Has this happened to you? You get to the end of the meal, dessert is next but you aren’t finished with your red wine and you’re not yet ready to move onto coffee. You’re afraid that the red wine you are drinking most mix well with the dessert you order. Here is a tip: look for the least sweet dessert on the menu (does that make sense?) Red wine works great with a tea cake or pound cake because they are generally not too sweet. You want to keep a balance so the sweetness in the dessert doesn’t overpower that red wine you still want to enjoy.
Case and point: Almond Tea Cake with La Mozza I Perazzi, a deep ruby Sangiovese.
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
¼ cup almond paste
1 ½ cups cake flour
1 ½ – 2 cups slivered almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine salt
1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
¾ cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare your 9x5x3″ loaf pan by fitting it with a large piece of aluminum foil, leaving excess on each side to later be used as handles to remove the cake. Spray the foil evenly with non-stick butter flavored cooking spray and set aside.
In a small food processor add ½ of the silvered almonds. Process until they are finely ground. Add to a small bowl. Repeat that process with the rest of the silvered almonds until you have 1 cup of almond “flour.”
In a large bowl, add 1 ½ cups cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and you’re new “almond flour.” Whisk until combined and set aside.
In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar just until combined, about 1 minute. Add almond paste, mix again until combined, 3-4 minutes.
Add egg and egg yolk. Beat again until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches. In between each of those batches add ½ of the buttermilk.
Pour mixture into your prepared cake pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes until top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 1 minute. Then remove cake from the pan, using the alumnium foil as handles. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
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
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!