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As summer winds down and friends trickle back from their vacations, the dog days of August provide the perfect excuse to throw a casual party on the patio.

To make it easy on yourself, pop open a few bottles of wine and serve some simple appetizers and small noshes that take advantage of the field-fresh bounty of the season.

To inspire your harvest menus, Seghesio Family Vineyards Chef Peter Janiak shared a few of the dishes he created for Caf?La Brezza, a new pop-up patio restaurant on the second floor of the historic Healdsburg winery.

The informal cafe, which opened on Memorial Day and will continue serving on weekends through Columbus Day, offers an array of wine-centric bites. To sate heartier appetites, there's also a wide range of tapas, from savory salads to briny seafood plates.

"We had a lot of people who didn't want the rigidness of a food and wine pairing," the chef said. "You can taste downstairs, then come upstairs and order a plate ... and buy wines by the glass or by the bottle."

Using fresh produce sourced from the winery gardens and local farms, Janiak has created tasty Mediterranean dishes crafted to accent the fruit flavors of the Seghesio wines.

The dishes at Caf?La Brezza ("the breeze" in Italian) are simple and rustic. The menu begins with two boards to share: one showcases the house-cured meats, with olive tapenade, crostini and pickled squash; the other highlights artisan cheeses, with toasted nuts and fruit.

Either would make a perfect appetizer plate for a backyard party, along with a bowl of olives marinated in orange zest, rosemary and chili flakes, then served warm from the oven.

As a first course, Janiak suggested serving a seductive salad of Dry Creek peaches with Point Reyes blue cheese, wildflower honey and toasted pecans.

The salad pairs well with the Seghesio Arneis wine, a crisp yet floral varietal that hails from the Piedmont region.

"The Italians call it little rascal, because it's difficult to farm," he said. "It has a little tropical fruit on the nose. ... The bouquet is sweet, but it finishes dry."

The lushness of the wine complements the sweetness of the peaches, and the acidity cuts through the creaminess of the cheese.

"This is a very easy dish for summer entertaining," he said. "You could either plate it or serve it on a big platter."

Janiak drives out to Dry Creek Peach and Produce every Thursday to pick up fresh peaches from well-known orchardist Gayle Okumura Sullivan.

"Her product is amazing," he said. "Right now, we're using the Red Haven peaches."

For heartier fare, Janiak suggests firing up the grill, then serving grilled chicken thighs over a simple salad of quinoa and Romano beans. He finishes the chicken with a dollop of tzatziki, a versatile Greek yogurt sauce.

"It's very summery," he said. "Everything we do out here is real simple."

Janiak likes to pair the chicken dish with pinot grigio, which has enough acidity to cut through the fatty chicken and the rich yogurt sauce.

Seafood lovers won't be able to resist roasted shrimp served over a fregola and olive salad with a dollop of romesco, a Spanish sauce made with almonds, hazelnuts, roasted peppers and smoked paprika.

Azolla: Did you know?

50 million years ago, the aquatic weed now blanketing parts of Spring Lake grew en masse in the Arctic Ocean, then a hot lake, and absorbed enough carbon dioxide to help cool a planet dangerously overheated by greenhouse gases.

"Fregole is similar to couscous, but it's toasted, so it has a nuttier flavor," he said. "It's from Sardinia, and it's commonly served with seafood."

Janiak would serve the dish with a sangiovese, a light-bodied red wine that can stand up to the smoky, nutty flavors of the romesco.

"I like to put seafood with red wine," he said. "The salinity and brininess of the shrimp really makes the fruit pop."

Janiak created Albondigas with Moroccan Tomato Sauce, a meatball dish with an Arabic twist, after reading about a tomato sauce the Moors brought back from Spain.

"They added honey and cinnamon," he said. "Cinnamon and zin is a great pairing, but I didn't want it to taste like a tomato dessert ... so I added a touch of cayenne."

Zaniak would pair the meatball dish with a zinfandel from Seghesio's Home Ranch in Geyserville, where founder Edoardo Seghesio first planted vines in 1895.

Caf?La Brezza is open 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, through mid-October at 700 Grove St., Healdsburg.


"This dish is a classic example of what grows together goes together," Janiak said. "Teaches and arneis both flourish in Dry Creek and often need little help complementing each other." Serving suggestion: the Seghesio 2012 Arneis.

<strong>Dry Creek Peaches with Pt. Reyes Blue, Toasted Pecans and Wildflower Honey</strong>

<em> Makes 4 to 6 servings</em>

4 peaches, pitted and cut into sixths

1 cup of Point Reyes Blue Cheese

? cup of toasted pecans

—Wildflower Honey, to drizzle


—Extra virgin olive oil

—Salt and Pepper to taste

Arrange peaches on plate or platter and then place down chunks of blue cheese. Drizzle honey over peaches and cheese. Then garnish with toasted pecans and top with arugula lightly dressed in olive oil, salt and black pepper.


Fregola de sarda is a Sardinian pasta similar to Israeli couscous that is toasted. Pimenton piquant is smoked Spanish paprika. Serving suggestion: Seghesio 2011 Sangiovese

<strong>Roasted Shrimp, Castelvetrano Olives, Fregola De Sarda and Salsa Romesco</strong>

<em> Makes 6 to 8 servings</em>

<strong> For fregola de sarda:</strong>

1? cups Fregola de Sarda

2 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil

3 heads of fennel

—Zest of 2 oranges

? cup of sliced Castelvetrano Olives

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

<strong> For salsa romesco:</strong>

? cup balsamic vinegar

? cup orange juice

? cup almonds

? cup hazelnuts

2 cups of roasted red peppers

1 teaspoon pimenton piquant

1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika

2 cloves of garlic, microplaned

? cup of olive oil

—Salt and pepper to taste

<strong>For shrimp:</strong>

1? pounds of shrimp

1 teaspoon chopped parsley

—Zest of 1 lemon

? teaspoon chili flake

1 tablespoon olive oil

<strong>For fregola de sarda:</strong> Boil 1? cups of Fregola de Sarda in salted water until cooked; strain and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

While pasta is cooking, cut to medium dice and saut?in 2 tablespoons of olive oil the three heads of fennel, reserving the fronds from 1 head. Just before the fennel is finished cooking, add the zest of 2 oranges

Allow pasta to cool to room temperature; then fold fennel mixture into fregola and add ? of a cup of sliced Castevetrano olives, chopped fennel fronds (reserved from earlier) and 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley.

Hold salad at room temperature until you serve. Can be made ahead of time and refrigerated but be sure to remove from fridge early enough so it can come up to room temp.

<strong>For salsa romesco:</strong> Take ? cup of balsamic vinegar and ? cup of orange juice and reduce in a non-reactive pot by half. Add reduction to food processor with ? cup of almonds, ? cup of hazelnuts, 2 cups roasted red peppers, 1 teaspoon of pimenton piquante, 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika, and 2 cloves of garlic, microplaned. Puree in food processor and while blade is spinning, slowly add ? cup of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

<strong>For shrimp:</strong> Marinate 1? pounds shrimp in 1 teaspoon of chopped parsley, zest of 1 lemon, ? teaspoon of chili flake and a tablespoon of olive oil.

Let marinate for at least 4 hours, then wipe away excess marinade, season with salt and pepper, and saut?with olive oil until just cooked.

<strong>To serve:</strong> Put Fregola de Sarda on a plate or platter, top with shrimp and serve romesco on the side.


It's important to use whole milk greek yogurt for this recipe or sauce will be too thin. Serving suggestion: Seghessio 2012 Pinot Grigio.

<strong>Grilled Chicken Thighs over Quinoa Salad with Tzatziki</strong>

<em> Makes 4 servings</em>

<strong> For chicken marinade:</strong>

1 pound of bone-out skin-on chicken thighs.

2 teaspoons chopped oregano

—Zest of 1 lemon (you will need juice later)

1 teaspoon of black pepper

—Olive oil, enough to coat all the chicken

<strong> For quinoa salad:</strong>

1 cup quinoa

6 cups vegetable stock or water

—Juice from a ? a lemon

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

—Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound of Romano beans; blanched, shocked and cut into bite-size pieces.

<strong> For tzatziki:</strong>

1 pint of Greek gogurt

2 cups of diced cucumber (seeds removed before dicing) or grated on large holes of box grater.

2 cloves of garlic finely minced or grated on microplane

1/8 cup of lemon juice

? cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon chopped oregano

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

<strong>For chicken marinade:</strong> *Combine all ingredients and marinate for at least 4 hours and up to 24. While chicken is marinating prepare quinoa salad and tzatziki.

For quinoa salad: Cook 1 cup of quinoa in boiling water or preferably vegetable stock. When finished cooking (after about 15 minutes), strain quinoa, toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and reserve at room temperature for serving. You can also refrigerate at this point but be sure to allow it enough time to warm up to room before serving.

<strong>For tzatziki:</strong> Mix all ingredients together and season to taste with salt.

<strong>To serve:</strong> Toss beans with quinoa and season with juice from ? lemon, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, a touch of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

When everything is ready, place quinoa salad on plate, rest grilled chicken thighs on salad and garnish with tzatziki.


"Albondigas (Spanish for meatballs) with Moroccan Tomato Sugo is an exotic approach to meatballs," Janiak said. "This adaptation of tomato sauce — enhanced with cayenne, cinnamon and honey — was originally brought to Spain by the Moors." Serving suggestion: Seghesio 2011 Home Ranch Zinfandel.

<strong>Albondigas with Moroccan Tomato Sugo</strong>

<em> Makes about 50, 1?-ounce meatballs</em>

<strong> For meatballs:</strong>

2 pounds ground pork

2 pounds ground veal

4 eggs

? cup milk

1 cup panko

1 onion (fine diced, sauteed and cooled)

3 cloves garlic (minced, cooked with onion and cooled)

1 tablespoon kosher salt, preferably Diamond Crystal

2 teaspoon black pepper

1? teaspoon paprika

2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

1? tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

<strong> For sauce:</strong>

1 onion, diced

2 tablespoons plus ? cup olive oil

? cup white wine

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1 quart peeled and chopped tomatoeswith juice

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

? cup honey

2 tablespoons parsley

<strong>For meatballs:</strong> Working to keep all ingredients as cold as possible, mix until well incorporated. Chill for at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375. Form balls to desired size and bake in a 375 degree oven until just cooked. Toss with sauce and serve

<strong>For sauce:</strong> Saute onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and deglaze with wine. Add cayenne and tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in honey and cinnamon and cook for 10 minutes. Fold in oil and parsley and cook for 5 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

<em>You can reach Staff Writer Diane Peterson at 521-5287 or diane.peterson@pressdemocrat.com.</em>

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