Friday, January 28, 2011

Wine Review: Women of the Vine 2006 Tempranillo Paso Robles - Dorothy Schuler, Winemaker

This wine has a nose of dark red fruit like cherries and blackberries, along with notes of  toasted vanilla and almond. The palate mirrors the nose with dark fruit, toasted cedar, with an addition of a hint of lead and spice on the finish. This wine benefits from decanting for at least an hour. The wine is balanced and the the finish is long. This wine would pair well with hearty fare, like steaks and hearty stews along with aged cheddar and Manchego cheese. Note: This wine was a sample from Women of the Vine Cellars.
The SRP is $29.99

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Book Review: Women of the Vine by Deborah Brenner

This is a wonderful book that lets you peek into the lives of women who have a passion for wine. Some of the women make wine, teach courses on wine, own wineries and vineyards, write about wine and a very special group of African American women who started a wine club. The read is so empowering for women or anyone who loves wine. 

Deborah Brenner has partnered with a group of wonderful women wine makers to produce wines under the Women of the Vine label.  I am so pleased to be a part of Ms. Brenner's project, functioning as a Wine Ambassador.  Click on the link to order her book and to order Women of the Vine wines.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wine Review: Bogle 2007 Phantom

Bogle 2007 Phantom

The Bogle 2007 Phantom is a blend of Petite Sirah 53% (Clarksburg), Zinfandel 44% (Lodi/Amador), and Mourvedre 3% (Amador). This wine is a very deep garnet color. The nose is filled with aromas of pepper, dark fruit, and a hint of juniper. The palate mimics the nose with flavors of blackberries, blueberries and a hint of coconut which really added a nice surprise to this wine. The palate is smooth and rich. I would pair this wine with any meat off the grill. An ideal pairing would be a big steak like a thick rib eye. At a SRP of $16.00 this wine is a QPR or "bang for the buck" in my book. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Bogle Vineyards.

My favorite pairings with a wine like this is hearty foods, like beef and pork slathered in a rich sweet smoky sauce. A nice aged cheddar cheese would be an ideal pairing as well. I like to take a flavor profile from the wine and incorporate that element into my food pairing. I think a pat of rosemary compound butter would a great topping for a hot grilled steak and this wine, due to the hint of juniper in the wine. I'd also make Rosemary Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and a nice simple salad to complete the meal.

Hint: Compound butters are just herb or flavor infused butters. I cut a stick of unsalted butter into tablespoons and put it into a food processor, add sea salt, black pepper and about one tablespoon of fresh finely chopped herbs, then pulse until it comes to a ball.  I then shape the butter mixture into a log about the length of a stick of butter and wrap it in wax paper and put it into the freezer to firm up. Once it is firm I put it in the fridge. Rosemary pairs well with Cabernet Sauvignon and other big reds, and Sage pairs well with Syrah.

Give these pairing ideas and wine a try and let me know what you think!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Salmon Recipe

Salmon is a wonderful fish that can be prepared so many ways. It is also great to eat year round. The "meatiness" of salmon makes it great for the cooler months, because it is so rich and filling. I love to pair salmon with Pinot Noir. I hope that you enjoy the recipe and wine pairing; I did!

Herbes de Provence Pan Seared Salmon
  • 4 portions of salmon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • Herbes de Provence (lightly sprinkled on each fillet)
  • 2 ½ tablespoons of olive oil (reserve I ½ tablespoons for skillet)
  • ½ of a lemon

Preparation Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rub fillets with olive oil, then sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper and Herbes de Provence. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet, over medium-high heat. Place fillets in pan, skin side up, and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until edges turn golden. Then, turn over and cook for about a minute. Remove fillets from skillet and place in a baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Squeeze lemon juice on baked salmon fillets.

Caper Sauce
  • 1 cup of Mayonnaise
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of capers (drained of brine)
  • 4 dashes of Tabasco sauce (or more to taste)
Mix the mayonnaise, lemon juice, capers and Tabasco sauce together.

I like serving this grilled salmon with angel hair pasta and a salad of hearts of romaine lettuce and Roma tomatoes.
Wine Pairing SuggestionDavis Bynum 2008 Pinot Noir

This wine is a lovely dark garnet color. The nose is filled with aromas of bright red fruit flavors, (cherries), a bit of dust, a hint of caramel and spice. The palate mimics the nose with a silky mouth feel. This wine paired well with a turkey rubbed with an herb infused compound butter. It would also pair well with roasted chicken, pork roast and salmon. Note: This was a sample from Rodney Strong Vineyards.

Note: This is an edited reposted post. I hope you try this recipe, and let me know what you think!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cooking With Friends

There are just times when you want to cook an appetizer or a dish that requires extra hands. This allows the guests to help and the cook to get help while entertaining their guests. This is a recipe that I developed about six years ago while living in New Orleans. This recipe makes for a great "group" cooking project. So open up a bottle or two of Sauvignon Blanc and enjoy the cooking experience with your family and friends.
Lorrie’s Crab Appetizers
1 lb. of lump crab meat
1 stick of unsalted butter
4 tablespoons of mixed seasoning ( I use fresh Italian parsley, yellow onion, celery, 2 cloves of garlic and ¼ of a red bell pepper finely chopped
¼ teaspoon of Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
2 or more pinches of Cayenne pepper
1/3 cup of Italian bread crumbs
3 tablespoons of cream of mushroom soup
1 16 oz. package of wonton wrappers
Enough canola oil to deep fry (about 2 inches or so of oil)
Melt butter on low heat in a skillet. Then add the chopped seasoning, then creole seasoning, and the cayenne pepper. Let mixture cook for about 5 minutes or so, on low flame until tender. Stir mixture. Then add crab meat and cream of mushroom soup. Stir mixture. If you feel that you need more cream of mushroom soup, add another tablespoon. Then add the Italian bread crumbs. Stir mixture. Remove mixture from heat. Take a wonton wrapper and a melon baller or small spoon and put a small amount of the crab mixture in the middle of the wonton wrapper. Moisten three edges of the wrapper with water and seal tightly. This very important to seal tightly! These instructions should be on the back of the wonton wrapper package. Heat oil in frying pan or deep fryer. Test by flicking a little water in the pan. If it pops, it is hot enough to begin frying. Cook wontons until lightly browned on both sides. Place on a platter with paper towels to absorb any excess oil. This is a good group activity, the friends can wrap and the cook can fry!
Wine Pairing Suggestion: Rodney Strong Charlotte's Home 2009 Sauvignon Blanc
This wine is light-bodied, crisp, clean and refreshing. It is like "summer in a glass", with flavors of citrus, melon, a hint of pear with a clean finish. I could sip this wine all day long. It would pair well with grilled chicken on skewers, grilled shrimp, fish and my favorite pairing for this wine is a salad with grilled chicken, romaine lettuce, Roma tomatoes, grated Manchego cheese, croutons and Ken's Buttermilk Ranch salad dressing. It is to die for! Note: This wine was a sample provided by Rodney Strong Vineyards.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My New Love of Bargain Books

My entire life I have always wanted new books. The newness, the exclusivity of them being "mine" first was always a thrill. Now that I am older, I realize that there is value in a "gently" used book. I still want a clean book, but with the economy being the way it is, a used book can answer a need for a good book.

My book choices usually revolve around cookbooks, entertaining books and interior design books. I order my books off of amazon, then click on used books when there is the option of purchasing used books. I ordered one book from Bargain Book Stores and it was in excellent condition. It has made me order three more books; I will have to give you an update on their condition when they arrive.

Good cookbooks are even the most accomplished cooks best friend. It takes the guess work out of shopping lists, temperatures, measurements and gives you the opportunity to make a dish your own. I ordered a cookbook from the famed Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme. As you know, I am from New Orleans, so creole cooking is a way of life for me. I cook all types of fare, but that good old southern cooking not only feeds your stomach, but also your soul.

This bargain book love affair is a great way to get all those cookbooks and lifestyle books that you wanted and still have a few dollars left to buy a bottle or two of wine. I just refuse to let the economy stop me from having some of life's little luxuries!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Burgers and Wine How Divine

I must admit that I love a burger. Burgers are not just the simple ones that your mom used to make or the ones you pick up from the fast food chain; they are gourmet burgers and deserve a glass of wine.

I like to use good ground chuck, usually an 80/20 mix of meat and fat. The fat component gives the burger flavor and keeps it moist. Sometimes I add seasonings like onions, garlic, parsley, and other times I may put a pat of sage or rosemary compound butter in the middle of the burger. And there are sometimes when salt and pepper are the only seasonings on the burger patties. Oh, but the many toppings that can add flavor are countless. I like to add different cheeses, herbed mayonnaise's, and apple wood smoked bacon for that added crunch and flavor profile.

The buns or bread can change the whole experience of the burger. I like to put my burgers on french bread and make a hamburger Po-boy, like the ones we used to get when I lived in New Orleans. I also like a big bun that that hold a handsome size burger.

Sides can be regular fries or my fingerling and rosemary oven roasted fries, which I adore. Some like onion rings, but the fries are the real winners in my burger meal.

I love to have a nice red wine that is good, but not so expensive to pair with my burger meal. One of my latest finds is a French blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. This wine has a SRP of $8.99, so it is perfect for burgers!

Arrogant Frog 2009 Lily Pad Red

This wine has a deep garnet color. The nose is filled with dark fruit, spice and a hint of vanilla. The palate has ripe dark fruit flavors with an elegant and lush mouth feel. The tannins are just enough to balance the ripe fruit and make this a balanced wine. This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. This wine is truly a "bang for the buck" wine. I would pair this wine with a burger, steak and pasta. It would also pair well with a nice piece of aged cheddar. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Palm Bay Imports.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Special Occasion Wines

There are just times when it is appropriate to splurge and get a great bottle of wine. The holidays, a new job, a promotion, birthday, well you get the picture. Here are a few wines that are my picks for those special times.

This wine has a dark garnet color. The nose has aromas of dark fruit, blackberries, blueberries, black cherries and a hint of spice. The palate mirrored the nose with an addition of notes of vanilla, cedar and a hint of chocolate. The mouth feel was soft and elegant, with enough structure that gives this wine a wonderful balance. This wine paired well with a steak. I think it would also pair well with aged cheddar and blue cheeses. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Jordan Winery. SRP $52.00

Sparkling wines and Champagne are always on my list of special occasion wines. To be honest I like to drink them to celebrate life. Sometimes things are great, and others they are not so great; so anytime I need to validate my existence and have a bottle of bubbly, I celebrate life. One of my favorite champagnes is Moet & Chandon White Star, another is Pommery Brut Royal. So when champagne is my drink of choice, these are my two standby wines.

Movie Stars: What are their wine and food choices?

I am not an avid admirer of movie stars; but this lady has always been a star that I would love to meet. When I was a little girl in elementary school, I wrote an essay of who was my idol. Well Diahann Carrol was "Julia" on television. She was a single African American nurse and single mom to her son Corey. She had a beautiful look, personality, clothes and apartment. I felt this was a life that I would not mind having.

As an adult, oenophile and foodie, I would love to know if she is a wine lover and foodie. I'd love to sit down and have a glass of Domaine Carneros Brut sparkling wine and a few appetizers with her and find out more about her life as a Diva.

Are there any stars who you feel a kinship to? Again, stars are not of big interest to me, but this lady has always had my admiration.