Cooking with Julie

Hello friends!  Today I send you a post from the air…again.  🙂  Ryan and I are headed to Tahiti!  While I will be away from Indulge for awhile, I promise pictures when I return!  In the meantime, I wanted to share with you the details from the cooking class I enjoyed in Napa!

We all know that Napa and Sonoma are famous for some amazing wines…a couple of my favorites being Dutcher Crossing, Trentadue, and Groth.  Tastings are the name of the game and indulging is encouraged.  But for me, 3 full days of drinking sample after sample is a little too much…for both my waistline…and my desire.  And with the amazing cooking class experience Ryan and I shared in Italy last year, I decided I would treat my dear friend Mandy to similar experience during our weekend in Wine Country.  After reviewing several sites, I decided on a class offered by Julie (“Cooking with Julie“.)  The description read:

“Enjoy the morning at the market meeting the farmers, browsing and sampling your way through the stalls of magnificent produce, olive oil and artesan cheeses with Julie. You will see produce as you’ve never seen it before–plump, bursting with flavor. As you explore the market your senses become heightened by the fresh flavors, the smell of dirt and gentle wafts of herbs and flowers. We select produce ripe and mature the way nature intended for our meal….After pursuing the perfect produce we learn how to cook our bounty to highlight the flavor and texture. We select the season’s vegetables from fava beans to torpedo onions and fruit (cherries, peaches, figs and more)….We visit a winery or wine bar in Napa for a private tasting to select the perfect wines to pair with our meal. Then on to the kitchen, where we don our aprons and turn our bounty into a wonderful wine country feast!” 

SOLD!  🙂

The Farmer’s Market was bountiful with fresh, colorful flowers….


red, green, and purple grapes…


Heirloom & beefsteak tomatoes..


cherry, grape, and zebra ‘maters…


Mild…spicy…red, green, yellow, orange and purple peppers….


pompegrante and figs!


With a sample here and a sample there (yes, even cookies!), we made our way slowly through this delightful little market.


Next door we visited a cheese shop, a spice shop, and a couple meat shops!


After a solid 2.5 hours of sampling our way through the market and neighboring shops, we were off to GROTH Vineyards to taste and pair wines with our meal.


While we were seated a private table and treated to a generous tasting, Julie prepared small side platers of cheese, grapes, and fresh bread.  The snacks were as delicious as they were beautiful!


When we finally made it to Julie’s home and into her kitchen, it was time to get cookin’! (literally!)  And naturally, we started with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and some appetizers!  While we began prepping the more labor intensive apps, Julie’s asst whipped up a meat, cheese, and grape platter as well as a Burrata Cheese app.


Have you ever had burrata cheese?  AMAZING.  Fresh mozzarella on the outside and cream on the inside.  Heaven.


Grilled Anaheim Peppers…


Recipe by Julie Logue-Riordan

Serves 4

  • 8 Small Figs (select figs athat are still firm)
  • 1 Tbsp plus 2 Tbsp teaspoons flavorless oil divided (grape seed or vegetable)
  • 3 Tbsp Almond Topping (recipe below)
  • 8 Thin slices prosciutto

Preheat your grill or broiler.

1.  Cut the figs in half lengthwise.  Place them in a medium bowl and toss them with 2 teaspoons of oil, to coat.  Use the rest of the oil to coat the grill grates.  Turn the grill heat to medium-high, and place the figs on the grill cut side down.

2.  Cook untill there are grill marks and the figs are heated through.  This will take about 3-5 minutes, depending on the ripeness of the figs.  Turn and cook on the other side for 2 minutes, just until you see the interior expand.  As you remove the figs from the grill, sprinkle each one with a teaspoon of almond topping.

3.  Arrange 2 slices of prosciutto on each serving plate to make a bed for the fig halves.

Serve with a non-oak Chardonnay.

PICADA (Almond Topping)

Recipe by Julie Logue-Riordan

Makes 1/4 – 1/2 Cup

  • Olive Oil
  • 2 Slices of day-old bread, sliced about 1/2 inch thick and crust removed
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp blanched almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 Tsp Orange Zest
  • 1 Small Garlic Clove
  • 6 from mint leaves
  • Kosher Salt

1.  Saute the bread in an 8 inch skillet with about 1/8 to 1/4 inch of olive oil, over medium heat.  Saute about one minute until the bread is golden brown, then turn and cook the other side to golden brown.   Drain on a paper towel.

2.  Tear the bread into pieces, if the center is still doughy, remove and discard.   You only want the toasty bit.  Place the pieces between 2 pieces of wax paper and roll a rolling pin over it to create large golden crumbs.

3.  Chop the almonds until very fine.

4.  Finely chop the orange zest together with the garlic, mint, and a pinch of salt.  Combine with the bread crumbs and almonds.  Taste and see if you need a pinch of salt.

*To blanch, bring a pot of water to a boil and add the almonds.  Cook at a boil for about a minute, just until you see the skin become wrinkled.  Remove from heat and strain, discarding the water.  When cool enough to handle, pinch the almond and it will slip off its skin.

*To toast the blanced almonds, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cook the almonds on a small baking sheet for about 5 minutes to lightly toast.


Recipe by Julie Logue-Riordan

( This is a twist on an Italian classic.  Tagliata has a marinade which uses fish sauce.  Use the best-quality aged balsamic for drizzling over the dish just before serving.  Serve with some fingerling potatoes or crusty French bread.)

  • 3 lbs of your favorite steak


  • 4-5 large garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp dried herbs de Provence
  • 3 Tbsp EVOO
  • 2 Tbsp Fish Sauce

Argulua Topping 

  • 1 Tbsp EVOO, or more to taste
  • 1-2 Lemons
  • Aged Balsamic Vinegar
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • ¼ lb baby arugula
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

With a sharp knife, cut away any tough membrane or silver skin and excess fat on the exterior of the steaks while keeping the steaks intact as much as possible.

For the marinade:  in a small food processor, mince the garlic and herb de provence until very fine.  Add the EVOO and process to a paste.  Add the fish sauce and process again.

Put the meat in a plastic zip-lock bag or other non-reactve container and rub all over with the marinade.  Cover and refrigerate 1-4 hours.  Bring to room temperature 20 minutes before cooking if the steaks are very thick and dense.

Prepare a hot charcoal or gas grill. 

Season the meat with pepper; it should not need salt, as the fish sauce is salty.  Grill both sides until done to your taste, although preferably no more than medium rare.  Let rest 5 minutes before serving.  Slice meat thinly about ¼ inch thick in a diagonal and against thee grain and place on a platter.

Put the greens in a bowl and very gently toss with a little kosher salt.  Top the meat with a tuft of salad, drizzle with any juices from platter, squeeze lemon over, then drizzle with EVOO, and add a little aged balsamic vinegar.  Shave some Parmigiano-Reggiano over and serve immediately.

AMAZING!!  Ryan and I can’t wait to make this at home for family and friends.  🙂

And last but certainly not least….DESSERT!


Recipe by Julie Logue-Riordan

(You can substitute delicious apples or fresh figs in place of the pears)

Serves 8

  • 1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Recipe Almond & Hazelnut Frangipane (below)
  • 4 Ripe Bosc Pears, peeled, halved, and cored
  • ¼ cup fruit jelly or jam
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • Spicy Crème Anglaise (see recipe)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter eight 3-inch ceramic quiche or crème brulee dishes, then fill halfway with Frangipane.

Place a ½ tsp of jelly on top of the Frangipane in the center of each dish.

Using a sharp pairing knife, cut the pear halves into very thin ¼ inch slices, from the top (near the stem) to thee bottom leaving the slices attached at the stem end.  Press down lightly to fan out the slices.  Place a sliced pear on top of each tart, over the jelly.

Place the sliced almonds over the frangipane.  Place the tartlet pans on a baking sheet  and bake until the frangipane is set, about 20 minutes.  Place the tart pans on a wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Place on small dessert plates and serve warm or at room temp, with Spicy Crème Anglaise in a sauce boat with a small ladle or spoon.


Recipe by Julie Logue-Riordan

  • 6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Almond Flour
  • 1 cup Hazelnut Flour
  • 5 large eggs, at room temp
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp Dark Rum
  • ¼ cup plus ½ Tbsp all-purpose flour
  1. Combine the butter, sugar, almond and hazelnut flour in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Using the paddle attachment beat until just smooth.
  2. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides after each egg is added.  Only add the next egg after the first one is incorporated.
  3. Stir in the vanilla, lemon zest, and rum.  Stir in the all-purpose flour until just combined.  Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for 2 months.


Recipe by Julie Logue-Riordan

To make it a little more special, add a little cognac at the end.

Makes about 1 ½ cups

  • 1 cup whole organic milk
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1/8 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks, from large eggs
  • Pinch of sea salt
  1. Place an empty bowl beside your stove top that is large enough to hold your sauce.  Place milk, vanilla bean, cumin, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a 2 cup glass measure.  Microwave 2-3 minutes until a film forms on the top.  Remove the vanilla and carefully scrape the beans from the inside of the vanilla bean and add both back to the milk.
  2. OFF THE HEAT in a heavy bottom pan (Le Creuset) mix thee egg yolks and the sugar until the egg yolks turn pale light lemon yellow.  Gradually add the hot milk stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Place over medium heat and continue to cook until the mixture thickens and coats the back of thee wooden spoon.  DO NOT LET THE MIXTURE BOIL.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve. 
  3. Sprinkle top with sugar.  The sugar will melt and prevent the film from forming on top.  Let cool.

Once all of our cooking was complete for the day, it was time to indulge! 


Groth Chardonnay, Tagliata, Potatoes and ‘Maters!  Finish it all off with the crustless Pear tarts.  What a treat!

A big thank you to Julie Logue-Riordan for a great day!  Another thank you to my friend Mandy for joining me on this adventure.  I love you!

To our new friends Emily and Lindsay…please be in touch!  It was so nice to meet you and share this day with you.

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

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