Grilled buffalo wings

September 13, 2013

Grilled buffalo wings

A couple of weeks ago I posted my recipe for the buffalo chicken salad, but then I realized I’ve never posted the simplest buffalo chicken recipe of all – wings! I’ve made many different kinds of wings over the years, but I think I discovered my favorite method for making them: simply grilled. No breading. No deep frying. Just a coating of special spices, a bit of time of a hot, smoky charcoal grill, and a toss in a darned good wing sauce. (more…)

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Picnic time: Spanish style

August 2, 2013

Gazpacho

Heeeeyy Boo-boo! Whadya think they got in that pic-a-nic basket?

I’m guessing Yogi never expected to get a basket full of Spanish goodies such as gazpacho, zucchini cake, lima bean salad, and piquillo peppers, but had he stumbled upon our party, that’s certainly what he would have found. Along with a pitcher or two of sangria!

A couple of weekends ago we decided to head out to a new park for a picnic and some light hiking. I was a little perplexed as to what to make, because at the time my husband and I were doing a gluten-free diet, and a friend of ours that was going is also gluten-free. So gone was the usual pressed sandwich meal, but I needed something that would not go off in the sun (no mayo or raw anything) but also wouldn’t be too heavy since it promised to be a warm day, and I knew the alcohol we would consume would already drain our energy a bit. Then it hit me – a Spanish-themed meal. Sangria is the perfect summer time drink, and with foods like gazpacho and stuffed peppers, we would be filled up and satisfied, but definitely not stuffed. And all the items could be served either room temperature or cold. And almost everything was vegetarian. While no one in the group was vegetarian, it’s always good to have some go to recipes that are meat-free for friends that don’t eat meat. (more…)

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Refreshing and crisp: Thai beef salad with VML’s Sauvignon Blanc

June 22, 2013

Thai Beef Salad

Last year my husband and I stopped into the tasting room for VML wines in Russian River Valley, and I discovered what has become my go to wine to pair with foods that have Thai, Malaysian, or Vietnamese flavors. As soon as I tasted the 2011 Russian River Sauvignon Blanc, hints of lemongrass and lime hit my palate. I picked up a single bottle at the tasting room, but after enjoying it at home with this Thai beef salad, I quickly placed an order for a case of the wine. It didn’t just pair well with the tangy fish sauce and lime juice dressing that goes on this salad, the combination really elevated the flavors into something new for me. One might think I’m a little off for pairing a white wine with beef, but this salad comes off with such a light flavor thanks to the citrus, mint, and cilantro, and the chili and fish sauce beg for something that doesn’t compete with their strong, unique flavors.

The best part about this meal is it comes together in the time it takes to cook and rest the beef. There’s minimal chopping, and if you fire up the grill, you not only don’t heat up the house, but you get to enjoy the outdoors before what I think is the perfect al fresco meal! (more…)

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Elk Steaks with Chipotle Potato Puree

June 17, 2013

Elk steak with okra and chipotle potatoes

A few weeks ago I found a surprise on my doorstep – a cooler full of elk! A friend who has enjoyed more than a couple of dinners from the Madd Hatter’s kitchen thought I would enjoy this bounty from the Rocky Mountain states, and he was right. Surprisingly, it’s not a meat I’ve had the privilege to try before, so a little research was needed before I decided to embark upon my elk feast.

Elk is a very lean, red meat. At first glance when I opened the cooler, the coloring of the meat reminded me of bison or venison, both of which have little fat to add flavor to the meat, and the latter having a much more gamey taste. After a little reading through the information Jackson Hole Buffalo Meat Company sent with the elk, I decided it must be more similar to bison meat. Thus I developed a flavorful marinade that would bring in some extra flavor where the fat was missing, but wouldn’t mask the mild, sweet flavor of the meat, which might have been needed if it were more gamey.

I recently added a new flavor to my lineup of olive oils from the Olive Bar – a chipotle olive oil that has a definite kick to it! With this as my base, I began to build on the flavors that I thought would pair nicely with a syrah, as I had decided this is what I would serve with the elk. What I ended up with was one part Southwest, one part Southern, with a sprinkling of Asian spice thrown in for good measure. And might I say, I wouldn’t change a thing about this marinade. (more…)

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Sunday Suppers: Lasange Verdi Alla Bolognese

January 20, 2013

Lasagne Bolnese

Continuing to build on the list of cool weather foods I intended to make this winter, I finally decided to tackle lasagne verdi, made with fresh spinach pasta and Bolognese and bechamel sauces. For many years I’ve drooled over the recipe in my Food of Italy cookbook, but it was an article in an issue of La Cucina Italiana magazine that propelled me to figure out the perfect recipe for this dish.

If I had a recipe, why the quest, you ask? Well, funny thing about the recipe in the Food of cookbook. While you could obviously see that the pasta was a spinach pasta, there was no recipe for spinach pasta in the book! A slight oversight. (more…)

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