Monthly Archives: September 2011
Many times when we think “food and wine,” we think special occasion or fancy dinner party. But the truth is, pairing food and wine is just as important with a simple week night meal. And tonight is Taco night! Barbecue chicken tacos to be exact and this recipe could not be any easier – trust me.
True, a good Mexican beer would be a perfect accessory for tacos, but if you’re not a big beer drinker, Starmont Merryvale Rose Of Cabernet is perfect! The Starmont Rose is such a causal, easy-to-drink wine; cool and refreshing, fruity with vibrant acidity. Like many Roses, this wine is very fruit forward with hints of rhubarb, strawberry, raspberry and even cotton candy. To mimic those flavors and really bring them to life, why not top your creamy, spicy chicken with a cooling fresh, fruit salad. Taco night will never be the same again.
1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed; white and dark meat shredded
2 cups barbecue sauce (use your favorite brand)
1 cup fresh strawberries, diced
1 cup fresh raspberries, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely minced
1 tablespoon fresh mint
Choice of hard or soft taco shells
- Add barbecue sauce and shredded chicken to a saucepan over low heat. Cover and allow everything to heat through, about 5 minutes.
- In a mixing bowl , add strawberries, raspberries, jalapeno and mint. Sprinkle with lime juice. Mix until well combined. Set aside and let the flavors marry for about 5 minutes.
- Build your tacos! Chicken first and then the salsa on top. How easy was that?
This is the very first recipe I ever created. When I first started cooking I was so intimidated by creating recipes. As I got more comfortable in the kitchen I started taking pieces from several different recipes and turning that into something brand new. This recipe combines traditional Italian bolognese sauce with Shephard’s Pie. But of course with my own spin on it! I am using bison instead of ground beef and a baked potato instead of mashed potatoes to lighten it up.
When you think heavy, bolognese sauce; you think heavy, dark red wine, right? Yes and no. The Charles and Charles Red Blend consists of 51% Cabernet and 49% Syrah which gives softer, more forgiving tannins then a 100% Cabernet would. That is perfect for a healthier meal. There aren’t going to be strong tannins in the back of your throat screaming out for a fatty piece of red meat. The wine and the bolognese sauce will just melt into each other. And don’t forget to use the wine in the recipe! All you need is a cup to add a depth to the sauce that only wine can add. And it’s only a cup – there’ll be plenty left to drink!
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lb ground bison (buffalo)
½ medium onion
2 celery stalks
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
½ cup red wine
3-4 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
4 baking potatoes (Idaho)
2 tablespoons fresh chives, minced
1/2 cup freshly grated Manchego cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat a large pot over medium high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add bison, cook for 5 minutes until browned. Remove and drain on a paper towel.
Add onion, carrot and celery to a food processor and process until finely ground. Add to pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10-12 minutes until all moisture has evaporated and veges begin to brown.
Add garlic, red pepper flakes, paprika, tomato paste and thyme. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add wine and cook for 1 minute until mostly evaporated. Add ½ cup water and reduce to a simmer.
Continue to simmer for 2 hours, adding ½ cup of water at a time. As water evaporates, add more. Season with salt and pepper as necessary.
Drizzle potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour until completely cooked through.
To serve: Slice potatoes down the middle and mash up insides. Top with Bolognese sauce, cheese and chives.
Charles and Charles Red 2009: http://www.decantedwines.com/sku01741.html
What exactly does the phrase, “warm summer days, cool summer nights” mean? While we were in California, we experienced the coastal fog that can often bring some regions from an afternoon high of 85 to a nightly low of 55. But that wasn’t enough for us. We wanted to explore what elevation can also do to this severe temperature differential. What did we find? About a 15 degree difference from the coast and just 4 miles into the mountains and wilderness (even though we were 1,000 higher!) Plus it was an excuse to get a hike in. Disclaimer: I’m not in as good of shape as I use to be, hence the out-of-breathness at the top of the hike.
Here is a “cooking with wine” rule I hate – the only white wine you can cook with is a dry Chardonnay. Wrong! Cook with whatever wine you like to drink and build your recipe around it. My favorite white wine has always been Sauvignon Blanc and a favorite meal of mine is Paella – so let’s put them together. What’s stopping us? This paella has a “Jackie” twist to it with lots of smoked paprika and pineapple.
I love that the Murphy Goode ‘The Fume’ Sauvignon Blanc was predominately fermented in stainless steel to keep it crisp but then thrown into some French and American barrels to add the depth oak always brings. A perfect balance!
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, grated
1 cup jasmine rice
1 tablespoon tumeric
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 ½ quarts chicken stock
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 lb hot chorizo sausage
1 medium onion, diced
½ cup Murphy Goode Sauvignon Blanc
1 lb mussels; cleaned
1 lb shrimp; peeled, deveined and tails removed
1 cup diced fresh pineapple
1 tablespoon fresh chives, diced
Rice: Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to small pot. Add garlic, cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rice, turmeric, 1 tablespoon each smoked paprika and salt. Toast in pot for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 2 cups stock, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until rice is cooked.
Rice Cakes: Once rice has cooled, add egg and form 4 patties, 1 inch thick. Pour panko into a shallow bowl. Press each rice cake into panko to create a crust. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to a non-stick pan over medium heat. Cook rice cakes until panko crust becomes golden brown and rice cakes heat through.
Stock: Add remaining olive oil to a large pot. Add chorizo, cook until brown. Add onion and remaining garlic, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Cook until onion softens, 3-4 minutes. Add wine to deglaze pan. Add remaining chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
Add mussels and shrimp, cover and continue to simmer until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Just before serving add pineapple. To plate pour stock over rice cake and top with chives.
Murphy Goode ‘The Fume’ Sauvignon Blanc: http://www.decantedwines.com/sku01871.html
I must admit, I have been a little obsessed with baking my own pizzas lately. The refrigerated section of the grocery store makes it so easy for you! The pre-made crusts are delicious and inexpensive. Since my short rib flatbread recipe was such a big hit, the Baron des Chartrons Bordeaux 2009 caught my attention as my next great pizza-pairing wine.
What makes the Baron des Chartrons great for pizza is the blend of Cabernet and Merlot. The balance of tannins lets you be creative with pizza toppings. You don’t have to stick with an acidic red sauce, or limit yourself to a white pizza – you can do both! And that is exactly what I did with roasted tomatoes and fresh ricotta. I am also a big fan of red wines that pair with chicken. I try to keep my weeknight menus relatively healthy, straying from red meats, but I am also a girl who likes to have a glass of wine with dinner. This wine let’s be have the best of both worlds! (And PS, this pizza is great cold the next day J)
1 lb chicken sausage (your choice of flavors, I used a Roasted Garlic
½ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
2 large tomatoes, sliced into ½ inch pieces
1 package store bought pizza dough, thin crust
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons each garlic powder, dried oregano
Salt and pepper
¼ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 lb fresh ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon finely diced fresh chives
Mix chicken sausage and breadcrumbs in a large bowl until well combined. Start forming into small meatballs. Add more breadcrumbs if needed, but you only want enough to keep the meatballs together and not dry them out. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tomato slices on a cooling rack, on top of a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes until soft in the center and crisp around the edges.
Stretch pizza dough to fit into a baking sheet, leaving a small crust on each edge. Brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings,
salt and pepper. Bake for 7 minutes until lightly brown.
While crust is baking, brown meatballs in a non-stick skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Top pre-baked crust with meatballs, tomatoes and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 5 minutes until meatballs and crust are finished cooking.
Remove crust from oven. Using a small ice cream scoop, add dollops of ricotta to pizza. Place back in oven and turn off heat. Let sit for 5 minutes in the oven to warm through the ricotta, without cooking it.
Remove from oven, top with chives and serve!
We’re continuing our travels throughout Napa County and while visiting one of our favorite vineyards (Hestan Meyer) yesterday, we found a little pocket that we never knew existed. Wooden Valley, although not a recognized AVA, is a unique microclimate housing a few vineyards that specialize in Cabernet (another one you might know is Altamura). The temperatures are much warmer (it was 95 vs. 85 yesterday) than Napa Valley itself. Take a look…