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Talley Vineyards

Lindsey Bateman, Sales & Marketing Asst
January 13, 2017 | Lindsey Bateman, Sales & Marketing Asst

Sneak Peek #2!

As promised, we are sharing another delicious recipe from Brian Talley’s new cookbook, Our California Table, in anticipation of the book’s spring release date.  This fresh and veggie-filled side dish is the perfect way to kick-start all of those healthy New Year’s resolutions.  Not to mention it’s versatile, too.  Just add some grilled chicken or shrimp to the mix, and you’ve got yourself a good looking entrée.

Happy cooking!


Johnine’s Orzo and Spinach Salad

This is a recipe that my wife, Johnine, has been making since before we got married, and one that family members and guests have requested many times. It was originally developed by Mary Evely, the chef at Simi Winery in Sonoma County, one of the oldest wineries in California. The salad incorporates a number of vegetables that we grow, including spinach, red bell pepper, and green onion. Orzo, if you’re not familiar with it, is a small, rice-like pasta. The original version of the salad calls for capers as well, but Johnine doesn’t like capers, so she omitted them from her version. The dish can be made well in advance and, with the addition of shrimp or chicken, makes a perfect entrée salad.

Serves 6 to 8
Prep time: 1 hour


  • ½ pound orzo
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided between dressing and orzo
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tablespoon fresh thyme (or small pinch of dried thyme)
  • ½ tablespoon oregano or marjoram, or (¼ teaspoon dried oregano)
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bunch spinach or 1 bag baby spinach (6 to 8 ounces total), washed, stems removed, leaves cut into bite-size pieces
  • ¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup green onion, minced
  • 3 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

Cook orzo as directed on the package to al dente, rinse with cold water, and drain. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, then set aside.

Prepare dressing by combining remaining olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, mustard, garlic, herbs, and cumin. Whisk until smooth, then set aside.

Place orzo in a large bowl and toss with the dressing. Add spinach, olives, pepper, and green onion. The salad can be held for several hours.

To serve:  Top with feta cheese and pine nuts.

What to drink:  This fresh summer salad is perfect with a light white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Rosé. A light Pinot Noir is good if the salad accompanies grilled meat.


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