If you’re lucky enough to find it, this Russian River Valley pinot should please even the most discerning palate.
Leather, clove and vanilla accentuate the bright red berry fruit. A velvety mouth feel leaves you craving another sip.
As I understand it this wine is limited in production so you may have troubles Finding it. The winemaker Bobby Donnell is a Texas native and has hooked up his kin back home sip it may be tough to come by around here.
I know Bobby used to run a Texas style BBC, so it’s no surprise this wine pairs perfectly with the baby back ribs I did up tonight.
Hanging out at wineries and barbecuing!
Well, regardless of what night it is, it has been way too long since I did a dinner post. I’ve been very exited to get back to doing some dinner posts with recipes.
My work has brought in a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm who provides us with fresh fruit and veggies every week for pittance! So in my first box from Valley End Farms, I received all sorts of inspiration for a good “Not Bad for a Thursday Night Dinner.” So it’s only Tuesday but what the hell, why not just get after it?
Tonight I had a huge hankerin’ for a nice juicy pork chop. In my CSA box I got some pears and spinach, and for whatever reason I was thinking that those would be two great parts of a really good pork chop dinner.
I didn’t have any pork thawed, so I popped over to the local market (Oliver’s in Cotati) and picked up a couple of center cut, bone-in chops, some organic dried cranberries and bananas. Never fear, the bananas were just for the wife’s breakfast!
I had started up some wild rice cooking before I left for the store, since it takes so damn long to cook the stuff.
1 Cup of rice
2 Cups of water
dash of salt
In a small saucepan, combine rice, water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 50 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork.
Gas Grilled, Smoky Pork Chops:
Season pork chops with your favorite seasonings. I used my “Rib Rub” which includes: Smoked Paprika, Chili Powder, Ancho Chile Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Black Pepper, Kosher Salt, Garlic Powder, and Brown Sugar. Fire up the grill to high heat and once hot, place the chops directly over the fire and sear the chops on both sides (about 3-5 min/side).
Once your chops have nice sear marks move to the other side of the grill or to the top rack and reduce the heat to medium/medium-low. I prepared some smoking wood chips (apple wood) by soaking in a bowl of water and once the chops were moved to indirect heat I placed my smoker box onto the grill directly above the flames. Close the lid and come back in about 20 minutes, you should get some good smoke going.
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen….
Pear and Cranberry Compote:
2 Fresh Pears, diced
3 oz Organic Dried Cranberries
2-3 oz water
1-2 oz Apple Cider Vinegar
In a medium saucepan place diced pears, cranberries, water and apple cider vinegar over medium heat until mixture just starts to boil. Reduce heat and continue to cook uncovered until pears become mushy. Mash and mix, cover and remove from heat.
Last but not least the spinach. I love fresh greens and since the wife doesn’t care for them I was super stoked to get some spinach (and kale…yet to cook) in my CSA box.
Wash your spinach thoroughly and remove stems pile spinach in 12″ sautee pan and drizzle with oil, crack sea salt and black pepper.
Turn on heat to medium and stir occasionally as spinach begins to wilt. Continue cooking until all spinach is wilted but is still bright green. Try not to overcook it it would be a shame to cook the vitamins and flavor out of your fresh yummy green leafy goodness!
Plate all of these together and it makes for a great little meal.
Of course with pork my first inkling on wine pairing went to Pinot Noir. So I started the ritual of perusing through the half dozen or so spaces we store our wine in, looking frantically for a Pinot that wasn’t Sonoma-Cutrer. Not that there’s anything wrong with it (obviously), I just get more of that than any others… for obvious reasons. Anyhow, I found one that I hadn’t previously had. It was a bottle my co-worker brought over for a BBQ we had back in August. His wife works for an importer of New Zealand wines so he brought over this Marlborough Pinot Noir. A 2007 Big Barrel, Bird “Old School Vineyard,” Aotearoa, New Zealand. Check back for that review!
It has been a really long time since I’ve taken the time to cook a nice dinner and talk about it, hell, it’s been 2 weeks since my last post so I apologize to you for that. I will try and keep the dinners flowing, they are fun and usually pretty tasty… But tonight sure qualifies as a “Not Bad for Thursday Night” even if it is only Tuesday!
Until next time cheers,
It was hard for me to work up the motivation for doing up a “Not Bad” this week. The wife is out of town on business and that means I’m on 100% Daddy Detail. Keeping up with a two-year-old boy is a full-time job, to be sure. I have nothing but mad respect for stay-at-home moms/dads and even more for single parents who have this privilege/challenge. That being said, I found some motivation on Tuesday and I was thinking that I needed to write up a review of the Ravenswood wine that I received a couple weeks back since I”m going to miss out on their “2nd annual Coming Out tattoo party”
So after picking up the boy at daycare, we cruised down to the local market, Oliver’s in Cotati, to see what we could rustle up for dinner. I had a flash of inspiration the moment we walked in the door. Their mushrooms are pretty close to the entrance and I thought to myself, “oh yeah… the wife’s gone, I can cook whatever I want.” And what goes better with sauteed mushrooms than a great big NY Strip Steak? So, I grabbed some veg (fresh green beans) and a nice big NY Steak, since I’d be sharing with the boy.
This dinner is a simple one to prep and cook.
3-4 Red potatoes
2 Tablespoons butter
1/3 Cup cream
In a large pot start heating some salted water. Wash then chop potatoes in quarters add to water. Boil until tender. Strain potatoes and return to pot. Add butter, cream, salt and pepper, mash with hand masher to desired consistency.
12 Oz New York Choice or Prime Steak
Start gas grill and heat to 375 (Medium-High). Salt and pepper steak on both sides (to desired taste) Sear steak on both sides, approximately 3-5 min per side, reduce heat and move steak to indirect heat.
Continue cooking to desired temperature. I went about 15 minutes and ended up with medium/medium-well.
Sauteed Green Beans:
8 – 10 oz Fresh Green Beans
2 oz olive oil
1 Clove garlic
Wash beans and chop off ends, cut beans in half. Finely chop garlic. In a 10″ skillet add beans, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat covered until beans are tender, but still crisp. Stir frequently.
1 clove of garlic
2 Tablespoons butter
1-2 Oz Dry White Sherry
6-10 button mushrooms
Chop garlic finely, wash mushrooms then slice into thirds (I like thick cut).
In a skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat, until it starts sizzling then put mushrooms in. Cook mushrooms until they begin to brown add garlic and stir. Once garlic starts to brown add sherry and deglaze pan, remove from heat.
I started the potatoes first since they take the longest, this gave me time to prep the rest of the meal. I then started the steak, once the steak is cooking over indirect heat you can start the shrooms and beans, they should finish about the time your meat is ready. As I mentioned my initial motivation for this was the Ravenswood wine. I paired this meal with the 2007 Ravenswood, Sonoma County, Cabernet Franc.
The spicy character of this wine and great acidity really did this meal a great service. The boy loved his steak and green beans, it’s kind of funny though, he really doesn’t care for mashed potatoes… Go figure? Oh and he loved the sauteed mushrooms, I guess we’ll have to start doing those more often, even though “the wife” doesn’t!
I caught a streak of inspiration the other day while checking out a guest post on Tim Hilcove’s Weekly Wine Journal by Mike MacKinnon. He put together a beautiful pork loin and it must have made an impression, because when “The Wife” mentioned to me that we were hosting some guests on Monday evening I thought to myself, how about doing up some pork loin.
I didn’t follow the recipe that Mike did over on Weekly Wine Journal, I actually did some poking around and found some other recipes with a similar vane. I came across this post over on SeriousEats and took my inspiration from there. I did modify it a bit, I went for fresh, Granny Smith apples and sugar cured cranberries instead of dried, but did some similar things with the stuffing and glaze.
Butterfly your pork loin by carefully slicing it 1/2 inch thick down one side then back the other direction. Stupid me, I didn’t take any pictures of this meat splayed wide open so you only get to see the finished product. Suffice it to say, that when butterflied this pork loin was the size of my entire cutting board which is about 14″ x 16″.
After straining out the juice from the filling, spread it evenly on the meat, and sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon (another mod by me). Sprinkle chopped pecans over the fruit mixture then roll up the loin again and tie with cooking twine about every inch or so. Sprinkle exterior with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, cayenne, and smoked paprika.
Fire up a chimney of coals and prep the Weber for indirect heat grilling. When the coals are ready place the pork, fat side up, over the coals to sear. After about 5 minutes rotate the grill and add apple chips to coals for smoke and place cover on the grill. Cook for 30-40 minutes then flip tenderloin, at which time baste the tenderloin with the reserved, reduced juice from the filling pan. Continue to cook until an instant read thermometer reads 130 F, remove from grill and let tenderloin rest covered with foil.
Internal temperature should rise to about 140 F.
The Wife’s friends brought some sides, one of which was an absolutely perfect match for the pork. It was a spinach salad with sliced strawberry, red onion and sliced almonds. The dressing was a mayonnaise and milk dressing with sugar and poppy seeds.
I paired this meal with the new Pinot Noir from Sonoma-Cutrer, the 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.
The berry flavors mingled happily with the apple/cranberry filling and were phenomenal with the strawberry and spinach salad!
All in all, this was an outstanding holiday weekend, I would like to extend special thanks again to the men and women of the US armed forces who make days like this possible. Your service and sacrifice do not go unnoticed. Happy Independence Day to all of you!
Oh and as a follow up. Leftovers of this are just as awesome. I cooked up a batch of wild rice along the lines of the post in Weekly Wine Journal’s Loin, I used 1 cup of apple cider and one cup of chicken broth, and just before it was done cooking I chopped up a quarter cup of pecans and toasted them in a skillet and added them to the rice at the last minute for some extra flavor. Yeah, it was effin’ goo-ood!
Howdy Y’all, I’ve been feeling exceptionally lazy and unmotivated to do much after finishing up my Summer inter-session class last week, but I did cook some great food over the weekend and definitely wanted to share this recipe for stuffed pork loin with you. But first, I don’t think it would be a good 4th of July without some good ass BBQ Ribs. I was up at the Windsor, CA Farmer’s Market on Sunday morning and one of the vendors we stopped by was a Spicy little shop selling spices and spice blends. The husband and wife team were fantastic and we chatted about cooking and wine for quite some time. The husband, Patrick Fallon, Cellar Master over at that little winery Jordan, and his wife Kim, who writes a great little food blog over at http://www.voiceofthefood.com/. Anyhow, I picked up a couple of mixed rubs, one nice and spicy for ribs (see photos) and one mole (keep an eye out for a future “Not Bad”).
Sunday Night was ribs and 2007 Loxton Sonoma Hillside Vineyards, Sonoma Valley, Zinfandel
I did the ribs just a skosh different this time, I patted them dry with paper towels and then liberally coated the ribs with the “Red Rub.”
The Red Rub is a mix of Ancho, Chipotle, Cayenne, Black Pepper and probably some other stuff (I’m sure it’s a secret). Drop them an email at email@example.com to pick some up for yourself. Anyhow, I lathered up these bad boys, covered them up and let them soak up spice in the fridge for about three hours.
Anyhow, standard cooking here. Fire up some coals in the chimney and once ready, put them off to one side for indirect heat grilling. Sear ribs on both sides then put on the side furthest from the coals and cover.
Cook, turning around (bone side down) every 30-40 minutes, total cook time should be about 2 – 2 1/2 Hours. Remove from heat, tent with foil and let stand for about 10 min.
I heated up some leftover Woodford Reserve BBQ Sauce, for me, and some Sweet Baby Ray’s for the wife in 3 oz ramekins to dip the ribs in. Side dish of mashed taters and a side salad. Paired this one up with a nice little Zinfandel from my buddy Chris Loxton over at Loxton Cellars from Sonoma Valley. Yum!
Check back tomorrow for the second part of this awesome weekend, a review of the Loxton Zinfandel.
Wow. What a week. One full week off from school and back into the action, 3 days a week. So basically I had a short chance to catch my breath after this spring semester then dove right back in… Someone told me they think I’m motivated, I would beg to differ, I think I may just be insane.
Regardless of all of this, I need to cook some good food and relax at the same time so for tonight’s Thursday Night Dinner (Saturday) I have for you Rotisserie Chicken and Pasta Salad paired with Verdejo.
Today was the first really Hot day of the season, thankfully we’re finally in some “typical” weather and we hit the 90’s today, so the obvious choice for dinner was a grilled or BBQ’d dish… Anything that could be prepared outside as to not cook the house by firing up the oven and burners in the house.
I was thinking that an herb seasoned rotisserie chicken would really hit the spot and wanted to pair it up with something “summery” and light, so I decided on a pasta salad to go along with the chicken.
I’ve done a few rotisserie chickens now and they really are an amazing dish. Super simple to prep and cook (which is a plus when you’re looking to relax a bit).
I did this one slightly different than previous attempts. I took a whole large “Fryer” chicken, removed the giblets and other goodies that chicken processors think you might actually want and washed out the inside and out, dried with a paper towel, inside and out. I made a quick visit to my garden and clipped off about a large handful of fresh rosemary, wash this off and stuff into the cavity of the chicken.
Prepare the chicken by cracking some sea salt, garlic powder, fresh cracked black pepper and some oregano. Place the chicken on the rotisserie skewer and tie up the legs.
Sprinkle seasoning all over the chicken and place on the grill. Start the rotisserie spinning. I place a baking pan below the chicken to catch the drippings to avoid flare ups, something I did differently this time was to add water to the pan and refill the pan as the water evaporated. This added humidity into the cooking environment and probably did some steaming of the chicken, I had to refill the 13×9 pan about 5 times during the cooking. Monitor the grill temperature and maintain it between 250 and 275 Fahrenheit.
The pasta salad was another easy dish. I picked up some klamata and green olives and grape tomatoes at the store earlier. I started a large pot of water boiling, added some salt and oil (to keep pasta from sticking) and once boiling added some fun radiatori pasta. Cook pasta to al dente, about 8 minutes, drain and rinse with cool water. Place in a bowl and put into the refrigerator to cool for at least 1 hour. After cooled, chop up about 1/2 cup each klamata and green olives and 1 cup tomatoes, mix with pasta and 1/3 cup champagne dressing (or Italian) add some crumbled feta cheese.
So I had grand plans of cooking this entire meal outside on the grill but I failed to take into consideration that when the rotisserie is rolling, the lid for the “side burner” on the grill is inaccessible. You know, the side burner, that thing you never ever use. I was actually hoping to use mine (still haven’t even lit the burner…).
One of the best things about cooking meals on the rotisserie is that they take some time and don’t require a whole lot of interaction, which leaves some time to take care of the “Important Things.”
This was an enjoyable afternoon, sipped a few cold ones and played in the water with the boy and the wife, well mostly with the boy but, I digress.
So the chicken should cook on the spit for about 2 1/2 hours at between 250-275 F, I kept the drip pan full of water and refilled it as it evaporated.
Once an instant read thermometer reads about 170 remove the bird from the BBQ and let rest about 10 minutes. Quarter by cutting the bird in half lenghtwise, then in half again. This works out really well for me since I am a dark meat fiend and the wife really prefers white meat.
I had decided to pair it with a light white wine and was thinking Sauvignon Blanc at first but really have been interested in trying something different. I found a nice Verdejo at the local market and the shelf-talker said similar to Sauv Blanc, I decided to take a chance on it and picked it up. A very nice light white wine that I’ll post a review to soon. It went exceptionally well with the rosemary infused chicken, klamata olives and tomatoes in the pasta salad. Here’s to summer finally arriving in Sonoma County, and another “Not Bad for a Thursday Night Dinner” Summer School Edition.
I have been dying for some good weather so I can fire up the barbecue and do some of the things that people normally do here in Sonoma County this time of the year. However, up until this weekend we’ve been getting soaked by the rain. I”m starting to wonder if this is how people in Seattle feel most of the time. Anyhow, the forecast over the Holiday weekend was outstanding, the clouds parted and the sun shined through! I’ve been keeping up with Seghesio on twitter(@seghesio) and they keep telling me I need to have some of their Zinfandel with my BBQ, so I obliged and grabbed the only bottle offered at Safeway while I was picking up some ingredients for the BBQ.
So here is their 2008 Sonoma County Zinfandel
The nose: Ripe plums simmer up through a fairly hot nose, there is some spice, a touch of toasted oak/vanilla and that standard issue Jammy Zin character.
The Taste: You are greeted with a 50-50 blast of big fruit and black pepper. When I first tried this wine the fruit was a bit over ripe or cooked however as it has opened up that seems to have faded and now is on par with the other big jam fruity Zins.
The Mouth Feel: For being such a big fruit bomb there are not enough tannins to support the wine and it comes off a touch flabby. I would expect more structure for that much fruit. The mid palate through finish is a bit weak.
The Color: The wine is a dark purple thinning at the edges, very clear and pretty in the glass.
The Nitty Gritty:
Barrel aged for 10 months in 75% American (20% new) and 25% French oak
89% Zinfandel, 8% Petite Sirah, 3% Syrah
Average Brix at Harvest 26.8°
I paid a little over $20 and have seen it online from $20-$28
The Verdict: I’m not a big fan of the big jammy Zins so this one falls out of my favor a bit due to that, but it’s very typical of many other Zinfandels. There are no major flaws that I could detect and it pairs nicely with the sweet, tart and spicy BBQ sauces I used.
81 Pts. or a C+/B-
Nitty Gritty reference from Seghesio’s Website http://www.seghesio.com/
Cinco de Mayo is one of those gratuitous holidays, and I use the term holiday very loosely. It is the celebration of the Mexican army’s defeat of the French over something. Here’s an article if you want the nitty gritty details… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinco_de_Mayo, the misconception is that it’s Mexican Independence day and misstating that gets some people’s panties in a wad, but I digress.
It’s a great reason to fire up the grill, drink some margaritas and enjoy the awesome weather, Latin style!
I posted over on 1winedude.com’s website the other day when he was having one of his giveaways and I won a cool Latin Dance CD. So to get this party started I threw that bad boy in the Disco Player and jammed. (Thanks again Joe, this music is way fun!)
My lovely bride found a killer recipe for tacos in Food & Wine magazine, there were actually 5 recipes in this article but here’s the one I chose.
Skirt Steak Tacos: recipe from Food&Wine.com
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 5-inch strips
12 corn tortillas, warmed
Exited to get this marinade right, I stopped off at the local market, Oliver’s Cotati for the missing ingredients. I picked up some skirt steak (which was on manager’s special, score!), missing spices from my cabinet, Ancho Chile Powder and ground coriander. I also picked up some fresh veggies to make a fun succotash that I saw made on a food TV show.
I came home at lunch to get the marinade ready. I placed the meat into a large (1 gallon) zip-lock and started dumping in the spices. Wow! I marinated about 3lbs of steak so I used about double what the recipe above called for. It looked awesome so much chile powder in there… Anyhow, once you get all the dry ingredients in I took about 3 tablespoons of olive oil and drizzled it in (recipe called for vegetable, I figure olives are vegetables right?) then I squeezed the juice out of 3 limes, then close up the bag and shake and roll and massage the spices around to ensure an even coating of spices and juice. I put it into the fridge and headed back to work. Total marinade time probably ended up closer to 6 hours.
Grill the meat over high heat, char on both sides and remove from heat.
Let stand about 10 min, should make for a medium-rare Carne Asada.
The side dish:
I can’t remember what show it was, but I was at the gym the other day and now all of the workout equipment has private TVs. So the guys were doing a cinco-de-mayo thing, I couldn’t hear them (i was rocking out on my iPod) but had it on closed caption. They cooked up this mix of corn and zucchini with some other stuff and simmered it in some cream. I didn’t get the recipe exact but here’s what’s in it.
2 Ears of Corn (fresh sweet or white)
3 medium-small zucchini
1 Pasilla pepper
1/2 yellow onion
1 large tomato
1 teaspoon Ancho Chile powder
1/2 cup Cream
dash of Kosher Salt
1 tablespoon olive oil (EVOO)
Shuck and rinse the corn, cut the kernels from the cob and place in a large skillet.
Core the pasilla, removing the top and seeds, dice into about 1/2 inch bits, put those in the pan.
–Mambo Wine, and Margarita are mandatory–
Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, these we will start cooking on the grill.
I cooked mine, flesh side down for about 5-10 minutes over low heat on the gas grill, just so they get the little cooked lines in them, remove from grill then chop into bite size pieces, place those into the pan too. Finely dice 1/2 of a yellow or white onion, into the pan it goes. Dice up the tomato, set aside.
Drizzle the oil over the veggies and fire up the burner at medium heat. Stir frequently to keep veggies from browning too much. Once the veggies are close to ready pour cream into pan, reduce heat, add tomatoes.
Let this simmer a little to reduce down the cream.
I cooked up some black beans with this meal also, I chopped up half a jalapeno and some onion and cooked that in with the beans.
I whipped up an avocado salsa to go with this, this was super simple and really yummy.
3 Haas Avocados
1/2 yellow onion
2 Tablespoons Ancho Chile Powder
Put all of these ingredients together in the food processor, fire it up until the mixture is smooth. Done!
I like my tacos in corn tortillas, but you can use whatever you like!
So the Food & Wine magazine has a wine pairing with each of its taco recipes, I was lucky to find the exact wine they recommended. Hey Mambo, Sultry California Red Wine. They friggin’ pegged this pairing.
Hey Mambo is a blend of Petite Syrah, Barbera, Malbec, Zin, and some other stuff I can’t remember. It was 13.5% ABV and comes across the palate spicy and fruity. It cost around $10 or $11 bucks and was worth every penny!
I have to say this is the best Carne Asada I have ever made. I am always bummed out (prior to today) when I try and cook up some skirt steak and expect it to taste like it does at the local taqueria. This one hits the mark and is perfection on a tortilla!
I got to eat off the “Celebrate” plate because I recently got a promotion at work, yeah me! No está Mal para una Cena de Jueves!
Special Thanks to Joe Roberts for Providing the soundtrack to the evening, please visit him at http://1winedude.com he always has excellent wine reviews and information. (Latin Party CD image from 1winedude.com)