Soup and Salad Recipes from November 2015

Hot Apple and Mushroom SoupApple Mushroom Soup (This was delicious! I want the recipe.) 2013 Carol Shelton Zinfandel not may favorite even though I do like Zin. Somewhat light and not full bodied [16]

4 Tablespoons of  Butter

1 bunch chopped Green Onions

1 chopped shallot

6 Slices Of cooked Bacon

6 choped apples ( I used fuji and granny smith)

64 ounces Of Chicken Stock.

2 cups White Wine (I used a white blend)

1 tablespoon nutmeg

24 ounces chooped mushrooms (I mixed button and baby bellas)

2 Cups Heavy Cream.

2 Tablespoon Cinnamon

Place all ingredients (except Cream) in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until apples are soft. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.  Puree with an immersion blender then add the cream.

I found this recipe on the Hub pages Pacific Northwest Recipes.

Mexican Potato Salad - Ensaladilla Rusa (Delicious! Loved the mixture of ingredients. I want this recipe, too!) 2012 Clarksburg Merlot just didn't go too well with the salad [16]

Ensaladilla Rusa (based on a recipe from spain-recipes)
Ingredients
  • 10 red potatoes
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • small bag frozen peas (thawed)
  • 1 can cut green beans
  • 1/2 sweet onion (chopped)
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 10 cocktail gherkins, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons capers
  • 12 green olives chopped
  • 2 chopped hard boiled eggs
  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (course)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation

In a saucepan, cook the potatoes and carrot in lightly salted water. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer until tender. Drain.  Fold in the peas and beans.  Add the onion, pepper, gherkins, capers,  olives, and egg.

In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice and mustard. Fold this mixture into the salad and refrigerate.  I served the salad on Leaves of Butter Lettuce.

Thanks Bob for the great pictures.

Enjoy.

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July 2014

We finished the remodel and adding out new growler station.  Whoop Whoop.  We expanded our beer selection to 9 taps.  One is dedicated to cider and we will always try to have a local beer on tap.  Now to share what we enjoyed at our wine dinner in July.

20June2014_1_Buzz-New-Beer-Growler-Station_Cristi

Mushroom Parmesan Risotto Cakes ( I really enjoyed these, but a light sauce may have been a great addition.) 2010 Mandarossa Fiano 13.5% alc. good match with the cakes, but not my favorite for the evening. $12 [14]

Once again Bob Young took some great pictures of our dinner and the evening.  We started with Mushroom Parmesan Risotto Cakes, our recipe was based on a recipe Peggy found from Chef Richard Erickson, Blue Mountain Bistro.

4 cups vegetable stock
3 cups assorted mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely diced onion
2 T butter
1 T olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup arborio rice
Salt & pepper to taste
1 egg
1/2 cup grated parmigiano
1 cup  panko
Vegetable or light olive oil for frying

1. Heat the stock. In a separate sauce pan heat the olive oil and butter, add the finely diced onion and over moderate heat cook until they are translucent. Add the mushrooms and the white wine and keep stirring until the mushrooms give up their liquid and get reabsorbed into the mix.

2.  Now add the rice to the mushroom onion mix, season with salt and pepper and stir to coat the rice completely. Begin ladling in the warm stock 1/2 cup at a time stirring and making sure the liquid has been absorbed before adding more. Rice varies so you may need more or less liquid. Unlike a traditional risotto, cook until the rice is soft and creamy all the way through, about 25-30 minutes.

3. Turn the mixture out into a bowl adding the grated cheese. When cool enough to handle, add the egg, mix well and do a test. Form a small ball of rice into a patty, press into the bread crumbs and gently saute in a small pan with a bit of oil. If you are pleased with the result, (texture, flavor etc) continue making balls. If not add more salt or cheese before making the entire batch.

4. Once all of the mini cakes have been made and pressed into the bread crumbs they can be refrigerated or even frozen until ready to cook. Fry the cakes in a small amount of oil , blot on a paper towel and serve on a platter. The risotto cakes can also be fried off ahead of time and rewarmed in the oven. We garnished with parsley and Parmesan.  A suggestion was to serve with a light cheese sauce.  Will have to try that.

This went very well with 2010 Mandrarossa Fiano a classic Italian grape with floral notes and a hint of honey.  It is a wine that the producer really matters because there are many different styles.

Piedmont Autumn Soup (Super good!) 2011 Piemonte Barera 13.5% alc. general appeal was good. a strong Barbera. $15 [15]

Next up was the soup course (always one of my favorites).

Piedmonte Autumn Soup

  • Rotisserie chicken cooked, cooled and shredded
  • 6 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil
  • 2 additional springs fresh parsley
  • 1 pound tricolor rigatoni broken into 2-3 inch pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • parsley and basil for garnish
  • shaved Parmesan cheese
  1. Place the celery, carrot, onion, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf into a large soup pot add enough water to cover all ingredients, and cook over medium-low heat for 1 hour, until vegetables are soft.  Add the chicken and the pasta.  Add enough water to cover all ingredient.  Bring to a boil and boil until Pasta is al dente. Top with basil and parsley and shaved cheese.  Suggestion to place a dollup of pesto on top.

We had this with a 2011 Piemonte Barbera (maybe a little to heavy in flavor with this soup) but both were good.

Abruzzo Salad 2011 Niro Pecorino 13% alc. good match with is delightful and refreshing salad. $19 [17]

Salad for tonight was an Abruzzo Salad

Abruzzo Salad
2011 Niro Pecorino

Based on a recipe by Catering by Teresa

Insalata al Abruzzese (Abruzzo Style Salad)

2 sweet white onions, sliced thinly

20 fresh basil leaves, cut in narrow strips

3 or 4 tablespoons wine vinegar

6 to 8 tablespoons virgin olive oil

pinch of dried crushed hot red chili pepper

Generous pinch of ground oregano

5 oz (155g) canned tuna, in oil

8 oz (250g) green beans, trimmed

3 or 4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut into discs or wedges

2 large bell pepper, yellow, orange or red, seeded and cut in ¼ in (5mm) strips

4-6 small to medium zucchini, trimmed

Place the onions rings and basil in bowl of cold water and put in the fridge. Place the vinegar, oil,  chili and oregano in a medium-sized bowl. Stir well. Add the tuna. Stir gently and put to one side.

Cook the beans in boiling salted water until al dente (approximately 10 min.) Drain and dip in cold water, to retain their color. Place in a large bowl with the tomatoes and bell peppers.

Cook the zucchini in boiling salted water for 6 minutes. Drain, cool and cut them in ½ in (1cm) slices. Add to the other vegetables.

Drain the onion and basil (reserving 2 tablespoon of basil) and add to the vegetables. Pour the dressing on top and toss gently with your hands.

 

Agnolotti Piemontesi Allo Stufato 2011 Badiola Toscana 13% alc. a wonderful paring with this entree. $18 [19]

Agnolotti Piemontesi Allo Stufato from Executive Chefs Nicola and Fabrizio Carro of Quattro
2011 Badiola Toscana

Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup cornmeal (sprinkled on cookie sheet for coating)

Preparation

Use a mixer to prepare the dough by mixing the flour and the eggs together. Spilt the dough in half and then divide into two or three pieces. Run the separated dough through a pasta machine, making sheets that are at least five inches wide (size will vary based on pasta machine). It’s important that the pasta sheet is thin enough so that you can see your fingers through it, but not so thin that it’s translucent. Lay them flat on a cookie sheet that is covered with a damp paper towel and cover the sheet with a second damp paper towel so that they do not dry out.

 

2 Filling

Ingredients

  • 3 Spanish onions, sliced
  • 2 lbs flat iron, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp. Italian olive oil
  • 1 bottle of Barbera wine
  • 1-2 large carrots, diced small
  • 1-2 stalks celery, diced small
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 sprig sage
  • ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • ½ stick of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

In a large sauté pan with olive oil, cook onions over low heat for 10-15 minutes. Add the meat, carrots, celery, bay leaf and sage, and allow to cook for 45 minutes. Add the wine, cover with a lid and simmer for two hours. Once meat is cooked, remove meat and veggies with slotted spoon and transfer to food processor; grind until fine. Continue to cook the liquid until it is reduced in half. Remove bay leaf and add ground meat back to liquid. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in butter and cheese until smooth. Place the agnolotti filling in a pastry bag fitted with a half inch plain tip.

 

3 Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 oz butter
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb lean beef
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 2-3 cups beef or chicken broth to taste
  • 7 oz spinach, blanched and well drained
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • Nutmeg to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Place a saucepan over medium heat. Add butter and melt, add cloves and onion and cook until they start to brown. Add the meat and turn heat down to low. Brown on all sides, then dust with flour and season with salt. Add the tomato sauce and enough broth to completely cover the meat; then cook over low heat until the meat is soft, but not falling apart. Remove pan from heat.

Take meat from sauce and place in food processor with spinach and rosemary, chop well. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in an egg yolk, a generous amount of grated Parmigiano Reggiano, a pinch of pepper and a dusting of nutmeg. Add back to pan and stir well.

(we did not process the sauce in a food processor)

 

4 Plating

Shape

Starting at one end, place the thumb and forefinger of each hand together as if you were going to pinch something. Holding your fingers vertically and leaving about one inch of space between your two hands, pinch the filling in one inch increments, making about ¾ inch of “pinched” area between each pocket of filling. It is important to leave this much “pinched” area between the agnolotti, to ensure the seal stays intact.

Set the pasta down and run a crimped pastry wheel along the top edge of the folded-over dough, separating the strip of filled pockets from the remainder of the pasta sheet. Don’t cut too close to the filling, or you risk breaking the seal. Separate the individual agnolotti by cutting the center of each pinched area, rolling the pastry wheel away from you. Working quickly, place the agnolotti on a baking sheet dusted with a thin layer of cornmeal, which will help prevent sticking. Don’t let the agnolotti touch each other, or they may stick together.

 

Fill

Have a large pot of lightly salted water boiling. Work with one sheet of pasta at a time, keeping the remaining sheets covered. Work quickly, as fresh pasta will dry out.

Lay the pasta sheet horizontally on a lightly floured surface. Trim the edges so they are straight. Pipe a “tube” of filling across the bottom of the pasta sheet, leaving a ¾ inch border of pasta along the left, right, and bottom edges.

Pull the bottom edge of the pasta up and over the filling. Seal the agnolotti by carefully molding the pasta over the filling and pressing lightly dab with your index finger to seal the edge of the dough to the pasta sheet. Don’t drag your finger along the dough to seal, or you risk ripping the dough. When it is sealed, there should be about a half inch of excess dough visible along the tube of filling (where you sealed it). Be certain that you are sealing tightly while pressing out any pockets of air. Seal the left and right ends of the dough.

Serve

Place dusted agnolotti in boiling water immediately and cook for five minutes. Reheat sauce over medium low heat, adding tablespoons of broth if too thick. Remove pasta using a slotted spoon and toss into the sauce. Stir in 1½ oz of melted butter and a good amount of grated cheese. 

Pistachio Chocolate Cannoli 2012 Mandrarossa Nero D'avola 13.5% alc. super good Tuscan wine. loved it.  can't get a better score. $12 [20]

Pistachio Chocolate Cannoli served with 2012 Mandrarossa Nero D’avola from Food Network Recipes

Ingredients1/4 cup chopped semisweet chocolate (about 1 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios
12 mini cannoli shells
1 cup fresh ricotta
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon grated tangerine or orange zest
1 tablespoon fresh tangerine or orange juice
Pinch of ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions

Put the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted. Put the pistachios in another bowl. Dip both ends of each cannoli shell in the chocolate, then into the pistachios. Arrange on a baking sheet and refrigerate.

Beat the ricotta, confectioners’ sugar, tangerine zest and juice, and the cinnamon in a bowl with a mixer until fluffy, about 10 minutes. Add the heavy cream and continue to beat until creamy, 1 to 2 more minutes. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Transfer the filling to a pastry bag and pipe into the prepared shells from both ends. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Shells

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup dry white wine

For the shell dough: In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Work the butter pieces into the flour with your fingers until the mixture becomes coarse and sandy. Add the egg yolk and the white wine and mix until it becomes a smooth dough. Spread a piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface and place the dough in the center. Wrap the plastic loosely around it and press the dough to fill the gap. Flattening the dough will mean less rolling later.

To roll and fry the shells: In a medium pot with a heavy bottom, heat the canola oil to 360 degrees F. Meanwhile, sift an even layer of flour on a flat surface. Flour a rolling pin. Roll the dough until it is very thin (about 1/8-inch thick). Cut the dough into fourths and work in small batches. Use any glass or small bowl that has a 3-to-4-inch diameter. Cut rounds, tracing around each one to assure the dough has been fully cut. You should have about 24 circles. Wrap each circle around a cannoli mold. Use a little of the egg wash on the edge of each round to seal it shut and to assure it won’t slide or fall off the mold before pressing it closed over the mold. Flare the edges out slightly from the mold. Flaring will allow the oil to penetrate each cannoli shell as they fry. Use a pair of tongs to hold the edge of the mold as you submerge and fry the shell in the oil until crispy, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the oil, and holding the mold in one had with your tongs, gently grip the shell in your other hand with a kitchen towel and carefully slide it off the mold. Set aside to cool. Repeat with all of the circles.

That was our tour of Italy.  Salute.

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June 2014

Peggy is grilling skewers for dinner.

June found us getting ready for summer.  Thanks to Bob Young for this great picture of my dear friend Peggy, and all the pictures of the great food we enjoyed.  Here are the fun grilled foods we tried and the wines we had with them.

We starter with Pulled Pork Sliders.  We smoked the pork overnight and Peggy made an amazing Carolina style sauce to go with them.

Pulled Pork Sliders 2010 Renwood Clarion a blend of Syrah and Zin [17]

We had the treat of a  2010 Renwood Clarion which brought out the smoke and tang of the sauce.

Following that we enjoyed a Grilled Romaine Salad

Grilled Romaine Salad 2012 Basal Cellars Estate Semillion  [17]

Served with 2012 Basal Cellars Estate Semillion.  Semillion is a low acid wine that did not overpower the salad.

Our soup was grilled vegetable soup.

Roasted Vegetable Soup 2009 MontGras Antu Ninquen Syrah [18]

Grilled  Vegetable Soup

3 medium carrots, Julianned
2 large tomatoes, quartered
1 large onion,coarsely chopped
6 zucchini chopped

4 cups green beans (cleaned and broken)

6 garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
6 cups vegetable broth
2 bunches chopped kale
2 sprigs fresh oregano
1 bay leaf
1 15-oz can of Great Northern white beans, drained

Preheat oven to 400°F. Drizzle a baking sheet with a little olive oil. Arrange carrots, squash, tomatoes, onion, green beans, and garlic on sheet. Drizzle with more olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast vegetables until they are brown and tender, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.
Place roasted vegetables in a stew pot and add the vegetable stock, bring to a boil add the Kale and boil until kale is tender.  Rinse and drain the white beans and add to soup.  Simmer until the beans are warm and soft.

2009 MontGras Antu Ninquen Syrah went very well with the soup.

Chicken and Beef Skewers with Corn On-The-Cob 2011 If You See Kay [20]

Dinner was skewered chicken and beef, grilled corn on the cob, and grilled bread, served with 2011 If You See Kay Blend.

Fun wine with such a classic grilled dinner.  Chicken was placed in an Asian sesame dressing to marinade over night while the beef was placed in a stout beer overnight to marinade.  Then just before grilling we sprinkled Montreal steak seasoning on it.

Last but not least we topped the night off with a Smores cake

S'mores Cake Fratelli Casa Rosa [18]

S’Mores Cake

Ingredients

Cake

3-large eggs
1 box  “Devils Food” cake mix
1-cup water
¾-cup vegetable oil

Crust

13.5-oz box of  graham cracker crumbs
1 stick butter (softened)

Topping
2 cups chocolate chips
10.5-oz bag of mini marshmallows

Blend the graham cracker crumbs & butter in a mixing bowl. Put 2/3 of the mixture at the bottom of a Dutch Oven. Press down firmly all along the bottom and up the edges slightly
Set aside the remaining crumb mixture to top the cake
Make the cake batter by mixing all of the ingredients with a whisk. Pour the batter onto the cracker crust. Spread the batter evenly across the surface. Place the lid on top and set it over an open fire or place in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes.
When the cake is done a toothpick in the middle will come out clean.
Top the cake with the chocolate chips, marshmallows, and remaining graham cracker crumbs and put back in the heat until the chocolate and marshmallows are melted.
This was served with a nonvintage Fratelli Casa Rosa.
Enjoy!
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May 2014

Because of the loss of My father on wine dinner night in April of 2014 we did not celebrate a wine club dinner in April.  But never fear, life goes on and we got back to having fun in May.  We went ‘around the world’ on a simulated cruise talking about the different regions and specialties and wines from the area.

Beef Carpaccio ()Celebrity Lines), Italy 2011 Zonin Valpolicella 14% alc a good wine with this salad [16]

Our first stop was in Italy.  We served Beef carpaccio on a bed of arugala.

The typical Piedmont carpaccio is made with very thin slices of beef plated with a marinade of lemon, olive oil, and shavings of Parmesan cheese.

We used beef sirloin, froze it and then thin sliced it.  Beware though eating raw beef can be hazardous. But it does taste good.

Our wine selection was 2011 Zonin Valpolicella

Chilled Peach Soup (Royal Caribbean) Spain 2011 Tierras Guindas 13.5% alc. a super good wine with this super good soup [17]

Our next ‘stop’ was Spain.  We had a discussion about peaches and then treated ourselves to the hit of the evening a Chilled Peach Soup based on a recipe from Royal Caribbean Cruise lines.

Chilled Peach Soup

Ingredients
  • 4 large fresh peaches
  • 1 1/2 cups fine granulated sugar
  • 2 cups peach nectar
  • 1/8 teaspoon anise extract
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • sliced strawberries for garnish
  • Vanilla Greek Yogurt for garnish
Instructions

  1. Cut peaches in half, remove the pit and place cut side down on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup sugar and roast at 400 degrees until soft (20 minutes.)  Remove skin from peaches, The skins should peel off easily. (You may want to make a small incision in the skin with a knife to get it started.)
  2.  Place peaches into a food processor.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients, except strawberries and yogurt, and blend until very smooth
  4. Place in refrigerator for 20 minutes to 2 hours to chill.
  5. Garnish with sliced strawberries and Yogurt before serving.

Our wine choice was a 2011 Tierras Guindas

BBQ Sweet Potato Salad (Carnival) New Zealand 2013 Wild South Sauvignon Blanc 1.5% alc really6 a super good wine particularly with this entree. [18]

Our next port of call was New Zealand.  We featured a BBQ Sweet Potato Salad served with
2013 Wild South Sauvignon Blanc

In New Zealand, sweet potato is also known as “Kumara”.

Ingredients
  • 1 kumara or sweet potato, diced into cubes
  • Mixed greens
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 radishes, sliced
  • A handful of crumbled feta
  • A handful of almonds
  • Cooking olive oil for drizzling on kumara
  • Extra virgin olive oil for salad
  • Balsamic vinegar for salad
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Preparation
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  2. Place the kumara in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle on a pinch of salt. Roast for 25 minutes or until soft. Set aside to cool when done.
  3. Arrange lettuce, tomato and radishes in a serving bowl. Add the kumara once cooled. Sprinkle on some feta and almonds.
  4. Finally, drizzle on some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken (Princess) Spanish 2001 LAN Rioja 13.5% alc. another superb wine paired well with the spiciness of the chicken. [18] (notice the bread?)

Ok we then took our ship into the port of Jamaica (however we went to the Spanish wine region to pair with our dinner as Jamaican wine, Hmmmmm)

Jamaican Jerk Chicken (based on Food and Wine recipe)

  1. 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  2. 3 medium scallions, chopped
  3. 2 poblano chiles, chopped
  4. 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  5. 1 tablespoon five-spice powder
  6. 1 tablespoon allspice, coarsely ground
  7. 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  8. 1 tablespoon cloves
  9. 1 tablespoon coarsely ground pepper
  10. 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
  11. 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  12. 1 teaspoon salt
  13. 1/2 cup soy sauce
  14. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  15. three chicken breasts, halved
  1. In a food processor, combine the onion, scallions, chiles, garlic, five-spice powder, allspice, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, thyme, nutmeg and salt; process to a coarse paste. With the machine on, add the the soy sauce and oil in a steady stream. Pour the marinade into a large, shallow dish, add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. .
  2. Light a grill. Grill the chicken over a medium-hot fire, turning occasionally, until well browned and cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. (Cover the grill for a smokier flavor.) Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve.
  3. Or place in a baking dish and bake at 350 until internal temperature is 165.  about 45 minutes.

Cristi’s Baked Beans

large can of bush’s baked beans (original)

cup of medium salsa

1/2 cup brown sugar

Put all in a pot and heat through.

Cristi’s ColeSlaw

1 bag prewashed and cut coleslaw blend

1 cup Italian dressing

1 cup creamy Italian dressing

mix together and chill

We were treated with a 2001 LAN Rioja, nicely aged and amazing.

Cream Brule (Royal Caribbean) France 2013 Bila-Haut 13.5% alc. a good match with the Cream Brule [18]

Finally to France, our extreme treat was Crème Brûlée served with a 2013 Bila-Haut

Based on Alton Brown’s recipe on food network.

Ingredients

1 quart heavy cream
1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla extract
1 cup  sugar, divided
6 large egg yolks
2 quarts hot water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the cream and vanilla  into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended. Add the slightly cooled cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 6 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator, divide the remaining 1/2 cup  sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

I am making progress on getting caught up.  Again I would like to thank Peggy, Austin, Bailey, Tommy,  and Joe for their hard work at the wine dinners, and Bob Young for the great pictures.
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March 2014 Dinner

Well my marathon is not going as planned as my computer froze up after I had blogged all about the March dinner so here it goes, again.  March we focused on wine and cheese.

On each table we had an assortment of cheeses and homemade Pretzels.

Assorted Cheeses for an Appetizer.

I like the pretzel recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 packet instant yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon  light brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon  unsalted butter, previously melted and not scorching hot
  • 3.75 – 4.25 cups  all-purpose flour + more for the counter surface to knead
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup baking soda

Directions:

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir with a spoon until fairly mixed, about 1 minute. Some clusters of yeast may remain. Add salt, sugar, and melted butter; stir until fairly combined. Slowly add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon (or dough hook attached to stand mixer) until dough is thick. Add 3/4 cup more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If it is still sticky, add up to 1/4 cup more. Poke the dough with your finger – if it bounces back, it is ready to knead.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes and shape into a ball. Place in a large mixing bowl that has been lightly coated with nonstick spray. Cover and let the dough rest in a warm area for about 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  4. With a sharp knife, cut ball of dough into 6 sections. Roll the dough into six 20-inch long ropes. Cut the rope into 1.5 inch pieces to make bites.
  5. Boil 9 cups of water with 1/2 cup of baking soda. Drop 8-10 pretzel bites into water and let sit for 20 seconds. Remove with a spatula and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Make sure the bites aren’t touching.
  6. Brush beaten egg over each pretzel bite. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake batches for 15 minutes each, or until golden brown

We also had Black and Blue Sliders with Parmesean Crisps

Black and Blue Slider and Parmesan Crisp 2011 Tomero Malbec 14% alc. not a bad rating, but not good either. [16]

For the sliders I slow cooked a roast.  Let it rest for about 30 minutes.  Thin sliced it, spread a little blue cheese dressing on the slider buns and sprinkled blue cheese crumbles on top of the meat.

To make Parmesan crisps; heat a non stick pan over high heat, sprinkle high quality shredded parmesan and heat until golden brown then flip over and brown the other side.

The appetizers were served with 2011 Tomero Malbec

Spi8nach, Pear and Feta Salad2012 Vistalba C 14% alc. Best wine of the night. pared extremely well with the salad. [20]

Spinach, Kale,  Pear and Feta Salad Tossed  with a raspberry vinaigrette .  The only thing I should have added croutons to the salad we enjoyed the 2012 Vistalba C with the salad.  

Cheese Soup 2010 Renwood Clarion 15% alc. pared extremely well with the cheese soup [19]

Next up was the Cheese Soup based on Alton Browns Recipe from Food Network

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced carrot

1 cup diced celery
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 quart vegetable broth
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 bay leaf
1 cup heavy cream
10 ounces Fontina, shredded
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Melt butter in large heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery.. Sweat for 5 to 10 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften, stirring occasionally. Sift the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes.

Gradually add the stock and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and add the garlic and bay leaf. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

Remove bay leaf. Turn off the heat, add the heavy cream, and then puree with an immersion blender. Gradually add the cheese, 1 small handful at a time, and stir until melted before adding next handful. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and  pepper. Taste and add salt if desired.

We had the soup with 2010 Renwood Clarion

Chicken Cordon Blue Asparagus 2012 Wente Chardonnay 13.4% alc. good match for the "non-matchable" asparagus. [17]

Caprese Toast

1 loaf baguette, cut into ½-inch thick slices (about 30 to 36 slices)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 Roma tomatoes, sliced
1 ¼ pounds fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, stemmed

instructions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Arrange the sliced baguette bread on a baking sheet. Brush with some of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake until the bread is pale golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven. Top each slice of bread with a slice of tomato and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top each slice of tomato with a slice of mozzarella and sprinkle with salt. Return the baking sheet to the oven until the cheese and tomato are warmed, about 5 minutes.

Arrange the toasts on a serving platter. Top each toast with a basil leaf. Using the brush, drizzle the remaining olive oil over the basil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve.

Blanched Asparagus (self explanatory)

and

Chicken Cordon Blue

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

6 slices Swiss cheese
4 slices cooked ham
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a 7×11 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Pound chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thickness.
3. Sprinkle each piece of chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Place 1 cheese slice and 1 ham slice on top of each breast. Roll up each breast, and secure with a toothpick. Place in baking dish, and sprinkle chicken evenly with bread crumbs.
4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove from oven, and place 1/2 cheese slice on top of each breast. Return to oven for 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Remove toothpicks, and serve immediately.

Dinner was served with 2012 Wente Chardonnay

Berry Blintzes NV Baja Tanga Sparkling Wine 12.4% alc. I just don't think it went well with the blintzes. [14]

To finish off the evening we treated ourselves to Berry Blintzes served with Baja Tanga Sparkling Wine

To be honest I did not make my own crepes for the blintzes I purchased them already made then filled them,  based on epicurious

For filling

  • 1 1/2 cups Ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoon sugar

Mix all ingredients well

For sauce

  • 4 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

In large saucepan, combine 3 cups blueberries, sugar, and cornstarch. Set over moderately low heat and stir gently until sugar dissolves. Raise heat to moderately high and boil, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Remove from heat and gently stir in remaining blueberries.

Enjoy.

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Wine Dinner Recipes. February 2014

I have been totally amiss this year in getting the wine club dinner recipes online, for this I am truly sorry.  I am going to get caught up very quickly with all of the 2014 dinners.  In January we featured Tommy and his Asian creations, it was amazing, however, Mr Tommy did not share his recipes with me.

So that brings us to February of 2014 and Chocolate Chocolate.

We started with caponata crostini (based on a recipe from Food and Wine)

  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 red  onion thinly sliced
  • 2 tbs golden raisins
  • 2 tbs pinenuts
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar reduction
  • coarse salt
  • 40 thin slices of baguette
  • fresh basil leaves (for garnish)
  1. Quarter the eggplant lengthwise. Scoop out the very seedy parts and discard. Cut the remaining eggplant into 1/2-inch dice. In a colander set in the sink, lightly salt the eggplant cubes and toss well. Top with a sturdy plate weighed down with a heavy can and let drain for 1 hour. Rinse the eggplant cubes and pat dry.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the eggplant and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the onion and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and cook over moderately low heat until the onion is tender, about 6 minutes.  Stir in the raisins, pinenuts, garlic, red pepper flakes, and balsamic vinegar and cook until the vinegar has evaporated. Add the tomato sauce, cocoa powder and sugar, and cook over low heat, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl to cool.
  4. Shortly before serving, spread the caponata on the baguette toasts and garnish with the basil.

Caponata Crostini reall a good appetizer. Too bad the wine was not up to the spiciness. 2012 Heritage Cote du Rhone 14% alc. definitely not the best wine of the evening. not enough body and finish to go with the appetizer [15] $14.00

We served this with 2012 Heritage Cote du Rhone.
Tomato and Chocolate Soup such a good soup! 2012 Heritage Cote du Rhone 14% alc. not my favorite. [15] $14.00

Chocolate Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Onion, Diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Carrots, Peeled and Diced
  • 2 Celery Stalks, Diced
  • 1 Cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Sliced
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to Taste
  • 2 tsp Sriracha sauce
  • 2 tsp Hungarian Paprika
  • 2 tsp ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp ground Coriander
  • 1 cup Dry  White Wine
  • 28 oz Can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • ¼ Cup Cilantro, Chopped
  • 4 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • Plain Greek Yogurt to Garnish

Preparation:

  1. Heat oil and butter in a stock pot over medium high heat until butter melts.
  2. Add onion and sauté until translucent.  Add garlic, carrots, celery and sun dried tomatoes.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, sriacha, paprika, cumin and coriander. Saute for a couple of minute to toast spices and soften vegetables.
  4. Add wine and continue cooking on high until all of the liquid has evaporated. Add tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 45 mins or until the vegetables are tender.
  5. Use an immersion blender to  puree slightly, and remove any large particles. Return soup to pot and place over low heat.
  6. Add chocolate.  Adjust seasoning to taste.
  7. Serve hot, garnished cilantro and yogurt.
Our wine choice was 2011 Tomero Cabernet Sauvignon
Pear and Spinach Salad truly a great salad that went extremely well with the wine. 2011 Jack Cabernet Sauvignon 13.8% alc. This wine went superbly with the salad! great body and finish. [19] $18.00
Our Salad Spinach, Pears, Craisins, almonds, and goat cheese with a chocolate balsamic vinaigrette.
Chocolate Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (melted)
1/4 balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp honey
dash of salt

1/2 tsp black pepperWhisk ingredients together.We enjoyed 2011 Jack Cabernet SauvignonPasta Marinara and Beef Kabob I really enjoyed this entree. Great sauce on the kabobs made with beer. 2008 Two Angels Petite Sirah 14.1% alc a superb wine with this plate. great taste, body and a good finish.  [19] $21.00

Dinner was Beef  Kabobs, we marinated the Beef in a porter and dusted with finely ground coffee beans and cocoa just prior to grilling on the panini grill.  The marinara sauce recipe was based on a recipe from gimmie some oven blog spot.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
1 ounce dark chocolate, chopped
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
garnish with Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Cook pasta al dente according to package instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a medium skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, and saute for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining ingredients, and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

When the pasta is cooked, drain the water. Then serve the pasta with the sauce ladled on top, garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Our wine was 2008 Two Angels Petite Sirah.

Brownie Tiramisu Such a delight to end the dinner with this. Great ending! 2011 Renwood Zinfandel 14.5% alc. just OK with the dessert. Almost to big for the chocolate. [17] $15.00

We finished off the night with Brownie Tiramisu and 2011 Renwood Zinfandel

From Southern Living

Ingredients

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup coffee liqueur
1/3 cup strong brewed coffee
1 1/2 (4-oz.) semisweet chocolate bars, divided
3/4 cup butter
2 1/4 cups sugar, divided
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour $
1 (8-oz.) container mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whipping cream

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant.

2. Stir together coffee liqueur and coffee.

3. Coarsely chop 1 chocolate bar. Microwave coarsely chopped chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl at MEDIUM (50% power) 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals. Whisk in 2 cups sugar and eggs, whisking until blended; stir in flour, stirring just until blended. Spoon batter into a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch pan.

4. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until center is set. Remove from oven, and cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Pierce brownie multiple times using the tines of a fork. Pour coffee mixture over brownie. Let cool on wire rack 1 hour or until completely cool.

5. Whisk together remaining 1/4 cup sugar, mascarpone cheese, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat whipping cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture.

6. Crumble half of brownies, and divide evenly among 6 (8-oz.) glasses. Spoon half of mascarpone cheese mixture over brownies. Repeat procedure with remaining brownies and mascarpone cheese mixture.

7. Chop remaining half of chocolate bar into thin shreds. Sprinkle chocolate and pecans over mascarpone cheese mixture. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 24 hours.

A special thanks to Bob Young for his great pictures and Peggy Behrens for the planning of the menu.

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Old World vs New World

American Salad Willamette Valley Pinot Grigio Altanuta Pinot Grigio

In December we focused on the Old vs New World style of wine making and the foods were things that we eat everyday at home.  We started with an “American Salad”  Just using an oil and vinegar dressing.  And lots of fresh ground pepper.  For our wines we had two different styles of Pinot Grigio 2012 Willamette Valley Pinot Grigio Washington USA and 2012 Altanuta Pinot Grigio Italy.  My personal preference was the Italian style for serving with dinner; but on a hot summer day I do enjoy a crisp bright American pinot grigio. 

Cheers.

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