Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant

Last night, Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant, celebrated its one year anniversary.  Les Marchands is located in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone and is owned and operated by Eric Railsback and Master Sommelier Brian McClintick.

Les Marchands 1 year anniversary

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It was a perfect, warm summer evening as the festivities got started and it looked to be a great turnout for the celebration.

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This ended up being our favorite wine from the flight.

IMG_4030 (478x640)A flight of rose’ wines were flowing freely as Whisk and I approached the bar. Interpretations of rose’ from France, Austria, California, and Argentina made for a fun and interesting tasting, and perfect for the weather.

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Whisk getting a taste of some Champagne from Eric Railsback.

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After the party ended Whisk and I decided to stay and have a pizza from next door’s Lucky Penny and enjoy a bottle of Burgundy from Les Marchands vast selection of wine.

Les Marchands is the perfect place to meet with friends, enjoy a date night with your spouse, or just to unwind after a hard day’s work.  With an ever-changing wine by the glass list, specialty beers, and thoughtfully selected wines from around the world as well as here locally, you are sure to find something you will love.

I would definitely recommend coming to one of their Monday night wine flights, the Les Marchands staff selects three different wines that are paired with chef Winston Richards menu.  Definitely a fun way to try different and interesting wines and to see how they interact with food.

IMG_4047 (478x640)Whisk and I would like to say congratulations to the Les Marchands crew on their anniversary, as well as thank you for introducing us to a whole new world of delicious and interesting wines.  Good luck and continued success.

 

Mushroom, Cheddar, and Prosciutto Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Did you know that Saturday April 12th is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day?  To be honest, I didn’t either until this past Tuesday at work when a colleague informed me of this and asked for a grilled cheese recipe.

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I did not have a grilled cheese recipe of my own so Tuesday night’s goal became to create a grilled cheese sandwich that would pair well with a glass of wine.  What’s great about grilled cheese sandwiches is that you can create so many different flavor combinations.

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What we ended up with was a grilled cheese sandwich made of sharp cheddar cheese, white button mushrooms, sliced tomato, Prosciutto, and arugula.  A grilled cheese worthy of a delicious glass of wine.

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Pair this grilled cheese with a full bodied California Chardonnay, a dry rose’, or a lighter bodied red wine like Pinot Noir or Beaujolais.

We paired our grilled cheese sandwich and soup with an Epiphany Cellars Grenache Rose.

We paired our grilled cheese sandwich and soup with an Epiphany Cellars Grenache Rose.

Enjoy!

Mushroom, Cheddar, and Prosciutto Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced white button mushrooms
  • 4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 slices bread (white, wheat, sourdough, or whatever bread you like)
  • 2 slices prosciutto
  • 2 slices tomato
  • Arugula
  • Butter, 2 tablespoons plus as needed for bread
  • Olive oil, 1 tablespoon
  • Salt and pepper as needed
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized sauté pan over medium heat add the butter and olive oil. When butter has melted add the mushrooms and sauté until soft, about 6-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. To build your sandwich layout four slices of bread and place a slice of cheddar cheese on each one. Next, take two slices of prosciutto and place on top of two of the cheese slices. Now put a layer of the sautéed mushrooms on top of the prosciutto slices (just enough mushrooms to cover the prosciutto, you may have some leftover). On top of the sautéed mushrooms place one tomato slice for each sandwich followed by a layer of arugula. Now top the sandwich with the other piece of cheese layered bread cheese side down. Spread a layer of butter on both sides of the sandwich.
  3. Over medium heat in a large sauté pan place both sandwiches down in the pan and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes, use a spatula to press down on the sandwich. When the bottom layer of cheese has melted and the bread is nicely toasted on the bottom flip the sandwiches over and cook an additional 5 to 6 minutes. When the cheese has melted on that side and the bread is toasted remove the sandwiches from the pan. Cut the grilled cheese sandwiches in half and serve hot.

 

Bar Boulud NYC

One of the restaurants I was most excited to visit on our trip to New York was Daniel Boulud’s Bar Boulud.  I have had Daniel Boulud’s food before on a previous trip to New York and didn’t question for a second that the food at Bar Boulud would live up to his standard of excellence.  What really had me excited for the visit to Bar Boulud was the opportunity to meet their Head Sommelier, Michael Madrigale.

Bar Boulud NYC

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A few months before our trip to New York I was at work polishing glasses and listening to a Guild of Sommeliers podcast that had Geoff Kruth talking with Michael Madrigale about the wines of Alsace.  I had never been interested in the wines of Alsace before, which tend to be white wines made from the grapes of Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, and Muscat.  After listening to that podcast and hearing Michael talk so passionately about the wines coming from Alsace I decided to try some, and now have come to really enjoy Alsatian wines, especially the dry, crisp Riesling’s with brazing acidity that are so amazing with food.

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Charcuterie Platter

Charcuterie Platter

We met one of Whisk’s friend’s at Bar Boulud on a busy Friday evening, although the place was packed I noticed that it still had a very intimate and cozy feeling to it.  We were not forced to raise our voices to talk to each other, and had plenty of space to enjoy our drinks and food.

Domaine Kientzler, Riesling Grand Cru, Osterberg, Alsace 2010

Domaine Kientzler, Riesling Grand Cru, Osterberg, Alsace 2010

Tartar De Boeuf Parisien- black angus beef tartar, gaufrette potato chips, capers, romaine

Tartar De Boeuf Parisien- black angus beef tartar, gaufrette potato chips, capers, romaine.

We started our meal off with a charcuterie platter and decided to order a bottle Alsatian Riesling to go with it.  I was excited to see that when the bottle was brought over to our table it was presented by Michael.  Whisk asked him to tell us about the bottle, and without missing a beat he started explaining the wine and region to us with the same enthusiasm and passion that he had on that podcast that I had listened to months before.  It was great.

After we finished our bottle of Riesling we ordered our main courses as well as another round of drinks.  Michael features a nightly big bottle by the glass pour, meaning that he will have wine in a large bottle format such as a magnum or larger and pour by the glass out of that bottle.  On the night we were there he had a 2004 Barolo, so I had to go with that, and it was fantastic with my Frenchie burger.

Michael’s passion for wine has paid off as he was Wine Enthusiast’s 2012 Sommelier of the Year and one of Food & Wine’s 2012 Sommeliers of the Year.

Escargots Persillade- wild Burgundy snails with garlic, almond parsley, potato croquettes

Escargots Persillade- wild Burgundy snails with garlic, almond parsley, potato croquettes.

Frenchie Burger- black angus beef, pork belly confit, red wine braised short rib, roasted tomato, raclette cheese, arugula, black pepper bun, and french fries

Frenchie Burger- black angus beef, pork belly confit, red wine braised short rib, roasted tomato, raclette cheese, arugula, black pepper bun, and french fries.

Besides the great experience with Michael, everything at Bar Boulud was great.  Our server was well versed with the wine list and menu and had good recommendations.  Even though the restaurant was so busy the staff was calm, professional, helpful, and very friendly.

Le Flottante- steamed meringue, brisee bites, orange, grapefruit, citrus anglaise.

Le Flottante- steamed meringue, brisee bites, orange, grapefruit, citrus anglaise.

1900 Broadway (at 64th Street), New York, NY  10023 (212) 595-0303 www.barboulud.com

1900 Broadway (at 64th Street)                      New York, NY 10023
(212) 595-0303
www.barboulud.com

Bar Boulud is a must visit for New Yorker’s, wine and food enthusiasts, and visitors of all kinds wanting a great dining experience.  The next time we are in New York we will definitely be back at Bar Boulud.

 

Selah V. Fitness

Tonight, Whisk and I are very excited to introduce you to a good friend of ours, Selah Victor Muscio, and a couple of projects she has been working on the past few months.

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Selah interviews celebrities such as Kelly Stables (Two and a Half Men, The Exes), Jen Lilley (Days of Our Lives), and Christine Lakin (Step by Step, Family Guy) to find out their secrets for staying in shape for the red carpet.

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Click here to watch video interviews and workouts from Selah V.

The first of Selah’s projects we are excited to share with you is a brand new fitness show she is doing on www.emPOWERme.tv/selahv. Tune in and watch interviews with celebrities and fitness professionals, along with free workout videos.  You can view workout videos ranging in length from 2-5 minutes and create your very own workout video playlist.  This is the perfect site to help you squeeze in a workout anytime.

Along with with Selah’s fitness shows on www.emPOWERme.tv/selahv she has her own website, Selah V. Fitness.  Selah V. Fitness is dedicated to healthy eating, fitness, personal training, and nutrition counseling.

Selah has been training clients of all ages and walks of life in the Los Angeles area over the past 10 years.  Her credentials include:  NASM certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and nutrition counselor.

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Selah has trained clients in a wide range of fitness area’s such as weight loss, injury rehabilitation, senior citizen fitness, strength gain, balance/coordination, as well as clients with special conditions which have included arthritis, joint pain, back pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, obesity, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

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Selah’s nutrition counseling can help put an end to unhealthy eating habits while creating new and healthy goals.  Her nutrition counseling includes:  Kitchen clean out, grocery tips, recipes, meal plans, dining out solutions, and detox cleanses.

Log on to Selah V. Fitness to find delicious and healthy recipes like healthy fried chicken, Selah’s easy vegan chili, avocado chocolate chip cookies (which I am going to make in the very near future), Selah’s protein shake, plus more.

Check out the Selah V. Fitness website at www.selahvfitness.com for information on personal training packages, personalized group fitness packages, as well as nutrition counseling packages.  Even if you don’t live in the Los Angeles area you can still benefit from Selah’s website; Free workout video’s and recipes are available to view, as well as a nutrition counseling package that can all be done through e-mail.  The e-mail nutrition counseling is a low-cost way to learn new eating habits and ideas, menu suggestions, food planning feedback, food diary review and discussion, and exercise routine suggestions.

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So whether you log onto www.emPOWERme.tv/selahv for a quick workout, or you decide to head over to Selah V. Fitness for recipes, personal training, or nutrition counseling, Selah is sure to help you get on track to a healthier and fitter life-style.

WD-50

This February Whisk and I took a week-long trip to New York to celebrate her birthday and to visit friends.  Before our trip began we made a list of restaurants that we wanted to visit and have been wanting to eat at for quite sometime.  WD-50 was one of the first restaurants to make it onto our list.

wd-50 bar

If you do not want to try the whole tasting menu, you have the option of sitting at the bar and ordering select dishes from either of the two tasting menus.

Head chef and owner, Wylie Dufresne, cooks new American food in his lower East side restaurant.  Dufresne is also the recipient of the 2013 James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef of New York City.

wd-50 dining room

Whisk and I went to WD-50 on a Thursday night, it was not completely full but reservations are definitely recommended.  Inside of WD-50 is clean and comfortable with no signs of pretentiousness.

wd-50 amuse bouche

Dinner started out with a tasty little amuse bouche.

WD-50  offers two different tasting menus.  The first option is a 13 course tasting menu for $155, the second, from the vault tasting they call it, is a 6 course tasting menu for $90.  Both come with the option to add a wine pairing to each course for an additional fee.

Hanger Tartare, Pickled Asian Pear, Amaro, Bearnaise Ice Cream

Hanger Tartare, Pickled Asian Pear, Amaro, Bearnaise Ice Cream

Our server for the evening was great in explaining the different tasting menus as well as going through the wine list with us.  We decided to go with the from the vault tasting menu.

Malted Chestnut Soup, Salmon Threads, Celery Root

Malted Chestnut Soup, Salmon Threads, Celery Root

Throughout the tasting menu Dufresne and his team employ a wide range of cooking techniques that create truly interesting dishes that bring different flavors together in fun ways.

Cod, Salsify, Coffee-Saffron, Smoked Bulghur

Cod, Salsify, Coffee-Saffron, Smoked Bulghur

Our server recommended the Pinyolet Seleccion to go with our lamb loin.  It is from Spain and a blend of Grenache and Carinena grapes.  It was a delicious wine and went perfectly with the lamb.

Our server recommended the Pinyolet Seleccion to go with our lamb loin. It is from Spain and is a blend of Grenache and Carinena grapes. It was a delicious wine full of fruit and spice that went perfect with our lamb.

Lamb Loin, Hibiscus-Date, Barley, Aged Goat Cheese

Lamb Loin, Hibiscus-Date, Barley, Aged Goat Cheese

A special dessert brought out for Whisk's birthday.

A special dessert brought out for Whisk’s birthday.

Whisk and I both enjoyed WD-50 very much, everything from the service, atmosphere, and incredible food.  We would definitely go back and would recommend it to anyone celebrating a special occasion or just wanting to experience a unique dining experience.

Toasted Coconut Cake, Smoked Cashew, Carob, Brown Butter Sorbet

Toasted Coconut Cake, Smoked Cashew, Carob, Brown Butter Sorbet

wd-50 address

50 Clinton St.
New York, NY 10002
(212) 477-2900
www.wd-50.com

The next time Whisk and I are New York we would like to visit Alder, a joint venture of Wylie Dufresne and Stephen Daniel’s.  Alder is a modern interpretation of a public house, or pub.  If you live in New York or will be visiting I would recommend trying Alder if you want to eat Dufresne’s food but may not be up for doing a whole tasting menu.  Whether you end up eating at WD-50 or Alder you can be sure to have a great experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Superbowl Chili

This past weekend at work I had to make a large amount of chili for a function we were having.  Throughout the evening I had some guests asking if I would share the recipe with them.

The brisket is braised separately then added to the chili so it will be extremely tender and flavorful.  This is grass-fed brisket from Dey Dey's Best Beef Ever.

The brisket is braised separately then added to the chili so it will be extremely tender and flavorful. This is grass-fed brisket from Dey Dey’s Best Beef Ever.

With Superbowl just around the corner I thought this would be a good time to share my brisket and bacon chili.

I love the the beautiful colors and flavors of the peppers and chiles that go into this chili.

I love the the beautiful colors and flavors of the peppers and chiles that go into this chili.

While this chili is not tough to make, it does require quite a bit of time.  If you wanted to make this chili for Superbowl Sunday I would recommend starting on Saturday.  In this recipe the brisket is braised then added to the chili.  I would braise the brisket and render the bacon on Saturday, and put together the rest of the chili on Sunday.

Roasting jalapeno's gives the chili an extra depth of flavor with an underlying smokiness.

Roasting jalapeno’s gives the chili an extra depth of flavor with an underlying smokiness.

The recipe below will serve about 10 people, but you can multiply the recipe to fit any size Superbowl party you may be having.

Chili is a great option to serve large crowds, these two pots served about 200 hundred guests.

Chili is a great option to serve large crowds, these two pots served about 200 hundred guests.

Superbowl Chili
Recipe type: Bacon and Brisket Chili
Serves: Approx. 10
 
Ingredients
  • • 1 pound bacon, cut into lardons, rendered, reserve fat
  • • 1-2 pounds brisket
  • • 1 bottle of full bodied red wine, for the brisket (syrah, zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon)
  • • 1 bottle of full bodied red wine, reduced down to 1 cup, for the chili (syrah, zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon)
  • • 4 medium onions, minced
  • • 1 bay leaf
  • • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • • 2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
  • • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • • 1 red, orange, and yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • • 1 jalapeno, roasted, finely minced (leave seeds and membranes in for a spicier chili, or remove them for a milder chili).*
  • • 1 Anaheim chile, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ¼ inch pieces
  • • 1 Poblano chile, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ¼ inch pieces.
  • • ¼ cup chili powder
  • • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans drained and rinsed
  • • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans drained and rinsed
  • • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • • 1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
  • • Kosher salt
  • • Black pepper
  • • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • * Roast jalapeno over an open flame on your stove-top. Roast over medium heat until all sides are charred, wrap in foil for 15 minutes, then peel the charred skin away.
Instructions
  1. Take brisket out of the refrigerator and rub all over with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with 2 tablespoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of black pepper. Cover with a piece of foil and let it sit out for one hour to come up to room temperature.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add brisket and brown on all sides. This should take about 5-6 minutes per side. When browned, remove brisket from Dutch oven and put on a plate, set aside. Pour out remaining oil in Dutch oven and wipe dry with a towel.
  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add 2 of the minced onions, celery, and carrots, cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and using a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the bottle of red wine and bay leaf and cook an additional 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Gently place the brisket on top of the vegetable mixture and add the chicken stock. Only add chicken stock until the brisket is ⅔ of the way covered, if you have leftover stock that is fine. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Let simmer, uncovered for 1 ½ hours, then turn the brisket onto the other side and continue to simmer for an additional 1 ½ hours. Take out the brisket and allow to cool down to room temperature, wrap in foil and place in the refrigerator. Discard the rest of the contents in the Dutch oven.
  5. When the brisket has had a chance to completely cool down in the refrigerator take it out and trim off any excess fat, then cut into ½ inch to 1 inch sized cubes. Return to the refrigerator for when you are ready to add it to the chili.
  6. Heat reserved bacon fat in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add remaining 2 onions, bell peppers, garlic, Anaheim chile, Poblano chile, jalapeno, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, 8 -10 minutes. Add reduced red wine and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  7. Stir in the beans, diced tomatoes with their juice, tomato puree, brisket, and bacon and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
  8. Uncover and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes to an hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. This recipe can be made a day ahead of serving.

 

This recipe is good not only for the Superbowl, but for any gathering or occasion.  Enjoy!

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Roederer Estate L’Ermitage Brut 2004

For anyone looking to do some last minute Christmas shopping or even looking for a special bottle of sparkling wine to pop on New Year’s Eve, I would like to recommend the Roederer Estate L’Ermitage Brut 2004.

If you live out here on the Central Coast of California you can pick up a bottle for about $40 at Bin 2860 which is located in Fess Parker’s Wine Country Inn in Los Olivos.  I was also able to find this wine on the K&L wine merchants website.

Roederer Estate 2004 L'Ermitage Brut

This would be the perfect sparkling wine to drink while bringing in the New Year.

The 2004 L’Ermitage Brut earned 97 points from Wine Enthusiast and was  ranked their number one wine of the year.  Below is the Wine Enthusiast review:

This is an exquisite sparkling wine made from 52% Chardonnay and 48% Pinot Noir, concocted into a special blend and aged for almost six years in oak cask. After disgorgement it was given another five months to sit in bottle before release. It has such freshness on the palate, such enviable acidity, that it’s hard to believe the grapes were picked so long ago. Crisp apple dominates, with just a trace of yeastiness on the nose and palate. This is a delicious wine.
~ Wine Enthusiast
This would be the perfect gift for the wine lover in your life. Enjoy and have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Shell Beach Brewhouse

A colleague of mine recently told me of a new restaurant that opened up in Shell Beach that she really enjoyed and thought Whisk and I would as well, the Shell Beach Brewhouse.

Shell Beach Brewhouse

The Shell Beach Brewhouse has only been open for about a month but has already become a popular spot to get good food and drinks.  Whisk and I recently tried it out on a Sunday night after work.

When we entered the restaurant we were quickly greeted with a smile from the hostess as she took our name to put on the wait list.  It was a busy night but the wait for a table was not long.  You also have the option to grab a drink from the bar and watch the game on one of their many flat screen TV’s while you wait for a table as well.

Lagunitas IPA and North Coast Le Merle Belgian Farmhouse Ale

I had the Lagunitas IPA while Whisk went with the North Coast Le Merle Belgian Farmhouse Ale.

When Whisk and I sat down to our table and started looking over the wine and beer list we were very happy to see that they focused on craft breweries such as Ballast Point, Green Flash, North Coast Brewing, Firestone, Figueroa Mountain, Lagunitas, and many more.  They offer 30 beers on tap plus more by the bottle.

The wines on their list focus on local wineries from Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties with many by the glass options.  If you are not in the mood for wine or beer then check out their extensive specialty cocktail menu.

The Shell Beach Brewhouse local fried oyster po'boy

Local Fried Oyster Po’Boy: Southern fried oysters, crisp shredded lettuce, tomato, garlic caper aioli, French baguette

The menu at Shell Beach Brewhouse also had many delicious dishes to choose from.  They have options from street tacos, oyster shooters, and carmelized Wisconsin cheese curds to lobster bisque, burgers, and a sandwich they call the pit beef frat boy, which I will be ordering next time.

Trio of Street Tacos:  Spicy Korean beef, crispy pork carnitas, citrus grilled chicken.

Trio of Street Tacos: Spicy Korean beef, crispy pork carnitas, citrus grilled chicken.

Whisk and I enjoyed our first experience at Shell Beach Brewhouse and will definitely be coming back soon.  The staff was friendly, our server was attentive and timely, and our food and drinks were delicious.  This is a place definitely worth checking out.

1527 Shell Beach Rd. Pismo Beach, CA  93449 805-295-6328 www.shellbeachbrewhouse.com

1527 Shell Beach Rd.
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
805-295-6328
www.shellbeachbrewhouse.com

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Honey-Sriracha Roasted Brussels Sprouts

This past week one of the vegetables included in our Talley Farms CSA box was brussels sprouts.  To be honest, when I saw the package of brussels sprouts in our box I was not that excited, that was until I came across a recipe from The Daily Meal.

Brussels Sprouts

 

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Giving the brussels sprouts enough space on the sheet pan is important so they can get nicely browned. If you put to many on the pan they will steam and not get any color.

I have been following The Daily Meal on twitter for a while now and that is where I came across their recipe for honey-Sriracha roasted brussels sprouts.  I love Sriracha and am almost always willing to try a recipe that uses Sriracha.

Sriracha and honey, two of my favorite ingredients.

Sriracha and honey, two of my favorite ingredients.

Mixing the honey and Sriracha together makes it easy to incorporate with the brussels sprouts.

Mixing the honey and Sriracha together makes it easy to incorporate with the brussels sprouts.

IMG_2663 (640x478)I thought this would be a good recipe to share since Thanksgiving is just around a corner and this is a great twist on a Thanksgiving vegetable side.  Not only is this brussels sprouts dish delicious, it is also incredibly easy to prepare.

Be sure to check out The Daily Meal at www.thedailymeal.com for recipes, tips on entertaining, drinks, and much more.

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A quick and easy side dish, we had our brussels sprouts with chicken and French bread, but they would be a great side dish for the Thanksgiving table.

A quick and easy side dish, we had our brussels sprouts with chicken and French bread, but they would be a great side dish for the Thanksgiving table.

 

Honey-Sriracha Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2
 
Ingredients
  • 10-15 Brussels sprouts, halved
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Wash Brussels sprouts, trim ends and slice each lengthwise.
  2. In a large bowl, toss sprouts with salt, pepper and oil until evenly coated.
  3. Spread evenly, flat side down, on baking pan. Roast in oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through, or until browned and crispy.
  4. Meanwhile, mix honey and Sriracha in that same bowl. Dump finished sprouts into honey-Sriracha mixture and toss until evenly coated.
  5. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper if desired, and serve sprouts.

Penne with Asparagus, Proscuitto, and Peppers

When I first met Whisk I was in the process of studying to become a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers program.  As our relationship grew and became more serious my studies took a back seat.  Now that we have been married for a couple of years and are more settled I have decided to go back to studying for the certified sommelier program.

Roasting bell peppers

I roasted the peppers on the stove-top instead of under the broiler, but either way works just fine.

Part of becoming a sommelier is being able to blind taste wines.  Blind tasting consists of being able to identify a wine by grape varietal, vintage, and the wine region it is from by nothing more than looking at the wine, smelling the wine, and tasting the wine.  To be completely honest, I am horrible at blind tasting wines right now, and that brings me to tonight’s wine and recipe.

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While I am studying for the certified sommelier exam I will have to open a lot of wines to taste and become familiar with.  Whisk had the idea that since we will be opening more wines, we should pair some with our dinner and blog about the pairing.  Good idea Whisk!

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I got the recipe for penne with asparagus, proscuitto, and peppers from a great book called Daring Parings written by Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein.  The recipes in this book are accumulated from 36 different highly acclaimed chefs and paired with some of your more unconventional grapes like Albarino, Chenin Blanc, Marsanne, Gamay, Tannat, Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc, and many more.

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We had just recently picked up a Chinon, which is a Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley in France, from a great little wine bar and wine shop called Les Marchands located in Santa Barbara.  Since Cabernet Franc was one of the grape varietals featured in Daring Parings we thought we would try the pairing out.

 

 

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The pairing worked out good, we both like the wine, the food, and the two together.  The penne recipe would also be great on its own if you didn’t feel like having a drink with your dinner.  We plan on using this recipe again for when we have guests over.

Chinon, Loire Valley, France

This Cabernet Franc is from Chinon, a region within France’s Loire Valley.

Keep an eye for more food and wine pairings coming in the near future.  We would also love to hear your feedback on this recipe and what wine you paired it with.  Enjoy!

Penne with Asparagus, Proscuitto, and Peppers
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 yellow bell peppers
  • 1 pound asparagus spears
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • ¾ pound penne
  • 1 ½ tablespoons minced fresh thyme
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into ¼-inch-wide strips
  • ⅔ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the broiler. Arrange the red and yellow peppers on a rimmed baking sheet, and place under the broiler. Broil, using tongs to turn the peppers as needed, until blistered and charred on all sides, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a shallow bowl, cover, and let cool for about 10 minutes. The peppers will steam as they cool, which helps loosen the skins. Using your fingers, peel away the charred skin. Then, split each pepper open, remove and discard the stem and seeds, and dice the flesh. Set aside.
  2. Cut or snap off the tough end from each asparagus spear. Using a vegetable peeler, thinly peel the skin from each spear to within about 2 inches of the tip. Cut the spears crosswise on the diagonal into 2-inch lengths.
  3. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the asparagus and cook, stirring, until tender and lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the diced peppers and garlic and toss to heat through, about 1 minute. Add the stock, bring to a boil, and remove from the heat. Set aside.
  4. Bring a large pot filled with salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, stir well, and cook until not quite al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta.
  5. Return the skillet to medium heat, add the drained pasta and thyme, and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the prosciutto, ⅓ cup of the cheese, the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and the salt and pepper, mixing well.
  6. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl, sprinkle with the remaining ⅓ cup cheese and serve immediately.
  7. Recipe by Michael Romano from the book Daring Pairings by Evan Goldstein