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September 21, 2013

Hearts of Palm and Avocado Salad

I love salads this time of year but pairing them with the right wine can sometimes be challenging. Here are a few tips that will help you to begin satisfying a summer fix of fresh veggies with wine.

Serves 4

Pair this salad with a zesty, lemony Sauvignon Blanc

Ingredients:
1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
½ small sweet onion, cut into slivers
Two 14-ounce cans hearts of palm, drained and sliced ½ inch thick
1 Hass avocado, cut into ½ inch pieces
¼ cup flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon lime zest
2 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions:
In a medium bowl, toss the halved cherry tomatoes with the onion slivers, hearts of palm, avocado and chopped parsley. In a small bowl, whisk the lime zest and lime juice with the mayonnaise and oil, season the dressing with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss gently and serve.

Wine Pairing Tips

Pair acidic vinaigrettes with acidic wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Albarino.

Creamy dressings will usually pair well with Chardonnay (as long as it isn’t too buttery) or Pinot Gris

Add cheese, nuts, and meat to the salad which will bridge the flavors and increase the wine options, such as sparklers, light Pinot Noir and Rose wines.


Posted by terri at 11:01 PM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2013

Goat Cheese with a Honey Orange Balsamic Reduction

The goat cheese mixture is served in endive leaves instead of the traditional cheese and crackers. You'll get a little bit of sweet from the fruit and honey and a little bit of tart from the balsamic vinegar.

Also plated here is a tomato bacon relish also served in endive leaves.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 12 mandarin orange slices, each cut into 3 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely minced

    Instructions:

    In a small bowl combine walnuts and 1 tablespoon honey, toss to coat all of the walnuts. Place the walnuts on a non stick baking sheet or line with parchment paper and roast at 350 for 8-10 minutes, being careful not to burn. Allow walnuts to cool, break apart. Add the cheese to the bowl with the walnuts and stir to combine.

    Meanwhile combine remaining 2 tablespoons honey, balsamic vinegar and orange juice in a small saucepan and cook on medium heat until reduced by half. It will be a thick syrup.

    Separate out 12 endive leaves and place on serving plate. Top each with equal amounts of goat cheese mixture and three pieces of the mandarin orange. Drizzle the honey orange balsamic sauce over the top and serve on endive leaves.

    Cooking Wiser:

    Honey roasted walnuts are also great tossed into a salad

    Some research supports the theory that local honey may help build immunity to some seasonal allergies. Try it! Even if it doesn’t work it is a great sweetener.

    Posted by terri at 02:21 AM | Comments (0)

    September 10, 2013

    Sauteed Summer Squash with Bacon

    This is one of my successful original recipes. Not that some aren't successful. Okay, I'll admit, once in a while I've made something that we most likely won't have again for at least 20 years!
    But this one was really good.

    serves 4

    Ingredients:

  • 4-6 slices bacon
  • 2 yellow squash, washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 zucchini, washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoon vegetables oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced purple onion, or more if you like onions
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions:

    Heat a large sauté pan to medium heat and fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon to paper towel to drain.

    Add oil to pan. Add vegetables and sauté on medium high heat until vegetables are slightly tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Crumble bacon and add to vegetables with the thyme (or rosemary). Reduce heat to medium and cook additional 3-4 minutes.

    Cooking Wiser:
    To add a little more color, add 1 small red pepper, diced.

    I recently read that rosemary is a common herb used by the locals in a small village in Italy and many of them are living to be over 100 years old. So add 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary to replace thyme.

    To make this a vegetarian dish, omit bacon and add a pinch of cayenne pepper.

    Posted by terri at 02:20 AM | Comments (0)

    Original New Recipes

    Sometimes I enjoy creating something different:
    no recipe involved, using ingredients I have on hand, saving a trip to the supermarket.

    Tonight was one of those times. I had 2 yellow squash, 2 zucchini, 1/2 of a purple onion and 4 slices of bacon. The results were very tasty.

    Serves 4

    Sautéed summer squash with bacon

    Posted by terri at 02:09 AM | Comments (0)

    September 07, 2013

    Grilled Chicken Thighs with Tarragon Butter

    Though this is a very simple dish to prepare with few ingredients, it offers a lot of flavors. Tarragon is a wonderful herb with hints of anise.


    Serves 4

    Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, minced
  • 4 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 4 large chicken thighs or 8 small
  • 1 orange sliced into 8 slices for garnish

    Instructions:

    In a small bowl mix combine the tarragon and butter until well blended. Roll into 4 balls and refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Meanwhile prepare a hot charcoal fire. Rub chicken with olive oil and season chicken with salt and pepper. Grill chicken until cooked through. Move the thighs to a platter and top with tarragon butter. Serve with orange slices; squeeze some of the orange onto the chicken to add a burst of flavor.

    Wine:
    An unoaked Chardonnay that offers fresh citrus, pear and apple notes, with hints of orange blossom and mineral is a great selection for grilled chicken.

    Posted by terri at 01:53 AM | Comments (0)

    Pistachios Party Twists

    A great party snack or serve with a meal with a selection of breads and crackers.

    Serves 6-8
    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Total time: 25 minutes

    Ingredients:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom, ground
  • 1 puff pastry (ounce package frozen puff pastry sheets thawed
  • ½ cup roasted pistachios, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon butter, melted

    Instructions:

    Whisk together egg yolks and water in a small bowl. Combine sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom.

    Carefully roll each sheet of puff pastry into a 9 1/2" square on a lightly floured work surface. Brush each sheet with egg wash, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar mixture.

    Sprinkle chopped pistachios evenly over 1 sheet, leaving a 1/4" border; top with remaining sheet, sugared side down. Firmly press edges to seal.

    Brush top of pastry with melted butter; sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture. Cut pastry into 3/4"-thick strips, using a pizza cutter.

    Twist each strip 3 times, and place 2" apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 400° for 19 minutes or until golden. Remove from pans immediately, and cool on wire racks.

    Cooking wiser:
    To decrease calories: Replace butter with olive oil
    To save time: Make in advance and refrigerate.
    To reheat pastry twists, bake at 450° for 5 minutes or just until heated. Cool. As they cool, they crisp up.
    It is easier to work with pastry while cold

    Posted by terri at 01:46 AM | Comments (0)

    Tiki Snack Mix

    This is a great snack to take on a hike or to pack when traveling. It's a perfect mix of salty and sweet.

    Makes 4 ½ cups
    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Total time: 1:15

    Ingredients:

  • 8 slices of thick-cut bacon, cooked crisp and drained on paper towel
  • 3 cups peanuts, roasted and salted
  • 4 candied pineapple rings, cut into triangles
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt

    Instructions:

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut bacon into ½ inch strips. In a bowl, toss the bacon with all the remaining ingredients except the salt. Spread the mix on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring once. Remove from oven, season with salt and cool.


    Posted by terri at 01:40 AM | Comments (0)

    September 05, 2013

    Flank Steak with Rosemary, Black Pepper and Balsamic Vinegar

    The flank steak is served over salad greens. To tenderize pound with a meat mallet or marinating. This one calls for a little pounding action.

    See my suggestion for pairing this recipe with a flavorful red wine.

    Serves 4

    Ingredients:

  • 1-1½ pound flank steak, trimmed and cut into four portions
  • 4 teaspoons rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons black peppercorns, finely crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 8 ounces salad greens, a mixture with arugula, washed and dried
  • Cherry tomatoes, enough for each salad to have at least 3 or 4

    Instructions:

    Cover the steaks with plastic wrap and gently pound them with the flat side of a meat mallet to thin them slightly. Combine the rosemary, pepper, salt and press it onto the steaks. Coat a large skillet with the oil and set it over high heat. When the oil is barely smoking, add the meat, lower the heat slightly and sear the steaks, about 4 minutes on each side for medium rare.

    Transfer the meat to a cutting board and tent with foil.

    Add the vinegar to the pan and bring the vinegar to a boil. Continue boiling, stirring and scraping with a wooden spoon to dislodge any browned bits stuck to the pan, until the vinegar is reduced to about 3 tablespoons, about 5 minutes. Stir in any juices collected from the meat. Cut the steaks into ¼ inch thick slices. Portion the salad greens onto four plates and arrange the meat slices on top, add the tomatoes. Spoon the sauce over the meat and the greens and serve.

    If you like a little more salad dressing add a splash of extra virgin olive oil.

    Serve with a Malbec, a big, bold red wine with an aroma of fresh cherries and delicate notes of rose, providing a good balance of oak and fruit. The Malbec has the versatility and spice-affinity to handle a stunning array of food combinations.

    Create Your Own

    Add other vegetables to salad such as cucumbers, sliced red or green bell peppers, or grilled asparagus.

    Posted by terri at 02:37 AM | Comments (0)

    September 04, 2013

    Wine and Cheese tasting

    Hosting a wine and cheese tasting is fun, simple and best of all it will keep you out of a hot kitchen.
    And we can all use a break from the heat!
    Here are a few tips:

    Select 4 cheeses and pair them according to the suggestions below

    For ten guests you will need two bottles of each wine selection and about 8-10 ounces of each cheese

    White and Rosé wines should be served at 45-50 degrees F

    Most red wines should be served at 55-60 degrees F

    Tannic, full bodied red wines should be served at 65 degrees F

    Cheese should be served at room temperature

    Pair wine and cheese in order from mildest to strongest

    Label the cheese and wine on a note card

    Serve lots of crackers and/or crusty bread

    End the evening with dessert, try Panna Cotta with Blackberry-Zinfandel Compote

    Gouda pairs with Riesling or Chardonnay
    Goat cheese pairs with Sauvignon Blanc
    Fontina pairs with Pinot Blanc or Grenache
    Munster pairs with Gewurztraminer or Riesling
    Brie or Camembert pairs with Pinot Noir or oaked Chardonnay
    Cheddar pairs with Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot
    Roquefort pairs with Sauternes or Zinfandel

    Goat cheese in a walnut crust

    Serves 8

    Ingredients:
    8 ounces fresh goat cheese, slice and form into 1 inch thick rounds
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    ½ cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
    ¼ cup toasted breadcrumbs
    1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

    Instructions:

    Coat the cheese rounds with olive oil and let stand on a plate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

    Combine the walnuts, breadcrumbs, and thyme on a plate. Dip the cheese into the nut mixture, making sure all sides are evenly coated.
    Gently press the coating into the cheese.

    Place the cheese o a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the cheese in preheated 400 degree oven about 10 minutes, until the cheese is softened and the nut mixture is aromatic.

    Serve with Sauvignon Blanc.

    Posted by terri at 03:34 AM | Comments (0)

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