Mini Me Crab Cakes w/ Spicy Sauce

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Last week I picked up a fresh Dungeness Crab (and this recipe) from Whole Foods that was caught that morning from Bodega Bay, and was cleaned as well as cracked....all for $4.99.  Gotta love this time of year in the bay area!

These tasty little gems are great for parties.  They're two bites of sheer awesomeness...make ahead of time and reheat or make 'em fresh.  Please share you wine pairing suggestions below in comments.  Cheers!

INGREDIENTS 1 LB Dungeness Crab (or lump crab meat) 2/3 cup bread crumbs (wheat crumbs work well) 4 green onions, sliced thin 1 egg 1/4 TSP fresh ground pepper 1-1/2 TSP Old Bay seasoning 1 TBSP Dijon mustard 6 TBSP mayonnaise, divided 1/4 cup roasted red bell pepper, chopped 2 TBSP hot sauce 1-1/2 TSP grated lemon zest 1 TBSP canola oil

Place crab meat in a large bowl and use your fingers to gently feel for and remove any pieces of shell or crab cartilage. Add green onions, bread crumbs, Old Bay and pepper, toss to combine. While that's going on, get out a smaller bowl and whisk together dijon, egg and 2 TBSP of mayo, and pour over the crab mix. Toss until combined. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes

Meanwhile, take a sip of the wine you're thinking of pairing :) And also, make the sauce while you're at it. Nobody wants to be a total lush. In a blender, combine bell pepper, hot sauce, lemon zest and remaining mayo. blend until it's silky smooth. Cover and refrigerate until it's ready to use.

Form the crab mixture into 24 small 2-bite crab cakes...each about 1-1/2 inch in diameter. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, fry the cakes until nicely browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel and serve warm with sauce.

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Southwestern Style Game Day Ribs

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INGREDIENTS 1 rack baby back pork ribs 1 TBSP dried thyme 1 TBSP honey 1 TBSP garlic salt 1 TBSP onion powder 1 TBSP brown sugar 1 TBSP pepper flakes 1 TBSP paprika 1 TBSP chili powder 1 TBSP minced rosemary 1 TSP salt 1 TSP fresh ground black pepper 2 cups barbecue sauce

In a small bowl, mix together the thyme, garlic, onion powder, brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, rosemary, salt, and black pepper. Rub the spice mixture over both sides of the ribs, refrigerate over night.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Place rib on a baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove ribs from the oven and refrigerate.

If going to a football game, cut the racks into individual ribs and place them in a large sealable plastic bag or bags. Add enough BBQ sauce to coat ribs. If grilling out at home, put ribs in a bowl or glass dish and cover with BBQ sauce until ready to grill.

At the tailgate Prepare coals for medium heat. When the coals are hot, grill the ribs for 10 minutes, until they are lightly charred and heated through, turning them to grill on all sides. Brush on more BBQ sauce while grilling. If grilling out at home, heat the grill to medium high and grill on all sides as described above.

Serve the ribs accompanied by more sauce.

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Pork Shoulder with Potato & Butternut Bake

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INGREDIENTS

5 LB shoulder of pork 1 small onion, peeled 1 TBSP flour 10 OZ dry cider 10 OZ vegetable stock 3 large potatoes 1 Butternut squash Butter Parmesan cheese sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 475ºF.  Score the skin of the pork.  Place pork in a roasting pan skin-side up.  Cut the onion into wedges and place slightly underneath the pork.  Season pork with salt and pepper.  Roast in oven for 25 minutes.  Reduce oven to 375ºF and cook for 2 hours.  Remove from oven and let stand for 30 minutes.  Remove pork from roasting pan, place roasting pan over burners on low and sprinkle flour in mixing with a wooden spoon.  Turn heat up to medium and gradually add cider and stock.  Mix together until you have a smooth gravy.  Salt and pepper to taste. FOR THE BAKE: Pell and thinly slice potatoes, peel and seed butternut squash.  Put a layer of potatoes in a buttered ovenproof dish then layer with butternut.  Layer 2 more times.  Place 2 or 3 knobs of butter on top, pour in 275ml of stock.  Cover generously with parm cheese.  Bake at 170ºF for 1 hour.

What wine to pair?

Do yourself a favor and get a really good pork shoulder for this recipe.  You can see the recipe list and preparation isn't too complicated, so it does well with a nice cut of pork.  Read through the ingredients and preparation and imagine where you're going to taste the sweet, sour, salt, bitter and umami flavors.

Pork is cooked with vegetable stock can get pretty salty, but you'll offset that with the sweet cider.  I find this recipe can be adjusted so there's a good balance of flavors, and sometimes I'll add a TBSP of rosemary just for a little more.

Some of the grapes that tend to compliment this dish well are domestic Pinot Noirs or some lighter Syrahs.  Cabs and Merlots from new world regions aren't ideal, but 1995 Chateau Musar Cuvee Rouge went well.  That's a Cabernet blend made with some Cinsault.  It didn't overpower the flavors of the pork.  One of these days we'll try pairing it with the Chateau Musar Blanc, which, according to Serge Hochar is his "red wine".  The whites are sublime and might stand up nicely to this dish.

Tonight's pairing will feature 2005 Maison Bouachon La Tiare du Pape from Southern Rhone.  The blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre from Chateauneuf du Pape vineyards are influenced by Mistral winds, and are grown in in clay and limestone soils, covered with quartz round stones.  I don't believe there's a "perfect" wine and food pairing, but I have fun experimenting and trying new combinations with the hope that one day I'll experience that one life-altering experience that is "the perfect pairing".  Please leave suggested pairings of what you think would be good with this dish in the comments below.  Cheers!

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Independence Day Sliders

.. Fourth of July is a great time to fire up the BBQ and grill up some burgers.  This year I tried some different slider recipes, especially now that grocery stores have slider buns in their baked goods section.  Here's a few winners from the weekend:

Pulled Pork Sliders

Ingredients: 2 lbs pork belly 1 medium onion, finely chopped 1/2 cup ketchup 1/3 cup cider vinegar 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup tomato paste 2 TBSP paprika 2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce 3 TSP salt 1 1/4 TSP black pepper coleslaw toasted slider buns

Directions: Combine all the ingredients except the pork belly, slaw and the buns in a slow cooker and mix together. Add the 2 pieces of pork and cover the slow cooker. Set for 8 hours on low.

After 8 hours, using 2 forks, shred the pork and remove the pork with the remaining sauce into a large bowl. Toast the slider buns and add some of the pulled pork to each bun along with coleslaw.  Light a cigarette after then repeat.

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Inside Out Cheeseburger Sliders with Forever Caramelized Onions

Ingredients: 1 lb. ground chuck 1 egg breadcrumbs 1/4 TSP chili flakes generous salt and pepper cheddar cheese cut into cubes toasted slider buns thick cut bacon, slow cooked 1 Walla Walls sweet onion, sliced 2-3 TBSP butter

The title of this recipe has "forever caramelized onions" in it for a reason. For best results, remove skin from onions and slice thin. Cook with butter in a crock pot for 24-36 hours on low checking occasionally. You won't believe how good the flavor comes out! Add a little more butter accordingly if necessary.

Combine ingredients in a medium to large bowl. Work in the egg and breadcrumbs so the ground meat will hold it's shape. Shape into small golf ball sized servings, then work a cube of cheese in the middle making sure it's fully covered on all sides by the meat mixture. Press your thumb in the top before grilling.

Serve by grilling to desired doneness with your choice of condiments, thick cut bacon and those beautiful golden onions.

Lamb Sliders

Ingredients

1/2 lb ground lamb 1/5 tbsp minced garlic 1/2 cup minced shallots 1 TBSP minced thyme 1 TBSP minced cilantro leaves 1 TSP minced mint leaves 1/4 TSP ground cumin 1/2 TSP coriander powder 1/2 TSP ground black pepper salt to taste

12 slider buns or mini pita breads

Method

Place all the ingredients for the patties in a mixing bowl and combine well using your hands. Shape into about six small sized patties not too thin, but not too thick either. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes for the flavors to combine.

Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Remove the patties from the fridge and make about three holes each in the patties with your finger.

In a large oven proof non-stick skillet, heat the oil and add the onions. When the onions start to sizzle, arrange the lamb patties on top of the onion bed without touching each other.

Bake in the oven for 6 minutes on one side. Turn the patties over, and stir the onion bed to make sure they don’t burn. If it shows the signs of burning, remove the onions from the pan after the first 6 minutes, and finish caramelizing on stove top, when the patties finish cooking on the other side.

To serve, warm up the pita bread/buns in the oven, spread some spicy mayonnaise or a blended yogurt or chutney of your choice, arrange the meat patties and top it with the caramelized onions. You can add some lettuce, tomato etc to the burger as well.

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Citrus-Dusted Tuna *What wine would you serve?

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6 6-OZ tuna steaks 1 cup fresh orange juice 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice 1/2 cup fresh lime juice 3 TBSP sugar 4 garlic cloves, minced 1 TBSP fresh ground pepper 1 TSP salt

Heat grill on medium-high.  In a medium bowl, combine OJ, lemon juice, lime juice, sugar and garlic.  Bring to boil, cook until reduced to 1/2 cup.  Remove from heat. Season tuna steaks with salt and pepper.  Spray grill with cooking grill spray like PAM, grill fish for 3-4 minutes on each side.  Brush fish with OJ glaze, grill for 1 minute, turn fish and glaze other size with OJ glaze.  Cook 1 minute for medium-rare tuna steaks.

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Southwestern Skillet Steak with Chipotle Salsa

. In the middle of winter grills often sit covered in snow, waiting for a nice day to come along so they can once again serve as man's other best friend.  That leaves BBQ fans challenged to cook their steaks indoors and still get that grilled texture.  My father-in-law introduced me to this recipe that will scratch the itch for people who love a good grilled steak.

skillet

INGREDIENTS for STEAKS 2 8-ounce New York strip steaks (about 1" thick), trimmed 2 TBSP olive oil 1 TSP coarse salt 1 large onion, sliced 2 large garlic cloves, chopped 2 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro 1 TBSP plus 1 TSP chili powder 1/4 TSP dried crushed red pepper 1/4 TSP Cumin 1 TBSP water 2 poblano chilies, seeded, sliced Additional chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Mix in onion, garlic, 2 TBSP chopped cilantro, 1 TBSP chili powder and crushed red pepper. Add 1 TBSP water. Cover and cook mixture 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chilies and sauté until tender about 6 minutes. Transfer mixture to plate leaving some bits in the skillet.

Rub each steak with salt, pepper, cumin and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder. Raise heat to high and add steaks to same skillet. Cook as desired, about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to platter and cover with aluminum foil. Top steaks with cilantro. Serve with onion mix on top or on the side with salsa.

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INGREDIENTS for CHIPOTLE SALSA 3 cups fresh corn kernals (about 3 ears) 4 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced separately 2 TBSP unsalted butter 2 garlic cloves, minced 1-½ TSP coarse salt 1-½ TSP ground cumin 1-TSP chili powder ½ TSP black pepper 2 plum tomatoes, finely diced 1 to 2 fresh chipotle chiles, finely diced, including seeds

Heat a dry large cast-iron skillet over moderately high heat until hot, then pan-roast corn, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Cook white part of scallions in butter with garlic, 1 TSP salt, ½ TSP each cumin and chili powder, and ¼ TSP pepper in skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until scallions are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in corn, tomatoes, and chipotles.

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WINE PAIRINGS - With most steaks you can pair most hearty reds like Cabernet, Meritage blends or similar wines.  Because this steak has some heat, you want a hearty red with a ripe style so the sweetness offsets the heat.  Think of wines with a "jammy" component like some Australian Shiraz or Petite Sirah style wines.  The finished steak will have texture that is almost blackened.  Here's a few wines that will marry up nicely:

one of my favorite Australian wineries

The Tapestry wines are phenomenal!  And they're widely available in the U.S. in most states.  This wine should be between $15 and $20 on the shelf at most retailers.  I like it because you get the riper style without over extraction.  This gem comes in at 14.5% alcohol and is aged in French, Yugoslavian and American oak.

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Quixote wines from Napa have reinvigorated my love for Petite Sirah.  The winery sits nestled away in the hills of the Stag's Leap District right next door to Shafer.  Full throttle, dark, inky, naughty, funkified velvety goodness that'll stand up to this meal.  Enjoy!

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Spaghetti alla Carbonara w/ Hahn SLH Pinot Gris

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This was based off of Mario Batali's recipe on FoodandWine.com but modified to pair with the wine(s).  It's such a simple recipe, but the final dish benefits from the texture from the eggs on top.  We roasted broccoli with a little olive oil and a pinch of sugar to enhance the browning of the vegetables.

Carbonara

INGREDIENTS

1/4 LB pancetta 1/4 LB thick cut bacon 1 LB dry spaghetti 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated 4 egg yolk, separated Black pepper, freshly ground Salt

cooking pork

In a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan, render and cook the pork products together until it is crispy and golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Do not drain the fat from pan and set aside.

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. Cook the spaghetti (we use wheat or whole grain), until tender yet al dente. Drain the spaghetti, reserving the pasta cooking water.

Reheat the bacon & pancetta in the pan with the fat and add approximately 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Toss in the cooked spaghetti and heat, shaking the pan, until warmed through, about 1 minute. Add the grated cheese, egg whites and black pepper and toss until fully incorporated. Divide the pasta among 4 warmed serving bowls. Make a nest in the center for the egg yolk. Gently drop an egg yolk into each serving, season with more freshly ground black pepper and grate additional cheese over the top. Serve immediately.

hahnpg

Hahn Estate winery makes some exciting wines, and at Chéz Bakas we love the SLH series of wines which stands for Santa Lucia Highlands.  The Pinot Gris and Chardonnay are exceptional wines.  For this recipe, the Pinot Gris makes an ideal pairing because the wine compliments the flavors in the main dish without overpowering it.

I like pairing local foods with local wines, and because this is a dish rooted in Italian cuisine, an Italian style wine is my first choice.  We didn't have a Pinot Grigio readily available, so I went with the next closest thing—Pinot Gris.  The wine and food stimulate the senses in a menagerie of wonderful smells, taste and texture.  This is a fairly simple dish, but chock full of flavor.  And hey, it's got bacon in it!  Cheers

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Holiday Wine+Food Pairing Recipes

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Strawberry and Almond Spinach Salad

0622SpinachStrawberry3

INGREDIENTS 1 LB baby spinach leaves, washed 1/2 cup sliced green onions 1/3 cup slivered almonds, drizzled with honey and slightly toasted 1 cup sliced strawberries 2-3 TBSP chopped fresh dill

INGREDIENTS FOR DRESSING: 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 1/4 cup sugar or Truvia 1 TSP garlic, minced 1/4 TSP sea salt 1/4 TSP fresh ground pepper 1/4 TSP dry mustard powder 1/4 TSP onion powder 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, sugar or Truvia, olive oil, garlic, salt, black pepper, dry mustard and onion powder.

Wash dill and pat dry or use a spinner. Trim off feathery ends, discarding thick stems. finely chop dill and set aside. Wash and slice strawberries.

Wash spinach and spin dry or pat dry with paper towels. Place spinach in large mixing bowl. Thinly slice green onions and add to spinach in bowl. Add slivered toasted almonds and chopped dill and mix together.

Whisk dressing a few time to be sure it's well-mixed, then add desired amount of dressing to salad and toss.  To keep dressing from making leaves heavy, pour dressing around sides of bowl mixing spinach against it rather than pouring dressing directly on to spinach.

Arrange salad on individual serving plates. Toss sliced strawberries with 1-2 TBSP of dressing, then arrange strawberries over salad on each plate and serve.

Wine Pairings: The strawberries deliver a bit of tanginess that would benefit from a touch of salt and pepper. This recipe is meant to be easy to make and easy to transport to parties. It's colorful, it's light and it's healthy. Better yet, this recipe is created to pair with wines you'd expect to find at holiday parties like Chardonnay or Pinot Gris. An unoaked Chardonnay will be even better because the fruit and acidity will be more complimentary with the strawberries. Here's a few wines I'd recommend:

+ Bethel Heights Pinot Gris - Oregon + Spann Vineyards Chardonnay/Viognier - Sonoma + St. Supéry Oak Free Chardonnay - Napa

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Roast Lamb with Shallots, Mint and Mustard

Roast Lamb Chops

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS For lamb: 1 crown of lamb made from two 8-rib racks (about 4 1/2 pounds total) 3 TBSP butter, room temperature 1 TBSP plus 1/2 TSP Dijon mustard 2 TSP dried rosemary

1 cup dry white wine large shallots, chopped 1/4 cup chicken stock 3 TBSP fresh mint, chopped

For Spring Vegetables with Mint: 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, halved 1 baby carrot bunch, stems trimmed to 1 inch, peeled 1 10 OZ. basket pearl onions, peeled 1 LB fresh asparagus, trimmed, cut crosswise into thirds

3 TBSP butter 3 TBSP fresh mint, chopped

Preheat oven to 450°F. Mix 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon mustard and 1 1/2 teaspoons rosemary in bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper. Place lamb in roasting pan. Rub all over with butter mixture. Roast 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. and continue roasting until thermometer inserted into lamb registers 140°F. for medium-rare, about 40 minutes. Transfer lamb to platter; let stand 15 minutes.

Pour off fat from roasting pan and set pan aside. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over low heat. Add shallots and 1/2 teaspoon rosemary; sauté until shallots are tender, about 5 minutes. Add wine to roasting pan and bring to boil over high heat, scraping up any browned bits. Add wine to skillet. Add stock; boil until slightly thickened, about 6 minutes. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon mustard and mint. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon vegetables in center of and around roast. Serve, cutting lamb into chops and spooning sauce over.

To make spring vegetables: Place potatoes in vegetable steamer and steam 10 minutes. Add carrots and onions and steam until vegetables are almost tender, about 10 minutes longer. Add asparagus and steam until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes more.

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add mint and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and stir until vegetables are coated with butter.

Wine Pairings: The right selection of lamb will make all the difference. Colorado lamb is some of the best in the country and should be readily available at most decent markets. The resulting holiday dish will be tender and flavorful which bodes well for a lighter style red wine. Cabernet or high alcohol reds will most likely overpower the flavors. Here's a few I recommend:

+ Chateau Musar Rouge 1995 - Lebanon + Twisted Oak River of Skulls - Calaveras County, CA

+ Lucienne Pinot Noir Doctor's Vineyard - Central Coast, CA

+ Cougar Crest Cabernet Franc - Walla Walla, WA

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Herb Crusted Filet of Beef

tenderloin

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS 1 3-lb. Beef Tenderloin 3 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1/2 cup Madeira 2/3 cup Vermouth 1/4 Cognac 1 bay leaf 1 TBSP butter 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 TBSP marjoram 1 TBSP fresh thyme, chopped 1/2 cup cold water sea salt and pepper

HERB CRUST: 3 slices white bread, crusts removed 1/2 cup fresh herbs, chopped (thyme, marjoram, rosemary, parsley) 2-3 cloves garlic, minced

At least 2 hours before cooking, combine all ingredients together (not Herb Crust or Madeira) in a large bowl or pan. Place meat in mixture and cover entire cut of beef with herb mix. Refrigerate for later cooking.

To make herb crust, place bread in food processor with herbs and garlic. Process until well blended and fine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Grill Method: Preheat grill to medium high. Take beef out of marinade and set marinade aside for later. Cook each side of meat 4 minutes or so giving it a nice sear on all sides. After searing, move beef to upper rack or cooler side of grill and cook 20 minutes.

Oven Method: Preheat oven to 425°F. Oven sear beef (brown sides, about 5-7 minutes each side) then reduce heat to 350°F. Cook for 30-35 minutes making sure to baste throughout cooking.

After beef is done cooking, remove filet from grill or oven and place on a platter, then cover with foil tent. Place platter in oven with oven off and door open, or with the oven on WARM for 20 minutes. Take the marinade that was set aside and pour it into a small saucepan with 1/2 cup water. Bring to boil and reduce liquid by half, add madeira, then reduce by half. Serve sauce on the side late with beef. If you cooked the beef in the oven, you can use the roasting pan instead of a small saucepan so you get all the yummy bits.

To finish, rub herb crust mixture all over beef, brush a light amount of olive oil if needed. Place herb-covered beef back on the grill and cook each side about 2-3 minutes per side taking care to not burn the crust. If using the oven, broil each side for 2-3 minutes taking care to avoid burning.

Carve beef and serve with sauce on side.

Wine Pairings: Here's a regal beef dish that's sure to be a crowd pleaser. If you actually like the people you have over at your house you can bring out the good wines to impress them. Better yet, pull out a magnum. If it's your family and they're driving you up one wall and down another you can opt for the lower tier swill. If you dine at Chez Bakas, chances are it's all good stuff. Because this beef dish requires a little extra preparation, why not serve a wine that's got a little extra Bruce Lee round house kick to the taste buds? I'd serve these wines with this dish:

+ Quinta do Crasto Old Vines Reserva - Portugal + Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon - Washington + St. Supéry Dollarhide Ranch Cabernet - Napa + Vilafonté Series C - South Africa

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Garlic Roasted Chicken

garlic roasted chicken

INGREDIENTS 1 free ranch whole chicken 2 whole heads of garlic, unpeeled and cut in half horizontally 2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 cup white wine 3/4 cup chopped fresh herbs: Rosemary, Thyme, Lavender, Marjoram Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 375° Rinse chicken inside and out with cold water. Drain and pat dry. Mix together 1 TBSP fresh ground pepper, 1TBSP sea salt and herbs in a small bowl. In a 9x14 roasting pan, cover chicken with olive oil making sure to coat entire bird. Rub salt, pepper and herb mixture all over chicken including inside the cavity. Wrap chicken legs together with string. Put halved garlic heads into pan around chicken. Put roasting pan in oven on center rack and cook for 20 minutes. Baste chicken with wine and roast for another 25 minutes. Baste chicken again using pan juices. Turn chicken over and repeat process. After 90 minutes chicken skin should be golden brown. Chicken is done when clear juices run from thigh after poking with a knife.

Place chicken on platter with tail in the air so moisture and juices flow downhill to breast meat. Cover with foil and let chicken stand 10 minutes before serving with roasted garlic.

Wine Pairings: Here's a chicken dish that'll go with that buttery butterball Chardonnay you've been wanting to open. It's chicken. Keep it simple and enjoy! A few wines I'd serve:

+ Au Bon Climat Nuits Blanches Chardonnay - Santa Barbara + Sokol Blosser Evolution - Oregon + Domaine Jean-Marc Vincent, Les Hautes, Auxey-Duresses 2006 - Burgundy

Snowball Cookies

snowball cookies

INGREDIENTS 1/2 cup butter 2 TBSP sugar 1 TSP vanilla 3/4 cup chopped pecans 1 cup flour 1/4 TSP salt Powdered sugar

Cream butter Add all other ingredients, except the powdered sugar. Mix well. Shape into 1" balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees 15 minutes. These should be light in color, not brown. Cool and roll in powdered sugar.

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HOW TO: Grill a Turkey

charcoal Here's a recipe that might help reduce the amount of dishes and cleanup. The result is a turkey with a smoky flavor and crisp skin and comes from Barbara Ries' A Tradition Is Born. Use a well-brined bird (overnight). Serves 12

INGREDIENTS for the brine 1 12-lb. turkey 1 cup kosher salt 1 lemon, halved 1 orange, halved 1 onion, cut into wedges 3 gloves garlic, chopped 4 bay leaves 1 TBSP dried thyme 1 TBSP ground black pepper

INGREDIENTS for the rub 10 cloves garlic, finely chopped 2 cups flat leaf parsley, finely chopped 2 TSP chili powder 1/2 TSP cayenne 1/4 TSP ground black pepper 2 oranges, zested and cut into wedges 8 TBSP unsalted butter 1 large onion, roughly chopped 1 carrot, roughly chopped

1. Brine the turkey by combining salt, lemon, orange, onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and pepper in a 12-qt. pot or cooler. Add 1-1/2 gallons of cold water and stir together. Squeeze lemons and oranges into brine and add halves. Submerge the turkey, weigh down with dinner plates if necessary. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. The morning of Thanksgiving, remove the turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Make the rub by combining garlic, parsley, chili powder, cayenne, black pepper and orange zest in a large bowl. Using your fork or hands, work butter into ingredients to form a paste. Rub all over turkey. Put orange wedges, onions, carrots and 3 cups water into disposable roasting pan fitted with a rack. Set the turkey on top.

3. Build a medium-sized charcoal fire in a kettle grill, arranging the coals so they cover only one half of the bottom grate of the grill. For a smokier flavor, add water-soaked wood chips to coals. Place cover on grill and open the top and bottom vents of the grill, let the coals burn until and instant-read thermometer inserted into the top vent of the grill reads 500°F. Transfer roasting pan to the top grate of the grill on the side opposite the coals. Cover grill and cook for 30 minutes then cover breast with aluminum foil. Cook turkey, adding water to roasting pan as necessary and replenishing the coals every hour or so to maintain a temperature of roughly 350°F. Continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the turkey's thigh resisters 165°F. That's about 3 hours for a 12-lb. bird. After grilling, let sit covered with foil for 30 minutes.

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Grilled Tuna w/ Lemon & Caper Sauce

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Griddled tuna steak
Image via Wikipedia

INGREDIENTS

3 tuna steaks cut in into 1-1/4 inch thick (about a pound each) 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil 2 TBSP capers, drained 1 lemon, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices 2 TBSP parsley, finely chopped 4 TBSP butter Seas Salt & fresh ground pepper

Preheat grill (or broiler) to medium high. Brush both sides of tuna with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the butter is light brown. Cut lemon slices into quarters. Add them, along with their juice, along with capers to saucepan. Reduce heat and cook stirring frequently. Grill, or broil tuna turning once until charred outside and slightly pink inside (about 3-4 minutes per side). Transfer tuna to large platter and cut into thick strips. Pour lemon and caper sauce over fish and serve garnished with parsley.

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Colorado Baby Back Ribs

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MARINADE: 2 cups chicken stock 1/4 cup soy sauce 1/4 cup dry sherry 2 TBSP brown sugar 1 TSP fennel seeds, crushed 8 black peppercorns OTHER INGREDIENTS: 1 rack of baby back ribs 3 green onions, chopped

In a saucepan, Bring marinade ingredients to a boil. Simmer 10 minutes, then cool. Place ribs in a shallow pan, cover with marinade. Refrigerate over night, or at least for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350ºF as ribs come to room temp. Bake ribbs for 45 minutes, basting occasionallly. Heat grill to medium. Cook ribs for 5-7 minutes each side basting with marinade. Serve garnished with green onions and marinade on the side.

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Roasted Chicken with Rosemary-Lemon Butter

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1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces 4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil 1/4 cup chicken stock 1/4 cup white wine 3 garlic cloves, minced 6 rosemary sprigs 1 lemon 3/4 stick butter 3 TSP capers, drained Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Wash and pat dry chicken, separating skin from body. In a small bowl, melt butter, then mix in garlic, salt, pepper, juice from half of lemon and 3 rosemary sprigs, finely chopped. Rub mixture under skin of chicken, making sure to rub some on outside of chicken as well. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, pour in olive oil. Saute the chicken on all sides, about 12 minutes total. Place chicken in oven either in skillet or in glass baking dish for 10-12 minutes. While chicken is cooking, in a medium saucepan pour wine, chicken stock and remaining lemon juice. Bring to boil, then simmer until sauce is reduced to 1/3. Remove chicken from oven, pour sauce over chicken then garnish with rosemary sprigs and capers.

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Norwegian Meatballs with Cream Sauce

Spaghetti Bolognese
Image by Lachlan Hardy via Flickr

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Makes about 30 meatballs

Meatballs 4 TBSP butter 1 small onion, chopped 2 slices day-old rye bread, crusts trimmed, torn into pieces (about 1-1/2 cups) 2/3 cup beef stock or beef broth 1 egg 1/4 TSP ground allspice 1/4 TSP ground white pepper 1/2 pound ground beef 1/2 pound ground veal

Sauce 2 TBSP all purpose wheat flour 1 1/3 cups beef stock or beef broth 2 TBSP whipping cream Ground allspice

For meatballs: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly. Combine bread and stock in large bowl. Mix in onion mixture, egg, allspice and pepper. Add ground beef and veal and blend well. (Can be prepared 3 hours ahead. Cover and chill.) Shape meat into 1 1/4-inch balls. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs and sauté until cooked through and brown, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer meatballs to platter and keep warm. Reserve drippings in skillet. For sauce:
Add flour to drippings in skillet and stir over medium heat until brown, about 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in stock and cream. Simmer until sauce is thick and smooth, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with allspice, salt and pepper. Pour sauce over meatballs and serve.

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Scallops with Strawberry & Saffron Cream Sauce Pour Quatre

Serves 4 people A quick and easy crowd pleaser.  The strawberries and saffron provide a subtle hint of sweet and sour flavor.  With a heavier cream sauce, a white wine with enough acidity is required to “cut through” the heavy cream.  Without enough acidity, the flavor of the wine will not stand up to the dish. Spann wines have impeccable balance in all their wines.  The Chardonnay/Viognier from the 2006 vintage shows interesting depth of nuances.  Tropical aromas and flavors such as lychee, mango and passion fruit will compliment the strawberry and saffron notes.

INGREDIENTS 8 scallops (large and preferably unfrozen) 4 TBSP butter ½ pint of cream 1/8 TSP. crushed red pepper flakes 2 TBSP. White Wine 1-2 cloves garlic shaved or finely chopped 4 large strawberries sliced pinch of saffron salt to taste toast points (small pieces of bread lightly toasted; not crunchy)

In a small pan mix cream, strawberries, saffron, garlic, wine and salt to taste.  Cook over low heat for 15 minutes.

In a medium pan melt butter over medium heat.  Sautée scallops over medium heat in butter until carmelized, about 3-5 minutes each side depending on size.

Serve scallops sitting on cream sauce and garnish with toast points.

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