Fall Into Wine

hello octoberThis is a wonderful time of year.  Autumn.  I love the colors and the weather.  Living in New England is a fabulous experience during the Autumnal months.  Figuring out what wine to drink is not as wonderful.  One day the weather is 70 or higher, the next day the temps are in the 30’s.  Sunday dinner is Barbeque Ribs, Tuesday we’re eating Chicken Stew.  How do you know what to drink with this up-down thing?

With the onset of the cooler temperatures, I’m tempted to put decoyaway most of my whites and dry Rosés.  This seems reasonable and logical but it is perhaps not the best course of action.  If you’re in a colder climate, you can definitely put away the Vino Verde and the Albarino wines, these should be consumed when the weather is hot and they are chilled.  The Sauvignon Blancs and rounded Chardonnays that you have from the Northern Hemisphere will still be something to enjoy.

zucchini pastaYou can pull those Northern Hemi Sauvs and Chardonnays out when you’re serving a white based pasta dinner such as Chicken Alfredo or Zucchini Pasta II, or anything with mild seasonings.  Add a White Burgundy to your Roast Chicken dinner, it will pair beautifully. Just because the temps are getting cooler, doesn’t mean you need to put all of the white wines away.

However, if you’re like me, and turn to fall winethe comfort food when the weather starts to chill, then you’ll need to stock up on the reds.  Not the Big Bad Boys (Chianti, Barolo, Super Tuscan), more along the line of the gentle, kinder reds.  Reds such as Gamay (Beaujolais), roasted pork Grenache, Pinot Noir and Malbec.  Other than the Pinot Noir, these are reds that are not in the usual rotation of red wines, but they are fabulous for the foods we’re cookingiced pumpkin cookies during the Fall season.  Think of these reds when you’re serving a Herb Roasted Pork with a Tangy Glaze, yum.  The Pinot Noir would be the obvious choice but the Grenache would be my choice.  Save the Big Bad Boys for January, when you’re cooking robust stews and Baked Ziti.

For a super Fall FoliagCotes-du-Rhonee Dinner, serve an Autumn Pork Roast, complete with Butternut Squash and Applesauce, add some roasted new potatoes.  For desert, try Iced Pumpkin Cookies.  I would open a  Côtes du Rhône  with this dinner.   Now is the time to bring out the root vegetables (carrots, snowpotatoes, onions, parsnips) served roasted with rosemary. you can dish up this group of veggies with any braised or slow cooked meat.  Open a Cru Beaujolais, you’ll be glad you did.

Although many say October is the time for “Pumpkin Everything”, I would rather say October is the time for a “Well Balanced Wine with Anything”.

And don’t forget – November 7th is International Merlot Day – yes – November is the perfect month for drinking Merlot.

November 7th International Merlot Day
November 7th
International Merlot Day

Foundation is the Bane of my Existence

makeup collection 2I don’t know about you, but I am always on the hunt for a better foundation.  Even when I am “happy” with my current foundation, I am still reading and reviewing and testing the new foundations that come out on the market.  I’ve tried them all; stick, cream, powder, serum and cushion.  I’ve tried BB creams, CC creams, tinted moisturizers and sprays.  What is the best?  What works and what doesn’t work?  Such a difficult question.  One day a BB Cream is best (need the SPF protection), another day a light coverage (going to be outside), for evening, I’ll use a heavier coverage for night time lighting.  Ack!  Stop the madness.

There are three primary issues with foundation.chanel vit

Skin Type

Your first question should be what type of skin do you have.  Mine runs from very dry in the Winter to almost normal in the Summer.  If you have skin like mine, you want to stay away from most powder foundations, unless it’s July and it’s hot and humid.   My current favorite daytime foundation is Laura Mercier’s Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide.  I use the shade “Linen”.  I prefer this foundation because it looks natural in daylight, provides enough coverage for me to even out my skin LauraMercier_SmoothFinishFlawlessFluide_AllShadesand is not heavy.   I also like Chanel’s Vitalumière Aqua.  I use the shade “30 – Beige”.  The reason I prefer the Laura Mercier over the Chanel is because of the shade range.  I feel I have a better shade match with the Laura Mercier.   There are 24 shades with the Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide vs 10 with the Chanel Vitalumière Aqua.

For more coverage I prefer Burberry Sheer Foundation in the shade No. 03 or Tom Ford in the shade 04 Bisque.  Tom Ford is the heaviest of my foundations.

The second question would be – where are you going?  If you’re headed to an office job, going to be under florescent lights all day, your foundation choice would be different from those days that you’re headed to spend the day outside.  Likewise, if you’re going out on a dinner date, intending to spend several hours in a dimly lit room (my favorite chanel with texttype of lighting), then you would choose a different foundation.  Do you need your foundation to last 8-10 hours?  Do you need more spf because you’re going to spend the day outside?  These are the issues that determine what type of foundation you’re going to need.

If I know I’m going to be lucky and get to spend most of the day outside, I always reach for my Shiseido Hydrating BB Cream.  This BB Cream has an spf factor of 35 and will last at least 6-8 hours.  I don’t need a primer with this product and it has enough hydration to last me all day, even in the winter.   My biggest problem is the lack of shade option with this product.  I am laura mercier with textfortunate to be able to use the medium shade.  This BB Cream does blend seamlessly into the skin and will slightly adapt to my skin tone.  It is not too pink and not too yellow.  I prefer this BB Cream over the Smashbox BB Cream because I feel this BB Cream is more hydrating.  I have not tried the new Smashbox BB Water, it may be more hydrating.

So your second question would include how long you need your foundation to last and what type of lighting you’ll be in, as well as whether or not you need to beef-up your spf and hydration.

The final question would be what type of coverage do you want/need.  If it is ‘one-of-those-days’ and we all know what I’m talking about, then opt for medium to full coverage.  This is when I use my Burberry or Tom Ford Foundation.  If you’re skin is looking better, then go for a more sheer coverage such as the Chanel Vitalumière Aqua or the Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide will provide.  If you’re feeling extra fortunate, then opt out for a serum foundation such as the Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation.  Serums are quite sheer but really lovely if you do not need a lot of coverage, just enough to even out the skin tone.

All of these questions and all of these decisions to make everyday.  This must be why I have at burberryleast six types of foundation in my rotation.  Of course I’m always on a quest for something new, something better than what I already have.  I try to use up what is in my rotation before I go on another foundation hunt but that can be difficult.

My biggest hurdle for finding the perfect foundation is the lack of cosmetic counters near my home.  As shown in the next photos, some foundations will oxidize.  This makes it nearly impossible for a person to go into a shop and try a foundation and have trust it will not change color in 30-60 minutes.  The photos of the Tom Ford and Burberry Foundations were taken within 30 minutes.  I put one swatch on my arm and then another 30 minutes later and took the picture.  You can see how much the shade changes.  How are you to know what shade you need by simply swatching the sample at your favorite cosmetic counter?  I recommend getting a sample and take it home, try it for at least two or three days (more if possible) before Tom Ford with Textdeciding if you want to invest in this product.  Most cosmetic counters are happy to give a sample of foundation because they would rather you buy the correct shade and not return it.

So…how many foundation products do you currently have in your rotation?  What is your favorite foundation product?

Happy Hunting!

Hot Weather – Cool Wine

boston summerWe’ve been experiencing the last vestiges of Summer here in the United States (well, except for our friends in Alaska).  Autumn is soon upon us and there’s no reason to leave those lovely summer wines in the cooler.  I’ve been enjoying my favorites, the Martin Codax Albarino,  from Spain, Fantini Trebbiano-d-Abruzzo from Italy and most recently I found a new favorite white, Domaine Guillemarine Picpoul from France.  We were in Burlington, Vermont and had the fortune of stopping in at the Vin Bar . I had never heard of a Picpoul wine, let alone tried it.  This is a beautiful white wine, similar to the Albarino but with more acidity to it.  The price is reasonable and if you’re lucky enough to find it in your shop, I recommend getting two bottles.

Keep in mind almost all white wines that have a high degree of minerality and acidity go with chilled white wineshellfish and seafood.  Another easy way to figure a pairing is where the foods come from.  If you’re eating food of a particular country, France, Spain, Italy, etc., then those foods will naturally go with the wine of that region.   And, if there is a lot of acidity in the food (such as tomatoes) then a wine with acidity (Barbera) will go with that food.  Salty and Sweet pair well (Port and Blue Cheese, or Sauterne and Blue Cheese), and sweet fruits (cherries, plums, berries) go well with most Rosé wines, dry (Pinot Noir) and not as dry (Grenache Rosé or Mourvèdre Rosé – or a blend).

Chilled-red-wineAnother thought when you’re experiencing warm weather, you can, and should, chill the lighter of the red wines to 60 degrees.  The lighter reds that I keep in my cooler are; Pinot Noir, Barbera, Petite Sirah,  and Australian Shiraz (the lighter style, not the dark inky style). These wines will change as they warm up and their flavors will soften, giving you different notes and aromas to experience.

The table below is a simple list of easy to access wine for warm/hot weather and some easy pairings.  Your tastes may differ, this is just a starting point.  What will you be pairing with your chilled wine?

Type of Wine Name of Wine Easy Pairing
WHITE
Albarino Burgans Albarino Baixas Rioja White Spicy Indian and Thai
Albarnio Martin Codax Arugula Salad
Chenin Blanc (South African) De Morgenzon Reserve Turkey, Cranberry
Chenin Blanc (Blend) Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier Pork, Nuts, Cheddar Cheese
Grüner Veltliner Höpler Wiener Schnitzel,   Green Beans,
Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio DaVinci Lemon Chicken, Fennel salad
Riesling (Dry) Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Riesling Asian Food
Sauvignon Blanc (French) Joseph Destinea Mellot Chicken, Turkey, Chives, Green Veggies
Vermentino Fattoria Pagliaatura Vermentino Pasta with Seafood, Herbs & Citrus
Vino Verde Casal Garcia Light Cheese, Chips (drinks well alone)
Viognier Cline Curry or Asian Food
White Bordeaux Ducasse Blanc Tarragon Chicken, Asparagus
White Burgundy La Chablisienng Roast Chicken with Mushrooms
ROSÉ
Grenache Alloy Wine Works “Tin City” Melon and Prosciutto, Salade Nicoise
Tempranillo Mas Que Vinos Ercavio Greek Cuisine, Paella, Grilled Sausage
Pinot Noir Rive Sud Grilled Pork or Beef, Quiche
Provence Bandol Artichokes, Caesar Salad
RED
Barbera Mati Grilled Beef, Mushrooms
Grenache (American) Alban Vineyards Estate Grenache Spicy Grilled Meat and Vegetables.
Petite Sirah McManis Barbeque Beef, Duck, Lamb
Pinot Noir Acrobat Herbed Pork Roast, Lamb

Recap of Five Courses, Five Wines – Five Days

tricolored-peppers-goat-cheese-su-xThis was quite a week of feasting.  Looking back on the week, I am happy with the menu decisions.  I think they blended well and made good use of the summer bounty we’ve been enjoying here in Vermont.

If I was to cook all five courses in one day, for one huge dinner, I would definitely need to prepare as much as possible ahead of time.  I would boil the linguine early in the morning (as I did for our dinner) and prepare the peppers and corn salad after that.  The arugula, radicchio and fennel  could be sliced, assembled and put into the refrigerator early in the day.  Wash and trim the green beans to be ready for the steamer.  This would leave the grilling of the chicken and fish and the last minute preparation of the sauce for the chicken.  The only real problem would be the pears, even with lemon juice they may turn brown if left too long.  However, since they are roasted, that should not be too much of a problem.

Depending on the amount of guests you have, or if they are vegetarians, I would grill twice as lemon chickenmuch chicken as the recipe calls for.  We grilled one-half chicken breast for two people and we had a lot of left over pasta, not much chicken.  I think one whole breast for two people is a better amount.  If you are serving folks who do not eat chicken, this recipe could be made vegetarian style by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, and serve it in the style we did; add the chicken to the pasta and then add the sauce, just leave the chicken off the plates for those that do not want it.

I would plan on at least five hours for this fête, giving my guests time in between courses for fennel saladwalking about the outdoors (if weather permits) or milling about to give their stomachs a chance to appreciate the wealth of food.  I would also change the order of food;  Appetizer of Roasted Peppers, Goat Cheese and Chibatta Bread as an amuse–bouche,  then Burgans-Albarino-2013the Grilled Tuna with Corn Salad as an appetizer.  The Arugula, Fennel & Radicchio Salad followed by the Grilled Lemon Chicken.  I would also serve a cheese plate with the Roasted Pears for those that would prefer a lighter desert than the pears or to accompany the Roasted Pear dish.

The wines would be;  Prosecco followed by an Albarino to accompany the Roasted Peppers.  A  Pinot Noir Rosé from Southern France or Spain to go rive sudwith the Tuna and an Italian Pinot Grigio to go with the Lemon Chicken.  Barbera is my choice to pair with the Arugula, Radicchio, Fennel Salad and I would go with the Saturne to go with the Roasted Pears.

Let me know if you’re ambitious enough to take on this project!

Final Course – Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese & Walnuts.

roasted pearsWinding up our week, we enjoyed the final course of the Five Courses, Five Wines – Five Days.  Actually it was more than 7 or 8 wines but who’s counting.  I found the recipe for this desert on the foodnetwork.com.  There are several recipes for this combination but this particular recipe has more sweetness than salad in it which I preferred for a desert.  You could make this recipe for a salad,  the original recipe has arugula in it but I omitted that, keeping it more in a desert style.  The recipe is as follows:

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe but firm Anjou pears
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
  • 3 ounces coarsely crumbled sharp blue cheese such as Stilton
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 3 tablespoons port
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 6 ounces baby arugula
  • Kosher salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

pearsPeel the pears and slice them lengthwise into halves. With a small sharp paring knife and a melon baller, remove the core and seeds from each pear, leaving a round well for the filling. Trim a small slice away from the rounded sides of each pear half so that they will sit in the baking dish without wobbling. Toss the pears with some lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. Arrange them, core side up, in a baking dish large enough to hold the pears snugly.

Gently toss the crumbled blue cheese, dried cranberries, and walnuts together in a small bowl. Divide the mixture among the pears, mounding it on top of the indentation.

In the same small bowl, combine the apple cider, port, and brown sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over and around the pears. Bake the pears, basting occasionally with the cider mixture, for 30 minutes, or until tender. Set aside until warm or at room temperature.

Just before serving, whisk together the olive oil, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of the pears2basting liquid in a large bowl. Divide the arugula among 6 plates and top each with a pear half. Drizzle each pear with some of the basting liquid, sprinkle with salt, and serve warm.

My changes:  I omitted the Arugula, salt and olive oil.  I substituted Cider Jelly for the Apple Cider because I have some that I want to use up.  Cider Jelly is a convenient way to keep Apple Cider on hand, just melt before using.  If I was to make this as a salad, I would cut down on the brown sugar – to two tablespoons.  The port has enough sweetness in it,  to cut down on the sugar if serving this as a salad.  The brown sugar gives the sauce a different texture, makes it a bit thicker, and that’s not really needed if you’re serving this as salad.  I was unable to use a melon baller to core out the pears, they were too firm.  I used a pairing knife instead.

We originally paired this with a Sauterne; Chateau d’Arche Prieure d’Arche Sauterne.   We found we did not particularly like the Sauterne by itself, but paired with this desert it was very good.  We also tried it with a Warre’s Warrior Port which was my original choice.  Both worked well, I think the Sauterne would be the way to go for serving this dish in the summer, Port in the winter.   You could also serve this desert with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, especially if you have guests that are not wine drinkers (scandalous I know, but there are those folks out there).

pears3I have shown you pictures of the before and after.  You can see how much the pears shrank in the oven.   I could have used a smaller dish but then it would be more difficult to baste them while cooking.  If you use a smaller dish, hold back 1/3 of the Port, Sugar and Cider mixture and use that to baste while the pears are cooking.   These particular pears were very firm, not completely ripe.  I cooked them for 35 minutes instead of the recommended 30 minutes and left them in the oven, which was turned off,  while we ate dinner (about 30 minutes).  I was very unhappy about the presentation this desert made but El Hub took one bite and said “these may not look good but they taste fantastic.”  Enough said.

Fourth Course – Salad! Arugula, Radicchio, and Fennel Salad

salad startIn some establishments, the fourth course of a European Five Course Meal is a salad.   In the U.S. the salad typically comes before the main course but for this blog I’m going with the European style (actually works better with my work week and the weather around here).  I’m very excited about this Arugula, Radicchio, And Fennel Salad.  I had this salad when visiting my mom in California.  We had dinner at an Italian restaurant in her neighborhood, 54 Mint,  and I loved the salad so much we basically dissected it to figure out the recipe.  I found a recipe close to what I wanted at Saveur.com, adding the additional ingredients that were in my salad that night.   The recipe I found is as follows:

Ingredients

  • 4 cups packed baby arugula
  • 1 small fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 small head radicchio, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1⁄2 cup shaved Parmesan
  • 3⁄4 cup toasted walnuts

Instructions

Combine arugula, fennel, and radicchio in a bowl; set aside. Whisk together lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper; toss with salad. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and walnuts to serve.

My additions:  Baby Olives, Blue Cheese (Feta would also work) and Mandarin Oranges.Hawaiian-Black-Lava-Sea-Salt   We prefer the Plymouth Blue Cheese, the Big Blue, which is made locally.  I used 1/4 cup of Organic Balsamic Vinegar and cut down on the lemon juice – to  two tablespoons.  Spanish Melgarejo Hojiblanca Olive Oil and Hawaiian Black Lava Sea Salt were used in the dressing.   I chilled the mandarin oranges and olives before adding them to the salad.

barberaWe paired this with a Scagliola Mati Barbera.  We also tried a slightly chilled DeLoach Heritage Reserve Pinot Noir but found the complex herb essence of the Pinot Noir competed against all of the different flavors in the salad.  The licorice taste of the fennel and the licorice notes in the Pinot did compliment each other but there was too much going on in the salad to make this a really good pairing.  The Mati Barbera was the better wine pairing with this salad.  This wine had just deloachenough spice to blend with the pepper of the arugula but did not struggle against the balsamic vinegar and fennel.  As with most reds, both the Pinot Noir and Barbera were better after being opened for 20-30 minutes.  I always serve a Pinot Noir slightly chilled – about 60 degrees, especially in warm weather.

We enjoyed this salad, there is a lot going on in it but the flavors meld nicely.  The fennel, radicchio and toasted walnuts keep the crunch going, the arugula provides salad finalenough spice to blend with the cheeses and the oranges give it a touch of sweetness.

Next course is the desert!  Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese – Yum.

Main Course – Grilled Lemon Chicken with Linguine

grilled chicken 2Tonight we moved on to the main course – Grilled Lemon Chicken with Linguine, fresh green beans on the side.  This is the warmest day of this week and I wanted to cook this meal on the grill but of course that isn’t the easiest way to cook pasta.   One note; we do not have air conditioning in our house – most do not have air conditioning in their homes here in Vermont.  Many do not even have a/c in their cars (I don’t).  To offset the heat of boiling pasta in the kitchen in the evening, I decided to boil the pasta to an al dente level early in the day and then reheat it in the evening.  Not the most gourmet method but it worked.  I didn’t rinse the pasta until right before I served it, and I rinsed it in very, very hot water.  This worked fine.

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com.  The recipe is as follows:

Chicken Lemon Linguine

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or more as needed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, or more to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 pound seasoned grilled chicken chunks
  • 1 (16 ounce) package linguine pasta
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste

Directions

Heat butter and olive oil together in a saucepan over medium heat; cook and stir onion and garlic until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add milk, bouillon, oregano, salt, and pepper to onion mixture; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook sauce for 5 minutes. Whisk cold water and cornstarch together in a bowl until smooth. Mix cornstarch mixture and chicken into sauce; cook until heated through and thickened, about 5 minutes.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook linguine at a boil until tender yet firm to the bite, about 11 minutes; drain.

Turn heat under saucepan with sauce to low; add lemon juice, parsley, and lemon zest and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Add pasta, toss to coat, and transfer to a serving bowl; top with Parmesan cheese.

My changes to this recipe;  Igreen beans increased the cornstarch by one tablespoon (a total of three tablespoons), I grilled a flattened chicken breast, seasoned with olive oil, salt and a little lemon pepper then cut the chicken into one inch strips.  I used white pepper and a bit of the lemon pepper in the sauce.  I cut down on the Oregano, only used 1/2 teaspoon.  This recipe was served by putting the pasta onto the plate, adding strips of chicken, spooning sauce over this and then the parsley was sprinkled on the top.  pinot grigio I omitted the Parmesan cheese.

The green beans were so beautiful, fresh from the field, that I only steamed them for 3 minutes.  I always add salt and lemon to the water when steaming vegetables and this worked ideally with this side dish.

Reata_Chardonnay_LInitially I thought to serve a chardonnay with this meal but after preparing it, I thought a Pinot Gris would be better.  We opened both a Reata Chardonnay (not the Franciscan Napa Valley Chardonnay as originally planned) and a Da Vinci Pinot Grigio.  The Da Vinci Pinot Grigio won the evening, hands down.   I believe it was the crispness of the citrus and acidity of the Da Vinci that paired so perfectly with the lemon in the sauce.  The Reata was nice but a bit too complex for this meal.  It could have been the warm weather, difficult to say.  The Reata is one of my favorite chardonnays, it is not overly buttery or heavy.  Instead, the Reata starts out with some acidity but has a smooth finish.   This is a very good chardonnay but for this particular pairing I would go with the Da Vinci Pinot Grigio.

This meal was excellent on a warm summer evening.  The lemon in the sauce was light and refreshing, the wine was crisp and of course the company was wonderful.

The fourth course is the salad course, odd for us here in the States.  We usually eat our salad before the main course but I am looking forward to this salad.

Fish Course – Grilled Tuna and Corn Salad & Pinot Noir Rosé Wine

tuna 2Moving right along to the second course, the fish course.  We enjoyed Grilled Tuna & Corn Salad paired with Rive Sud Rosé wine.  We cook our fish more than most people, just our preference.   Corn is plentiful right now and it is oh so good here in Vermont.  This recipe is perfect for our hot weather and end of summer bounty.  I found this recipe on myrecipes.com.  I did not use the cooking spray on the corn or onion, just brushed them with plain olive oil.  I did not use extra virgin olive oil because that does not hold up to the heat as well as plain olive oil butter infused olive oildoes.   I do have a butter infused olive oil that I was considering using but did not want to change up the taste of the corn or onion this time, this is my first time trying this recipe and I do like to keep the recipe as written as much as possible on the first try.

The recipe is as follows:

Grilled Tuna and Corn Salad

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 steak and 1/2 cup corn salad)

Ingredients

  •    3 small ears shucked corn
  •    1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  •    Cooking spray
  •    4 (6-ounce) tuna steaks
  •    1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  •    3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  •    3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  •    2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  •    1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Preparation

Prepare grill.

Coat corn and onion with cooking spray; place on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Cover and grill corn 20 minutes, turning 3 times. Grill onion 10 minutes or until tender, turning once.

Brush fish with 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place fish on grill rack; grill 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.

Cut kernels from ears of corn in a medium bowl. Add onion, remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, basil, and vinegar, stirring to combine. Serve fish with corn salad.

I have to say, this recipe is spot on!  Okay, the changes I made was to use 2 teaspoons of the maine sea saltbalsamic vinegar and 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar instead of 1/2 tablespoon oil.  I also used Maine Sea Salt instead of the Kosher salt because that is what we use here.   I purchase this stuff by the pound and keep it in a bamboo salt cellar.   Nonetheless, this recipe is delicious.  I was skeptical about the lack of flavor in this recipe but the grilled caramelized corn gave a sweetness that set off the vinegars and melded perfectly with the grilled onion.  This is an excellent summer meal because it is completely cooked on the grill, no need to heat up your kitchen.

The Rive Sud Pinot Noir Rosé Wine was ideal.  It set off the flavors of the fish and brought out the sweetness of the corn.  If you’re going to pair this dish with a Rosé Wine, I highly tunarecommend using a Pinot Noir Rosé Wine.  This type of Rosé Wine is very dry and crisp without a lot of fruit.

Second Course, the Fish Course was wonderful, tomorrow is the Main Course; Grilled Lemon Chicken.

First Course – Roasted Peppers, Goat Cheese & Ciabatta Bread

app3Monday marked the first day of the Five Days of Food & Wine.  We enjoyed an appetizer made of Roasted Peppers, Goat Cheese & Ciabatta Bread.  Hubby supplemented his meal with some grilled chicken, left over from Sunday’s meal.  He needs more protein than I do.  I found the recipe on myrecipes.com.  The recipe is as follows:

Ingredients

  •    3 bell peppers in a mix of colors such as red, yellow, orange, or green
  •    4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  •    2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  •    1/2 teaspoon salt
  •    Pinch of sugar
  •    8 ounces fresh goat cheese
  •    2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  •    Warm ciabatta bread

Preparation

  • Heat a grill to high (450° to 550°). Rub peppers with 1 tbsp. oil. Grill peppers, turning often, until charred all over, about 10 minutes. Put in a bowl and cover with a towel to steam.
  • Meanwhile, mix 2 tbsp. oil, the vinegar, salt, and sugar. Slice cheese and set on a serving plate.
  • Peel peppers, stem, and slice; discard skins. Mix peppers with vinegar mixture and spoon over cheese. Drizzle with remaining 1 tbsp. oil and sprinkle with the oregano. Serve with bread.

I made several batches of the vinegar mixture, one with rice vinegar and a Tuscan Herb infused olive oil (think garlic, onion, oregano & basil infused into olive oil) one with balsamic vinegar and a Spanish Melgarejo Hojiblanca olive oil and one with the Tuscan Herb Olive Oil and the balsamic vinegar.  Hubby preferred the Spanish Melgarejo Hojiblanca olive oil with the Balsamic vinegar and a dash of the Tuscan Herb olive oil – of course.

I ended up doubling the recipe with the Spanish Melgarejo Hojiblanca olive oil, a dash of the Tuscan Herbe oilve oil  and the balsamic vinegar.  I put some over the peppers and put the remainder into a dish for dipping the bread or drizzling over the goat cheese and peppers and some to put over the peppers in their dish.  If I was to serve this appetizer to guests, I would cut the bread into small pieces and add a bit of the goat cheese and peppers onto the bread, allowing the guests to drizzle whatever additional oil and vinegar they would like – less messy to serve to guests, but with El Hub and I, well… I figured he likes more peppers and cheese, I like less so I left it for us to compile as we preferred.

We enjoyed two different Albarino wines with this.  We did a taste testing between an Albarino from Martin Codax and an Albarino from Burgens.  I have to say I preferred the Martin Codax for just sipping but with the food, the Burgens won the prize.  The Martin Codax Albarino is a softer Albarino, more apple/pear notes.  The Burgens Albarino initially has a more pronounced Grapefruit flavor but as it warmed up a bit the taste rounded out and it really enhanced the balsamic vinegar and goat cheese flavors.  As for the recommended Sauv Blanc, hmmm…we tried it, but really, with the heat of the summer and the appetizer, the Albrino really went better, in my humble opinion.appetizer

First course down – four to go.  Tuesday’s course is fish.  We will be having a Grilled Tuna and Corn Salad served with a Pinot Noir Rosé.

Five Courses, Five Wines in Five Days

Sunset over Lake Champlain Burlington, Vermont.
Sunset over Lake Champlain Burlington, Vermont.

As Summer begins to wind down here in Vermont (so very sad), I thought it would be an opportune time to take advantage of the bounty I’ve been finding at our local Farmer’s Market.  The local produce has given me inspiration for a five course meal.  Unfortunately, we are not at a place in our lives to consume this much food at one setting.  We’ve been trying to cut down our consumption of food, smaller meals, smaller portions.  So…what to do?  I decided to do a five course meal in five days – with wine of course.  The menu has been planned knowing our weather will be very, very warm this week.

I will be writing on the progress of this plan each day – so stay tuned!  The menu planned is:

tricolored-peppers-goat-cheese-su-xMonday = Appetizer = Roasted Tricolored Peppers and Goat Cheese with Ciabatta Bread.

Wine will be an Albarino; Burgans Burgans-Albarino-2013Albarino Baixas Rioja White. Sauvignon Blanc would be the obvious choice but because the weather is very warm and this is an appetizer I’m going with the Albarino.

tuna and corn salad  Tuesday = Fish Course = Grilled Tuna and Corn Salad

Wine will be a rosé; Rive Sud. This rosé is made from the Pinot Noir grape giving it aromas and flavors of ripe cherry, raspberry, and rive sudwatermelon. I think this wine will bring out the nuances of the Tuna and the sweetness of the caramelized corn.

lemon chickenWednesday = Main Course = Lemon Chicken with Linguine and Fresh Green Beans

Wine will be a Chardonnay; Franciscan Napa Valley Chardonnay. I believe the apple, 2011-Franciscan-Estate-Napa-Valley-Chardonnaypear and nectarine flavors in this wine will pair well with the lemon in the chicken.

fennel saladThursday = Salad = Fennel-Radicchio Salad

Wine will be a Barberra; Scagliola Mati Barbera. The liveliness of this Italian red should play barberawell with the peppery tones of the salad.

roasted pearsFriday – Dessert = Roasted pears with blue cheese and walnuts.

Wine will be Warre’s Warrior Port – the obvious choice for warre'sthis dessert.

This is the plan, we’ll see what actually happens!

original_Bon_Appetit