California Cooking

Duskie Estes (right) and John Stewart
Duskie Estes (right) and John Stewart

California cooking comes to the Ambassador’s residence at Winfield House.
California chef Duskie Estes will be cooking up a  treat at Winfield House, here are a couple of her recipes below Panforte and sonoma farmstead cheese and zazu pickled grapes.

panforte + sonoma farmstead cheese

Panforte (“strong bread”) is a dense nut, fruit, & spice cake classically served at Christmas time in Siena. It was one of our most favorite food discoveries in Italy outside of the lardo, wild boar, truffles, olive oil, parmesan, balsamic, gelato, amarone, moscato, bellinis, & …. We love to serve it at our restaurants with farmstead cheeses from our neighbors.

2/3 cup california pistachios, toasted

2/3 cup toasted and peeled hazelnuts

2/3 cup blanched california almonds, toasted

1/4 cup yellow raisins

1/4 cup currants

1/3 cup chopped California prunes

1/3 cup California Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup chopped dried figs

1/2 cup all purpose flour

zest of one lemon

zest of one orange

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

a pinch of white pepper

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Heat the oven to 300. Prepare a spring form pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment. Then spray the parchment. Coarsely chop the pistachios, hazelnuts, and almonds. In a bowl, mix the nuts with the raisins, currants, prunes, figs, flour, orange and lemon zest, and spices. In a small saucepan on medium heat, heat the sugar, honey, and butter stirring constantly, until it reaches between 242 and 248 on a candy thermometer (soft ball stage). Immediately pour into the nut mixture and stir together quickly. Then pour it into the prepared pan and smooth it with a spatula. It hardens quickly so work fast. Bake about 30 to 40 minutes, until set. Once cool, remove from the pan and peel off parchment.

zazu pickled grapes

we like to serve these with our salumis. they are also great on chicken, duck, or pork!

1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup water

8 ginger coins (fresh ginger cut into coins)

6 cloves

2 jalapenos, sliced into rings

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

2 cinnamon sticks

3 star anise (optional)

1 bay leaf

1 pound grapes, picked

In a non-reactive pot, combine the vinegar, sugar, water and spices. Bring up to a boil. Pour hot

liquid over the grapes. Let steep at least 1/2 hour.