Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Baked Tuscan Style Risotto

Yes, it is possible to bake Risotto.

10 C. chicken stock
2 lbs. chicken, diced (I used breast meat, but thighs would also work)
3 C.   Arborio rice
3 T. butter, divided
3 T. olive oil, divided
1 C. Cacciatore salami, diced
32 oz. canned or jarred tomatoes
6 oz. fresh spinach.
1 C. dry white wine
2 C. sliced mushrooms
1 T. + 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, divided
3 C. grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
2 T. tomato pesto, divided. Store bought is fine.
Salt and Pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large sauce pan, bring the chicken stock to a light simmer.

Rub the chicken with the 1 tsp. Italian seasoning and salt and pepper.
In a large stock over medium heat, melt 2 T. of the butter with 2 T. olive oil.  Once hot, add the chicken. Give the chicken a good sear.  It doesn't have to be fully cooked.  With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and add it to the stock.

Melt the remaining butter and oil and add the onions, add the rest of the Italian seasoning and more salt and pepper.  Cook onions for about 5 minutes.

Next add the diced salami and stir for another minute.

Next add the mushrooms, spinach and 1 T. of the tomato pesto.  Cover and let the steam help cook the spinach.  Once the spinach is completely wilted add the wine and scraped the bottom of the pan to extract all those nice flavors.

Add the rice and stir for about 5 minutes.

Finally, combine the stock mixture with the rice mixture and stir in the tomatoes and remaining pesto and Italian seasoning.

Pour the final mixture into a large baking dish.  Cover with foil and place in the oven.  After an hour, remove the foil and bake another 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.

Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Serve with Tenuta dell' Ugolino Verduccio

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Ostrich Chili with Yeti Imperial Stout

1 lb. Ground Ostrich
1 6oz. Package Volpi Dry Salsiccia Salami (Casing removed and chopped)
1 C. Chopped Onions
1 C. Chopped Bell Peppers
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 tsp. Ground Cumin
2 tsp. Ground Coriander
1 Tbs. Dried Ancho Chilis, ground to a powder
1 Tbs. Kosher Salt
2 tsp. Black Pepper
1 Tbs. Arrogant Bastard Hot Sauce
1 C. Yeti Imperial Stout
1 16oz. Jar Main Street Produce Black Bean Corn Salsa
2 Cans Black Beans
2 16oz. Jars Canned Tomatoes or 1 Quart Pureed fresh Tomatoes
Olive Oil as needed
Chopped Cilantro

Render the Salami in Olive Oil over medium heat.
Add Ground Ostrich and brown. Once brown, deglaze with Yeti Beer and add Corn Salsa, Black Beans, Arrogant Bastard Hot Sauce. Let reduce.

In a separate pan, saute peppers, onions, cumin, coriander, dried chilis, salt and pepper in olive oil until onions in are translucent. Add tomatoes and garlic and bring to a simmer.

Next, pour the tomato mixture into the pot with the Ostrich and Salami.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer 45-60 minutes

Serve with chopped cilantro and Yeti Imperial Stout.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Mediterranean Quinoa and Orzo Salad

2 C. Uncooked Quinoa
1 C, Uncooked Orzo
1 large Eggplant, sliced
3 medium Zucchini, sliced
3 mediun Yellow Squash, sliced
4 large cloves of Garlic
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
2 large Tomatoes, diced
2 medium Onions, diced
2 C. Olives, diced
1/4 C. chopped fresh Basil
Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Cook the Quinoa and Orzo from package instructions.  Set aside to cool
Pre-heat oven to 375.
Place the Eggplant, Zucchini and Yellow Squash flat on a baking sheet. May need 2 so that they aren't touching.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, a little Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil, making sure each piece gets some Olive Oil.
Cut the Garlic cloves in half without peeling. Put them cut side up in aluminum foil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and seal the foil.
Place the veggies and garlic in the oven for about 25-30 minutes.  The veggies should be soft and slightly brown. Cool and set aside.

Place the Tomatoes, Onions and Olives in a large bowl.  Once everything is cool add the remaining ingredients except for the roasted Garlic.

Toss will the Balsamic Vinaigrette and Basil.  Chill and serve.

Balsamic Vinaigrette:

1/4 C.  Balsamic Vinegar
3/4 C.  Olive Oil
The roasted Garlic Cloves from the previous recipe
1 T. Dijon Mustard
1 T. Honey
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning

In a food processor add the Vinegar, Roasted Garlic, Dijon, Honey and Italian Seasoning.  Pulse a few times first, and then leaving the processor running, slowly add the Olive Oil.  Once added, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Vrisi36 Balsamic Vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

When you visit the Vrisi36 website, the words"Farm to Bottle" are the first things you see.  They literally do everything by hand and let Mother Nature take care of the rest.

Their Extra Virgin Olive Oil is fresh pressed from nutrient rich Greek Olives.  It is bottled unfiltered and unblended.  Most EVOOs you see on grocery store shelves are actually blends of different countries or regions.  Moreover, the FDA requirements for labeling a bottle as EVOO is that it must be less than 10% acidity, be derived from fruit and "edible".  Therefore, not all EVOOs are the same.  Read the back of the label to see what you are getting.

Their Balsamic Vinegar is made from Corinthian Grapes, sometimes called currants, and are only found in certain regions of Greece. Unlike commercial Balsamic Vinegars, Vrisi36 contains no sulfites, artificial caramel coloring, GMOs, or other artificial preservatives.  It is simply made by fermenting the grapes repeatedly in to wine, then into Balsamic vinegar and aged in oak barrels.

Information used in this blog comes from their company website.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Fermented Gourmet: Versatile and Food Friendly Wines

The Fermented Gourmet: Versatile and Food Friendly Wines

Versatile and Food Friendly Wines

I just read an article in Food and Wine called The 12 Wines that Pair with Absolutely Everything.
It was a good read with good information.  However, it suggests wines at price points higher than my pool of customers can afford.  Here are some suggestions based on this list, but at more budget-friendly prices.  I will go 1-12 in the same order as the article.

1.  Saint Hilaire Brut - The first Sparkling Wine produced in France about a century before anything from the Champagne Region.

2.  Meinhard Forstreiter Gruner Veltliner (aka. Grooner) - Gruner Veltliners are light in body with crisp acidity.

3.  Pewsey Vale Riesling - A dry Riesling from Australia that has some serious awards behind it.

4.  Hugel Gentil - The wine world was saddened by the passing of Etienne Hugel last week.  The Gentil is a great gateway wine into the Alsace region of France.

5.  Wente "Morning Fog" Chardonnay - This is an estate grown and bottled wine, but not too heavy for pairing with food.

6.  Marcel Lapierre Raisins Gaulois - A Gamay from the Beaujolais region in France.

7. Chateau De Pizay Morgon - A Cru Gamay from Beaujolais

8.  Ravenswood Mendocino Zinfandel - A rocking Zin from a cooler climate.

9.  Bodegas Breca Grenache - Aragon, Spain.  Beautifully balanced.   A home run.

10.  M. David 6th Sense Syrah - Lodi, California.

11.  Vina Falerna Syrah - Chile is producing some beautiful Syrah these days and very affordable.

12.  Trifula Piemonte Rosso DOC - 80% Barbera and 20% Nebbiolo

There is no mention of a Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc or Tempranillo listed in the article.  I find these wines to be very food friendly also.  I've kept this short and to the point.  Please add a comment or a question if you would like.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Crios Wines of Argentina

The Crios line of wines are a creation of famed Argentine winemaker, Susan Balboa.  She was recognized as one of "The Most Influential Women Wine Makers" in 2012 and "Woman of the Year" in 2015 by the Drinks Business magazine.

The intent of the Crios line is to produce fruit forward and easy drinking wines to be consumed in their youth.  They are natural wines for enjoyment on their own, but also work well at barbecues and other social gatherings.  Not to mention, they have received numerous awards and high ratings since their creation.

The Torrontes is an aromatic white varietal.  It often smells sweet, but it does finish dry. This is perfect for sitting on the deck on a clear afternoon, or pairing with Asian or Indian Quisine.

The Red Blend is a combination of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Tannat. It is a soft, lush wine with just a hint of oak.  Open this one up at any backyard barbecue, and you'll be considered a wine guru by your friends.

Finally, the Malbec, a signature varietal for Argentina, is a structured, sturdy wine to go along with that big Rib Eye sizzling on the grill.  The presence of more tannins from time spent in oak barrels are soften by the fat content of the steak.

These wines are very reasonably priced and seamlessly go from a Tuesday night wine to a Saturday night wine.