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What are you cooking for the Big Game?

Killer Sausage Sliders

Chili … seen it. Wings … been there, done that. Hoagies or subs … boring! Serve something unique and may I just say delicious for the big game this weekend! Chorizo Sliders with whole grain mustard and Pork/Apple Sliders with caramelized onions. You will be such a big hit.

Oh and if you’re wondering what to serve to drink, here are our suggestions (all 83% off for case of 24): Ace Pear Cider, Leffe Blonde Beer, Anderson Valley Poleeko Gold Pale Ale and Cigar City Jai Alai IPA.

Chorizo Sliders
1 lb chorizo, removed from casing
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
¼ cup whole grain mustard
12-18 dill pickle chips
6 dinner rolls, cut in half

Preheat cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil. Form ground chorizo into 6 small burgers.  Add to the preheated skillet and cook 4-5 minutes per side.

While sliders are cooking, lightly toast dinner rolls. Split mustard between all 6 rolls, adding a little bit to both halves. When sliders are cooked, add one burger to each bottom half of roll, top with 2 or 3 pickles (your choice) and top half of roll. Press down lightly to bring it all together. 

Pork and Apple Sliders
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 lb pork sausage, removed from casing
½ gala apple, cut into ½ inch chunks
6 slider or dinner rolls

Add butter to a non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Add onion.  Cook for 5-7 minutes until softened and translucent.  Stir in honey and vinegar. Reduce heat to low and cook until completely browned, 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While onions cook, add sausage to a large bowl. Gently mix in apple chunks until well combined. Form into 6 small burgers. Add sliders to same cast iron skillet, still over medium-high heat.  Cook 4-5 minutes per side.

While sliders are cooking, again lightly toast rolls. When sliders are cooked, add one per dinner roll, top with onions.


Eggplant Lasagna and Petit Sirah for Two

This is a great eggplant lasagna recipe for two reasons: 1. It is heathy. Yes I know that sounds like an oxy-moron; a healthy lasagna, but it’s true! It’s about as healthy as you can get a lasagna without losing all what makes a lasagna great. And 2. it is portioned for 2 people. Have you ever seen a lasagna made for 2 people? I haven’t and that has always been annoying to me. If I made a full 8 portion lasagna it would take a week for my husband and I to finish it.

Ok wait I have a third reason why I love this lasagna – it pairs great with wine. I realize that many of the recipes I provide for food and wine pairings are a bit indulgent because let’s face it you don’t worry much about pairing your wine to dinner on your average weeknight.  You save those recipes for special events. I get it and that’s cool with me. But if you’d like to treat yourself to a healthy, easy, relatively speedy weeknight meal – try this lasagna and try the Bogle Petit Sirah. There is just something so incredible about a Petit Sirah and hearty Italian food.

2 large, firm, Japanese eggplants, 1/2 inch slices
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 lb hot Italian sausage, removed from castings
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine
1 lb plum tomatoes, I used a dark, heirloom variety because that’s what they had on sale 🙂
1/2 cup canned tomato sauce, My grandma only used Hunt’s so that’s what I stick too
1 cup lowfat cottage cheese
1 wedge Laughing Cow Cheese, Garlic & Herbs flavored, softened
1 small egg, beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt/Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay eggplant on a cooling rack, over a baking sheet. Brush with 1 tablepsoon olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden in the center, and crisp along the edges.

While eggplant is cooking, heat remaining olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until brown. Add onion and garlic. Cook until soft, 3-5 minutes. Deglaze pan with wine and reduce for 2-3 minutes.

Add tomatoes and tomato sauce. Simmer until most of the moisture has evaporated, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a non-stick bread pan (remember this is a two serving lasagna) layer about 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom. Follow with two pieces of eggplant, then 1/2 of the cottage cheese mixture, then 1/3 of tomato sauce. Repeat. Top with two pieces of eggplant, remaining tomato sauce and all the mozzarella.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook for 10 minutes to brown and crisp the cheese.

Bogle Petit Sirah 2009:

Deconstructed Paella with Sauvignon Blanc

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:

Prosciutto and Melon Makes a Meal; Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc

My favorite meals usually start with a traditional recipe that’s been flipped upside down and turned into something completely different; while still keeping the flavors that made it great to begin with.  Does that make sense? To explain further, this meal is the perfect example. Everyone loves the traditional Italian appetizer of melon and prosciutto. The sweet, creamy melon versus the sharp, salty prosciutto defines a sweet and salty balance perfectly. The only problem is, prosciutto and melon on it’s own is not substantial enough to be a main course. Not until now that is…

A full flavored, acidic wine like the 2010 Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with the pungent anise flavor of fennel and in this dish fresh fennel adds a needed crunch.  This vintage has a background aroma of melon that is begging to be brought to life, and fresh melon will do just that. Since we have three of the four S’s of a culinary experience (sweet, salty, savory), we might as well add the 4th (spicy) with a homemade chili oil.  Not too spicy to overpower the vibrance of the wine, just spicy enough to add a punch of flavor.

4 red snapper fillets, skins removed
4oz prosciutto, thinly sliced
Salt, pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 ripe mangoes
1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon, finely diced chives

Lightly season snapper with salt and pepper.  Prosciutto will provide some salt, so be careful with what you add.

Cover one side of snapper with slices of prosciutto (however many it takes to cover top and sides of fish). Press into the fish and let rest 5 minutes.

Heat olive oil in non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add snapper, prosciutto side down and cook until crispy, about 3 minutes. Flip fish and cook on opposite side for another 3 minutes. Remove from pan and keep warm in oven. Continue with remaining fillets.

Remove peel from mango and cut flesh off center pit. Slice into rounds, about ½ inch thick.

Wisk red pepper flakes and EVOO in small dish until incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To plate: First layer several slices of mango on the bottom of the plate. Then layer in slices of fennel. Top with fish and then drizzle just
about 1 teaspoon of chili oil. Decorate plate with chives.