Whether you grew up with an American grandma or Italian nonna, you’ll always remember her meatballs. Moist and savory comfort food. But an outdated reliance on Italian bread crumbs, high in sodium and flavored with dried herbs, deserves a modern upgrade. Try Japanese panko with fresh parsley and rosemary. Imported brand Sushi Chef or Trader Joe’s both make a great product.

Gourmet Upgrade: Japanese Panko and Fresh Herbs

Tip: Avoid overworking the meat. Mix until just combined to keep texture loose rather than dense.

Pairing: Try Noble Vines 181 Merlot. Supple tannins and generous cherry flavors layered with vanilla and oak, complement the richness of the meatballs.

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 sprigs flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 oz ground beef
  • 8 oz ground pork
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ cup panko Japanese bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg, adding Parmesan, parsley, rosemary, salt, and black pepper to taste. With hands, gently mix meat thoroughly with egg. Add onions, garlic, panko and gently mix. Form into 1 1/2-inch wide balls. In a frying pan, warm olive oil over medium high. Add meatballs in batches, searing evenly on all sides. Transfer meatballs to a glass baking dish and bake 15-20 minutes until meatballs feel firm or register 165°F on an instant-read thermometer.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts, cleaned and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Mike’s Hot Honey
  • 4 slices Benton’s Bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

As more people move towards vegetable-friendly eating, carrots have fallen back in vogue. Roasted in olive oil, they’re also a crowd-pleaser for the caramelized sweetness acquired during cooking. Kick your traditional recipe up a notch with the punchy sweet and sour flavor of fig-based balsamic vinegar.

Gourmet Upgrade:

Wine Pairing: The from Noble Vines is a silky, full-bodied wine, making it a good match to the sweet character of balsamic and carrots. Bing cherry, juicy plum and delicate hints of soft, toasty oak round out the profile.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound carrots, peeled
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Fig Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a large baking sheet, drizzle carrots with oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Bake until tender, about 40 minutes, turning once halfway through. Meanwhile, prepare balsamic glaze. In a saucepan, combine balsamic vinegar and honey. Simmer until reduced by half, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes, or until thick and syrupy. Let cool slightly. Drizzle carrots with balsamic glaze and garnish with parsley.

Wine Pairing: Noble Vines TheOne Black. Though sweet desserts don’t typically pair with bold red wines, this recipe employs a heavy percentage of dark chocolate. Thus, it reflects rather than contrasts, the black cherry and blackberry notes of the wine.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons water for gelatin
  • 2 teaspoons powdered gelatin, unflavored
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 ½ ounces Valrhona Grand Cru Dark Baking Chocolate Guanaja 70%
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 ½ teaspoon whipping cream
Ingredients

  • ½ cup of bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup Tree Juice Bourbon-barrel Aged Maple Syrup
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 bone-in half ham (about 6 pounds), fully cooked

This content was originally published here.