Friday, May 17, 2019

Lemon-Caper Halibut + Gérard Bertrand 2018 Cigalus Blanc #Winophiles #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me in conjunction with the May #Winophiles event.
Wine samples were provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.

This month, L.M., of L.M. Archer, is hosting the French Winophiles as we explore and pair Gérard Bertrand Wines. Read her invitation here. Several of us were fortunate enough to have our posts sponsored by Gérard Bertrand. I, for one, had already sourced, tasted, and paired my wine.

Then I received a suprise bottle from Gérard Bertrand* and changed direction. But you can read my initial post at Boeuf aux Agrumes + Gérard Bertrand 2014 Kosmos. If you are reading this early enough, join the conversation on Twitter: Saturday, May 18th at 8am Pacific time. Be sure to include #Winophiles in your tweet so we can all see you; or simply search for the hashtag later and read the conversation.

The #Winophiles' Explorations

In My Glass

At Cigalus, in the South of France, Gérard Bertrand manages the vineyard according to the biodynamic system that has at the heart of it a system of growing that enhances the expression of the terroir with minimal intervention from the grower and winemaker. In fact, at the heart of the biodynamic system is the energy of the soil. All the work in the vineyard - from ploughing and pruning - and in the cellar is done in strict adherence to a calendar that revolves around the sun and the moon.

Throughout 2019, we have been exploring boidynamic wines in several of the wine groups. It's been quite eye-opening. You can read my previous posts. For those events, I shared: Dinner in Testosterone Land: Braised Short Ribs + 2016 Nuova Cappelletta Barbera del Monferrato and Learning about Biodynamic Wines + M.Chapoutier Wines with Some Cross-Cultural Pairings. I'll be honest, I appreciate learning about biodynamic practices and I truly respect wineries that are following those practices - whether they get the certifications or not - but the designation is not a guarantee of a "good" wine, in my mind.

The Cigalus vineyard has a semi-arid Mediterranean climate; with its mild winters and hot summers, all the grape varieties enjoy an early ripening. And the dryness of the climate is countered by bordering Aussou, a stream that runs alongside the property.

The Gérard Bertrand 2018 Cigalus Blanc is a blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. To the eye it has as clear, light straw color. The nose is intensely citrus with notes of lime, grapefruit, and mandarin. But, after you give it a good swirl, softer tones of summer stone fruits and honey. Jake noted bioche, however, that may be because he misses bread!

On the palate, the Cigalus Blanc is surprisingly full-bodied, given its light color, supple and silky. And, despite its citrus aromas, I thought the flavor leaned more vanilla and tropical fruit. Still, its weight made it a great pour with my citrus-heavy fish dinner.

On My Plate

I had picked up some halibut at the market and wanted a quick, easy dinner. So, I opted to pan-fry the fish and make an easy pan-sauce with butter, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and caper. Then, because Jake and I are trying to cut back on bread and carbs, in general, I put the fish on a bed of zucchini noodles.

 Lemon-Caper Halibut 

  • 1 to 2 halibut fillets
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 T butter
  • noodles or zoodles (zucchini noodles!) for serving
Caper Sauce
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T capers
  • 1 T cornstarch mixed with 1 T water
  • 2 T white wine
  • juice of 1/2 lemon, (about 1 T)
  • 1 C chicken broth

Caper Sauce
In a skillet, over medium heat, melt butter with garlic. Cook till the garlic softens. Add wine, lemon juice, and capers. Cook off the alcohol for a couple of minutes. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Pour in the broth and whisk it until it begins to thicken. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

In the same pan, over medium heat, melt butter in olive oil. Add halibut fillets. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side.

To serve, toss cooked noodles with olive oil and half of the caper sauce. Place into individual bowls, top with halibut. Then divide the remaining sauce between the servings. 

As a simple side dish, I served avocados drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice. It was a tasty, simple dinner...and it went really well with the Gérard Bertrand 2018 Cigalus Blanc.

Until next time...the French Winophiles will be focusing on French wine and French cheese with Martin of ENOFYLZ Wine Blog leading the charge. Cheers!

*Disclosure: I received sample wines 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.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Steamed Fish, Tuvalu-Style #FishFridayFoodies

It's time for Fish Friday Foodies' May 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, Sneha of Sneha's Recipe is hosting as we share seafood recipes that are wrapped in leaves. 

Before I get to my recipe. Here's the rest of the #FishFridayFoodies' 'wrapped in leaves' menu...

Would you like to join Fish Friday Foodies? We post and share new seafood/fish recipes on the third Friday of the month. To join our group please email Wendy at Visit our Facebook page and Pinterest page for more wonderful fish and seafood recipe ideas.

Steamed Fish, Tuvalu-Style

I found a traditional Tuvalu recipe that involved steaming local fish in banana leaves; they use uku which is a blue-green snapper. I just happened to have black cod from the market this week.

This preparation ended up being a huge hit! And it's always a fun presentation to have to unwrap your dinner, right? It's like a culinary present.

serves 4 with 2 small packets each

  • 8 banana leaf squares (thawed, if previously frozen)
  • 8 small fillets of fish (I used local Black Cod)
  • freshly ground salt
  • Also needed: 100% cotton twine, cut into 12" lengths; steamer or double boiler

  • 1 T freshly grated ginger
  • 2 t freshly grated lemon grass
  • 1 T fresh garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 1/2 C chicken stock
  • 1/4 C gluten-free soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/4 C sesame oil
  • 2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 T fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 T green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced

Place banana leaves on a flat work surface or cutting board. Place fish in the center of the leaf. Season the fish with salt. Fold the leaves to form a package and secure with kitchen twine. Repeat for the remaining 7 packages.

Place the packages in a steamer or the top of a double-boiler set over lightly boiling water. Cover and steam for 10 to 12 minutes, or until cooked through.

While the fish steams, prepare the sauce. Combine the ginger, lemongrass, garlic, and chicken stock in a medium saucepan. Whisk until well-combined. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Pour in the soy sauce and sesame oil. Stir in 1 T cilantro and 1 T parsley. Heat until warmed through. Set aside.

To serve, place the packages on individual plates. Cut open at the table. Top the fish with the sauce. This dish is likely served with white rice. I served it with a mixture of brown rice and quinoa.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

HRH Salmon in Mugal Cream Sauce #FoodieReads

I started this book - Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors: A Novel by Sonali Dev* - on Mothers' Day when I packed it into my backpack for a hike. 

On the Page

While the boys flew their remote control glider on the thermoclines around the dunes, I lounged on the sand, sucked down some coffee, and read about a third of the book. Then, while Jake manned the grill for my Thai-inspired Mothers' Day dinner, later that afternoon, I polished it off. 

While I have read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, I vastly prefer the slightly darker themes explored in her contemporaries' works such as anything by the literary phenomenon that were the Brontë sisters. I'm less interested in the exploration of women's reliance on marriage in the pursuit of social standing and economic security as I intrigued by madwomen in attics. Just me? Maybe.

At the center is Dr. Trisha Raje, a neurosurgeon at Stanford Medical, who has just created a way to gently nudge brain tissue out of the way to remove a tumor versus slicing into the brain. The patient she would like to try this experimental procedure on is an artist, Emma, who will certainly lose her vision after the surgery. But she will be alive. Add into this the overbearing, toxic Raje family and Emma's deadly attractive older brother, DJ, who is a chef trying to land a long-term catering contract with the Rajes. Now you have some drama!

One thing bothered me more than it probably should have. Trisha makes a drive to Monterey, to a beach house that her family owns in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Dev makes a point of calling out a (fictional) little cafe "outside Laguna Grande, just a few miles away from the beach house" (pg 307). Why use a real city, then a fake city, and a fake business?! Unless there's a Laguna Grande with which I am unfamiliar on this seems odd to say the least.

The food descriptions and DJ’s obvious passion for his work were my favorite parts.

"Leaning over the tray he inhaled deeply, letting the steam-laden aroma flood all the way through him. The soft green clouds edged with the most delicate golden crusts smelled as perfect as they looked. Pistachio with a hint of saffron. Was there even such a things as a hint of saffron? It was the loudest understated spice, like a soft-spoken person you couldn't stop listening to. ...No matter how subtle you tried to make it, saffron always shone through, it became the soul of your preparation" (pp. 43-44).

"Before he was thirteen he could outshine the most skilled cooks in all Southall. He could smell the readiess of onion in every one of its stages of cooking and knew exactly what stage worked best for each dish. He could identify the exact rapidity with which milk had to boil before adding the lemon to make the cheese curd separate into paneer. He could sense exactly when to add the tomatoes to tie together the onion, garlic, and ginger so that the curry came together perfectly with the oil separating from it in syrupy rivulets" (pg. 207).

I found this novel a breezy, light read...and perfect for a diversion during this crazy last month of school. It was enjoyable, but not particularly thought-provoking. Basically, it's a gender-bending Pride and Prejudice with some modern day perspectives on class, race, identity, and family. And then there's the food. This definitely had me looking for recipes to make ladoo, scheming about when I could serve a Saffron Crème Brûlée, and dreaming about DJ's crab kachoris with date chutney foam. Okay, maybe not so much on the foam. That always makes me feel as if a stink bug walked across my plate.

On the Plate

Our CSF (that's community supported fishery) pick-up days is one of my favorite dinner days of the week. We love Real Good Fish for the quality, the freshness, and the philosophy! Last night, we received a beautiful, fleshy piece of King Salmon from our bay. It was really gorgeous. So, I decided to adapt the recipe in the back of the book and used salmon instead of chicken. Also, I added in some red and yellow bell peppers for more color. And instead of calling it 'King' Salmon, I went for 'HRH' Salmon which is how they refer to the patriarch of the Raje family: HRH, his royal highness.

HRH Salmon in Mugal Cream Sauce
serves four / modified from 'Chicken in Mugal Cream Sauce' from the book

  • 1/2 C butter
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 t fennel seeds
  • 1 t dried fenugreek leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 1/2" knob fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 2 organic white onions, steamed and pureed
  • 2 green chiles, steamed and pureed
  • 2 organic bell peppers, deseeded and thinly sliced (I used one yellow and one red)
  • 2 T tomato puree
  • 1 pound king salmon fillet, skinned and cut into large chunks
  • 1/4 C whole milk yogurt
  • 1/2 C coconut cream
  • 1/4 raw cashews
  • 1/4 C heavy cream
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • salt to taste
  • Also needed: food processor or mortar and pestle, steamed rice for serving

Mix together the garlic and ginger with a splash of water to form a paste. Set aside. Grind the cashews with a splash of water to form a paste. Set aside.

In a large, flat-bottom pan, melt the butter and heat until it sizzles. Add the cloves, cinnamon, fennel seeds and fenugreek leaves. Let cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add in the garlic-ginger paste. Stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes until aromatic.

Stir in the pureed onions and chiles. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the bell peppers. Then add in the tomato puree and cook for 2 minutes.

Whisk in the yogurt and coconut cream. Bring to a simmer. Gently lower the salmon chunks into the pan. Cook on a low heat until the salmon is opaque, but still soft, approximately 7 to 8 minutes.

Fold in the cashew paste and stir in the cream. Sprinkle with ground nutmeg. Season to taste with salt, as needed.

Serve with a scoop of steamed rice. Serve hot.

*This blog currently has a partnership with 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 and search for the item of your choice.

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

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Salmon Burgers with Roasted Tomatillo Cream and Fresh Corn Salad #FantasticalFoodFight

I love the Fantastical Food Fight coordinated by Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes. For more information about the event, click here.

I haven't been very good at participating, but this month, I couldn't resist. Our theme for the month is: burgers.  What delicious, carnivorous fun! Sarah wrote: "Your recipe must be a BURGER (theme) recipe. It does not have to be beef - any protein is fine...even black beans! Let your imagination run wild."

The Burger Bar
Inlinkz Link Party

Since she said to let my imagination run wild, I was immediately thinking of some burger form of a low country seafood boil, as I had been rewatching some Mind of a Chef episodes with Chef Sean Brock. But I couldn't really figure that one out. 

We love burgers and I've posted several quirky versions. Check out my Mimolette Burgers with Malbec OnionsI've played with lots of different flavor combinations recently, including what I called a 'You Feta Be Kidding Me' Burger made with ground lamb. Sticky Hoisin Duck Burgers were a favorite and I had a lot of fun making a Chile-Relleno Topped Chorizo Burger years ago.

Salmon Burgers with Roasted Tomatillo Cream 
and Fresh Corn Salad

I decided to skip the bun - at least for me and Jake because we're cutting down on bread and carbs - hand chop some fresh-from-the-bay salmon, and fold roasted tomatillos into an unsweetened whipped cream as a topping. Then I tossed raw born kernels tossed with an easy herb dressing created my base. 


Salmon Burgers
  • 2 pounds salmon fillet
  • 1/4 C diced organic red bell pepper
  • 1 t Old Bay seasoning + more for sprinkling
  • butter for cooking

Corn Salad
  • 2 to 3 ears fresh corn
  • 1/4 C diced organic red bell pepper

Herb Vinaigrette (makes extra!)
  • 1 t minced fresh garlic
  • 2 t minced fresh shallot
  • 2 T chopped fresh herbs (I used a mixture of cilantro, thyme, and parsley)
  • freshly ground smoked sea salt and flower pepper
  • 1/4 C unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 C olive oil

Roasted Tomatillo Cream
  • 1/2 C organic heavy whipping cream
  • 2 to 3 T Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (recipe below)

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (makes extra!)
  • 10 tomatillos 
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 whole onion, peeled and quartered
  • freshly ground salt, to taste
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice, if needed


Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lay the tomatillos, jalapeno, and onion on a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet.

Roast until the tomatillos are soft, the onions beginning to caramelize, and the pepper is wilted, approximately 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Place all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor.

Blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt. If your salsa needs some tang, squeeze in the lemon juice.

Salmon Burgers
Remove the skin of the salmon and any bones and chop into 1/4" chunks. Combine ingredients in medium bowl, mixing well. Once everything is combined nicely, form into six 1" thick patties. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add salmon patties. Sprinkle a bit more Old Bay onto each side of the burger as you cook them. Cook until just firm to touch and brown and crusty, approximately 3 minutes on each side.

Herb Vinaigrette
Place all ingredients for the dressing in a mason jar. Shake till emulsified. Dress the salad right before serving.

Roasted Tomatillo Cream
Whip cream into medium peaks. Fold in roasted tomatillo salsa to taste; I used about 2 T for ours.

To Assemble
Toss the herb vinaigrette into the corn and red bell peppers. I only used about 1/3 of the dressing. Keep the rest for another salad!

Place the cooked patty on top of the corn salad. Add a dollop of tomatillo cream on top of the burger.

Enjoy!! And stay tuned for our June Fantastical Food Fight! The topic 'sourdough'. Hmmm...I'm a little afraid of sourdough. I'll have talk myself into that one.

The Last Word Cocktail #FoodBloggerLove

Earlier this year I noticed a fun game posted in the online group #FoodBloggerLove. We claim the last blogger in the comment stream and add our own link. Then we have a week to post an inspired recipe. I was thrilled to claim Karen of Karen's Kitchen Stories. She and I have been in several different blogging groups over the years, so I was familiar with her blog already. But it was great to really dive deep and get to know her better.

Karen is a prolific blogger and one that joins in on many groups within our community. She was one of two gals who joined me for a year-long project cooking through Mark Bittman's Kitchen Matrix; read about that here. She is part of #FishFridayFoodies, #SoupSwappers, #BreadBakers, and so many more. You can find her: on the web, on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Pinterest

And I am proud to call her a friend. Hopefully one of these days I'll meet her in person. We do live in the same state, after all. But California is a large one. Fingers crossed that our paths cross in real life eventually. Cheers, Karen!

Okay, I originally claimed Karen for the game because I was going to use it as my excuse to finally follow her instructions and make some sourdough bread. Seriously, Karen is a sourdough goddess. I always look at her loaves longingly, wondering how much effort it will take to master bread baking. I mean, really, look at her Pizza with Sourdough Crust, Double-Fed Sweet Levain Bread, Sourdough Bagels, and Tartine-Style Sourdough Rosemary Polenta Bread. Drool-worthy, right?

I actually selected to tackle her Dill and White Cheddar Sourdough Bread, but I didn't realize that the starter takes three days and the turnaround on this project is a week. I procrasinated too long. Darn it. So, it was back on the hunt for something else of hers I wanted to make. Thankfully she has a recipe index and I began exploring her cocktail list. My goodness! That line-up almost rivals her breads.

I was intrigued by her Elderflower Martini because I can't resist anything elderflower, but my elderflower liqueur v. 2018 is long gone and I haven't gotten started a new batch. I love her Bloody Marys Three Ways and will try them soon. But, I landed on The Last Word. First, because I had all of the ingredients on hand; and, second, because I have had the cocktail before and really enjoyed it.

Karen shared, "Evidently, The Last Word Cocktail, after languishing in obscurity for about 80 years or so, enjoyed a sudden resurgence when a Seattle bartender recreated it and began serving it around 2006. According to folklore, he discovered the cocktail in a book that was written in 1951."

"The ingredients include equal parts gin, green Chartreuse, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, and fresh lime juice. The cocktail is slightly sweet, but also very herbal." It sounded absolutely up my alley. Don't worry, there's a sourdough event coming up for one of my groups. I'll attempt one of Karen's recipes then. Wish me luck!

The Last Word Cocktail

Ingredients makes 2 cocktails
  • 1 1/2 ounces gin 
  • 1 1/2 ounces Chartreuse
  • 1 1/2 ounces Luxardo Maraschino Originale
  • 1 1/2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Also needed: ice, cocktail shaker, organic lime wheel for garnish


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the gin, Chartreuse, Luxardo, and lime juice. Shake for about a minute. Let sit for about 30 seconds to a minute. 

Strain the cocktails into the two glasses and serve with a lime wheel garnish.

A Surprisingly Somber Chick Flick + a Quintessential Napa Valley Floor Cab

When I saw that Amy Poehler's Wine Country was releasing on Netflix last week, I immediately added it to my list. I knew nothing about it except that it would reunite several Saturday Night Live alumnae, it takes place in Napa, and it involves lots of wine. Those factors alone made it seem like a great Friday night diversion. After the boys headed to bed, I pressed play; Jake immediately lost interest and started watching something else on his computer. But he did join me in drinking Cab from Napa!

On the Screen
I have to admit that given the comedic chops in the group - Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer, et al - I was more than a little surprised at how serious (read 'not that funny') the movie really was. I had expected a light, fluffy female version of The Hangover meets The Bridesmaids or something like that. I anticipated it being edgy, loose, maybe a little bit raunchy, and funny. This was not that. Not really.

The gals - who met as waitresses at a pizza joint in Chicago - convene from all around the country on a rented house in Napa, owned by Tina Fey's Tammy, to celebrate Dratch's Rebecca turning fifty years old. The stereotypes start rolling right from the start...from Gasteyer's workaholic Catherine who started a frozen pizza company to Dratch's Rebecca who constantly pushes her therapist-speak on her friends, "Can I offer you some feedback?"

While the movie takes a few well-aimed and amusing shots at the pretensions and snobbery that you can encounter while wine tasting, it just isn't that funny. The gals make it clear that they don't care about how much wattage the solar panels at one of the wineries produce; they just want to drink wine. "10 watts," one hazards a guess. Try 50,000 watts, is the retort.

When Poehler and Dratch's characters are asked to describe that they taste in a wine, they are encouraged that there are no wrong answers. Then he proceeds to shoot down whatever Dratch mentions. "No, there are no canned peaches in this wine;" "No, no jasmine either." She finally shrugs her shoulders and declares, "Grapes! I get grapes in this wine."

There’s plenty of drinking, bonding, and bickering between girlfriends. So, I would characterize it as a chick flick. but it's a surprisingly somber one with musings about midlife crises - think cancer diagnoses, bad marriages, losing a career, etc. - peppered with punchlines that feel flat and lifeless. Sadly, the film definitely lacks the hilarity you would anticipate given the comedy dream team on the billing.
In My Glass

The girl crew make it clear that they are not in Napa to swirl or spit, but to drink. Lots. Of. Wine. One line stuck with me when they turn and walk away from a winery employee who is trying to intrigue them, “Cabernet Sauvignon is the king of Wine Country, and Chardonnay its queen.”

When I started drinking wine in college, I gravitated to those straw bottles of Chianti because they were cheap and tannic. Then, when I had a little bit more expendable income from my computer center campus job and my flower shop girl stint, I transitioned to Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa. Those were not cheap, but I felt it was worth the splurge and my friends and I were having more dinner parties with wine pairings.

Now, I honestly cannot remember the last time I bought a Napa Cab. I've been focusing on wines from Italy and France with some of my online blogging groups. But I also spend my wine dollars on creations from my favorite vintners versus specific locations or even specific varietals. And, after a book recommendation from my friend David, I have decided to learn about godforsaken grapes.

Speaking in extremely broad strokes, I would hazard that there are two quintessential types of Napa Cabs: floor and hill wines. Obviously there are exceptions and the winemaker certainly makes a difference, but I find most Cabernet Sauvignons fall into one of two categories. And they seem to rely on where the vineyards are in the Napa Valley - whether in the trough of the valley or the slopes.

Cabernets from the floor of the valley seem more fruit-forward and are what I might call more refined and lush. Cabernets from the slopes of the valley seem more mineral-driven and even on the dusty side. All I would label as 'bold,' however. Bold and new-world style wines seem to be the gold standard of Napa Cabs.

This 2017 Aviary Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon is, in my estimation, a quintessential Napa Valley floor cab. It's a decadent wine that opens with rich fruit notes of cassis and cherry, but it softens with hints of oak and almond. This is lush and smooth with a nice balanced acidity.

I paired this two nights in a row. First we had a chanterelle risotto; second we had a Thai-inspired dinner with noodles and grilled meats. Both were a good match for this wine.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Lephet Thoke (Burmese Fermented Tea Leaf Salad) #OurFamilyTable

Today the #OurFamilyTable is sharing summer salad recipes! Christie of A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures encouraged the bloggers: "The produce is starting to roll in! May is salad month, so let's share some hearty salads to chow down on this month."

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!

Lephet Thoke 
Burmese Fermented Tea Leaf Salad

When I began researching food for a Burmese feast, I was intrigued by recipes for Lephet Thoke, a fermented tea leaves salad. But when I began to delve into where to find these fermented tea leaves, I came up empty...and not just me. There are numerous discussion boards dedicated to fermented tea leaves and banned Burmese exports. Apparently there is an ingredient, or noxious chemical, that the tea leaves have when produced in Burma; that makes them un-importable into the United States. Okay, I can understand that. So I've learned to make my own and have made this salad many, many times. It's not specifically a summer salad. But it's one that my family enjoys all year long!

So, I have seen this spelled lephet, lahpet, and laphet. No clue which is correct. It's probably just a phoneticized version anyway.

"A thee ma, thayet; a thar ma, wet; a ywet ma, lahpet."
"Of all the fruit, the mango's the best; of all the meat, the pork's the best;
and of all the leaves, lahpet's the best."

For my salad, I typically diverge from what I read is traditional and use what I have. So, I often swap out romaine lettuce for arugula and peanuts for hazelnuts; I also add hard boiled eggs for more protein and to make it a complete meal.

But the first step is to ferment those tea leaves. This process takes about three days, so do it ahead of when you want to serve.


Fermented Tea Leaves

  • 1 C unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1 C water
  • 1/4 C green tea leaves, crushed
  • 1/4 C sesame oil
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T fish sauce


  • organic greens
  • organic tomatoes, sliced into wedges
  • hard-boiled eggs, sliced into wedges
  • chopped nuts for garnish (peanuts are traditional, I used hazelnuts here)


Fermented Tea Leaves
Crush the tea leaves with a mortar and a pestle. In a medium pot, bring the vinegar and water to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, add the crushed tea leaves, and simmer for 30 minutes. Make sure the leaves don't burn, but the liquid may completely dissolve. Drain any remaining liquid. In a large mixing bowl, stir the leaves in with the remaining ingredients. Cover and let stand for about three days. You can leave it as long as four; after that it starts to taste heavy and too sour.

Layer washed and dried arugula, tomato wedges, and hardboiled egg wedges on your serving plate. Spoon a heap of the fermented tea leaves in the center. When serving have the diners sprinkle nuts on their own salads to their liking.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Simple Pleasures, A Birthday Cheeseboard, & Keeler Estate Vineyards' 2017 Terracotta Amphorae Riesling #WinePW #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me in conjunction with the May #WinePW event.
Wine samples were provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.

This month, May 2019, Jade of Tasting Pour has the Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers looking at the Biodynamic Wines of Willamette Valley. You can read her invitation here. Through her association with Willamette Valley Wine, several of the bloggers received samples to taste and pair. I received two bottles from Keeler Estate Vineyards.*

Here are the dishes and wine pairings that the crew has in store. These recipes will go live between Friday evening of the 10th and Saturday morning the 11th before our Twitter chat scheduled 8-9 am PT. Follow #WinePW as we discuss the behind the scenes of our recipe pairings and share thoughts on these amazing wines.
  • David of Cooking Chat has prepared Salmon, Farro and Mushrooms with Winderlea Pinot Noir.
  • Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is celebrating with Simple Pleasures, A Birthday Cheeseboard, & Keeler Estate Vineyards' 2017 Terracotta Amphorae Riesling.
  • Jill of L’Occasion writes about Peace, Bread, Land and Wine: A Meal With Brooks Winery.
  • Jennifer of Vino Travels will share Biodynamic Wines of the Willamette Valley with King Estate.
  • Lori of Dracaena Wines will present Continuing the Biodynamic Legacy.
  • Jane from Always Ravenous pairs Wild Alaskan Salmon with Herbed Ricotta and Oregon Pinot Noir.
  • Pinny of Chinese Food and Wine Pairings combines Biodynamic Grüner Veltliner and Pinot Noir from Johan Vineyards Plus Surf ‘n’ Turf Dinner.
  • Linda of My Full Wine Glass shares Ode to Oregon: Johan’s Biodynamic Expression of Place.
  • Gwendolyn from Wine Predator will present Our land is our life and our life is our wine— Cooper Mountain Pinot Paired with Duck.
  • Deana from Asian Test Kitchen has whipped up Oregon Orange Wine Sparkles with Indian Curry.
  • Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm discovers Dammit!! These are some great wines from Willamette.
  • Lauren of The Swirling Dervish will tempt us with Pork Loin, Mushrooms, and Fiddlehead Ferns Meet Biodynamic Pinot Noir from Bergström Wines.
  • Martin of Enofylz Wine Blog brings us A Taste of Cooper Mountain Vineyards at the Table.
  • Jeff of FoodWineClick! is pairing Biodynamic Willamette Valley with Brick House and Harissa Chicken.
  • Payal of Keep the Peas is presenting Living off the Land: King Estate Pinot Noir + Mushroom Pâté.
  • Rupal of Syrah Queen is sharing Maysara Winery - Iranian Immigrants Achieving The American Dream.
  • Jade of Tasting Pour will share Thai Green Curry Rockfish and Montinore Estate Gewurztraminer.

  • Simple Pleasures

    A few weeks ago, it was my husband's birthday...on a Friday...after a crazy, busy week. Thankfully, when I asked him if he had any special requests, his list was simple: wine, fresh tomatoes, coffee, and tiramisù. A-ha! There's four more reasons we're a good match. Simple pleasures. Since I had the two wines from Keeler Estate Vineyards to pair, I went with that to fulfill his first request. Wine!

    It was a lovely evening here on California's central coast, with the fog held at bay by a warm bank of air, so I pulled out the patio table, and managed a centerpiece of flowers and D's nisser that he made in ceramic class. Actually we have six of them now. They seem to be multiplying!

    Keeler Estate Vineyards' 
    2017 Terracotta Amphorae Riesling

    You'll see the red wine pairing soon, but, for this event, I wanted to shine the spotlight on the 2017 Terracotta Amphorae Riesling. First, though, here's a little bit more about Keeler.

    Keeler Estate Vineyard is part of the Eola-Amity AVA and is a Demeter-Certified biodynamic vineyard. I've done a lot of reading about biodynamics in winemaking and, I found, their synopsis clear and precise, so I'm just going to share it with you.

    From the Keeler website: "Biodynamic farmers strive to create a diversified, balanced ecosystem that generates health and fertility within the farm itself. Preparations made from fermented manure, minerals and herbs are used to restore and harmonize the vital life forces of the farm , enhance the nutrition, quality and flavor of the food being raised. Biodynamic practitioners recognize and strive to work in cooperation with the subtle influences of the wider cosmos on soil, plant and animal health. While we do not need the bees for pollination in the vineyard because grape plants are self pollinated from wind and gravity, we need them on the rest of our land. There are lots of blooming plants and trees where the bees collect their pollen and the result is not only a healthy environment but a tasty jar full of golden honey, the end product of our bees’ hard work."

    Along the lines of minimal manipulation, the natural winemaking style at Keeler means that they use native yeast fermentations and work with what the vineyards provides. Also, in addition to stainless steel and French oak, they age in concrete eggs, concrete dolia, and terracotta amphorae. Amphorae are red clay urns that were used by the ancient Greeks, Phoenicians, and Romans. The terracotta imparts a subtle spice and enhances the wine's texture. R commented that he had seen lots of them in Pompeii when he visited Italy and Greece during his Spring Break.

    Keeler shares that they have both small and large amphorae, with varying capacities of approximately 30 to 70 cases, which is what they use in this limited-production Kabinett-style Riesling.

    The 2017 Terracotta Amphorae Riesling is an elegant wine, made in an off-dry Kabinett style. Fermented and aged for 5 months in terracotta amphorae, Keeler suggested to pair this wine with our favorite cheeses or spicy Asian dishes.

    An elegant pour, I thought this Riesling offered an ideal blend of sweet and sour. There was plenty of slightly unripe stone fruit for the sour tones and it finishes with just a kiss of caramel. What a stunning wine!

    A Birthday Cheeseboard

    And since they suggested cheese as a pairing, I went with a birthday cheeseboard for our first course. Read this post for my Cheese Board Basics where you can find my tips on choosing cheeses, picking pairings, and filling the holes. 

    For this board, I used a black truffle cheese, Cotswold, Cambozola, and Comté. I filled the holes with Marcona almonds, apricot-almond cake, charcuterie, olives, and fresh cucumbers. Then we had a few kinds of crackers and slices of baguette. It was a delicious and simple way to kick off the birthday festivities.

    Find them on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram

    Williamette Valley Wine
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    *Disclosure: I received sample wines 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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