Sunday, April 20, 2014

Spicy Brussels Sprouts


Holiday meals in our house have taken on a new addition now that I’ve learned how to make Brussels sprouts. All I ever remembered about them growing up was how they stunk up the house and how they were cooked unevenly and were bland. By par-cooking them in the microwave you shorten the cooking time and ensure that they are always cooked perfectly. They have quickly become one of my favorite vegetables. They are salty, spicy, sweet and sour all in one bite.

Makes 6-8 sides

Ingredients
1 lb Brussels Sprouts (cleaned & halved*)
1 TBS Olive Oil
¼ lb Pancetta (sliced thick at deli) *
1 TBS of Garlic Confit (mashed) *
½ C Chicken Broth
1 TBS Fish Sauce
1 tsp Sriracha Sauce
1 TBS Balsamic Vinegar

Clean the brussels sprouts by cutting off the bottoms, slice in half, and remove the outer leaves (see note). Place the in a covered microwave safe bowl with 2 tablespoons of water and cook on high for 5 minutes.

Dice the pancetta into ¼ inch pieces. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp. Remove the pancetta and place it on a paper towel to drain.

Carefully drain the Brussels sprouts and add them to the hot frying pan. Sautee for 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the mashed garlic confit and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Add the fish sauce, Sriracha sauce, balsamic vinegar and pancetta. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half.

* NOTE: Cleaning Brussels sprouts can take a long time. I’ve found that if I treated it like a production line it goes much faster.
1.    Cut off all of the bottoms.
2.    Cut them all in half (many of the unwanted leaves will just fall off at this step.
3.    Peel off any unwanted outer leaves.

* Pronto Substitutes
Pancetta – substitute bacon.
Garlic Confit – puree whole peeled garlic cloves with just enough olive oil to make a paste.


To print a copy of this recipe go to Spicy Brussels Sprouts.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Citrus Herb Vinaigrette

This is one of my favorite salad dressings. It has a light, citrus, floral flavor that brings out the flavors of the salad instead of masking them. This is an ideal accompaniment to to a holiday meal or to a simple supper. 

Ingredients 
¼ C Sugar
3 TBS Water
2 TBS White Balsamic Vinegar*
4 tsp Garlic (minced)
1TBS Dijon Mustard 
2 tsp Lime Juice 
2 tsp Lemon Juice 
2 tsp Fresh Parsley (minced) 
½ tsp Fresh Thyme (minced) *
¼ tsp Dried Oregano
¼ tsp Table Salt
1/8 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper 
2/3 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions 
Whisk all ingredients except the olive oil in a bowl until blended. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. Continue to whisk until you have formed an emulsion. Cover and chill for one hour before serving.

Note: this can be kept in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to one month. If the olive oil hardens in the refrigerator, warm the bottle in your hand and leave it on the counter for 15 minutes to warm up. Shake vigorously before using.

* Pronto Substitutes 
White Balsamic Vinegar – Use white wine vinegar.
Fresh Thyme – Use 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme or ½ teaspoon of dried basil.

The Two-to-One Rule
There is a simple rule to making a salad dressing. Use one part citrus/vinegar to 2 parts oil. From there the variations are endless. If you like a fruity dressing use a fruit flavored vinegar like raspberry balsamic. There is one thing you should never change, always use the best quality vinegar and extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor and mouth feel.

To print a copy of this recipe go to Citrus Herb Vinaigrette.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Easter Pie - Pastiera Napolitana

Every Italian holiday has specific foods associated with it.  One of my favorites is Easter Pie which is a cross between rice pudding and a cheesecake.  This pie is traditionally made with shelled wheat grain, however this is very difficult to get unless you live in an area like New York or Boston where there are a lot of Italians.  I've substituted cooked arboreal rice (risotto) which has a similar texture and taste.  The other oddity about this pie is the way it is cut in rectangles instead of wedges.  I have no idea why this is done, but who am I to question tradition.

Makes 12 servings

Ingredients
2 Pie Crusts (I use Pillsbury refrigerated crust)
9” Cake Pan

Orange Risotto
¼ C Milk
2 C Water
1 TBS Butter
Grated Peel/Zest from ½ Orange
1 tsp Orange Extract
Juice from ½ Orange
¾ C Arborio rice

Filling
6 Large Eggs
2 C Cooked Orange Risotto
2 C Sugar
1 lb (2 C) Whole Milk Ricotta
4 oz Candied Citron or Candied Orange (cubed 1/4")*

Cook the risotto first.  This process will take 30 minutes and requires your full attention.  Place all the Risotto ingredients except the rice in a medium pot and bring to a simmer.  Do not let it boil!  In a separate pot add a ladle (1/2 C) full of the hot liquid and the rice on a medium low heat.  Stir the rice and cook until all the water is absorbed.  Add another ladle full of the hot liquid and cook until all water is absorbed.  Continue adding the hot liquid a ladle full at a time, until all the hot liquid has been absorbed.  The risotto should be creamy and smell of oranges.  Put aside to cool while you prepare the crust and filling.

Preheat the oven to 425°.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk.  Add all of the remaining filling ingredients and mix until thoroughly incorporated.

Roll out your bottom pie crust to 13 inches.  Carefully place it in your 9" cake pan so that it comes up to the top of the side of the pan.  Trim off the crust at the edge of the pan. Pour in the filling ingredients.  On a floured surface, cut the 9" pie crust into 1/2" strips using a pastry cutter.  Place the strips on top of the pie in a lattice pattern (see photo).

Bake at 425° for 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 375° and cook for an additional 55 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the crust is golden brown.

* Pronto Substitutes
Candied Citron – use candied orange peel.

Candied Citron
Citron is a fragrant citrus fruit from the Mediterranean that is candied and used in a variety of Italian desserts. You may have trouble finding candied citron but if you can get it, it looks like half of a very plump green pear. I usually have to go to my Italian market to find it.  I buy it when I can get it and keep it in the freezer until Easter.  If you can't get it you can substitute candied orange peel.


To print a copy of this recipe go to Easter Pie - Pastiera Napolitana.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Artichoke Parmesan

Artichokes are a holiday tradition in our house.  They are, by far, my kid's favorite vegetable.  The best part is the heart of the artichoke.  Once you finish scraping the meat off of the leaves with your teeth, you remove the choke (looks like stringy leaves) and you are left with the meaty heart.  It is absolutely one of the best taste sensations you will ever experience.

Artichokes are also considered by many to be an aphrodisiac.  Catherine DeMedici is said to have consumed pounds of artichokes a day to maintain her sexual prowess.

Servings: 4

Ingredients
4 Large firm green Artichokes
4 tsp Olive Oil
4 tsp Table Salt
Pepper to taste
1 tsp Garlic Powder
4 tsp Dried Basil
4 TBS Dried Parsley
4 TBS Grated Parmesan

Rinse the artichokes well in water.  Trim the bottom off of each artichoke so that it can sit on the cutting board without falling over.  Trim off any outside leaves that are sticking out and dry.  Using a sharp knife, cut off the top inch of each artichoke. Grab the artichoke firmly in your hand and bang the top of the artichoke on a cutting board.  This will open the leaves so that the spices can get inside.

Place the artichoke in a heavy bottom pot so that they are snug and do not flip over.  Fill with water so that ¾ of the artichokes are covered in water.  If you still have room in the pot and they want to float around put a mug filled with water in the center.  You want to put them in the water quickly so that they do not start to turn brown.

On top of each artichoke sprinkle the following:
1 tsp Olive Oil
½ tsp Table Salt
Pepper to taste
¼ tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Dried Basil
1 TBS Dried Parsley
1 TBS Grated Parmesan

I usually end up seasoning the stove by the time I'm done.

Bring the water to a light simmer on low heat and cook for 3 hours covered.  Test for doneness by tasting a leaf (scrape the meat off with your teeth) and a fork should slide fairly easily through the center of the artichoke's heart.  The best part is the heart in the bottom of the artichoke (see heart in photo).  This is one meal where you have to keep the best part for last.



To print a copy of this recipe go to Artichoke Parmesan

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Parmesan Fish Sticks


Makes 4 servings of fish sticks

This is an adult version of those frozen fish sticks we all ate as kids.  Growing up Italian, Fridays were always a no meat day and would often consist of fish sticks or pasta.  This reinvented recipe adds savory flavor, a little heat and the crunch of cheese.  Dip them in marinara or tartar sauce and enjoy them with dinner or as an appetizer.

Ingredients

Vegetable Oil Cooking Spray
1 lb Cod (or other thick mild white fish)
2 C Buttermilk
4 tsp Hot Sauce
½ C Grated Parmesan or Roman cheese
½ C Italian Style Panko Bread Crumbs
1/8 C Corn Meal or Polenta
½ tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Dried Parsley
½ tsp Garlic Powder
1/8 to 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes *
 
Dipping Sauce *
2 C Marinara Sauce

Tartar Sauce *
½ C Mayonnaise
½ tsp Relish
1 tsp Basil Pesto
1 TBS Capers drained (optional)

Preheat the oven to 500°F. Coat a large cookie sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray, place a cooling rack on top and set aside. Mix the ingredients for the tartar sauce in a small bowl and refrigerate until used.

In a large bowl mix the buttermilk and hot sauce until thoroughly mixed. Cut the fish into ¾” strips (remember how they looked when you were a kid) and place the fish strips in the buttermilk.  Let them marinate for 15 to 60 minutes.

In a medium bowl mix the grated parmesan, bread crumbs, corn meal, salt, parsley, garlic powder and red pepper flakes.  Remove the fish, one piece of fish at a time and place it in the breadcrumb mixture.  Coat thoroughly and place in a single layer on the cookie sheet. Coat the fish with the vegetable cooking spray. Bake until golden brown and crispy, about 14-15 minutes. Serve immediately with either the heated marinara sauce or the tartar sauce.

Frying Option – You can fry the fish sticks in 2” of oil heated to 350F until golden brown.

* Pronto Substitutes
Red Pepper Flakes – If you are serving this to children you may want to ship the red pepper flakes or you can increase if you want some extra spice..
Dipping Sauce – Here is you opportunity to be creative.  You can use whatever sauce you like such as a tangy chutney or mayonnaise with horseradish.  

Chicken Finger Appetizers
Turn a childhood favorite into an appetizer that everyone will enjoy.  Serve the fish sticks with several different kinds of dipping sauces from mild, to hot, to exotic; the choices are only limited by your imagination.


To print a copy of this recipe go to Parmesan Fish Sticks.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Zucchini & Broccoli Frittata Omelet

Frittata’s are Italian omelets with attitude.  They are easy to make and extremely versatile for both brunch and dinner.  Frittatas are a perfect no-meat meal and can be easily customized to your own taste.

Makes 4 servings

1 Tbs Olive Oil or Butter
1 Medium Yellow Onion (diced)
1 C Zucchini, (1 small) (shredded)
1 C Broccoli Florets
½ tsp Salt
Black Pepper (to taste)
6 Eggs
1/8 C Grated Italian Cheese
½ tsp Dried Parsley (or 1 ½ tsp fresh)
1 TBS Butter
Italian Bread or Baguette

Preheat the broiler to high.

NOTE: This recipe requires a medium sized, non-stick, frying pan that has a metal handle and is still in good to excellent condition.  You will be placing the pan under the broiler.  If the pan is old and scratched the frittata will stick.

Dice the onion very small.  In a medium non-stick frying pan, heat the olive oil or butter and cook the onions for 5 minutes on medium stirring frequently until they are light brown.  Add the zucchini, broccoli, salt, and pepper and cook until the broccoli and zucchini are tender. While the vegetables are cooking, whip the eggs in a medium bowl with the Italian cheese and the parsley until thoroughly mixed.

 Once the vegetables are cooked, add the vegetables to the egg mixture in the bowl and stir to make sure that the vegetables are coated with the egg. 

Heat your clean, oven-proof skillet over medium high heat on the stove and add the butter.  When the butter melts and is foaming lower the heat to medium and add the egg-vegetable mixture to the pan.  DO NOT STIR. Using a rubber spatula, run around the edge of the frittata periodically once the edges start to set. You should be able to get the spatula under the edge of the eggs.  The bottom should be a light brown at this time and the top will still have a little liquid.  Carefully place the pan in the oven about 6" from the broiler.  Keep it under the broiler until the eggs have set on the top of the frittata.  USING AN OVEN MIT, shake the pan to see if it looks firm. 

Carefully remove the frittata from the oven—the handle will be hot.  Place a large plate over the top of the frying pan and quickly flip the plate and frying pan over so that the bottom of the frittata is facing up.  Cut and serve immediately with a baguette.

* LEFTOVER VEGYS
One of the great things about frittatas is that you can use almost any fresh or leftover vegetable in them.  One of my family's favorite meals is grilled sausage with peppers and onions.  I will often have leftover peppers and onions and use them in a frittata for dinner the next night.  You can even add cooked, roasted potatoes that have been thinly sliced.  Only your imagination limits this dish.

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS
• ½ C Mozzarella
• ½ C Asiago Cheese
• Bell Peppers
• Asparagus
• Spinach
• Sausage
• Potatoes

To print a copy of this recipe go to Zucchini & Broccoli Frittata

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

This dish is incredibly easy and really tastes good. The Dr. Pepper gives the pork a depth of flavor that really surprised me. It’s even great made ahead of time and just reheated with a little more barbecue sauce. This is, by far, my favorite slow cooker pulled pork recipe.

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients
1 tsp Canola Oil
2 lb Boneless Boston Butt (pork shoulder roast)
1 can Dr Pepper®
1 tsp Honey
1 TBS Balsamic Vinegar
½ tsp Table Salt
½ tsp Freshly-Ground Black Pepper
6 Soft Hamburger Buns
Cole Slaw (optional)
Crock Pot

Heat 1 teaspoon of canola oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add the pork and brown on all sides. Transfer to a crock pot.

Return the frying pan to the stove and add the Dr. Pepper® to deglaze the pan. Scrape all of the brown bits from the bottom and cook for 2 minutes once it has reached a boil.

Pour the Dr. Pepper, honey, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper over the pork and cook on low for 7 hours.

At the end of 7 hours pour off the excess liquid and shred the meat. Return the meat to the crock pot with the balsamic barbecue sauce and cook, covered, for an additional hour.

Top the hamburger puns with the pulled pork and optionally top with some cole slaw.

* Pronto Substitutes
Balsamic Barbecue Sauce – use your favorite barbecue sauce plus 1 additional tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.


To print a copy of this recipe go to Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Salt & Vinegar Frittata

This frittata (Italian omelet) is made with salt & vinegar potato chips and you may be wondering why. Frittatas are often made with very thinly sliced potatoes that must be precooked prior to making the frittata. The potatoes chips give you the taste of the potatoes, are a lot easier, and add a little crunch to the top of the frittata as well.

Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients
¼ C Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Small Onion (diced)
¼ lb Pancetta (thinly sliced then diced)
5 Large Eggs (room temperature)
1 TBS Balsamic Vinegar *
3 C (about 2 ounces) Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips
Ground Pepper (to taste)
9" or 10" Non-Stick Skillet with Oven Proof Handle * 

Preheat broiler on high. Set oven rack on the highest level.

Dice one small onion and the pancetta. Heat 2 TBS of olive oil in the skillet over medium heat until the oil shimmers. Add the diced onion and the pancetta. Cook until the onions are soft and the pancetta starts to crisp. Remove from the pan into a bowl.

Beat 5 eggs and add them to the cooked onions with one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and mix thoroughly. Add the salt & vinegar chips and the pepper. Mix until the chips are coated with the egg mixture.

Wipe out the frying pan and add two tablespoons of olive oil. Heat over medium heat until the oil shimmers. Add the egg and chip mixture and cook until the edges are set but the center is still a little wet. You should be able to shake the pan and have the entire frittata move. If the edges are sticking go around the edge with a silicone spatula to release the frittata.

Place the frying pan on the top shelf of the oven under the broiler. Cook until the top is a pale golden brown. Slide onto a plate or place the plate on top of the frittata and flip it over.

Cut into wedges and serve with some good Italian bread or focaccia.

Pronto Substitutes 
Balsamic – you can use white wine or sherry vinegar or use a herb flavored balsamic which is what I prefer for this dish.

Skillet – You can also use a well seasoned 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet. It may be harder to get it out than in a non-stick skillet. Never use a skillet that has a rubber handle, make sure it is oven rated with a metal handle.

To print a copy of this recipe go to Salt & Vinegar Frittata  .

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Oil & Vinegar Come Out Of the Closet

If you are a regular reader of my blog you probably know that I love to use all different type of vinegars, especially balsamic vinegar. Well over the years I've collected a large assortment of vinegars and oils to the point where I forgot what I had. I finally decided that something had to be done about it and I built a closet just for my oils and vinegars. I built it in between two studs and created space where none existed before. So my oils came out of my pantry closet into a space all their own.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Fried Chocolate Pancetta Ravioli

Think of a crispy pillow that holds sweet chocolate ganache and pancetta. You bite down and the first sensation is the dark chocolate melting in your mouth, then you taste the salty, crispy pancetta. This is the perfect dessert for an elegant party or just something to munch on while watching the Super Bowl. 

Makes 24 Ravioli

Ganache Ingredients
4oz Thin Sliced Pancetta (diced) *
4oz Heavy Cream
1 TBS Light Corn Syrup
½ TBS Unsalted Butter
8oz Dark Chocolate (chopped)

Ravioli Ingredients
1 12oz Package Wonton Wrappers
24oz Canola Oil
Powdered Sugar (optional)
4oz Dark Chocolate (optional)

12” Frying Pan or Deep Fryer
Thermometer


Dice the pancetta into small pieces and fry in a medium high frying pan until crisp. Drain on paper towels.

In a 2 qt saucepan heat the heavy cream and corn syrup until it just comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the butter, chocolate, and pancetta. Stir until smooth and homogeneous.

Pour the completed ganache into a 9x9 baking dish and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Place a wonton wrapper on a flat surface and wet the edges with water. Place EXACTLY 1 tablespoon of ganache in the center. Note: if you put more than 1 tablespoon in the middle it will leak out. Place a wonton wrapper on top and gently push down on the ganache. Press down and seal all edges trying not to leave any air bubbles. Place on a paper towel to dry. Continue until you have prepared all of your chocolate ravioli.

In a 12 inch skillet add one inch of canola oil and heat to 350°F. You can also use an electric frying pan or a deep fryer. Place up to 4 ravioli in the heated oil and fry until golden brown, then flip and fry the other side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Continue until all ravioli are fried.

Allow to cool and serve as is or top with either confectionary sugar or drizzle melted chocolate over the top.

* Pronto Substitutes 
Pancetta – You can substitute bacon for the pancetta but dice it very small.

Ganache is a versatile mixture of dark chocolate and heavy cream that can be used for many different desserts from truffles, to icing a cake to being the creamy center of a cup cake. You are only limited by your imagination.
To print a copy of this recipe go to Fried Chocolate Pancetta Ravioli.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Winter Strawberry Dessert

Have you ever had an urge in the middle of winter for fresh strawberries? However when you go to the grocery store they either have no strawberries or they are absolutely tasteless and have more pucker than a lemon. I had a hankering for strawberries and all that was available were frozen. I decided to bring them up a notch by making a sauce where I balanced sweetness with a touch of balsamic vinegar. The result was an awesome strawberry topping that soaked in and enrobed my angle food cake. 

Ingredients

½ C Water
½ C Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla 
1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
Pinch Salt
1 lb Frozen Strawberries (defrost, drain, save liquid)
Whipped Cream (optional)

Cake Options (choose one)
Biscuits
Angle Food Cake
Pound Cake
Waffles

Defrost the strawberries, drain them and reserve the liquid. Place the strawberries in a large bowl.

Place the water and brown sugar in a sauce pan and bring up to a simmer, stirring frequently. Simmer until reduced by half and it has thickened to a syrup. Remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla, balsamic, and the reserved strawberry juice.  Bring up to a simmer stirring constantly. After It has reached a simmer pour the sauce over the strawberries.

Spoon the strawberries and their sauce over slices of cake and top with some whipped cream. You can even include some vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Restaurant Review: Vics Ristorante Italiano Raleigh


$$ ★★★★☆



Location: 331 Blake Street DowntownRaleigh, NC 27601, (919) 829-7090

Vic’s, located in City Market next to Moore Square in Raleigh, surprised me with the quality and authenticity of its Italian food. It’s a family friendly, casual dinning restaurant that serves traditional Italian cuisine. The pasta and pizza were top notch with a tomato sauce that was rich with just the right level of spices. What really impressed me was the crab and spinach stuffed ravioli that were bursting with flavor with every bite. The pasta was al dente, the four cheese sauce was silky and savory and the Broccoli was crisp tender. The veal parmigiana just melted in your mouth. This is definitely a restaurant that I would go back to. 

For additional restaurant reviews and Italian-Fusion recipes go to www.italian-fusion.blogspot.com

Cuisine: Italian
Rating: ★★★★☆
Prices: $$
Atmosphere: colorfully
Service: eager to please
Recommended: Pizza, Ravioli
Open: Mon-Thurs (11 am-10 pm), Fri-Sat (11 am-11 pm), Sun Closed
Reservations: accepted
The dollar signs defined: $ Entrees average less than $10. $$ Entrees $11 to $16. $$$ Entrees $17 to $25. $$$$ Entrees more than $25.


Monday, December 30, 2013

Pairing Wines and Cheese Cheat Sheet 

(exerpt from SeriousEats.com Dec. 28, 2013 1:00 PMFor the full article go to SeriousEats.com)

If you have ever wondered which wine to pair with which cheese here is a short guide.  The main consideration is how intensity correlates with age. As cheese ages the moisture evaporates and the flavor of the cheese intensifies. Young cheeses pair best with wines are juicy, fruity, fresh and spirited—sparkling wines, crisp whites, dry rosés, and reds with good acidity and sprightly fruit. Older cheeses on the other hand would need wines with more body and complexity. The very oldest cheeses, those that are the most savory and rich and nutty, pair best with wines that have ample body and structure, and maybe oxidative notes, too.


Fresh and Soft Cheese

Fresh and soft cheeses love crisp whites, dry rosés, sparkling wines, dry aperitif wines, and light-bodied reds with low tannins. Wines with apple, berry, stone fruit, tropical, melon, or citrus flavors work best. Avoid big, tannic red wines like Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, and Bordeaux blends.

Cheeses: Ricotta, Mozzarella, Burrata, Chèvre, Feta, Halloumi, Brie, Camembert, Brillat-Savarin, Crottin, Bûcheron

Pair with: Riesling (dry to sweet), Gewürztraminer, Moscato, Champagne, Cava, Chablis, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, Albariño, Grüner Veltliner, unoaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Provençal rosé, Beaujolais, Lambrusco, White Port, Fino sherry


Semi-hard, Medium-aged Cheeses

These cheeses have a firmer texture and stronger flavors. They need medium-bodied whites, fruity reds, vintage sparkling wine, and aperitif wines that offer a balance between acidity, fruit, and tannin.

Cheeses: Havarti, Edam, Emmental, Gruyère, Jarlsberg, young Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Manchego, Tomme d'Alsace

Pair with: Chardonnay, white Burgundy, white Bordeaux, Pinot Blanc, Viognier, white Rhône blends, Riesling (off-dry), Gewürztraminer, Champagne, red Burgundy, Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Dolcetto, Barbera, Zinfandel, Merlot, vintage Port, young Tawny Port, Amontillado sherry


Stinky Cheeses

Stinky cheeses call for light-bodied wines with demure aromatics that complement rather than compete.

Cheeses: Époisses, Taleggio, Morbier

Pair with: Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Sauternes, red Burgundy, Pinot Noir


Blue Cheeses

Blue cheeses need wines with both oomph and sweetness to balance their bold flavors and usually very salty, savory body.

Cheeses: Stilton, Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Cambozola, Bleu d'Auvergne

Pair with: red Port, Tawny Port, Sauternes, Oloroso sherry, Banyuls, Recioto, Tokaji


Hard-aged Cheeses

Harder cheeses love full-bodied whites and tannic reds. Their nuttiness also works with oxidative wines like sherry, and their saltiness makes them terrific with sweet wines.

Cheeses: Aged Cheddar, Cheshire, Comté, aged Gruyère, aged Gouda, Pecorino, Manchego, Asiago, Parmigiano Reggiano


Pair with: Aged white Burgundy or Bordeaux, white Rhône blends, sweet Riesling, Viognier, vintage Champagne, Vin Jaune, red Burgundy, red Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barolo, Barbaresco, Nebbiolo, Petite Sirah, California red blends, red Rhône blends, Zinfandel, red Port, Tawny Port, Madeira, Sauternes, Oloroso sherry.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Feast of the 7 Fishes 2013

My favorite holiday of the year is Christmas Eve where we celebrate the "Feast of the Seven Fishes". As the name implies, I prepare 7 different fish dishes. The most important part of the meal however is that you share it with family and friends. Here is the menu and some pictures from this years feast. Buon Natale!




Smoked Gouda with Honey &
Espresso Balsamic Vinegar


First Course - Antipasto
Shrimp Cocktail, Fresh Mozzarella, Aged Asiago 
Smoked Gouda with Honey & EspressoBalsamic Vinegar 
 Aged Asiago Cheese
Fresh Mozzarella
Shrimp Cocktail

Second Course - Soup
Lobster Bisque

Third Course – Pesce
Bacon Wrapped Scallops
Fried Crab Cakes
Baked Stuffed Clams & Mushrooms
Eggplant con Pomidoro
Lobster Bisque

Fourth Course – Pasta/Risotto
Fettuccini Fra Diavolo
Salmon Risotto

Fifth Course - Dessert
Christmas Bows with Cannoli Cream
Espresso
Homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream
Cookie Tray
  • Raspberry Schnitten
  • Rugelach
  • Almond Biscotti
  • Tuscan Almond Cookies
  • Chocolate Ugly Cookies
  • Pfeffernüsse
  • Lemon Ricotta
  • Nutella Sandwich
  • White Chocolate Cranberry
  • Double Chip Oatmeal

Baked Stuffed Clams
Crab Cakes
Crab Cakes, Bacon Wrapped Scallops,
Baked Stuffed Clams
Salmon Risotto
Shrimp Fra Diavolo, Eggplant con Pomodoro
Cookie Tray, Bows with Cannoli Dip