When the Culinary Institute of America was looking to create a second campus for continuing education back in the 1980s, it scouted out more than 50 locations in the Wine Country of Northern California.
The school settled on the historic Greystone edifice, a former Christian Brothers winery in St. Helena, and opened its doors in August of 1995. Since that time, the CIA Greystone campus has served as magnet for food-and-wine aficionados, from local chefs like Michael Chiarello and tourists to culinary professionals from all over the world.
Now that the campus is all grown up – with an associate degree program as well as a Baking and Pastry Arts Certificate Program – the culinary hub has finally come out with its own cookbook, “Seasons in the Wine Country: Recipes from the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone” (Chronicle Books). The soft-cover cookbook features seasonal recipes and full-color photos, primers on culinary equipment and techniques, wine education and suggested pairings for each recipe.
The book was written by Cate Coniff, who was part of the team that helped open the CIA at Greystone in 1995 and has served as the marketing manager for the past 15 years.
As one would expect, the recipes draw upon cultures all over the world but they are firmly grounded in the farm-to-fork cuisine of California.
Here’s a recipe from the cookbook for a delicate Spring Vegetable Broth that can be used as a foundation for a nutritious vegetarian soup or risotto.
Spring Vegetable Broth
Makes about 6 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly diced
2 celery stalks
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and roughly diced
1 leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned and cut into ½ -inch slices
2 sprigs fresh thyme
6 coriander seeds (optional)
6 fennel seeds (optional)
1 teaspoons salt, as needed
2 quarts water
In a large soup or stockpot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add all of the ingredients except the water and cook, partially covered and stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened but are not browned, about 10 minutes.
Add the water, increase the heat to high, and bring the broth to a simmer.
Reduce the heat so that the liquid is simmering slowly. Partially cover and continue to simmer until the broth has taken on a light color and sweet vegetable flavor, about 40 minutes.
Strain the broth and discard the vegetables. Allow the broth to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate or freeze.