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Ceja Vineyards


It's no secret we love to cook. Most of our time is spent in or around the kitchen experimenting with new recipes, sharing culinary secrets or preparing old favorites with family and friends.

On this page you’ll discover some of our most cherished dishes. We hope you'll try out a few. Don't forget to pair them with your favorite Ceja Vineyards wine.


Albondigas en Salsa Roja (Mexican Meatballs in a Spicy Red Salsa)
September 22, 2020

In Spain and Latin America, meatballs are called albondigas, derived from the Arabic al-bunduq (meaning hazelnut, or a small round object). The Arabs brought a version of this dish to Spain, and it eventually became popular in kitchens in Mexico and Latin America. Mint is often found in Mexican versions and it adds an intriguing light element to the dish.

Mexican albondigas are commonly served in a soup with a light broth and vegetables or in a spicy red salsa to use as a filling for tacos! I love both versions -- they’re the definition of comfort food -- but today is the beginning of the fall equinox, and I’m in the mood for the richer spicier recipe to pair with our Cabernet Sauvignon inspired red wine blends.

Almond Flan
January 1, 2015
Flan or crème caramel is a variant of plain custard (crème) where sugar syrup cooked to caramel stage is poured into the mold before adding the custard base. It is usually cooked in a bain-marie on a stove top or in the oven in a water bath. It is turned and served with the caramel sauce on top, hence the alternate French name crème caramel renversée. An imitation of crème caramel may be prepared from "instant flan powder", which is thickened with agar or carrageenan rather than eggs. In some Latin American countries, the true custard version is known as "milk flan" (flan de leche) or even "milk cheese", and the substitute version is known as just "flan".
Anthony Bourdain’s Deviled Eggs
August 24, 2020

I read Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain in 2000, and I was hooked. I devoured with gusto all his subsequent books and binge-watched his TV shows.

For my birthday, this past June, during this COVID-19 Pandemic, I reread Kitchen Confidential again, and I love it even more.

Anthony Michael Bourdain was an American celebrity chef, author, journalist, and travel documentarian who starred in programs focusing on the exploration of international culture, cuisine, and the human condition. He died in June 2018.

Anthony Bourdain’s A Cook’s Tour visited Napa Valley to shoot an episode at Thomas Keller’s legendary French Laundry restaurant in Yountville which aired on April 30, 2002. I wish I had met him. I miss him.

I do have a signed first edition of Bourdain’s Appetites Cookbook, and I love the simplicity and decadence of his deviled eggs recipe with different toppings and garnishes -- from caviar to hot and spicy!

Here’s Anthony Bourdain’s introduction to his deviled eggs recipe. “I’m an egg slut: I like deviled eggs in almost every conceivable variation. They improve everything, particularly a party, because who doesn’t like deviled eggs?”

Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding)
January 1, 2015
Rice puddings are found in nearly every area of the world. Recipes can greatly vary even within a single country. The dish can be boiled or baked. Different types of pudding vary depending on preparation methods and the ingredients selected. When used as a dessert, it is commonly combined with a sweetener.
Arroz Mexicano (Mexican Rice)
March 27, 2020
Our authentic Arroz Mexicano (Mexican rice) is light and fluffy and is a great side dish to all taco and enchilada entrees. You'll never buy Mexican or Spanish rice in a pouch or box again after learning how to cook this easy recipe.
Barbacoa Beef Cheek Tacos
August 3, 2020

Barbacoa is a form of cooking meat that originated in the Caribbean with the Taíno people, from which the term “barbecue” derives.

In contemporary Mexico, it refers to meats slow-cooked with seasonings over an open fire or fire pit and typically shredded as a filling for tacos. In the present day, the same result can be achieved by either cooking the meat on the stove top or in the oven for two to three hours.

Beef barbacoa can either be made with one type of meat or with a combination of several cuts like beef cheeks, beef shanks or short ribs. However, using only beef cheeks for this barbacoa recipe and served with addictive pickled onions and an avocado slice makes an absolutely scrumptious dish. The preparation is easy and the results are marvelous.

Bean, Radish and Cheese Tostadas
July 2, 2020

From Frida’s Fiestas Cookbook by Guadalupe Rivera and Marie-Pierre Colle
Adapted by Amelia Morán Ceja

Frida. Artist. Mystery. Magic. Mexico.

Frida was an enthusiast, and every occasion was cause for rejoicing. She celebrated birthdays, saints days, baptisms and all the popular holidays. She had little money, and often she spent the payment she received for a painting on elaborate dinner parties. She had as much fun designing the menu as drawing up the guest list.

In 2004, Ceja Vineyards and I were invited to participate in Macy’s San Francisco 58th Annual Flower Show - Colores de Mexico. I did numerous cooking demonstrations, and for the grand finale event, I was asked to prepare three recipes from Frida’s Fiestas and paired them with our stellar wines. Frida’s stepdaughter Guadalupe Rivera (Diego Rivera’s daughter) was present as well and it was a great success!

Beer Can Chicken Tacos
November 10, 2020

Tacos filled with roasted, grilled or fried chicken are tasty, and paired with a crisp dry Rosé wine or Pinot Noir, are simply divine.

My husband Pedro Ceja loves chicken tacos and cooking with beer. Months ago, he roasted a whole chicken rubbed with spices and herbs on a roasting pan and baked it sitting up with a beer can inserted in its cavity. It was savory, moist and simply delicious.

The beer steams the chicken from the inside and the result is a perfectly roasted, succulent and juicy chicken with spicy and crispy skin. This is an easy recipe to be enjoyed frequently with family and friends, and a glass or two of our exceptional vinos.

Black Bean & Butternut Squash Chili
February 14, 2017
This thick, satisfying chili is a year-round favorite around our house. Incorporating a native American flair with beans and squash, this tasty and spicy recipe can also be made vegetarian by substituting the chicken stock with vegetable stock. Don't forget to pair this dish with a bottle of Ceja Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon!
Black Bean and Corn Salad
January 1, 2015
I love making this simple black bean and corn salad during the summer months as it’s both refreshing and savory and super easy to prepare. You can also serve it as a salsa by digging in with chips or tostadas. Never forget to pair it with a chardonnay or rosé.
Black Bean Soup
January 1, 2015
During fall, this easy autumn soup will warm you up with minimal time in the kitchen. My black bean soup is hearty, satisfying, and loaded with flavor. This dish pairs perfectly with our Pinot Noirs and red blends.
Bread Pudding
January 1, 2015
Why throw away day-old bread when you can turn it into yummy bread pudding! Also known as "broodpudding", "Capirotada," "Migas" and "Pudín de Pan", this tasty dish is revered all over the world.
Breakfast Potato and Longaniza Tacos
January 1, 2015
In the past, when Mexico's population was predominantly rural and agricultural, breakfast tradition included hot beverages and breads at dawn, and a heavier mid-morning almuerzo, consisting of an egg dish (such as huevos rancheros), chilaquiles, meats, beans, tortillas, pastries, and fruits. Commercial cereals are widely consumed now. Today, almuerzo generally means "lunch," and the Mexican breakfast may be the lighter or heavier version depending on personal taste or occasion. Usually, workday breakfasts differ from weekend or leisure day breakfasts in the amount and types of foods. Restaurants and hotels serve mainly buffet-style breakfasts with a variety of foods, oftentimes including "quesadillas" of various fillings, scrambled eggs, refried beans, chilaquiles, fruits and cereals. Menudo, a tripe stew considered a folk remedy for a hangover, has become a breakfast dish as well as one eaten at other meals. As with other large countries, breakfast in Mexico differs according to the region.
Buñuelos with Piloncillo Syrup and Atole de Coco
December 22, 2020

Las Posadas are a yearly Christmas tradition that is celebrated throughout Mexico from December 16, to December 24.

Las Posadas means inns or lodgings and the reenactment is a procession behind Mary riding on a donkey and Joseph guiding her while seeking shelter in Bethlehem before the birth of their son Jesus. It lasts nine days, to signify the nine months of pregnancy.

The participants go from house to house (typically predetermined) and sing hymns in Spanish, asking for shelter. The nightly events are like a nine-day tantalizing frenzy of some of the best Mexican cuisine. When the travelers are finally allowed in each night, they gather around the nativity to pray before sharing a feast of traditional dishes like tamales, pozole, buñuelos, atole and café de olla.

A beautifully decorated piñata filled with seasonal fruits and candies comes next, and children and adults alike take turns at striking it until it breaks and all the goodies spill out.

This beautiful Mexican tradition is celebrated by Catholics and non Catholics alike bringing family and friends together to share holiday cheer and goodwill.

When our children were young, we hosted a posada starting at my mother-in-law mamá Juanita’s house and ending at our home. Afterwards, we enjoyed delicious buñuelos sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, or drizzled with piloncillo syrup, or warm and gooey cooked in piloncillo syrup paired with atole de coco and a glass or two of excellent vino.

Caldo de Pollo (Chicken Soup)
March 26, 2020
My maternal grandmother Mamá Chepa believed this soup cured all ailments, and I believe it too. It’s so delicious and comforting! It’s the perfect elixir for the body and soul. In Michoacán, where my husband Pedro is from, this soup is served over Arroz Mexicano (Mexican rice) and garnished with a squeeze of lime, diced avocado and thin slices of fresh Serrano peppers. I love it with warm corn tortillas too. This wonderful soup pairs well with Ceja Vineyards Chardonnay.
Carne de Puerco con Chile (Spicy Pork Stew)
December 8, 2020

Carne de Puerco con Chile is a savory stew containing pork, a variety of fresh and dry chili peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos or a combination of both. Other seasonings include garlic, onions, cumin and Mexican oregano.

Carne de Puerco con Chile can be made with beef as well, but I prefer to use pork. My maternal grandmother mamá Chepa prepared it this way and it’s a very popular dish in Los Altos de Jalisco (the highlands of Jalisco) -- the place where I was born.

It’s the perfect hearty comfort food during cold weather, and paired with a glass or two of our balanced wines, it’s a pleasing experience.

I’ve selected to use a combination of tomatoes and tomatillos as well as four types of chili peppers because I want to build layers of complex flavors and spiciness to this dish, however, a single variety can be used and the result will be equally delicious. Tomatillos can be substituted with all tomatoes, and spiciness in this chile sauce can be adjusted by reducing the amount of peppers used. The suggested ingredients can be easily modified to fit your palate -- this recipe is just a guideline -- it’s easy to make it your own. It’s the perfect chili for the football season and the star at Super Bowl celebrations.

Carnitas (Mexican Slow Cooked Pork)
August 31, 2020

Carnitas is a delicious Mexican cuisine dish that literally means “little meats.” Carnitas are made by braising or simmering pork until tender in oil or lard.

The history of carnitas dates back to the colonial period and it’s truly a historic moment of culinary fusion.

Pigs were first brought by Spaniards to Cuba and eventually to Mexico. By the 1520s, Spaniards were eating pork meat in tacos with hot tortillas in Mexico; it was the food of the colonizers enhanced by the introduction of maize by indigenous people.

Food in Mexico did not include frying as a technique until the Spaniards’ arrival, and fat as a cooking medium was not known amongst pre-Hispanic groups. Lard from pigs, followed by tallow and butter from bovine and ovine herds, and vegetable oils including olive oil, were introduced to the Americas, and that is when the mestizaje -- interbreeding -- of the Spanish and Mexican cuisines embraced frying with a passion: corn tortillas, for crispy chilaquiles; refried beans; chiles rellenos capeados (battered stuffed peppers); and of course, carnitas - crispy pork.

Golden brown, crispy chunks of pork, with juicy and tender meat inside, are best enjoyed chopped -- not shredded, nested in soft corn tortillas with toppings such as chopped onion and cilantro, salsa, guacamole and a sprinkle of lime juice.

This is a tasty version of one of my favorite taco fillings, and most importantly, it’s easy to prepare! It’s great with both Pinot Noir, Merlot and red wine blends depending on what type of salsa is served with the carnitas.

A toast to the 500th year anniversary of the enjoyment of carnitas!

Chicken Skewers with Spicy Peanut Sauce
January 1, 2015
One of the main characteristics of Indonesian cuisine is the wide applications of bumbu kacang (peanut sauce) in many Indonesian signature dishes such as satay, gado-gado, karedok, ketoprak, pecel. It is usually added to main ingredients (meat or vegetable) to add taste, or used as dipping sauce such as sambal kacang (a mixture of ground chili and fried peanuts) for otak-otak or ketan. Introduced from Mexico by Portuguese and Spanish merchants in the 16th century, peanuts found a place within Indonesian cuisine as a popular sauce. Indonesian peanut sauce represents a sophisticated, earthy thing rather than a sweet, gloppy sauce. Peanuts thrived in the tropical environment of Southeast Asia, and today, they can be found roasted and chopped finely, topping a variety of dishes and in marinades and dipping sauces. Peanut sauce reached its sophistication in Indonesia, with the delicate balance of taste acquired from various ingredients according to each recipe of peanut sauce; fried peanuts, gula jawa (palm sugar), garlic, shallot, ginger, tamarind, lemon juice, lemongrass, salt, chilli, pepper, sweet soy sauce, ground together and mixed with water to acquire right texture. The secret to good peanut sauce is “not too thick and not too watery.”
January 1, 2015

Chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican dish. Typically, corn tortillas cut in quarters and lightly fried are the basis of the dish. Green or red salsa or mole, is poured over the crispy tortilla triangles, called totopos. The mixture is simmered until the tortilla starts softening. Eggs (scrambled or fried) and pulled chicken are sometimes added to the mix. The dish is topped with cheese (typically queso fresco) and/or sour cream (crema), and it is served with refried beans.

Like many dishes, regional and familiar variations are quite common. Usually, chilaquiles are eaten at breakfast or brunch. This makes them a popular recipe to use leftover tortillas and salsas. Moreover, chilaquiles are often lauded as a cure for the common hangover; this is because in Mexico it is believed that spicy foods help in the recovery process from a hangover. This can be attributed to the body's reaction to chemicals released (chiles contain the chemical capsaicin, a potent and well-documented pain reliever).

Chile-Braised Beef Short Rib Tacos
December 15, 2020

Braising is a combination-cooking method that uses both wet and dry heats: typically, the food is first sautéed or seared at a high temperature, then finished in a covered pot at a lower temperature while partially immersed in some flavorful liquid like a broth or a sauce. This cooking method can be done on the stovetop or the oven.

Mexican beef birria (savory braised beef) is prepared in this way, and for many years, I’ve substituted beef short ribs for the traditional cuts of meat typically used in making this recipe. I love to use short ribs with bones in because the bones add so much more flavor to this dish.

Besides chiles, onions, tomatoes and beef broth, I’ve also incorporated wine into this recipe and it’s sublime. The meat is tender, rich and succulent and makes the perfect taco filling, and paired with a glass or two of our delectable Ceja Vineyards wines, it’s a culinary memorable experience.

Chiles Rellenos
June 1, 2020

Chiles rellenos are typically made with Poblano peppers stuffed with cheese, dipped in an egg batter then deep fried and served with a red salsa.

I love chiles rellenos tacos, and I’ve developed my own recipe that excludes the egg batter and the deep frying. Instead, I grill or roast the peppers once they’re stuffed, and they’re tastier and healthier. A delicious vegetarian dish!

Chipotle Hummus
January 1, 2015
I often make this hummus dish when I’m entertaining guests and I’m in a bit of a rush. It’s the perfect snack that everyone loves and it’s so quick and easy to prepare. The addition of a Serrano chile and chipotle pepper gives this homemade recipe a subtle spiciness and smokiness that I crave. Dipping sauce lovers rejoice!
January 1, 2015
Churros, sometimes referred to as a Spanish doughnut, are fried-dough pastry-based snacks, sometimes made from potato dough, that originated in Spain. They are also popular in Latin America, France, Portugal, Morocco, the United States, Australia, and Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands. There are two types of churros in Spain. One is thin (and sometimes knotted) and the other is long and thick (porra). They both are normally eaten for breakfast dipped in hot chocolate or café con leche.
Cocadas or Coconut Macaroons
January 1, 2015
Cocadas are a typical coconut candy or cookie that is served in Mexico, Brazil and over much of Latin America. They are oven baked but are served at room temperature to obtain their chewy and soft texture. Dalia Ceja presents her simple yet yummy version of this famed delight incorporating sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract. Try cocadas with cafe con leche or a bright dessert wine!
Corn Tortillas
April 17, 2020

The corn tortilla, with many variants, has been a staple food in North American and Mesoamerican cultures since pre-Columbian times. It predates the alternative wheat flour version of the tortilla (tortilla de harina or tortilla de trigo) in all such cultures, as wheat was not grown in the Americas prior to European contact.

In Aztec times, two or three corn tortillas would be eaten with each meal, either plain or dipped in mole or a chili pepper and water sauce. Tortillas were also sold at Aztec marketplaces filled with turkey meat, turkey eggs, beans, honey, squash, prickly pears and chili pepper.

Creamy Coconut Old Fashioned Oats
January 1, 2015
This dish can be enjoyed for breakfast or dessert paired with our Ceja Vineyards Dulce Beso late harvest wine. This recipe can also be prepared vegan by substituting almond milk for milk.
Crispy Chicken Taquitos
June 29, 2020

A taquito, Spanish for "small taco,” is a Mexican dish that consists of a small rolled-up corn tortilla that contains filling, including beef, chicken, beans, cheese or vegetables.

The filled tortilla is then crisp-fried or deep-fried. The dish is often topped with condiments such as Mexican crema, guacamole and savory salsas.

This dish is also commonly known as flauta, Spanish for “flute,” when they’re larger than taquitos and made with flour tortillas.

The first thing you’ll need to make chicken taquitos is cooked shredded chicken. You can use leftover chicken, rotisserie chicken, whatever you have on hand is fine!

Dolmas (Stuffed Grape Leaves)
January 1, 2015
Dolma is a family of stuffed vegetable dishes in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire and surrounding regions such as Russia, Iran and the Caucasus and Central and South Asia. Perhaps the best-known is the grape-leaf dolma. Common vegetables to stuff include zucchini, eggplant, tomato and pepper. The stuffing may or may not include meat. Meat dolma are generally served warm, often with sauce; meatless ones are generally served cold, though meatless dolma are eaten both ways in Iran. Both are often eaten with yogurt.
Dungeness Crab Enchiladas Verdes
November 24, 2020

Our family’s favorite crustacean is Dungeness Crab and many years ago we started our very own Thanksgiving tradition.

We have a very large extended family and it’s always been challenging spending Thanksgiving Day visiting multiple households. So we decided to host a Thanksgiving’s eve dinner with our immediate family at our home and the menu was a Dungeness Crab feast! It was delicious and we had such fun cleaning, cracking and eating the mounds of crab together, and we didn’t have to leave the house nor drive anywhere! But our extended family and friends found out and they wanted in.

Throughout the years, we’ve prepared as many as 60 Dungeness crabs depending on the number of guests attending, but this year we’ll miss our dear extended family and friends due to the coronavirus health crisis. We’re continuing this joyous tradition with our tiny family sheltering in place with us and it will be lovely paired with a glass or two of our delicious Ceja Vineyards vinos.

Dungeness Crab season typically starts in mid November and it’s always the best, fresh from Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. This year Dungeness Crab season will not begin until mid December in California, but we’re getting some from the bountiful state of Washington.

In honor of our family’s Thanksgiving tradition, I’m sharing my tasty green enchiladas recipe stuffed with sweet luscious Dungeness Crab. Feliz semana de acciőn de gracias!

Eggplant Tacos with Spicy Yogurt Salsa
January 1, 2015

Eggplant is a plant species in the nightshade family and it’s grown worldwide for its edible fruit.

The spongy, absorbent fruit is used in several cuisines around the world. It comes in several colors, shapes and sizes absorbing any flavors with which it’s cooked. It’s typically used as a vegetable although it is a berry by botanical definition and it’s related to the tomato and potato genus.

I love eggplant and I use it in many Mexican recipes including as a savory topping for tostadas. I have access to different varieties because eggplants grow easily in our wine country Mediterranean climate in Northern California. My hubby Pedro and I maintain an amazing organic garden around our home and we enjoy it’s bounty all year long.

Eggplant Tostadas with Creamy Yogurt Sauce
April 12, 2020
Eggplants are readily available in Mexico, and I developed this eggplant tostada with creamy yogurt sauce recipe because of its versatility. It can be served as a topping for tostadas, a dip with chips or sourdough bread or as an accompaniment to the main dish – it’s hearty and delicious and pairs well with various Ceja wines such as our Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Vino de Casa Red and Merlot.
Elotes (Mexican Corn on the Cob)
April 10, 2019

Elotes, aka Mexican corn on the cob, are served on most street corners in every city throughout Mexico. Corn (maize) is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous peoples in central and southern Mexico about 10,000 years ago.

This authentic Mexican street corn is smothered in crème fraiche or Mexican Crema, sprinkled with Cotija (a dry Mexican cheese) and tajín (a popular condiment consisting primarily of chile peppers, lime, and salt). A delicious vegan version is also shown in the video.

Elotes are super easy to make and will be the best thing you serve to your guests all summer long.

Enchiladas Rojas
June 15, 2020

Enchiladas originated in Mexico thousands of years ago in the Mayan peninsula and central Mexico. They are one of Mexico's most treasured national dishes and popular in Mexican cuisine.

An enchilada is a corn tortilla dipped in a savory chili sauce and stuffed with various fillings such as meats, seafood, legumes, potatoes, vegetables, cheese or a mixture of multiple ingredients. Sauces can also be added to cover the enchiladas like salsa roja, salsa verde or mole.

This is my mother-in-law Juanita's delicious recipe typical from her village Aguililla, in the state of Michoacán. It can be prepped vegan, vegetarian or with animal protein.

Filet Mignon with Mushroom Cabernet Sauvignon Sauce
April 6, 2015
Filet mignon is a steak cut of beef taken from the smaller end of the tenderloin. Arguably the most tender cut of beef, we love searing filet mignon alongside a family favorite mushroom Cabernet Sauvignon sauce. This recipe is incredibly easy to prepare yet insanely delicious. All you need are few simple ingredients. Don't forget to pair this dish with a Ceja Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon!
Fish Tacos al Pastor with Habanero, Pineapple and Tomato Salsa
October 20, 2020

The slight sweetness and rich texture of al pastor -- achiote-marinated meats -- pair beautifully with juicy, fruit-forward red wines, especially Pinot Noirs from California. I love both our Ceja Vineyards Pinot Noirs -- one from Carneros and one from Sonoma Coast. They share the same DNA but exhibit different aromatics and flavors, and they’re both the perfect match for tacos al pastor.

“Al pastor is a delicious bite of sort of sweet, sour, spicy, meaty, fresh, and very bright tastes of Mexico City.” – Gabriela Cámara

Traditionally pork is used to make tacos al pastor but fish is also a delicious alternative. The fish must be firm such as mahi mahi, halibut, sea bass, swordfish or salmon.

I love mahi mahi tacos al pastor because they are bursting with flavor. Thick slices of pan-seared fish are stacked on a corn tortilla and topped with a habanero, pineapple and tomato salsa.

Regardless of the protein used as filling, tacos al pastor have become popular around the world.

Fried Plantains (Tostones) with Spicy Aji Salsa
January 1, 2015
Tostones (from the Spanish verb tostar which means "to toast") or patacones are a side dish that is popular in many Latin American countries. The dish is made from sliced green (unripe) plantains which are cut either lengthwise or widthwise and fried until they are crisp and golden brown. Tostones are salted and eaten much like potato chips/crisps or French fries/chips. In some regions it is customary to dip them in mojo (a garlic sauce). In some countries, they are served topped with cheese as an appetizer. They can also be bought pre-made from supermarkets. This food is found in all varieties of Caribbean cuisine. Tostones are also a staple of Latin American countries and the Caribbean, including Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, the north coast of Honduras, and Haiti.
Grilled Oysters with Tomatillo Salsa
August 10, 2020

What better time than summer to consider the oyster? I reread one of my all-time favorite books, M.F.K. Fisher's masterpiece for the 10th time this weekend when my co-host on Taco Tuesday, Vino y Más, Dalia Ceja who’s currently on maternity leave, agreed to make a cameo appearance on our Ceja Vineyards Facebook Live stream if we highlighted oysters. And of course I said yes because I love oysters raw or lightly grilled paired with our crisp Sauvignon Blanc.

The book Consider the Oyster is short enough to read in one sitting and it’s about the history, preparation and eating of oysters. It’s filled with anecdotes, recipes and arresting images. Do check it out!

January 1, 2015
The key to making a well-rounded guacamole is having the perfect amount of acidity, spiciness and texture. I don’t know about you but I like my guacamole fully loaded with red onions, cilantro, tomatoes, jalapenos and more! Having grown up in a Mexican household, I consider myself a guacamole enthusiast and find any excuse to make a batch and enjoy it with a nice cold beer or glass of wine.
Guava Mousse (Mousse de Guayaba)
January 1, 2015

Guava fruit, usually 4 to 12 cm long, are round or oval depending on the species. The outer skin may be rough, often with a bitter taste, or soft and sweet. Varying between species, the skin can be any thickness, is usually green before maturity, but becomes yellow, maroon, or green when ripe.

Guava fruit generally have a pronounced and typical fragrance, similar to lemon rind but less sharp. Guava pulp may be sweet or sour, off-white ("white" guavas) to deep pink ("red" guavas), with the seeds in the central pulp of variable number and hardness, depending on species.

Homemade Granola
January 1, 2015
Aside from homemade granola being one of my favorite breakfast foods, this nutritious snack aids in fueling my body as I’m currently training for a half marathon. I love munching on granola after a workout or adding it to yogurt with fresh berries for a quick breakfast. Kids also go gaga over this recipe so whenever I have my young cousins around I much prefer offering them granola with milk as opposed to sugary cereals. It’s time to get your “snack on”.
Korean Short Rib Tacos with Kogi Salsa
October 27, 2020

Korean tacos are a Korean-Mexican fusion dish popular in a number of urban areas in the United States and Canada.

Korean tacos originated in Los Angeles as street food, consisting of Korean-style fillings served on top of small Mexican corn tortillas.

Kogi Korean BBQ food truck launched in 2008 and the popularity of this dish is traced to the use of Twitter and YouTube to broadcast information about the truck’s location, schedule, itinerary and menu.

Kogi is not just any food truck. Chef Roy Choi and his partners have gained prominence as the creators of the gourmet Korean-Mexican taco truck movement and there’s no going back.

I agree with writer David Farley when he says, “Picture, if you will, the Korean taco: pork or beef short rib, barbecued in the Korean manner, mixed with butter-sautéed kimchi, chilies and an elixir of soy sauce, garlic and lime, all stacked on a corn tortilla. It’s Mexico City meets Seoul and it’s one of the most transcendent things you’ll ever eat.”

And paired with Ceja Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s a sublime experience.

Lamb Birria Tacos
September 8, 2020

Birria is a delicious Mexican dish from the state of Jalisco and it can be prepared with a variety of meats like goat, lamb, beef, veal or pork. It can be served as a stew or as a taco filling.

In gastronomic terms, the word birria means: “Exquisite savory dish, full of culture and tradition.”

I love this recipe – my maternal grandmother and I prepared it often! The aromas transport me back to her adobe kitchen in Las Flores, Jalisco! It is a tasty and hearty dish ideal for all occasions especially when the weather is cooler.

My favorite wine pairing with birria lamb tacos is a glass or two of Pinot Noir. It’s a delightful culinary experience.

Lemon Spaghetti
January 1, 2015
Inspired by a simple yet delicious Giada De Laurentiis recipe, I spice up lemon spaghetti with serrano chile and chile flakes. This is the perfect summer pasta that is wonderful on its own but can also accompany grilled chicken or prawns. Don’t forget to pair your favorite wine with this zesty dish!
Lobster Tacos with Mango Salsa
December 31, 2020

These buttery lobster tacos with a zesty mango salsa and sliced avocado are the perfect combination of savory and delicious freshness. The tangy salsa enhances the sweetness of the lobster meat in this easy to make taco.

With this quick and fast cooking method, it’s the best lobster tail taco recipe for festive holiday celebrations like New Year’s Eve and date nights at home. And paired with a glass or two or our delicious Bella Flor Rosé and Pinot Noir wines, it’s the perfect ending to a challenging 2020!

Mexican Cornbread
January 1, 2015
Skillet-fried or skillet-baked cornbread (often simply called skillet bread or hoecake depending on the container in which it is cooked) is a traditional staple of rural cuisine in the United States, especially in the South. This involves heating bacon drippings, lard or other oil in a heavy, well-seasoned cast iron skillet in an oven, and then pouring a batter made from cornmeal, egg, and milk directly into the hot grease. The mixture is returned to the oven to bake into a large, crumbly and sometimes very moist cake with a crunchy crust. This bread tends to be dense and usually served as an accompaniment rather than as a bread served as a regular course. In addition to the skillet method, such cornbread also may be made in sticks, muffins, or loaves.
Mexican Mango Cake
January 1, 2015
The mango is the most consumed fruit in the world. Mango is used to make juices, smoothies, ice cream, fruit bars, raspados, aguas frescas, pies and sweet chili sauce, or mixed with chamoy, a sweet and spicy chili paste. It is popular on a stick dipped in hot chili powder and salt or also as a main ingredient in fresh fruit combinations. In Central America, mango is either eaten green mixed with salt, vinegar, black pepper and hot sauce, or ripe in various forms. Toasted and ground pumpkin seed (called pepita) with lime and salt are the norm when eating green mangoes. Some people also add soy sauce or chili sauce. Pieces of mango can be mashed and used as a topping on ice cream or blended with milk and ice as milkshakes.
Mole Recipe Jalisco Style
January 1, 2015
Moles come in various flavors and ingredients and each state in Mexico has its own version. In my home state of Jalisco, my maternal grandmother mamá Chepa used tomatillos to add acidity and balance this rich sauce. Mole is an ancient word for mix and is typically served over meat.
Mussels in Spicy Pinot Noir Broth with Mexican Longaniza (Mexican Sausage)
February 25, 2022

In Mexico, shellfish are called mariscos. They are edible marine animals such as shrimp, clams, crabs, mussels, lobsters, octopus, squid, oysters and other species of mollusks and crustaceans.

Mexico has over 6,000 miles of shoreline on two coasts, and a large amount of fish and shellfish is consumed in the country. Mexican cuisine offers a diverse variety of seafood recipes with multiple methods of preparation such as in cocktails, ceviches, soups, and baked, fried, and grilled dishes.

For this Mussels in Spicy Pinot Noir Broth with Mexican Longaniza recipe, I added a ‘sofrito’ like flavorful base using garlic, peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and cilantro. The longaniza and dried chiles add a savory kick and the wine contributes earthy aromatics. The first time I prepared this dish over 20 years ago, it instantly became a family favorite paired with a glass or two of our delicious Pinot Noir.

Pork Belly Tacos
June 22, 2020

These easy pork belly tacos, tacos de panza de cerdo, will blow you away. Every bite of this healthy, paleo inspired pork belly taco recipe is filled with juicy meat and chipotle crema. You’re going to fall in love at first bite.

Pork belly is a boneless cut of meat that is not cured, smoked or sliced. It’s super tender and juicy! It comes from the fatty meat from the underside of the pig.

Both pork belly and bacon come from the same part of the pig, the belly. The difference between them is how they are prepared. Bacon is cured and smoked while pork belly isn’t. If you take pork belly and cure it, brine it and smoke it, you’ll end up with bacon!

January 1, 2015

Pozole is a hearty soup or stew that originated in central Mexico. The main ingredient is hominy - dried purple, white or yellow corn kernels that have been boiled and soaked in slaked lime to remove the hull, and then drained, rinsed, and cooked for about 2 hours.

Pozole also contains garlic and dried chiles and is often made with pork or chicken and is always served with fresh toppings such as cabbage, onion, radishes, cilantro, a pinch of dried Mexican oregano and lime juice.

Pozole is known in Mesoamerica since the pre-Columbian era, and today, this delicious stew is popular across Mexico and neighboring countries and is served both as a daily meal and as a festive dish at celebrations such as Dia de los Muertos, Christmas and New Year.

This recipe was my grandmother mamá Chepa’s favorite and it’s easy to prepare at home using canned hominy for convenience. I love it and crave it as well especially when the weather turns chilly, and served with all the garnishes and small corn tostadas as is done in Jalisco, it’s delightful with our delicious vinos.

Roasted Beet Salad
January 1, 2015
The beetroot, also known as the table beet, garden beet, red beet or informally simply as beet, is one of the many cultivated varieties of beets (Beta vulgaris) and arguably the most commonly encountered variety in North America, Central America and Britain. The usually deep-red roots of beetroot are eaten boiled either as a cooked vegetable, or cold as a salad after cooking and adding oil and vinegar, or raw and shredded, either alone or combined with any salad vegetable. A large proportion of the commercial production is processed into boiled and sterilised beets or into pickles. In Eastern Europe beet soup, such as borscht, is a popular dish. Yellow-colored beetroots are grown on a very small scale for home consumption. The green leafy portion of the beet is also edible. It is most commonly served boiled or steamed, in which case it has a taste and texture similar to spinach.
Roasted Poblano Pepper Tacos
August 17, 2020

Rajas con crema is a taco filling made with fresh roasted Poblano peppers, mild green chiles typically used for chiles rellenos, rajas, crema poblana and other delicious Mexican dishes.

These easy to prepare tasty tacos are loved by vegetarians and meat lovers alike and they’re served throughout Mexico. They’re my personal favorites!

Salmon Ceviche
May 8, 2020
Ceviche, seviche, or cebiche originated in Peru and eventually spread into Mexico and Central America. It’s made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices, such as lime or lemon, and spiced with chili peppers or other seasonings including chopped onions, salt and cilantro. In Mexico we add fresh diced tomatoes and it’s served with tostadas.
Salsa de Tomate (Tomato Salsa)
April 18, 2020

Mexican salsas come in many colors, consistencies and textures. They can be made from so many ingredients but they all have one item in common - chile. Chiles come in many shapes, sizes and colors and they can be fresh or dried with mild heat to super-hot.

There's a salsa for every dish and occasion, and this is my go-to recipe when tomatoes are not in season. It's quick, easy and delicious.

Seared Ahi Tuna and Avocado Tartare
January 1, 2015
The yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) is a species of tuna found in pelagic waters of tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide. Yellowfin is often marketed as ahi, from its Hawaiian name ‘ahi although the name ‘ahi in Hawaiian also refers to the closely related bigeye tuna. The species name, albacares ("white meat") can lead to confusion. The tuna known as albacore in English, is a different species of tuna: Thunnus alalunga. However, yellowfin tuna is officially designated albacore in French, and is referred to as albacora by Portuguese fishermen.
Shrimp Cocktail (Coctel de Camarones)
October 13, 2020

Coctel de Camarones is often called Mexican shrimp cocktail, but it’s nothing like American shrimp cocktail. It’s a very popular Mexican dish especially along the coast, and it’s always a cold tomato-based soup with raw diced vegetables and poached shrimp, sort of like a cross between a Virgin Mary and gazpacho. Refrigerating it allows the flavors to meld.

I love this Puerto Vallarta version of coctel de camarones and every time I prepare it, I’m transported back to the gorgeous ocean views with gentle sea breezes blowing through my hair while enjoying this delectable dish paired with a refreshing glass of our crisp Ceja Vineyards Bella Flor Rosé.

Skirt Steak Vampire Tacos (Tacos Vampiros)
November 17, 2020

I love gooey cheesy quesadillas filled with other yummy ingredients like carne asada, potatoes with longaniza, veggies, seafood and everything savory. And so does my daughter Dalia Ceja.

When I mentioned we should do quesadillas for our weekly Taco Tuesday, Vino y Mas, Dalia remembered fondly the many times we’ve dined at Taqueria El Infierno when we’ve visited my hubby Pedro Ceja’s dear family in Apatzingan, Michoacan in Mexico.

Dalia’s favorite dish on the menu is always Tacos Vampiro -- Vampire Tacos!

What is a Vampire-Style Taco you asked? It’s a quesadilla and a taco rolled into a quesotaco! It can be made with a corn or flour tortilla and a favorite easy-to-melt cheese. I love to use queso Oaxaqueño or queso Chihuahua but shredded mozzarella cheese is a great substitute.

Today, we’re craving arrachera carne asada (grilled skirt steak) to add to this most satisfying dish, and paired with a glass or two of our Mezcla 54 and Oxomo Bordeaux blends, it’s truly delicious.

Spicy Cauliflower Soup
January 1, 2015
Soups are an integral part of Mexican cuisine, and sopa de coliflor (Cauliflower Soup) is a favorite among the Ceja family, especially during wintertime. The Serrano pepper adds a slight spice component that pairs nicely with Chardonnay.
Spicy Chipotle Potato Salad
January 1, 2015
A chipotle, which comes from the Nahuatl word chilpoktli meaning "smoked chili pepper" is a smoke-dried jalapeño that tends to be brown and shriveled. It is a chili used primarily in Mexican and Mexican-inspired cuisines, such as Mexican-American and Tex-Mex. Varieties of jalapeño vary in size and heat. In Mexico, the jalapeño is also known as the cuaresmeño and gordo. Until recently, chipotles were largely found in the markets of central and southern Mexico. As Mexican food became more popular abroad, especially in North and South America in the late 20th century, jalapeño production and processing began to expand into northern Mexico to serve the southwestern United States, and eventually processing occurred in the United States and other places such as China.
Steamed Dungeness Crab in a Spicy Indonesian Sauce
January 1, 2015
Our family savors this delicious main course for our Thanksgiving dinner when fresh Dungeness crabs are available. Some flavors seem made for each other and tamarind salsa poured over crab is one of those perfect culinary marriages. How do you like to prepare crab? Please let us know in the comments section.
Succotash of Summer Squash and Corn
January 1, 2015
Soft-skinned summer squash has an edible rind with a sweet, mild taste that is perfectly accentuated with a little butter in this succotash recipe. Look for summer squash at your local farmer’s market. If you can’t find summer squash, substitute green or yellow zucchini.
Tacos al Pastor with Pineapple-Jalapeño Salsa
May 18, 2020

Tacos al pastor (shepherd style) get the name from the original lamb filling and they offer the perfect blend of sweet and spicy deliciousness. They were created in the 1930s in Puebla, Mexico, by Lebanese immigrants who introduced the region to classic shawarma: roast lamb served on a flour tortilla or pita bread (pan árabe). This creation was originally known as tacos árabes, and used meat cooked on a vertical, or upright grill.

Over time marinated pork replaced lamb and the tortilla replaced the pita with pineapple, cilantro, chiles and onions added to the mix.

This is my easy-and-tasty version of this most popular Mexican dish that anyone can prepare at home.

Tacos de Camarones con Salsa de Mango (Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa)
April 6, 2020
These tacos de camarones con salsa de mango (shrimp tacos with mango salsa) are perfectly seasoned, packed with flavor, made with tons of healthy ingredients and they’re fast to whip together. I’ll share my favorite way to make shrimp tacos, but honestly, this shrimp is good enough to stand on its own — the seasoning mix and salsa are so delicious. This dish pairs well with crisp white wines and lighter red wines like our Ceja Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Tacos de Frijoles con Longaniza (Bean and Mexican Sausage Tacos)
September 15, 2020

When it comes to food, Mexico has been the birthplace of many delicious and nutritious ingredients that have revolutionized our diet and the culinary world across our planet.

From corn, beans, tomatoes, chiles, squash, sweet potatoes, nopales (cactus), agave, vanilla, and cacao to the beloved avocado, many of the foods we enjoy today come from Mexico’s indigenous people. A variety of the foods we now consider mainstream were feeding and nourishing locals way before the Spanish arrived in the Americas and transported them to other corners of the world.

The origins of beans are widely credited to central Mexico (the area of the modern day states of Jalisco and Durango) and throughout South America. Often, beans were grown with maize (corn) and squash as a farming technique to efficiently maximize the soil, and to minimize soil erosion.

Beans are present in most Mexican meals –– they’re served as a side dish, in soups, used as fillings for tacos and toppings, and more. And though pinto and black beans are the most common types in the United States, in Mexico dried beans come in a pleasing rainbow of flavors, shapes and colors. Many experts believe there are over 200 different edible Mexican bean varieties.

Pale yellow peruano beans are widely used in central Mexico and they were mamá Chepa’s (my maternal grandmother) favorite, although papá Ines (my maternal grandfather) grew many heirloom varieties.

I love peruano beans too and this is one of my preferred recipes, and paired with Cabernet Sauvignon based wines makes for a tasty combination.

Tacos de Huevos con Nopales (Egg and Cacti Tacos)
June 8, 2020

Nopal, commonly referred to as prickly pear cactus in English, is a staple in Mexican cuisine.

There are approximately one hundred and fourteen known species native to Mexico. The nopal pads can be eaten raw or cooked, used in marmalades, soups, stews and salads, as well as being used for traditional medicine.

Nopales are generally sold fresh in Mexico, cleaned of thorns, and sliced to the customer's desire on the spot. They can also be found canned or bottled as nopalitos. Cut into slices or diced into cubes, nopales have a light, slightly tart flavor, like green beans, and a crisp texture, making them easy to use in a variety of recipes.

Tacos de Lengua (Beef Tongue Tacos)
July 20, 2020

Beef tongue is often seasoned with onion and other spices and then placed in a pot to simmer for a few hours. After it is cooked the skin is removed. From this point many tasty recipes are prepared in countries all over the world.

Lengua is widely used in Mexican cuisine as well as in many French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, German, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Turkish, Persian, Japanese, Indonesian, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, South African, Argentinian, Brazilian, Uruguayan and Nicaraguan dishes. I love it. It is melt-in-your-mouth tender and flavorful.

Beef tongue may be found at local Asian markets, Mexican markets, or ordered by your local butcher.

Tomatillo Salsa
January 1, 2015
I’ve been making this salsa for years and it’s easily my favorite one using tomatillos. The bright and slightly tangy characteristics of the tomatillo provides a unique flavor profile, particularly when they are charred, and serve as a great substitution to traditional tomato-based salsas. Add this tomatillo salsa to carne asada, seafood, soups or simply enjoy with homemade chips. It’s fiesta time!
Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish Omelet)
July 13, 2020

In the late 1980s when my children were young, our family hosted an exchange student from Spain and her name was Rosa Nieto. She was 14 years old and she was born and raised in Madrid. She spoke five languages well when we first met her in 1989, and she now speaks seven and works at the Spanish embassy in Oslo, Norway.

In the mid 1990s, my daughter Dalia and I visited Rosa and her family in Madrid, and we cooked authentic Spanish food daily. One of my favorite dishes is Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish Omelet) because it’s savory and it can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

I always like to add my own touch, and I’ve added one Serrano pepper to give it a slightly spicy component. Often, I also add Mexican longaniza (sausage) and asparagus. This dish can also be prepared with any type of potatoes.

Tortilla Soup
January 1, 2015
Tortilla soup or Sopa Azteca as it is also known, gets its name from the thin strips of fried tortillas strips that are added just before it's served. Traditionally, soups in Mexico have been used by the masses as a way to stretch an ingredient as far as possible. Sopa Azteca, it is believed, was created at least partially as a way to use up leftover stale tortillas.
Tostadas de Tinga de Res (Shredded Sirloin Tip Steak Tostadas)
January 1, 2015
Tinga originated in the state of Puebla and can be prepared with chicken, pork or beef. I’ve selected to use sirloin tip steak to prepare this rich and delicious dish that pairs beautifully with our inaugural release of Ceja Vineyards Bordeaux Blend Oxomo – named after an Aztec deity the Goddess of Night!
Turkey Taquitos (Taquitos de Pavo)
December 1, 2020

What do you do with leftover turkey? Easy! Prep taquitos and serve them with creme fraiche and a favorite salsa. These taquitos are addicting and once you have one, it’s hard to stop. They’re the perfect finger food -- tasty, crunchy and ohhhh so good!

A taquito, Spanish for "small taco,” is a Mexican dish that consists of a small rolled-up corn tortilla that contains filling, including beef, chicken, turkey, beans, cheese or vegetables.

The filled tortilla is then crisp-fried or deep-fried. The dish is often topped with condiments such as Mexican crema, guacamole and savory salsas.

The first thing you’ll need to make turkey taquitos is cooked shredded turkey. You can use leftover Thanksgiving turkey, rotisserie chicken, whatever you have on hand is great.

Wine Poached Pears
January 1, 2015
This sweet white wine poached pear recipe is a perfect dessert or brunch dish for any day of the week. The recipe maximizes the pear's natural sweetness, combining it with a fruit-forward white wine that is highlighted with a touch of cinnamon, vanilla, mascarpone cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds.