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.

 

Heirloom Tomato Soup

. This recipe comes from Chef Brandon Sharp of the Michelin Star Restaurant, Solage in Calistoga, CA.  A recipe like this warms the soul when the weather gets cold.

Heirloom_Tomato_Soup
Heirloom_Tomato_Soup

INGREDIENTS 1 yellow onion, medium dice 1/4 cup Olive Oil 1 bunch fresh basil tied with 4 sprigs of thyme and 4 sprigs of marjoram 2 cloves of garlic, minced 5 overripe heirloom tomatoes, cored and large chunked 1/2 TBSP salt 1 TSP balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a large saucepot, sweat onions with herbs in oil over medium low heat until tender. Stir in garlic and quickly add tomatoes and salt. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 10-15 minutes or until tomatoes are broken down. Drizzling in balsamic vinegar, remove herbs and blend soup with a hand blender while pouring in extra virgin olive oil.

Filet Mignon w/ Mushroom & Madeira Sauce

 

INGREDIENTS

3 TBSP butter 2 tablespoons olive oil 12 OZ button mushrooms, thinly sliced 1/2 cup minced shallots 4 garlic cloves, minced 1 TBSP chopped fresh thyme 4 5-ounce filet mignon steaks (each about 3/4 inch thick) 1/2 cup Madeira 1-1/2 cups beef stock or beef broth 1/2 cup whipping cream Salt and Pepper

Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 1 TBSP olive oil in heavy large skillet or pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté for 10 minutes until tender. Add 1/4 cup shallots and half of garlic, sauté until shallots are soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in thyme; season with salt and pepper. Transfer mushroom mixture to medium bowl. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. Add to skillet and cook to desired doneness, about 3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer steaks to plate, cover with foil. Add remaining 1/4 cup shallots and garlic to same skillet. Sauté 2 minutes. Add Madeira and boil until reduced by half. Add broth and boil until mixture is reduced to 2/3 cup. Add cream and boil until sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in mushroom mixture. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Return steaks to skillet, cook to warm up, about 1 minute. Transfer to plates. Spoon sauce over and serve.

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WINE PAIRING

A meal as regal as this one calls for an exceptional wine. So far in 2009, the Spann Vineyards Cabernet from Sonoma is the best Cab I've had all year at any price. For $35 you would expect a good wine. The Spann Cabernet is a GREAT wine and could easily fetch $60.  This is an "OMIGOD" wine to be sure.  At least one person lucky enough to get a glass will inevitably blurt out something along those lines.  It's rich, it has depth, it's like cashmere in a glass balancing sweet jammy fruit with elegant nuances.  Peter and Betsy Spann have the ability to create beautiful wines that aren't over the top or overpowering, yet show layer after layer of interesting notes.  This reminds me of the 1988 Cheval Blanc I had last fall.  Perfectly balanced between sweet, sour, salty and bitter, it compliments the Filet pefectly.

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Chilled Cucumber Soup Wine Pairing

photo courtesy of sassyradish.com

 

 WINE PAIRING:

Go up to the ingredients list and pick out the fruits listed.  You'll see honeydew melon and lemon stand out as two of the flavors that go into the soup.  That's a great starting point when thinking about what wine to pull out and serve.  A grape like Muscat can work very well with tree fruits, and when you get one from France you will tap into a beautiful expression of the variety.  The 2009 Joseph Cattin Muscat comes from Alsace, France and should be relatively easy to find in local wine shops.

Here we see Muscat at its finest showing off aromatic fireworks that will remind you of walking through a garden with your shirt off, or at least that's what it reminded me of.  Fresh picked grapes, fresh flowers and a dusting of allspice will be apparent right off.  But I like this as a pairing because there's a dryness in the wine and an acidity that you need to cut through the soup.  The texture of the wine and texture of the soup are what make this an exciting first course for people you really like.  For people you don't really like you can serve them some plonk from California that sits on the bottom shelf.

4th of July Hot Dogs (Chicago Style)

 

photo courtesy of blogchef.net

You can't get much more American on the 4th of July than eating a dog. I grew up on Chicago Style hot dogs because both sides of my family come from the windy city, and if there's one thing we eat every time we go to Chicago, it's hot dogs. But they have to be done right. This is about as close as I can get you to the real thing, depending on what ingredients you have available. The right ingredients matter!

The combination of ingredients come together nicely to give you tanginess from the peppers, sweetness from the relish, tart from the mustard, salt from the celery salt.  I'm always talking about your taste regions: sweet, sour, bitter and salt and there they are all represented.  The umami region gets props from the beef dog.

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.

Herb Crusted Salmon w/ Lemon Caper Vinaigrette Wine Pairing Recipe

herb crusted salmon
Norwegian salmon works best

WINE PAIRING:

One of the best herb crusted salmon pairings is the 2010 Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. The lemongrass notes work well here, especially if you grill some asparagus and squeeze a little lemon juice with grated Parmesan on top.  This is a full throttle white wine that you gotta swirl around in your glass to get the full experience.

Big expressive notes of lychee, lemongrass, passionfruit, fresh grapefruit are evident even as the glass is sitting on the table in front of you.  It's not very often you can smell a wine that's almost two feet away from your nose.  The aromatic fireworks  practically fill the entire room.  The notes are a good example of New Zeals Sauv Blanc typicity, but what I like about this one is it has a fatter mouthfeel because the winemaker leaves the wine on the lees longer.  The result is a full body texture that'll stand up to the full body, rich texture of the vinaigrette.

Maple Soy Roasted Chicken Wine Friendly Recipe

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup pure maple syrup 1 TBSP soy sauce 1 TBSP rice vinegar 1 TBSP sesame oil 1/2 TSP hot pepper sauce 3/4 cup dry Sherry 1 4-1/2-pound chicken, fat and giblets removed, rinsed and patted dry 2 TBSP (1/4 stick) butter, room temperature 1/2 orange, cut into 4 pieces 4 1/2-inch slices fresh ginger, smashed 2 garlic cloves, smashed

Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk maple syrup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and hot pepper sauce in small bowl for glaze. Simmer Sherry in small saucepan until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 3 minutes.

Run hands under chicken skin to loosen; rub most of butter under skin over breast and thighs. Rub remaining butter over outside of chicken. Sprinkle cavity with salt and pepper. Place chicken in roasting pan. Squeeze some juice from each orange piece over chicken. Stuff cavity with orange pieces, ginger, and garlic. Tuck wing tips under. Pour Sherry over chicken.

Roast chicken 20 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water to pan. Roast 15 minutes longer. Brush chicken with glaze. Roast chicken until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 170°F, brushing chicken with glaze every 10 minutes, about 40 minutes longer. Tilt chicken to allow juices from cavity to run into roasting pan. Transfer chicken to platter. Let stand 10 minutes (internal temperature will rise).

Spoon fat from surface of pan juices. Add any remaining glaze to pan juices. Place roasting pan over 2 burners; bring sauce to boil. Serve sauce alongside chicken.

 

WINE PAIRINGS:

What do you suggest?  Please leave a suggestion in the comments below.

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.

tongue-map_pairing1

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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