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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Another take on Bolognese sauce

February 18, 2013

Bolognese

Bolognese sauce is one of those foods that is always very similar from recipe to recipe, but with slight differences that seem starkly different. A while back I posted my recipe for Lasagne Verdi alla Bolognese, whose recipe was meat heavy and included a bit of prosciutto in addition to the beef, pork and pancetta. It was made with red wine and tomato paste for a rich flavor.

This recipe goes a bit toward the lighter route. White wine, tinned tomatoes, and a bit lighter on the meat portions. Lighter doesn’t mean less flavor, though. It leans on the richness of chicken livers and milk to bring this pasta dish to life. The result is a nuanced sauce that allows the tagliatelle to shine through.
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Travels: Moroccan Meatballs

February 6, 2013

Meatball Tagine with Egg

I just got back from visiting the lands of one of my favorite cuisines, Morocco. I love the wealth of spices nearly every Moroccan dish contains, so of course I fell in love with my Food of Morocco cookbook long ago. I was very excited to find that the foods I ate there proved the recipes I had cooked over the years true to the cuisine. Of course, it was a bit better there (an understatement!), with the super-fresh spices abounding from shop after shop after shop.

Moroccan meatballs are something I had cooked previous to owning my cookbook, however, and have long been a favorite of mine. I’ve tried the addition of egg on occasion, and it makes for an ├╝ber-rich and decadent dinner. This was hands down my favorite meal the entire time we were in Morocco. (more…)

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Courtney’s Beef & Bean Chili

November 6, 2011

Courtney's Beef & Bean Chili

It’s funny how winter weather just creeps up on you. Here the weather has been staggering between cool, autumn days and sunny, early-summer-like days. Then all of the sudden, yesterday morning, with no warning, I wake up and the house is 63 degrees inside. Brrr! Needless to say, I quickly turned on the heater and downed a cup of cappuccino, attempting to warm myself up.

I’d picked up plenty of food to cook for the weekend, but suddenly spaghetti squash with sea scallops and angel hair pasta with passata didn’t sound so appetizing. I wanted some stick-to-your-ribs, warm-you-to-the-bone fare. I wanted chili. (more…)

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Taco Night

September 21, 2011

Tacos

It seems to be something many families across America do – taco night. A fairly simple meal, customizable for each person with toppings, that the whole family loves. While my family has never been one to have days of the week dedicated to a food, such as Taco Tuesday or Stir-Friday, homemade pizzas, tacos & enchiladas, and stir-fry have often made the dinner list.

These tacos in particular are inspired by tacos my grandfather’s wife makes. I remember the first time I had her tacos I was thrown by the addition of potatoes to the beef, but I quickly got on board with the addition because they were so yummy. Many years later I learned the secrets to making her tacos, but as I’m wont to do, I added a few spices to add a bit of complexity to the flavors. (more…)

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