Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Arugula Salad with Olive Oil, Lemon and Parmesan Cheese

Recipe from Tyler Florence, Food Network

Jan made this on December 5th. We samples white and red wines from Bordeaux.  This was a great pairing with white Bordeaux. It also tasted great with the Butternut Squash casserole and the venison chops.



In a serving bowl, drizzle the arugula with the oil, squeeze in the lemon juice, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss until well mixed and taste for seasoning. Use a vegetable peeler to shave thin pieces of Parmigiano over the top

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Egyptian Dukkah Recipe


  • 1/3 cup Raw Hazelnuts
  • 3 tbsp. Seasame Seeds
  • 1 tbsp. Coriander Seeds
  • 1 tbsp. Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp. Flaked Sea Salt
  • Olive Oil for Dipping
Roast hazelnuts at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until light brown. Fold hot hazelnuts into a cloth and rub to remove skins.
Toast sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until light brown. Set aside. In the same pan toast the coriander and cumin seeds. Keep off direct heat and stir occasionally until lightly browned or the seeds pop.
Using a food processor, finely grind the cumin and coriander seeds and set aside. Place cooled hazelnuts into food processor and grind to desired consistency. Combine all ingredients and stir in salt and pepper as desired.
Serve on top of bread with olive oil

Rocket & Parmesan Salad Recipe

  • Arugula (aka Rocket)
  • Parmesan (peels)
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 3 tbsp. Lemon
  • 2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp. Sugar
Combine all wet ingredients and whisk until emulsified.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Toss arugula in dressing.

Garnish with Parmesan peels.

Studying the Wines of Bordeaux

The week of December 3rd 2017.

The first step is the read the information from Nicole and prepare 3 questions for wine study on Tuesday evening in Three Lakes. Test your knowledge of Bordeaux

Tuesday will be a busy day as the morning will also involve wine study with my wine study group. Dennis Kohl picked these 6 wines for us to sample. 
File:Bordeaux wine region.png - Wikimedia Co Labeled for reuse with modifications. 

  • Chateau Grand Clapeau Oliver Cru 2012 Bourgeois Haute-Medoc
  • Chateau Sainte Barbe 2011 Appelation Bordeaux Superieur Controllee
  • Chateau La Graviere  2014 Appellation Bordeaux Controllee
  • Chateau Ferrande 2010 Grand Vin De Bordeaux Graves Appellation Graves Controlee
  • Chateau Ferrande Graves 2014 Grand Vin De Bordeaux 
  • Chateau La Graviere 2016 Entre-Deux-Mers Grand Vin De Bordeaux
  • Butternut Squash Casserole with Leeks, Proscuitto and Thyme
  • Venison chops with a sage mushroom and onion side dish. Dianne's friends killed the deer just a few weeks ago. The chops were amazing and paired SO well with the Bordeaux.
  • Arugula Salad with Lemon & Parmesan. This was an excellent pairing with the white Bordeaux, especially the Chateau Ferrande Graves 2014 Grand Vin De Bordeaux 
  • Cheeses to consider: Manchego, Swiss, White Cheddar, Provolone, Pepper Jack. We sampled white cheddar and the red Bordeaux, excellent!

**** Chateau Grand Clapeau Oliver 2012 Cru Bourgeois Haute-Medoc  Appellation Haute-Medoc Controllee 13% abv $22.99
Varietal blend: 54% Cabernet Savignon, 43% Merlot 3% Petit Verdot 
Left Bank
Terroir: greveleux
Wine making: Traditional vinification of the Médoc with thermoregulation. Stainless steel tanks and cement, maceration 2 to 3 weeks

My tasting notes
Garnet in color with licorice, cinnamon and red cherry fruit on the nose. The palate is dry, medium acidity, tannin, body and finish. The flavor is of black cherries, cloves and chocolate. A beautiful well balanced wine and one of the favorites. 

Another great pairing would be with a roast dinner.

Information about the vineyard

Chateau Grand Clapeau has been owned by the Baudinière family since 1923. It is located on the highest hill of the Blanquefort district, on gravel soils that are perfect for ripening Cabernet Sauvignon.

  • A classic left bank blend, it’s hand crafted from 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. The dash of Petit Verdot adds both depth and a spicy herbaceousness that give a perfect balance of flavours
  • Château Grand Clapeau is a cru bourgeois estate -a category for the finest estates not classified in 1855. At their best, cru bourgeois wines can be better than some of the much more famous and more expensive classed growths
  • The Baudinière family use traditional Médoc techniques with subtle oak ageing adding spicy cedar and vanilla complexity

***** Chateau Sainte Barbe 2011 Appelation Bordeaux Superieur Controllee 
14% abv $16.99 
Varietals: 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc  Right Bank 
Information from Dennis Kohl: Fermented in concrete and stainless steel vats. Aged 9-12 months in oak barrels. From a family owned estate that was built by Jean Baptiste Lynch (Ch. Lynch Bages) in the mid to late 18th century. It was Lynches first vineyard and chateau.
My Tasting Notes
I will start by saying this our favorite wine. I loved the aroma: cherry, vanilla, nutmeg, licorice and juniper berry. On the palate it was dry, low acidity, medium tannin, body and finish. The flavors were black cherry, juniper and chocolate.
Information about the vineyard
Chateau Sainte-Barbe 
It’s unique location on the peninsula between the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers allowed it to avoid the phylloxera epidemic that wiped out most of the Bordeaux vineyards in the late 1800’s. Today its 70+ acres of gravelly alluvial soil vineyards on the right bank of the Garonne are about 50% replanted and consist of 80% of the Merlot with the remaining 20% divided between Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc

This 2011 is a blend of 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. It was recommended by World’s Best Sommelier Andres Larsson who described it as “Dense ruby/purple core. Modern nose of ripe plum, dark berries and some new oak. The palate has a fairly good density, fresh dark berries, plum, some roasted notes, spices and a rather longfinish. Well made with nice drinkability.” It was also a stand out among wine retailers who gave it a whopping 95 points score in Beverage Dynamics Magazine and said “Robust and earthy with bold aromas and flavors of blackberry, currant and vanilla. On the finish, firm tannins show with a good dose of terroir. Pair this with roast beef, lamb or a thick steak.” A super wine at an great price!

Chateau La Graviere  2014 Appellation Bordeaux Controllee 12.5% abv $12.99
Varietals: 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvgnon, 15% Cabernet Franc.
Vinification: stainless steel fermentation for 4 weeks. Tank aged until bottled. Grapes hand sorted in vineyard
Notes from Dennis Kohl: Chateau NardineLa Graviere, producer of Chateua La Graviere, is an 89 acre winery situated in Bordeaux at the heart of the Entre-deax-Mers region. The vineyard is located 25km from the center of Bordeaux and 30 km from Saint Emilion in the little village of Saint Gebes de Lombard. Chateau La Graviere is made up of exceptional terroir for vine growing and production of quality wines. In fact, the Entres-deux-Mers region is hilly and has many types of soil allowing to obtain aromatic wines. Family owned since 1928, the Therese family is passionate about their wine making and have been for three generations.

My Tasting Notes

This was not a group favorite though I will say that I enjoyed it more the next day. For me it was barnyard meaty aroma that did me in. I also picked up sweet cherry, vanilla, a little leather and licorice. On the palate the wine was dry, with low acidity, medium tannin, body and finish. I didn't find very many flavor nuances. It tasted of black cherry and farmyard again. I have since learned that this due to a yeast know as "Brett" formally known as Brettanomyces

*** Chateau Ferrande 2010 Grand Vin De Bordeaux Graves Appellation Graves Controlee 13.5% abv $28.99 
Varietals: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot.

The wine is aged for 12 months in oak barrels (50% new wood)

My tasting notes: 
The aromas were very nuanced. I found dark cherry and my friends found blackberry. There was also juniper berry and vanilla along with chocolate. In addition, a slight barn yard smell. One review I read used the word empyrheumatic. The Meriam Webster definition is being or having an odor of burnt organic matter as a result of decomposition at high temperatures creosote and other empyreumatic oils

Garnet in color. On the palate: dry, high acid, medium tannin, medium body and  medium finish. The flavor was of ripe blueberry, licorice, chocolate and white pepper.

I liked this wine though it was the least favorite of the group. It tasted even better the next day. Excellent pairing with the white cheddar cheese.

More information about the vineyard.
The vineyard of Château Ferrande, which gives birth to this cuvee of Graves, covers 89 hectares and benefits from the terroir so particular of the appellation whose soils consist mainly of sands and gravels rich in large surface pebbles, the latter ensuring good drainage Soils and, once the sun is down, a generous restitution of the heat of the day.

In the heart of the Graves

The identity of a great wine is a marriage between a good grape variety and an exceptional terroir ... In the heart of the Graves, Château Ferrande benefits from this so special terroir renowned as one of the largest in the region . Its soil consists mainly of sands and gravel including large pebbles on the surface. Very draining, warm at night, this soil is conducive to rapid maturities and the production of elegant and stylish wines. The high planting density allows to obtain grapes with a high potential of aromas and finesse while ensuring a good concentration.
Property of the Castel Group since 1992, the Château Ferrande located in the town of Castres sur Gironde has 94 hectares in the Graves appellation (including 5 dedicated to the production of white wine) spread over gravelly soil. The estate has an ultramodern winery, including a very mild press.


**** Chateau Ferrande Graves 2014 Grand Vin De Bordeaux 12.5% abv $28.99
Varietals: 50% Sauvignon Blanc 50% Semillion

Information from Dennis Kohl:
Soil: large pebbles on top of sand and gravel subsoil
Location: Village of Castres sur Gironde in the heart of Graves
Fermentation: Stainless steel. Tank aged
Vineyard 25 - 30 year old vines

My Tasting Notes:
A beautiful deep lemon color with fresh aromas of lemon, green apple, grapefruit and grass. On the palate, dry, high acid, low tannin, light body and short finish. The flavors were of green apple grapefruit and nectarine.  I love how the sav blanc adds zing to the Semillion. 

We paired this with the arugula salad with lemon and Parmesan cheese. The wine made the salad less bitter and sharp. It also pared very well with scallops.

I liked this wine and would buy it again. Dennis said it would age well.

More information about the vineyard.
Chateau Ferrande is situated in the village of Castres-Gironde, at the heart of the Graves region. The chateau itself is a fine manor house, rebuilt at the end of the 19th century on an estate whose origins date much further back in history, Access is by an avenue lines with cedar trees, and the estate is enclosed by a fortified roughstone wall which serves as a reminder of its historical heritage. Nearly 90 hectacres are given over to vines producing a wine which is a member of the highly coveted Union des Grand Crus

***** Chateau La Graviere 2016 Entre-Deux-Mers Grand Vin De Bordeaux 
12.5% abv $9.99
Varietals: 35% Sauvignon Blanc, 55% Semillon, 10% Muscadelle. 

Information from Dennis Kohl
Soil: Siliceous, clay & pebbles
Location: Sait Genes de Lombard - heart of the Entre deux Mers region
Harvest: Mechanical harvest, followed by selection of fruits by hand
Maceration & Pressing: Maceration on skins at low temperatures. Pneumatic pressing.
Fermentation: temperature controlled stainless steel vat. Fermentation from 20 days at 64 F.
Wine Making Mature on lees until bottling. Stirring of the lees twice a week for 2 months.

My Tasting Notes:
This was the group's favorite white. It was a pale lemon color with aromas of violet, pear and light perfume. The palate was dry, high acid and light body. The flavor was apricot.

More information about the vineyard.
The AOC Entre-Deux-Mers extends over the entire wine-making region of Gironde between the Dordogne and the Garonne, hence its name. The soils are predominantly clay and limestone. In this fragmented vineyard region, there are many wine growers and low average areas of exploitation. Producers can pamper their vineyards. They often belong to cooperatives who take care of winemaking. Sauvignon is the king grape of the Entre-deux-Mers. It is often the subject of specific work during winemaking, skin maceration. This gives very fragrant wines, lively, but without excess of nervousness, well balanced and endowed with a beautiful aromatic power. Sauvignon is mainly associated with Sémillon, which gives roundness and power ... 

Sauvignon is the king grape of the Entre-deux-Mers. It is often the subject of specific work during winemaking, skin maceration. This gives very fragrant wines, lively, but without excess of nervousness, well balanced and endowed with a beautiful aromatic power. Sauvignon is mainly associated with Sémillon, which gives roundness and power. As an extra varietal blend, Muscadelle brings very pleasant wild and musky notes. 

The wines of Entre-deux-Mers are exclusively white. Their aromatic palette plays with notes of citrus, yellow flowers, exotic fruits. On the palate, they are supple, lively and refreshingly refreshing.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Roasted Tomato Sauce

I don't know where I found this recipe but I absolutely love it. Best made when tomatoes are ripe and plentiful. Buy a bushel.  The sauce freezes well.

3# of tomatoes - as ripe as you can get them before they mold
1/2 cup pure olive oil
8 medium to large cloves of garlic peeled. Yes buy the garlic at a framers market.
1 cup fresh basil OR 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat the over to 325 Degrees F
Remove stems from tomatoes. Halve the tomatoes horizontally and place in a shallow baking pan with cut sides up.
Place olive oil, garlic, basil or rosemary, salt and black pepper in a food processor bowl equipped with a steel blade. Process until garlic is finely chopped.
Pour mixture over tomatoes and bake for 2-3 hours or until the tomatoes collapse, become saucy, and actually caramelize. Stir the tomatoes now and then, breaking them up as you do.
When tomatoes have been reduced to a chunky sauce, remove from oven. If the amount of tomato skin is objectionable, run all or part of the sauce through the food processor.

Makes 4.5 cups

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Mediterranean Palmiers

Recipes from Kyle Gruening and Dennis Kohl " Tapas and Wine class December 2009

1 pkg frozen puff pastry sheets
1/4 cup prepared pesto
1/2 cup crumbled feat or goat cheese
1/4 finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Thaw pastry sheets at room temperature for 40 minutes, Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Unfold 1 pastry sheet on lightly floured surface. Spread 2 T pesto over pastry. Top with 1/4 c. cheese, 2 T tomato and 2 T walnuts (if desired). Starting at long sides, fold pastry toward center, leaving 1/4 inch space in center. Fold one side over the other, making a 4 layer rectangle. Repeat with remaining pastry sheet, pesto, cheese, tomato. Cover pastry rectangles with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut each rectangle into 15 (1/4" slices). Place cit-side down, 1" apart on prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 14 minutes, or until golden. Remove palmiers from baking sheet and cool slightly on wire racks. Serve warm.

Proscuitto with Melon

Another recipe from Katie, 1992

1/2 # thinly sliced proscuitto ham
(1) 8 oz pkg cream cheese, room temperature
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 large cantaloupe, cleaned with rind removed, sliced into thin sections

Place lemon juice in a bowl and dip each slice of cantaloupe into it.
Spread cream cheese on to proscuitto slices, taking care not to tear the ham.
Wrap each slice of melon with one or two slices of the ham.
Secure with toothpicks.
Refrigerate until serving

Queso Sauce

This recipe was part of a collection given to me by Katie in 1992

1# velveeta , light cheese, cut into cubes
1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
Your favorite brand of medium piquante sauce

In a large microwave-safe bowl, put velveeta chunks and about 1 cup piquante sauce and all the vegetables. Microwave on medium high for about 10 - 15 minutes, stirring every 2 -3 minutes. Do not overcook.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Let the planning begin!!!!!!! Christmas Eve Tapas Extravaganza! 2017

Very rough draft, started with the 2016 menu

First Course 2016
Cheese, sausage and olive tray
Shrimp cocktail. Do we substitute Oysters Rockefeller for the shrimp???
Beet deviled eggs

Wines for first course
Bubbles, Champaigne
  • Halyard Brut 2012 Sonoma Valley, CA (Pinot Noir & Chardonnay) 12.5% abv
  • Ch.& A. Prieur Grand Prieur Brut Champagne 12%abv
  • Champagne Salmon Selection Brut, 12% abv
Les Clos Grand Cru 2014, France abv 13% 
Weingut Donnhoff Schlossbockelheimer Kupfergrube Riesling Spatlese, 2007, Nahe, Germany
Cuvaison Kite Tail Chardonnay 2015 Carneros, Napa Valley, CA 13.5% abv

Second Course 2016
Appetizer from Jan. Cordon Blue: Swiss cheese, ham, cream cheese, mustard, chives on French bread.
Caprese pizza????
Scallops prepared by Pat. Corn meal crusted jumbo scallops with Cabernet glazed shiitake mushrooms and Gorgonzola Demi cream. These were incredible and paired so well with the Shiraz.  Definitely the hit of the night.

Wines for second course
Need to determine here are the options:
Robert Biale 2015 Sangiovese Nonna's Vineyard Oak Knoll District Napa Valley CA 14.8 abv
Brandlin 2014 Mount Veder Bald Mountain Vineyard Zinfandel Napa Vally, CA 15.5% abv
Robert Biale 2015 Petit Sirah Palisades Vineyard Calistoga Napa Valley, CA 14.6% abv
Fiddlehead Cellars 2012 Sta Rita Hills Lollapalooza Pinot Nior Fiddlestix CA 15.5%abv

Chardonnay from Robert James, 2014 Ocel
Shiraz - Viognier from Australia, Trelato & Chapoutier (2013)
  Third course 2016
To be honest, everyone was pretty full after the amazing Scallop dish.
Pork filled empanadas with corn relish. These are delicious and definitely worth the tme to make. They can be made ahead and then warmed up before serving.
Gorgonzola stuffed dates wrapped in bacon. Always on the list.
Spicy meatballs with pineapple. My mom's recipe
We want to add tenderloin this year

Wines for the third course
Revolver Wine Co Premiere Barrique 2014 Cabernet Franc Napa Valley CA 15.2% abv
Revolver Wine Co Vine/Vein 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 15.2% abv
Brandlin Mount Veeder Henry's Keep Proprietary Red Wine 2014 Napa Valley, CA  14.5% abv
Monzone Barolo DOCG Castelletto 2011 Italy 14.5% abv

Need to determine
Revolver Vine/Vein, 2013
Pride Cabernet Franc, 2013. So delicious
Brandlin Cabernet Sauvignon (2013)
Artesa Cabernet Sauvignon (2012 Atlas Peak, single vineyard)

Dessert 2016
Almond joy bars and other chocolates with Prager Port, 10 year, tawny Noble Companion
May make a chocolate pecan pie???

Dessert Wines
Prager 2013 Aria White Port Napa Valley CA 19.5% abv
Grand Vin de Bordeaux Chateau de Malle Grand Cru Classe Sauternes 2010 France 13.5% abv

NOTE: Crab cakes with lemon remoulade was on the menu but we ended up not preparing them until Christmas Day.  This was an amazing pairing with the crab cakes. Chardonnay from Robert James, 2014 Ocel

WSET Level 3 Wine Study Schedule

WSET Level 3 Wine Study Schedule

Test in Chicago on 4/28/2018 5:00 PM CT

Tasting Thanksgiving Wines with Food: Thanksgiving Eve (2017)

When choosing wine for Thanksgiving, go with a combination of white and red. There are so many different dishes  so a variety of flavor profiles works best.  Plus you will guests with different wine preferences.

In general, chose wines that are higher in acid, avoid harsh tannin and strong oak, a little residual sugar is good as is low alcohol.  Say yes to herbaceous and bright wines. Below are wines my friends Dianne and Jan sampled with me on November 22, 2017 along with our tasting notes and other information about the wine.  I purchased all of the wine at Trigs in Minocqua, WI.

The Varietals and The Wines

P. J. Valckenberg Gewürztraminer 2015, abv 10% $14.00

Domaine de la Charmoise Touraine Gamay 2012 Loire, France 12% abv $21.99

Cabernet Franc
Domaine Filliatreau Saumur Champigny 2015
Loire, France abv 12.5% Medium body. $22.99

Maguis Cabernet Franc 2014 from Colchagua Valley, Rapel Valley, Chile 14% abv $19.99

M. Chapoutier Banyuls (500ml) 2009

Languedoc-Roussillon, France $24.99 16%abv  90% grenache $24.99

NOTE: some other wine varietal options: Viognier, a sweet Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, Pinot Noir.

The Menu

Tasting Notes
First up was Gewurztraminer. We tasted this one from the Pfalz region of Germany. P. J. Valckenberg Gewürztraminer 2015, abv 10% $14.00.

I would say medium sweet, low tannin, medium body, low acid, medium finish. Beautiful lemon color with aromas of rose petals and nectarines. The taste was of honey, melon, ripe pineapple and pear. Ever so slight cinnamon spice. 

This wine paired perfect with the Curried Carrot and Apple Soup.  The soup actually gave the wine a little more zip.

Gamay seems a perfect Thanksgiving wine. We tried. Domaine de la Charmoise Touraine Gamay 2012 from the Torraine region in the Loire Valley in France 12% abv $21.99

I just smile when I smell a gamay wine.  There is an intensely sweet smell of red cherries, banana and bubble gum, Bazooka to be exact. 

There is much more intensity in the taste. Off dry, medium tannin and acidity, light body.  A beautiful ruby color.  Lots of wonderful fruit flavors.  For me it was red cherry and blackberry with so spice and a little green pepper.

I liked this wine with the cranberry salsa and cream cheese.
Remember to serve slightly chilled.

Cabernet Franc
We tried 2 very different cabernet franc wines, one from France and one from Chili.
My DeLong Wine Grade Varietal Table describes the cabernet franc grape as aromatic, green peppers, cherries, black currant, pencil shavings

Domaine Filliatreau Saumur Champigny 2015 from the Loire, France ABV 12.5% Medium body. $22.99

I am working hard to develop an appreciation for this wine.  I am put off by the aroma.  For me I am hit by barnyard, leather and mushroom. The flavor is better with some blueberry, stewed fruit and white pepper. So somehow I am missing the cherries, strawberry and black currents that so many others taste.

I actually liked this wine much better with the pasta dish, Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce & Toasted Hazelnuts.  Jan and Dianne appreciated this wine far better than I did. 

Note: this wine could also be served slightly chilled.

Maguis Cabernet Franc 2014  from Colchagua Valley, Rapel Valley, Chile. 14% abv $19.99
I much preferred this cabernet franc. The nose was blueberry, licorice, 
a little vegetal with a hint of nutmeg, It is much drier than the French 
cabernet franc but no leathery barnyard taste. The taste is more black
licorice, blueberry a little coconut. I think the 8% Petit Verdot gives it a
hint of black pepper spice and adds a little violet to the aroma.
The tannin were much more intense as this wine spent 1 year in oak.  

You will also find high acid
Also a good pairing with the pasta.

Now for dessert. M. Chapoutier Banyuls (500ml) 2009 Languedoc-Roussillon, France 
$24.99 16%abv  90% grenache 

This was a perfect way to end the wine tasting. We paired this with a caramel apple gelato
but it really didn't need a food to compliment that wonder taste. There were warm aromas of blueberry jam and stewed fruit. On the palate it was rich, full of fruit baking spices and chocolate.

I would also love to try this with blue cheese someday.

Test your knowledge of French regions and wine varietals.