By now you may have guessed I’m a big lover of wine. I’m also a big lover of food. Oh yes, as anyone at work can attest to… I love to cook and I love to eat. Sometimes I love to do both at once, eat while I’m cooking – while enjoying a glass of wine, of course. And except for a waistline a little bigger than I would like, life is good – Life is very good. So let’s have dinner together.
We’ll start with the salad. This is one I’ve made recently, and actually make it quite a bit. The secret is in the homemade dressing, and trust me, it’s simple. (And don’t worry, this is still a wine blog – I will be pairing with my favorite wine for the dish)
Real bacon bits
Red & green peppers cut up
Toasted pecans (you can use almonds),
Blue cheese, but I use fresh parmesan a fair bit… it’s your choice of cheese.
I’ve mixed up this variation by adding sliced beets, sunflower seeds, apples or pears, carrots and a variety of other things I find in the fridge. It’s a free for all really
Darlene’s Secret Dressing: (Ok, time for the big unveil)
Olive Oil (please please please – use good stuff) It makes such a difference in the taste
Balsamic Vinegar (I get mine from the same place I get my Olive Oil and use flavored balsamic like Maple or Cinnamon and Pear.
Real Garlic (I used minced)
A grainy Mustard .. I use Maille (here’s a picture of the one I use).. Available in every grocery store
Now shake these in a jar… shake well, till you get the consistency you like. Drizzle over the salad…
Normally, salad is wine killer. There aren’t many wines that go with salad, especially if you use an Olive Oil and Balsamic vinegar base. But crisp white wines with good acidity will make all the difference in the world. A crisp acidic wine like Sauvignon Blanc. A Riesling also works, but if you don’t like the sweetness of a Riesling try one of the many fantastic Sauvignon Blanc wines out there. Here’s a few of mine.
These three are all from the Marlborough region in New Zealand, famous for Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. But our local Liquor store carries 120 different Sauvignon Blanc wines and there are great ones from France, Australia, California and Canada.
Main Course – Caprese Chicken
Want to impress people with a dish that is so easy you’ll be a bit embarrassed? Caprese chicken. Buy those super thin chicken breast, chicken breast cutlets, and cook. As the picture is above, I do mine a lot on the grill. However, to keep your grill clean, go to the dollar store and buy those aluminum foil baking pans. Mozzarella cheese is melted on this, and could cause quite a mess on the grill.
– Thin Chicken Breasts
– Mozzarella Cheese
– A slice of tomato per breast
– Balsamic Vinegar
Cook the chicken , and in the final stages, put mozzarella cheese on top, and a slice of tomato. Let cook. (you can grill the tomato as well, and then lay it on top) When you remove it from the grill, drizzle balsamic vinegar over the top.
I know… you’re looking for the rest of the recipe. That’s it… simple… serve with rice or potato side and your favorite vegetable, and your guests will love it and you’ll look super handy in the kitchen.
Matching wines! Name your favorite wine, and chances are it will go with this dish. I’ve served this with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Merlot just to name a few. And here are some of my favorites.
Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Chardonnay is my all time favorite. And yes, it’s a treat wine. For more information about this wine, click here.
Here are some more of my favorites that are all under $20.
The first one is Dreaming Tree Chardonnay, and Dave Matthews the musician is one of the owners. Great wine. Then there is Chateau St. Jean Pinot Noir from California, which will go with any chicken dish you can serve. And finally The Velvet Devil Merlot from Washington State. The name says it all.
Desserts – ensure what’s in the glass is sweeter than what’s on the plate. Here are a few excellent dessert wines.
The first two are from right here in Nova Scotia, the first one is Blomidon Ice Wine, rich textured and refreshing. The second one is Benjamin Bridge, and if you haven’t tried it yet, their Nova 7 is fantastic. This ice wine is another fantastic wine from winemakers Jean-Benoit Deslauriers and Peter J. Gamble, it’s Borealis. And the third is another Canadian great – Inniskillen Ice Wine.
Until next week – Cheers