Dinner and a Movie

August 27, 2008 at 9:49 am (Napa Valley)

As part of my “lets get healthy” new attitude towards life, I am trying to not visit the Silverado Brewery on Tuesday nights for $3 beers.  So last night to keep myself occupied I made dinner for some friends and we decided that we would go see the movie Bottle Shock – a movie based on the 1976 Paris tasting in which 2 Napa Valley wineries bested some of the most well renowned French wineries, therefore putting Napa Valley on the map of great wine regions of the world.


I loved the portrayal of Napa Valley back in the day – before it became so tourist-ridden and poshy.  I have heard the stories from some of the old-time bocce players about how Napa “used to be” and always thought “Wow, that could be interesting!  Sounds like a good time.”  And I don’t mean this to sound ungrateful to a place I have called my home the last seven years, but back then it just seemed so innocent – people growing grapes because they were farmers.  Farmers who understand the soil and climate, and were so proud of their crops that they wanted to take it to the next level by making their own wine.  Wine that could stand on its own against some of the top wines in the world.

Needless to say, I loved this movie.  It made me smile and appreciate how lucky I am to be living part of the Napa Valley dream.

As for the dinner portion of the evening, because I am trying to be healthy and cook seasonally I made a delicious dinner of Yellow Squash Soup with Scallion Salad based off a recipe from the August 2008 Food and Wine magazine.  I say based because I was missing some ingredients and had to improvise.  I’m going to give you my version, which turned out lovely!

Yellow Squash Soup and Scallion Salad
1 T unsalted butter
1 # yellow squash, cut into 1″ pieces
2 bay leaves
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 1/2 C chicken broth
1 1/2 C water
1/2 C plain yogurt
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Manchego Cheese Shavings
Scallion Salad:
6 scallions, chopped
1 t olive oil
1 C grape tomatoes, quartered
1 T minced tarragon
1/4 C diced peeled cucumber
1 t lemon juice

1.  In a saucepan, melt the butter.  Add the yellow squash, bay leaves, and garlic.  Cook over moderate heat for 8-10 minutes.  Add the broth and water and bring to a boil.  Simmer just until the squash is tender.
2.  Meanwhile, melt a pat of butter in another small saucepan.  Add scallions and cook until tender.  Let cool and transfer to a bowl.
3.  Transfer the squash and 1/2 to 1 cup of the broth to a blender and discard the bay leaves.  Puree the soup and blend in the yogurt.  Season with salt and pepper.  Keep warm, or refrigerate until cold.
4.  Add the tomatoes, tarragon, cucumber, lemon juice and olive oil to scallions and toss.  Ladle the soup into bowls and shave Manchego cheese on top.  Garnish with the scallion salad.


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