As we hustle down the hallway of the hotel a warning is shouted at the masses, “Get on a bus NOW! THE BUSES ARE ABOUT TO LEAVE!!” The sense of urgency makes me feel like we are on a ship that just ran into an iceberg and we’ll be doomed if we don’t save ourselves by finding a way out.
Posts Tagged ‘Pinot noir’
It’s always a pleasure to dine at a restaurant with a nice wine list. However, if that wine list features 5,000 bottles, how do you go about picking just one for dinner? Maybe it’s time to try something new and adventurous. Or you might prefer to stick with the tried and true. I suggest you stop worrying about all that and head to The Capital Grille to experience five different world class wines with your meal for just $25. It’s called The Generous Pour Wine Event.
The Generous Pour Wine Event offers guests an unparalleled opportunity to enjoy generous pours of as many of the featured wines as they choose and the event exemplifies the expert, personalized service that The Capital Grille is known for. Guests will be guided through the experience, with suggested pairings and wine tasting notes for each course ordered. (more…)
A great food and wine pairing can be magical! Such a match takes each component to the next level. On the other hand, a poor combination can make the wine taste nasty. That’s why I’m often surprised when a winery hosts an event where something like jalapeno artichoke dip is served. Sure, it’s inexpensive to feed to the masses, but it won’t bring out the best in any wine.
Because I’ve been to so many wine events where I’ve been served the likes of pickled asparagus and other wine-unfriendly fare, I find myself especially tickled when a winery gets it right. The best example I have come across so far has been at Tyrus Evan, Ken Wright’s winery that focuses on warm weather grapes.
If you follow me on Twitter or are a fan on Facebook, you’ve been hearing me go on about my disbelief over how only 5% of consumers purchase whole chickens. During this tough economic time, even though we hear complaints and concerns about the rising cost of food, the consumer is not making economical food choices. The consumer is choosing to pay more for parts.
This is one of the interesting and surprising facts that I learned from Jamie Peha during a Seattle Food Community Dinner hosted at the home of the charming Anne Nesbit. Anne, a true example of the gracious hostess, had spent the last day preparing a fantastic multi-course dinner for us featuring chicken. Why? I have to admit that when I first received the invitation I said to the hubby, “I wonder if the company that uses chicken puppets in its commercials is finding that consumers don’t take them seriously?” (more…)
This is a great recipe not only because it is quick and easy, it’s also elegant enough to serve on an occasion such as Valentine’s Day. Your sweetie will think you spent all day on it! Plus, this versatile sauce can be served with a variety of different proteins from tofu to pork, whichever your heart desires.
Inspiration for this dish came from a recipe provided by the Neighborhood Farmer’s Market Alliance. Makes enough sauce for at least 4 entrees.
“Trust your mouth. You know what you like; enjoy it.”
So says Jeffrey Saad, The Next Food Network Star runner up, 25-year food industry veteran and restaurateur. I recently returned from the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference where I had the great pleasure of seeing this dynamic personality give a presentation on food and wine pairing.
Jeffrey asked us who in the audience would pair a Coke with pizza so that he could make a point about why the combination works together. A big laugh came from the crowd when not even one hand went up and he mused, “Wow, you guys really are a bunch of winos!”
- Pair acid with acid, such as salad with vinaigrette paired with Grüner Veltliner.
- Pair fat in food with acid in wine, such as goat cheese in buttery phyllo cups with Argentine Torrontes.
- Pair protein or animal fat with tannin such as Kobe beef with Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Pair sweet with sweet. Sweet food spanks the fruit right out of the wine if the wine isn’t as sweet.
- Pair spice with sweetness. Spice does not like tannin; it accentuates it.
- Make funky ingredients a part of a dish, not the main flavor.
Food and wine bring people together. Here is a perfect example. It was barely a year ago that Bean, Vivian, Ed, and I met through the Northwest Wine Academy. Shortly after that, we began getting together for food and wine pairing experiments. Since last summer, we have become fixtures at each other’s tables. Now, we are celebrating birthdays together. Just as we did last Saturday for my husband Roger’s birthday.
Menu planning for this event could not have been easier for me. These three folks who have known my husband for less than a year were able to get him to reveal the favorite at home dishes he’d like to eat on this occasion. I find that impressive. When I ask what he wants for dinner, I don’t get any specifics. Not even a hint.
- Spinach Salad with Candied Bacon prepared by Ed paired with Walter Dacon 2008 Roussanne
- Costco Ribs, as requested by the hubby, contributed by Vivian and Ed paired with Sheridan Vineyard 2005 Syrah
- Risotto and Roasted Veggies prepared by the Missus and
- Smoked salmon, smoked tomatoes, smoked mushrooms, and “Seattle Slugs” prepared by Bean paired with Mount Baker Vineyards 1994 Cabernet Sauvignon
- Tiramisu paired with Moscato d’Asti
I love that these friends of ours took such great joy in soliciting a menu from my husband. Then they went on to plan, purchase, transport, prepare, and contribute food and wine to a dinner to celebrate the most important person in my life. It was a wonderful evening that we will always treasure.
So, are you feeling inspired to invite friends to your table to share food and wine? I bet it will be a night you won’t soon forget.
It’s easy enough to pick up some ribs from Costco! Unless, of course, you don’t have a membership. As Vivian learned from this experience, however, chances are we all know someone who does.
The risotto is prepared by tweaking my recipe, Risotto for Wine Lovers. Simply substitute 1/4 cup of pesto for the garlic cloves, and use beef stock rather than chicken.
Tiramisu has long been one of Roger’s favorite desserts. I learned to make a traditional version from Iole Aguero. She provides authentic Italian recipes and teaches with passion. Classes with Iole can often be found in Seattle at the PCC Natural Markets and Blue Ribbon Cooking School. It’s great to have Tiramisu in your party repertoire, because it needs to be assembled the night before.
At Roger’s request, we opened a bottle of the Walter Dacon 2008 Roussanne this evening. It is his favorite white wine. We are grateful that Vivian was willing to transport this back from the winery in Shelton for us!
Not being a rib eater, I turned to Bean and Vivian for a suggested variety to pair with the hubby’s eagerly anticipated meat fest. Taking their advice into account, we opened a Sheridan Vineyard 2005 Syrah to go with the ribs. Only they can tell you how the two paired. However, I can tell you this Yakima Valley Syrah is terrific with roasted leeks. Vivian somehow managed to save a splash of the Roussanne for her ribs, and said the two were delicious together.
Since we enjoy experimenting with food and wine pairings, we also opened a bottle of Thurston Wolfe 2006 Petite Syrah. This turned out to be Roger’s favorite red wine of the evening.
Continuing on in the spirit of experimentation, a bottle of Rex Hill 2005 Jacob-Hart Vineyard Pinot Noir made its way onto the table. After all, Pinot and portabellos are a classic pairing. This Oregon wine offers bright cherries on the nose and palate.
The Mount Baker Vineyards 1994 Cabernet Sauvignon was a recent purchase of ours. We bought a magnum of this wine during a recent visit to the tasting room after Roger learned that the winery still had this vintage available. Back in 1999, he had brought a bottle of this Washington Cabernet Sauvignon to a dinner party I hosted, and the wine still haunted him! The wine has aged remarkably well, and it was wonderful with the risotto. Then we tried it with roasted tomatoes and, discovered a match made in Heaven!
We always seem to have a bottle of Moscato d’Asti in the fridge. Serve it with Tiramisu and you have a classic pairing.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to open as many wines as we did to have as much fun. Experimenting with wine and food pairing just makes it more interesting!
Sometimes the best meals are the most basic. Or they start out with a classic recipe and have an updated element added such as truffle butter, making them even more worthy of a special occasion meal. Throw in a bottle of great wine such as the Sheridan Vineyard Cabernet Franc, and it’s party time!
For the hubby’s birthday, I wanted to make him something delicious. At the same time, I didn’t want it to be so time consuming that he’d have to wait until midnight to eat (but let’s not speak of the homemade pasta episode). The inspiration started with a recipe for roast chicken from The Art of Simple Food by the great Alice Waters. As luck would have it, I came across a tub of truffle butter during my last visit to The Cheese Cellar here in Seattle. So, why not vary the recipe by putting some of that truffle butter under the skin of the breast before roasting? Alice’s suggestion to add a few sprigs of thyme was also incorporated.
On the Side
Whevever the oven is on for roasting a main course, consider throwing in some veggies so that everything can cook simultaneously. During the last thirty minutes of cooking time for the chicken, a sheet pan covered with leeks was popped onto the bottom shelf of the oven. Cut in half and lightly tossed in olive oil, they were laid out in a single layer to ensure they would roast rather than steam. In keeping with the truffle theme, a drizzle of truffle oil and a dusting of truffle salt finished the leeks after they came out of the oven. It may sound like truffle overkill, but I’ll go to any lengths to get the hubby to eat his veggies! Besides, it was his birthday, after all.
Wild rice simply cooked according to the directions on the package rounded out the dinner. It not only enhances the meal with another interesting flavor, it adds some nice contrast to the plate with its dark color.
On this occasion, a Sheridan Vineyard 2006 Cabernet Franc was indeed paired with the meal. Never had Cabernet Franc? Give it a try at your table! When Leslie Sbrocco was in town last month for Taste Washington, she said Cab Franc is the wine she likes to introduce to Pinot Noir drinkers. The Cabernet Franc grape is typically lighter in tannins and fruitier than Cabernet Sauvigion. It was a lovely pairing with this birthday dinner, and didn’t overpower the food.
Not ready to move on from Pinot Noir? Then, go ahead and enjoy a glass of Pinot with this menu. While we were visiting Ken Wright Cellars last week, we favored the Carter Pinot Noir. Or, if you’re in the mood for a white wine, try this menu with a lightly oaked Chardonnay. The Rulo Birch Creek Chardonnay is a good one to consider.
On March 9, the hubby and I met my friend Cathy at Dish it up!, a gourmet cooking store here in Seattle that offers cooking classes. On this night, Chef Peter Levine of Seattle’s Waterfront Seafood Grill was showing us some dishes to whip up for our next dinner party. On the menu:
- Madras Curry Dusted Seared Scallop with Roasted Pineapple, Tasso Ham, and Arugula paired with 2008 Efeste Evergreen Riesling
- Roasted Sturgeon with Shallot and Smoked Bacon Relish, Braised Fennel, and Watercress Puree paired with 2008 In Ka Pinot Noir
- Chocolate Mousse
Something I particularly enjoyed about this class is that Chef Levine gave us lots of ideas on how to cook ahead for a dinner party. For example, he suggested roasting the pineapple ahead of time, braising the fennel in advance, and preparing the relish beforehand. You don’t have to wait until the day of your party to get started. That’s great advice for all of us who want to diminish our workload and stress on the day we’re having guests over!
This class also gave me my first peek at Tasso ham. When I saw it sitting on the counter I thought it looked like a misshapen lump of chocolate that had accidentally been left in the car on a hot day and then developed a bloom. I was really surprised when chef identified it as the ham. It is so coated in spices that you have to give it a little shower under running water, and then you can actually see the underlying piece of smokey goodness. Sliced thin, and cut into small pieces, it was a nice contrast to the scallop. Together, they paired nicely with the dry Riesling.
The Big Finish
For dessert, we were treated to chocolate mousse, although we agreed that it really could also be called soufflé. This would impress any dinner guest! One of the tips we got here was to put some cream of tartar in the egg whites to help them bind.
There you have some great dinner party ideas from one of the masters. If you’d rather not do the work yourself, treat yourself to a winemaker dinner at the Waterfront. For the amount of food and wine you get it’s a really good value, and Chef Levine creates exceptional food and wine pairings.
Or, maybe you’d like to sit back and watch one of the masters at work. It’s a great source of inspiration to create something new to serve at your table. Dish it up’s latest calendar for spring 2010 cooking classes is due to be released any day, so check it out!