Archive for Cooking with Wine

St Patrick’s Day Dinner Party

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Hosting a dinner party for St. Patrick’s Day? You’ll have the luck of the Irish on your side when you rely on your crock pot to make the perfect corned beef and cabbage while you’re at work.  And to accompany your meal is an easy Irish Soda Bread recipe.

Corned Beef Brisket is a cut of meat that has been cured (pickled) in seasoned brine. The brisket is a tough cut of meat and requires slow and low cooking, which is why I chose to use a crock pot method.

If you prefer a wine driven celebration instead of beer, Pinot Noir is great choice  as a fuller-bodied red, like a Cabernet Sauvignon,  may have strong tannins which can leave a bitter taste in your mouth when paired with salty foods.

TIPS:

  •  Slicing the meat against the grain will prevent  the meat from being tough and chewy
  •  Because the meat comes in a package pre brined, don’t add salt during the cooking process
  •  To reduce sodium, you may rinse the meat in water before cooking
  •  Cabbage cooks very quickly and will get soggy, so add cabbage the last 30-45 minutes
  •  Use leftovers for sandwiches or dice them to make corned beef hash
  •  If you prefer not to make the gravy, serve with  mustard and horseradish on the side

 

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Ingredients

  • 6-8 red or yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 4-5 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly minced
  • 3-4 lb corned beef brisket with seasoning packet
  • 3 Tablespoons mustard
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • Seasoning packet that comes with brisket
  • 1 head cabbage, cut through the core into 8 wedges
  • 1 bottle of dark beer,such as Guinness  ( or 2 cups of red wine)
  • 2 Tablespoons mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • 1/2 cup honey or brown sugar

 Directions: 

Place potatoes, onion, carrots, and garlic in the crock pot. Place  brisket, fat side down, over the vegetables. In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, brown sugar and seasoning packet. Spread the mixture on top of the corned beef.  Pour in beer (or wine).

Cook on low for 8 hours or until meat is fork tender. Add cabbage around the meat and push down to immerse in liquid. Cover lid and continue to cook for about 30 minutes or until cabbage is tender.

Remove meat from the crock pot and place a tent foil on top to let it rest for about 20 minutes.

While meat is resting, make the gravy.  Remove vegetables from crock pot. In a saucepan, bring sauce from the crockpot to boil and add in mustard, Worcestershire, horseradish and honey and mix. Simmer until gravy is reduced by half.

To serve:  slice  the corned beef against the grain and place on a serving platter along with the vegetables and gravy.

 

Irish Soda Bread 

 

 Ingredients 

  • 4 cups flour
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar (plus 2 Tablespoons to sprinkle on top)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 ½  cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup raisins, currents or other dried fruit ( optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 3 Tablespoons sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Cut in butter using a pastry cutter or 2 knives until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Measure buttermilk and add the egg to the measuring cup, whisking lightly with a fork to incorporate. Pour into the flour mixture, along with dried fruit and stir together just until mixed.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and lightly knead to shape into a round loaf. ( Do not over knead)  Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a lightly greased cast iron skillet.

With a knife, score the  top of dough in a “X” shape to help heat get into the center of the dough while it bakes. Sprinkle remaining sugar on top. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with butter.

Enjoy your fabulous dinner  on St. Patrick’s Day or any other day!

 

 

Perfect Pairings: Coq Au Vin and Pinot Noir

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Coq Au Vin (“rooster with wine”) is a classic French dish that originally used rooster or tougher birds that needed tenderizing through slow braising. These days it’s commonly made with chicken and probably the most famous and delicious of all French chicken dishes with browned pieces of chicken, bacon and mushrooms  in a rich red wine sauce.

Pinot Noir, which is the main red grape of Burgundy, is the  perfect pairing as the lighter tannins won’t overwhelm the lighter meat and notes of smokiness, earthy undertones and spice bring out flavors of  bacon and mushrooms in the dish as well.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 4-5  bacon slices, diced
  • 3-4  pound chicken legs and thighs, skin on
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 3 carrots, sliced into 1-inch chunks
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup Cognac or Brandy
  • 2 cups  red wine such as Pinot Noir
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ½ pound frozen pearl onions
  • 1 pound  mushrooms, sliced ( cremini, shiitaki, button, etc)

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add bacon and cook over medium heat until lightly browned. Remove bacon to a large plate.

Dry chicken with paper towels, sprinkle with salt and pepper. In batches, sear chicken for 3 to 5 minutes, until brown on all sides. Remove chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the chicken pieces are browned. Set aside.

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Add shallots and carrots and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add brandy and stir to combine; scraping any remaining browned bits off the bottom of the pan.

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Add chicken and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add wine and enough chicken broth to almost cover the meat. Add thyme, bay leaves and stir. Cover pot and bring to a simmer over low heat and cook for about 30 minutes.

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Combine 1Tablespoon of butter and flour in a small bowl and mix together with a fork. Stir some of the cooking liquid from the pot and put the flour mixture back into the pot. Add the frozen pearl onions.

Sauté mushrooms in remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and add to chicken pot.

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Simmer for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with bread, potatoes or spoon over egg noodles. And of course…Pinot Noir!

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Seafood Linguine with White Wine Sauce

Monday, September 16th, 2013

This is a great recipe for entertaining as it looks elegant and easy to make in under 30 minutes. There is not a lot of sauce in the dish, but the flavor of wine is definitely present.  I chose a Pinot Grigio as I usually pair Italian wines with Italian dishes. Whatever wines you prefer,  pick crisp white wines that have some hints of citrus.  Because this dish doesn’t have a heavy cream or butter sauce, wines that are buttery or oaky, like a California Chardonnay, is not recommended.

If you are not fond of clams or mussels, substitute with shrimp, scallops, lobster, etc.

Serves 6

 Ingredients

  •  2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced (can use onions)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine
  • 1 lb Manila or littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes with juice (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large pot, cook linguine in salted water according to package directions for “al dente”.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add shallots, season with salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 3 minutes or until soft. Add garlic, and cook for another minute. Add wine and cook until liquid is reduced, approximately 3 minutes.

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Add clams, red pepper flakes, tomatoes and simmer covered until clams open, approximately 5-7 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open. Reserving about 1 cup of pasta water, drain linguine and add to pan.

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Add butter, lemon zest and juice, toss linguine and continue to cook for about 1 minute. Add reserved cooking water, as needed, if pasta looks dry. Remove from heat. Add parsley, more salt and pepper as needed, drizzle of olive oil and toss to coat. Transfer to serving dish and garnish with additional parsley if desired.

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Truffle Cake with Raspberry Sauce & Port

Monday, September 9th, 2013

If you love chocolate, then this dessert is for you!  Rich and decadent chocolate truffle cake with port, ganache glaze, drizzled with raspberry sauce…. This indulgence is definitely worth it!

For a gluten free option, substitute 1 Tablespoon of cocoa powder for the flour.

I love pairing chocolate with port but you can substitute with any red wine, liqueur or vanilla extract. I used bittersweet chocolate for the cake and semisweet chocolate for the ganache, but feel free to use any type of chocolate you prefer.

 

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 4 eggs ( room temperature)
  • 16 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or coffee
  • 2 Tablespoons Port (or any liqueor or vanilla extract)
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour ( or cocoa powder for gluten free option)

Ganache:

  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped (or use chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Raspberry Sauce:

  • 1 (10 oz) bag of frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons port ( or any liqueur or vanilla extract)

Optional garnish: fresh raspberries

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Separate yolks and egg whites. Grease and flour an 8 inch springform pan and set aside. In a saucepan, stir chocolate & butter until melted. Add espresso powder and port and remove from heat. Stir in sugar, flour and egg yolks.

 

 

Using a mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold into chocolate mixture. Pour into the springform pan and bake for 25 minutes or until done.

 

 

Cool and remove sides of springform pan.

To make ganache:

Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat until just boiling. Pour over the chocolate and let sit for a few minutes to allow chocolate to melt, then whisk until smooth. Allow to cool slightly before glazing the cake.

To make raspberry sauce:

Puree raspberries in a blender. Strain the puree into a saucepan through a wire mesh strainer and discard the seeds. (You may need to use a spoon or spatula to push the puree through the strainer). Add sugar and cornstarch to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for a few minutes. Mix in port or vanilla. The sauce can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator.

 

 

To assemble: Spread ganache on top of the cake. Garnish with fresh raspberries (optional). The cake can be made a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator in an air tight container. If making ahead,  wait to drizzle the raspberry sauce until ready to serve.

Since I had some ganache left over, I served the dessert with some vanilla ice cream and drizzled the ganache on top. You can also serve the dessert with port.

 

 

Steak with Red Wine & Mushroom Sauce

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Mushrooms add a savory flavor that makes beef taste even meatier, while red wine brings acidity for balance. Splurge on great steaks in this simple recipe. I personally prefer rib eye steaks  but feel free to use what ever steaks you prefer!

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless rib eye steaks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced (button, cremini, etc)
  • 2 shallots, minced (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

Bring steaks to room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Season steak with salt and pepper on both sides.

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Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook steaks 4-5 minutes each side for medium-rare. Add 1 Tablespoon of butter towards the last minute and cook until done.  Remove from pan and loosely tent with foil, allowing to rest while preparing sauce.

Add 1 Tablespoon of butter to same skillet, add mushrooms and cook until soft about 3 minutes. Add shallots, garlic and oregano and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add red wine and balsamic vinegar, scraping the brown bits from bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Reduce to low and cook for 4-5 minutes or until sauce reduces and thickens. Stir in 1 Tablespoon of butter to finish the sauce.

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Slice steaks and place on a serving platter. Drizzle mushroom sauce over steak and serve.  A glass ( or bottle)  of  Bordeaux or Cabernet Sauvignon will be the perfect pairing!

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Chocolate Truffles

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Truffles are the easiest and one of the most decadent desserts to make and it requires very few ingredients. Serve these goodies at your next holiday party in mini cupcake liners or chocolate liners sold in craft stores.  These will also be perfect for gifts or hostess gifts  by packaging in cute dessert containers also sold in craft stores.

You can also substitute the vanilla with any liqueur. For this recipe, I used port as I love the combination of chocolate and port!

 

Yields 3-4 dozen

Ingredients

  • 16 oz semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract  (I substituted with port wine)
  • Coatings such as: grated chocolate, coconut, powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa, nuts, etc

Directions

Place chocolate in a  heat proof  bowl.

Heat heavy cream and butter in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering.  Pour cream into chocolate bowl and let sit for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to melt.  Slowly stir with rubber spatula until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth and creamy.

Add vanilla and stir. Place chocolate in the refrigerator until firm, approximately 1-2 hours.

Using a small spoon or melon baller, form small balls of chocolate mixture (called ganache) with your hands and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper.  You will need to roll quickly as it will melt from the heat of your hands.

Roll chocolate in various coatings such as powered sugar, coconut, nuts, etc.   Store in a airtight container in the refrigerator. It’s best to serve these at room temperature.

Strawberries with Red Wine and Balsamic Reduction

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Strawberries and balsamic vinegar are a great combination and even better when you add red wine!  There are many varieties of balsamic vinegar to choose from but for a reduction, you don’t need to choose an expensive brand but don’t buy the cheapest either.

Reduce the vinegar and wine in half by simmering and the end result is an amazing sauce that will compliment well with fruit, salads, meat or cheese. Served with strawberries or any berries, this makes an easy and healthy dessert.

No refrigeration is needed and you can store the sauce in a jar or squeeze bottle and have it ready when ever you need it!

Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar ( brown or white)
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pint strawberries, stemmed and halved ( or quartered)  lengthwise
  • Mint for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Simmer wine, balsamic vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan until reduced to half, approximately 15 minutes (stir or whisk occasionally). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Allow to cool. The sauce will thicken further upon cooling.

Place strawberries in a glass, bowl or plate and drizzle sauce over top. Garnish with mint, if desired.

Since berries can become mushy, you can make the sauce ahead but don’t leave the sauce in the berries for more than 3-4 hours.

 

 

 

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