Fruit Stuffed Pork Loin Roast w/ Bergstrom Pinot Noir

. . Here's a wine+food pairing from Bergstrom's wine club.  In my recent shipment they included this recipe, and being the pork lover that I am, I thought it would be good to share with all my readers.

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Fruit Stuffed Pork Loin Roast

INGREDIENTS 4 lbs boneless pork loin roast prepared for stuffing 1 cup pitted, chopped prunes 1 cup dried, chopped apricots 1 clove garlic 8 TBSP butter 1 TBSP dried thyme 1 cup Madeira 1 TBSP molasses Salt and Pepper to taste . 1. Preheat oven to 350° degrees 2. Mix prunes and apricots, roll up in cavity of pork loin and secure with twine 3. Cut garlic clove into thin sliver, make slits in roast with tip of knife and push garlic into slits 4. Rub the roast with the softened butter then sprinkle with salt & pepper and thyme 5. Set the roast in a shallow pan, mix the Madeira and molasses, then pour over roast 6. Set the roast on the middle rack of the oven and bake 1-1/2 hours or approximately 20 min per pound. Baste frequently. Roast will be medium when the temperature is 160° degrees 7. When roast is done, remove from oven and cover with an aluminum foil tent for 15 min 8. Slice thin and spoon pan juices over slices. Garnish with watercress if desired.

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GARLIC SCALLOPED POTATOES

INGREDIENTS

3 lbs yellow potatoes peeled and sliced thin 2 cloves of garlic 6 TBSP butter 3 cups heavy cream Salt and Pepper to taste . 1. Cut garlic and rub over the survace of a shallow casserole dish 2. Layer potatoes with dots of butter & cream. You can also add caramelized sweet onions to layering if desired 3. Bake slowly at 325° degrees for approximately 1-1/2 hours. It's important to cook slowly so the cream doesn't curdle but gets absorbed by potatoes 4. When done, increase heat to 400° degrees for last 10 minutes to brown tops 5. Let potatoes set for about 10 minutes before serving

Scallop, Orange and Endive Salad

INGREDIENTS 16 scallops ½ cup extra virgin olive oil 2 TBSP red wine vinegar 1 TSP coriander seeds, toasted and cracked 3 TBSP orange juice concentrate Salt and pepper 3 oranges, peeled and segmented 2 endives, cut lengthwise, ¼ inch slices 1 red onion, thinly sliced ½ cup chopped walnuts (toast for 10 min. @ 400 covered with butter and honey) ¼ cup dried cherries or cranberries

Blend ¼ cup olive oil, orange juice, red wine vinegar, coriander, salt and pepper. Set aside. Combine oranges, endives and red onion in salad bowl. Toss with half of olive oil mixture. Season scallops with salt and pepper. In large pan heat 1 TBSP olive oil over medium heat. Lightly brown scallops (3-4 min/side). Remove from pan, keep warm. Only cook up to 8 scallops at once. Add walnuts to salad. Portion onto 4 plates, scallops on top. Sprinkle with cherries or cranberries.

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This recipe is good, REALLY good. When you chomp into a bite, the subtle orange flavors light up your taste buds like a pinball machine. But it's not just because orange flavors have a tanginess to them, it's because the supporting cast of other nuances compliment different taste regions on your palate. So it's not just about hitting one taste region on your tongue, it's about hitting 'em all at once. I love this salad. When it's complete, it looks like a creation you'd find in a high falutin' restaurant in a cosmopolitan city like San Francisco or New York. It not only tastes good, it looks good--kind of like the type of dish that would be on the front cover of a cook book. But this out when you have someone over you want to impress. And if you really like your guests, pair this salad with a white wine that has more tropical mojo like the Gewurztraminer-like Traminette from Pheasant Ridge in upstate New York. This wine is made from organically grown grapes, and is a hybrid grape which resembles a heartier Gewurztraminer. It's perfect for more interesting chef salads like this one. Bon App!

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The History of Restaurants & Dining

Although public eateries existed as far back as Ancient Rome and the Sung Dynasty in China, today's modern restaurants originated in 18th century France.  The word, Restaurant comes from the French word, restaurer which means "to restore".  Early establishments were built as a place where people could come restore their energy and strength.  The establishments weren't fancy nor did they have tables with linens.  They were basically rooms where someone could come and consume meats that would restore one's health, especially when someone wasn't feeling well.

The modern Café originated in Constantinople in the 1500's and served as a place where educated people could come meet.  Coffee was big in Constantinople, so the term coffee house translated into café.

During the French Revolution restaurants evolved into something like today's establishments where food and drink were served.  One of the first restauranteurs was a man by the name of Boulanger, who opened a spot near the Louvre where people could stop and restore their health.  Another restaurant called the Grand Taverne de Londres was opened by Beauvilliers in 1782.  Until this moment in history, meals weren't prepared for individuals by a chef.  Patrons ate what was offered.  Beauvilliers and Boulanger created the first menus with dishes that could be prepared individually by a chef.

History's first sommeliers came from the same time period.  The word, sommelier came from a French word that was for designated court servants who were responsible for transporting supplies.  Over time, the word evolved to represent a steward who was responsible for stocking and serving wine, beer and spirits.  Today, a sommelier needs to know what the wines in their restaurant taste like and be familiar with how the wines would pair with foods.  Sommeliers also need to be familiar with beers, cigars, spirits and represent a high level of service.

I became a Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers because I wanted to be an educator, a student, a servant and a reference for wine+food.  Hope you find this information useful for the next time you're dining out.  Happy dining!

A Trio of Spanish Cheeses

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Rich and buttery with a wood-smoked nutty nuance along with citrus undertones.  Made with raw sheep's milk.

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Made just 50 miles west of Madrid, this is technically a blue cheese — tangy, salty, and robust.  You'll even find hits of juniper.  In fact, that's what the word "Enebro" means.

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A firm textured cheese with a rind washed with fresh rosemary and olive oil, this cheese is then aged in an open cave for 8 months.

The Top 10 Bacon Recipes of 2010

. Hey bacon fans, get your defibrillators ready because the 3rd annual list is out.  The numerous uses for bacon ceases to amaze me, so I like to celebrate the versatility of bacon with an annual top list of recipes.  Past year's lists are worth checking out:

2009 Top 10 list of Bacon recipes

2008 Top 10 list of Bacon recipes

This year's list represents simplicity and ingenuity.  The past two years I'd get messages saying I left something out of the list, so this year I decided to crowd source the top ten list.  Without further adieu, here they are in no particular order:

1. BACON WRAPPED RUMAKI -

When my friend (and same birthday buddy) Kris O'Connor told me about this recipe I wasn't sure about it.  Well, I went from slightly skeptical to thoroughly convinced in one bite.  It goes to show that you can wrap bacon around just about anything, and it'll be good. The combination of sweet, savory and sour is a artery clogging trifecta of goodness.  Try to eat just one.  Seriously, try it.

2. BACON WRAPPED CREAM CHEESE STUFFED CHICKEN

It might take you longer to say the name of this recipe out loud than it does to wolf it down.  If you're a single guy, and you'd rather do something other than cook an entire meal but you want something tasty...this is the way to go.  Leave it to our friends at CHOW to come up with this recipe, and another good use for bacon.  My favorite thing about this recipe is it sounds like it might be healthy because it's got chicken in it...but it's not.

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3. BUTTERMILK BACON PRALINES -

Submitted by Libby V. of Swirl Girls fame.  You'll need a cigarette after eating one of these gems...

Adapted from Martha Hall Foose’s “Screen Doors and Sweet Tea”

Makes 24 small pralines

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

1. In a heavy-bottomed, deep saucepan, combine the sugars, buttermilk, corn syrup, baking soda and salt over medium heat. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the mixture reaches 235 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

2. Remove from heat. Add butter, vanilla, pecans, orange zest and bacon. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy.

3. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a silicone mat or buttered parchment paper. Let stand 30 minutes, or until cool. Store in an airtight container.

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4. CORNBREAD MADE WITH BACON FAT

If I was a caveman and just discovered the internet, this would probably be one of the first things I came across online.  It's cornbread, which by itself is delicious, but it's made with frickin' bacon grease.  Pretty popular recipe actually, but I like the one on the Homesick Texan blog.  If you're a real health freak, don't put butter on it.  But if you're not concerned with your health, slather butter AND bacon bits on top.

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5. BACON FLAVORED COTTON CANDY

You might want to order some Shake Weights off ESPN if you're going to take one of these down.  I remember hearing about this last year, but it was too late to make the list.  Not sure how to make this exactly, but there's an article and quote from Mary Constantine of KnoxNews.com...

"Yes, I said bacon-flavored cotton candy, and before you wrinkle your nose in disgust, let me tell you, it was one of the most incredible creations I have ever tasted. I don’t know the chemistry behind Brock’s magic of rendering bacon into the flavorful fairy dust, but it worked. I only wish I could have bagged some up and brought it home for all to sample."

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6. BACONTOTS

If there was ever an example of "keep it simple stupid," this is it.  Do the math: Bacon + Tots = delicious grubby little treat.

Thanks to Bacon Unwrapped for this idea.  You gotta admire someone who makes a commitment to bacon like that.

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7. SPAGHETTI ALLA CARBONARA

This was literally the first bacon-y recipe we made in 2010, but it wasn't the last time we made it.  If you're watching your carbs, use wheat pasta.  God forbid you don't want to load up on carbs when you're ingesting bacon.  Not only is the recipe easy and cheap, but it's fun to pair with wine.  What would you pair with it?  Please leave suggested pairing in the comments section.

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8. DECONSTRUCTED BLT

I love the internet!  Whoever the genius is that thought to take a BLT and turn it inside out should be given some sort of award on the same level as a Noble Peace Prize.  They take the carbs out, and dial up the most important ingredient, which is bacon.  Thank you to our friends at Not Martha for one of the coolest, and most innovative uses for bacon.  It's got tomatoes in it so it can't be all bad, can it?  Here's the recipe!

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9. HOT BACON DRESSING

You gotta get your greens in there somewhere.  Each year I like to throw in a "healthy" recipe to utilize the power of pork.  This year it's a salad dressing that's been around for a long time.  One recipe in particular that's been in my wheelhouse is the Hot Bacon Dressing recipe from Ellen Folkman of TampaBay.com

Put it on a spinach salad with a hard boiled egg or just drink it out of a glass.  Who cares?  It's got bacon and that's all you really need.  Everything else is just window dressing.

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10. INSIDE OUT BACON CHEESEBURGER SLIDERS

Yep, I said it.  If you somehow ate your way through my top ten list and made it to this recipe, you better consult with a doctor before shoving one of these babies down your gullet.  The original idea was for the Independence Day Sliders post, but we were feeling frisky, so we added bacon into the mix.  Then I turned 40 and realized my mortality.  You can't eat like this all the time unless you just really want to give your arteries the finger.  If you do try these, you'll be handsomely rewarded with savory goodness.

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So there you have it bacon brethren...the top 10 list.  By no means is this the end all list of the year, it's just the list of recipes that push the envelope to try new things.  If there's anything I missed, please leave comments and share your favorites!

Presidential Rack of Lamb a la Richelieu

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When President and Mrs Reagan visited Paris in the mid 1980's they did have many official functions including a diplomatic dinner with President and Madame Francoise Mitterand at the Elysee Palace (the White House of France) Naturally, the diplomatic decorum demanded that the American guests of honor should return the invitation. The Reagans were staying at the US Embassy and decided to honor the French President and first lady with non American food. The chefs at the US Embassy were French chefs. The Lamb recipe is very fancy in terms of prestige. It was put together by chef Auguste Esccoffier at the turn of the 20th century. It was named in honor of Cardinal Armand de Richelieu, who was chief minister to King Louis XIII in the 17th century.

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INGREDIENTS 2 racks, 6 chops each., have the butcher cut the chine bone for easy serving of chops.

Marinade: 1/2 bottle of white wine 1/2 cup of quality olive oil 1 medium onion sliced 1 whole bay leaf crumbled 1/2 teaspoon of dried marjoram, or 2 TBSP of fresh if available 8 black peppercorns, coarsly crushed 1/2 TSP of dried thyme, or 2 TSP of fresh salt to taste

Marination needs to be a minimum of 4 hr. Overnight would be good. Keep turning and spoon over the rack.

Place in the oven and grill at 450 degrees for 30-40 minutes depending on cooking level preferred. Keep to lamb warm in the oven while the sauce is being made.

Sauce: Place the drippings in a fry pan. Remove some of the fat. Add a cup of port or madeira. Reduce under high heat. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of butter one at a time. Serve the sauce in a gravy boat at the table.

marinate AT LEAST 4 Hrs.

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Chicken in Garlic and Shallots

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INGREDIENTS 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces (or 10 chicken thighs) 1/2 cup olive oil plus 2 TBSP olive oil 10 peeled garlic cloves 10 shallots, peeled and split Several sprigs of parsley, sage and thyme Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Toss with 2 TBSP oil and brown on both sides in wide frying pan or skillet over high heat. Remove from heat, add garlic, shallots, herbs and remaining olive oil. Do not chop herbs. Bake covered in a dutch oven or covered baking dish for 1-1/2 hours.

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Grilled Chili Lime Shrimp

. . . INGREDIENTS 1 LB jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined 1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped 4 garlic cloves, minced Juice from 1 lime 1 Anaheim or jalapeno pepper, diced 1 TBSP ginger, minced 1 TSP pepper

Clean and prep shrimps.  In a small bowl, combine all ingredients.  Pour over shrimp and marinate for 1 hour. Heat grill to medium-high.  Grill shrimp on each side until opaque.

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The garlic and cilantro offset the tanginess from the lime juice.  Depending on how much heat you want from the chili, it will determine which wine to pair with. For a spicier option, go with the jalapeno pepper and pair with a creamy Riesling. If you go with an Anaheim pepper instead, the flavor is a bit faint but it makes this dish more friendly to pair with a Sauvignon Blanc such as the Warwick Sauvie B from South Africa or the Snapdragon white blend from Isenhower Cellars in Washington. Again with the creamy texture--it's a Rhone-inspired blend of Roussane and Viognier. The tropical notes compliment the lime and garlic nicely without overpowering the dish.

 

For this to be a $30 wine+food pairing, the wine needs to be about $15 or less.  Depending on if the shrimp are on sale or not, you should be able to get all the ingredients for about $15, which is nice.  With that in mind, I looked for a wine that would lock horns with the smokiness of the grill and the chili-lime fresh flavors.  The 2008 Domaine Ricard Touraine les Trois Chenes is a fun little Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley.  Imagine your chili lime shrimps coming off the grill feeling feisty and ready to get into the ring with a lime, a cilantro bunch and a tangerine.  The battle royale of flavor that would ensue is what your taste buds are going to witness.  The Domaine Ricard grapes are biodynamically grown, and for you, the wine drinker the result is a pleasant, crisp, tropical wine with tangerine lime zest notes on the nose that fit like a puzzle piece with the shrimps.  Enjoy!

Pork Tenderloin with Chiptole-Orange Marmalade Sauce

INGREDIENTS 2 cups chicken stock or broth 2 cups beef stock or broth 1 pound pork tenderloin 3 TBSP olive oil ½ cup orange marmalade 1-2 Chipotle peppers, finely chopped ½ cup finely chopped shallots 1 TBSP water 2 TSP cornstarch Salt and Pepper

Bring chicken and beef stocks/broth to a boil in medium saucepan. Lower heat to medium low, simmer 1 hour, reduce to 1 cup of liquid.

Sprinkle salt and pepper over pork. Grill over medium heat 20 mins, 10 mins each side. (Or in skillet, cook pork in 1 oz. olive oil, 4 minutes a side, then oven-bake, 425ºF, 15-20 mins.)

Heat 2 TBSP olive oil in medium saucepan, medium high heat. Sautée shallots until tender, 5 mins. Add stock mixture, chipotles and orange marmalade, simmer 5 mins. In bowl mix water and corn starch. Whisk into marmalade mixture. Let sauce thicken, 5 mins. Cut tenderloin into ½ -in. thick pieces. Fan out slices onto plate, sauce covers.

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I like the Spann Vineyards MoZin with this recipe.  Not only is the MoZin perfectly balanced between Bitter, Sour, Salt and Sweetness, but the Pork recipe has offsetting flavors that create a sense of balance.  Pork is inherently salty, so we complimented that with the sweetness of the orange marmalade and the bitterness from the shallots.  There's sourness from the citrus in the orange, but it's not as noticable.

Both wine and recipe are around the same intensity of flavor, if I had to pick a number, they're probably both around a "7" on a scale of 1 to 10.

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Bacon Smoothie Recipe

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Raspberries
Image via Wikipedia

Before you have a gag reflex thinking about what the bacon smoothie might look like, take comfort knowing it's still a fruit smoothie.
The list of ingredients are:

1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup soy milk
1/4 cup acai
1/2 cup frozen raspberries and blueberries
1 TSP greens (dietary supplement)
2 strips of slow cooked, savory maple bacon
1-2 TBSP dark chocolate powder
1 TBSP Agave

Pretty simple. Just throw it all in a blender and blend it.

The reason the recipe works is the chocolate. Chocolate and bacon go together, but there still needs to be fruit. Raspberries, blueberries and acai not only go with chocolate, but they're also good for you and you need something good to offset the bacon, which is not a health food.
Play around with the amounts. I find with this recipe you can taste the raspberry, chocolate and bacon all equally, nothing overpowers the taste.

Enjoy!

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