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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Artesian Sea Salt from Mendocino

I met Captain Bob La Mar at the San Rafael farmer's market.  Bob and his wife, Lora were looking for a way to share their love of the Northern California ocean with others.  Lora created a seasoning to give out as holiday gifts by simmering down the ocean water until it was salt.  The result was a salt with a unique taste and texture.

I'm going to experiment with some of their seasonings, especially the Sea Smoke.  It has a smokey BBQ salt smell that might be perfect for seasoning ribs.  Another possible use that might be fun is on popcorn.  I told Captain Bob there was a Pinot Noir producer called Sea Smoke in California.  Might be fun to do a Sea Smoke wine+food pairing one night.

Check out Mendocino Sea Salt on Foodzie

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Butternut Squash Soup

INGREDIENTS

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced 1-1/4 LB potatoes, peeled and diced 3 carrots, peeled and diced 1 QT vegetable stock 2 TSP lemon juice 2 TBSP brown sugar 1/2 cup white onion, roughly chopped 1 Pint cream 2 TSP curry powder 2 TSP curry powder

In large heavy pot, melt butter on low heat.  Add onions, squash, potatoes and carrots.  Cover and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally until vegetables are translucent but not brown, about 1 hour.  Add vegetable stock, cover and simmer for 2 hours. Add cream and curry powder.  Use hand blender and blend until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.

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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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Grandma Jay's Hamburger Steak in Mushroom Gravy

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This is a recipe my Grandma made for my Mom, who in turn made it for us growing up.  Chances are we'll make this for our kids some day.  It's quick, easy and can be substituted with ground turkey.

INGREDIENTS

1 LB ground beef 1 egg 1/4 cup coarse dry bread crumbs 1 TSP Worcestershire sauce 1 PKG dehydrated onion soup mix 2 TBSP olive oil 2 TBSP flour 1 can mushrooms, drained (save juice) 1/8 TSP ea. Salt and Pepper

Mix meat, egg, crumbs, seasonings and half the dry soup mix together.  Shape into 4 patties and brown in a large skillet on both sides in oil.  Remove meat, set aside.  Blend flour into drippings, then add mushroom liquid plus enough water to make approx. 2 cups.  Cook until thickened and smooth, stirring occasionally. Add remaining onion soup mix plus mushrooms, cook 5 minutes, then add meat.  Heat meat in gravy, spooning gravy over top until desired serving temp.

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Balsamic Glazed King Salmon

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I'm finding salmon to be a really great fish for wine and food pairings.  There are so many different ways to prepare salmon, and a wide range of wines to pair with.  One of my favorite grapes is Pinot Noir, and Pinot just happens to go hand in hand with salmon.

This dish makes good use of the Balsamic vinegar to cover up any fishy taste.  Norwegian salmon is nice and fatty, and has a flavor perfect for this dish.  When you grill the salmon, the grilled flavor really gives the salmon a nice glaze.

Check out the 1996 Domaine Leroy Bourgogne from Burgundy. Burgundy Pinot Noirs take longer to come together in the bottle so you have to be patient.  When you get a good one, it's magic in a bottle.  Burgundy has 4 levels designated on their labels:

Bourgogne - when you see that on the label, it means the grapes were sourced from anywhere in Burgundy.  Pretty broad area.

Villages - Burgundy is broken up into villages, such as Cote de Nuits.  This zooms into a smaller area within Burgundy.  Grapes from that village are in a Villages bottle, pronounced (vilaj).

1er Cru - Also known as Premiere Cru.  This zooms in even more to a specific vineyard that's within a village, which is within Burgundy.  Pinot really starts to express terroir when you get into a specific vineyard.  Quality and collectility goes up.

Grand Cru - When you get a wine from a Grand Cru vineyard, you have something special.  This is the ultimate expression of terroir and winemaking.  Some Grand Cru wines from Burgundy fetch upwards of $2,000 a bottle because the quality is the highest, but supply is the lowest.

Leroy is one of the top producers in Burgundy, so although her Bourgogne is the lowest of the four levels, hers is still spectacular.  The 1996 is very youthful, velvety and complex.  Aromas out of the glass are like a tractor beam bringing the glass to your lips—you're powerless to stop it.

LeroyBoug

recipe from Chef Ron Barber

INGREDIENTS 4 salmon steaks – about 6 ounces each, 1 inch thick 1 cup balsamic vinegar 1/2 cup Cabernet Franc 1 TBSP fresh lime juice 1 TSP sugar

Combine the balsamic vinegar, wine, lime juice, and sugar in a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and reduce the mixture by half – allow to cool.  Add the salmon steaks to the marinade and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Prepare a charcoal or gas grill.  Remove the salmon from the marinade and pat dry.  Season with salt and pepper and grill over high heat for about 4 minutes per side.  Serve with grilled vegetables and steamed rice.

photo via SheKnows

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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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Maple-Orange Glazed Ham

Easter 06 I [Ham]
Image by boodoo via FlickrMakes 8 servings.

Sweet and savory meets salty and tart. The ham with maple syrup and OJ will cover 3 of the 4 taste regions on your palate. We add in the cinnamon and cloves to touch on the 4th. With a nice balance of flavors, a balanced wine like a $12 Riesling from Waterbrook will compliment this dish nicely.

3 LB nitrite-free boneless precooked ham 1 cup pure maple syrup ½ cup orange marmalade 2 TBSP orange juice 1 TSP cinnamon ¼ TSP ground cloves

Preheat oven to 325•F. Place ham in roasting pan, make crosshatch incisions with knife. Bake 30 minutes. In small bowl, mix together syrup, orange juice, cinnamon and cloves. Salt and pepper to taste. Brush ham with mixture, then pour remaining mixture over ham. Increase oven to 425•F. Bake for 35-45 minutes more, brushing with glaze every 10 minutes. Remove from oven, let stand for 20 minutes before carving.

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