Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wine and Food Pairing

Wine and Food Pairing Guide (from Vindulge)


Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Red Bordeaux & Meritage (blends)
Blackberry, boysenberry, raspberry, blueberry, plum, cherry, black currant, cassis, tea, cocoa, tobacco, green olive, vanilla, oak, smoky, mint, eucalyptus, chocolate

Lamb and beef dishes like stews.
Steak with rich sauces.
Duck, pheasants and other games.
Beef and chicken fajitas.
Chocolate desserts.
Smoked gouda cheese, cheddar cheese, and Camembert cheese.

Blackberry, boysenberry, raspberry, jam, plum, raisin, prune, rhubarb, pomegranate, vanilla. Spice (cinnamon, clove, black pepper)

Stews, pot roast.
Dishes with tomato and tomato sauces.
Pizza with red sauce.
Grilled or smoked meats.
Spicy meat dishes and curries.
Thanksgiving dinner.

Pinot Noir
Cherry (red, black, dried), blueberries, blackberries, raspberry, strawberry, rhubarb, pomegranate, mushrooms, earth (barnyard), smoke, vanilla, oak, cola, coffee, rose, tea

Great for dishes with earthy flavors.
Games like pheasants, wild boar, rabbit, quail, pigeon, and venison.
Casseroles of beef and chicken.
Salmon, lamb, pork, and mushroom dishes.


Blackberry, boysenberry, blueberry, jam, plum, prune, cherry, currant. Smoke, black pepper, white pepper, leather, vanilla, chocolate. Spices (clove, cinnamon).

Roasted meat, game
Spicy or heavily seasoned meats or hearty dishes.
Rich beef casseroles and games.
Barbecued meats (beef, ribs, lamb, pork).
Rich Vegetarian dishes.
Dark Chocolate.

Toast, yeast, nuts, Green apple, cherry, strawberry

Salty foods like potato chips
hors d’oeuvres, caviar
smoked salmon, shrimp, & Chinese food.
Egg dishes.
Intensely flavored and rich food like the foie gras.

(can be oaked or unoaked)
Green apple, pear, peach, melon. Citrus (lemon, lime, orange). Tropical fruits (pineapple, passion fruit, guava). Toast, baked bread, butter, vanilla, hazelnut, oak

Fatty fish dishes or dishes in rich sauces.
Gently flavored pasta dishes and risotto.
Chicken and shellfish recipes with cream based sauces.
Eastern and Indian dishes with creamy coconut sauces.

Sauvignon Blanc
Citrus: grapefruit, lemon, lime Melon, pear, fig, pineapple, passion fruit, quince, grassy, lemongrass, gooseberry

Goes well with tart sauces & dressings.
Goat cheese, asparagus, shellfish, chicken
Fish dishes with a squeeze of lemon
Japanese dishes like shashimi.
White fish and seafood
Salad, chicken salad and garden salad.
Vegetable and vegetable soups.

Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio)
Peach, pear, lime, lemon, apple, apricot, nuts (nuttiness), minerals, lemongrass

Especially well with light fish dishes and foods high in acid.
Chicken salad. Mildly spicy chicken.
Oysters, smoked salmon.
Fresh vegetables.
Pasta with garlic pesto.

Apples, pear, peach, apricot, lychee. Floral (jasmine, rose, orchid). Honey, petroleum, minerals, stones, chalk

Pair with sweet and spicy dishes.
Pecan pie, sweet fruit pies and tarts and fruit custards.
Chinese and Thai foods.
Japanese dishes like sushi, sashimi, wasabi, tempura and teriyaki.
Pork and duck with fruit sauces.
Smoked fish pates.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Wild Mushrooms and an Onion-Garlic-Raisin Sauce

Sweet Potato Gnocchi Ingredients:
1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, baked and peeled, cooled to room temperature
Whole wheat flour - volume dependent on moisture in potatoes
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
1 egg white lightly beaten
Kosher salt
Freshly ground white pepper

Onion-Garlic-Raisin Sauce Ingredients:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large shallot, minced
½ pound mixed wild mushrooms (shitakes, porcini, chanterelles, morels) cleaned/trimmed/cut bite-size 
½ cup fresh peas, blanched, or frozen baby peas
¼ cup packed golden raisins
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups Chicken Stock
¼ cup Onion Soubise (see below)
½ teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground white pepper

 To Assemble:
2 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 teaspoons minced fresh chives
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan, for serving (optional)

Prepare the Sweet Potato Gnocchi:
  1. Press the sweet potatoes through a ricer into a bowl.
  2. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour. Transfer the riced sweet potatoes to the dusted surface. Sprinkle ½ cup of the flour over the potatoes.
  3. Sprinkle on the Parmesan. Make a well in the center and place the beaten egg white in the well along with salt and pepper to taste. From the edges of the well, using a fork, start stirring the sweet potatoes into the egg, continuing until the mixture forms a ball, taking care not to overwork the dough. If the dough seems wet and hard to handle, sprinkle and work in more flour.
  4. To test for texture, bring a small saucepan of salted water to a boil. Shape a couple of gnocchi from the dough, each about ¼ inch in diameter and 1 inch long. Place the gnocchi in the boiling water and cook until they rise to the surface, 1 to 2 minutes, and then remove with a slotted spoon. If the gnocchi fall apart during boiling, work more flour into the remaining dough, a small amount at a time.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, lightly dust with flour. Divide the gnocchi dough into 8 portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a long rope about ¼ inch in diameter and 15 inches long. Cut into 1-inch pieces and arrange the pieces in one layer on the prepared baking sheet. Set aside at room temperature until ready to use, up to 2 hours.

 Prepare the Onion-Garlic-Raisin Sauce:
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and mushrooms and sauté 3 then add the peas and sauté 2 more minutes until shallot is translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and raisins. When aromatic, add the wine and stir and scrape with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan.
  3. Boil the wine until it has reduced to about 1/4 cup, 7 to 10 minutes. Pour in the stock, bring to a boil, and continue boiling until the liquid has reduced by half, about 15 minutes.
  4. While the sauce is reducing, bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
  5. When the sauce is almost done reducing, stir the Onion Soubise, and rosemary into the sauce, season to taste with salt and pepper, cover, and keep warm.

Assemble the Dish:
  1. Place the gnocchi in the boiling water and cook until they rise to the surface, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain well, and then add the gnocchi to the pan of sauce. Stir gently to coat and combine.
  2. Serve immediately, spooning the gnocchi, sauce, and mushrooms onto heated plates or serving bowls. Garnish with parsley and chives and pass Parmesan at the table, if desired.


Onion (or Onion and Garlic) Soubise (use to thicken sauces in place of butter)

2 Tablespoon oil
5 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 head of garlic (10 - 12 cloves), finely chopped (optional)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Chicken Stock
  1. In a medium nonstick skillet or saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and the garlic (if using, for Onion and Garlic Soubise) and reduce heat to medium-low. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened and turned a deep caramel brown, 60 to 90 minutes.
  2. Transfer the onions to blender and add the broth. Pulse until pureed. If need be, add more stock. Transfer to a nonreactive container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Prime Rib Roast

Serves 6 to 8

About a 7 pound rib roast, preferably with bones (3 of them)
Kosher salt

Cut meat from bones, reserve the bones. (If ya have them) Alternative: French cut the bones so that it looks like a rack.

Cut slits in surface of fat cap, spaced 1-inch apart, in crosshatch patter. Do not cut into the meat.

Rub about 2 tablespoons salt over entire roasted and into slits.

Place meat back on bones, transfer to large plate and refrigerate, uncovered, for 1 to 4 days.

Figure around 8 - 9 hours, from out of refrigerator to on a plate.

Allow meat to come to room temperature (say, 60 to 90 minutes at room temperature).

Once in oven, takes about 6-8 hours.

Adjust oven rack to middle and preheat to 175 F.

Tie up roast with bones.

Transfer roast, fat cap up, to wire rack set in roasting pan and season with pepper.

Stick remote thermometer in meat.

Roast in 175 degree oven until meat registers 122 degrees, figure about 6-7+ hours,.

Remove roast from oven and wrap once in plastic and twice, in aluminum foil.

Place meat, wrapped, back in pan and into warming oven and rest meat for 30 – 75 minutes. (this is a good time to cook all the sides!)

Preheat oven to high temperature - 450 to 500 F, higher the better.

Remove rack from roasting pan. Remove meat from aluminum foil and plastic. Roll up foil loosely into 'logs' and place in pan for meat to set on. Place meat on foil.

Place under broiler for 3 – 8 minutes to crisp up fat cap.

Slice meat into 3/4 inch thick slabs. Top with black garlic – compound butter, or other compound butter, or have a cream-horseradish or gravy on side.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Shrimp and Grits

4 (8) servings

4 (8) cups water
Salt and pepper
1 (2) cup stone-ground grits
3 (6) tablespoons butter
2 (4) cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 (2) pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 (12) slices bacon, chopped (or Cajun sausage, ham, leftover pork belly, other pork product)
4 (8) teaspoons lemon juice (1 (2) lemons) (or rice vinegar)
2 (4) tablespoons chopped parsley
1 (2) cup thinly sliced scallions (could use onion)
1 (2) large clove garlic, minced
Anisette liqueur to deglaze pan

Bring water to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Add grits and cook until water is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese.

Brine shrimp (at least 15 minutes in brine. Brine is for every quart of water 3 Tablespoons salt, 2 Tablespoons honey) and pat dry. Fry the bacon or sausage in a large skillet until browned; drain well. In grease, add shrimp. Cook until shrimp turn pink. Add lemon juice (rice vinegar), chopped bacon, parsley, scallions and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes. Deglaze pan with Anisette.
Spoon grits into a serving bowl. Add shrimp mixture and mix well. Serve immediately.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Pot Roast


Some of the ingredients ready!


2 parts onion diced
1 part carrot diced
1 part celery diced

Chuck-eye roast, tied
Garlic, minced
Chicken stock
Beef stock
Fresh herbs (aromatics: parsley, thyme, rosemary, whatever you like)

Root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, parsnips, all cut into about 1-1 ½ inch chunks

Preheat oven to 300.

Heat pan and oil.

Dry meat. Salt and pepper all over.

Sear meat on all sides over medium heat.
Then set aside.


Add mirepoix to pot, add salt and cook 5 – 7 minutes. Add as much garlic as you like and cook until aromatic, about 30 to 60 seconds.


Deglaze pot with a wee bit of chicken stock. Then place meat into pot.
Add 50/50 chicken stock/beef stock so that liquid level is about half way up the meat. Add aromatics and bring to simmer.


Cover and place into oven. Turn meat every 30 minutes.

After three hours, add vegetables.

After four hours, out of the oven.

Remove meat to a plate, cover with foil and let rest.

Remove vegetables to serving plate.

Strain liquid and return to pot. Boil down to make sauce. Add some red wine if you would like.

Slice meat into about ½ inch thick slices and arrange on serving plate with vegetables. Pour some of the sauce on top and the rest of the sauce in a serving dish.

You can add some chopped parsley and tomatoes for color.

Monday, July 27, 2015


For Basil Pesto

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup mixed pine nuts, walnuts, cashews
2/3 cup olive oil
½ cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

For Artichoke Pesto

Artichoke hearts (canned or vacuumed packed)
Olive oil
Freshly grated Pecorino cheese
Salt and white pepper to taste

Place the basil (or artichokes) along with the garlic and nuts into the food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.

Turn the processor on and slowly add the olive oil.

Here's the artichoke pesto ready for the oil.  

Open the processor, add the cheese, close and pulse to blend.

Open processor, add salt and pepper, close and pulse to blend.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

BCBCPC (Bacon Caramel Bourbon Chili Popcorn)

 This is some fantastic stuff!

5 quarts of popped popcorn – best to use an air popper, this is about ¾ cup of unpopped corn
2 cups unsalted roasted cashews
1 lb bacon – cut in about ¼ inch squares and browned, see picture below

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
½ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup bourbon

Preheat oven to 250.

Melt butter over medium heat.

Mix in brown sugar, syrup, salt, cayenne, cream of tartar and stir until boiling begins.

Lower heat a wee bit, keep stirring until it reaches 250.

Remove from heat. Add baking soda and bourbon.

Stir in bacon.

Butter a large mixing bowl.

Add popcorn and cashews to bowl.

Fold caramel into mixture.

Spread onto buttered cookie sheets.

Place in preheated oven for 30 to 60 minutes, mixing every 10 to 15 minutes, until dry.

When done, cool and enjoy!

Refrigerate any leftovers. (ha!)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015



 Spaetzle is a German/Austrian style dumpling that is then fried. It is a great side for braised meats. The above is shown with caramelized onions. Could also top with chopped, fresh parsley.

 This makes 4-6 servings

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus a Tablespoon milk (must have some fat content)
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch ground white pepper

chopped fresh parsley (or use a bunch of caramelized onions)

Mix together flour, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs well.

Add egg alternately with the milk to the dry ingredients.

Mix until smooth.

Want it to be thick but not a dough. Should be a thick batter, Let rest 15 minutes. If too thin, sprinkle flour on top and fold in.

Bring pot of water to a boil and add salt.

Press mixture through spaetzle maker, or a large holed sieve or metal grater, or through a ricer set at medium or large, directly into the pot of salted water.Here's a photo of the batter going into a ricer. I do have a spaetzle maker, however, wanted to show how this works.

Cook 6 to 8 minutes.

Drain well. Want to remove as much moisture as possible before the next step as you want the spaetzle to brown not steam.

Heat sauté pan and get butter to start foaming


Sauté cooked spaetzle until golden.

Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley or caramelized onions on top, and serve.