Thursday, July 28, 2011

Grilled steak two ways

With weather warming up, grilling season is well on its way, and nothing tastes better fresh off the grill to me than a juicy steak. Here, I will present two ways to top off your steak: a cabernet balsamic sauce from Guy Fieri or blue cheese & chive butter. Both these steak recipes will go great with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tangy Chicken Soft Tacos

When in need of a quick & easy weeknight dinner, look no further than these yummy, tangy, healthy chicken tacos served on whole wheat tortillas. I left the topping choices customizable so that you can use whatever you have in the kitchen or leave off whatever you don't like and control the heat level.

Home-made tacos can be healthy, and not like their widely available greasy fast-food counterparts! Whole wheat tortillas and black beans are a great way to add heart-healthy fiber to your diet. Opting to add cayenne pepper and chili peppers such as jalapeno adds immune-boosting capsaicin and vitamins. Avocado (in guacamole) often gets a bad rap for its fattiness but studies show these fats are actually anti-inflammatory and increase our absorption of fat-soluble nutrients like carotenoids (such as those found in previously discussed chili peppers).

Since I always seem to be opting for spicy, tangy dishes... my wine choices may seem repetitive ... or maybe it's my cooking that's getting repetitive? Whites like Rieslings and Gewurtztraminers are the way to go here to balance the spiciness of chipotle, cayenne, and jalapeno in this dish. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Teriyaki Turkey Burgers

Ground turkey is always a better option than ground beef, and I look for 93/7 lean ground turkey breast. The risk with using such lean meat, especially with burgers, is drying out and blandness. These Asian turkey burgers do not have that problem with the addition of tasty teriyaki sauce, chili-garlic sauce, and plenty of herbs and spices to keep them flavorful. Teriyaki flavors pair well with Riesling and Gewurztraminer, and these wines will also meld nicely with turkey.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork BBQ

I love making my own sauces, but the problem is when I make a sauce, I'm very much a "little bit of this, little bit of that, little bit more of this" type person. I taste and taste and taste and adjust and by the end of it, I can only guess what my ingredient ratios are. So, my disclaimer is this is my best guess-timate of my delicious pulled pork BBQ recipe. Everybody's tastes are different, so you may need to adjust according to your tastes regardless. Enjoy this comfort food dish!

When I was first reading about the best way to make pulled pork, there was much debate on whether pork butt roast or pork tenderloin should be used. Well, I have tried both and I must say the pork tenderloin was much better, much leaner, much tastier.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bacon, Asparagus, & Cherry Tomato Flatbread

This recipe is perfect if you're cooking for two, as each flatbread makes a personal "pizza" for each eater. Simple, fresh ingredients make this recipe a keeper. I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy my vegetables, and what better way to enjoy anything than to serve it on top of crusty bread with bacon and cheese? In the future, I will try this with different cheeses such as gouda or goat cheese.  This dish is very versatile in its wine pairings. If you make with mozarella, any Italian white wine will make a great pair. Or, if you use gouda, chardonnay is a must. Goat cheese pairs well with riesling. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A wine guide review: Anything but Chardonnay

Anything but Chardonnay by Laura Holmes Haddad
I picked this book up on my honeymoon while browsing a book store. This wine guide caught my eye because Chardonnay is my go-to grape. As the writer notes in her introduction, I am the girl that stares at the wine list at a restaurant, and if nothing catches my eye (or I don't know what the heck I'm looking at), I'll "just have the Chardonnay". Now, Chardonnay lovers, this book does not knock this palpable wine that pairs well with many foods... but it does point out the monotany of not exploring the many other delicious grapes and discovering what they have to offer.

This book is written in a casual voice, is very easy to read, and is not at all "snobbish" like many other wine guides. Since reading this, I have opened up my wine rack to many new and interesting wines and been truly pleased with where it has taken me! This book now resides in an easily accessible place in my kitchen so I can quickly skim the pages for the perfect pairing to my meals.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Southwest Tuna Burgers with Chipotle Mayo

I've made tuna cakes before, and many times have thought about making them into a sandwich. This recipe differs from tuna cakes, as it makes the patties a bit sturdier (my tuna cakes are always on the brink of falling apart). Next time I might try adding some shredded cheese to the tuna mix and seeing how that enhances the flavor (and the calories...). These patties need a lot of seasoning to prevent them from tasting just like any old tuna fish sandwich, and I was very liberal with applying the chipotle mayo to do the same. Otherwise, you'll find yourself with a very quick and easy dinner that requires no thawing or handling of raw meat - and moreover, tuna is so low in fat that any other ground meat can't even compare (2 g in a cup of canned tuna vs. 19 g in a cup of extra lean ground beef). You'll also get more protein, less calories.

I enjoyed my Southwest Tuna Burger with a glass of semi-dry riesling and found the sweet & tart flavors of this popular wine balance out the spicy flavors of the chipotle. The specific bottle I opened was from Belhurst Winery in the Finger Lakes region of NY state, where riesling is a specialty.

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