Food & Wine Pairings Perfect for July 4th

Gigi's Cold Fried Chicken

Pairing: 2007 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Who is Gigi? All my life she has been mom. Nowadays she is known as Gigi to my two little boys. Every Sunday morning, my mom cooks bacon for breakfast, reserving the grease from the bacon to make this lovely white gravy. We pour it over eggs, biscuits and fried chicken.

Serves 6


Gigi's Gravy

1 tablespoon bacon grease

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 cups milk, room temperature

1 teaspoon salt

Black pepper to taste


1 chicken cut up into 8 pieces

Salt and pepper

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup rice flour

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons onion powder

1 tablespoon paprika

? teaspoon cayenne pepper

? cup water

2 quarts canola oil


Make the Gravy

1. In a small sauce pan, warm the bacon grease over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Add the flour and stir well. Let cook for a couple of minutes stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until flour turns from pale white to light golden color.

2. Whisk a ½ cup of milk into the flour mixture until thickened. Whisk in an additional ½ cup of milk, stirring until thickened. Continue adding a ½ cup milk at a time until all of the milk has been added, making sure to whisk the mixture the entire time. Let the mixture come to a boil and then remove from heat. Stir in the salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare the Chicken

1. Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper and marinate in the buttermilk for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, rice flour, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and cayenne.

3. Remove chicken from the buttermilk, scraping off any extra. Reserve marinade. Place each piece into the seasoned flour and thoroughly coat. Add ¼ cup water to the leftover buttermilk and mix well. Dip each piece back into the buttermilk, and then back into the seasoned flour to give it a second coating. Place on a tray in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

4. *Heat the canola oil in a high-sided heavy sauce pot to 325°F. Be sure there are at least 4 inches of space from the oil's surface to the top of the pot.

5. Working in batches, submerge 2-3 pieces at a time into the hot oil and let fry for 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oil and let drain on a wire rack.

6. Refrigerate the chicken overnight. To serve, place on a platter and pour Gigi's gravy on top.

Summer Corn Pasta Salad

(Beans, Peppers & Squash)

Pairing: 2010 Twomey Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

Serves 6


? red onion, sliced

? cup olive oil

6 ears yellow sweet corn, cut off cob

2 green zucchini, diced

4 roasted peppers, cleaned and small dice

? cup dry black beans, cooked

? cup dry cranberry beans, cooked

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

Salt and black pepper

? cup chives, chopped

6 squash blossoms, julienned


1 lb Rigatoni or Penne dry pasta

1. Bring a 2 gallon pot of water to a boil.

2. In a separate large braising pot over low heat combine the onions and olive oil. Cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes. If the onions begin to brown, turn down the heat.

3. After the onions become soft, add the corn, zucchini, peppers, cooked beans, broth, salt and pepper. Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the stew rest for 10 minutes.

4. Once the original pot of water is boiling add the dry pasta and cook according to directions. Once fully cooked strain from the water and add to the pot of corn simmering. Mix thoroughly and then chill in the refrigerator.

Garlicky Shrimp Skewers

(Paprika, Lemon & Lot's of Garlic on sweet succulent shrimp)

Pairing: 2011 Twomey Estate Sauvignon Blanc

Makes 6 skewers


1 lb shrimp, cleaned, 25 count per lb

8 large cloves of garlic, sliced thin

1 tsp sweet Spanish paprika

1/4 cup virgin olive oil

3 tsp chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp salt

1 lemon for juice

6-inch Skewers


1. Place the shrimp, garlic, paprika, olive oil, parsley and salt into a sealable plastic bag. Mix thoroughly and let marinate for at least two hours or up overnight.

2. Preheat your grill on high. Once marinated place onto the skewers and grill them for 2 minutes on each side.

3. After grilling, give them a squeeze of lemon and serve!

Do you still have questions? Feel free to reach out directly to Chef Orsini by going to and clicking on "Ask Chef Dominic."