and juice.

Pour the marinade over the lamb pieces and allow the lamb to sit for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight covered in the refrigerator.

Remove the lamb 1 hour prior to cooking so that it comes up to temperature.  Either light your grill or heat a grill pan over a medium-high flame.  Remove the lamb from the marinade and pat dry.  Oil your grill or grill pan.  You may either skewer the lamb pieces or cook them directly on the grill or pan.  If you skewer them remember to leave space between the pieces so that they brown evenly and do not steam.  Cook the skewers or pieces approximately 3 to 5 minutes per side, remove them from the pan and allow them to sit for a minute.  

Peel and slice the onion lengthwise from stem to root.  Season the onion with a bit of salt, a splash of vinegar, a drizzle of olive oil and some freshly chopped oregano.

Serve the skewers with the onions, a bit of Tzatziki on flatbreads.   Some sun-ripened tomatoes tossed with basil and roasted corn on the cob with feta and cilantro would be great side dishes.

Pair with: Schlein Vineyard 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

Qorkz Kitchen - String Bean Salad with Shrimp


This is a variation on my husband's Luxembourgish grandmother's summer salad.  I turned it into a complete meal with the addition of the shrimp and some additional veg.  It serves 2 as a main and 4 as a side dish.

  • 1 lb Green beans - frenched*
  • 1/2 Shrimp -cooked
  • 2 Green onions, chopped
  • 2 Celery stalks chopped
  • 1 Medium tomato diced
  • 1/2 Cucumber chopped
  • 1/4 cup Vinaigrette 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*The green beans are the star of this dish.  In fact, it is universally referred to as "String Bean Salad" in the family.  Traditionally, you start with beans you prep yourself.  Frenching the beans requires a little device referred to as a frencher which is a couple of bucks.  Boma used to use a knife to do this.  But she was from the Old Country and survived the Nazis, so she was more hardcore than myself.  After the beans are prepped you drop them into a pan of boiling water for 3 minutes and dunk them in ice water immediately afterwards to maintain their crispness and color and then strain to remove excess water.


Buy a bag of frozen frenched beans and let them thaw.  The freezing and thawing creates the same effect.  Just drain them well after they are thawed.

Mix the drained beans with the other ingredients and shrimp together in a bowl.  Toss with the vinaigrette and salt and pepper to taste.  We like to let the salad marinate for at least 1/2 hour in the refrigerator to make sure the flavors blend and to cool. 

This is a perfect dish for a hot summer night.  Light and crispy.  

Qorkz Kitchen - Leg of Goat

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Greek Style Roasted Leg of Goat

Recipe by Chef Jayne Reichert

Serves 6

  • 1 leg of goat*, bone-in I use Rossotti Ranch Goat 
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 whole onion
  • 1-quart Greek style yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Summer Savory
  • 5 – 7  garlic cloves
  • Juice and zest from 2 lemons

Begin this recipe a day in advance. Make the marinade by combining the rosemary, yogurt, lemon zest and juice in a mixing bowl.  Peel the onion and carefully grate it on a box grater.  Peel and finely mince the garlic.  Add both the garlic and the onion, along with any accumulated onion water to the yogurt mixture.  Allow the marinade to sit for 30 to 45 minutes so that the flavors might mingle.  While the marinade is resting, remove any excess fat from the goat, but don’t throw it away.  Make slits in the leg of goat in random spots and slide the reserved fat pieces into those slits, you may also include slivers of garlic if you like.

Place the goat in a sealable bag and pour the yogurt marinade over the goat, making sure all sides are covered.  Place the goat in the refrigerator and allow to marinate overnight.  You’ll want to flip the bag in the refrigerator a few times during the 24-hour marinade.

Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

When you are ready to roast the leg, remove it from the refrigerator at least one hour in advance so the meat may come up to temperature.  This ensures a much more even roasting.  Remove the goat from the marinade and place it on a rack in a roasting pan or alternatively create a rack out of onions, and carrots or rosemary branches. Roast the leg for 15 to 20 minutes until nicely browned, turn the oven down to 350 degrees and continue cooking the goat until it reaches the desired doneness. 

Alternatively, you may opt to grill the leg of goat.  Set your grill up for indirect heat, with one side very hot and the other side without any flame.  Roast the goat over the flame until it is nicely browned, turning it every then move the goat to the side without the flame.  I like to lay down some large rosemary branches that were soak in water and then place the leg on top of that.  Close the grill lid and roast until the internal temperature of 130, approximately 18 minutes per pound.  Be sure to check the roast and flip it from time to time.   Once the goat is cooked do not cut into right away, the leg needs to rest a good 10 – 15 minutes to allow the juices to stabilize and redistribute.

Pair with our wine of the month, Calstar 2014 Alta Zin.


* Goat leg can be purchased at Rossotti Ranch in the Bay Area.  Can also be found in ethnic markets throughout the country.

What's Cooking in the Qorkz Kitchen - Bavette Edition

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Once again, Chef Jayn Reichert is in the Qorkz Kitchen cooking up something good!

Cumin and Coriander Rubbed Bavette


Recipe by Chef Jayne Reichert
Serves 6

  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper corns 
  • 2 pounds bavette* (serves 6 people 5 ounce portions)

Toast spices in dry skillet until fragrant. Pound together in a mortar and pestle; add salt to taste.  Rub both sides of the steak with  the spice mixture; let rest 30 to 45 minutes

Grill directly over high heat a well-oiled grill or seasoned grill pan.   Steak should take 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare; depending on the thickness. Note if you want traditional cross-hatched grill marks; turn the steak ¼ of a turn to the right; be sure you move it a bit so it lands on a hot grate; same for turning the steak over, do not just flip it over into the same spot, you need to be sure to turn it over onto a hot part of the grill.  

Allow steak to rest for 5 -7 minutes before slicing, so juices may redistribute.  If you want you may melt butter in a hot pan and place the steak in the hot melted butter for holding.  IMPORTANT, slice this steak on a diagonal; thin and across the grain. 

*Note: Bavette is a similar to flank steak but a slightly different cut.  Enjoy either in this delicious dish.

Chef Jayne in Qorkz Kitchen - Rack of Lamb & Horseradish Tarragon Sauce


Rack of Lamb

Recipe by Chef Jayne Reichert

Serves 4

  • 1 6 to 8 rib rack of lamb
  • Coriander seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Black Peppercorns
  • Salt
  • Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Take the racks out of the refrigerator 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking to bring them up to room temperature. Lightly toast coriander, fennel, and black pepper in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant.   Using a mortar and pestle pound the spices into a coarse grind then add a bit of salt to create your seasoning rub. Generously coat the racks in oil, and season with the spice rub.

Heat a heavy bottom skillet over medium-high heat, add oil to coat bottom of the pan.  Sear the racks on all sides, allowing a nice crust to form. Place the racks in the oven and allow them to continue cooking for another 15 to 20  minutes or until the desired degree of doneness. Note they really like to be served medium rare. Remove the racks from the oven and allow them to rest for 5 to 8 minutes before slicing them into portions.     

Remember they will continue to cook during the resting period. 

Serve the racks drizzled with a bit of the tarragon horseradish sauce.

Horseradish Tarragon Sauce

Recipe by Chef Jayne Reichert 

Makes 2/3 cup

  • 1 bunch fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish **grated on the large hole of a box grater
  • ½ bunch parsley, chopped
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped very fine or pounded into a purée
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 to 1 cup olive oil

Mix all the ingredients together and taste for salt. Let the sauce sit for a while to develop the flavors.

Remember when you are chopping fresh herbs, use the leaves only.  Do not smash or bruise them, but cut cleanly through them so that they do not discolor.  A nice coarse chop is preferable to “finely” mincing or chopping.

If you like, just a splash of. Lemon juice or vinegar makes the sauce zestier, but add them just before serving, as the acid will cause the herbs to discolor. (You can macerate a little chopped shallot in the vinegar or lemon before adding if you wish.)

Introducing the Qorkz Kitchen Guest Chef Jayne Reichart

You are going to love Chef Jayne!  We certainly do!  She can make even the simplest meals elegant with flavors popping!  We are proud to feature her recipes paired with Qorkz Wine.  Keep watching this space for yummy options!

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Being raised on a farm meant fresh eggs came from the neighbor’s chicken coop, our meat was raised on my grandfather’s farm and vegetables were grown and hand-picked from our garden.  This, combined with a Mother and Grandmothers who made absolutely everything from scratch formed my deep appreciation of good food, locally sourced, and my love of the kitchen. 

Although at the age of 5 I could whip up some mean scrambled eggs, My passion for cooking really took hold at the age of 12., (although at the age of 5 I could whip up some mean scrambled eggs) anyway at 12,I was absolutely obsessed with a Mexican cookbook , a gift from my Great Aunt., I convinced my godfather to take me to the local "Mercado" to buy fresh dried peppers, masa  and other ingredients required to make  Chicken Enchiladas from scratch,. (still one of my favorite things to make). Luckily my initial effort was a huge success, (minus the mess in the kitchen,) and the seed for my lifelong passion was planted.  To this day Chicken Enchiladas is still one of my favorite things to make. 

Fast forward 30+ years: culinary school, multiple kitchens both restaurant and private, a cutlery store and for good measure sometime in the wine country with Chateau St. Jean, that same passion finally led me to Cavallo Point, where for the last 8 years I had the pleasure of being the Director and Executive Chef of the Cooking School at Cavallo Point. During my tenure, The Cooking School was named as one of the Top 10 Resort Cooking Schools in the World by Gayot and Best of the Bay for the Chronicle in 2016.   If someone had told me when I first stepped into a kitchen that my career would eventually evolve to actually teaching, and that that desire to share would further fuel my passion both for cooking and my commitment to local sustainable foods, I would’ve said “no-way”.  Funny how life turns out. 

In my kitchen, guests describe me as “ as a consummate hostess with a dash of Chicago bravado, a penchant for sharing good food and a firm belief that cooking should be fun and accessible for the home chef.  When you visit and cook with Jayne you feel as though you are sitting in the kitchen of a friend or relative, made complete by her desire to send everyone away with what she describes as ‘warm fuzzies’”.  “Her food is described as fresh, eclectic, and approachable.” 

Today, after spending some time up north taming the flames of a wood-burning oven for Chateau St. Jean, I'm thrilled to be doing my own thing.  You can find me creating recipes and pairing foods for the Qorkz Kitchen, down south consulting with a hotel group, or taking guests to the local farmer’s market for a market tour and then heading back to my kitchen for a cooking class. You can find me on Instagram @chefjayne or check out the Air BnB experience at:

Market to Chef's Kitchen

Qorkz Kitchen - Solstice Edition

I was researching customs for the solstice and actually found a recipe.  Mostly midsommer festivities involved fire, liquor and staying up all night keeping the witches away.  Witches in June?  I don't know why.  Some thing just are the way they are.  Or we have forgotten why.

In way of keeping traditions alive, I am making Portuguese soup.  Caldo Verde.  Yes, there is a green element.  Everything that I read about the soup indicated that it was a cabbage soup.  But all the recipes that I found used kale.  Maybe I am splitting hairs, but I think I have found a way to live up to the intent of the soup without having to pay $4 a pound for Lacinato kale.  The compromise I have chosen is by means to Savoy Cabbage.  Yes, that is cabbage in the picture.  The leaves of the Savoy cabbage are bubbly like the Tuscan type of kale but it isn't as expensive because it isn't so frou-frou at the moment.

Solstice Kitchen

Here are my ingredients:

  • 1 small head of Savoy cabbage (about 1 lb if it is over that is ok.  you are going to have bits that don't go into the soup)
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 1 lb of new potatoes (sliced thin)
  • Chopped garlic (I have seen quantities anywhere from 1-4 cloves.  Choose at will. I have 4 in mine - you have been forewarned)
  • 1/2 pound of chorizo or linguiça (sliced thin)
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

That doesn't seem like enough ingredients for a heart meal.  Amirite?! Well, it is.  

Start the process by pulling leaves off the cabbage until you get down the the really pale inner leaves.  It will start getting difficult to peel these off.  Wash the individual leaves and dry them in a piece of paper towel or an actual towel.  Separate the leaf from the hard stem in the middle of each leaf.  I ended up with 2 pieces per leaf.  Then take several leaves and roll them together like a cigar then thinly slice the cabbage.  It will look like this:

Now you take your onions and garlic and sauté them in a couple of spoonfuls of olive oil. When soft but not browned add the potato slices and the chicken stock. (Which I hope is home made.  See instructions in our gravy piece.) My chorizo is a dry variety so I add it now.  If fresh, it is the last addition.... Let simmer until the potatoes are cooked then mash half of them in the pot to thicken the mix.  When nicely mixed then add the julienned cabbage a bit at a time and let it cook down.

The final cooking should take only 30 minutes but can stay on the back burner for an hour (the bright pretty color will fade but it is still awesomely good and yes, that is what I did).

Serve with country bread and red wine, may I suggest 2011 Genetic Pinot Noir.

Happy summer!

Laissez Le Bontemps Rouler! Qorkz Kitchen Addition

Happy Mardi Gras! 

To celebrate this holiday, I always like to make gumbo, and when I say gumbo I mean gumbo for crowd. For some reason I've never learned how to make this in small batches. So bear with me, and host a party!  Feed the neighbors!  Freeze the stuff!  It keeps.  It gets better.  Trust me.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 2 pounds chicken thighs 
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • one medium onion chopped
  • one medium bell pepper chopped
  • 3 stalks of celery chopped
  • 1 pound Andouille sausage sliced (if you can't find Andouille any smoked sausage will work)
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • Dried jalapeno flakes (if you like it spicy... I do) to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Emeril's Essence 
  • 1 lb okra sliced into rounds
  • 1 teaspoon gumbo filé (recommended if you can lay your hands on some).

A note on the filé.  This is dried and ground leaves of the sassafras tree it isn't available everywhere but you can usually find it at a good spice shop.  I recommend the Spice House. It adds flavor and texture to gumbo but needs to be added after the heat has been turned off or it makes the dish stringy.  Sassafras is also the flavoring in root beer, so maybe serve the kidlettes some A&W with their gumbo.  

Double Note:  While many of my recipes short and sweet, I'm going old school here. Dave Toomey old school (look at his recipe for Cochinita Pibil Tacos.  He is hard core, man.) That starts with chicken stock or broth.  What's the difference you ask?  Slow cooking the chicken in water will yield you broth.  To make stock you add vegetables and seasoning.  You can use either, or crappy boxed stuff, but don't complain to me about the taste if you use the boxed stuff.  Also?  No complaints that you don't have to time to make stock.  You do.  You just didn't realize it.  I used to make it overnight in a crockpot back in the days when I was working full time, going to graduate school and raising two baby girls.  So, there.

That being said, here's how I make stock.  It starts with roasted chicken.  I start with the chicken thighs and season them with salt and pepper on both sides.  Place them on a sheet pan and roast in a 325 degree oven.  This usually takes about half an hour to 45 min. depending on the size of the thighs that you use. When the smell delicious and look golden brown and have reached an internal temperature of 165 (salmonella ruins a party) take them out of the oven until they are cool enough to touch them. Give them some time.  Trust me, I've been burned alot. I'm not patient.  Learn from me.

Pull the skin from the thighs.  Toss them into a pot.  Take a bite of the crispy skill if you need to.  I don't judge (yes, I do).  Pull the cooked chicken from the bones leaving all the gunky parts behind which go immediately into the pot with skin you didn't scarf down.  The chicken meat will go into the gumbo so you haven't wasted it.  Your pan will have grease, burned bits and other bits.  Don't throw that out!  It is gold!  Scrape that stuff up using boiling hot water and a spatula, then pour it into the pot with the bones.  It usually takes me two tries to get it all all into the pot with the bones.  If you are making broth cover this bones and bits with water.  If you are making stock, add celery, carrot and onion. They can be fresh or dried.  I used dried because I think it gives a deeper flavor and easy to keep around.  I also like to add a small shallot and whatever onionskin find laying around in my onion drawer (it has other stuff in it....)  The onion peel adds a deeper richer color and we eat in part with our eyes.  Look it up.  Finally add about 10 peppercorns and enough water to the pot to cover the whole mess and bring to a simmer. Don't let it boil. If you boil the bones your stock will be cloudy. It's will be perfectly edible, just not pretty. Let that simmer for a good two hours (overnight). When it's good and rich strain your stock a colander lined with cheese cloth if you have it, or coffee filters. Heck, I use old pillowcases I'm about to throw out for this purpose (clean pillow court cases!  Not just pulled off the bed.  At some point they just get dingy and nasty looking - this extends their life).  You can freeze whatever leftover stock you have so you don't have to do this every time you cook.

Now you have your excellent broth for your gumbo. 

Next, we prep all the vegetables.  Most French cuisine starts with a base of chopped onions celery and carrots. It is called a mirepoix.  Creole and Cajun cuisine is different.  They call their veggie base "The Trinity" you substitute a bell pepper for the carrot.  Our gumbo will include okra.  Buy it.  You can even find it sliced and frozen.  Don't be a baby.  Yes, it can be slimy if you don't cook it correctly.  You are going to do it the right way.  You'll like it.

Now that you are all prepped?  Make a roux.  What’s a roux?  Basically, a fat and flour cooked together to thicken a sauce.  Not to go all Alton Brown, but the fat has to wrap around the starch particles to help create an emulsion.  French cuisine uses roux but mostly a light variety.  The Cajuns use a darker roux that adds a nuttier flavor.  How do you make it?  Stir. Stir. Stir.  Heat your pot for a few seconds… add the oil and then the flour.  Then start stirring.  Initially it will seem to seize up like a paste, but eventually will loosen up and start to bubble.  Keep stirring until reaches the color of a copper penny.

Add your trinity veggies into the pot and keep stirring.  I know this looks like a mess but it is ok.  The heat of the roux helps cook the veggies while they are being mixed around.  As the veggies soften the liquid from them will enter the roux adding flavor.  When they look softened but not burnt, deglaze the pot.  You can use wine, beer or stock.  I like to use beer and prefer something with some depth, like a stout or porter.  Adding the liquid will make the roux do its thickening job.  Keep stirring to avoid lumps. When well mixed add a quart of stock and continue to mix to avoid any lumps.  Add diced chicken and sliced sausage and spices.  In about 10 minutes add a can of diced tomatoes. Simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.  Check your seasoning levels in about an hour.  Add the sliced okra and turn down as low as you can.  Cook for an additional 15 minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the filé.  Stir in and serve with rice and any hot sauce you want!

I suggest serving this with Syrah or Zinfandel. You need something that can stand up to it.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Fondue - Qorkz Kitchen

Welcome back to the Qorkz Kitchen!  What is more romantic than sharing Valentine's Day with your sweetie?  How about chocolate fondue?  Luckily you don’t have to try to get a reservation at the local fondue cafe on Valentine's day (good luck, bub).  You can do this at home.  Easy.

Ingredients and Equipment

Fondue Ingredients and Supplies

Here are your ingredients:

  • 12 oz package of chocolate chips or other chocolate
  • 1/2 cup of whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons of liqueur (I chose Kahlúa because coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate)
  • a pinch of salt (A trick learned from Modern Family)
Double boiler or reasonable facsimile

For the equipment:

  • A fondue pot
  • Fuel for the fondue pot
  • skewers
  • A double boiler

The Directions

Put water in the base of the double boiler.  If you are like me and don’t have a double boiler (and why would you keep a single use pot like that around?) You use a pan filled with an inch of water and place a bowl over the pan.  Let the water heat for a couple of minutes then place the ingredients in the bowl beginning with the chocolate.  Stir this mixture until smooth.

If the chocolate seems to get stuck to the bottom of the bowl, turn off the heat or remove from other the water.  This is called seizing and is the death knell for chocolate.  Luckily it can be stopped by adding additional cream a tablespoon at a time and stirring until mixed.

Wine Pairing

Dessert deserves a big and rich wine and port is the perfect choice.  The 2012 Ascension Cellars Rapture Red Port-Style Dessert Wine is rich and creamy with hints of cocoa.  A 375 ml bottle is $36.

Finish the Dish

When the chocolate is smooth transfer to the fondue pot.  And while I have complained about the single use nature of the double boiler, I do not mind the fondue pot.  Why? A., It is tiny;  B., I like bagna cauda an Italian fondue-like dip; and C., I’m fickle.  Light the fuel for your fondue pot.  I my case, it is a tea light and place in the base of the pot.  Serve fondue with fruit, cookies, marshmallows or whatever your heart desires!

Congrats!  You just won Valentine’s Day!

This Date In Wine History



Wine has a long established history of being our drink of choice for celebrating, entertaining, and savoring life; but it didn't start out that way. From the invention of the barrel to the designation of the separate viticultural areas, wine has a long and sorted history.  In our daily feature This Date In Wine History, we share an event of critical importance in wine history.

December 16

Barbe Nicole Ponsardin born in 1777, she is the future Veuve Cliquot. 

Qorkz Kitchen

Cochinita Pibil Tacos 

Welcome to Qorkz Kitchen! This week we are making Cochinita Pibil Tacos from the Cindy's Supper Club Cookbook written by favorite Napa chef Cindy Pawlcyn. These tacos are a representation of the famous slow-roasted pork of the Yucatan where the pork is wrapped in a banana leaf and buried in a fire pit. We are sticking with the banana leaf but instead using a dutch oven with a touch of cervesa. We make homemade tortillas, and housemade pickled red onions complete the dish.  We pair the tacos with a Humanitas Zinfandel where the bright fruit and spices complement the sweet smokey pork. We hope you enjoy!

Achiote Paste Ingredients

5 Tablespoons Annatto Seeds
2 Teaspoons Cumin Seeds
1 Tablespoon Black Peppercorns
8 Whole Allspice Berries
1/2 Teaspoon Whole Cloves
3 Habanero Peppers (Seeded) 
1/2 Cup Orange Juice
1/2 Cup White Vinegar
8 Cloves Garlic
2 Tablespoons Salt
5 Lemons Juiced
1 Tablespoon Tequila


With a spice grinder, grind the annatto seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, allspice berries, and cloves to a fine powder.

Juice the lemons and set aside 

Cut the habanero peppers in half and remove the seeds. Be VERY careful not to transfer any of the oil from the peppers to your hands as it will burn if you get it in your eyes. Wash your hands and any tools used throughly after this process. 

In a blender or food processor, mix the ground spices, habanero peppers, orange juice, vinegar, garlic, and salt.

Mix in the lemon juice and tequila and blend until smooth

Set aside the achiote paste for use later. 

Wine Pairing 

For the smokey, spicy and sweet pork we recommend a Zinfandel with big fruit flavors, spice, and subtle cola flavors. The Humanitas Zinfandel $45 is a perfect balance for the heat and sweet of the tacos. 

Pork Marinade Ingredients 

8 - 10 Cloves Garlic
1 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar
Juice And Zest Of 1 Lime
1/2 Cup Achiote Paste
3 Tablespoons Dried Mexican Oregano
1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds Toasted
1 Teaspoon Allspice Berries
2 Teaspoons Black Peppercorns
3 Pounds Boneless Pork Butt
2 Banana Leaves
1 Cup Cervesa


Using a mortar and pestle or the back of a knife, smash together the salt and garlic to form a paste. 

Zest and juice one lime. Set aside for later use. 

Set a small frying pan to medium heat. Add the cumin, allspice, and peppercorns. Toast until fragrant stirring constantly so as not to burn the spices. 

Combine the oregano and toasted cumin, allspice, and peppercorns in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. 

Transfer the garlic paste to a bowl, add the vinegar, lime juice, lime zest, achiote paste, oregano, cumin, allspice, and pepper. Mix well to combine. 

Wash the pork butt and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the pork into 4 equal sized pieces. 

Place the pork into the bowl of marinade and stir to completely coat. Remove the pork and marinade and place into a zip top bag. Store in the refrigerator for 2-24 hours to fully incorporate. 

A Note On Banana Leaves 

Banana leaves can be a challenge to find depending on where you live. If you live near a Mexican mercado or Asian market you can find them in the frozen section. Some markets will have fresh ones in the produce section. It doesn't matter which ones you use for this recipe. If using the frozen kind, allow to thaw prior to use. Over a warm burner or in an oven set to 200 degrees F., warm the leaves prior to use to make them pliable. 

Assemble The Pot For Cooking 

Using a heavy bottomed pot (I'm partial to my favorite dutch oven) line the bottom with the banana leaves allowing the excess to hang over the sides. Remove the meat and marinade from the bag and place into the center of the banana leaves. 

Fold the tops of the leaves over to form a pouch for the pork. 

Pour the cup of Cervesa around the outside of the leaves and seal the top with the lid. 

In an oven set to 275 degrees F., roast the pork for 3.5 hours. Check the liquid level every hour and add more been if necessary. 

After 3.5 hours, remove the pork to a cutting board and let sit for 5 minutes. Using thongs or two forks, shred the pork by pulling it apart. 

Pickled Red Onion Ingredients 

2 Red Onions
2 Tablespoons of Salt
2 Tablespoons Dried Mexican Oregano
1 Cup Water
3 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar

Cut the red onion into strips. 

Combine the onion in a bowl with the salt, oregano, and vinegar. Stir to combine and squeeze together to incorporate. 

Add the water to the bowl to cover the onions. 

Set aside to pickle. This can be done in as little as 1 hour for a light pickle or 12 hours for a heavier pickle. 

Tortilla Ingredients 

1 Cup Maseca Masa
1 Pinch Salt
1 Cup Water


Combine the masa, salt, and water in a non-reactive bowl and stir to combine. Depending on the humidity you may need to add up to another 1/3 cup of water. 

Using either a spatula or dough hook, stir the ingredients together to fully incorporate the liquid. When the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl cleanly, the dough is finished mixing. 

This next step is the most important when making tortillas. Just walk away for 30 minutes and let the dough fully hydrate. If you try and make tortillas without this step the dough will crack and fall apart. 

After 30 minutes, remove the dough from the bowl and knead it on a work surface lightly dusted with masa.  Work the dough for 5-10 minutes. This will make the dough elastic and soft. The dough should not be sticky. If the dough sticks to your hand or the surface, add a tablespoon more masa and continue to work the dough until it is smooth. Roll the dough into balls of dough roughly the size of a golfball. 

Take a zip top bag and cut away the top. Cut the bag to roughly the size of your tortilla press to use as a liner. 

Taking the dough balls one at a time, place them inside the tortilla press and flatten into a tortilla. 

Set a non-stick flat bottomed pan or cast iron pan over medium-high heat. When it comes to temperature, add the tortillas one at a time to cook. The tortillas should sizzle when you put them on the pan. If they don't sizzle then up your heat. Cook on one side for about 20 seconds until the sides start to curl. Flip the tortilla and cook on the other side for one minute or until the middle begins to bubble. Flip the tortilla again and using your pointer finger, gently push down on the middle of the tortilla. This should cause the tortilla to briefly inflate with steam. Allow to cook for another ten seconds or so and remove the tortilla from the heat.  Flatten and cook all of the tortillas the same way. 

This next step is equally important in ensuring your tortillas are delicious when you go to eat them. You must create a warm environment in which to store your finished tortillas. If you don't store them in a warm environment they will become brittle and crack when you fold them. There are tortilla warmers available on the market but I made my own using a pot with a lid and a few kitchen towels. 

Finish The Dish

Add some of the pork onto a warm tortilla. Top with pickled red onion and some shaved queso fresco cheese. Pour a glass of Zin and enjoy! 

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Gnocchi With Red Sauce 

Welcome to Qorkz Kitchen! This week we are making one of our favorite Winter dishes. This gnocchi is light and pillowy, and the addition of cinnamon to the sauce makes gives it a sweet start and the chili flake brings a spicy finish. It is the perfect dish to keep you warm on a cold night. We hope you enjoy! 

Sauce Ingredients

2 Cans Roma Tomatoes
1 Tube Tomato Paste
1 Bulb Garlic
1 Bunch Basil
1/2 Cup Red Wine
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dried Basil
1 Tablespoon Dried Thyme
1 Tablespoon Dried Rosemary
1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Red Chili Flakes
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Salt
1/4 Cup Olive Oil


Slice all the cloves of garlic and set aside. Fill a deep bottom pot with the olive oil and set on a burner set to medium. Place the basil in the pot and sauté for five minutes to infuse the oil with basil flavor. 

Remove the basil from the oil and insert the garlic. Sauté the garlic in the oil for five minutes.  

Add the tomato paste and fry in the oil for three to five minutes or until it starts to brown the bottom of the pan. Move the paste to the sides of the pan and pour in the red wine to deglaze the bottom. Stir the mixture together and add the balsamic vinegar. Stir for five minutes to fully combine and to keep the mixture from burning. 

Pour the tomatoes into a blender and pulse four times to break up the tomatoes. You don't want to purée it into a thin sauce as the sauce should be thick and chunky. 

Add the tomatoes to the sauce and stir to combine. 

Add the salt, cinnamon, basil, thyme, rosemary, black pepper, and (optional) red chili flakes to the sauce and stir to combine. 

Simmer the sauce together for an hour prior to serving. 

Wine Pairing

For a sweet and spicy red sauce, you can't go wrong with Merlot, and for this dish, we recommend the Chateau Lane Merlot $50. It has a nose of cola and mint and a bright fruit flavor that is sure to please. 

Gnocchi Ingredients 

3 Pounds Russet Potatoes
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Nutmeg
1/4 Cup Olive Oil (For Use Only If Storing Gnocchi For Later Use)


Using a sharp knife, cut slits in the middle of the potatoes prior to baking. Place them in an oven set to 400 degrees F. Bake for one and a half hours or until a knife can be inserted cleanly. 

Remove the skins from the potatoes and discard. Using a food mill or a ricer, process the potatoes into fine strands. 

Place the potatoes onto a workspace and make a well in the middle. Sprinkle the flour over the potato mixture. Sprinkle the salt over the mixture and place an egg into the center of the well. 

Using a pastry scraper, fold the mixture together to form a rough dough. 

Grate one tablespoon of nutmeg over the top of the dough. Kneed the dough for five minutes to incorporate the nutmeg. When the dough becomes dry to the touch it is done. 

Place more flour on your work surface and cut the dough into four equal size pieces. 

Roll each piece of the dough into a long roll 3/4 of an inch in diameter. 

Cut the dough into one inch sections and set aside. 

Using a gnocchi board or a fork, roll grooves into each piece of gnocchi and set aside. 

Set a pot of salted water to boil on a stovetop. Place all the gnocchi into the pot and cook until it floats to the surface. 

Bring The Dish Together

Place the cooked gnocchi into the sauce and cook together on low heat for ten minutes to combine. 

Finish The Dish 

Place the gnocchi and sauce in a bowl. Grate some parmesan cheese over the top and sprinkle with fresh cut basil prior to serving. 

Qorkz Kitchen

Welcome to Qorkz Kitchen! Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and in anticipation we have put together some of our favorite Thanksgiving side dishes which would be welcome at any Thanksgiving table. We hope you enjoy them while celebrating the season with your family this holiday season.

Rustic Sourdough Stuffing with Green Apples and Sausage


1 Batard Sourdough
1 Pound Breakfast Sausage
2 Tablespoons Italian Parsley
1 Tablespoon Rosemary
3 Leeks
1 Sweet Onion
2 Tablespoons Sage
3 Ribs Celery
1 Cup Dried Cranberries
1 Cup Chicken Stock
1 Stick Butter
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
2 Green Apples


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Cut the sourdough batard into 1 inch cubes. 

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Add the bread cubes to the pan and bake at 300 degrees F., for 8 - 10 minutes or until the croutons are hard. 

Using an apple corer, core out the middle of the green apples and slice into a rough chop. 

Cut away the rough green tops of the leeks. 

Be sure to wash the dirt out of the different layers of the leeks before you cut them. Slice them into thin ribbons. 

Roughly chop both the sage and the rosemary and set aside.

Cut the Italian parsley into a fine dice and set aside.

Cut the celery ribs into a rough dice and set aside.

Cut the onion into a fine dice and set aside. 

Wine Pairing

This stuffing has the sour flavor from the bread and the bright tartness from the cranberries. Try a wine with a bright crisp flavor to bring your meal together. Try the Petrified Forest Sauvignon Blanc $23. The balanced acidity and melon flavors are sure to please!  

Melt the butter into a deep Dutch oven or skillet. Add the onion, celery, leeks, parsley, sage, rosemary, apples, salt, and pepper to the pot and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. 

Cut away the casings from the sausage links and discard. 

Remove the vegetable mixture from the heat and transfer to a bowl. In the same pot, add the sausage and cook for ten minutes or until cooked all the way through. 

Once the sausage is cooked through, return the vegetable mixture, dried cranberries, croutons, and chicken stock to the pot and stir to combine. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Transfer the stuffing mixture to a 9x12 baking sheet.   

Bake the stuffing for 30 minutes or until the top starts to brown. 

Finish The Dish 

Serve this stuffing alongside your turkey for a nice sour and tart contrast to the bird. Enjoy! 

Qorkz Kitchen

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Welcome to Qorkz Kitchen! Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and in anticipation we have put together some of our favorite Thanksgiving side dishes which would be welcome at any Thanksgiving table. We hope you enjoy them while celebrating the season with your family this holiday season.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Pancetta 


1 Stalk Brussels Sprouts (2 pounds)
1 Inch Thick Cut Of Pancetta
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
1/4 Cup Stone Mustard
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper


Cut the Brussels sprouts away from the stalk. Wash them under cold water and pat dry. Next, cut away the hard bottoms and tough outer leaves. Cut the sprouts in half and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Mix the sprouts with the mustard, salt, pepper, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar.

Wine Pairings 

The red fruit flavors and earthy notes Rio Vista Pinot Noir from Humanitas,  pairs perfectly with the sweet Brussels sprouts and meaty pancetta. $55

Take the Pancetta and unroll it across a plastic cutting board. Cut the Pancetta into strips approximately equal in width. Next, cut the Pancetta horizontally into cubes.

In a frying pan over medium-high heat, cook the Pancetta for about 6-8 minutes stirring frequently. Once cooked add the Pancetta to the Brussels sprout mixture. 

Place the baking pan containing the Brussels sprouts and the Pancetta into the oven at 425 degrees F.

Roast the Brussels sprouts for 40 minutes stirring occasionally. Once finished, remove the Sprouts from pan and set aside on a platter. 

Finish The Dish 

Place the sprouts in a serving dish and serve while still warm. 

Qorkz Kitchen

Welcome to Qorkz Kitchen! Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and in anticipation we have put together some of our favorite Thanksgiving side dishes which would be welcome at any Thanksgiving table. We hope you enjoy them while celebrating the season with your family this holiday season.

Baked Acorn Squash


1 Large Acorn Squash
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup


Preheat your oven to 425 Degrees F. Using a sharp knife, cut the acorn squash in half. Cutting the squash can be a challenge so be very careful. 

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Next, using a scoop or a mellon baller, remove the seeds from the inner cavity of the squash. There are stringy pieces under the seeds, try and remove as much of this as possible. 

Using a pairing knife, score the inside of the squash vertically and then horizontally. 

Wine Pairings

The blackberry and clove flavors of Mourvedre are the perfect pairing for the this sweet and nutty squash dish. Try this Oak Cliff Mourvedre $32 with your Thanksgiving meal as it also goes great with stuffing and turkey! 

Place the squash flesh side up in a baking pan. Fill the pan with enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Bake at 425 Degrees F. for an hour or until the squash is starting to soften. 

Take 1 tablespoon of butter and use it to coat the inside of each half of the squash. Next, pour the maple syrup over both halves. Use a pastry brush to paint the syrup and butter on the surface of the squash. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top of the squash and bake for another twenty minutes. 

Remove the squash from the oven and drain out the puddle of syrup into a bowl. 

Finish The Dish 

Serve each person one half of the squash with the accompanying bowl of the cooked syrup. 

Qorkz Kitchen

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Welcome to Qorkz Kitchen! Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and in anticipation we have put together some of our favorite Thanksgiving side dishes which would be welcome at any Thanksgiving table. We hope you enjoy them while celebrating the season with your family this holiday season.

Cranberry Sauce


1 Bag (1 Pound) of Cranberries
1/3 Cup of Water
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 1/4 Cups of Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 Grapefruit Zest & Juice


Mix the water and sugar together in a put and stir to incorporate. Then bring to a simmer over medium high heat. 

Once the sugar is incorporated add the cranberries and stir to combine. Next, add the cinnamon stick, reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer together for ten minutes. 

Wine Pairing

Cranberries are a common red fruit flavor detected in Pinot Noir, making it the perfect match for this dish. Looking for a Pinot Noir full of red fruit flavors for your Thanksgiving table? Try the Brooks Note Marin Pinot Noir $36.  

Use a microplane or zester to zest the outside of the grapefruit. Then cut the grapefruit in half and extract the juice using a reamer or a press. 

Combine the juice, nutmeg, allspice, and the zest with the simmering cranberries. Cook over medium heat for another two minutes. 

Finish The Dish 

Cranberries are full of pectin which will help firm up the cranberry sauce as it cools. Take the cranberries off the heat and let them cool for twenty minutes prior to serving.

Qorkz Kitchen

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Welcome to Qorkz Kitchen! Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and in anticipation we have put together some of our favorite Thanksgiving side dishes which would be welcome at any Thanksgiving table. We hope you enjoy them while celebrating the season with your family this holiday season.

Green Beans and Shallots


2 Pounds of French Cut Green Beans
1 Tablespoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
5 Turns of Black Pepper
2 Shallots Diced


Wash the green beans and cut away the stems from the end of the beans. 

Peel away the outside of the shallots. Cut the shallots into a fine dice. Cut the shallots lengthwise twice and then crosswise across the ribs. Then cut across the width to create the dice. 

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Wine Pairing

The buttery green beans go great with a wine featuring well balanced acidity and citrus floral notes. The Picayune Sauvignon Blanc pairs beautifully and would be a great addition to any Thanksgiving table $21

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the salt. Once the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium add the green beans and cook for 3 minutes. 

Add the butter and olive oil to a deep frying pan over medium high heat. Add the shallots and sauté for five minutes or until the shallots are tender. 

Drain the green beans and add to the shallot mixture. Season with salt and black pepper and cook for about a minute to combine. 

Finish The Dish 

Remove the green beans from the heat and serve immediately. 

Qorkz Kitchen

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Welcome to Qorkz Kitchen! Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and in anticipation we have put together some of our favorite Thanksgiving side dishes which would be welcome at any Thanksgiving table. We hope you enjoy them while celebrating the season with your family this holiday season. 

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes 


4 Sweet Potatoes
3 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
4 Tablespoons Butter
4 Tablespoons Cream Cheese
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil


Scrub the sweet potatoes under running water and then pat them dry. Cut some vent holes with a pairing knife along the top middle. Coat the outside of the sweet potatoes with the olive oil and sprinkle with the sea salt. This step makes the outside skin fry a little during cooking and will make the final result have firm and crisp skin. 

In an over preheated to 400 degrees F., bake the sweet potatoes for an hour to an hour and twenty minutes or until you could push a knife through without resistance. 

Using a pairing knife, cut the skin away from the top of the sweet potato. Then, using a scoop or a melon baller, scoop out the middle of the sweet potatoes and place the contents inside the work bowl of a stand mixer. 

Looking For A Wine To Pair With Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes? 

The white fruit flavors and rich mouthfeel of the Coruce Semillon balance well with the starchy sweetness of the sweet potatoes. It also pairs well with Turkey!

In the work bowl of the stand filled with the inside of the sweet potato, add the cream cheese, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and black pepper.  

Using the paddle attachment, mix the ingredients together on low speed until everything is combined. 

Using a scoop or a spoon, fill the skins with the filling and smooth out with a spatula. Return the sweet potatoes to the hot oven and cook for fifteen minutes. 

Finish The Dish 

The sweet potatoes are ready to serve right out of the oven. Serve and enjoy!