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.

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

Pork Tenderloin w/ Cherry Sauce

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One of my favorite wines to serve with pork is Pinot Noir. Pinot and pork go together like movies and popcorn. It may be one of the best wine+food pairings around. Grenache is another wine that does pork justice and the reason why is cherries. Pinot Noir and Grenache have notes of cherries, which is why I pulled out this recipe:

INGREDIENTS 1 pork tenderloin 1/2 cup beef stock 1/2 cup chicken stock 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar 3/4 cup pinot noir (see uses for leftover wine) 1 TSP nutmeg 1/4 cup shallots, minced 1 TBSP olive oil 3 TBSP sugar 2 TBSP sweet cherries in syrup 1 TBSP ground chipotle salt and pepper

First step, tell your taste buds to buckle up 'cause this is going to be a good meal.

Next, season the pork tenderloin with salt, pepper and chipotle. You can use dry or canned chipotle. The idea is to get some of that smokey spice on the pork.

In a skillet, heat 1 TBSP olive oil and sear the pork on all sides, about 30 seconds over medium high heat. Remove the pork and set aside to grill. Preheat the grill to medium. I like to smoke the pork with indirect heat but you can just grill it. Cook the pork on the grill about 25 minutes or until done.

While pork is cooking on the grill, sauté shallots in skillet over medium heat making sure to use a wooden spoon to scrape pork bits off pan. After shallots start to brown, add in balsamic vinegar and sugar, reduce until it's about a tablespoon. Add in the wine and nutmeg. Simmer until the liquid reduces to about 1/4 cup. Add in the beef/chicken stock and simmer until liquid reduces to 1/4 cup. Add in cherries in syrup. Reduce heat to keep the sauce warm until pork is ready.

Remove the pork from the grill when it's done. Slice into medallions and serve with sauce spooned over pork.

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!

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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Wine+Food Pairing: Pork Tenderloin w/ Figs and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce

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INGREDIENTS

1 1-lb. unseasoned pork tenderloin 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon butter 1/4 cup minced shallots 3 TBSP balsamic vinegar 1 cup beef stock 6 fresh ripe figs, quartered 1 TBSP fresh minced mint leaves 1/2 cup whipping cream Sea Salt Fresh ground pepper

Season pork generously with olive oil, salt, pepper and minced mint leaves. Let it marinate 2 hours at least. Heat grill to medium high. Grill pork tenderloin on all sides making for a total of about 20-25 minutes.

While pork is grilling, melt 1 TBSP butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sautee until tender, about 2 minutes. Add 2 TBSP vinegar. Simmer until vinegar evaporates, about 1 minute. Add beef stock. Simmer until mixture is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add figs and whipping cream. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 4 minutes. Add remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar and any accumulated juices from pork. Simmer until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon, about 2 minutes longer. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

 

WINE PAIRING

This recipe has a nice sweet and savory thing going on.  The pork will have plenty of salt from the pork, stock and seasoning.  The shallots and reduced balsamic give you sweetness and a little bitter (although you could add more to the bitter taste category).

The Spann Vineyard MoZin is a Chéz Bakas favorite (and was served at our wedding).  I love this wine each vintage because the Spann's have created a unique blend of Zinfandel, Mourvédre and Petite Sirah.  Some vintages even have a little Cargignan.  MoZin is a surprisingly easy wine to pair with food.  In this case, the well-balanced MoZin has the same intensity of flavor as the Balsamic, Figs and Pork.  The flavors marry well together on your sweet, sour, bitter and salt taste regions.  Enjoy!

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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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Pork Tenderloin w/ Carmelized Pears & Pear Cream Sauce

Pork, Pork, Pork and more PORK!

Gotta love how flexible pork is to cook with.  I love pork tenderloin because the recipe usually goes well with some of my favorite wines.  After living in Oregon for 17 years, I fell madly and deeply in love with the Pinot Noir grape, especially from Oregon.  So when dinner involves pork paired with Pinot, I'm a super happy camper.  This recipe is one of the top three best pork recipes I've had in the past year.  If you make this, I'd love to hear what wine you'd pair with it.

INGREDIENTS 1 pork tenderloin, around 1 lb. 2 TBSP olive oil 4 TBSP butter 1 TSP sugar 3 ripe pears, peeled and cut into slices 1/2 cup shallots, minced 1/2 TSP cayenne 1 TBSP fresh thyme, chopped 1/3 cup pear jelly 1 TBSP ginger, minced 1 cup whipping cream 1/4 cup sweet dessert wine like late harvest Gewurtz or Riesling (pear brandy can be sub.) 1/2 cup chicken stock Salt and Pepper to taste

Season pork tenderloin with salt, pepper and cayenne. A few hours in advance is even better.

Melt 2 TBSP of butter in a medium skillet, Add sliced pears and sugar, sauté over high heat until pears are golden and tender. Usually 5-10 minutes.

Heat grill to high heat. Grill pork tenderloin over high heat about 12 minutes total making sure to get outside of pork nice and grilled with a crisp exterior. Cooking a shorter time on high heat keeps the center moist, and making the outside crisp. The olive oil will drip off causing the fire in the grill to intensify, making the outside of the pork well grilled (just short of blackening). Pork can also be sautéd in a large skillet instead of grilling.

In a separate large skillet, melt 1 TBSP of butter. Sauté shallots, ginger and thyme for about 3 minutes over medium heat. Add chicken stock and dessert wine, reduce until sauce is thick and almost a glaze. Add in pear jelly and cream and boil until sauce thickens.

Slice pork into medallions and serve with sauce spooned over top. Then light a cigarette.

WINE PAIRING There's a number of different ways you can go with the wine pairing. I'd love to hear suggestions in the comments below.  I tried pairing two wines with this recipe.  The 2007 Cristom Mt. Jefferson Pinot Noir from Oregon and the 2007 Hahn SLH Pinot Gris.  I was curious how the pear/cream sauce would go with the raspberry/strawberry/cranberry notes of the Pinot versus the Granny Smith apple and pear notes of the Pinot Gris from Hahn.

Part of wine+food pairing is trial and error—This was one of those times.  Ultimately, the Pinot Noir was good with pork as it usually is because the two go together like peas and carrots.  But the subtle pear and tree fruit notes didn't compliment the red fruits in the Pinot Noir.  The Hahn SLH Pinot Gris on the other hand DID pair well because Pinot Gris has flavors that match up with the pear and cream sauce.  In this case, the Pinot Gris had enough alcohol and acidity to stand up to the pear cream sauce.

Please let me know what you think would be ideal with this pairing.  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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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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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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BBQ Pork Ribs

Barbecue sauce
Image via Wikipedia

1 rack pork ribs, defrosted 12 OZ BBQ sauce 1 TBSP olive oil 1 white onion, finely chopped 1/2 TSP celery salt 1 TSP chili powder 1/2 TSP onion powder 2 TBSP Old Bay Seasoning 1 TSP Paprika 10 OZ. honey 1/3 cup sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Brush ribs with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes. While ribs are cooking, combine remaining ingredients together. After ribs have roasted for 30 minutes, pour/brush half of mixture over ribs and roast for another 30 minutes. Preheat grill for finishing. Remove ribs from oven and place face down on grill. Cook 5 minutes, turn over and brush remaining mixture all over ribs. Cook on grill 5-10 minutes until desired doneness. You can also use the broiler for finishing instead of the grill. Clean the grill by putting aluminum foil over the grates and turn the heat to high after you remove the ribs. It'll cook off all that sticky sauciness.

Alright, so it's not bacon, but it's close. It's pork, baby! Pork ribs cooked on a grill...what could be better than that? Well, actually, lots of things. But I'm not gonna lie, these ribs are mighty tasty. There's so many different ways to do ribs, but what I was going for here was a BBQ sauce with just the right amount of attitude with a little Bruce Lee roundhouse. If you want more cowbell, dial up the chili powder as this is more of a doctored BBQ sauce than one from scratch. Depending on which sauce you use as your base, it might have quite a bit of sugar in it already. So to offset sweetness, add more bitter flavors like garlic. Zinfandel-based wines seem to pair well with this recipe. Tonight I'll be popping open a bottle of 2006 Spann Vineyard MoZin from Sonoma. It's a blend of Zinfandel, Mourvédre and Petite Sirah. This is one of those wines where someone at the table will verbally exclaim something like, "OMIGOD that's good!" or some descriptor using four letter words to impress how good the wine is. It's well made, and in true Spann style, it's has impeccable balance. If some red wines are like a wool sweater on your tongue, this is a cashmere sweater. Silky, aromatic and enough flavor intensity from the Petite Sirah to stand up to the BBQ sauce on the ribs. Cheers!

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Madeira Sage Pork Tenerloin

zucchini cooked in olive oil with rosemary, th...
Image by shannonpatrick17 via Flickr

Serves 4-6

3/4 LB pork tenderloin, cut into 8 slices 2 TBSP fresh sage, chopped sage 1/4 cup flour 2 TBSP butter 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil 1/4 cup shallots, minced 1 cup madeira Salt and Pepper

On work surface lightly pound the pork slices to a 1/4-inch thickness.  Rub with sage and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the pork in flour, shaking off excess. In large skillet, melt 1 TBSP butter in olive oil.  Add pork and cook over medium-high heat, turning once until browned, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to plate and cover with foil. Add shallots to skillet and cook, until golden.  Gradually add madeira and bring to boil.  Reduce to 3/4 cup.  Return pork to skillet and simmer, turning twice until cooked and sauce is thickened.  About 3 minutes. Arrange pork on plates to serve.  Melt 1 TBSP butter into sauce and season with salt and pepper.  Spoon sauce over pork to serve.

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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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