Red Red Wine… & Event Round Up!

This month for our wine & dine event series, we focused on red wines and fall foods. We had a fabulous turnout with quite a bit to eat and drink. I provided 12 various red wines including: Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Syrah, and Sangiovese. To pair with these wines, friends shared some of their favorite fall dishes. Unfortunately I couldn’t take pics of everything that graced the table, but here are some pics I did manage to take of the event:

Sesame Peanut Noodles shared by Yumi:Macerated Peaches in Red Wine shared by Linda:
Fresh Artisan Goat Cheese shared by Linda:
Grape & Rosemary Foccaccia Sticks shared by Linda:
Onion, Tomato & Avocado Salad shared by Lennie:
Butternut Squash Soup shared by Dorothy:Chicken Pesto Rolls shared by Teresa:Roasted Lemon & Caper Chicken shared by Howard:
Turkey Meatloaf shared by Art:
Digging in!

To join in the fun, my fellow bloggers have submitted favorite fall recipes and/or recipes using red wine! As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event’s winner is Karen of Loves to Eat Weblog! Karen has won a fall favorites cookbook and a bottle of red wine. Congratulations Karen and thanks to all that participated in the blogging event! Read on to check out the recipes submitted by my fellow bloggers…

Becke of Columbus Foodie
from Ohio
Beef Strogundy
Becke shares with us a twist on 2 fall classics – Beef Stroganoff and Beef Burgundy. Aside from the creative dish, it sure looks ridiculously delicious! What a tasty way to enjoy a crisp fall day. Check out Becke’s blog for the recipe!
Karen of Loves To Eat Weblog
from Florida
Crockpot Red Wine Beef Stew
What’s fall without a hearty stew to warm you up? Karen shares with us a savory beef stew using red wine. This is definitely a dish you’ll want to check out, especially because it’s one that can easily cook while you’re away… and will be ready after a long day of work. Check out Karen’s blog for the recipe!

Karen of Loves To Eat Weblog
from Florida
Healthy Pumpkin & Chocolate Chip Muffins
Pumpkin is definitely a fall flavor many take advantage of this time of year. Karen shares with us a fabulous fall muffin that’s sure to sweeten up your morning! Check out her blog for the recipe!

Picnic Perfect Round Up!

After doing a whole year of wine events each month and focusing on both red and white varietals, this month we did a tasting of various white wines. We paired our white wines with picnic fare to round out the summer. Here are pics of the dishes my friends brought to the table along with the wines we tasted throughout the night. (Please forgive the blurry pics… too much wine… lol)

Beet, Walnut & Gorgonzola Salad
shared at the event by Joelen

White Wine Fruit Salad w/Strawberries

shared at the event by Abbie
Brie & Gruyere Cheese Plate w/Pate & Sausage
shared at the event by Joelen
Cantaloupe, Cucumber & Mint Salad
shared at the event by John
Mandarin Orange Chicken Salad
shared at the event by Shirley

Lemon Basil Pasta Salad
shared at the event by Jen & Wayne
recipe HERE

Fresh grapes & raspberries w/Artisanal Goat Cheese
from the Green City Market
shared at the event by Linda
Antipasto Pasta Salad
shared at the event by Michele
Orzo Pasta Salad
shared at the event by Christy
Japanese Cucumber Salad
shared at the event by Teresa

Beer & Mustard Bratwurst

w/ caramelized onions & mushrooms on the side
shared at the event by Joelen
Chilled Wine Poached Salmon Steaks
shared at the event by Howard

Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake
purchased and shared by Christy

Coffee Toffee Brownies
shared at the event by Susan

After a fabulous picnic dinner spread, we played a new boardgame i got from my friend stephanie! (Thank you Stephanie – I love it!!) The game is called Winerd and can be found wherever boardgames are sold or online. If you’re looking to brush up on your wine trivia or play a non-college frat party “drinking game,” then this is a game you’ll want to check out!
To join in the fun, my fellow bloggers have submitted their favorite picnic recipes and recipes using white wine! As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event’s winner is Kate of Paved With Good Intentions ! Kate will be receiving a Spring/Summer 2008 Season’s Best cookbook, compliments of Pampered Chef. Congratulations Kate and thanks to all that participated in the blogging event! Read on to check out the recipes submitted by my fellow bloggers…
Stina of Eat Something!
from Tennessee
Peach Melba Gelatin
What’s fruity and jiggles when it’s drunk? Kudos if you guessed a fruity gelatin dish made with wine! (Haha!) Stina captures the flavors of peach & raspberry with a hint of white wine in her entry to the picnic party. To see how she makes it, check out her blog!

Laura of Laura’s Home Cookin’
from Minnesota
Pollo all Fiorentina and Pomodoro e Basilico
Laura joins us to share two of her favorite Italian dishes. Her Chicken Cutlets with Spinach and Tomato Basil Sauce are not only quick to make but I really like how they use white wine ! These are recipes I want to make soon. Check out her blog for the recipes so you can make them too!
Kate of Paved With Good Intentions
from California
The Engineer’s Favorite Lemon Squares
Kate shares her recipe for lemon squares even though she’s not a fan of lemons. She made these treats for someone special and decided to share them with us too! To find out who she made these for and why, check out her blog and the recipe!
Karen of Loves To Eat Weblog
from Tampa, FL
Fish in Lemon Wine Sauce
Karen joins us with a dish that prepares fish in a refreshing way. I’m a big fan of fish and seafood so I’m looking forward to trying this recipe soon. For the recipe, check out Karen’s blog!

Taste of the Tropics Roundup!

Tonight friends came over to get a taste of the tropics for my monthly TGIF Happy Hour. It was a feast of Carribbean inspired food and lots of rum drinks as well as a rum tasting. We had our fill of such wonderful eats and we also did a tasting of 3 kinds of rum – a rum used to mix with other juices, Puerto Rican Bacardi Gold and a 10-year aged Dominican Republic Rum. Here are pictures of the event along with links to the recipes:

Black Bean Soup
shared at the event by Tricia & Barney

Curried Rice, Bacon & Cabbage Pilaf
shared at the event by Yumi

Black Bean & Mandarin Orange Salad
shared at the event by Diane & Allison

Rellenos de Papas
shared at the event by Ruby
Tropical Green Salad
w/pineapple, mango, strawberries, toasted almonds, feta over spring greens and served with a Mango Poppy dressing and Orange Poppy dressing
shared at the event by Joelen

Sweet Tostones (Maduros)

shared at the event by Teresa

Whole wheat tortilla chips w/Tropical Salsa
(the salsa was a gift from my friend Karen!)
shared at the event by Joelen

Spicy Sausage & Rice Casserole
shared at the event by Nick

Bahama Mama Punch Bowl
shared at the event by Joelen

Florida Marinated Mahi Mahi
(the marinade was a gift from my friend Karen!)
shared at the event by Joelen

Mojo Potatoes
(the mojo seasoning was from my friend Jessy!)
shared at the event by Joelen

Key Lime Marinated Pork Filets

shared at the event by Joelen

Black Bean & Mandarin Orange Salsa
shared at the event by Betsy

Pineapple Cheesecake
shared at the event by Susan

Guava Cheesecake
shared at the event by Jen & Wayne

To join in the fun, my fellow bloggers have submitted recipes inspired by the Carribbean and rum. As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event’s winner is Stephanie of Macaroni & Cheesecake ! Stephanie will be receiving a Carribbean cookbook compliments of Goya Foods. Congratulations Stephanie and thanks to all that participated in the blogging event! Read on to check out the recipes submitted by my fellow bloggers…
Becky of Columbus Foodie
from Columbus, OH
Poached Grouper w/Mango Salsa
& Coconut Cilantro Rice Pilaf

Becky takes us to the islands with this amazing dish. It captures the fresh flavors of the tropics and makes for a colorful presentation on a plate! Check out Becky’s blog for the recipe to recreate this meal for the summer!

Stephanie of Macaroni & Cheesecake
from Tennessee
Carribean Fruit Punch
Inspired by her honeymoon, Stephanie shares with us a drink she had in St. John at the Caneel Bay Resort. The recipe doesn’t have rum in it but it certainly can be added. Check out Stephanie’s blog for the recipe so you can serve this at your next party!

Lauren of Harmless Foma
from New Brunswick, Canada
Hazelnut Rum Truffles
Lauren tempts us with her candy confection of hazelnut rum truffles! Lauren mentions that these sweet treats are what happens if Captain Morgan got it on with a jar of Nutella. These were made in honor of a special occassion so check out her blog for the recipe and to find out what special occassion they were made for!

Jess of New Year New Name New Me
from Wisconsin
Strawberry Daiquiris
Jess shares with us a classic drink of the islands… and from the looks of it, I’m craving a sip right about now! However her recipe isn’t made in a blender. Check out her blog to see how she made it!

Karen of LovesToEat Weblog
from Tampa, FL
Rum & Pineapple Chicken
Karen is lucky to live in Florida where the Carribbean culture is prevalent. Karens shares with us a tasty dish that’s sure to make a great dinner. Check out her blog for the recipe!

Ole! It’s Tapas Time!

A full year has past since I had my very first Wine & Dine event. I’ve been hosting these events as a way to learn more about wine and food pairings. They have been fun and through them, we’ve made some very close and special friends. In celebration of the past year, the theme for this month’s Wine & Dine event is tapas and sangria.

The spread was incredible as always… and there was so much! We barely had enough room on the table for it all but we managed. My only regret was not getting a picture of everything. I was busy helping guests in my kitchen with final touches and greeting guests as they arrived that I didn’t get a chance to take pictures of all of the contributions to tonight’s dinner. Regardless, I do have quite a few recipes to share of dishes that graced our table. If you’re ever planning a Tapas party, these recipes will certainly represent Spanish cuisine. Overall, it was a fun night and everything made paired perfectly with the various sangrias I prepared.

To join in the fun, my fellow bloggers have submitted Tapas and Sangria recipes. As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event’s winner is Melissa of Mrs. Sac’s Purple Kitchen! Melissa will be receiving a Spanish Tapas cookbook. Congratulations Melissa and thanks to all that participated in the blogging event! Read on to check out the recipes submitted by my fellow bloggers and pictures of my Tapas event…

I made 3 different sangrias – a red wine w/mango acai berry juice, pineapple juice and coconut rum; a white wine w/guava nectar, coconut rum and ginger ale; and my Tropical Sangria:

Seafood Paella

shared at the event by Joelen
recipe adapted from here

Spanish Omelette
shared at the event by Ruby
recipe adapted from here

Shrimp Ceviche

shared at the event by Kurt
recipe from here

Cherry Tomatoes Stuffed w/ Spanish Olive Tapenade
shared at the event by Linda
recipe from here

Mejillones a la Vinagreta
(Mussels Vinaigrette)
shared at the event by Teresa
recipe from here

Dates Wrapped in Bacon
shared at the event by Fatima
recipe from here

Goat Cheese Baked in Tomato Sauce
shared at the event by John
recipe from here

Tarta de Santiago (Galician Almond Tart)
shared at the event by Harv

Patatas Bravas
shared at the event by Tricia

Coffee Flan

shared at the event by Sue

Roasted Vegetable Canape (Canape de Escalivada)
submitted by Cate of Fresh From Cate’s Kitchen
(adapted from Delicioso! The Regional Cooking of Spain by Penelope Casas)

1 small eggplant
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 onion, skin removed
1 zucchini
2 tbsp olive oil
juice of one lemon
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
Flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

In a hot oven (450-500 F), roast the eggplant, bell peppers and onion (in a roasting pan) for about 10 minutes on each side, or until skin is blackened in places.
Let cool, then remove the skin and seeds from the eggplant and peppers.
Slice the onion, peppers, and eggplant into thin 1″-long strips.
Transfer to a bowl, and toss with olive oil, lemon juice, and thyme.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Slice the zucchini into thin slices.

Easy Shrimp Ceviche
submitted by Cara of Cara’s Cravings
from Boston, MA
original recipe

1 pound medium-small shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tbsp salt
juice from ~ 4 limes
juice from 2 lemons
1 cup minced red onion
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 cucumber, seeded, peeled, and diced

Cook the shrimp in boiling salted water for about 2 minutes (be careful not to overcook).
Remove to an ice bath to stop the cooking.
Drain the shrimp and roughly chop into smaller pieces.
Combine with lime and lemon juice and refrigerate for about 30-60 minutes.
Before serving, toss with remaining ingredients.
To make wonton cups, spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
Press a wonton wrapper into each muffin cup, and lightly spray with olive oil.
Bake at 350 for about 5-7 minutes, until crispy.

Classic Sangria
Lauren of Lauren’s Kitchen from New Jersey
Melissa of Mrs. Sac’s Purple Kitchen from Murfreesboro, TN
recipe from

1 lemon
1 lime
1 orange
1 1/2 cups rum
1/2 cup white sugar
1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry redwine
1 cup orange juice

1. Have the fruit, rum, wine, and orange juice well chilled. Slice the lemon, lime and orange into thin rounds and place in a large glass pitcher. Pour in the rum and sugar. Chill in refrigerator for
2 hours to develop the flavors.

2. When ready to serve, crush the fruit lightly with a wooden spoon and stir in the wine and orange juice. Adjust sweetness to taste.

Japanese & Riesling Event with Round Up!

One way to beat the heat this summer is to enjoy some lighter cuisine – something that isn’t going to be too rich or heavy. One such cuisine is Japanese and this month we’ve paired it with a wine event focused on Rieslings. I provided a sampling of 5 Riesling wines and a handful of dishes, while my attendees bring over a Japanese inspired dish to share.Riesling is a white grape variety which originates in the Rhine region of Germany. Riesling is an aromatic grape variety displaying flowery, almost perfumed, aromas as well as high acidity. It is used to make dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling white wines. Riesling wines are usually varietally pure and are seldom oaked. As of 2004, Riesling was estimated to be the world’s 20th most grown variety at 48,700 hectares, but in terms of importance for quality wines, it is usually included in the “top three” white wine varieties together with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Riesling is a variety which is highly “terroir-expressive”, meaning that the character of Riesling wines is clearly influenced by the wine’s place of origin. — Wikipedia

Here are pictures of the events, along with some of the recipes of the dishes my guests prepared. (I’m still waiting for some recipes!) A couple of bloggers also participated in the corresponding Japanese & Riesling blogging event and their submissions are included below. Entries featuring Japanese recipes and recipes using Riesling wines were highlighted for this blogging event. A special congratulations goes to Becke of Columbus Foodie… she won the blogging event giveaway for this blogging event! She will be receiving a bamboo cooking utensil set to enjoy! Now onto the food & recipes…

Toasted Brown Rice
shared at the event by JoelenEdamame
shared at the event by JoelenCaramelized Sesame Sweet Potatoes
shared at the event by AbbieGinger Beef Stir Fry
shared at the event by LindaVegetable Gyoza/Potstickers
shared at the event by Linda Cucumber Wrapped Sashimi
shared at the event by Christie Pork & Vegetable Eggrolls
shared at the event by Joelen

Maki Rolls
shared at the event by Audrey Japanese Sweets
shared at the event by Yumi & Mom

Ginger Cheesecake
shared at the event by Susan
Mochi Sweet Bread
shared at the event by JenChocolate Chow Mein Spiders
shared at the event by ChristieJapanese Style Potato Salad
shared at the event by Sandra and Mike
recipe from

1 lb. russet potatoes
1/2 cucumber (see directions)
1/2 small white or yellow onion, thinly sliced (see directions)
1 teaspoon yellow mustard (a touch of Dijon mustard is also nice)
3 large sandwich slices of ham, cut into small squares
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Salt and black pepper to taste

Boil the unpeeled potatoes. Meanwhile, cut the cucumber lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut the cucumber into thin slices and place them in a small bowl. Add one teaspoon salt and mix well. Cut the onion into thin slices and soak them in cold water until you’re ready to use them. When the potatoes are done, remove the skins and cut the potatoes lengthwise, then cut them into pieces about 1 inch wide. Wash the cucumber with water and squeeze the water out. Also squeeze the water from the onion. Place the potatoes, cucumber and onion slices, ham, and the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

Japanese Style Green Beans

shared at the event by Jen
recipe from

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 pound fresh green beans, washed
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Warm a large skillet or wok over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, pour in canola and sesame oils, then place whole green beans into the skillet. Stir the beans to coat with oil. Cook until the beans are bright green and slightly browned in spots, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in soy sauce; cover, and let sit about 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Cold Peanut, Chicken, and Soba Noodle Salad

shared at the event by Teresa
recipe from Emeril at

12 ounces dried soba noodles, or other buckwheat noodles
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped green onions (green tops only)
1 jalapeno, seeded, stem removed, and minced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced gingerroot
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon Sherry
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 whole skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into strips and lightly poached, and chilled
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped roasted unsalted peanuts

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil, cover and refrigerate.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine 2 tablespoons of the green onions, the jalapenos, garlic, and ginger, and process on high speed. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, the peanut butter, soy sauce, chicken stock, cilantro, fish sauce, sherry, lime juice, sugar, and pepper flakes. Toss the sauce to taste with the noodles.

To serve, toss the noodles with the chicken strips, bell pepper, cucumber, peanuts, and remaining 2 tablespoons of green onions, and serve.

Wasabi Ginger Salmon
shared at the event by Joelen
recipe: original

2-3 lbs salmon, cut into filets
1-2 teaspoons wasabi powder
ginger sesame salad dressing
salt & black pepper to taste

In a large freezer bag, combine wasabi powder, salad dressing, salt & pepper.
Place salmon in freezer bag and marinate for at least 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours.
After marinating salmon, reheat oven to 350.
Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Place salmon on parchment and bake for 35-40 minutes until done.

submitted to blogging event
by Becke of Columbus Foodie
from Columbus, OH
180 g package okonomiyaki flour
180 ml water
2 eggs
3-4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
3-4 oz. savoy cabbage, sliced thinl
3-4 oz. diced chicken
Kewpie Mayonnaise, to taste
Okonomi Sauce, to taste

Mix together the okonomiyaki flour, water, and eggs into a batter, and then add in mushrooms, cabbage, chicken and any other ingredients you’d like to incorporate.

In a greased frying pan (I used olive oil spray) over medium high heat, ladle batter and spread out to fit the bottom of the pan. Allow to cook until underside is lightly browned and edges are set, and then flip over and allow other side to brown. Serve immediately dressed with Kewpie mayonnaise and Okonomi sauce.

Maki Sushi
submitted to blogging event
by Elyse of Dari Sapur Saya
from Osaka, Japan
Ingredients : Sushi rice, nori, kamaboko, tamagoyaki (eggroll), shiso leave, kampyou, lettuce, cucumber, mushroom, kani, mayonaise, denbu ( you can choose the ingredient for inside of sushi) but the primary ingredients are sushi rice and nori.

Place one sheet of nori lengthways across bamboo mat. dip finger in a bowl of vinegared water. pick up rice and place across center of nori and spread the rice over nori until covered, leaving little bit space of nori.

Place mushroom, eggroll, kani, shiso leave and lettuce ( or anything you want) on top of rice. Rolling the sushi forward with pressing gently but tightly. Cut roll with sharp knife in half, and slice both rolls again to give eight bite size pieces.

Thai Me Up to Drink!

Memorial day fare usually involves burgers, hot dogs, brats… but for me, I like doing things a little differently. To kick off our Memorial Day, I hosted another monthly Wine & Dine event highlighting Thai cuisine, paired with Viognier wines.

As usual, it was a fabulous turnout. Having Thai dishes grace the table offered our palates some interesting flavors to play with the wines I selected for the tasting. It also encouraged friends to create recipes of a cuisine they may not have necessarily tried on their own.

For the wines, Viognier is not exactly a common varietal. In fact, it’s one that can be difficult to find and because of the type of harvesting involved, it can also be a little pricey. I like thinking of Viognier as Chardonnay’s “sister”. They both look alike in the glass but the aromas and tastes can vary greatly. If you’re interested in trying Viognier wines, I highly recommend that you purchase an early vintage… preferably one within the last 3 years. This is the type of grape you want to drink early and slightly chilled. It pairs exceptionally well with spicy asian cuisine such as Thai.

Another thing to note is that New and Old world wines of this varietal will be very different. New World (California, South Africa, Australia, Chile, etc) will be darker in color and have more tropical, fruitier aromas and tastes. Old World (France, Italy, etc) will be lighter in color and have more floral, earthy aromas and tastes. For me, I prefer the California Viogniers… a good one to try is the Christine Andrew Viognier. We tried a 2005 and it was smooth, slightly dry and a short finish.

So enough of my wine geek talk, here are pictures of our Thai inspired dinner:

Green Curry Tofu w/Brown Rice and Pad Thai

Tropical Fruit & Shrimp Salad and Bamboo Shoots w/Egg

Mango Roll & Mocha Roll and Quinoa w/Mango & Cilantro

Fresh Mango & Pineapple and Spicy Pork w/Carrots

Thai Fried Rice and Green Curry Chicken

Banana Eggrolls and Spicy Chicken & Beef Fried Rice

Thai Green salad and Thai Spring Rolls

Merlot & Mediterranean

This month for my Wine & Dine events, we tasted our way through Merlot with the help of Mediterranean eats. We had 5 merlot wines that came from California (Paso Robles), Washington State (Columbia Valley), 2 from France and a wine blend of Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

Our potluck dinner was fabulous, as usual, thanks to the many talented members of my group, What’s Cookin Chicago. Here are pics of our spread:

Joelen’s Morrocan Spice Rubbed Pork Roast
w/pita pockets
Linda’s Olive & Fired Roasted Tomato Plate:
Linda’s Kefta Kabobs:
Kara’s Mediterranean Roll Ups:
Teresa’s Tabbouleh:

Michele’s Mediterranean Vegetable Bake:

Art’s Beef & Veggie Kabobs:

Mira’s Homemade Hummus w/Pita:

Louis’s Morrocan Pork Salad:

Linda’s Stuffed Grape Leaves
w/mint & yogurt sauce:

Ann’s Lemon Couscous:

Yumi’s Homemade Olive Tapenade
w/baguette slices:

Jill & Dave’s Tri Colored Couscous Salad:

Tricia’s Red Pepper Hummous
w/Pita chips:

Shiraz & Syrah… separated at birth

Tonight was another monthly Wine & Dine event with my What’s Cookin Chicago group. We focused on Shiraz/Syrah wines over a potluck of Mexican inspired dishes. Here’s a little info on Shiraz/Syrah I picked up from Wikipedia and some other sources online:

Shiraz or Syrah is a variety of grape used in wine. It is called Syrah in France, Argentina, Chile, and most of the United States. In South Africa, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand it is known as Shiraz.

The name of the grape Shiraz was taken from that of the city of Shiraz in Iran, near where the process of wine making possibly originated 7000 years ago. It is believed that the Syrah/Shiraz was brought into southern France by a returning crusader, Guy De’Sterimberg. He became a hermit and developed a vineyard on a steep hill where he lived in the Rhône River Valley. It became known as the Hermitage.

For this event, I provided a nice line up of Syrah & Shiraz wines from different regions of the world so that my members can taste, smell and see the differences between them. I also provided everyone with a Syrah/Shiraz primer on these wines along with some information on the wine’s “legs,” the terms “corked” & “cooked” wines, and how to properly taste a wine.

Here are pics of the wines that were featured along with the dishes everyone made:

Cote du Rhone (northern France) Syrah

Languedoc (southern France) Syrah

South African Shiraz

Western Australia Shiraz

Chilean Shiraz
California (Santa Barbara) Syrah
Simple trio of goat cheese, crackers & fruit
Nacho Skillet by Art
Onion Tart by Yumi
Brown Sugar Braised Pork w/Plantains & Yellow Peppers
by Theresa

Taco Salad Platter by Abbie
Green Chile Tamale Bake by John
Mexican Dorito Casserole by Michele
Chicken, Cilantro & Black Bean Quesadillas by Louis
Fresh Mexican Salad by Linda

Kahlua Double Nut Brownies by SusanFlan by Linda

Rice Pudding by Dani
Tres Leches Cake w/Meringue Topping & Strawberries by Harvey

Go Take a Cab!

Tonight was another Wine & Dine event where the dinner theme was Italian inspired dishes to pair with Cabernet Sauvignons.

Cabernet Sauvignon is a variety of red grape that grows in almost every wine growing country. If current trends continue, it may soon be the most planted grape variety. Many of the famous wines of France’s Bordeaux region are based on Cabernet Sauvignon. California is definitely Cabernet country (some of California’s Napa Valley Cabs have been awarded top honors – even bt the French). Chile and Australia are particularly well-known for great Cabs, and South Africa is up there too. Believe it or not, even China produces Cab!

Here is a pic of the wines we offered for our tasting:

We had a wonderful potluck of dishes folks brought:

Cheese & Fruit Platter from Victoria
Cheese Platter from Ann & MarshallCured Meats Platter from Bryan
Stuffed Mushrooms w/Feta & Bacon from Megan
Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip from Kelby
Fresh Bruschetta from Camille
Roasted Broccoli from Howard
Blue Cheese & Endive Salad from Lauren
Spicy Shrimp Linguine w/Capers from JanSpicy Italian Seafood Stew from Mia
Italian Potato Salad from Vanessa
Spinach & Asiago Ravioli Bake from Joelen & Louis
Coffee Mocha Crunch Pie from Susan

Bubbles & Bites

To kick off the new year, we hosted a Champagne & Sparkling Wine event. It was a potluck dinner where all our guests brought in some amazing foods to pair with the wines & champagne. Here are pics of the event along with the wines and champagne we tasted:

Our table spread:
Salmon Pate w/Melba Toasts
Kale Salad
Shrimp Cocktail
Onion Tart
Three Cheese Polenta Melange
Salami & Pepperoni Plate
Smoked & Natural Gouda
Pear, Apple & Gorgonzola Foccaccia
Goat cheese & Mushroom Pizza
Kalamata olives & Sun dried Tomato Pizza

Almond Torte
Brownie Bites
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Cheesecake Sampler
Rustic Apple Tart
Lemon Poppyeed Scones
Fruit Pizza
Brownie Cheesecake