October 25, 2010
OLIVIA MUNOZ,For The Associated Press
SONOMA, Calif. (AP) – Reynaldo Robledo was 16 when he arrived from his small hometown in Mexico’s mountains to work for $1.10 an hour in the vineyards of Northern California.
Now 59, Robledo is among a handful of Latinos who have built their own wineries on modest acreage and are catering in part to Hispanic wine drinkers interested in quality and a connection to their heritage.
“I would work my regular shift and then pester the vineyard manager with questions until I knew everything he knew,” Robledo said in Spanish.
Robledo Family Winery near Sonoma now sells 20,000 cases per year through a wine club, its website and independent shops, bringing in about $1 million. It has a 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon that sells for $150 while wines from more recent vintages are priced starting at $20.
Esau Herrera of the Hispanic Vintners Association, a loose-knit marketing group with about a dozen members in California and Florida, said the number of Latino vintners is small but is growing. Part of that success comes from making a connection with Hispanics.
“There are people like me who are very proud of our roots and don’t mind plunking down $125 for a bottle of wine,” Herrera said.
Wine consumption among Hispanics has increased more than any other ethnic group, according to a 2006 survey conducted by the Wine Market Council, a nonprofit trade association.
The report also found that Hispanic wine drinkers chose imported wines in greater proportion to other ethnic groups – specifically from Chile and Argentina. Vintners in the U.S. hope they can make that connection closer to home.
“There’s room at the table for wine, as long as it’s good wine,” said Amelia Ceja, president of Ceja Vineyards in Napa. Like Robledo, Ceja and her husband worked in the vineyards as children.
Half of the Ceja Vineyard’s wine club is Hispanic, a very loyal market, Ceja said. She often promotes her wine through dinners, pairing traditional dishes with Ceja Vineyard reds and whites.
“Mexican cuisine is one of the world’s most sophisticated,” she said. “We’re erasing the elitist attitude that persists around wine. And we are shaping the industry.”
Many Latinos consider wine a drink for special occasions, but U.S. Latino vintners are trying to move it into the realm of more common drinks based on tequila and rum.
In September, the Robledo Family Winery held a celebration for Mexico’s bicentennial where visitors ate in an outdoor patio, listened to live Spanish music and socialized at the foot of Robledo’s hilly vineyards. Two new wines dedicated to heroes of the Mexican revolution were unveiled: a Riesling and a red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot.
Mexican Consul General Carlos Felix traveled from San Francisco for the event.
“California and Mexico were born together,” Felix said. “One of the profound elements we have is this bicultural relationship. This family illustrates that precise example.
Fabiola Sotomayor, originally from Mexico City, saw a flier for the event at a park in Sonoma near her home and was intrigued by the family’s history.
“Part of it was just that there was this Mexican family and they weren’t just working the land,” Sotomayor said. “You get used to the same immigrant story you always hear, but they are more than that. It’s powerful.”
Many immigrants dream of owning land, but property in wine country doesn’t come cheap. Robledo worked other people’s land for decades. He eventually started a vineyard management company with his children, and they saved enough to buy 14 acres of Pinot Noir.
In 1997 – with nine children and almost 30 years after he came to the U.S. – Robledo sold his first bottle of wine under his label.
A formal education helped Ceja’s husband, Armando Ceja, achieve his goal. After years of work in vineyards, he earned a degree in enology and viticulture from the University of California, Davis, and worked as a vineyard manager for other wineries.
In 1983, he, his wife and his brother’s family pooled their money to buy their first 15 acres in the Carneros region. They had their first harvest five years later. The Cejas now grow on 113 acres.
At Robledo Family Winery, you can still see Robledo’s Stetson cowboy hat bobbing through 300 acres of grapes, as he checks on his crop. Displays in the tasting room include Mexican art, family photos and a framed menu from a White House dinner earlier this year that featured Robledo wine.
But Robledo said his greatest pride is still his family, which now includes 17 grandchildren. They all live within 15 minutes of each other, and many of the 26 wines bear their names.
“We’re not only carrying on the name, we’re carrying on the business,” said Jenaro Robledo, 31, a son who runs the vineyard. “We hope it grows generation after generation
July 21, 2010
Recipe courtesy of Guy Fieri for Food Network Magazine
Inactive Prep Time:
For the Wings:
- 3 pounds chicken wings, split at the joint, tips removed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
For the Sauce:
- 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup tequila
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup
- (sometimes called agave nectar)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Prepare the wings: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Season the wings with salt and pepper and arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Cook until just brown and crisp, about 45 minutes.
Make the sauce: Combine the lime zest and juice, tequila, agave syrup, cumin, adobo sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 tablespoon pepper in a bowl. Pour over the warm wings and let marinate at least 30 minutes.
Preheat a grill to high. Grill the wings until marked, 10 to 15 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer the marinade to a saucepan and cook until slightly thick, about 8 minutes (you can do this on the grill as well). Drizzle the wings with the sauce and top with cilantro, if desired.
© 2010 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved
June 25, 2010
Recipes developed by Chef Robert Del Grande, Café Annie, Houston.
- 1 cantaloupe, cubed
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 cups water
- Juice of 1 lime
- Raspberries to garnish
- Mint sprigs to garnish
- Combine cantaloupe, sugar, water and lime juice in blender. Blend until smooth, passing liquid through sieve to remove any unblended pieces. Chill. Garnish with raspberries and mint sprigs.
Yield: 6 servings
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Biotech cantaloupe varieties have been developed to resist damaging viruses in order to reduce spoilage and extend shelf life.
May 14, 2010
- 4 Mission Life Balance Whole Wheat 8-inch Tortillas, warmed
- 12 slices fully cooked bacon, crispy and chopped small
- 12 eggs, whole
- 4 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Vegetable spray
- In a small bowl; whisk eggs with salt and pepper to evenly combine.
- To make 1 burrito: heat non-stick sauté pan over high heat.
- Spray pan with vegetable spray; add equivalent of 3 whole eggs to pan. Soft scramble eggs, taking approximately 30 to 45 seconds.
- Add 2 tablespoons chopped bacon (equals 3 strips chopped) and 1 tablespoon grated cheddar cheese to the eggs and stir to combine, melting the cheese.
- Spoon hot egg mixture into center of a warmed tortilla; roll burrito style and serve.
- Repeat steps 2 to 5 for remaining 3 tortillas.
April 29, 2010
- 1 can (4 ounces) Ortega Fire-Roasted Diced Green Chiles
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Regina red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Polaner minced garlic
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, cut in half
- 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, cut in half
- 1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into thin slices
- 1 medium yellow squash, cut lengthwise into thin slices
- 1 large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
- 1 pound pasta shells or penne, cooked
- 1 jar (16 ounces) Ortega Garden Vegetable Salsa
- 1/4 cup firmly packed fresh basil, cut into thin strips
- Lettuce leaves (optional)
- Combine chiles, cilantro, oil, vinegar and garlic in small bowl. Whisk until well blended. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat, about 15 minutes. Lightly brush grill grid with vegetable oil.
- Grill bell peppers, zucchini, squash and onion 3 to 5 minutes per side or until fork-tender. Remove vegetables from grill: cut into bite-size pieces.
- Toss cooked pasta, salsa, sliced vegetables and basil in large bowl or serving platter. Serve with dressing on lettuce leaves, if desired.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
Start to Finish Time:
April 5, 2010
- four cups of flour
- one cup of water
- a touch of oil
- a pinch of salt
- 1 to 1 ½ pound of preferred meat for 8-10 servings
- Mix oil and water with flour similar to other pastries
- Separate flour into balls, make big enough for the meat going inside
- Cook meat, could be beef, corned beef, pork, beef stew etc
- Put meat on pastry, fold shell and push down edges with a fork
- Fill frying pan with oil
- Put pastry in frying pan, medium high heat
- Wait 2-4 minutes flip then repeat
- make sure the bottom is golden brown when flipping
May 14, 2009
1 lb. dried garbanzo beans (about 2 cups, or 2 1/2 cups canned)
2 tbsp. salt (if using dried garbanzos)
1 green pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 red onion
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. white-wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
If using canned beans, omit soaking and cooking instructions.
In large saucepan cover garbanzo beans with water and let soak at room temperature at least 8 hours, or overnight. Drain, then rinse well. In large saucepan bring to boil 2 quarts of water with garbanzo beans; simmer, covered, 1 hour. Add salt; simmer 15 minutes more or until tender. Remove beans from water.
Cut top off green and red pepper, then remove core and seeds. Blanch peppers in hot water 1 minute. Drain well. Let beans and peppers cool. Dice peppers when cool enough to handle. Peel and slice onion and soak in bowl of ice water for 10 minutes. Drain, pat dry, and dice onion slices.
In large bowl combine garbanzo beans and diced onion and peppers. In smaller bowl whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, cumin, coriander, and garlic. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Pour dressing over mixture and toss gently. Serve chilled. As published in Latina
February 26, 2009
8 medium red or green peppers
Flour (for frying the peppers)
1 lb. ground meat
2 oz. chopped cooking ham
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 medium garlic clove (a pilonazo)
1/4 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. salt
6-8 chopped olives
1 tsp. capers
1 envelope of sazón
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 tsp. sofrito
1 small yellow or purple onion (chopped)
2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves (a pilonazo)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small tomato
Fresh chopped cilantro (to your taste)
Preheat oven to 350º.
Wash the peppers and stab them lightly to allow the vapors to escape when roasting.
Place them whole on a baking dish lined with foil paper. Put them in the oven.
Cook them until the skin begins to turn black.
Remove them from the oven and place them in a plastic bag to sweat.
(This makes it easier to peel off the outer skin)
Meanwhile, make Meat Filling Recipe. Start by dicing or chopping, the olives, salted pork, ham, capers and set aside.
In a pot, brown the ground meat over medium heat.
(So you won’t have big lumps)
Drain the meat in a large colander and set aside.
Over medium heat, brown the salted pork and save the fat
Add the achiote and the diced cooking ham to pork.
(If using sazón, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.)
Add the olives, dry oregano, tomato sauce, capers and sofrito.
Cook 3-5 minutes so all the flavors mix together.
Now add the salt and ground meat, stirring well.
Cook uncovered on medium heat until all the liquid is gone or you can drain the liquid after it cooks for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
When the meat is done, set aside.
Peel off the pepper skins, chop off the tops and scoop out the seeds inside. You may throw away the seeds and tops.
Heat a thick coat of oil in a deep frying pan or skillet.
Cover a plate with a thick coat of flour.
Beat the eggs and pour in a bowl.
Stuff the peppers with the meat filling, cover the top with flour and then dip the top of the pepper in the egg.
Fry the peppers by placing a flat wooden spatula under the pepper and placing it in the hot oil. Fry for about 3-4 minutes and turn ocassionally until the coating is browned.
When the peppers are cooked, remove them from the oil and place them in a shallow baking dish like a casserole type dish.
Cover the peppers with the sauce and serve.
In a frying pan, place the olive oil, the chopped onion, garlic cloves a pilonazo (crunched in a mortar) and the chopped cilantro. Sauté for 2 or 3 minutes then add the tomato sauce.
Cook on low heat for about 10 minutes so all the flavors mix together.
Pour the delicious sauce over the peppers. You may sprinkle some cheese over them, but this is optional.
February 20, 2009
1 large red ripe tomato
2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, plus 2 tablespoons of the canning sauce
1 medium red onion, chopped into small dice
1 green onion, root end removed, then chopped finely
1 pound cooked, peeled, small “salad” shrimp (fresh has better flavor and texture than frozen; if frozen defrost overnight in refrigerator)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup crème fraiche, Mexican crema or homemade sour cream
About 50 thick, homestyle tortilla chips or Guerrero-style chalupitas (or 20 to 25 4-inch crisp tostadas)
About 1/2 cup crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other crumbly fresh cheese such as salted, pressed farmer’s cheese or feta
1. The shrimp mixture. Cut out the core of the tomato (where it attached to the plant), then cut in half widthwise. Squeeze each half gently to remove the seeds; discard. Cut tomato into 1/4-inch dice and scoop into a bowl. Remove the chiles from the can, then scoop the 2 tablespoons canning sauce into the bowl with the tomatoes. Slit open the chiles and scrape out the seeds. Chop chiles into small pieces and add to the bowl, along with the red onion, green onion, shrimp, herbs and crème fraiche or Mexican crema. Mix gently but thoroughly, then taste and season with salt (usually about 1 generous teaspoon).
2. Assembling and garnishing the tostadas. If using the squash blossoms, pull off the little green sepals around the bottom of each flower, then carefully break off each flower from its base, dislodging the petals (they’ll stay together as a single unit) from the bulbous bottom; the pointy pistils inside should stay attached to the base. Cut the flower petals crosswise into thin strips.
Just before serving, pile a portion of the shrimp mixture onto each of the chips, chalupitas or tostadas and arrange on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the cheese and then the optional squash blossoms and serve right away.
January 5, 2009
3 green plantains, peeled (see Tip)
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, divided
8 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
8 teaspoons finely shredded Parmesan cheese
8 lime wedges
1. Shred plantains using the large holes of a box grater.
2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and 1/4 cup cilantro; cook, stirring, until the garlic is softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Stir in plantains and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until the plantains are tender and the soup is thickened, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese and garnish with a lime wedge.