White Truffle Mac & Cheese w/ Bacon Recipe

This is comfort food to the max. Warm your soul during the fall and winter months with this warm, delectable yumminess originally posted by recipegirl.com. I've made this a few times, and it's pretty rich, so you can ratchet up the truffle a bit if you want.

 

Grilled Molasses Dijon Marinated Pork Tenderloin Wine Pairings

 

WINE PAIRING

There's something primal about firing up the grill.  I'm not going to lie, sometimes I look for an excuse to grill something.  We've even grilled pizza just because I didn't want to use the oven.  This recipe has distinct tart flavors from the mustard in the marinade and in the sauce.  The molasses' sweetness offsets that tartness, and the marinade will caramelize during grilling.  Adding the butter at the end also cuts down the tartness of the mustard.

Because of that, wine pairings aren't as obvious.  You might think of pulling out a Pinot Noir for the pork, but mustard and Pinot don't always go.  Pinot Noir has notes of tart cherry and red raspberry...not exactly ideal with mustard.  In the interest of gauging sweet, sour, bitter, salt and umami we're looking at above average bitterness so you could go with white, red or rosé:

2010 Chateau De Fontenille Rosé

Made from 100% Cabernet Franc, you've got sweetness to offset the dijon and molasses and you have a bing cherry plus sweet strawberry (notes found in Pinot Noir) to compliment the savory pork.  Some rosé wines can be too tart and make your glands pucker but not this one.  Sweet red fruits emanate from the glass, giving hints of the acidic backbone waiting to be discovered.  It might not be the perfect wine pairing, but it can work.

2004 Delas Fréres Hermitage, Les Bessards

Sassy and spicy, racy and sultry.  Yep, Hermitage wines can be some of the most magnificant Syrahs in the world.  I like it to pair with the pork because well balanced fig, truffle and spice box notes are framed around enough muscular structure to rock and roll with the sweet and tangy marinade.  Wine can have such a beautiful purity and this one has it.  It's almost a meal in itself, but your palate will love the choreography of tantizling spices dancing racing around with every bite.

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.

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Dungeness Crab Cake Salad with Watercress, Fennel and Orange

watercress INGREDIENTS for CRAB CAKES 1 egg, beaten 1 LB fresh Dungeness crab 3/4 cup bread crumbs 1/3 cup grated pecorino cheese 1/4 cup mayonaisse 3 shallots, finely chopped 2 TBSP dijon mustard juice from one lemon 1/4 cup green bell peppers, minced 1/4 cup red bell peppers, minced 1 TBSP green onions 2 TBSP parsley, finely chopped 1 TBSP butter 1/4 TSP cayenne pepper

INGREDIENTS for SALAD 4 cups watercress, rinsed 4 oranges, peeled and separated juice from one lemon 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced 3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil 1 fennel bulb, cleaned and sliced thinly Salt and Pepper to taste . . To prepare the crab cakes, heat butter in a sauté pan over medium low heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together shallots, grated cheese, lemon juice, mayo, egg, mustard, bread crumbs, bell pepper, salt and cayenne.  After mixing, add in crab meat, then divide into 8-10 balls.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To prepare salad, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  In a separate bowl, toss watercress, orange segments, fennel and onion together.

Remove crab balls from refrigerator and flatten into one inch thick cakes.  Heat 2-3 TBSP oil or butter in a skillet and cook for 4 minutes on each side over medium heat.  Distribute salad mix on chilled plates, top with dressing and crab cakes then serve.

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Wine pairings for this dish are pretty easy.  It's a flexible dish suitable for many Chardonnay's or rich whites.  The crab cakes are pretty hearty, so make sure to serve with a white wine that can hang.  I've tried oaked Chardonnay's and unoaked Chardonnays.  The both worked.  Pinot Grigio, Semillion, Viognier and other whites also work.  If I had to pick one wine as the most ideal pairing, it would be the Wente Riva Ranch Chardonnay from Livermore.

I'm more of an unoaked Chardonnay kinda guy, but once in a while, you just want that buttery butter ball that even Mrs. Butterworth thinks is buttery.  The Riva Ranch Chardonnay isn't obnoxious — still refined and a great expression of the vineyard.  Many people don't realize the Wente's were one of the first wine family's in California going back to the 1850's.  They've quietly gone about producing consistent well-priced estate wines.

The Riva Ranch has a creamy "dusty" texture with mineral highlights that can best be described as a combination of wet rocks and smoke.

detail_bottle_riva_ranch

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Top 10 Bacon Recipes of 2009

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Here it is loyal bacon fans, this year's list of crisp, savory delectables that are sure to light up your taste buds like a pinball machine.  A year ago I provided a list of the top 10 bacon recipes for 2008 that you can see updated here.  This year, bacon became the cosmic glue that wove social media sites together.  There were highlights, and there were lowlights...well, the lowlights were most likely everyone's lipid profile at the doctor.

I selected this year's recipes based on a combination of pushing the boundaries of how bacon should be used and ease of making the recipes.  So here you go in no particular order:

1. Bacon Wrapped Mashed Potatoes

That's right, I said it.  Bacon wrapped around mashed potatoes.  You may want to mow down some Lipitor and fish oil pills before taking on this dish.  It's really quite simple—make the mash potatoes, and if you're like my Mom or Paula Deen, you put a stick of butter in your potatoes.  Because I'm a real health nut, I only put a half stick of butter.  Keep the milk to a minimum because you want the potatoes to have the consistency of spackle.

Once you make the potatoes, slow cook some bacon in a pan half way.  You want to cook the bacon just enough that it starts to crisp, but you can still bend it without breaking.  Let the bacon cool on a paper towel, then weave the bacon together like fabric.  Put the bacon on a cookie sheet then put a dollop of mash potatoes in on the woven pig products.  Wrap the bacon around said potatoes, then bake until the bacon gets crispy.

If you really want to throw caution to the wind, put some cheese in there just to give your arteries the finger.

2. Bacon Candy

I didn't have to look too far for this gem.  As it turns out, this recipe was the catalyst that led to my being hired at St. Supéry winery.  Back in March, Lisa DeBruin aka winedivergirl and I were talking about bacon.  She mentioned she had a friend who had been experimenting with this recipe.  That person turned out to be LesleyKeffer who is now my boss at the winery.  See what happens when you follow your love of bacon?

The recipe is simple: Crisp, savory bacon with BBQ rub, caramel, semisweet chocolate and crystallized ginger.  Check it here.

How lucky am I to work for someone who loves bacon as much as I do?  I freakin' scored!

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3. The Bacon Smootie

My wife was none to pleased when she saw what I was putting in our blender.  I'm not going to lie, it's kinda weird. But it works.  The reason why is the chocolate, which goes with bacon quite nicely.  And chocolate also goes with raspberries, so together, the chocolate, raspberries and bacon are like the Voltron of savory flavor.  The recipe was very tasty, but gasey.  Go here to get the original recipe that started it all.

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4. Bacon Wrapped French Toast Sticks

Contrary to popular belief, this masterpiece is NOT made with Twinkies, it's made with french toast sticks.  Of course if you really had no concern for your own well being you could substitute Twinkies, but I think the creme filling would be gross.  By using french toast sticks this actually qualifies as breakfast rather than a late night snack put together after too many bong rips.  The judges have awarded the Stonehenge concept with high marks, but the execution was lazy, so the judges had to dock them a few points because it wasn't to scale.

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5. The Lowrider Pizza

This recipe is based on a pie served at Proto's in Colorado.  We took something good and made it orgasmic!  How? you might ask.  By adding more crisp, savory bacon.

Get yourself an unbaked pizza crust (we like the Pilsbury pizza dough at most grocery stores).  In a bowl, mix together tomato sauce with about a TSP of chipotle Tabasco sauce or some other chipotle sauce.  Add a little more to give the sauce a little Jackie Chan kick to your tongue if you'd like.  Cover the pizza with shredded mozzarella, crisp bacon bits, small red onion slice and pineapple chunks.  Don't hate on the pineapple going on the pizza, it serves a purpose which is to counter the spice of the chipotle.  Bake the pizza as fast as you can, then cover the pie with chopped cilantro.

Of course, when in doubt, add some more crisp savory bacon bits.  It's a simple pizza to make, but a good twist to feature the bacon.

lowrider baby, yeah!

6. Bouef a la Bourguignonne

This might be one of my favorite recipes of all time for winter.  It has two of my favorite things in life— bacon and wine.  Yum!  This is a hearty dish that you slow cook all day before serving.  It requires a little foresight and preparation the day before, but when you do it right it'll all be worth it.

The recipe calls for 4OZ. of bacon, but by all means don't let that stop you from adding more :D  The meat you select is important, don't get the cheap stew meat, even though it'll be tender, get something that's tender to start with.  Tri tip is a good choice.

Get the recipe here

7. Maple Bacon Cinnamon Rolls

I nearly blew my 'O' ring when I first tried this breakfast item.  I mean, come on, it's bacon wrapped or sprinkled onto or into cinnamon rolls.  Now is probably a good time to make a public service announcement about not eating all these recipes in the same week.  Space it out.  Your doctor will thank you for it.

The recipe is available from Delicious Coma and can be found here.

photo via Delicious Coma

8. Emeril's Brussels Sprouts with Bacon (Video)

Emeril made last year's Top 10 bacon list too.  Hmmm, this guy might be onto something.  This recipe was selected because you need vegetables from time to time, and what makes vegetables better?  Yep.  You got it.

Get it here

photo via Food Network

9. Heirloom Grilled Cheese Sammich w/ Tomato Bacon Soup

Comfort food plain and simple.  It's quick and easy to make and when you think about it, what else do you need in life?  Many of the essential food groups are represented here, which is nice.  Anytime you can get vegetables in with your bacon it's a good thing.

When I saw this recipe from Rick Massa on the Food Network site, I was hooked.  You will be too which is why it's on the top ten list.

10. You Call It!

There are so many great bacon recipes, and throughout the year I've talked to many creative people online who have great uses for bacon, so we're going to crowd source the final pick of the list.  Leave a comment below and let me know which bacon recipe YOU think should be on the top ten.  See you in 2010!

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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

Pinot_Doctor's_07

 

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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Chicken Saltimbocca

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chicksalt1

Serves 4 Traditionally, this classic Italian dish is made with veal, but chicken also works. The sauce will help keep the chicken moist while the Marsala compliments the prosciutto.

INGREDIENTS 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 2 TBSP Olive Oil 8 oz. mushrooms sliced in half ½ cup beef stock or broth ½ cup marsala or Madeira 2 oz. chopped prosciutto 2 TBSP chopped sage 2 TBSP butter Salt and Pepper

Slice chicken breasts in half length-wise then place in a reseal able plastic bag. Pound each breast with a meat mallet until they are about ¼” thick. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, Sauté 2 pieces of chicken at a time in olive oil until browned, about 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate with foil on top to keep warm.

In same pan (do not clean bits out of pan), cook mushrooms until they begin to brown over medium-high heat. Transfer mushrooms to another plate. Add marsala and beef stock to pan, reduce heat to medium-low and reduce liquid to half. Remove liquid in pan from heat, then add sage, prosciutto and butter. Serve chicken with sauce poured over top.

This recipe tends to lean towards the salty side of the taste map. Both the beef stock and prosciutto have a good amount of salty taste, so to offset that with the wine I look to a wine with sweetness. Your basic buttery Chardonnay will have enough vanilla creaminess and sweetness to compliment this recipe. I don't think a Sauvie B would work as it's too bitter. Perhaps an Italian Soave or Pinot Gris would also work as this is an Italian dish. When cooking regional fare, the wines from the same region are often a good place to start.

tongue-map_pairing2

One of the Chardonnay's I like with this recipe is the Norman Reserve Chardonnay from Paso Robles. Rich and creamy, and so buttery even Mrs. Buttersworth would say, "Damn! That's buttery!" I like the complex apricot, tangerine, lemon, peach and vanilla toastiness. The intensity of flavors are pretty similar which makes this Reserve (under $20) a great choice. Cheers!

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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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Chocolate Fettucine, Berries Flambé à la mode

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INGREDIENTS FOR FETTUCINE 2 TBSP Cocoa 2 TBSP Hot Water 2 TBSP Sugar 2 eggs, beaten ½ cup strong pasta flour

INGREDIENTS FOR BERRIES 1 QT. Raspberries or Strawberries, cleaned, stems removed ¼ cup sugar 1 TSP salt 2 TBSP butter

FINALE 2 QTs boiling water 1 cup sugar 1 TBSP butter ¼ cup brandy or cognac 1 QT vanilla bean ice cream

Combine cocoa, hot water and sugar and mix into a paste.  Add cocoa paste, flour and beaten egg.  Knead dough until smooth, rest 5 minutes at room temp. Roll out dough and cut into fettuccine strips with a pasta knife or machine.

For strawberries melt butter in small saucepan.  Add strawberries, sugar and salt.  Cover and cook on low heat 15 minutes.

Cook pasta in 2 qts. Boiling water with sugar for 8 minutes.  Drain pasta and mix with 1 TBSP butter.  Twirl fettucine on fork to form a ball in bottom of bowl or large plate. Top with vanilla ice cream. Turn strawberries on high heat for 1 minutes.  Add cognac and ignite with lighter or match (stand back).  Swirl alcohol around pan until flame dies down.  Spoon strawberry mixture over ice cream.  Enjoy!

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