By Joanne Weir
Experience the Fresh, Vibrant Flavors of Wine Country California?s wine country boasts a mild Mediterranean climate with cool, foggy mornings and warm, sunny afternoons. Early European settlers, recognizing familiar weather and sloping hillsides, transposed the best of their native landscapes into these new, fertile fields. They planted groves of olive and nut trees, grape vines, and gardens bursting with tomatoes, garlic, peppers, squash, thyme, fennel, and lavender. The result is a wine country that rivals its cousins in Italy, Greece, and southern France for wine, olive oil, and colorful produce. The natural bounty of this region inspires what acclaimed chef Joanne Weir has termed ?wine country cooking.? It?s a Mediterranean-influenced way of cooking and eating that celebrates seasonal produce, fruit-infused olive oils, wild-caught seafood, grass-fed cattle, artisanal cheeses, and rustic breads--all served with a perfectly paired glass of wine. InWine Country Cooking, a refreshing collection of 150 recipes and wine pairings, you?ll learn how to cook with the rhythm of the seasons. The abundance of fall squashes, carrots, and turnips become Chicken Ragout with Autumn Vegetables, a hearty dish that?s well complemented by a splash of Chardonnay. In the wintertime, warm up with Shellfish Stew with Orzo and a glass of Pinot Noir. In the spring, take advantage of artichoke season by serving Artichoke Fritters with Lemon Mayonnaise accompanied by Sauvignon Blanc. On a hot, sunny afternoon, cool off with Raspberry and Zinfandel Sherbet with Warm Berry Compote and a flute of sparkling wine. Impressive enough for entertaining and easy to integrate into a healthy and active lifestyle, these casual and tasty recipes take full advantage of nature?s gifts. Whether you?re picnicking in a sunlit field, strolling through a farmer?s market, or sitting on the back porch with friends, you?ll find yourself taking time to savor every bold and divine wine country flavor.