A Tribute to Jess Jackson
Shrimp Boil Hobo Packs
Pairing: 2009 Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay
Spring Lettuce Salad with Roasted Asparagus
Pairing: 2009 Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Sauvignon Blanc
The rolling hills surrounding Lexington, Kentucky—some of the country's most expensive rural real estate—are used primarily for Thoroughbred grazing. "But outside that 15-mile ring are great farms," says Amber Huffman, the Jackson family's private chef. She features farmers' market lettuces here, which get warmed by roasted asparagus.
Barbecued Shrimp with Cheese Grits
Pairing: 2007 Kendall-Jackson Highland Estates Los Robles Pinot Noir
By happy accident, Amber Huffman combined leftovers of two low-country staples—barbecue and cheddar cheese grits—for a quick Southern fusion meal. It became a Jess Jackson favorite. Here, Huffman tops her grits with grilled shrimp slicked with a tangy, bourbon-based barbecue sauce. "I seriously have received three marriage proposals over a bowl of my cheese grits," says Huffman. "I've accepted none so far."
Lemon-Brined Fried Chicken
Pairing: 2006 Kendall-Jackson Highland Estates Napa Mountain Merlot
To make this juicy and delectably crisp chicken, chef Thomas Keller soaks it in a lemony brine, then coats and fries it. The chicken, which is served every other Monday at Ad Hoc, is one of the most popular dishes at the restaurant. "Since Fried Chicken Night only happens twice a month," Keller says, "people have a wonderful sense of anticipation."
Pairing: 2009 Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay
Jess Jackson asks for this ersatz gumbo every time he visits his Kentucky farm. "He always says, 'We should have this once a week,' " Huffman says. "Then, when he's about halfway through the bowl—'OK, twice a week.' It's not authentic gumbo, but Creole flavors have crept up to Kentucky."
Meat Loaf with Red Wine Glaze
Pairing: 2004 Kendall-Jackson Highland Estates Napa Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Shea Gallante brushes his meat loaf with a red wine glaze, which caramelizes as it bakes. The glaze also makes the meat loaf especially easy to pair with red wine.
Three-Cheese Mini Macs
Pairing: 2005 Kendall-Jackson Highland Estates Taylor Peak Merlot
Anything big made small is ultrafun for cocktail parties, and these quick, one-bite mac and cheeses are the ultimate example. Cooked in mini muffin pans, the mini macs can be assembled early and baked just as guests arrive.
Barbecued Brisket and Burnt Ends
Pairing: 2005 Kendall-Jackson Hawkeye Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Ten hours on the grill with a slather, a rub and a mop give this brisket an extraordinarily robust flavor. Paul Kirk's recipe calls for a whole packer brisket, which includes both the flat (the larger, leaner portion) as well as the point (the smaller, fattier part for the burnt ends). When slicing the brisket, cut perpendicular to the grain to keep the meat juicy.
Hush Puppies with Green Zebra Tomato Jam
Pairing: 2008 Kendall-Jackson Highland Estates Alisos Hills Viognier
Pairing: 2009 Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Riesling
We've played with the traditional étouffée method a bit to make our recipe quick. But this version of the Acadian classic—shrimp smothered in a roux-thickened sauce of vegetables and spices—is every bit as luscious as the original. For extra heat, add more cayenne or a touch of Tabasco sauce.