Clif Notes


Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Recipe and Photo by Kay Wilson

3 tbsp butter
1 small loaf brioche bread (½ lb)
1 small loaf French bread (½ lb)
½ cup Gary & Kit’s Napa Valley Meyer Lemon Marmalade
2 eggs and 2 additional egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
3 cups half-and-half
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter ramekins and set aside. Remove crust from loaves of bread. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes and spread onto a baking sheet. Toast until a light golden brown for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool, then place crumbs into a large mixing bowl. Heat marmalade and butter in a small sauce-pan until melted, add to bread cubes, gently toss and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, sugar, pinch of salt and vanilla extract. Heat the half-and-half in a medium saucepan until it begins to simmer, remove from heat and gradually add the half-and-half, whisking constantly.

Pour the custard over the bread cubes, lightly tossing to combine. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, occasionally pushing the bread cubes down into the custard with a spatula.

Heat water in a teakettle. Divide the bread-custard mixture into the buttered ramekins. Set the ramekins into a larger baking pan and place in oven, pour hot water from a teakettle carefully into pan so that the water comes up half way to the top of the ramekins. Bake for about 25 minutes (8 oz. ramekins~35 minutes) until the top of the puddings start to turn golden. Remove from oven and spoon a small amount of marmalade over top of each pudding and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Asparagus Mimosa with Classic Hazelnut Dukkah

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Monday, March 10, 2014

Recipe and Photo by Kay Wilson

2 eggs, room temperature
1 lb asparagus, medium-size with tough ends trimmed
2 TBSP Gary and Kit’s Napa Valley Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and White Pepper, to taste
1 TBSP Gary and Kit’s Napa Valley Classic Hazelnut Dukkah

Let eggs sit at room temperature while bringing a pot of water to a boil. Turn the water down to a simmer and gently lower eggs into water with a slotted spoon. Simmer eggs for 9 minutes. Lift the eggs out of the water and plunge directly into ice water. After a few minutes, take the eggs out of the water and leave to cool down completely.

Peel eggs and grate them using the coarse side of a cheese grater. Cook asparagus in boiling water until it just turns bright green, about 2-3 minutes. Drain and, while still warm but not hot, toss asparagus in olive oil adding salt and white pepper to taste.

Plate the asparagus, piling the center of the stalks with grated egg and dukkah so that the tips and ends remain visible.

Dark Chocolate Almonds & Olive Oil Biscotti

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Tuesday, December 17, 2013

If you joined us for our December wine club pickup party, you may have had the chance to try these delicious biscotti made with our Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almonds and olive oil. Perfect for holiday entertaining, we wanted to share this recipe with you from Kay Wilson. She does such a fabulous job bringing our products to life in new and interesting ways!


1 cup sugar
Zest from one small orange
2 eggs
3 tablespoons Gary & Kit’s Napa Valley Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup Gary & Kit’s Napa Valley Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almonds

Preheat oven to 375 F. Add sugar to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Peel the zest of the orange onto the sugar being careful not to go to deep into the bitter white pith. Process the sugar until the zest is finely ground. Add the eggs, olive oil and extract to the orange sugar; process until combined and smooth. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and add to the top of the wet ingredients. Pulse until the mixture just comes together as a dough. Remove dough onto a floured surface and work the chocolate covered almonds into the dough by lightly folding and kneading. Divide the dough into two equal logs and place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes until lightly golden brown and firm to touch. Remove to cooling rack. Once cool move the logs to a cutting board and make diagonal ½ inch slices using serrated knife. Place slices on cookie sheet and bake a second time about 5-10 minutes until crisp. Cool completely and store in an airtight container to maintain crispness.

Makes about 4 dozen small biscotti.

Celebrating the Holidays with Clif Family Winery

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Monday, December 9, 2013

Here at Clif Family Winery we are always happy to share a few recipe ideas to add some cheer to your holidays. Over the next couple of weeks we will be sharing some of our favorites using ingredients from the farm and our Gary & Kit’s Napa Valley line of specialty foods. Happy Holidays!

A fantastic crop of figs harvested this year now has amazing flavor in our jars of Gary & Kit’s Napa Valley Fig Preserves. Inspired by its figgy goodness we created a simple Fig Balsamic Glaze that gives incredible flavor and beauty to a store bought ham.

Fig Balsamic Glaze
1 jar Gary & Kit’s Napa Valley Fig Preserves
2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Separate fig solids from the preserves using a fine mesh strainer. With a spoon press as much liquid from the solids as possible. Return clear preserves to jar (should have a little more than half a jar) and add balsamic vinegar and pepper to taste. (Reserve the fig solids for the chutney recipe below.)

Directions to glaze ham:
Purchase a ham that is fully cooked (the ham pictured is a bone-in Niman Ranch smoked ham)

Score a diamond pattern over the surface of the ham with a sharp knife. Poke whole cloves into the center of each diamond (more so for traditional good looks than flavor). Follow the heating directions on the label. In this case; placing the ham on a roasting rack, adding water to the bottom of the pan and tenting with foil and baking at 325F 10-12 minutes per pound. Once the ham has about 45 minutes of heating time remaining remove the foil and brush the surface with the fig glaze, and return it to oven and cook for 15 minutes. Repeat the glaze-and-cook 15 minute process three times until the ham is fully heated and the glaze gorgeous and glossy.

Cranberry, Fig and Ginger Chutney

Fresh cranberries, 1 bag (12oz)
Remaining fig solids from glaze
1” knob fresh ginger, peeled and
1 medium size shallot, minced
½ cup raisins
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
½ cup Clif Family Winery Grenach Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Add all the ingredients to a heavy bottomed pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to bring the mix to a simmer, and cook for 20-25 minutes until thickens some. Remove from heat and allow to cool before serving.

In good Company – West Oakland

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Wednesday, October 9, 2013

This past August I had the honor of participating in Clif Bar’s “In Good Company” program with 20 other people from all across the country. We spent ten days living and working side by side, doing construction work for a non-profit partner in West Oakland called City Slickers Farm. City Slickers Farms grows and sells fresh, affordable produce to the community and also helps people build their own backyard gardens so that they can grow their own food. The work that they do is really inspiring, and I’m grateful to Clif Family Winery and Clif Bar & Company for allowing me to participate in such an amazing project.

Upon arrival we learned that West Oakland is what they call a “food desert”, a place where people in the community have no access to fresh fruits and vegetables and do their grocery shopping at liquor stores etc. It seems hard to believe when we have such an abundance of fresh food in our backyard – West Oakland being just 60 miles away has no access to healthy food options.

We spent the week working on three projects, building a timber roof- outdoor classroom, a mobile woodshop and a washing station to wash produce. The work was hard but fulfilling. We learned how to work together as a team and also do things out of our comfort zone, like use a skill saw and share a room with a complete stranger. At the end of the week we were all best friends and formed long lasting friendships with each other. It felt good to give back to the community and spend the week doing hard labor.

To my fellow Clif Family Winery employees…if you have the opportunity to participate in the “In Good Company” program next year, please do! It’s a chance to do meaningful work, meet great people, learn something new and have a lot of fun!


Efrain Barragan

A special thanks to Matt, Kevin,Tonia and Semar at Just Fine Design for doing such an outstanding job designing all the projects we worked on.

Keeping Bees the Natural Way

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Blog post by Drew Erickson, Assistant Farm Manager

My Grandfather Clifford grew up on a farm in Door County, Wisconsin. That’s the thumb shaped peninsula that sticks out above the town of Green Bay. On the farm the family grew the area’s prized crop, sour cherries, a tree that requires pollination to produce fruit. He told me stories about what it was like growing up on the farm. A favorite story was how he and his two brothers were tasked with gathering the fire wood for the winter. As a ten year old young man he was felling trees with a cross cut saw, skidding logs behind a horse, and splitting the wood with an axe. I recently saw a census report that showed him and his brothers working 60 hours a week. Not surprising that he left the farm for the big city of Chicago at sixteen. He left the farm as a young man but never lost his connection to the land, and always understood the value of fresh, home grown produce.

In all his stories and during our visits back to Wisconsin, I never remember him talking about bees on the farm. My grandfather has passed away so I can’t ask him about his experience with bees, but we are lucky to have a great teacher in Rob Keller. As a new bee keeper Rob has helped me get over my fear of getting stung and taught me everything I know about bee keeping. He likes to remind me, “don’t get jiggy, and you won’t get stung.”

Today’s commercial bee keepers truck there bees around the country from crop to crop at the precise time of flowering. Drive through an almond orchard in California’s central valley in the spring and you will see shipping pallets stacked with four hives each. This is the bee’s first stop of the spring after a cold winter in the Dakotas. From the almond blossoms they bounce around the country strapped to the backs of 18 wheelers pollinating trees and making honey from the nectar of the crop. While this method has its place, and is responsible for effective pollination of a huge amount of the food we eat, this is not the life of our bees that live on the Clif Family Farm.

At the farm Rob has taught us a different way to care for our bees. We find a good spot for a colony. A place east facing to the morning sun, in a bright spot where it will get a little shade on a hot summer day, but not too much shade in the winter, near water, and most of all surrounded by a bounty of nectar and pollen producing plants. Once we find that perfect bee space, we build a stand and place the colony with the intention of leaving it there for the entire life of the hive.

Now that we have several hives placed around the property it’s time to let them grow. Throughout the season of nectar and pollen production we continually check the hives to make sure the queen is laying eggs and the workers have plenty of space to grow the colony. While a young colony will effectively pollinate trees, it does take some time to grow the hive to a point where it will produce honey. Most of our colonies are in their first year. For the first year it is important to leave some honey in the box to help the bees survive the winter. Once established, a healthy hive can produce loads of honey, given proper forage. So help a local bee keeper and plant some nectar producers in your yard.

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