Fitness, Food, Wine & Travel

Posts tagged “Nichelini

Berbere Spiced Chicken

So I am reading listening to Marcus Samuelsson’s autobiography right now… during long runs and my ultra boring work commutes to Auburn everyday. It’s called Yes, Chef, and it’s a really fascinating book, especially if you are into food/cooking, or have ever worked in the industry. And I just love being able to listen to the book, actually read by the author in his Swedish accent. 🙂

Anyway, Samuelsson’s staple spice is called berbere (originating from Ethiopia). I have enjoyed this spice in a dish called doro wat at Queen Sheba on Broadway here in Sacramento, and wanted to present the chef’s bebere spice recipe used in a Paleo setting.

So, I decided to make the spice mix and coat chicken breasts with it, then grill them. The flavor is a delicious mix of savory and sweet and can go on almost any meat.

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Berbere Spice Mix
(by Chef Marcus Samuelsson)

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/2 cup ground dried Serrano chilies or other ground dried chilies
1/2 cup paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom, preferably freshly ground
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Finely grind the fenugreek seeds with a mortar and pestle or an electric spice or coffee grinder. Stir together with the remaining ingredients in a small bowl until well combined.

Toast the spices in a non-stick pan on low heat until the oils and aromatics are released. Remove from heat.

You’ll have enough spice to make about 6 chicken breasts (we use Mary’s organic chicken from Taylor’s Market), or you can make 2 breasts and save the rest of the spice for up to 3 months.

Place the chicken breasts in a medium sized bowl and cover them with 1 Tbs olive oil. Then coat the chicken breasts with the berbere and allow to marinate for 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator while your grill is preheating. If you can, buy the chicken breasts attached. This will help retain moisture during the cooking/grilling process. If you don’t have a grill, you can bake the chicken in the oven on a foil covered sheet or roasting pan.

We served the chicken with a chilled, white wine from Nichelini Winery, (they’re located outside of Napa Valley in the Chiles Valley region). The wine is called Muscadelle, and it was the perfect match for  the berebere spice, because of it’s crispness and higher sugar content.

We had sautéed vegetables: eggplant, squash, and broccoli, and also a salad on the side.

Another fun weekend in the record books. 🙂

Fantastic Memories at the Meritage Resort and Spa

I am still daydreaming about the party I attended with RB and my media/journalist friends a few weeks ago. It was the Re-Grand Opening Celebration at the Meritage Resort and Spa.

I can only describe my experience there as “living the dream”. I know it’s cliche, but I truly felt like royalty that evening. The Meritage Resort and Spa cut no corners on the evening, as guests were treated to champagne and caviar, salami and cheese trays, grilled foie gras, pork sliders, and an entire room full of desserts ranging from cakes and pastries to tall jars of M&Ms.

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I was so impressed with the expansion and all the new amenities at The Meritage, that I asked RB if he would bring me back there for my birthday a few weeks later. And he did. 🙂 We spent my 35th birthday at my favorite place in the world, the Napa Valley. We stayed in one of the new rooms at the Meritage, and the next day I worked out in the expanded fitness studio. The view from my treadmill looked out onto their private vineyards. The fitness studio also has Wieland doors that open and close with the season.

Reasons to stay at The Meritage:

  • 322 guestrooms and suites, including nine suites, plus access to 180 vacation rental rooms at the adjacent Vino Bello Resort for a total of 502 guestrooms and suites
  • Guestrooms and suites are designed to be a “home away from home” with high ceilings, open spaces and sumptuous bathrooms
  • Tuscan inspired dĂ©cor with rich woods, comfortable seating, premium bedding, Gilchrist and Soames amenities, and many rooms with private balconies or patios
  • Wireless and wired high-speed Internet access, executive work desks, local calls and voicemail, complimentary morning newspapers and in-room safes
  • 32-inch plasma screen televisions, DVD and CD players, with access to the hotel’s library of DVDs and complimentary premium channels and iPod-charging clock radios
  • Spacious baths with marble-topped vanities, extendable magnifying mirrors and en-bath telephones
  • Plush bathrobes and designer toiletries
  • Mini refrigerators and bars, complimentary bottled water, coffee/tea makers with a selection of premium coffees and teas, ice buckets and corkscrews

Meeting and Event Space:

  • More than 50,000 square feet of indoor and covered outdoor meeting and event space, the largest meeting venue north of San Francisco and west of Sacramento
  • The two largest ballrooms in the Napa Valley both divisible up to 10 salons
  • Meritage Ballroom: 10,490 square feet, with two pre-function foyers totaling 4,300 square feet. Carneros Ballroom: 7,358 square feet, plus 1,564 square feet pre-function
  • Each ballroom opens up to a four-season covered terrace perfect for meals and receptions for up to 250
  • Luxurious entertainment Estate Cave: 3,992 square feet for events up to 200
  • Two boardrooms with fixed tables and two meeting rooms ranging from 250 square feet to 461 square feet
  • Multiple outdoor courtyards and piazzas for weddings, receptions and dining
  • Our Lady of Grapes Chapel for wedding ceremonies of up to 60 🙂
  • Member of Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI), a worldwide portfolio of distinctive meeting hotels and resorts

More Goodies:

  • Siena: Gourmet restaurant with Napa Terroir-influenced menu sourcing the best local, seasonal meats, fish and produce designed by award-winning executive chef to complement area wines
  • Crush Ultra Lounge: Sports themed entertainment space and bar with six luxury bowling lanes, a pool table, shuffle board, fireplace and dining
  • Blend: CafĂ© and bistro with gourmet coffees, Ă  la carte breakfast and lunch offerings, pastries, gelato, retail with indoor and al fresco seating
  • Lobby Bar: Featuring some of Napa’s finest wines by the glass, unique cocktails and appetizers
  • Spa Terra: A unique underground luxury spa experience situated in the Estate Cave, Spa Terra offers a variety of treatments in 12 treatment rooms and features tranquil walls of water, whirlpools, steam grottos and a relaxation lounge to unwind and rejuvenate
  • Trinitas Cellars Tasting Room: Enjoy wine tasting in the Estate Cave with Trinitas Cellars’ award winning wines. Tastings include latest releases and multiple varietals. Wine-centric gifts and mementoes are also available in the tasting room or sign up for the Trinitas Wine Society
  • Two swimming pools and three hot tubs, with cabanas, fountains and outdoor fire places for mingling and enjoying beautiful Napa weather
  • Recreational amenities include a new 1,650 square foot fitness studio, bocce ball court, croquet lawn and hiking trails through the nine acres of hillside vineyards
  • Business center, high-speed wireless Internet access throughout public spaces, meeting rooms, full service AV, presentation and production management, conference and banquet rooms, concierge
  • Evening 28-passenger shuttle delivers guests to Downtown Napa’s restaurants, tasting rooms and theaters and the Napa Outlets
  • 525 parking spaces including some designated for hybrid vehicles and a Level II electric vehicle charging station
When it was time to leave The Meritage Resort and Spa, I almost cried. Being in the Napa Valley always makes me feel so happy and rejuvenated. I enjoy staying at The Meritage because it is only a little over an hour away from my home. So, if you’re in Sacramento like me, it’s a perfect little getaway. Stay tuned for more posts from that weekend, including a piece on Nichelini Winery and Falcor Winery. Two labels who make great wines, but have completely different histories.
You can find the Meritage on Facebook here and on Twitter here.