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Big holiday flavor

With small pours and small bites

Posted: December 28, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: December 28, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Olive potato pancakes Olive potato pancakes
Olive potato pancakes

You’ve heard of big things in small packages. This holiday season, try big flavor in small bites paired with excellent wine.

The latest trend in holiday hosting ties together hearty hors d’oeuvres with carefully selected wine samplings. Pairing small bites with different varietals not only complements flavor, it also makes your gourmet appetizer experience something guests will remember well into the New Year.

And when it comes to apps, just remember every host’s must-have staple: the California black ripe olive. They’re mild in flavor, versatile and perfect for dressing up any dish.

To pair, ’tis the season for Frei Brothers Reserve®. The winery’s Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are sourced from each varietal’s ideal growing appellation within Sonoma County.

Here are three easy and irresistible recipes pairing California black ripe olives and Frei Brothers Reserve for the holidays.

For more delicious California black ripe olive recipes, visit

Miso-glazed olives
Start to finish: 20 minutes
Servings: 12
    2     tablespoons olive oil
    2     cloves garlic, minced
    1 1/2     teaspoons grated fresh ginger
    1 1/2     tablespoons white miso paste
    1 1/2     tablespoons rice vinegar
    1     teaspoon honey
        Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
    2     (6-ounce) cans large California
        black ripe olives, well drained
        Toasted sesame seeds and
        chopped chives

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook and stir for 1 minute.
Stir in ginger, miso, rice vinegar, honey and red pepper; cook for 5 minutes more. Stir in olives and cook for a few minutes or until olives are warm and nicely glazed.
Transfer to a decorative bowl and garnish with sesame seeds and chives. Serve with toothpicks.
Pair with 2009 Frei Brothers Reserve Russian River Valley Chardonnay.

Black olive risotto balls
Start to finish: 1 1/2 hours
Servings: 8 to 10 appetizers
    2     tablespoons butter
    3     cloves garlic, minced
    2     medium shallots, chopped
    1     cup Arborio or short grain rice
    1     (32-ounce) container chicken
        stock, warmed
    1/2     cup Frei Brothers Reserve Sauvignon Blanc
    2/3     cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    1 1/3     cups freshly grated Parmigiano-
        Reggiano, divided
    1/4     cup minced sun-dried tomatoes
        (preferably smoked)
    3     tablespoons chopped fresh basil
    1     (2.2-ounce) can sliced California
        black ripe olives, drained and
        coarsely chopped
        Freshly ground pepper to taste
    1     cup panko breadcrumbs
    1/2     cup flour
    2     eggs, beaten
        Olive oil cooking spray

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add garlic and shallots; cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir in rice and cook for 2 minutes more. Add chicken stock, half cup at a time, adding more when broth has been absorbed, stirring frequently. When all broth has been used, stir in mozzarella, 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, olives and pepper. Let cool, then cover and chill for at least 1 hour or until firm.
Roll mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls. Stir together bread­crumbs and remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano. Roll each ball in flour, then in beaten egg, then in bread­crumb mixture. Let stand for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place risotto balls on a baking sheet and spray liberally on all sides with olive oil cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown, coating with olive oil spray every 10 minutes.
Serve warm with marinara sauce.
Pair with 2009 Frei Brothers Reserve Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc.

Cabernet-braised short ribs
Start to finish: 3 1/2 to 4 hours
Servings: 8 to 10 appetizers
    4     bone-in beef short ribs (about 2
        Sea salt and freshly ground
    3     tablespoons diced pancetta
    3     cloves garlic, minced
    1/2     cup each: finely chopped onion
        and celery
    1/4     cup each: finely chopped fennel
        and carrot
    1     tablespoon flour
    1 1/2     cups Frei Brothers Reserve
        Cabernet Sauvignon
    3/4     cup beef stock
    1     teaspoon each: dried thyme and
    1     (2.2-ounce) can sliced California
        black ripe olives, drained
    3     tablespoons tomato paste

Season short ribs with salt and pepper.
Sear on all sides in a large saucepan over high heat. Remove from pot and set aside.
Add pancetta, garlic, onion, celery, fennel and carrot; cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.
Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute more. Add wine, stock, herbs, olives and tomato paste, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
Return short ribs and any juices to the pan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer over very low heat, covered but with the lid cracked, for 2 1/2 hours.
Remove cover and simmer over medium-high heat for 30 minutes more or until ribs are very tender and sauce has thickened.
Gently shred beef and place dollop of shredded beef atop olive potato pancake and serve.
Pair with 2008 Frei Brothers Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Olive potato pancakes
Start to finish: 35 minutes
Servings: 8 to 10 appetizers
    3     pounds Russet potatoes, peeled
    1     cup snipped fresh chives
    2/3     cup flour
    1     2.2-ounce can chopped California
        black ripe olives
    2     teaspoons garlic salt
        Freshly ground pepper to taste
    4     eggs
    4     tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

Coarsely grate potatoes and place in a bowl of ice water to keep from discoloring.
Stir together chives, flour, olives, garlic salt, pepper and eggs in a medium bowl. Drain potatoes and firmly squeeze out excess moisture; stir into egg mixture.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of potato mixture for each pancake into skillet.
Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, flattening with the back of a spatula and cooking until golden brown and crisp on both sides.
Repeat with remaining oil and potato mixture.
Place a spoonful of Cabernet-braised short ribs onto each pancake.


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