“DaVinci wine is created in a magical place. Tuscany; a treat for the eyes as well as the palate. The air smells of sweet, sun ripened grapes and fresh herbs – all muddled with the earthy scent of mineral rich soil”.
These were the first words I wrote the day I arrived at the Casale Leonardo da Vinci Villa in Vinci, Italy last fall.
Never have I been so enamored with a landscape; and enchanted by the people who inhabit it.
On a warm summer day last August, 2013, my daughter and I had loaded the last of our belongings into the car. I walked back down the little gravel path and stood in the entry doorway, giving my home once last glance – then closing and locking it one last time. We were moving to Oregon. Bittersweet. Trying to hold back the tears as we looked back at the house we had called home for 12 years. My daughter, being a brave soul, reassured her Mom that it would be ok. “We aren’t moving that far away” she said. I smiled.
Then I said, “this is the beginning of a new adventure”.
And it was.
Just as we crossed the Washington Oregon border my phone rang. Thankfully, my teenage daughter was driving so I answered the call. A lovely lady announced to me that I had been selected the 2013 Culinary Arts DaVinci Wine Storyteller. I remember asking the lovely lady to repeat what she had said. The only words that would escape my lips was “really?” “I never win anything!” And then of course, thanking her profusely for delivering the most fantastic news.
This time I really was in tears. So excited, so honored to have been selected to represent the culinary arts for DaVinci Wine Storyteller Experience 2013.
It was a grand adventure. Looking back and reading my second journal entry I recall the swells of emotion. “The beauty of Tuscany mirrors the beauty of its people and its food”. “A culture rich with history and laced with passion. A passion that transcends all boundaries and flows effortlessly onto the family table”.
The 2014 Storyteller Experience is under way and DaVinci Wine is once again looking for the best storytellers in culinary arts, photography, writing, fine arts and more. Bloggers and creative storytellers of all kinds can now apply. Grab a pen, warm up the typing fingers, “Like” the DaVinci Facebook page and go fill out the application. The deadline is May 31, 2014. Twelve finalists will be chosen and then voted on by DaVinci Wine Facebook fans to ultimately select the final four winners.
The lovely folks from DaVinci Wine, who I adore, have asked me to share my Storyteller Experience and how I now create a little “Chianti at Home”. Over the next few months, I will be pairing the DaVinci Chianti, Chianti Reserva and Pinot Grigio with recipes I serve at my family table. Lush, enticing and mouthwatering recipes that pair perfectly with DaVinci Chianti here at Home.
The first of the “Chianti at Home” recipes is this flavorful and festive Seared Ahi Tuna Tacos. Simply prepared and laced with fresh and spicy flavors of the season. Although this is technically a “seafood” taco, the delicate but firm and meaty texture of the Ahi tuna pairs beautifully with the DaVinci Chianti.
The subtle fruit notes and smooth texture of the Chianti compliments the fresh and spicy flavors of the radish and cucumber greens and crema, as well as the firm and meaty texture of the seared Ahi tuna. If you’re looking for a complimentary white wine to pair with the tacos, the DaVinci Wine Pinot Grigio also beautifully compliments this lovely dish.. Flavors that balance, entice the palate and compliment DaVinci Wines.
Celebrate the Spring and Summer seasons by bringing a little Chianti to your Home!
Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,
*This is a sponsored post by the lovely folks at DaVinci Wine
Seared Ahi Tuna Tacos with Radish Cucumber Greens and Spicy CremaServes 4 (can easily be doubled for guests)
1 ½ lbs Ahi tuna fillets, sushi grade (remove the tuna from the frig 15 minutes prior to cooking. This will allow the skillet to stay hot and quickly sear the tuna)
Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons ghee/clarified butter (or another high heat oil)
For the Greens and Spicy Crema
2 medium radishes, thinly sliced
1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
2 cups (or more if you’d like an extra side salad) mixed seasonal greens
½ crumbled Cotija cheese
¼ cup cilantro leaves (optional)
½ cup good quality mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar or any other natural alternative (not honey however, as honey is more of a flavoring rather than a sweetener)
Dash of chipotle powder or Sriracha (both are delicious, however the chipotle powder gives a smoky flavor)
2 limes, quartered
In a small bowl mix together the dried oregano, ground cumin and paprika. Season the tuna with salt and pepper and then rub the herb/spice mixture on both sides of the tuna fillets.
Next, heat a large heavy bottom skillet over medium high heat. (A cast iron skillet works well for this recipe) Add a few tablespoons of ghee (clarified butter) or any other high heat oil. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, place one tuna fillet in the skillet and let it brown. About two minutes on each side. You want both sides golden brown with a pink center.
Remove the tuna fillet and set it on a cutting board. Repeat the process with the remaining tuna fillets.
Once the tuna is done, slice against the grain so the tuna doesn’t fall apart. Set aside and prepare the greens.
Toss together the radishes, cucumber, mixed greens and cilantro leaves. Season with a little salt and pepper and squeeze of lime juice.
Whisk together the mayonnaise, lime juice, sugar and chipotle powder or Sriracha.
Warm the tortillas in a steamer or wrap them in foil and warm them in the oven making sure they don’t dry out. If you have a microwave, corn tortillas warm nicely in about 10 seconds in a microwave.
Place the radish and cucumber greens in the bottom of a tortilla and then top with a slice or two of Ahi tuna. Drizzle with the spicy crema and garnish with cotija cheese. Repeat the process and place the tacos on a large platter with the quartered limes to serve.
Serve with your favorite homemade salsa, guacamole, tortilla chips – and DaVinci Chianti.