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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gwyneth Paltrow's "Roasted Tomato & Anchovy Oreganata Pasta!"

I came across this recipe on the way back from my mailbox the other day. It is this month's Bon Appétit cover recipe and the timing was just perfect. I was seriously craving some pasta and feeling just daring enough to experiment with anchovies. I'm also a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow and if there was any chance of coming closer to attaining her fabulous physique by preparing some of her cuisine, it was official: I was definitely up for "cooking the cover!"

The ingredients were easy enough to find: cherry tomatoes, fresh thyme, basil, linguini...classic Italian fare. When it comes to buying tins of anchovies, it always brings me back to my Grandfather's kitchen. He always had some tins in his pantry and I could never understand the allure of these smelly, little fish in a can (this was "PC" mind you - pre-Caesar.) I usually love the flavor of anchovies in a dish as long as I can't see them and, in this recipe, the fillets are intact but smothered in bread crumbs and herbs. Would I like it? I was looking forward to finding out.

The recipe recommends roasting a portion of the cherry tomatoes at least 3 hours and up to 8 hours. I made this recipe on a day when I had the benefit of roasting those babies for the full 8 hours - I mean, who am I to argue with Gwyneth? I popped them in a glass baking dish with a healthy drizzle of olive oil and big pinch of kosher salt and at the end of 8 hours they were a burnished red color and were sweet, juicy and delicious.

The anchovies were easy enough to prepare, lining them up like soldiers on a baking sheet, 1/4 inch apart and then "tucking them in" with a delicious mixture of bread crumbs, olive oil, thyme and parsley. After baking in the oven for 5-7 minutes, the mixture was golden brown and bubbly. After sautéing the remaining cherry tomatoes (crushed by hand I might add) in a pan with the roasted tomatoes, garlic and olive oil, dinner was at hand. It was easy enough to plate except when it came to the anchovy oreganata. There was no picture of the finished dish in the magazine so I just scooped up a few anchovies and placed them on top. The recipe recommended topping each dish with one quarter of the oreganata, but I was erring on the conservative side, just in case.

As it turns out, for me one anchovy would have been enough for the entire bowl of pasta! This recipe is definitely for bona fide anchovy lovers; however, if you don't care for them, just leave the anchovy oreganata off. The pasta with the roasted tomatoes and their caramelized tomato juices is perfectly delicious on its own, doused with a generous snowfall of Parmigiano-Reggiano. I might even tweak this recipe in the future and make the oreganata sans anchovies. There's nothing not to love about toasted bread crumbs!

Although I thoroughly enjoyed the other components of this dish, I'm sorry to say even Gwyneth couldn't get me to love anchovies. I sure won't be giving up Caesar salads anytime soon and I am looking forward to making this recipe again without those little suckers! The roasted tomatoes and other components of the dish were delicious. Are you a fan of anchovies? If so, what's your favorite recipe?

Bon Appétit,

Gwyneth Paltrow's Roasted Tomato & Anchovy Oreganata Pasta
  • 4 cups cherry tomatoes, divided
  • 9 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned dry breadcrumbs (preferably homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • Large pinch dried oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Small handful fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
Directions Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place 2 cups tomatoes in an 8 x 8 x 2" glass baking dish. Stir in 1 Tbsp. oil and a large pinch of salt. Roast, stirring occasionally, at least 3 hours and up to 8 hours (the longer they roast, the sweeter and more concentrated the flavor). Set aside. 
Increase oven temperature to 400°. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Place breadcrumbs and herbs in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. oil over; stir until mixture resembles damp sand. Lay anchovies about 1/4" apart on prepared sheet. Evenly pack breadcrumb mixture over; drizzle with 1 Tbsp. oil. Bake until golden brown, 3-5 minutes; set anchovy oreganata aside.   
Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until tender but still firm to the bite. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.  Meanwhile, place remaining 2 cups tomatoes in a large bowl. Crush tomatoes with your hands. Heat 4 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until juices thicken, 6-7 minutes. Add roasted tomatoes.  
Add drained spaghetti to skillet; toss to coat, adding reserved pasta water by 1/4-cupfuls if dry. Remove from heat; stir in basil. Drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil. Divide among bowls. Top each with 1/4 of the anchovy oreganata.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Winesday with Gary Vee: Think Pink this Summer with a Provençal-Style Rosé from the USA & Recipe for Mussels “Marinières!"

This Winesday, Gary shares his thoughts on rosé wines and gives us a fabulous recommendation from the USA. Perfect for drinking this Memorial Day - Enjoy!

"With Spring in full effect, it's getting to be rosé season. Ladies, this will go great with all those outfits and guys, don't be afraid of the pink stuff! On a more serious note, there's so much more out there than just that sweet, White Zin your Grandma used to drink. The 2009 Azur Rosé from Napa Valley is inspired by the great rosé wines from the South of France. Bone-dry with great strawberry and rose petal characteristics, it's making a push to become one of the best domestic rosé wines I've ever had."

Gary's Tasting Note: An almost coppery kind of rose shade, with a little hint of strawberry and rose petal on the nose. Wonderful acidity...this is yum-yum city. Kudos to Azur for allowing me to believe that there's real potential for rose in California. At the time of the tasting, I don't know this wine's price but if it's under $25, it's making a push for one of the best domestic premium roses I've ever had." Score: 89+ points!

The Azur California website shared this recipe that pairs nicely with a Provençal-style rosé like this one. One of the things I love about rosé is it pairs nicely with a variety of dishes or, frankly, nothing at all. Hope you enjoy this one!

Mussels “Marinières” 
"Recipes from Provence" by René Husson
Serves 6 
9 lbs of mussels 
2 garlic cloves 
1 large onion 
2 shallots 
1 bunch of parsley 
3⁄4 cup of crème fraiche 
1 cup of white wine Olive oil
Debeard the mussels and rub off the excess seaweed, rinse in cold water.
In a large pot, warm the olive oil and sauté the minced shallots and onion, then add in the chopped parsley.
Add the mussels and let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Pour on the white wine and continue simmer for 5 minutes.
At the last moment, add the crème fraiche, stir in and serve right away.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The "Other Bordeaux" at Café Boulud Palm Beach with Renowned Sommelier Daniel Johnnes!

Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Daniel Johnnes, renowned Sommelier and Wine Director of Daniel Boulud's Dinex Group, the epicurean empire that encompasses such world class restaurants as Daniel, DB Bistro, DBGB, Café Boulud and Bar Boulud. While impressive enough, that description does not really tell the whole story. Prior to joining Chef Boulud in 2005, Johnnes was the Wine Director of Montrachet, a New York City institution, and for 20 years did much to promote French wine, most notably Burgundy, to his loyal clientele. In addition, this confirmed Francophile is also an author, importer and the organizer of the epic Burgundy fête, La Paulée de New York which celebrated its tenth anniversary last year. I think Frank Prial summed it up best, "To describe Daniel Johnnes as a sommelier would be like describing Stephen Sondheim as a piano player. There's a bit more to it."

Mr. Johnnes was in town co-hosting a wine dinner with Café Boulud Chef Sommelier Mariya Kovacheva entitled, "The 'Other' Bordeaux." The evening focused on wines from smaller, family owned estates in this much lauded wine region created by "people who are really connected to the land." Although best know for his obsession with Burgundy, Johnnes decided to champion the cause for these vins bordelais a year and half ago. "There are two worlds of Bordeaux," he explained, "the wines that are an elitist traded commodity, and those you should drink and enjoy." The wines poured this evening fell squarely into the latter category and, according to Johnnes, best embodied "the quality, committment and tradition of winemaking" from this region. While Bordeaux generally conjures images of dust covered bottles tucked away in a musty wine cellar, these selections represent wines of "great value" that are ready for drinking and are intended simply, "to give pleasure." Chateaux featured at this evening's dinner included Château Jean Faux, Château de Clotte, Château Saint Julian and Château Beauséjour.

The first wine of the evening was the Château Jean Faux, Bordeaux Rosé 2009. This salmon-colored gem, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, was rife with notes of raspberry and rhubarb and was rather substantial for a rosé. This medium-bodied beauty paired nicely with a Galantine de Poulet et Pistache with red currant mustard and rhubarb-endive salad prepared by the very talented, not to mention James Beard nominated, Chef de Cuisine Zach Bell.

The next course was paired with two wine selections, the Château de Clotte, C
ôtes de Castillon 2006 and the Château Saint Julian, Bordeaux Supérieur 2006. The Château de Clotte (30% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc & 10% Malbec) had perfumey aromas of black currants, rose petals and spice. It was well balanced with nicely integrated tannins and a lovely, lingering finish. The Château Saint Julian (60% Merlot 20% Cabernet Sauvignon 20% Cabernet Franc) was a bit different with a meaty, gamey nose and notes of blackberry, licorice and coffee on the palate. While different from the first wine, it was also well-structured with approachable tannins. These two selections were a nice introduction to the "other" side of Bordeaux and were paired with Truite en Vin Rouge (Trout in Red Wine) with leek confit and crispy Madrange Ham.

The third course was also paired with a duo of wines, the Château Beauséjour, Montagne-Saint Emilion 2007 and the Château Jean Faux, Bordeaux Supérieur 2007. The Beausejour (50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Franc) had a nose of red currant, spice and cocoa and noticeably bigger tannins than the 2006's. This was a fabulous food-pairing wine that could have benefited from even a few more years in the bottle, although it was thoroughly enjoyable now. The Château Jean Faux (80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc) had aromas of rose petals and spice with flavors of black currant, cherry and clove. It was less tannic than the Beausejour and I'd have to say it was my favorite wine of the evening. Both wines paired nicely with Jamison Farm Lamb Loin with porcini mushroon marmalade, coco beans and spiced shallot confit. 

Tonight's wine selections did much to dispel the image of those dusty, cellared bottles and were
approachable, enjoyable and affordable (all retail for under $30), making the "Other Bordeaux" a place I look forward to visiting more often. A big thank you to Daniel Johnnes for taking the time to chat with me. After touching down at PBIA that very morning, he was on the first flight back to New York the next day to tend to Dinex's newest establishments, Boulud Sud and Épicerie, which had opened, literally, the day before! Mr. Johnnes did reveal the dates for the 11th Annual La Paulée de New York which will take place February 24-25th, 2012 - details to follow. Also, if you live in South Florida, you will not want to miss Café Boulud's upcoming wine dinner "The Spanish Wines of Galicia" on Thursday, June 9th featuring wines from internationally known importer Eric Solomon's portfolio. I hope to see you there!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Winesday Wednesday with Gary Vaynerchuk: an Italian Summer Sipper (not Pinot Grigio)!

Gary Vee & me at Wine Library
I am happy to announce The Glamorous Gourmet will now feature a weekly wine recommendation from the fabulous Gary Vaynerchuk, best known as the founder and host of Wine Library TV. As many of you know, I was a contributor to Gary's website, Cork'd before he began his latest exciting vinous adventure, The Daily Grape which includes, among other things, a daily show, newsletter and app. With his latest venture, Gary continues to demystify the world of wine and broaden palates in his fun, though far from conventional style!

The weather's heating up here in South Florida so I asked Gary if he had any advice or recommendations for readers looking for something to sip during the warmer Summer months. His reply? "Stop drinking the same old Pinot Grigio! There are so many other tremendous white wines coming out of Italy, and the quality has never been better than it is today... and the time never better. It's getting hot, you're by the pool or at the beach, and you need something with a 'delicious factor'.... the answer isn't New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc! Check out Italy's other white grapes, which excels with its indigenous grapes, and the Feudi di San Gregorio Fiano di Avellino 2009 is a primetime example. Fiano di Avellino, from Campania along the front "ankle" of Italy's boot, brings some sick (in a good way) aromatics and a juicy flavor profile. Downright beautiful... we're talking 'Mila Kunis beautiful'. This is a prime starting point for expanding your palate outside of your everyday Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio."

Gary's Tasting Note:  Beautiful and elegant orange-driven citrus fruits on the nose. Wow, this is really orangey! There's also little hints of white peach. And boy, this explodes on the mouth. Makes me wish that I was at a seafood or sushi restaurant right now. I really enjoy the lemongrass-meets-lime flavor up front, with an explosion of passion fruit on the mid-palate, finishing extremely smooth. This is very interesting, really solid white wine. I like it a lot!

Gary's Score:  90 points
Price: ~$17 msrp
Grape: 100% Fiano

Great wine at a great value - gotta love that! I hope you enjoyed Gary's review and I'd love to know what you think about the wine. It really is a perfect pairing for lighter Summer fare like seafood, shellfish and salads or relaxing by the pool. Also, speaking of warmer weather, where is everyone headed this Summer? Do tell!


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fast & Fabulous: Braised Escarole with Seared Bay Scallops and a Loire Valley White!

Looking for something deliciously quick to make for dinner tonight? Give this recipe for Braised Escarole with Seared Bay Scallops a try! I came across this gem in the Wall Street Journal in a feature on Chef Anita Lo of New York City's Annisa. Chef Lo is known for weaving multicultural flavors with classic French technique and draws inspiration from her extensive world travels. This recipe combines the delicious flavors of plump, sweet bay scallops with the slightly bitter flavor of escarole and lemon and a hint of red pepper flake. The result is a deliciously flavorful, yet healthy dish. Oh, and did I mention it takes under thirty minutes to make? Yay!

Beautiful Fresh Escarole
I started by purchasing beautiful, fresh scallops from Captain Clay's Fish Market here in Delray Beach. When selecting scallops, be sure they are translucent and firm with no milky fluid surrounding them which can indicate they have been "soaked" and treated with chemicals. When preparing the dish, be sure to taste your escarole when it's done to adjust the seasoning and make sure the pan you're cooking the scallops in is very hot before adding them to give those beauties a nice, good sear. In the article, Chef Lo recommends shaving bottarga di muggine over the finished dish. Bottarga is the roe pouch of a tuna or grey mullet that's been dried and cured in sea salt for a few weeks resulting in a dry hard slab. The final product can then be thinly sliced or grated but let me assure you, this dish is perfectly delicious without it. Also, although the recipe claims it serves four, I'm afraid it's more like 2-3 for a main course - well for 2 very hungry people anyway!

Pair this dish with a bright, citrusy wine like the Michel Redde Sancerre 'Les Tuilieres' 2009. This 100% Sauvignon Blanc from France's Loire Valley has flavors of lemon and green apple, a lovely minerality and zippy acidity that complemented the flavors of this dish beautifully. This wine is fermented entirely in stainless steel to preserve its crisp, fresh fruit flavors, making it a fabulous pairing for a variety of Spring and Summer fare. It's like adding a squeeze of lemon and is a natural match for seafood and shellfish.

I hope you enjoy this "Fast & Fabulous" dish as much as we did and I'd love to hear what you think if you decide to make it.  Also, what source(s) do you find you go to most often for new everyday recipes (cookbook, magazines, website)? I'd love to know. Thanks for stopping by and have a delicious day!


Serves 4
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
4 thin rounds of lemon, cut 1/8-inch thick, each slice cut into 6 triangles
2½ tablespoons butter
2 medium heads escarole (about 1 pound 6 ounces), washed and cut into 2-inch bands
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper
1 pound Bay scallops, cleaned

1. Set a large casserole over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir in pepper flakes, garlic and lemon slices. Cook until lemons are limp and sizzling, about 2 minutes.  
2. Stir in escarole, butter, sugar and salt. Cover the pot and lower the heat to medium. Stir occasionally and cook until wilted, about 6 minutes. Remove lid, turn the heat up to medium-high and continue to cook until the water evaporates, about 3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

3. While the escarole finishes cooking, prepare scallops. Set a large sauté pan over high heat and season scallops on both sides with salt and pepper.

4. Swirl 2 tablespoons olive oil into the pan. Once oil is almost smoking, add scallops. If need be, cook scallops in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan.

5. Cook scallops on high until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn and finish cooking the other side, about 1 additional minute.

6. Divide escarole onto four plates. Arrange scallops on top and spritz with extra lemon juice, if desired.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day Indulgence: Strawberry Rhubarb Napoleons with Creme Fraiche Ice Cream!

What better day for a sweet indulgence than Mother's Day! Mom deserves a dessert at least as sweet as she is, right? I recently came across this dessert on one of Food Network's new shows, Dessert First with Anne Thornton and thought it sounded perfectly Springy and delicious - definitely Mother's Day-worthy! I've always loved the combination of strawberry and rhubarb and seek it out whenever possible. Although I am a fan, I've never made it myself, and even though this recipe sounded a little daunting (well, to me anyway) it really isn't!

Ahhh, Puff Pastry!
The only special piece of equipment needed is an ice cream maker but the ice cream itself is simple to make. Just assemble the ingredients and pour the mixture into your trusty machine. Fifteen minutes later - Voila! - creme fraiche ice cream! The same is true of the strawberry rhubarb filling. Just mix the glorious ingredients together (chopped rhubarb, sliced strawberries, orange zest, orange juice and sugar) simmer for seven minutes and the result is a beautiful purplish crimson syrup flecked with sweet chunks of rhubarb and sliced strawberries - yum! Next is the puff pastry which, I am convinced, can make anyone look like a rock star! No matter how plain puff pastry might look going into the oven, once it comes out - wow! Beautifully flaky and golden brown it is truly a sight to behold. As an added bonus, all three components of this delicious dessert can be made the day before and assembled the day of your celebration so there's more time to spend with Mom - what's not to love about that?
Mom, Me, Mel & Jen - Captiva 2010
I had to include this photo of my Mom, sisters and me taken this Summer on a family vacation. I'd like to wish my Mom and sister Jennifer a very Happy Mother's Day and I look forward to celebrating with them tomorrow! If you are looking for a special dessert to surprise your Mama this year, give this one a try. It is sure to put a smile on her (and your) face!
Bon Appetit,

Strawberry Rhubarb Napoleons with Creme Fraiche Ice Cream 

Recipe Courtesy of Anne Thornton

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half a 17.3-ounce package), thawed
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting, if needed
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • Strawberry-Rhubarb Filling, recipe follows
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  • Creme Fraiche Ice Cream, recipe follow
Preheat the oven to 400 degree F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Unfold the pastry sheet on your work surface. If the pastry sticks a bit, dust with some flour. Roll the dough out to about 10-inch square. Cut the square into 4 (5-inch) squares, then cut these in half diagonally to make 8 triangles. Evenly sprinkle all the triangles with the 2 tablespoons sugar. Put the triangles, sugar-side up, on the baking sheet. Pop in the oven and bake until nicely puffed and golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool. Slice in half horizontally (a serrated knife is best for this job). 
Put a halved triangle on your serving plate. Spread some Strawberry-Rhubarb filling on top, stack another halved triangle and more filling on top of that and repeat to make 4 layers total. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with more sauce on the side. Scoop some Creme Fraiche Ice Cream alongside. Serve the napoleons immediately.

Cook's Note: Both the pastries and filling can be prepared 1 day ahead and stored separately. Put the pastries in an airtight container at room temperature, and cover and refrigerate the filling. Heat up the filling before using.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Filling:

  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 pints strawberries, sliced, divided
Whisk the sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl, making sure there are no lumps. Add the rhubarb, sugar-cornstarch mixture, orange zest and juice and half the strawberries to a saucepan. Give it a good stir. Let this mixture sit about 15 minutes off the heat so it macerates (gets nice and juicy). Then put the pan over medium-high heat and let cook until the rhubarb is tender but still holds its shape, giving it a stir now and then, about 7 minutes. Let it cool for about 15 minutes, and then stir in the rest of the strawberries.

Creme Fraiche Ice Cream

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups creme fraiche
  • 1 cup sugar
Pour the milk into a large bowl, add the 2 tablespoons lemon juice and let it sit for a couple of minutes.

Add the creme fraiche, the remaining 1/3 cup lemon juice and the sugar. Give it a whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour into an ice cream maker and churn as per the manufacturer's instructions, then pop in the freezer until it's firm. Yield: about 1 quart

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cinco de Mayo with The Barefoot Contessa: Tequila Lime Chicken & Sagaponack Corn Pudding!

Tequila Lime Chicken & Sagaponack Corn Pudding
Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow and if I can't celebrate with the actual Barefoot Contessa,I can at least enjoy a couple of her fabulous recipes! (Although, Ina, if you're reading this, the offer still stands!). Ina's Tequila Lime Chicken and Sagaponack Corn Pudding are two dishes that definitely fit the bill for this holiday commemorating the Mexican army's underdog-style victory over the French at The Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Surprisingly, Cinco de Mayo receives limited attention in Mexico itself, but the date is observed nationwide as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.

The Tequila Lime Chicken starts with chicken breasts marinated overnight in a delicious mixture of tequila, lime juice, jalapeño pepper and other spices. I love recipes where the bulk of the work is done the day before the party and, by those standards, this one couldn't be easier. In the spirit of full disclosure, I did tweak a couple ingredients: instead of "gold" tequila, I used "Añejo" because it was the only one we had on hand. Tequila is indigenous to Mexico and there is a variety of different types. Añejo tequila, also called "aged" or "vintage" tequila, is aged in oak barrels for 1-3 years, giving it a darker color and more complex flavor. Gold tequila, which is called for in the recipe, is a blend of blanco and reposado tequilas and is milder in flavor. 

Ready for the Grill!
In addition to the tequila swap, I also swapped some of the chicken breasts for some chicken thighs - gotta love the dark meat! I would caution you to be sure your chicken has the skin on it even though it is boneless, per the directions. The skin gets a beautiful crust or char on it from the grill that really adds alot of flavor. I also cooked the chicken on my indoor grillpan, on of my favorite kitchen gadgets of all time, rather than an outdoor grill and the chicken still had plenty of fabulous flavor. It was so easy to just remove the chicken from the marinade and pop it on the grill! Just be sure your chicken pieces are thin enough to cook completely. The breasts I purchased were very thick and took slightly longer to cook. Otherwise, this was a fabulous recipe: the chicken was flavorful with a delightful tanginess from the tequila and citrus and mild spice from the jalapeño and chili powder. I look forward to making this recipe not only for Cinco de Mayo but all Summer long!

Sagaponack Corn Pudding
What could possibly be the perfect accompaniment to Tequila Lime Chicken, you might ask? Well, Ina nailed it with her Sagaponack Corn Pudding (click here for recipe). A delicious mixture of fresh corn, onion, milk, half & half, corn meal and a few other ingredients, this is the perfect Summer side dish that also has great implications for Thanksgiving as well! I do have one major confession to make with the preparation of this recipe. Instead of using fresh corn, I used frozen Silver Queen Corn instead - blasphemy, I know! In my defense, Silver Queen corn is know for its succulent, sweet white kernels and, I have to tell you, this dish turned out perfectly - so if you are pressed for time, as I was, this is one way to go. Just be sure to defrost the corn prior to starting the recipe. Overall, this recipe is pretty straightforward, the only trouble I had was with the cooking time. I halved the recipe but it still took the entire 45 minutes plus 10 more minutes to cook and even then, I had to remove it from the bain marie (water bath) and pop it back in the oven to brown on top. Maybe it was because of the corn I used having more moisture in it but, boy, was it worth it! Deliciously creamy but not too rich, the finished dish had great texture from the sweet, crunchy corn kernels and the creamy pudding - yum! I will definitely be adding this recipe to the rotation.

If you are looking for recipes to please a crowd this Cinco de Mayo, consider this delicious duo. Oh, and be sure to pair with the margarita of your choice - enjoy!


Tequila Lime Chicken
Barefoot Contessa "Family Style" 2002
  • 1/2 cup gold tequila
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (5 to 6 limes)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeño pepper (1 pepper seeded)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 whole (6 split) boneless chicken breasts, skin on
Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, jalapeño pepper, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken breasts. Refrigerate overnight.

Heat a grill with coals and brush the rack with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, sprinkle well with salt and pepper, and grill them skin-side down for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove from the grill to a plate. Cover tightly and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Vintage Vogue: The Wines of Chile - "Undiscovered Gems!"

Earlier this week, I attended a seminar featuring some remarkable wines from Chile. Presented by the Guild of Sommeliers, the event, "The Real Deal in Chile," was hosted by Master Sommelier and Educator for Wines of Chile, Fred Dexheimer in conjunction with Master Sommeliers Andrew McNamara and Eric Hemer. Held at Morton's Steakhouse in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, the program included a tasting of two wine flights: "Undiscovered Gems" and "Iconic Wines: Old and New." We'll be discussing "Undiscovered Gems" in this post (stay tuned for "Old & New").

Chile is a unique wine producing region for a number of reasons. It is one of the few wine growing regions of the world that has never been affected by phylloxera, the root louse that decimated the vineyards of Europe in the late 19th century. Chile also has no indigenous vines, classic Vitis Vinifera grape varieties were brought here from Bordeaux during the mid-1800's prior to outbreaks of phylloxera and powdery mildew. Due to it's geographical isolation: desert to the north, Andes mountains to the east, Pacific Ocean to the west and Antarctica to the south, this country is somewhat of an "island" unto itself and, to date, neither phylloxera nor powdery mildew are present in Chile today.

Our first wine was the Falernia Pedro Ximenez Riserva, 2010 ($12) from Viña Falernia, Chile's northernmost wine estate located in the Elqui Valley. This region is know for its dry climate, high vineyard elevations and clear skies. This 100% Pedro Ximenez was pale straw in color that gave way to a floral, peach and citrus nose. On the palate, flavors of green apple and lemon were accompanied by a remarkable acidity and a briny quality that made this wine a fabulous pairing for just about anything plucked from the sea. Aged in stainless steel to preserve the crisp fruit flavors, this wine is 13.5% alcohol.

Second, we sampled another white similar in color to the first, yet with a very different profile! The Casa Marin Miramar Vineyard Riesling, 2008 ($24) is from the San Antonio Valley, just a few miles from the coast. This wine had that oh so distinctive Riesling nose of "petrol" accompanied by lime and citrus notes. At 14.1% alcohol, this 100% Riesling was aged entirely in stainless steel and, according to the Masters, was very reminiscent of an Eden Valley Riesling from Australia. It was also interesting to learn that Reisling, along with other German varietals (i.e. Gewürztraminer), seems to be gaining in popularity in Chile due to the thriving German culture.

The Kingston Family Vineyards Alazan Pinot Noir, 2009 ($30) was our first red of the morning (yes, I said morning). This wine hails from the Casablanca Valley, a region known for its diverse soil types and microclimates suitable for growing both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay well. This wine is a deep violet/rose color, much darker than I would expect from a 100% Pinot Noir. It was highly aromatic with scents of cherry, violets and spice emanating from the glass. On the palate, this Pinot was reminiscent of the Russian River Valley yet with distinctly more acidity. Our moderators commented that this particular wine demonstrated the progress Chilean winemakers have made with this infamously difficult varietal. Alcohol is 14.5%.

The Morandé Edición Limitada Carignan, 2007 ($22) is from the Maule Valley, Chile's largest wine growing region, and is crafted from fruit in excess of 50 years old. Created by Pablo Morandé, one of Chile's most iconic winemakers, this 100% Carignan is vibrant ruby-violet in color with aromas of dark fruit and baking spices. Flavors of ripe blackberry, pepper and sweet black licorice intermingled with a distinct American oak influence. At 14.5% alcohol, this wine had ample tannins and although enjoyable, could definitely benefit from a good decanting.

Also from the Maule Valley, the De Martino Single Vineyard "El León" Carignan is a blend of 90% Carignan, 5% Malbec and 5% Carmenere. While the previous Carignan was aged in American Oak, this wine spent 14 months in French Oak. It was interesting to note the differences between the two not only in the application of oak, but also in the addition of other grape varietals. This wine was an inky, deep purple color with a dearth of fruit on the palate, ample minerality and significant tannins. This wine was presently less approachable than the Morandé Carignan and would probably benefit from more time in the bottle. The moderators commented this wine was "built to go the distance" and also characterized it as "austere" - I definitely agree! Alcohol level was not available.

Our sixth and final wine of the flight was the Emiliana Coyam, 2008 ($35) from Chile's Colchaugua Valley. A blend of 41% Syrah, 29% Carmenere, 20% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Mourvedre and 1% Petit Verdot this wine was aged for 13 months in both French (80%) and American Oak (20%). "Coyam" means "oak forest" and refers to the ancient oaks that surround the vineyard. This wine is certified organic and the winery employs both organic and biodynamic farming practices. The wine itself was a bright purple color with a fuchsia rim and aromas of ripe black fruit and licorice. Juicy blackberry, spice and chocolate were evident on the palate along with round tannins. The combination of Bordeaux and Rhone varietals was well balanced and approachable. Alcohol is a relatively modest 13.5%.

The program moderators did a fabulous job selecting these interesting wines that piqued our interest and nicely highlighted the nuances of Chile's wine producing regions. Stay tuned for "Iconic Wines: Old and New!"


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