Monday, September 27, 2010

White Wine Sangria

I got inspired a few years ago watching Bobby Flay make White Wine Peach Sangria. He added so much fruit to it but it looked extremely tasty. Whenever I made it, I always tweaked it to accommodate whatever I had in my fridge. I tweaked this recipe and added a few slivers of jalapeno to cut through the sweetness, but that is totally optional.

This weekend it was beautiful outside. It was the first time this entire year where it actually felt like California in San Francisco. There was no fog, it was hot, and I'm talking 85 degrees hot, and everyone was in a fantastic mood. Football is back, it's time to fire up the BBQ and get cooking. For me, sangria and summer always go together. The boy and I were craving a summery drink to quench our thirst from the heat. White Wine Sangria seemed like a perfect solution. Use a dry white wine, nothing too sweet. Add some juice (I like the Orange, Peach, Mango juice that is at Trader Joes) some booze, and some fruit and voila...

White Wine Sangria

1 bottle of white wine, chilled (I used Sauvignon Blanc, a white Rioja or Pinot Grigio would work well too)

1 to 1 1/2 cups juice (Orange, Peach, Mango, Pineapple, etc)

1/4 cup triple sec or Cointreau

1/4 cup brandy or Cognac

1 apple, sliced

1 orange, sliced

hand full of mint leaves

1/4 jalapeno, thinly shaved (optional)

1/2 cup sparkling water or sparkling fruit juice

Add all ingredients into a big pitcher and let sit for a few hours in the fridge. Pour into wine glasses and enjoy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mushroom And Thyme Risotto

This is a great twist on the classic risotto recipe. I paired it with the Pork Chops and a salad, it made a really nice meal.

Mushroom and Thyme Risotto:

1 cup of sliced crimini mushrooms
5 springs of thyme, leaves pulled off
1 shallot, sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup aborio rice
extra virgin olive oil
3 cups of chicken/mushroom stock
salt and pepper
I tweaked the 3 cups of chicken stock by adding the ends of the mushrooms and some thyme leaves to infuse the flavor. I let it simmer for 20 minutes or so to have the mushroom flavor really come out.
In a wide saucepan heat the olive oil and saute the mushrooms with just pepper. Once you add the mushrooms to the oil, don't touch them. Let them sear on one side really well before stirring. After a few minutes of cooking the mushrooms, add the salt and the thyme and stir to combine. With a slotted spoon take out the mushrooms and set aside. Saute the shallot for a minute or so with salt and pepper. Add the aborio rice and toast for a minute or two. Add the wine and scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring and adding a ladle full of stock every 2-3 minutes till the rice is done, about 18 minutes. Right before the rice is done, add back the mushroom and one last ladle full of stock and finish cooking.

Pork Chops with an Apricot and White Wine Glaze

Almost every weekend, I ask the boy what he's craving for dinner on Sunday night. It usually turns out to be a discussion of what we've had in the past week and what we're both sick of. That said, I've been wanting to make this pork dish for a couple of weeks and thought it would be a great Sunday night dinner. I created this in my mother's kitchen with much advice from her, the end result is pretty damn tasty.

You sear the pork on both sides with DUCK FAT (I know, really tasty and enjoy), take them out of the pan, cook the tasty goodness at the bottom the pan with some shallots, white wine, apricot jam and stock. Coat it all and bake it for a few minutes. Done.

Pork Chop with Apricot and White Wine Glaze:

3-4 pork chops
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 tbsp apricot jam
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock (optional, or you can add some water or more wine)
salt and pepper
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp duck fat or bacon fat

Preheat oven to 375 F. Season both sides of the pork chops liberally with salt and pepper. In a saute pan, heat up the olive oil and duck fat on medium high heat. Sear the pork chops on each side for about 4-5 minutes, depending on how think the chops are. Once the chops are seared on both sides take them out and let them rest on a plate, cover in aluminum foil.

Add a little more olive oil to the pan if it's dry, saute the shallots with some salt and pepper for a minute or so, till a little soft. Add the wine and scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the apricot jam and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and return the pork chops to the pan, with any of the juices on the plate. Coat the chops on both sides with the sauce and put the pan in the oven. Bake for 4-5 minutes, till the chops are medium well, a little pink in the chop is ok.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cheese Plate

Friday night, roommate dinner, finally. I made a cheese plate and it was just so pretty looking and really tasty that I had to share it. The trick to making a cheese plate look pretty is incorporate different colors and textures. I had a few different cheeses a soft Raclette cheese and an Old Amsterdam Extra Aged Gouda were my favorite. I added cashews and raw almonds along with champagne grapes to make it extra special. Top that with some sliced salami and some coppa and you have yourself a pretty tasty cheese plate. Serve it with crackers or toasted bread.

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage

For the first time in a long time I didn't feel like cooking. I went around the corner to try and pick something up that I could warm up and eat quickly. I stumbled upon this Butternut Squash Ravioli and immediately wanted to make it with a brown butter and sage sauce. I'm aware that this recipe is not good for you, but what the hell, it's god damn tasty and everyone deserves a little indulgence once in awhile. This is a super easy dish to make and took me maybe 12 minutes from start to finish. Add a salad and you have a complete meal.

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage

1 package of butternut squash ravioli
4 tbsp butter
7 whole sage leafs
salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg
Parmesan cheese and pine nuts for sprinkling on top

Bring a pot of water to boil and salt heavily (grab a fist full of salt and add it to the water). Boil pasta till they float and are almost cooked, about 6 minutes.

While pasta is boiling, take a saute pan and melt the butter and the sage leafs. Keep an eye on the butter and make sure it starts to brown but not burn. When the pasta is almost cooked take it out of the boiling water with a slotted spoon and add directly to the pan. Cook the rest of the pasta in the brown butter and sage for a few minutes and coat all the pasta, season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add a little bit of the pasta water if you would like more sauce. Serve with a sprig of fresh sage, freshly graded Parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Enjoy!