Friday, August 16, 2019

A Geography Snafu + Poulet Basquaise with Domaine Illaria Irouleguy 2016 #Winophiles

Jeff of FoodWineClick! is hosting The French Winophiles this month as we explore the French Basque wine region. Here is his invitation.

A couple of years ago, Lynn of Savor the Harvest shared this post: Basque-ing in the Sud-Ouest: Wines of Irouléguy. And I probably should have revisted it before I went wine shopping because, I initially went to the wrong side of the Basque region. You can read about my little geography snafu when I made Spanish Basque Nibbles for a French Wine Group - Whoops! And I did it twice, making Paella with another wine from the wrong side of the Pyrenees.

Yikes. I know better. Really. I do. But I was just so excited about making Basque food and tasting Basque wine that I completely skipped over the part that I was on the wrong side of the border. So, my pairing of Papas Bravas, Ganba Brotxeta, and Piparras with Camino Roca Altxerri Txakoli 2017 was not going to work for the #Winophiles event. Oh, well... that just offered me more time for another wine pairing - this time, a French Basque wine with a French Basque dish.

Wine and Food of the Basque Region
There is only 1 AOC wine officially part of the Basque region, Irouleguy. Because Irouleguy can be difficult to locate in the US, we stretched the boundaries and included white wines from Jurancon in our post. Take a look below at all the great ideas you’ll see this weekend. While you’re at it, join our chat on Twitter on 17 August at 10am CDT. Just search for the hashtag: #Winophiles. But first, here's what the rest of the group shared...

In My Glass

This time around I uncorked a bottle of Domaine Illaria Irouleguy 2016. Notice... "Produit de France.' Phew.

One of the appellation’s long-standing producers is Peio Espil at Domaine Ilarria. In fact, until 1990, he was one of only two independent producers in the area. He was born and raised in the region and lives in the same house that has been in his family for many generations. After spending two years in Africa with the Peace Corp, Peio returned to France and studied winemaking at La Tour Blanche in Sauternes and, then, worked at Domaine Cauhapé in Jurançon. He returned to the family domaine in 1988 where he worked alongside his father.

Peio now farms just over 17 acres of vines on the steep hillsides a near his house. He is certified organic through Ecocert and is one of the few producers in the region that doesn't cut terraces into his hills. I have yet to dig up photos of that, but it sounds interesting.

The Domaine Illaria Irouleguy 2016 is a weighty blend of Tannat, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes - from vines planted in iron-rich soils. On the nose, I got dark notes of cherry and smoke. On the palate, the wine was brighter than it smelled. Bright berries and woody herbs. Structured tannins make this a great match with meat or aged cheeses.

On My Plate

When I was searching for a Basque-inspired dish to pair with my wine, I stumbled across several recipes for Poulet Basquaise, Basque-style chicken.

I loved the combination of chicken and chorizo. And I was only too happy to go on  a hunt for Piment d'Espelette - Espelette Pepper Powder! If you can't find any where you are, try online or substitute paprika. Of course I made some adaptations from what I was reading: chicken thighs for breasts, red wine for white.

But I think I stayed true to the spirit of the dish, especially with the Piment d'Espelette and grilled Piquillo peppers.

Ingredients serves 5

  • 3 T olive oil, divided
  • 5 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 1⁄2 C peeled, chopped chorizo (I used an aged Spanish chorizo)
  • 1⁄2 C sliced grilled Piquillo peppers
  • 1⁄2 C diced tomatoes
  • 1⁄4 C diced apple (I used a Granny Smith)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1⁄2 C chicken stock
  • 1⁄2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 t piment d'Espelette (ground Espelette pepper) or paprika
  • organic chopped parsley for garnish
  • roasted or boiled potatoes for serving


Pour 2 T olive oil in a large skillet - I used a braiser. Place chicken thighs skin side down and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add in remaining olive oil - to the rendered chicken fat and oil - and stir in the shallots, chorizo, sliced peppers, and diced tomatoes. Simmer until the shallots soften and turn translucent. Stir in the diced apple and nestle the herbs in the pan. Sprinkle in the piment d'Espelette. Pour in the stock and the wine.

Return the chicken thighs to the pan, this time skin side up. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for an additional 20 minutes.

To serve, move the chicken thighs to a serving platter. Spoon the sauce over the top. If it's too liquidy, turn the heat up and reduce the sauce to desired thickness.

Serve the Poulet Basquaise with potatoes and a green salad.

This dish was delightfully layered with smoky and salty notes. It paired well with the Domaine Illaria Irouleguy 2016.

The #Winophiles will be back in September with a focus on the wines of Corsica with Payal of Keep the Peas leading the discussion. Stay tuned...

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Roasted Lamb with Bourbon-Plum Glaze #StoneFruit

Here we are at the final day of the #StoneFruit blogging party, hosted by Heather of Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks. We are finishing Stone Fruit Week with these awesome recipes...

Roasted Lamb with Bourbon-Plum Glaze

This post has been through several iterations. I wanted to make a braised brisket, inspired by Chef Edward Lee, that had bourbon-peach glaze. Then I realized that I had plum jam, not peach. I thought it would be braised brisket with bourbon-plum glaze. And then I forgot to buy brisket on the week I had planned to make it. But I had lamb. we are at roasted lamb with bourbon-plum glaze. Phew. I'm just glad I actually got this on the table for this event!

Ingredients serves 4 to 6


  • 1 T salt 
  • 1 t freshly ground black pepper 
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • 3 pound boneless lamb leg
  • olive oil



Blend everything together in a bowl.

Rub the spice blend over the entire roast, then let the meat come to room temperature while you preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the roast on a roasting rack or a wire rack on top of a baking sheet. Drizzle roast with olive oil.

Place the roast in the oven and roast for about 15 minutes per pound. So, I did 45 minutes for this while I made the glaze.

Whisk together the plum jam and the bourbon. Remove the roast from the oven and spoon it over the top. Return the roast to the oven and raise the temperature to 450 degrees F. Don't let it burn, but leave it in there for about 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove meat from the oven and let rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing. Just look at the glazed lamb...

It really was delectable.

I served it with a sauteed seaweed salad and a regular green salad though, admittedly, I was the only fan of the seaweed salad. "Mom, it's a little too bottom-of-the-ocean tasting." Fine. More for me.

A Living Legend + Panko-Crusted Abalone Over Green Tea Soba Noodles #FishFridayFoodies

It's time for Fish Friday Foodies' August event. We are a group of seafood-loving bloggers, rallied by Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm, to share fish and seafood recipes on the third Friday of the month. 

This month, Sue of Palatable Pastime is hosting as we share Japanese seafood recipes. She wrote: "We're posting Japanese fish and seafood recipes. Please note that cooked recipes are welcome and that these do not need to be only sushi or sashimi recipes, although raw recipes are welcome as well. I find summer a very pleasant time to have Japanese as it suits well for both cold foods and grilled fish, among other things."

Before I get to my post for the event. Here's the rest of the #FishFridayFoodies' offerings...

A Living Legend

Back in May 2011, I took the boys and some of our friends to hear Roy Hattori speak at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Roy was the last surviving hard-hat abalone diver.

That's Roy Hattori (photo on the left), back in the day, in the woolen underwear he knitted himself! He told a compelling tale about being an abalone diver. He was born in Monterey in 1919 where Japanese fisherman started the entire commercial fishing industry on the peninsula. Apparently the first abalone harvests were exported to Japan, but in 1913 that became illegal. And it wasn't until Ernest 'Pop' Doelter, a German restaurateur nicknamed 'the Abalone King', debuted pounded abalone steaks at the 1915 World's Fair in San Francisco that abalone's domestic popularity began to rise.

Doelter's restaurant flourished until 1952, but he couldn't have met the overwhelming demand for abalone without the expertise of Japanese immigrants. The Japanese introduced diving in wool suits and bulky helmets, which staved off hypothermia in Monterey's chilly waters, and they were adept at separating the abalone's flesh from its shell.
By the 1920s, nine different abalone companies - all Japanese - operated from Monterey's Fisherman’s Wharf. However, most of them didn't stay. They returned to Japan after a few seasons. So, Roy, who was born here and who graduated from Monterey High School - where my boys attend now! - was a rarity. 

During World War II, other Japanese divers were deported while Roy was sent to an internment camp in Arkansas. After two years in the camp, he was drafted into the military and served another two years. When he returned to Monterey in 1945, his diving boat was long gone and he wasn't able to reinvigorate his craft.

Roy has, sadly, passed since we saw him. But I am grateful that we were able to catch his last public speaking event.

 Panko-Crusted Abalone 
Over Green Tea Soba Noodles

Whenever our CSF (community supported fishery) offers abalone I order an extra package. And while I've served them in Italian-inspired dishes such as Abalone-Topped Pasta all'Amatriciana or French-style in Meunière-Style Monterey Bay Abalone, I decided to do a dish that leaned more to the Japanese side: Panko-Crusted Abalone Over Green Tea Soba Noodles.

Ingredients serves 4


  • 6 to 8 small abalone (ours were vacuum-packed, pre-shucked and pre-tenderized)
  • 1/2 C flour
  • 3/4 C panko-style bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 6 T butter
  • splash of olive oil

For Serving
  • soba noodles, cooked according package directions (I used green tea soba noodles)
  • 1 to 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • black sesame seeds
  • herb-wasabi aioli (make aioli however you usually do but whisk in some fresh herbs and wasabi to taste)
  • organic lemon slices

Place the flour, beaten egg, and panko breadcrumb in bowls. Coat each abalone in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg. Dredge in panko.

Melt butter in a splash of olive oil in a large, flat-bottom pan over medium-high heat. When the butter begins to foam, place the abalone in the pan.

Gently agitate the pan, allowing the butter to turn brown and give off a nutty aroma. After 2 minutes, turn the abalone and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

For Serving
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and toss with soy sauce and sesame oil. Divide into individual serving bowls and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Place abalone on top. Spoon a dollop of wasabi aioli on the top and garnish with a lemon slice. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Abrikossuppe (Danish Apricot Soup) #StoneFruit

Here we are at day four of the #StoneFruit blogging party, hosted by Heather of Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks. I didn't post yesterday, but today I have a riff on a Danish summer soup...and Christie is sharing a pluot tart. Yum.

  • Abrikossuppe (Danish Apricot Soup) from Culinary Adventures with Camilla 
  • Rustic Pluot Ricotta Tartrom A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures

Danish Apricot Soup

I have read about Danish apricot soup, but never found a recipe using fresh apricots; all of the recipes I found utilized dried apricots. Also, the recipes I found didn't have any proportions, so I made it up as I went along. Hopefully this is close to an authentic Abrikossuppe.

  • 4 C quartered apricots
  • 1-1/2 C water
  • 1 T organic granulated sugar
  • 2 t freshly grated lemon zest from an organic lemon + more for garnish
  • Prosecco (if you happen to have an open bottle)

In a medium saucepan, simmer apricots, water, and sugar for 12-15 minutes, until apricots are very soft. Once cool enough to handle, place everything in a blender and process until smooth.

Refrigerate until completely chilled. Serve in small glasses or ramekins. Garnish with a bit of lemon zest and/or a tiny splash of prosecco. Skål!

Braised Beef Over Spiralized Sweet Potatoes

This is an easy throw-it-all-together kinda dish that simmers all afternoon and is ready for dinner. It's the perfect lazy weekend dinner. Or, in this case, a one-pot savior after an afternoon of pulling out all the carpet in our house. We are in the middle of swapping out carpets for hardwood floors. I can't wait till it's done!!

Jake and I spooned the sauce over spiralized sweet potatoes while I served it to the boys with regular pasta. "Thanks, Mommy! Real pasta!!" they hollered in unison. Apparently, they aren't fans of my spiralized veggies. More for us.

  • 1 T  olive oil
  • 2 to 2-1/2 pounds beef, cubed (I used can use really any cut of meat because it braises so long that it will be tender)
  • 1 C onion, peeled and diced
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 C diced carrots
  • 1 C diced celery
  • 2 C broth (I used beef broth only, but you can swap in some wine or water, too)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 C thinly sliced basil
  • 1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 t red pepper flakes
  • freshly ground salt, as needed
  • freshly ground pepper, as needed

For Serving
  • cooked pasta or pasta equivalent (I used spiralized sweet potatoes that I just barely blanched)
  • parmesan for serving, optional


Heat the oil in a large, dutch oven. Add the beef into the pot. Sear on each side for  3 to 5 minutes - until a nice brown begins to appear. Add the onions and garlic to the pot. Let them cook until the onion is translucent and beginning to caramelize. Add in the carrots and celery. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.

Pour in the broth or combination of liquid that you're using. Stir in the bay leaves, thyme, basil, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Let the meat braise for 3 to 4 hours - longer is fine, if you need to. You can leave the beef in cubes or shred the meat a little bit.

Once the beef is tender. Remove the cover and turn up the heat to reduce the sauce to your desired thickness. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

For Serving
To serve, mix some of the ragu in with your pasta. Portion out your pasta into individual servings. Spoon more sauce over the top. Serve immediately. You can grate parmesan over the top, if you like; I didn't have any this afternoon, so I skipped it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Chocolate, By Request

Back in 2011 we took the Chocolate Walking Tour of San Francisco. Our tour guide Michelangelo had given us other suggestions of must-try chocolate places that weren't included in the itinerary and one of the spots was Dandelion Chocolate. We came across their stand in the Ferry Building, but that location didn't serve the cacao pulp smoothie. So, we went to their shop in the Mission District the following year, and it's been on our 'to-return- list for years.

When I was planning my Bay Area adventure with the Precise Kitchen Elf after his internship ended, at the beginning of this month, he only had two requests: bookstores and chocolate tastings. Done. So, after we completed three of the San Francisco stairway hikes, we headed over to Dandelion.

R ordered a chocolate cannelé. And after my successful foray into cannelé-making, he's asked me to try to recreate it. Hmmm...I'll consider it.

The cacao fruit smoothie and chocolate panna cotta were also amazing. I mean, I've made Salted Juniper-Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta, but I loved Dandelion's petal and seed-scattered version. They make everything seem effortless yet elegant.

Almost too rich to finish, their European drinking chocolate came with a small cookie and homemade marshmallows. You can tell why I love this place, right?

The drinking chocolate was so thick it was almost overwhelming! But R shared it with me and we weren't in a rush. While we enjoyed, we watched some of the chocolate makers at work. They roast, winnow, and grind the single-origin beans themselves. It makes for an incredible chocolate experience.

One of the chocolate makers came over and asked if we wanted to try what they were making. Of course! He dipped spoons into the bowl and came back with this.

And, on our way out, the shelf of chocolate bars closest to the entrance had self-serve samples that really demonstrate the wide range of flavors chocolate bars can have with varying places of origin. It's astounding that just a mixture of cacao beans and sugar can taste like everything from flowers to coffee. A word of warning: if you're a set-in-your-ways milk chocolate or white chocolate lover, Dandelion might not be the place for you. This is a haven for a chocolate adventurer. Truly.

We walked away with five different bars, ranging from 70% to 100% cacao. His favorite was a 70% from Tanzania. We actually bought two of those bars so he could share it with his best friend the next day. Chocolate, as requested. Check.

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