Go Nuts

Why every picnic needs this wine-friendly fruit

There’s an art to picnic snacks, an approach that simultaneously embraces flavor and facilitates portability. Finding finger foods that are versatile with wine is also a necessity. Enter the nut. There’s a natural marriage between wine and nuts that brings out the best in both. The secret lies in the skins. Nuts, like wine, have tannins in their skins. Those tannins bring a textural element to the table that makes wine taste dry. Same for nuts. When you toast a nut, especially with the skin on, you’re creating the perfect bridge of flavors between the nut and wines aged in toasted oak barrels. A jar of mixed nuts can become the star of a wine-centric picnic with a few modifications. Brushing nuts in egg whites before baking helps the spices adhere, creating a light crust. Toss with freshly chopped thyme and rosemary before serving to play up the subtle earthy notes in a Bordeaux-style wine like Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon. Here’s my go-to mixed nut recipe for your next picnic or wine tasting party.

– Todd Knoll

Jordan Spiced Nuts


1 large egg white
2/3 cup demerara sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp white coriander, toasted and crushed
½ tsp cumin
1 Tbsp ancho chili powder
1 tsp fennel pollen
1 cup raw pistachios
1 cup skinless hazelnuts
1 cup wild pecans (Wine Forest American Native Wild Pecans preferred)
1 cup raw almonds
2 tsp Maldon salt


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. If using a convection oven, preheat to 300 degrees. In a non-reactive bowl, whip the egg white until aerated (do not whip to peaks). Add the sugar, spices and nuts, then fold to combine. Spread the mixture onto a Silpat-lined or oiled sheet pan and roast until browned (35-40 minutes), stirring and turning the pan once during roasting. Remove the pan from the oven and carefully stir once more while sprinkling flakes of Maldon salt to distribute evenly. Separate nuts while still warm into smaller pieces. Allow the nuts to cool completely. Stored in an airtight container with a desiccant pack, the nuts hold well for one week.

Yields 4 cups

Stacked Up

Layered vegetables bring color and convenient service

For our seasonal picnic terrines, we follow the garden’s mid-summer lead, when every component is full of flavor and glowing with vivid color. Making vegetarian terrine is simple: all you need is a flavorful, well-seasoned gelée to hold perfectly cooked vegetables and grains in suspension. The key is to use just enough gelatin to keep the vegetables soft; too much, and they’ll become rubbery. Fresh vegetables bring the garden to life in any summer moment, while the grains provide a textural counterpoint and lend notes of earth and smoke—both intriguing for wine pairing. I prefer to use Le Parfait super jars for a shared presentation; they’re less formal than the traditional dining room presentation of perfectly stacked slices, but equally as delicious. Adding herbs, flowers and sea salt to garnish adds another layer of texture.

– Todd Knoll

Jordan Vegetable Terrine


1 cup vegetable gelée
2 cups assorted seasonal vegetables, blanched and refreshed*
¼ cup freekeh or other flavorful grain, cooked, drained and seasoned well
¼ cup popped quinoa Fresh herbs, for garnish
Fresh edible blossoms, for garnish
Maldon salt, for garnish


1 cup Jordan Chardonnay
2 cups spring water
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 leek, white and green parts sliced
2 shallots, peeled and sliced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 rib celery, chopped
½ fennel bulb, sliced
1 bay leaf
8 sprigs thyme
6 parsley stems
12 black peppercorns
1 Tbsp coriander seeds, toasted
13 sheets gelatin, warmed


½ cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup water
2 cups grapeseed oil


26 ounce Le Parfait super terrine canning jar


For the vegetable gelée, combine wine, spring water, vinegar and aromatics to a simmer in a large saucepan for 30 minutes. Add bay leaf, thyme, parsley, black peppercorns and coriander. Return to a simmer for 5 minutes and remove from heat. Strain through a fine meshed sieve and gently reduce to 1¼ cups. Combine warmed gelatin mixture and distribute evenly. Reserve for assembly.

For the popped quinoa, rinse quinoa under cold water and drain. In a medium sauce pot over high heat, add the quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until there is a white edge. Drain and discard any remaining liquid. Dehydrate the quinoa on a Silpatlined baking sheet (or silicone baking mat) in a low oven or food dehydrator at 145 degrees for 2-3 hours. Heat the oil in a fryer or small sauce pan with high sides to 375 degrees. Fry the quinoa for 15-20 seconds and drain on paper towels. Quinoa may be prepared the day prior.

To assemble, pour ¼-inch of the gelée into the terrine. Chill and allow to set for 10-15 minutes. Once set, begin to loosely layer garnishes, starting with the lightest vegetable, like squash blossoms. Do not pack down; pockets must remain for the gelée to fill. Continue to layer until ¾-inch headspace remains. Pour gelée over the top of the final layer, pressing gently to submerge the garnish as much as possible. Return the terrine to the refrigerator to set once more for 45 minutes.

To serve, remove the terrine from the refrigerator and top with a final ¼-inch of gelée (still room temperature). Garnish with fresh herbs, blossoms and flakes of Maldon salt. The terrine is best the next day but may be made up to three days in advance if wrapped carefully and refrigerated.

*In this terrine, we used squash blossoms, sunburst squash, sweet corn, red currant tomatoes, roasted golden beets and the last of our peas.

Serves 4-6

Start Cracking

The Jordan kitchen is inspired by our staff’s shared love of Sonoma’s natural beauty. Whether it be abalone, urchin or Dungeness crab, we are often provided with nature’s perfect vessel for presenting our recipes. At once primal and elegant, this shell presentation first brings a smile of surprise followed by a new layer of appreciation.

– Todd Knoll

Sonoma Dungeness Crab Salad


1 Fuyu persimmon, peeled and julienned
1 Japanese cucumber, thinly sliced on the bias
1 Tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar
½ tsp kosher salt
1½ cups cooked crab
½ cup hazelnut vinaigrette
1 ripe avocado, sliced and brushed with vinaigrette
¼ cup hazelnuts, roasted, peeled and cracked
3 Tbsp Sonoma Sand* or toasted sesame
1 ounce Jordan Chef’s Reserve Caviar


1 gallon water
2 cups white wine
1 Meyer lemon, juiced and zested
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp black peppercorns
1 Tbsp fennel seed, toasted
Coarse sea salt as needed
4 live Dungeness crabs (2 to 3 pounds)


¼ cup Champagne vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp white miso (sweet millet miso from South River Miso preferred)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp honey
1 tsp fennel frond, finely minced
1 tsp chives, finely minced
1 tsp fennel pollen
½ cup roasted hazelnut oil
¼ cup Jordan Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Kosher salt to taste


For the crab, prepare a large ice bath. In a large nonreactive pot, bring water, wine and aromatics to a boil and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Season the court bouillon aggressively with sea salt. Bring to a rolling boil, then carefully slip the crabs into the pot and cover. Once the crabs have turned bright red (11-14 minutes), remove them carefully with tongs and plunge into the ice bath to arrest cooking. Begin to clean crabs as soon as they are chilled. Place a colander in the sink or over a work bowl to use as you discard shells and viscera. Remove the large head shell by firmly grasping the shell with a kitchen towel and pulling away from the body. Reserve the shell for presentation. Remove and discard the gills, then wash the body of all viscera. (If allowed to stay in contact with the meat, it will stain it an unattractive grey.) Break the crab in half, then remove the legs. Carefully crack the legs with a mallet or the back of a kitchen knife. Try to remove the meat in one piece by bisecting the body lengthwise and use a chopstick or wooden skewer to push the meat out of the many cavities. Carefully pick through the meat and reserve. Crab may be prepared up to two days in advance and kept well wrapped in the coolest part of the refrigerator.

For the hazelnut vinaigrette, combine all ingredients except the oils in a non-reactive bowl. Whisk to combine, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and slowly incorporate the oils in a fine stream while whisking to emulsify. Season with pepper and salt to taste and reserve.

10 minutes prior to serving, toss the cucumber and persimmon with seasoned rice wine vinegar and kosher salt. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes.

To serve, carefully fold the crab, marinated cucumber and persimmon, avocado and ¼ cup hazelnut vinaigrette. Taste for seasoning, then divide among the four reserved head shells. Finish with Sonoma Sand, caviar, cracked hazelnuts and a final drizzle of the vinaigrette.

Serves 4

Raspberry Vinaigrette


¾ cup fresh raspberries (thawed frozen may be substituted)
¼ cup freeze-dried raspberries, crushed
2 Tbsp raspberry honey
½ tsp thyme leaves
1 tsp kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning to taste
½ cup aged balsamic vinegar
½ Tbsp sherry vinegar
1⁄3 cup Jordan Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ tsp lecithin (as emulsifier)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh lemon juice to taste


Combine raspberries, honey, thyme and 1 tsp kosher salt in a non-reactive bowl; toss, cover with plastic wrap and allow to macerate for 30 minutes. Crush the fruit with the back of a fork. Whisk in the balsamic and sherry, then cover for 10 minutes longer. Pass through a fine meshed strainer to remove seeds if desired. Whisk in the lecithin and olive oil. Adjust seasoning and acidity, then transfer to a mason jar. Shake to emulsify before serving.

Store refrigerated for up to five days. Allow the vinaigrette to come to room temperature and shake again to combine before every use.

Yields 2 cups

Fresh Pickled Vegetables


2 pints assorted baby vegetables, cleaned, trimmed and prepared (carrots, patty pan squash, golden beets)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar, seasoned
1 tsp Canadian brown mustard seed*
1 tsp Canadian yellow mustard seed*
1 pinch saffron threads (Spanish coupe or Kashmir)*
2 Turkish Bay leaves, crushed*
1 cardamom pod, cracked*
2 Tbsp whole coriander, toasted and crushed*
2 tsp whole cumin, toasted and crushed*
2 tsp black peppercorns, whole*
1 Tbsp Turkish oregano*
1 tsp Indian celery seed*
2 tsp Aleppo pepper chili flakes*
2 cloves, whole*
2 shallots, peeled and sliced
1 small bulb of fennel with fronds, roughly chopped
½ cup basil, torn
10 sprigs lemon thyme
5 sprigs tarragon
5 sprigs marjoram
5 sprigs flat leaf parsley
3 California bay leaves
3 cloves elephant garlic, crushed
Zest of one Meyer lemon
2 Tbsp grapefruit zest
2 Tbsp Sonoma honey
½ cup grapeseed oil
½ cup, 2 Tbsp Jordan Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh blossoms and rose petals for garnish
Sea salt to taste

*Note: This exotic blend of dried herbs and spices may be substituted with Penzey’s Pickling Spice.


Prepare vegetables by blanching 90 percent through in boiling seasoned water and shock them in ice water. This step may be done up to two hours prior to pickling. Baby carrots, turnips, endive, peas and roasted cipollini onions are favorites from the Jordan Estate garden. Delicate vegetables (like patty pan squash) should be lightly blanched to 50 percent and set aside for additional at the end; not pickled.

To prepare the vinaigrette, in a cast iron pan over medium-high heat, combine all dried herbs and spices and toast until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and heat to a simmer. Add shallots, garlic, fennel, zest, half of the fresh herbs and honey; sauté until vegetables begin to caramelize and release their flavor. With a wooden spoon, scrape all ingredients into a stainless steel saucepan and add the two vinegars. Season with salt and return to a simmer. Remove infused vinegar from the heat, add the remaining fresh herbs, cover and allow to steam for a minimum of one hour. Return to a simmer and whisk in oils to emulsify.

To finish the escabeche, place a strainer or cheesecloth over a stainless steel sauce pot filled with prepared vegetables. Pour hot, infused vinaigrette through strainer onto vegetables and allow to lightly pickle for a minimum of two hours. Strain vegetables off infused vinaigrette onto serving plate. (Remaining infused vinaigrette may be kept refrigerated for up to one week.) Add lightly blanched patty pan squash. Garnish with fresh blossoms, rose petals, sea salt and a drizzle of infused vinaigrette to enhance colors and flavors. Serve at room temperature with a salad of torn greens and remaining fresh herbs, delicate quinoa or scented sushi rice.

Finished escabeche may be kept refrigerated for up to three days.

Serves 6