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My girlfriend, super-mom and super-woman, Elizabeth Barber, made delicious homemade burrito bowls and was nice enough to share the recipe with CorkStories! She made up most of the recipe as she went along (like a true chef),  and says it’s amazingly good. Note from the chef: “I didn’t have chipotle seasoning, which obviously means it wasn’t as spicy as the real Chipotle, but we hardly noticed. The recipe is for my typical order: rice, chicken, black beans, mild tomato salsa, lettuce, and a little cheese. Hope you enjoy!”

Wine recommendations for this dish from A Bottle or Two’s David Pustinger, are: *click the links to place your order on A Bottle or Two’s website.

  • Laxas Albarino – a Spanish white wine. Its grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks, thus creating a light, citrusy wine that pairs nicely with lime flavors in this dish.
  • Abad Dom Bueno Mencia – $17 Presentation of butterscotch, seasoned spices, black cherry and tobacco. A dry Mencia with a full body. You may notice tastes of cinnamon, black mulberry and blackberry preserves. We suggest having this wine with risotto, port wine and glace reductions or pot roasted half racks. *notes from A Bottle or Two
  • Louro do Bolo GodelloAnother Spanish white grape, round and aromatic with flavors of lees, pineapple and lemon in the nose, as well as a bit of smokiness and oak spice.
  • Gazela RosePortuguese wine, $7 (winediva.ca describes this wine as having “a prickle of vivace bubble on the tongue…aromas of juicy cherry, red berries, vanilla and hints of peach pit…juicy, lively acidity to balance the sweetness. The bright peachy/berry flavours return on the palate with a zesty finish.”  Sounds yummy!

You can read more about A Bottle or Two’s online wine services in my column, “Vine + Table” featured in Cincy Chic

From Snooth.com

Chianti Wines
The Sommelier Says: These light red wines are bright and earthy, making them excellent choices for pairing with this recipe

Viognier Wines from California

The Sommelier Says: These medium bodied white wines are aromatic and fruity, which allows them to work well with this dish

Arneis Wines
The Sommelier Says: These white wines are aromatic and dry, allowing them to work well with this meal
Read more: http://www.snooth.com/wine-pairings/better-bean-burrito/#ixzz1F6eLfAth

HOMEMADE BURRITO BOWL RECIPE (by Elizabeth Barber – blog)
Cilantro-Lime Rice
1 box white rice
3 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp. butter
3-5 dashes of lime juice
Chopped fresh cilantro
Cook rice according to package directions using chicken stock instead of water. Add butter, lime juice, and cilantro before serving.

Seasoned Black Beans
1 can black beans
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 clove chopped garlic
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. chopped fresh cilantro
Combine ingredients and simmer on low 30 minutes to one hour, stirring frequently.

Grilled Chicken
1 chicken breast
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Cut chicken into 1/2 inch pieces and season with salt, pepper, and cumin. Add olive oil to grill pan and cook chicken on high until no longer pink and slightly charred.

Homemade Salsa (Recipe courtesy of Ashley Barden)
4 cans diced tomatoes with green chilis
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 lime; squeezed
3 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 onion; chopped
1 small green pepper; chopped
Sugar to taste
Blend ingredients in food processor. Pulse about 15 times.

Shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese
Chopped Romaine Lettuce

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Starring Joaquin’s Hamburger Mia’s Sangria

When I was invited to my first supper club experience, visions of Frank Sinatra–and for some reason–1950’s Zsa Zsa Gabor at a swanky hipster social club in Vegas, came to mind.  As it turns out, Supper Club is an incredibly unpretentious opportunity to break bread with new friends in the comfort of someone’s home.

Adam and I were asked to join the Supper Club by Stephanie Moore, a modern sophisticate from Pittsburgh (see her blog: Sprout) who shares my insatiable passion for food and wine.

Here is how Supper Club works:

  • Gather a group of friends, preferably who don’t already know each other (12-20 guests)
  • Create a monthly Supper Club Calendar
  • Pick a Host, a date and a theme for each month
  • Invite guests to bring the “supporting cast”- side dishes, deserts and appetizers + drinks, to go along with the theme. (Pingg.com is a great way to invite friends.  It’s a free online program that helps you keep track of RSVP’s and let’s you share your event through your favorite social media outlets.)
  • Include fun games and a laid back atmosphere. (We personally love to play the game Catch Phrase)
  • Eat, drink and be merry!
  • Set rules around attendance.  Supper Club is a community and should be a commitment.

I can only speak for our Supper Club, which is comprised of 12-20 people.  In the beginning only a few of these people know each other, typically friends of the hosts, and eventually everyone else gets to know each other, sharing the common bond of food and drink.  Each month a new supper club is hosted.  The Hosts come up with the theme for the night and they create the main course. The invited guests stick to the theme and provide the ‘supporting cast’ and drinks.  Guests show up at the host  home and the party begins. The First hour is typically spent mingling, cooking, and snacking on appetizers, wine, beer, and other libations.

Because of Supper Club, I’ve been invited to sample hundred year-old family recipes that I’d otherwise never have access to.  I’ve also been given the opportunity to celebrate holidays that I culturally have no rights to.  The true gift of Supper Club is that my husband and I have been exposed to these wonderful traditions and foods through the new friendships we’ve made during these monthly gatherings.

Our first Supper Club theme was Dia de los Muertos, hosted by Mia and Joaquin Lastra.  Joaquin is from Mexico, and this Holiday–also known as day of the dead–is celebrated throughout Latin America in honor of deceased family and friends.  Wikipedia definition: The celebration occurs on November 2 in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts).

Other supper club themes have included themes such as comfort food, a holiday cookie exchange, Italian cuisine and “Foods we love” a Valentine’s Day celebration wherin I was introduced to a protein dubbed ‘Bacon Porn.” This month’s Supper Club landed on Labor Day weekend, so of course, we celebrated with a summer cookout.

There is always one dish that stands above the rest at Supper club; on this day– once again–that dish was provided by our Latin Friend, Joaquin, who made the most incredible hamburgers that I’ve EVER had in my life.  They were even better than the burgers at Terry’s Turf Club, which is a huge compliment.  The joke is that we are going to put Joaquin’s burgers in a competition with celebrity chef, Bobby Flay on the Food Network show, Throwdown! with Bobby Flay and Joaquin would kick Flay’s ass…however, in the end, Flay would be the true winner because he would walk away with Joaquin’s secret family recipe.

Under different circumstances, this post would be dedicated to the world’s greatest Chef and his incredibly juicy, fill-your-mouth-with-flavors-you-didn’t-even-know-existed hamburger recipe, BUT, in true chef style, Joaquin’s lips are sealed and the recipe remains sacred to the Lastra family.  (The only ingredient we were able to guess was chorizo, a type of pork sausage, which made for an extremely flavorful burger. Joaquin also splurged that all of the ingredients could be found at any grocery store.)

So, instead… drum roll please… I dedicate this post to his beautiful wife, Mia, and her Super Sneaky Sangria. Super sneaky because it is so deceivingly delicious that you wouldn’t guess there was a drop of alcohol in it.  I know this to be true because soon after the party began, there was a moment when the sangria drinkers looked at each other with that “uh oh, we’d better slow down before we get wasted” look. You know the one–a bloodshot sparkle in the eye and slight slant of the lid.

Sangria is a Spanish drink blended with wine, sugars, juices and fruit.  I’ve had several versions of Sangria; the worst version I ever drank, believe it or not, was in Madrid, Spain. The best version was during May Supper Club.  Mia mixed wine, fresh lemon, mango and papaya slices.

Here is the recipe.  Enjoy! And go get your Supper Club on.

Mia’s Super Sneaky Sangria

Equipment

Large glass bowl or pitcher

Here are the basics. It’s not an exact science, so adjust to meet your
taste preference.

Start with the fruit of your choice (apples, cantaloupe, peaches,
nectarines, mangoes, etc.) Freshness is key, which is why after checking
the options at Kroger I chose mango and cantaloupe (2 smaller mangoes
and a quarter of a cantaloupe). Cut the fruit into manageable bites (you
don’t want it so small that the alcohol has a macerating effect, nor too
big that guests need a fork with their cup!)

Then place the fruit in a large pitcher or other container, and cover
with:

1) Brandy (Enough that all pieces are soaking, but not submerged. Think
a cereal-to-milk ratio)
2) Honey (about a quarter cup)
3) Granulated Sugar (a heavy dusting)

Stir and let sit for 15-30 minutes (stirring occasionally). Add a bottle
of red wine (we used a pinot noir, but another sweet or light red wine
would do the trick), the juice of 1 lime and the 1.5 cups of orange
juice. Adjust other flavors as needed. Serve over ice and enjoy (with
caution)! -Mia

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After 7 years of dating, my younger brother Christopher asked the love of his life, Caroline, to marry him.  I couldn’t be happier or agree more with the beautiful woman he has chosen to spend his life with.  To celebrate this grand occasion, C+C came over to the house where we celebrated with home-made pizza and a bottle of wine.  Adam and I made the pie using crust from LaRosas and basil from our garden and Christopher brought the vino-a bottle he’d been saving for a special occasion from his trip to Italy over a year ago.  With much anticipation Caroline revealed a bottle of LeCasalte Montepulciano, a Tuscan Sangiovese carefully protected in a cloak of tissue and bubble wrap.  

The wine was from the Montepulciano sub region of Tuscany and poured a sophisticated shade of garnet .  Its nose, although faint at first, hinted of purple violets, cherry, plum and small berries; with alternative aromatic notes of spices, cocoa and coffee as it opened up. The sip following our toast carried Christopher, Caroline and myself right back to the cobblestone streets of Italy with its well-balanced tannins and super long finish.  This expensive tasting wine paired perfectly with our sausage, cheese and basil pizza and was a beautiful way to celebrate an old love with new beginnings.   Salute, Caroline and Christopher!

Additional tasting notes: Deep black garnet ruby with black reflections and garnet rim. The bouquet is vegetal, with greenish notes and pungent overtones that rise up into the nose, and a fair amount of sea salt as well, mingled with some balsam. On the palate it’s full and quite smooth, with ample plum fruit supported by moderate acidity, and by big smooth sweet tannins; it’s like looking into a hangar somehow. Because of its softness it will work best with drier meats. Pity about the nose, because it was more interesting on the palate. –Kyle Phillips Italian Wine Review

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Laid-Off & Leaving for Italy

 

Hi, my name is Terrah and I’ve been laid off two times in twelve months.  Frustrated? Disheartened? Worried?  Not at all!  I’ve taken on the attitude that my job will not define me, nor will the state of the economy deter me from fulfilling my dreams.  A very surprising merger forced me from my job as product marketing manager where I was responsible for promoting our company’s newly developed environmental sustainability program.  Just as I was getting to understand a new industry and become proficient in terms like “carbon footprint,” “corporate compliance,” and “Sarbanes Oxley,” I found myself sitting in interviews, negotiating my next salary.  

Nearly six months later, my second lay-off came as quite a surprise.  It was a Monday afternoon. I was busy planning all the details for an upcoming trade-show, when I got a call from our CEO.  “Hello, Terrah, as you know, business is hard and the economy is really hurting us…we are eliminating a few positions within the company and yours is one of them.”  Scratch, caw, owww, buurrrrp, kuucccchhh, beep. I didn’t hear anything he said after that, I was just holding back tears and contemplating if I should tell my husband before he left on a golf trip with the boys.  My first reaction was to ask questions like, ” was there anything I could have done differently?” It was disturbingly reminiscent of a high-school break-up.   My former boss and I set up a meeting for an exit interview and attempted to make me feel better by saying, “you are going to be great in whatever you do, Terrah, I will serve as a reference for you.”  

REALLY?  THANKS!

This is about the time that I was able to take a deep breath and realize just how terribly caught up I had gotten in my job.  I had no balance in my life.  I was working from 7am-11pm from my home, with nobody to talk to but my dog, Lucky.  I was always under pressure and too tired to enjoy the things that truly made me happy, like spending time with my friends, visiting family and traveling.

I began to really contemplate what I wanted for my life and my career.  I’ve decided to look for a job that fits my personality and my talents as opposed to molding myself for a job.  I’ve been networking, meeting with recruiters, total strangers, dodging news about the economy and staying true to my goals.  

What I’ve discovered is that I really need a vacation, much more than I need a check in the mail or a new title behind my name.  My sudden unemployment has rekindled a long-time dream of mine;  I want to go away, for at least a month, live on an Italian Vineyard in Tuscany, learn how to cook authentic Italian meals, speak the language, squash grapes beneath my bare feet and immerse myself in Italian culture.  I believe there is great power in thoughts and words, so I have put my dream right out there for everyone to hold.  I’m hoping someone I meet will have a cousin, Jean Carlo or an aunt, Allessandra, who lives on a beautiful vineyard in Italy and wants to adopt an American woman for a couple of weeks.  

Here is a recent email I wrote to my friend, Kelly:  

Kelly, 
 
I wanted to let you know that I am available and on the market… for a job that is. I am being laid off at the end of the month from my cushy marketing job with a software company. Perhaps you might have clients or peers seeking a marketing professional with a background in journalism, proficient in product marketing, public relations, event planning and passionate about consumer insight and brand strategy. I have attached my resume and linkedin profile. Do you have anything in mind? I just need the introduction and I’ll take it from there. 
 
On a side-note, I need a vacation to re-center and refocus my energy. I’ve been caught up in the rat race of professional being and I need a safe-place to contemplate who I am and what I want for my life. My long-time dream has been to live on a vineyard in Tuscany (or any Italian province) and stay with an Italian family who will teach me how to cook authentic Italian, speak the language, teach me about the art of winemaking/harvesting/bottling and in turn I will teach them English as a second language and work around the vineyard. Do you know of anyone who can help me fulfill my dream? Cooking is an extension of family and food is something to be thoroughly enjoyed. I want to experience that for 3 weeks to a month.  Hope you can help. 

Sincerely,

Laid-off and leaving for Italy

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