Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Red Wine and Dine with Pinot Noir

Single Bottle Wine Club
Huge Red Wine collection 

Andre' Tchelistcheff, the famous California wine maker once said "God made Cabernet Sauvignon, but the devil made Pinot Noir"; what is Pinot Noir? It is a red wine whose characteristics can best be described as having a sensual, silky texture and a variety of seductive aromas which include: strawberry, cherry, black cherry, raspberry, violet, cinnamon, sassafras, mushrooms, truffles, rose petal, fresh earth and barnyard. (although not agreed upon by all, the barnyard aroma is meant to be a positive description which refers to fresh earth as found on a farm, but can also refer to bacterial spoilage called Brettanomyces).

Pinot Noir loves a cool climate where it can ripen slowly, but maintain vivacious acidity. Soils of chalk and limestone that drain well make the wines work hard to survive and thus produce great wine. It's health benefits are possible because, the grapes must work hard to protect themselves from disease and rotting in cool climate, and as a result produce more anti-oxidants; it has 4 times more resveratrol then other wines. This thin skinned berry is known as the "heartbreak grape" because of it's difficulty to grow and is unstable even when bottled. For this reason, you often pay more for Pinot Noir then most other red wines

In the 2004 movie Sideways, the character Miles, discusses with Maya, the virtues of Pinot Noir which he considers the antithesis of plummery Merlot that can lack acidity; because of this commercial boost it is now one of the fastest growing red wines in North America.
Among the oldest of grapes grown to make wine by ancient Romans, Pinot Noir now thrives in many regions such as Austria, and Germany (known as Spatburgunder in both regions), Niagara, Okanagan Valley, Italy (Pinot Hero), New Zealand, Switzerland (Dole) Oregon and California. Cooler regions such as Caneros, Russian River alley and Anderson Valley in the Sonoma Valley, Santa Maria alley (Santa Barbara Valley) and Monterey County. The most famous region is Burgundy, France and especially the Burgundian sub-region Cote d' Or (Slope of Gold), where famous names such as Domaine Romanee-Conti and Laflaive grace labels.

Pinot Noir pairs with a variety of beef, turkey, chicken, fish, pork dishes and more because it is flavorful but not heavy in alcohol, oak or tannin. The best matches include: prime ribs, roast beef, brisket, turkey, pork tenderloin, mushroom and truffle dishes. Also on the menu are: Cog au Vin (chicken cooked in red wine), Beef Bourguigonne (beef coked in red wine) grilled salmon, cassoulet, roasted and braised lamb, pheasant, duck, shark, swordfish and tuna with rosemary; eat, drink and be merry.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Thai Curried Bok Choy (or Spinach) with Oyster Mushrooms

 An elegant and quick Asian vegan dish
BEST DRINK WITH THIS DISH IS : Champagne & Sparkling Wine 

When you hear the word 'curry,' you may think of a dry Indian spice blend, but Thailand also has a long Curry history. What makes Thai curries unique are the use of fresh ingredients like cilantro, lemon grass, garlic, and in many cases, a concentrated shrimp sauce, that when added to the dry herbs and spices, creates a curry paste. Thai cooking also balances the heat and kick of its curries with 'cooling' coconut milk.  
You certainly can make your own curries, but in the interest of fast and easy home cooking, try using a prepared Thai curry pastes. You can find these in  Asian food markets - red curries, yellow curries and Penang curries too. At these markets, you’ll also find small, dark green baby bok choy.  Spinach or Swiss chard also works well.  And if you can’t find oyster mushrooms, substitute with shiitake, maitake, or even button mushrooms.  The tofu adds texture and protein that makes this dish a more satisfying main course.
Serves 4


1 lb Bok choy, baby (or spinach or Swiss chard)
1 T Rice bran oil or peanut oil
8 oz Oyster mushrooms
1 T Curry paste (red or Penang)
2 c Coconut milk
4 Scallions (thinnly sliced)
8 oz Tofu, extra firm (optional)


Cut the bok choy in half lengthwise, or, if they are very large, into quarters, and then in half crosswise.
Put the rice bran or peanut oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. As soon as the oil is fragrant, add the bok choy and mushrooms, stirring briskly. When the leaves have wilted, about 1 minute, add the curry paste and stir to incorporate. Add the coconut milk and stir. Raise the heat and stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Lower the heat and cook until the bok choy is tender, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and divide among 4 bowls. Garnish the curry with the sliced scallions and serve at once.
Optional Tofu: to make this a hearty main meal, add tofu.  Cut into ½-inch cubes. Add as soon as the bok choy is tender. 
All Kardea Gourmet recipes are recommended for UN-dieting, TLC and DASH healthy weight management programs.
for interesting facts about wine

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Basics of Wine Tasting

Published by The Wine Minstrel on September 29, 2012
Learning how to taste wines is a straightforward adventure that will deepen your appreciation for both wines and winemakers. Look, smell, taste – starting with your basic senses and expanding from there you will learn how to taste wines like the pros in no time! Keep in mind that you can smell thousands of unique scents, but your taste perception is limited to salty, sweet, sour and bitter. It is the combination of smell and taste that allows you to discern flavor.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 15 minutes

Here’s How:

  1. Look:Check out the Color and Clarity.Pour a glass of wine into a suitable wine glass. Then take a good look at the wine. Tilt the glass away from you and check out the colorof the wine from the rim edges to the middle of the glass (it’s helpful to have a white background – either paper, napkin or a white tablecloth).What color is it? Look beyond red, white or blush. If it’s a red wineis the color maroon, purple, ruby, garnet, red, brick or even brownish? If it’s awhite wine is it clear, pale yellow, straw-like, light green, golden, amber or brown in appearance?
  2. Still Looking. Move on to the wine’s opacity. Is the wine watery or dark, translucent or opaque, dull or brilliant, cloudy or clear? Can you see sediment? Tilt your glass a bit, give it a little swirl – look again, is there sediment, bits of cork or any other floaters? An older red wine will often have more orange tinges on the edges of color than younger red wines. Older white wines are darker, than younger white wines when comparing the same varietal at different ages.
  3. Smell: Our sense of smell is critical in properly analyzing a glass of wine. To get a good impression of your wine’s aroma, swirl your glass for a solid 10-12 seconds (this helps vaporize some of the wine’s alcohol and release more of its natural aromas) and then take a quick whiff to gain a first impression.
  4. Still Smelling. Now stick your nose down into the glass and take a deep inhale through your nose. What are your second impressions? Do you smell oak, berry, flowers, vanilla or citrus? A wine’s aroma is an excellent indicator of its quality and unique characteristics. Swirl the wine and let the aromas mix and mingle, and sniff again.
  5. Taste: Finally, take a taste. Start with a small sip and let it roll around your mouth. There are three stages of taste: the Attack phase, the Evolution phase and the Finish.
  6. The Attack Phase, is the initial impression that the wine makes on your palate. The Attack is comprised of four pieces of the wine puzzle: alcohol contenttannin levelsacidity and residual sugar. These four puzzle pieces display initial sensations on the palate. Ideally these components will be well-balanced one piece will not be more prominent than the others. These four pieces do not display a specific flavor per se, they meld together to offer impressions in intensity and complexity, soft or firm, light or heavy, crisp or creamy, sweet or dry, but not necessarily true flavors like fruit or spice.
  7. The Evolution Phase is next, also called the mid-palate or middle range phase, this is the wine’s actual taste on the palate. In this phase you are looking to discern the flavor profile of the wine. If it’s a red wine you may start noting fruit – berry, plum, prune or fig; perhaps some spice – pepper, clove, cinnamon, or maybe a woody flavor like oak, cedar, or a detectable smokiness. If you are in the Evolution Phase of a white wine you may taste apple, pear, tropical or citrus fruits, or the taste may be more floral in nature or consist of honey, butter, herbs or a bit of earthiness.
  8. The Finish is appropriately labeled as the final phase. The wine’s finish is how long the flavor impression lasts after it is swallowed. This is where the wine culminates, where the aftertaste comes into play. Did it last several seconds? Was it light-bodied (like the weight of water), medium-bodied (similar in weight to milk) or full-bodied (like the consistency of cream)? Can you taste the remnant of the wine on the back of your mouth and throat? Do you want another sip or was the wine too bitter at the end? What was your last flavor impression – fruit, butter, oak? Does the taste persist or is it short-lived?
  9. After you have taken the time to taste your wine, you might record some of your impressions. Did you like the wine overall? Was it sweet, sour or bitter? How was the wine’s acidity? Was it well balanced? Does it taste better with cheese, bread or a heavy meal? Will you buy it again? If so, jot the wine’s name, producer and vintage year down for future reference.
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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Crispy Chicken Tacos

recipe from the pioneer woman
I love Mexican food, in fact it just might be my favorite food. Really good Mexican food restaurants  are very hard to find. There are a couple you might call little hole in the wall places  here in my town that do have great  Chicken tacos.  ( my fav)  I came across this recipe on the web, however I have found that some of the recipes posted on blogs actually look way better than they taste, and they  don't always come out as pictured . But to me,  this recipe made sense and the tacos looked so good I had to try it.  Got just one word to describe these tacos, AMAZING!

  • 16 whole Corn Tortillas (small Size)
  • 4 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into Pieces
  • Salt, Cumin, Chili Powder To Taste (or Use Taco Seasoning)
  • 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 2 cans (4 Ounce) Diced Green Chilies

  • 1-½ cup Finely Grated Cheese (cheddar Or Cheddar/jack Mix)
  • Sour Cream
  • Hot Sauce (Chulula Or Other Brand)
  • 2 cups Thinly Sliced Romaine Lettuce (or Any Lettuce)
  • 4 whole Roma Tomatoes, Diced
  • Canola Oil, For Frying Tacos
medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for a couple of minutes. Dump in the diced green chilies. Stir and cook until chicken is totally done inside. Turn off heat and set aside.
Have all other ingredients—grated cheese, sliced lettuce, diced tomato, sour cream, and hot sauce—ready.
Also have a plate ready, as well as a stack of five or six paper towels to hold in your hand
To fry the tacos, heat a couple of inches of canola oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high. Place some chicken in the middle of a tortilla, then fold tortilla in half. Clamp the tortilla shut with a pair of heat-proof metal tongs,  ,  
carefully lay the taco—one side down—in the oil. As you lay it in the oil, use the tongs to hold the top side down for a few seconds to form it in place. Once it stays put, repeat with two other tacos. Turn tacos after 30 to 45 seconds, or when each side gets light golden brown (not too brown.)
One at a time, remove tacos from the pan with tongs, holding sideways as you remove them to allow oil to drip out of the sides. Place the taco in the stack of paper towels. Fold the sides and corners around the taco to tightly hold it, then give it three or four shakes to remove excess oil. Remove it from the paper towels and place on a plate. Repeat with other tacos in the pan.
As you continue frying the other tacos, have someone carefully place some grated cheese inside the tops of the tacos (gently pry them open just enough to place the cheese in). Then just let them sit until ready to serve—the cheese will melt as it sits in the warm taco.
To serve, garnish in this order: a smear of sour cream, dashes of hot sauce, shredded lettuce, diced tomato. You’ll need to slightly open up the tops of the tacos to get all the garnishes in there.
Tacos will be hot for a minute or two after frying, so don’t rush into eating! They’ll stay nice and warm for a little while after frying.

Here's the link

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Basil and Cheese pizza using Easy 2 ingredient pizza dough

This recipe was created by Jennifer Cheung 

2 ounces fresh pizza dough

1 cup self raising flour
1 cup of Greek or natural yogurt
Extra flour for dusting the board

In a bowl, combine the flour and yogurt and bring together to form a ball.
Turn out onto a floured board to knead and roll.
Knead for 10-15 minutes. Roll into a pizza shape and add toppings.

  • 1 jar Prepared Pesto
  • Kosher Salt To Taste
  • Fresh Mozzarella
  • Roma Tomatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Fresh Parmesan Cheese

Preparation Instructions

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Press the pizza dough into a sheet pan (you can also use a pizza stone or grill).
You can conduct your own taste test as I did, by making a half and half pizza, or choose your favorite way and make the entire pizza out of that.
Tomato-Basil Pizza Made with Pesto:
Smear the pesto over half of the pizza dough and sprinkle some kosher salt over it.
Slice the mozzarella thin enough to cover the pizza thoroughly. Next, lay thin slices of Roma tomatoes over the mozzarella.
Tomato-Basil Pizza made with fresh basil:
Drizzle olive oil over the dough and sprinkle kosher salt over it. Wash and dry the basil leaves and lay them in a single layer on top of the olive oil.
Top the basil with a layer of mozzarella and add a layer of Roma tomatoes. Go ahead and top with more mozzarella if there’s any left.

TIP: If the dough seems a little wet when you mix it, just add a sprinkling more flour. The more you knead  the dough the better it comes together.

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Chicken Carbonara Rosa

 A romantic New Year Dinner
My friend Steve and I, spent the New Year Eve together. Both of us love good food, and we enjoy cooking together.We made this very elegant and rather romantic dinner together. This dish had a light cheesy tomato taste, and not at all  heavy or rich.. Was perfect with the rice pilaf, but i could also see this paired with any kind of pasta. The sauce would be delicious over cheese ravioli.We drank Korbel  Champagne, the flavor blended nicely with the dish. Would give this recipe 4 stars. A real  great recipe, one you should really try for your self.



  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/4 lbs.)
  • 1 Tbsp. Bertolli® Classico™ Olive Oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 slice bacon or pancetta, chopped
  • 1 cup thawed frozen green peas
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine OR chicken broth
  • 1 jar Bertolli® Four Cheese Rosa Sauce


  1. Season chicken, if desired, with salt and pepper. Heat Olive Oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and brown chicken, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside.
  2. Cook onion, bacon and peas in same skillet, stirring occasionally, 6 minutes or until bacon is crisp and onion is tender. Stir in wine and cook 1 minute. Stir in Sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, then return chicken to skillet. Simmer covered 5 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Sprinkle, if desired, with freshly ground black pepper and chopped fresh parsley.
Season chicken, if desired, with salt and pepper. Heat Olive Oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and brown chicken, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside.

Cook onion, bacon and peas in same skillet, stirring occasionally,

6 minutes or until bacon is crisp and onion is tender. Stir in wine and cook 1 minute. Stir in Sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, then return chicken to skillet. 

 Simmer covered 5 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Sprinkle, if desired, with freshly ground black pepper and chopped fresh parsley.


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