Saturday, June 30, 2007

New Haven Wine & Wild Rice Salad Not In Key West

Ah, the lazy days of summer. I figured it was time to try my second wine from my Sam's Wines in Chicago haul. I could not stand it anymore. I just had to dive into one of my New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs that I picked up last week. (Sonadora, this one is for you too!) It was shouting out to me from the wine rack! So I popped that dude into the frig and totally enjoyed last night.

I am speaking about a 2006 New Haven Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough area of New Zealand. I probably have said this before, but I am going to say it again, these are my very favorite white wines. They have such good structure with loads of citrus, grassiness, and plenty of acid to make it jump around in your mouth and refresh your soul. This little gem was no exception. Presented on the palate was a nice heavy mouthful of citrus with a touch of that lovely grassiness that is predominant in most New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. The New Haven also had a long pleasing finish. At a price of $9.99, it is a great bargain.

I served this delightful wine with grilled pork loin and a wild rice salad that had loads of veggies in it topped with a red wine vinaigrette and toasted almonds. If anyone would like the recipe, just let me know and I will post it.) The New Haven Sauvignon Blanc matched up perfectly with this summer dinner.

What a way to start the end of your day! Cheers!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Belleruche Wine & Shapes

Just a little after 5 pm on Saturday, me, Tara and Chris strolled into Sam's Wines in Chicago. Darn it, we were just a few minutes too late because they were shutting down the tasting table for the afternoon. Oh well, actually I was there to purchase not taste, although I would never decline a sip of wine! As we were checking out the French white wines, a store clerk happen to be putting a couple of bottles back on the shelf and we started up a conversation about Rhone whites. The wine she was returning to the shelf was the spotlight tasting wine of the day. At a price of $9.99, it seemed like a bargain. She said that the wine was so good that they sold all except the few she was returning to the shelf. Miss clerk assured me it was a good buy. Twist my arm, I took 2 bottles.

The 2005 M. Chapoutier Belleruche Cotes-Du-Rhone was well worth the price. I have not been drinking much French wine lately as the prices seem to have went crazy. I wish I would have picked up a few more of this one. White Grenache, Clairette and Bourboulenc are the grapes used in the making of Belleruche. A nice summer wine with the aromas of green apple greeting your nose as you pop the cork. A refreshing sour green apple taste follows through on the palate with a bit of dryness that makes you "click your tongue". The 13.5% alcohol volume was not very present, which is fine with me. A nice summer wine from a producer who has been in the Rhone Valley since 1808. Now, let me tell you the interesting part. The label! As you may know, I am a label fanatic. Yes, yes, I know, just because the wine has a pretty label does not mean the wine behind it is pretty. But this one is a bit different. Braille has been present on all M. Chapoutier labels since 1996, reaching out to and including all people with sight impairments who are lovers of good wines. That is marvelous!

Check out the shape of this pasta! Another one of my favorite things to do while in a different city is to check out the gourmet stores. After the olive oil and vinegar aisles, I head to the pasta aisle. I really get into pasta shapes and I found one this time at Fox & Obel in Chicago that I have not seen before. "Maccheroni al torchio" is produced by Rustichella D' Abruzzo SPA and imported by Manicaretti in California. So all of you west coast folks probably can find this one fairly easy. I had such fun photographing them and I will let you know soon how fun it was eating them!

Almost forgot! I have a post on Wine Sediments today. If you have time, stop by!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Borsao Wine & Cornish Hens Not In Key West

Spanish Wines. Yep, I have been on the “kick” this summer for Spanish wines thanks to Dr. Debs. Oh, and also Michelle over at My Wine Education is hosting WBW #35 on Spanish wines! Perfect timing. Wow, Spanish wines are "hot" this summer! (Sorry, I just had to say that!) So I thought, hum, do I want a red or white? OK, I have tons of whites from my Chicago haul so let's try a red for summer, let's say a "Garnacha". Now, do I want to go high end or low end in pricing? I decided to go to the inexpensive group. But let me tell you for under $10.00, I found a nice happy wine.

A 2005 Bodegas Borsao Campo De Borja came home with me the other day. A pleasant wine, even with a high alcohol content of 14%. Since this wine is made up of 75% Garnacha and 25% Tempranillo grapes, the alcohol is going to be up there due to the Garnacha grape. But, the alcohol was not predominant. After popping the cork, juicy berry aromas escaped into the air. On pouring, I noticed a little hint of violet in that river of dark red that was flowing into my glass. During the sip, a pleasant berry flavor, a mix of strawberry and dark cherry, bloomed on my tongue. Lovely! It lacked the high acid that sometimes creeps into your mouth, so it was nice and soft going down. No heavy tannins either. Wow, this is a delightful summer wine!

Now, what am I going to pair this wine with food wise? A nice juicy roasted Cornish hen stuffed with rosemary, a little garlic and a shallot decided to meet up with us for dinner. Accompanying this was roasted carrots, onions and more garlic with a “pile” of basmati rice on the side. The 2005 Bodegas Borsao Campo De Borja wine was light enough that it did not overpower the dinner, but full enough to match nicely.
A nice way to start the end of a summer day!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Chicago & Cockfighter's Ghost Wine

Chicago, what a town, what a weekend! Thanks to our lovely friends Kantha, Tara, and Chris, my mission was accomplished as I made it home with over 2 cases of wine and lots of other goodies. Tara, Chris and I spent lots of time in Sam's Wine and, thanks to their patience, I was able to search and read many wine labels. End result, one case of Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet for Mike of course, and over a case of new wines for me to taste and share my findings with my wine and foodie blogging friends. I don't think I could ever find this much "new wine" in Key West ever. A bit excited, YES! (It does not take much does it!) Mike, Kantha, Tara, Chris and I had a lovely dining experience at Shaw's Crab House. It is soft-shell crab season so that was the main entree for most of us. It is season for fresh Alaskan Salmon which was also part of the entrees ordered. The grilled salmon came with a tomato relish. Red and yellow cherry tomatoes with basil, olive oil and I think maybe some shallot. It made a nice accompaniment with the salmon. We had our soft-shell crabs pan fried with a lemon butter sauce and a couple crabs fried tempura style. With our dinner we had a King Estate Pinot Noir which paired nicely with the crab and the salmon. Many Thanks to Kantha, Tara and Chris for entertaining us this weekend. Now your turn to come to Key West!

Cannot leave you all without a post on a wine that we had while visiting my brother a few weeks ago in Knoxville. Mark poured a 2001 Cockfighter's Ghost Cabernet Sauvignon that was luscious!! OK, let me tell you a little bit about it. Cockfighter's Ghost Langhorne Creek Cabernet is produced in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia by Poole's Rock Wines. When he popped that cork, oh my gosh, I could not believe how the air was filled with the aroma of black current fruit. The color of the wine was inky black with a hint of violet. It was really rich looking. But oh, on the palate, the big feature was still that heavy black current fruit flavor with a touch of vanilla. Even at 13.7% alcohol, the tannins were so soft, smooth and my mouth was loving it! Those soft tannins also gave it a nice warm lingering finish. At a price of about $28.00 it is a "smidge" over my daily wine budget, but it is a wine that I definitely will keep on my list for special occasions. The wine was so good that I forgot to note what we had for dinner that night, but I am sure it was something grilled outside. Of course the wine was so good it did not make it to the dinner table!


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Key West's Best & On The Road Again

I am off to Chicago tomorrow with hubby to visit friends!!! I am very excited, as I do love that that town. So many good places to eat, visit, and best of all, "Sam's Wine". I plan on spending my late Saturday afternoon "shopping" for wine. It has been quite a few years since I have been in the shop, but last time it was a gold mine. So I hope to find a great Spanish wine for our next WBW while I am there. I am not taking the computer (need a break) so I will be back with you all on Monday.

My wine blog friend, Sonadora, tagged me the other day with a meme stating your 5 favorite restaurants in your city. Key West has lots, but these are a must for anyone who pays us a visit.

B.O.'s Fishwagon - this place is the absolute best place to get a fish sandwich on the island. Along with that, he has the coldest beer and best fries you will ever pop in your mouth. He puts his secret key lime mayo on the fish sandwich and die for! When you see the place, you will say - eat in there? Yep, it is quite a shack that is situated on the corner of Caroline and William Sts. I could not locate a web site for them, so just go. A funny thing, when the weather channel was there for one of our hurricane's they filmed part of the tin roof coming off of B.O.'s. I have seen it a few times when tuned in and they show hurricane stuff.

Geiger Key Marina - is not located right in Key West, but a short interesting drive up the Keys about 10-15 minutes. This is one of the good ol' bars on the water where you can get fuel for your boat if needed. All of their sandwiches are yummy. Their fish and chips basket is not bad either. But the atmosphere cannot be beat! While entering the place not too long ago, there was a hugh iguana sunning himself on the deck. Then he proceeded to the nearest table, climbed up on top, checked out the ketchup bottle, shoved a few things around, and proceeded to sun himself there. After awhile, he hopped down, climbed into the water and swam back over to the mangroves to hang out. Too cool!

Hogs Breath Saloon - is a must for the tourist. But they have the best burgers in town and some of the best tee shirts. Not too long ago, Kenny Chesney stopped by for an impromptu little concert!

Meteor Smokehouse - has the best BBQ pork, ribs, chicken, anything you can smoke on the island. Nice island drinks also. Sorry, no web site.

Sloppy Joes - Hemingway's old hangout is party city. Great bar food, beer, live music all the time and they are open from 9 in the morning until 4 in the morning. A must for a good time with a group of friends. That place rocks!

I know, these places do not have great wine lists, if they have one at all. The house wines are not too bad. Actually, these places are not establishments where you go to have wine. Ice cold beer here and a great time!


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

2005 & 2006 Le Rime Wine By Banfi

Doing my usual stroll down the wine aisle looking for a nice white wine, under $12.00, a wine label caught my eye. It was a refreshing label with grapes on it (imagine that!) The picture of the grapes was refreshing and cool, as in climate. Looking closer, I noticed it was a wine by Banfi. A 2005 Chardonnay & Pinot Grigio combination. That sounded interesting and the price was really right - $8.99 (on sale). Cannot beat that so I picked up the bottle, put it in my cart, looked back up at the shelf and there sitting behind the 2005 was the 2006 bottle. It had a different label, more artistic, but very interesting. Then I noticed that the 2005 had a cork closure and the 2006 had a screw top. Cool! I had to have both!

2005 Le Rime Chardonnay & Pinot Grigio produced by Castello Banfi was my first choice to taste. This wine is a combination of 30% Pinot Grigio and 70% Chardonnay grapes with an alcohol volume of 12%. The color of the wine was a really pale straw-yellow color. Very clean looking. On popping the cork the aroma of fresh citrusy lemon filled the air with a hint of apple. On the palate was a well proportioned bright, tangy, lemon and green apple flavor. Enough acidity to give it a nice back bone. It was a medium body wine that was very clean and crisp on the finish. Even though this wine was 70% Chardonnay it had no oaky flavor to it, as it was aged in stainless steel tanks.

Next I opened the 2006 Le Rime Chardonnay & Pinot Grigio. On unscrewing the top on this one, I still caught the same fresh aromas as the 2005. As a matter of fact, both of the wines pretty much looked and tasted the same. Was I disappointed ? Was I expecting them to taste different because the wine I was tasting was produced in two different years? Nope. I was glad to see that the quality of the wine was consistent.

The Le Rime Chardonnay & Pinot Grigio is a great wine chilled and ready for summer sipping. I took a bottle over to our neighbors last evening for a pasta dinner of clam linguine, which was excellent. The Le Rime went very well with the pasta and salad that Joe and Mary Lou served. I definitely will put the Le Rime on my summer sipping list.

Sipping a nice cool glass of wine is a great way to start the end of your day!


Monday, June 18, 2007

Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Wine

Since we are still in the same week that Catie's Wine Blog Wednesday on Washington State Cabernet took place, and what a turn out that was, I thought I would do the post on Mike's favorite wine Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon. Catie wanted us to try and find different wines from Washington besides the most popular Columbia Crest and Ste. Michelle, which we did, but the consensus was that they still could not beat the favorite Columbia Crest Cabernet.

Columbia Crest is a nice consistent wine. We have served it in our house for years and have never had a bad bottle. Columbia Crest is part of the Ste. Michelle Group. They are located in Patterson, Washington. In 1978 they planted their grapes in the Eastern Washington area of Horse Heaven Hills along the Columbia River. This appellation straddles the 46th (north) parallel which is the same latitude as Central France. So this Bordeaux varietal does well in this area. This full bodied wine possesses loads of black cherry fruit along with a hint of chocolate and spice on the finish. At a price of $10.99 to $13.99 depending on where you purchase, it is a great value for the dollar. A wine you can depend on to enhance foods from stews (it is wonderful ingredient in those long simmering winter time beef stews, sipping while cooking too!) to a great steak or pork chop sizzling off the grill during the summer. Speaking of cooking, a nice addition to their website, Columbia Crest has a section of recipes using their wines.

OK, I guess I will stop praising this wine and just tell you to try a bottle. Let me know your opinion!


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Fathers Day !

Happy Fathers Day Gene !!!!

And Happy Fathers Day to All You Great Dads Out There!


Friday, June 15, 2007

Burgans Albarino Wine, Chicken & Asparagus

I am going to post about a wine that I had the other night, Burgans Albarino, but did not have it with the Chicken Dish that I prepared, but it would have went very well with it. David over at Cooking Chat had a post the other day regarding his asparagus dish that he prepared. So that wet my whistle for that wonderful pencil like veggie. (Sorry Holler that this is not a vegetarian dish, but am looking forward to see if you can turn it into a veggie dish!)

Sonadora and Dr. Deb's sparked my interest in a Spanish wine that I was not real familiar, an Albarino. I do believe I have had wines that this grape was used in the blend, but I do not recall ever having a wine that was made with 100% Albarino grapes. So I grabbed a bottle of the 2006 Burgans Albarino. Burgans is from the wine producing region of Rias-Baixas which lies in the North West corner of the region of Galicia, which is near the Atlantic Ocean. It is the only place in Spain where the Albarino grape has been able to flourish. Like I mentioned, it is comprised of 100% Albarino grapes, had a plastic cork closure and a 12.5% alcohol volume. Popping the cork on this baby sent loads of floral aroma into the air, almost perfume like! Getting my nose a little closer I also picked up the aroma of fresh citrus fruit, but that floral aroma was still very prominent. First impression while sipping is that it reminded me somewhat of a Riesling, as it had the floral and ting on the tongue taste, not as sweet as a Riesling though. It was a nice, clean, vibrant wine and on the finish I detected a little taste of flinty, mineral flavor. I must say I enjoyed this wine and it would go well with chicken, but I think it would go really well with seafood. Coming in at $12.99 a bottle, I will pick this one up again for summer sipping.

Now back to the Chicken & Asparagus. I served this dish with a wine that I did a post on 5/18, a 2005 La Vieille Ferme, Cotes Du Luberon. This nice, inexpensive wine complimented the chicken dish and even did not taste too bad with the asparagus! Asparagus can be a tricky veggie to pair wine with. I picked up the recipe from the May/June issue of Eating Well Magazine.

Chicken & Asparagus With Melted Gruyere

8 oz of asparagus trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces

2/3 cup reduced sodium chicken broth

2 teaspoons plus 1/4 cup all purpose flour, divided

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 shallot, thinly sliced (I used 2)

1/2 of cup white wine (best part!)

1/3 cup reduced fat sour cream

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon (again I used 2)

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2/3 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

I steamed the asparagus for about 3 minutes, took off heat. Whisk broth with 2 tablespoons of flour until smooth. Put remaining flour into dish with salt and pepper and dredged chicken, shaking off excess. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat, add chicken and cook 3-4 minutes per side and watch your heat so you do not burn the chick. When finished, move chick to plate and keep warm. Add shallots, wine and broth mixture to pan and cook about 2 minutes until thick. Reduce your heat and add sour cream, tarragon, lemon juice and asparagus. Stir. Return chick to pan and coat with sauce. Sprinkle cheese on top of chick, cover and continue cooking until cheese melts. So Easy & Good! My leftover recipe will be another day.

It's Friday (yeah) and Saturday is Farmers Market Day! Get out and buy local! Support your farmers!


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wine Information

I was so busy yesterday with Catie's WBW, that I forgot to tell all of you that I had a post on Wine Sediments. I did see a comment from Nate so I know he made it over. Thanks Nate! So for all of my wine and foodie friends who missed it, here it is!

Where do you get and trust your wine information?, Magazines?, Internet?, Wine Blogs?, Books?, Pocket Guides?, Your Local Wine Merchant?

I have been “into” wine for the past, well I do not want to tell you how many years. But let’s put it this way, long before the internet became the tool it is today. When I started getting serious about wine I was very lucky to have a friend who was in the wine business. I could not have asked for a better teacher. But, she and I only would see each other now and then and I had many hours on my own. Therefore, I turned to Wine Spectator. It was the only periodical of wine information that I could readily get my hands on at that time. So I would pick up an edition, circle the items that I found interesting and could afford, then head to my local wine merchant. He and I would go over my selections and given his advice, I would make my purchases. Never was I steered wrong.

So I must say, “in those days”, I depended upon the magazines and my wine merchant to guide me along down the path of grapes.

Now “in these days”, I am not so sure about the wine magazines. They do not seem as instructional as they were then. First of all, there are too many advertisements. If I wanted to buy a car, I would refer to a car magazine or dealer. If I wanted a new handbag or diamond ring, I would head to the shopping mall. The publications are not cheap to buy nowadays, so I am not sure I am getting my money’s worth of wine information from these magazines. To me they are the “same ol, same ol” information. And where are the women reporters for these publications? OK, I will not get into this discussion at this time. But Dr. Debs at Good Wines Under $20 had a post up on Tuesday that is well worth reading.

Where do I turn to “these days” for wine advice? (And yes, even after sipping that wonderful gold and purple liquid for many years, I still find myself being educated). I still have faith in the small wine shops. The owner, Christopher, of our local wine shop here in Oxford, Ohio, Main Street Gourmet, is extremely knowledgeable about all the wines he sells. What makes it amusing is that he is so excited and willing to share his information. He has made some wonderful selections for me when I go to him with my lists and, he has earned my trust. But…

In my opinion, today, I trust, get educated, and have tons of fun on the Internet, especially with Wine Blogs. No other place in the world can you find a group of folks that share their passion for wine in one place. It is amazing that someone in the U.S., Canada, Spain, Scotland, England, Australia, I am talking “world wide”, can chat together in the same day about a wine or grape that has sparked their interest. Each blogger researches, purchases, tastes and writes their findings for all to share. These folks successfully complete a great amount of homework before they present it in a post on their blog site. To me, this is the best wine information resource yet to be found!

I am curious to hear your opinion regarding our wine information resources. Come on, drop me a comment!


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

WBW #34 Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon

Thank you Catie at Through The Walla Walla Grape Vine for hosting this month's WBW! You picked a good grape and state to blog about as this is my husband, Mike's, favorite state for Cabernet. Since his favorite wine is Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon and you mentioning that we should at least try to find another wine besides Columbia Crest or Ste. Michelle, I was on a mission. Funny thing though, after bringing home 2 wines from Washington State, I sat down to do my homework on them and discovered that both wines are a part of the Ste. Michelle Group! Oh well, I tried!

Our favorite of the two was a 2003 Red Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon from Patterson, Washington. An interesting thing about this wine is that I cannot find any information about the wine itself. No information on their website regarding the 2003 vintage. In fact they state the Cabernet was not introduced until 2004. I have a bottle of 2003 sitting in front of me! Their 2004 vintage is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. So I am assuming the 2003 was of a similar blend. On opening this bottle, we found nice aromas of berries and dark cherries, and a hint of dark plum. These flavors followed through on the palate. The tannins were soft and balanced, so it made for a nice finish. Mike said, "OK, but not as good as Columbia Crest!" I had to agree.

Our other venture brought us to the 2004 14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon also from Patterson, Washington, (Nice label). It is comprised of 99% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1 % Merlot grapes. It has 13.5% alcohol. When we popped the cork on this one, we got a "whiff" of berries and dark plum fruit, but it was not a powerful "whiff". On the palate it tasted more like a Merlot than a Cabernet. We were wondering if the labels got mixed up during bottling! It was a nice, soft, fruity wine. No heavy tannins at all. We paired both of these wines with grilled steak, and like Mike keeps saying, "OK, but not as good as Columbia Crest!" I had to agree.

At this point, yes, I could review Columbia Crest Grand Estates, but that was not on my mission list. So I will save it for another post. But I will say for $10.99-$13.99, Columbia Crest Grand Estates is the better buy. The 2003 Red Diamond and the 2004 14 Hands both came in at a price of $9.99, which is not a bad price for those wines, although I am not sure I would purchase again.

Thank you again Catie for hosting WBW #34. I am always up for good adventures in the wine world! We surely enjoyed and had fun with this one.

Cheers From Deb and Mike!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Yalumba Shiraz Viognier & Farmers Market

It was another lovely weekend here in Ohio. Nice cool, crisp morning temps made it a perfect time to hit the local Farmers Market. Yes, I know, I keep talking about the Market, but it is so fresh and the farmers deserve lots of "pats on the back" for all their effort and work to provide us with locally, fresh veggies that are so good for us! After consuming lots of good food and wine on Saturday, a much needed bike ride was in order for Sunday. Mike and I peddled away our Sunday afternoon in Houston Woods and then our local park here in Oxford, Ohio.

Back at home, a wonderful bottle of 2005 Yalumba Shiraz Viognier, The "Y" Series, awaited us. This wine was such a wonderful surprise for under $15.00! As you may have noticed, I am not a big red wine drinker. What caught my attention with this wine was the addition of Viognier to the Shiraz. A partnership that worked so well! Yalumba is one of the oldest family owned winery's in Australia. They are located in Angaston, South Australia. The Hill Smith Family has been around making wine for the past 150 years! Their 2005 Yalumba Shiraz Viognier is comprised of 94% Shiraz and 6% Viognier with an alcohol content of 13.5%. That little bit of Viognier gives this wine such a nice hint of floral on the nose and the Shiraz a lucious sweet berry, dark plum, (check out the luscious dark color of this wine) and hint of spice aroma. These same aromas jumped right into my mouth and were very full tasting on the palate. The tannins were very well balanced and even textured which made for a nice smooth, silky, savory finish. Ahhh, so tasty!

I must say, such a great wine to start the end of a great weekend!


Friday, June 8, 2007

Dry Riesling Wine & Lemon Pudding Cake

Dr. Deb had a post the other day regarding Gewurztraminer and Riesling, which reminded me that I have not had a good Riesling since last summer! And since it has been quite warm here the past few days, I thought I would pick up and chill a bottle. As I was thinking about the wine, I remembered that I like Rieslings with desert. So I got out the books and decided to make Lemon Pudding Cakes.

Let's start with the wine. I picked up a bottle of Covey Run 2005 Dry Riesling from Columbia Valley, Washington State. Riesling is Washington States most versatile wine and this wine is proof of just that. I choose a Dry Riesling, as I find them not quite as sweet as a regular Riesling. The Riesling grape is high in acidity so they make the wine with a certain amount of residual sugar to balance the tartness. Covey Run is made with 100% Riesling grapes and the volume of alcohol is 12.5%. After popping the cork, I was breathing in the aromas of peach and honeysuckle. Honeysuckle is in bloom now so I could relate to that aroma immediately. On the palate was loads of honey and peach and this Riesling had just enough sweetness to round off the racey acidity and citrus peel flavors I was tasting. It had a nice full and long finish. This all paired very well with:

Lemon Pudding Cake

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup all purpose flour

3 large eggs separated

2 tablespoons of unsalted butter at room temp

1 cup skim milk

5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon salt

Fresh raspberries for serving (actually you could use any fresh berry)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 6 six ounce ramekins with vegetable oil spray. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar with the flour. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the butter until well blended. Whisk in the milk, lemon juice and zest. Pour the lemon mixture into the sugar mixture and whisk till smooth. Beat the egg whites with the sugar until you get a stiff peak. Fold those into the lemon mixture. Pour batter into the ramekins, put them in a roasting pan and add hot water till about half way up the ramekins. Bake for 35 minutes or until the tops get golden on top. Transfer ramekins to rack to cool for about 20 minutes. You can serve these in the ramekins with berries or you can run a knife around the edge and serve on a plate with berries. Yum!!!

The wine went nicely with this dessert. If you want to get the real scoop on Washington wines, you can hop on over to Catie at Through The Walla Walla Grapevine. I visit her site often and she is hosting Wine Blog Wednesday next week. And, of course, her wine of choice is Washington State Cabernet's. Check her out!


Thursday, June 7, 2007

Picpoul De Pinet & Garlic Scapes

Another wonderful discovery at the Farmers Market - Garlic Scape's !!! They almost look like the tops of green onions, but they are smoother. They are the tops of the garlic plant and are not available very long. It is a Spring thing. I found out that a lot of folks make pesto out of them, but I took them, slathered them in olive oil with salt and pepper, put them in a 375 degree oven and roasted them. They tips were toasty but the rest was semi-chewy with such a nice hint of garlic, not overpowering like garlic itself. I have a few left and thought I would cut them up and add to a light pasta dish. Such an attractive gift from Mother Nature!

I served these "scape's" with grilled pork chops, a Cesar salad and brussel sprouts. Along side I popped open a very nice bottle of 2005 Hughes Beaulieu Picpoul De Pinet from the Languedoc Region of France. The escaping aromas of juicy, citrusy, lemon-lime met my nose and followed right on through to my palate. It went well with our dinner. This wine is made of 100% Picpoul Grapes, also known as Folle Blanc or Gros Plant, which are high in acid. That is why Picpoul means "lip stinger"! It was tart with that lemon flavor and finished very clean and fresh. I also detected maybe a hint of mineral taste on the finish. It was a great buy for $8.99! Another good find for summer sipping!


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Shoofly Wine This Time

In my never-ending search for Australian White Wines, since I have been addicted to them for some time now, I came upon this little gem at the store the other day. So I chilled and decided to have a sip while I was preparing my lettuce from the Farmers Market for my evening salad.

Shoofly Buzz Cut 2006, from Hawthorn East, Victoria, South Australia, was happily unscrewed (Holler, take note of this) and lots of tropical fruit aromas buzzed around in the air. As I took my first sip, juicy flavors of fruit, such as apricot, met my palate followed by a dash of citrus. I would say grapefruit, as it had that refreshing bite to it. This is a refreshing, succulent wine made up of lots of grapes. All of these grapes add so many flavors to this wine. Shoofly Buzz Cut is made up of Verdelho, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay and Semillon. Each add their own personality to this party. These grapes came from the areas of McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills and Langhorne Creek. It has an alcohol volume of 13.5%. It was well worth the price of $9.99.

I served this wine with our dinner of BBQ chicken, various green leafy lettuces salad tossed with a "light" sherry wine vinaigrette because I love the taste of those just picked fresh greens. All items fresh from the farmers market. Also had a freshly baked loaf of bread from Terra Nova Bread, one of the new vendors at the market. It was made with yogurt, which made it so nice and moist. On the bread I spread a newly discovered butter, not from the farmers market, that tastes out of this world. It is called Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter. I like the unsalted type. This butter is so flavorful and creamy! If you can find it at your market, go for it!


Monday, June 4, 2007

Wine & Cooking Demo Weekend, Not In Key West

Nice fun filled weekend here. Started off on Saturday morning with the Farmers Market Uptown. I spend hours up there every Saturday. I have made friends with most of the farmers who bring their goodies to town every Saturday, so it has become a social event also for me. It is still mostly Spring Veggies that the farmers are bringing in, as they are just putting out their tomatoes, potatoes and squashes. Not only do they bring veggies, we have a new girl who is baking the most wonderful breads and the guy with apple cider and honey. And definitely cannot forget the farm who brings in the wonderful eggs, chicken, beef and pork. All organically and locally raised. So on Saturday evening our dinners always consist of everything from the market. This Saturday it was cool as there was a cooking demo from a local lady who used all of the vendors foods in her cooking. For example, the first dish she made was french toast. She used the bread, eggs and honey from the vendors to her right. I won't go into lots of detail, but she cooked greens and also did a marvelous salad. Now, if I could have paired the wine to go with all....Too Fun!

Speaking of wine, I had a nice inexpensive wine, I am talking $7.99, to go with dinner that night. It was a 2006 Domaine des Cassagnoles, Vin de Pays, des Cotes de Gascogne from J&G Proprietors located in Gondrin, France. A nice assemblage of grapes make up this wine, such as Columbard, Ugni, Gros Manseng and Sauvignon Blanc. It was a nice clean, dry, somewhat fruity wine, quite refreshing, and went well with our grilled out organic chicken and salad from the Farmers Market. Another interesting fact about this wine was the cork. First cork I have seen with their web site on it! Good idea - I am surprised that more folks do not advertise on wine bottle corks. They advertise everywhere else!


Friday, June 1, 2007

Spanish Wine, Not In Key West

Happy Friday To All ! Lately when I drift through the wine aisles at some of the wonderful wine shops here in Ohio, I seem to gravitate to the poor wine bottles that are sitting there with a little dust on them. Of course, being the wine lover that I am and hoping maybe to win the lottery someday, I do check out the wines that I know I cannot afford. I tell myself, for educational purposes and maybe a gift suggestion for me, I must take a little time to read the labels and touch the bottles. Then I sigh and go back to the aisle where the inexpensive wines live. Cruising down one of the aisles with the Spanish wines, I spotted a bottle with a little dust. It was hard to read the top part of the label as the writing was in white with a yellow background. Focusing my glasses a little more, I made out the name "Vega Sindoa". It is from the Navarra region, which I am somewhat familiar with, but I did not recognize the name. Not only that, it had a grape that I had not heard of, "Viura". With a price tag of $8.99, I was sold. Something new to try.

Vega Sindoa, 2005, is comprised of 75% Viura and 25% Chardonnay grapes. The Viura grape is widely grown in Spain and used in most of the Rioja Wines. It is estate bottled by Bodegas Nekeas which is situated in the valley of Valdizarbe, the northernmost wine growing district of Navarra. The Viura grape added a nice crispy acidity on the palate, somewhat like a green apple. Adding the Chardonnay grape to this mix seemed to round things out a little, give it a little more mouth feel. Not a long finish, but refreshing.

I served the Vega Sindoa with a pasta dish. This pasta is so easy to make and you can add all kinds of veggies to it to give it a different twist each time you make it. This was last nights version.

"Screw" pasta, steamed asparagus cut into 1/1/2" lengths, frozen or fresh peas, your favorite pesto, crumbled feta cheese, roasted pine nuts and a dab of olive oil. Cook the pasta and during the last few minutes throw in the peas. Drain and stir in a dab of olive oil. Next add the pesto and use enough to coat everything (I get very generous here as I love pesto), toss in the asparagus, crumbled feta cheese and pine nuts. Toss lightly. As for the amounts of ingredients, it depends on how many folks you are serving. You will have to adjust for that part. But let me tell you, this is sooooo fast and so good for a quick evening dinner. And the best part, the Vega Sindoa went very well with the pasta! It was a happy evening!

Tomorrow is Farmer's Market Day here in Oxford. Therefore, I will be up and at it very early to get the best and freshest the local farmers have to offer!