From Demo to Homemade…delicious find

I was at Whole Foods last week and they of course had all sorts of food demos/samples out in the store.  One was this delicious salad that they were charging a good amount for and extra to add salmon or chicken to.  I looked at the ingredients and mentioned how I’d love to just make it at home.  The girl doing the demo said quietly ‘just google it under Martha Stewart…’  Score!  So, last night I served some wonderful Toasted-Quinoa Saute with Lemony Cabbage and Dill with Pan Seared Chicken. There aren’t too many ingredients in the recipe:

IMG_02021 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup red quinoa, rinsed well
S&P
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 head Savoy cabbage (about 1 pound), cored and thinly sliced lengthwise, divided
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 ounces pitted large green olives, such as Castelvetrano or Cerignola, halved (about 3/4 cup) — picked up basic green at Trader Joe’s
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill

Step 1

Bring water to a boil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Stir in quinoa and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Uncover, raise heat to high, and cook until water evaporates and quinoa is dry and tender, about 5 minutes (stir frequently to prevent scorching).  *I just cooked it like regular quinoa.

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Step 2

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the cabbage and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown in places, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining cabbage.

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Step 3

Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet. Return sauteed cabbage to skillet, add quinoa, and raise heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until quinoa is toasted and crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chickpeas, olives, and lemon zest and juice, and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in dill, and serve with yogurt.

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The salad was amazing!  And, it’s dairy-free and gluten free!  We enjoyed it with two whites (one was opened earlier in the night).  Chalk Hill 2011 Sauvignon Blanc and Chateau St. Jean 2010 Chardonnay.

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And for dessert we had some of the wonderful Ciao Bella Blackberry Cabernet Sorbet.  That stuff is deadly!

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Wine Recap

Over the past month, I’ve had a nice spread of new wines that I’m finally getting around to posting about.  From red to white to bubbly, I love trying new happy grapes to add options to my wine rack.

#1 — Fire Road Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand. Citrus, apple, crisp, light, but still a nice weight to it.  Price seems to range from $10-$16/bottle (when looking online).

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#2 — Oakley Eighty-Two, California Red Wine.  Who makes this one?  One of my favorite vintners — Cline.  Nice red blend that’s a bit heavier (jammy) and can pair with about anything.  Great to have on hand to open and serve (or drink) whenever needed.  Price is about $10-$12/bottle.

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#3  — Diseno Old Vine Malbec, Argentina.  Fruit and spice can make a wine so nice.  Price is $8-$10.

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#4 — Bleasdale Vineyards Sparkling Shiraz, Australia.  I seek out sparkling reds.  This one is better than some but a bit sweet.  Was drinking it on New Year’s Day, though, so very fun for the occasion.  Definitely worth trying.  Price is $16-$20.  Note, the picture in the link is different than the one below, they might have changed the bottle/label.

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#5 — Alvarez de Toledo Roble, Spain.  Just a nice red wine.  I was at a friend’s place for dinner and it was out and it was so nice.  Doing some searching looks like it’s about $8-$10 bottle.

Wente Chardonnay, Livermore Valley, California.  Some apple, some tropical fruit.  Aged in both barrels and stainless steel tanks it’s a very unique wine.  Definitely a Chard I’ll add to my list.  About $12-$14.

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#6 — Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz, Australia.  Berries, a hint of chocolate and smoke and a bit of pepper.  Very nice.  About $20-$25.

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Wine Class #3

And I go back a class.  In the third week we bounced around a little on what we learned about, but some of the main points I took home were:

-the ‘parents’ of Cabernet are Sauvignon Blanc and Cab Franc

-high tannins and acidity are the base for Bordeaux

-Cabernets and Chardonnays adapt to climate

-Syrah=crowd pleaser

We tasted quite the range of wines that night, darn!

2011 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand, about $13

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2011 Willm Geurztraminer, Alsace, France, about $16

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2009 Chateau les Grands Marechaux (Merlot), Blaye Cote de Bordeaux, France, about $24

 

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2012 Milton Park Shiraz, South Australia, Australia, $9 — definitely lived up to the price

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2012 Punto Final Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, about $13 — almost ‘raisin-ed’

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2012 Clos Le Vouvray (Chenin Blanc), Loire Valley, France, about $20

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2011 Chateau de Chasseloir Muscadet, Loire Valley, France, about $12 — pair with salt

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2011 Tres Picos Garnacha (Grenache), Borsao, Spain, about $18 — love this one!

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2011 Karl Erbes Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett, Mosel, Germany, about $18

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Living (the) Social (Life)

Last weekend in DC, LivingSocial had a deal that looked good, almost too good.  Per the email, for $39 you could get a luxurious 1.5 hour Wine & Chocolate Tasting AND 4 bottles of wine to take home?  The tasting part included 6 tastings and nicely paired chocolates.  Then 4 FULL SIZE bottles to take home.  I figured even if they were roughly $10 bottles you break beyond even.  Only Two (or Three) Buck Chuck would make it a bad deal if you’re that picky.

So, a few friends and I took the plunge and checked it out.  It was nice!  Gorgeous set up, you check in, get a nice tasting glass (plastic, ergonomic with finger ‘area’ and stemless — SMART!) and wine tickets.  You travel from stations 1-6 and get a rundown on the wine and the taste, of course, and unique chocolate paired with it.  The whole place was not too loud and very laid back.

Wineglass

The wines we tasted were 3 whites (Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Moscato) and 3 reds (blend, Malbec, Merlot):

LS6

LS3

LS1

LS5

LS4

LS2

Before we left, we each turned in our last tickets and were handed a box of 4 random bottles of wine.  They weren’t necessarily ones we tasted that night.  Between my friends and I, each of us had at least one of the bottles we sampled.  After some research, I found that the average cost of the bottles was about $9.  Not bad considering the price of the event.  Would love to see more of these come to town!

Aussie Wine Tasting

Last night there was a call from Down Under to taste their wine.  One must answer!  How can you go wrong?  It was taking place at Bin 201 in Annapolis, MD.  For $10 you taste(d) 8 wines and then you could apply those 10 bucks towards the purchase of a bottle.  And, if more than one person goes, you can combine your ‘credits.’  The two of us who went walked out with a ‘free’ bottle of wine.  Score!  They also serve cheese and crackers at the tasting.

So the night began:

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#1:  Pewsey Vale Riesling.  That was originally to be the 2nd in the tasting but turned out to be best as first as some previous tasters decided the notes made it best to go first.  Nice and dry.  You’re not drinking sugar.  The nose was flowery, the taste was lime.

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#2:  Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc.  Hand me the green peppers.  Or, if your recipe calls for some and you’re out, you could easily sip some of this instead.  Wow, very poignant, yet nice, nose and taste of them.  Also had some grapefruit notes.

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#3:  Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir.  Yes, it’s from New Zealand but they are pretty close together, yet so far away from here.  There was a light note of cranberries in the nose.   For taste, I found some ash and bit of cranberry.

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#4:  Misfit Brujeria.  I felt it was ‘thick and chewy’ and couldn’t pick up a flavor.  If I had to put something to it, the most I could say is chocolate, but that’s me.

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#5:  Tournon Mathilda.  Light wine with some eucalyptus on the nose.  Also carried the eucalyptus in the taste with a hint of jam.

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#6:  Tir Na N’og ‘Old Vines’ Grenache.   What a nose — chocolate and molasses.  Then it was like drinking molasses cookies with a hint of black licorice.

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#7:  Yalumba “The Scribbler” Shiraz/Cabernet.  I love their Shiraz/Viognier blend so was excited about this.  I could not pick up a taste from it though, unfortunately.

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#8:  Jim Barry “The Cover Drive” Cabernet Sauvignon.  The most I can give is mint!

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And the entire menu/notes from Bin 201 were interesting.  I always try to sniff and taste before reading these to avoid the ‘brainwash.’  The Aussie tasting was great and can’t wait to see/taste what’s next.

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From Cake to Castle

Weekend=great wine.  I met once again with my great friends who last time hosted the epitome of wine tasting.  This time it was at my place so I had to work my wine rack magic to attempt to match what they offered.

Though none of us seek out whites, sometimes you just have to go off the beaten path.  To attempt to match reds, I opted for the well-known name of Cakebread and the nice varietal of Sauvignon Blanc.  A refreshing way to start the evening.

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After the white, we moved onto the more important stuff (RED!) with Chateau St. Jean.  The most important thing to remember is not to get fancy with the name.  Yes, the first one is french for castle.  But, for the last word, think of denim, don’t go french, make it simple!  The red we enjoyed first was the 2010 Pinot Noir…nice and smooth!

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I was initially going to serve another Pinot Noir but opted instead to stick with Chateau St. Jean and one of their blends.  It’s Cinq Cepages.  It brings together five of their varietals for an amazing taste.  Can’t do it justice in writing!

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And to pair with the wine, cheese it always nice.  The other day at Trader Joe’s I found a lactose intolerant’s dream — a package of 3 cheeses that we can eat — the Tapas Sampler!  Non-cow milk delights.  One of them did have a part of cow milk (with two others — so it had to be minimal), and at least for me, I didn’t have a problem.

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So, come the end of the night, had another great time of friends, wine and food.