You’re Going to a Winery BEFORE Dinner!

June 10, 2010 by

You're planning to have people over for dinner ... AFTER going to a winery for a tasting.

That's right - you'll be required to cook AFTER already having drank a couple glasses of wine (since you'll probably have a full glass of your favorite from the tasting while you take in the view of the vines!).

And you'll be cooking for people who have already had two glasses of wine, and ready for dinner!

You want to serve a nice meal, to follow-up the lovely day you've enjoyed so far.

But it needs to be something that a. you can pre-prep earlier in the day, and b. you can pull together quickly once you all get to the house.

And while this is based on a true story, this recipe  line-up I came up with would be perfect for any dinner party where you don't want to be in the kitchen cooking for too long. I'm talking about dinner situations like a small group, your boss is coming over for dinner, your in laws, the man (or woman!) of your dreams ... you get the idea.

So back to the lineup ...

This should go without staying, but make sure you set the table and set out all of your cooking utensils, dishes, and glasses before you leave. It will make for a MUCH easier time when you get back.

Chopped Wedge Salad

Chopped Wedge Salad

Start off with this chopped wedge salad, and prep all of the ingredients except for chopping the lettuce, earlier in the day. Cook the bacon and store it in a ziploc bag after it's cooled, and make the salad dressing. Once you arrive at the house, plate the salads and serve them up to your guests.  That will take the edge off while you continue on with the main course ...

Chili-Maple Glazed Pork

Next up, plan to serve pork medallions with chili-maple sauce. Prep all of the medallions earlier in the day by slicing up the tenderloin, seasoning, and storing in the fridge.  Set out the sauce ingredients (there's only a few!) and as many pans as you need - the amount will vary by the number of guests.  (Tip: When I'm making this in bulk, I use my largest skillet to make the sauce afterwards, and just increase the sauce ingredients as much as I need.  Don't worry about making the sauce in all of the skillets.)  This meal goes from cooking to serving in under 15 minutes.

And with that, you're on to the final course ...

Lemon Custard with Raspberries

Lemon Custard with Raspberries

For dessert, you'll round out the meal with a refreshing lemon custard with raspberries.  Not only is this dessert tasty and pretty to serve, you can make it entirely in advance - including assembling in the dishes - so that when you get to this point of the meal, you can simply pull them out of the fridge and serve.

I like to store the glasses on a tray in the kitchen.  It makes for a pretty presentation 🙂

So the next time you plan to hit a winery BEFORE dinner, block an hour earlier in the day to prep the dinner.  You have the perfect recipes for a 3-course meal that will leave you feeling stress free, and able to focus on the wine.

Until our next meal,


P.S. Now if you don't live in Texas, this may sound shocking ...

But there are actually some really good wineries here!

For you Austin peeps, my personal faves so far include Mandola's, Perissos, and the most recent addition to the list, Stonehouse Winery.

All three have beautiful grounds, great tastings, and above all else, amazing wine. I highly recommend you check them out for yourself.