A former chef at San Francisco’s PlumpJack Cafe, Maria has written two cookbooks, including just-released Family Meals: Creating Traditions in the Kitchen (Oxmoor House, 2008; $33). Now she’s on track to sit for the Masters of Wine test next spring. (There are only 277 MWs in the world; none of them works as a professional chef.)
But it doesn’t take a professional to turn out Maria’s Christmas menu. And it doesn’t take an $80 bottle to revel in this food and wine pairing. It just takes some planning, and more than one Cab. You can hold the bags―or not.
Stick with casual, natural decor: Maria sets out a bay laurel table runner and napkin sprigs, plus amaryllis blooms, with festive red-pink accents.