Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Sneak Peak: The #Winophiles Bloggers Dive into Anjou-Saumur

from beveragemedia.com

Happy July! And that means that the French Winophiles bloggers will be sharing their thoughts about Anjou and Saumur regions on the third Saturday of the month. You can read the invitation here.

Sneak Peak
Here's what the #Winophiles bloggers have in store for the party. So far, anyway. I have a feeling we'll be seeing more articles come Saturday.
  • Cindy, of Grape Experiences, gives us A Taste of the Loire: Domaine Filliatreau Saumur-Champigny 2015 and Sauteed Duck Breasts with Wild Mushrooms.
  • Jeff, of FoodWineClick!, serves NOT the Easter Bunny with Wines from Anjou-Saumur.
  • Payal, of Keep the Peas, offers up Angevin-oisserie: Chenin Blanc from Anjou.
  • Jane, of Always Ravenous, shares What to Pair with Loire Valley Anjou-Saumur Wines.
  • Wendy, of A Day in the Life on the Farm, is planning on Korean Pork Tenderloin with Cab Franc from Saumur.
  • Camilla, of Culinary Adventures with Camilla, shares Two Rabbits and Some Quail with Wines from Anjou-Saumur.

Join the Conversation
Chime in on our live #Winophiles Twitter Chat. This Saturday - July 20th - at 8 o'clock AM Pacific time. You can follow the main hashtag and join in or search for it later and read all the posts. Cheers!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Warmed Brie with Pickled Blueberries #NationalBlueberryMonth


Yesterday kicked off a week-long celebration of all things blueberry. Many thanks to Ellen of Family Around the Table and Christie of A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures for wrangling all of us. Here we are at day two...


Blueberry Week Recipes

Breakfast
Drinks & Appetizers
Dinner
Dessert

Warmed Brie with Pickled Blueberries

While I called this 'warmed brie with pickled blueberries', the latter is really the only recipe part. For the warmed brie, simply place your round on a baking sheet and heat in a 200 degree F oven until it's softened. Serve with baguette slices.


I have been pickling blueberries for years. I love that it's unexpected and a delightful mix of sweet and sour! So, for an upcoming blogging event, I decided to do a quick pickle to use on warmed brie. Oh, my stars...this was heavenly!


Ingredients
  • 1/2 organic red onion, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer)
  • 1 C apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T organic granulated sugar
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 1 t yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 t dill seeds
  • 1 pint organic blueberries
  • also needed: mason jar with lid
Procedure

Place blueberries and sliced red onions in a medium mixing bowl. In a medium saucepan place the vinegar, sugar, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and swirl until the sugar and salt have dissolved completely.

Place mustard seeds and dill seeds in the bottom of your mason jar. Scoop the blueberries and onions into the jar and gently press down to compress.  Pour the hot brine over the blueberries until they are completely submerged and cover with lid. 


Invert the jar a few times to move the spiced around. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight before using.


Serve with warmed brie on a slice of baguette for a delicious sweet and savory treat.

Minced Pork Lettuce Cups #FoodieReads


I don't really remember how this book ended up on my to-read pile. It's not a book club pick; I don't remember a friend recommending it. In any case, after pulling weeds in my yard, I sat down with Natalie Tan's Book of Luck & Fortune by Roselle Lim.* Then I stayed in bed the following morning to finish it. It was the perfect weekend read.

On the Page
If you believe in the existence of ghosts and their ability to appear to certain people...and if you believe in the magical, healing powers of food, you will enjoy this book. I do. And I did!

Set in San Francisco's Chinatown, Natalie Tan has been estranged from her mother for seven years when a neighbor calls with the news that her mother has died. But she already knew from a premonition. With a heavy heart, Natalie heads back to San Francisco.

The reader follows Natalie through her recognition that she wants to reopen the restaurant that her grandmother ran, to reinvigorate the neighborhood businesses, and to settle down and plant roots. 

"I shook my head. I had to stop thinking this way. Failure wasn't an option, not in love and not for the restaurant. I printed out he business license form and placed it with the others.... The folder had become bloated like an overstuffed dumpling" (pg. 112).

Lim addresses cultural norms, filial guilt, and touches on mental illness (Natalie's mother Miranda was agoraphobic). So, it's not a wholly light read. But I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

"'As far as I know, Miranda never saw anyone to treat her condition. I think it was a source of tension between her and your grandmother. Your laolao didn't know how to deal with her depression and anxiety. My parents tried to convince her to get help for Miranda, but Qiao didn't understand. Mental illness isn't treated as well as a case of arthritis in our culture'" (pg. 88)

Given that the main character is a cook who is opening a restaurant, you can guess that there is no dearth of food or culinary inspiration.

"I dispatched the onions into a neat pile of translucent half crescents....The next ingredient involved the bouquet of coriander resting at the edge of the counter. I pulled a generous clump from the bunch and plucked the leaves from their stalks in my culinary version of he loves me/he loves me not" (pp. 125-126).

"I laid my feast out on the kitchen table. Draped over beds of jasmine rice, thin pork chops seasoned with lemongrass showcased charred stripes from the grill. Cold summer rolls with translucent rice paper glimmered with riotous colors from the mint leaves, vermicelli, and shrimp filling. Emerald coriander leaves peeked out amid slices of barbecued pork, in golden, crusty baguette sandwiches called bahn mi" (pp. 187-188).

On the Plate

I was inspired into the kitchen by the recipes in the book that were all without measurements by the way! Daniel, her prospective boyfriend, addresses that when she cooks for him. "'I've always been fascinated by the lack of measurements. It seems to be the common sign of a true chef.' He took out two large bowls and two plates from the upper cupboards. 'My parents shared cooking duties. They made decent meals, but it was always from someone else's recipes'" (pg. 156).

I actually plan to make three of her recipes. But this was the first: Minced Pork in Lettuce Cups (pp. 245-246). And I didn't do a very good job of following her list, especially since I am unfamiliar with mushroom soy sauce, skipped the mushrooms and wine completely, added onions, and used more spices. But we did agree on her notes: "This dish is a marriage of different textures: the crispness of the lettuce, tenderness of the pork filling, and silkiness of the sauce. This dish is to encourage temperance. Serve it to those who need restraint added to their impulses - just as the lettuce hold the filling together and keeps it from falling out" (pp. 246-247).

Ingredients serves 4


Pork Filling
  • 1 C diced onion
  • 1 C diced carrots
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 T oil
  • 1/2 C fresh green peas
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Dipping Sauce
  • 2 T mustard
  • 2 T hoisin sauce
  • 2 T chili garlic sauce

For Serving
  • organic, washed and dried butter lettuce

Procedure

Pork Filling
Heat oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Add in the onions and cook until they begin to soften, approximately 3 to 4 minutes Stir in the carrots and cook until they begin to soften and the onions are beginning to turn translucent, approximately another 5 minutes.

Add in the pork and use a wooden spoon to break up the chunks. Cook until the meat is completely browned. Stir in the peas and cook for another minute. Season to taste with the soy sauce, sesame oil, and freshly ground black pepper.

Dipping Sauce
Whisk together all of the ingredients to make a smooth sauce.

For Serving
Place the pork in a bowl alongside the lettuce cups and the dipping sauce. Serve immediately. Let diners create their own lettuce wraps.


*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.



Click to see what everyone else read in July 2019: here.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Curry Burgers with Blueberry Chutney and Coconut-Lime Slaw #NationalBlueberryMonth


Today kicks off a week-long celebration of all things blueberry. Many thanks to Ellen of Family Around the Table and Christie of A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures for wrangling all of us.


Though this is a five day event, I'm only jumping in for four of the days. Here's what the bloggers have in store for the first day...

Blueberry Week Recipes
Breakfast
Drinks and Appetizers
Sauces and Spreads
Dinner
Dessert

Curry Burgers with Blueberry Chutney 
and Coconut-Lime Slaw

I wanted to share some savories with blueberries. First up: I thought of curry with a blueberry chutney. And because Jake and I are eating less bread, I placed our burgers on a pile of coconut milk-cayenne slaw. Yum!

Ingredients

Burger
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef (prefer grass-fed, organic)
  • 1 shallot, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 2 T curry paste (I used a Thai red curry)
  • 2 t soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
  • oil for the grill or grill-pan
Chutney
  • 2 to 3 organic shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • 1 pint organic blueberries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1" knob fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 t fresh lemongrass, minced
  • 1/4 C organic dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 T vinegar (I used an aged balsamic)
  • 1 t fresh herbs (I used a mixture of mint and thyme)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • juice from 1 organic lemon (I used a Meyer lemon)
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
Slaw
  • 4 C thinly julienned vegetables (I used cabbage, carrots, Brussel sprouts, and broccoli stems)
  • 1/2 cup matchstick carrots
  • 2 T chopped cilantro
  • 2 T chopped organic basil + more for garnish
  • 3/4 C coconut milk
  • 1/4 C rice wine vinegar
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 t fish sauce
  • pinch of cayenne
Procedure

Chutney
In a small skillet, sauté shallots in a splash of olive oil till it starts to soften, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Add the blueberries, cinnamon, ginger, lemongrass, dark brown sugar, vinegar, herbs, and salt.

Reduce the heat and let simmer for until it starts to thicken, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from heat and pour in the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let chutney cool then refrigerate until ready to use.


Slaw
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together coconut milk, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, lemon juice, fish sauce, and cayenne. Stir in the veggies and herbs until well-coated. Let stand for at least 15 minutes for the dressing to soften the slaw.

Burger
In a large bowl, using your hands, mix together all of the ingredients until well-combined. Form four patties and grill or cook on the stove to your preferred doneness.


To serve, place slaw on the serving plate. Top with your patty and add blueberry chutney over the burger. Garnish with fresh herbs and enjoy. I can't wait to see what the rest of the week brings for this group!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sandwiches #OurFamilyTable


Today the #OurFamilyTable bloggers are sharing ice cream recipes. Christie of A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures wrote: "No churn, hand churn, gellato; how do you keep cool with ice cream during the heat of summer? What toppings and sauces do you make for your ice cream friendly fam?"

I Scream for Ice Cream Recipes


We share Recipes From Our Dinner Table! Join our group and share your recipes, too! While you're at it, join our Pinterest board, too!


Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sandwiches
When I offered to make dinner for my parents for their 47th anniversary this week, my mom requested fish, cookies, and ice cream. And since I was asking D to make the cookies, he suggested putting together the last two requests. D cautiously asked, "Would you be okay if I made ice cream sandwiches for Nonno and Nonna? It won't be fancy, but it will be delicious." I'm all for delicious...no need for fancy. 

Ingredients 
makes approximately 3 dozen cookies or 18 ice cream sandwiches

Snickerdoodles
  • 1 C softened butter
  • 1 C organic granulated sugar + 4 T for rolling
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon + 2 T for rolling
  • 1/4 t ground cardamom
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • 3 C flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • Also needed: baking sheet, silicone mat or parchment paper, scoop 

Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • ice cream (D used vanilla and espresso chocolate cookies crumble)
  • Also needed: scoop
Procedure

Snickerdoodles
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, blend together 4 T sugar and 2 T ground cinnamon for rolling.

In a small mixing bowl, blend together flour, baking soda, baking powder, 1/2 t ground cinnamon, 1/4 t ground cardamom, and 1/4 t ground nutmeg. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until lightened and fluffy. Beat in egg and pure vanilla.


Gradually blend in the flour mixture until you have a smooth dough. Here you can use a scoop which is much easier...or you can roll walnut-sized balls with your hands.


Place the dough balls in the cinnamon mixture and roll to coat completely.


Place onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes in the preheated oven - or until golden. If you prefer more crunchy cookies, bake for a minute or two longer. But the softer cookies were easier to assemble into ice cream sandwiches.


Let cookies cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes before removing to cool on wire racks. Once you're ready to assemble...


Ice Cream Sandwiches
Use a scoop to place a small bit of ice cream (he used about 1 T for a 1-1/2" cookie) on the flat side of one cookie. Place the flat side of another cookie on top of the ice cream and gently press them together until the ice cream comes to the edge of the two cookies.


Work quickly and serve immediately!

Roasted Quail, White Bean Salad, and Chateau d'Epire Savennieres Grand Cru d'Anjou 2017 #Winophiles


This month I am hosting the French Winophiles with an exploration of the wines from Anjou-Saumur. You can read my invitation here. Not being very familiar with those wines, I tracked down several bottles to pour and pair. One of the bottles I found - Chateau d'Epire Savennieres Grand Cru d'Anjou - was a lovely addition to a summer dinner on the patio. I'm having fun trying new-to-me wines.

In My Glass

This wine hails from Savennières, a commune near the Loire River that's approximately 10 miles southwest of Angers and best known for its production of highly rated white wine. Made with the Chenin Blanc grape, these wines have the unique characteristic of being both weighty and light. It had a full-bodied mouthfeel that was lightened by bright acidity. It was an interesting, satisfying pairing.

On My Plate

We love quail. So, when I can get it, I always do. This was a simple preparation of a paprika-based rub, then roasted. It's so easy; the hardest part is trussing those little guys!

Ingredients serves 4
  • 4 whole quail
  • 1 organic onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 T smoke paprika
  • 1 T sweet paprika
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground ginger
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil, as needed
  • Also needed: 100% cotton twine, roasting pan
  • For serving: white bean salad (recipe to come)


Procedure
Preheat the oven to 500°F. 

In a small bowl, mix together all the dry spices along with a few grinds of salt and pepper. Place a quarter onion in the quail cavity and cross its legs. Tie the twine around the legs to keep them in place. Rub the quail with the spice blend and place in a rimmed roasting pan.

Drizzle the quail with olive oil and place in the preheated oven. Roast quail for 10 to 12 minutes. They should be nicely browned. Remove the birds from the oven. Tent with foil and let rest for another 10 minutes.


Serve immediately while hot. However, if you have leftovers, they taste great cold as well.


I served this with a white bean salad on the side.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Robatayaki and Rioja Wines, the Perfect Summertime Party #WinePW #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me in conjunction with the July #WinePW Rioja event.
A wine samples was provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.

This month Jeff of FoodWineClick! is hosting the Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers as we delve into wines from Rioja. You can read his invitation here. The #WinePW bloggers will be posting and chatting on Saturday, July 13th. Feel free to join the live Twitter chat that morning at 8am Pacific time. Follow the hashtag #WinePW and add it to your comments so we can see your contributions.

And this is what the group has in store for you...


 Robatayaki and Rioja Wines

Not being very familiar with Rioja wines, I immediately emailed my friends from Spain who shared the following information...

Usually, in Spain, Spanish wines are classified into four categories depending on the time/years they have been aged in the oak barrel and in the bottle. The four groups are as follows:

  • Joven/cosecha - less than 6 months in the oak barrel
  • Crianza - 18 months in total and a minimum of six months in oak barrel
  • Reserva - 36 months in total and a minimum of twelve months in oak barrel
  • Gran Reserva -60 months in total and a minimum of eighteen months in oak barrel

Obviously, prices vary depending on the classification. Some wineries only produce one certain type of wine. Some of the most well-known Riojas are as follows:

  • One of the most expensive and very well-known is Vega Sicilia, if you can afford it! ;-)
  • Marqués de Murrieta Reserva has a reasonable price for the age and it's a good wine. The Gran Reserva from Marqués de Murrieta is very popular, although very expensive.
  • Muga Crianza - has a good price and it's good. This is probably one of the ones we like that can afford! It is filtered without chemical using only organic egg whites.
  • Marqués de Cáceres is a standard one, but good for the price.
  • Marqués de Riscal, not our favorite, but another one for standard price.

It's always nice to learn about wines from people who are very familiar with them. Muchas gracias, Susanna and Juan!


Several of the #WinePW bloggers were fortunate to receive a sample bottle from Bodegas LAN*. I received the Bodegas LAN 2012 Reserva, but wanted to round out the exploration and tracked down three other bottles of Rioja on my own based on Susanna's email. I purchased Bodegas LAN Rioja Gran Reserva 2010, Bodegas Muga Flor de Muga Rose 2017, and Marques de Murrieta Rioja Reserva 2014.


Then I invited myself over to our friends' house with the promise of wine if he grilled for me. A couple of years ago, they built a robatayaki (or robata for short) in their backyard. The robatayaki is an authentic style of Japanese cooking that originated hundreds of years ago on Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. There industrious fishermen here created robatayaki by encasing charcoals into stone boxes.


Given the Asian origin of the grill, Jenn and I created a menu that paired Japanese-inspired dishes with three of my Spanish wines. The result: the perfect summertime party. And, even though this was a Fathers' Day celebration, the dads didn't seem to mind being put to work!

Grilled Stuffed Squid 
+ Bodegas Muga Flor de Muga Rosé 2017
suggested retail price $29.99 / wine.com

The first pairing was Grilled Stuffed Squid + Bodegas Muga Flor de Muga Rosé 2017. Get the recipe and reading about the pairing here. Yes, I did buy it for the label...but also because summertime means lots and lots of Rosés for me.


To the eye, this Rosé displays a very pale salmon color with steely glints. On the nose, I got summer stone fruits and sweet honeysuckle. The palate is remarkably complex given the lightness of the hue. At least I wasn't expecting such a lush, fleshy wine. This was a great match with my grilled squid!


Grilled Chicken with Tare Sauce
+ Bodegas LAN 2012 Reserva
suggested retail price $18.99/ wine.com, received as an industry sample

Bodegas LAN was founded in 1972 and named after the first letters of the three provinces in the Rioja DOC: Logrono (now La Rioja), Alava, and Navarra. This wine is a blend comprised of 92% Tempranillo, 8% Graciano. To the eye it is a brilliant, deep ruby color. To the nose, you get notes of plum mixed with vanilla and spice. On the tongue, the wine is well-structured and full-bodied. Complex layers made this a nice match for the tare sauce, a soy-based basting sauce. Jenn prefaced her email with this: "no two Japanese cooks make these exactly the same way, and probably don't follow a recipe. I started with a basic recipe and tasted as I went." Understood.

Jenn's Tare Sauce
  • 1/2 C  water with dashi (1 T) mixed in on medium heat
  • 1/4 C mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
  • 1/4 C soy sauce
  • 2 T sake
  • 3/4 t (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1-inch-piece peeled ginger, sliced
Bring all ingredients to a boil in a small heavy saucepan. Stir until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to a generous 1/2 cup, approximately 20 minutes. Strain sauce through a fine mesh sieve; discard solids. Let cool. Note that this can be made 2 weeks ahead. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container until needed.


Grilled Steak with Yakiniku Sauce
Bodegas LAN Rioja Gran Reserva 2010
suggested retail price $24.99/ wine.com

From the same vintner as the previous wine, Bodegas LAN, this wine is aged longer. Still with that bright ruby hue, aromas for this wine were more herbaceous (think tarragon and fennel) with some earthy notes of tobacco and leather. Still full-bodied, I actually expected it to be more balanced and it wasn't. It bordered on too tannic for my tastes.

Jenn's Yakiniku Sauce
  • 3 T sake
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 2 T mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
  • 1 t miso
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1/2 apple grated
  • Ginger grated
  • garlic grated
  • shallot grated
  • 1 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T bonito flakes
  • roasted white sesame seeds
In a mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients, to the apple, and stir to combine. Heat the sauce to simmer and add in the remaining ingredients. Keep simmering until thickened. Remove from the heat and allow the sauce to cool. Use immediately. Or for best flavor, cover the yakiniku sauce and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours to allow the flavors to meld.


While we initially paired the wines with their intended grillable, after that we just poured and drank whatever we wanted. Everyone loved the squid and rosé; surprisingly, we all preferred the Reserva to the Gran Reserva! I'm glad I had the opportunity to dive deeper into exploring Rioja wines. Thanks for that, Jeff.

And that's a wrap on the Rioja wine exploration. Next month, we'll be heading to New Zealand by wineglass with Lori of Dracaena Wines at the head. Looking forward to that. Stay tuned...

Bodegas LAN on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter
*Disclosure: I received a sample wine for recipe development, pairing, and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.

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