Category Archives: Pairing Wine With Food

Food & Wine Fridays: National Grilled Cheese Month

Does anyone really need an excuse to celebrate the joys of the ooey gooey goodness that is a grilled cheese sandwich? In my house, everyday is grilled cheese day! I love good old American cheese and white bread. For a change of pace, try one of these “big kid” sandwiches that are great as an entrée with soup or salad or cut up in bite-sized pieces for hors d’ouevres.

Pro tips:

  • Always put the cheese side down in the pan first. The sandwich will hold together well when you flip it.
  • If you are making several sandwiches, always have your ingredients prepped ahead of time.
  • Have patience. Once the sandwich is in the pan let it brown. Try to resist the urge to peek or flip too much.

 


 

Truffled Grilled Cheese

I had these wonderful little tapas at Commerc 24. They call them “bikinis” and they are neatly cut into triangles with the crusts cut off. My version here was made with a buttermilk bread and truffled Italian cheese. You can also achieve a similar taste using a creamy, easy-melting cheese and some truffle oil.

Truffled Grilled Cheese

Wine Pairings:

 


 

Grilled Cheese with Apples and White Cheddar

I love Irish cheddar in this sandwich and a granny smith apple. Slice the apples super thin and get some good crusty bread.

cheesey1

Wine Pairings:

 


 

Manchego Grilled Cheese with Fig Jam

I’ve often had salty creamy Manchego with sweet figs after dinner with a glass of wine. Grilled with some crusty bread is a perfect foil for this Iberian classic.

Cheese and Fig Jam

Wine Pairings:

 


 

Havarti and Sautéed Mushrooms Grilled Cheese

I make a big batch of sautéed mushrooms to keep in the fridge for quick weeknight suppers. Smooth, creamy harvarti is the perfect compliment to this earthy mixture.

 Wine Pairings:


 

MONTE CRISTO

The king of all grilled cheese, there are as many versions of this sandwich as there are characters at Disneyland. I like using a buttermilk white bread, while some people use brioche. Spread Dijon mustard on each slice of bread. Top each slice with a slice of Swiss cheese. Add some sliced ham and put the sandwich together. For the batter per sandwich you will need 1 egg, 2-3 tablespoons of milk, a pinch of nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk the ingredients together in a shallow dish. Dip the sandwich in the egg mixture, making sure that the bread soaks it up well. Griddle in a warm pan. You do not want the heat too high or it will burn and the cheese won’t melt. When it’s done, dust the top with powdered sugar. Serve hot!

 

Monte Cristo

Wine Pairings:


 

 

Food & Wine: Fish Fridays!

The other day a friend asked me, “Why is there always a clam chowder special on Fridays?”.  Well, folks, that comes from “fish Fridays”.  The one day a week when Catholics would abstain from eating meat.  Now, it’s only done during Lent, which is the season before Easter.  In my family, it meant tuna sandwiches for lunch and bacalao, salted cod, at my grandfather’s house for dinner.  Here are a few creative and easy fish recipes with matching wines for your Friday so that you don’t spend all of Lent eating fish sticks!

Buen provecho!

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Anne’s Chilean Sea Bass with Hazelnut Sauce

Sea Bass Image

Ingredients:

  • 2        Sea Bass Filets – Thick
  • 2        Tbsp Light Olive Oil
  • ½ c    Chopped & Roasted Hazelnuts
  • ½ c    Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc
  • 4 Tbsp     Butter – Cold
  • 3 Tbsp     Chopped Parsley
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Heat an oven-proof skillet on the stove. Add olive oil to heated pan.
  3. Season fish with salt and pepper and sear sea bass filet, skin side down.
  4. Place on skillet and transfer to oven. Roast fish for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and keep the fish warm on a serving plate.
  6. Return the skillet to the stove at medium high heat. Add the shallots and cook to translucent.
  7. Add the hazelnuts to shallots and then deglaze the pan with white wine.
  8. Turn the heat up to high and reduce the wine until there are only a couple tablespoons of liquid left in the pan.
  9. Reduce the heat to medium. Slowly add the fridge cold butter a hunk at a time to the pan. Swirl to incorporate. Do not stir.
  10. When all of the butter has been added, taste the sauce for salt and pepper and finish with chopped parley.
  11. Spoon mixture over the fish and serve.

Recommendation ideas:

*click image to download PDF recipe cards

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Anne’s Shrimp with White Beans and Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs   peeled and deveined shrimp (I used 20-25)
  • 3 Tbsp       Olive Oil
  • 1 bunch    Green Onions – chopped
  • 2 cloves   Garlic – minced
  • 2- 15oz cans    Cannellini Beans or White Kidney Beans
  • 1 pint         Cherry Tomatoes – chopped in half (these were an heirloom mix)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a sautee pan, sautee shrimp until they are almost cooked.
  2. Remove shrimp and cover to keep warm.
  3. Add green onions to the sautee pan and cook until softened.
  4. Add garlic.
  5. Drain the beans and save the liquid. Add the beans to the pan and some of the liquid.
  6. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until everything is heated through.
  7. Add back the shrimp.
  8. If the mixture looks dry just add more of the liquid, white wine or even just water. Adjust for seasoning.
  9. Garnish with more chopped green onion and serve with a big salad and lots of French bread.

Recommendation ideas:

*click image to download PDF recipe cards

 

 

Food & Wine: National Chili Day!

Anne's ChiliIt’s National Chili Day! There are as many recipes for chili as there are people in Texas. Chili is a great dish for these wintery days. Here is my oddball recipe for chili. It is not super hot, so it is wine friendly with some Zinfandel or Rhone. My favorite is topping a baked potato with the chili and the fixings and a big glass of wine!

Recommendation ideas:

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ANNE’S CHILI RECIPE

*click image to download PDF recipe cards

 

 

 

 

 

Food & Wine Fridays: Mardi Gras Menu

Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is a celebration and a release of all excesses before the Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras in New Orleans is more than just one day, it is a whole season with a series of parades from different krewes, or groups, winding through the city.  Beads and other throws are thrown from the floats. You can catch beads, blinkies, toys, and even shoes.  The official colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green and gold.  Purple Represents Justice. Green Represents Faith.  Gold Represents Power.

For those of us who cannot make to the Crescent City, here is a classic Mardi Gras menu with some wine suggestions for your party. Don’t forget to binge watch some Treme, have “Trombone Shorty” playing on the stereo, and have a white handkerchief or umbrella ready if you are going to second line. If you cannot find a local bakery that makes a king cake (a few New Orleans bakeries do ship) or you can always bake one…Don’t forget the baby!

MENU

Deviled Eggs

Red beans and rice

Fried pork chops

Jambalaya

Braised greens

Hot French bread with butter

And for dessert… a king cake.

Because this is a celebration, you will need plenty of bubbly! Gwendolyn recommends the Roederer Estate as a paring for the deviled eggs as well as a great wine for sipping.

Red Beans

For the red beans, Gwendolyn recommends a chenin blanc to match with the spiciness. The Pine Ridge 2013 would be tasty.  My recommendation is to go with a red Maison Nicolas Perrin Syrah 2012, which I think would be great to use as a general wine for the whole meal.

mardi5

Some fun Pinot Noirs which would be great with the pork chops or jambalaya include WillaKenzie Estate Gisele Pinot Noir 2012 or Willamette Valley Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir 2012.

To go with the King Cake, of course, you will need plenty of café au lait, but some Piper-Heidsieck Cuvee Sublime Demi-Sec would be lovely or maybe Eroica Gold Riesling 2012.

Mardi Gras 4

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MARDI GRAS RECIPES:

*click images to download PDF recipe cards

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Food & Wine Fridays: Anne’s Braised Beef Short Ribs

Anne's Beef Braised Ribs - 1

I love braised beef short ribs with big red wine. There is nothing better. Here is my way of doing it. I usually make way too much sauce so I have extra for a pasta dinner on another night. I usually allocate 1 meaty rib per person, but I make a lot extra just in case someone wants seconds.

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 really meaty beef short ribsAnne's Beef Braised Ribs - 12
  • 2-3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4-6 ounces finely diced pancetta (Italian bacon)
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 3 ribs celery finely diced
  • 3 carrots finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 2.5 cups dry red wine
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup canned plum tomatoes finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat a large cast iron dutch oven and add the vegetable oil.
  2. Season the ribs well with salt and pepper.
  3. Brown the ribs on all sides.  Remove from the pot and set aside the browned ribs.
  4. In the hot pot, sautee the pancetta.
  5. Add the onion to the pot and sweat until translucent. Add the celery and the carrots cooking until tender. Toss in the garlic and sautee for a minute.
  6. Deglaze the pan with the wine and scrape down the bottom of the pan to get all of the tasty brown bits.
  7. Reduce the wine by half and then add the stock.
  8. Reduce the cooking liquid some more and then add the tomatoes. Ribs - 3
  9. Return the ribs to the pot and add the herbs. You can finish braising the ribs on the stove top for 3 hours on a low simmer or you can put the whole pot into a heated 350 degree oven and cook for about 3 hours or until the meat is super tender.
  10. After the meat is cooked, remove the ribs and keep warm. Skim any excess fat or foam off the surface of the cooking liquid.
  11. Reduce the cooking liquid to the desired thickness. I like to leave the sauce chunky, but you can always blend some of it to make is smoother.
  12. Season to taste. Ribs 4

There are a few ways to serve the ribs and the sauce. You could make soft polenta and serve a rib on the polenta with a ladle of sauce. You could be very traditional and serve the sauce on pasta as a first course followed by the ribs with roasted potatoes and braised greens as the second course. I prefer to go “Fred Flintstone” style and serve the rib, bone and all, but you can always remove the meat from the rib and serve in pretty slices. Enjoy with a hearty Cabernet like the Silver Oak!