Corked and a Recipe

31.8.11

Unfortunately, there will be no Wine Wednesday feature this week due to a wine debacle I will share with you because this unfortunate thing may happen to you and I wanted to offer my advice in what to do. Last week when picking up wine for Wine Wednesday, I also picked up a bottle for this week. It was a steal of a deal; a village level red Burgundy from Joseph Drouhin, a key producer from that region. I was really excited to open it and share Wine Wednesday with my mom since she is visiting for my brother's wedding. However, when we opened the wine, I was extremely disappointed, it was corked. Corked is a term for TCA, Trichloranisole, a chemical reaction between chlorine, used to bleach cork, and phenol, a compound in the cork. Essentially it is a mold that grows in your cork and can ruin your wine with off putting aromas. These aromas can vary from very mild and just kill the natural aromas of the wine to very smelly like damp basement, wet cardboard or wet dog. It is not uncommon to have this happen, but decreases in chances with higher quality of wines because of the quality of cork used.

Source

Despite having a cellar full of wine, I have very few every day drinking wines and the point of Wine Wednesday is to share with you an affordable (under $25) bottle of wine that I find particularly intriguing. I opened up a back up bottle and found that it really was nothing to write about so, unfortunately there is no Wine Wednesday this week. I did want to share this story with you so that you know what you can do in the event this happens to you. Most wine shops will replace a corked bottle. It is considered a flaw of the wine and most places are happy to replace it for you. It's usually not a big deal to them because they will then have the distributor replace that bottle for them. Don't throw out the wine, just cork itand bring it back that evening, or the next day. If you wait too long to bring it back then it will become oxidized and they may not be able to tell if it was really corked.


I did not want to share my unfortunate story with you empty handed. So here is, as promised last week, a recipe for sautéed cod with lentils, onions and arugula. A perfect pairing to go with your bottle of Penedès white wine!


I am such a lentil fan! Super healthy and delicious and way more flavorful than having rice. I am really particular about lentils though. My favorite French lentils because they are tender when cooked, but still hold their shape. They are a perfect addition to salads and sides.


I added arugula do this dish, but spinach would work just as well.


So let's get started!


Sautéed Cod with Lentils serves 2
 Adapted from Gourmet

Ingredients 
1 cup French green lentils, rinsed
2 tbl unsalted butter
1 cup onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 tbl flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tbl fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 tbl Olive Oil
2 cups Arugula or Spinach


2 (6 oz) fillets of Pacific Cod, Pacific Halibut, or Haddock Fillet
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 black pepper
1 tbl unsalted butter
1 tbl Olive Oil
1/4 Flour

Cook the lentils: Cover lentils with cold water by 1 1/2 inches in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered until lentils are tender, but not falling apart, 12-25 min. Drain in a sieve over a bottle, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.


Meanwhile, melt butter in a 2-3qt heavy saucepan over moderately low heat. Stir in onions, garlic, and salt to cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until onion is pale golden, about 10 minutes. Remove lid and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally until onion is golden, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat.


Cook the Fish: Pat fish dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge fish in flour, shaking off all excess flour. Heat butter and oil in a 10 inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides.  Add fish and cook, turning once, until browned and just cooked through, 6-8 minutes.


Meanwhile finish the lentils: Stir lentils into onion, along with reserved cooking liquid and arugula. Stir in parsley, lemon juice, pepper and oil. Serve fish a top lentils and drizzle with olive oil and lemon.







Wine Wednesday: Huguet de Can Feixes 2010 Blanc Selecció, Penedès

24.8.11


In spirit of the last recipe post I have chosen a wine from Spain, more specifically, from the Penedès wine zone in the Catalonia region. This region is most known for Cava, a sparkling wine made in the traditional, Champagne method. However, I have chosen to feature a still white wine made from the same grapes used to make Cava. Penedès is just south of Barcelona, making it a popular go to region for those that live in Barcelona. White wines from the Catalonia region are lovely crisp, bright and perfectly paired with seafood, shellfish, and spring vegetables.


Huguet de Can Feixes' vineyards are situated at highest altitudes, at 1300 ft, in the Penedès region on chalky clay in extreme thermal conditions. These difficult growing situations give the wines their complex aromatics of chalk and flint.

Can Feixes Vineyard, Source
The Blanc Selecció is a white table blend comprised of Parellada (Native to the region), Macabeo, Chardonnay and Malvasía de Sitges. It is a beautiful, lively white wine with a touch of spritz-y effervescence. It had aromas of lemon, green anjou pears, oyster shell, chalk, wet stones and tarragon with flavors that echoed the same with some zippy acidity. This wine, although beautiful now, could also do well with some bottle age. If drinking it now, it would pair lovely with shellfish, light, flaky white fish or sashimi and most spring and summer vegetable dishes.


At $15 it is a bargain for a beautifully understated still white from an area most known for their sparkling wines. I enjoyed this with sushi and am saving the rest to pair tonight with Sauteed Cod on top of French Green Lentils with Onion and Arugula (recipe to follow later this week).

A Spanish tapas treat, Fried Padróns

18.8.11


I love fried padróns, or Pimientos de Padrón. They are a traditional Spanish tapa that is super easy to make, and since they are in season right now I can't get enough of them! These make a great snack or addition to a party. Padróns can vary in heat levels from very mild to hot and are sweet little peppers.

Fried Padrón Peppers, serves 8

Ingredients
6 cups Padrón Peppers, washed and patted dry
1/2 cup Olive Oil
Coarse salt, relatively good quality (I used volcanic salt)


Over med-high heat a skillet with olive oil until it begins to shipper. Add peppers and cook until blistering, turning often to cook all sides. Remove peppers to a plate with paper towels to catch excess oil. Add peppers to a bowl and toss with coarse sea salt and serve warm.

A New Feature: Wine Wednesday

17.8.11


I had mentioned earlier this week that I was starting a new feature, so without further ado, welcome to Wine Wednesday on Fork and Vine! Each Wednesday I will feature a new wine and share a little info on the wine, producer and region. I really enjoy talking about wine and sharing my knowledge and passion for it, but I also believe that wine is meant to be enjoyed and not taken too seriously. I hope you will walk away taking a little bit of info with you, at the very least making it easier to pick out wine in the super market or wine shop.

In order to take an unbiased approach I have chosen to not feature any wines from the winery I work for any wines from my previous employer, although they both make exceptional wines!

Now, raise a glass and we are on to the first wine!


For this first wine I chose a wine that is often under the radar and misunderstood in this country: Beaujolais. I actually plucked this wine from my cellar. It is a 2006 Domaine Pascal Berthier Saint-Amour.

Here is a little background on Beaujolais:

Beaujolais is a wine region in France. It is considered to be a part of Burgundy, mostly for location, but is a region in itself and governed by it's own rules separate from Burgundy's laws. The dominating grape of the region is Gamay, although Pinot Noir and Aligote are also grown there. Wines from Beaujolais vary in quality, as most places in the world, however the better quality are often shadowed by the higher production of their lower quality counterparts. There are three qualitative levels and one level separate: Beaujolais Noveau (A fruity, sometimes sweeter Beaujolais, released withing 7-9wks of harvest and meant to be consumed right away).

The Beaujolais I chose to feature is that of the highest quality region, although not particularly expensive, Beaujolais-Villages AC from Saint-Amour. Beaujolais Villages AC is are a collection of thirty villages in the Northern part of Beaujolais considered to be the highest quality.
 

In the United States, Beaujolais is usually synonymous with Thanksgiving dinner because it pairs well with most of the dishes, including Cranberry sauce, however I love Beaujolais anytime, especially in the summer! Don't get me wrong, I love white wine and rosé in the summer, but sometimes I really miss red wine and I am tired of the proverbial Zinfandel with bbq. The Gamay grape makes a delicious and refreshing red varietal great for summer. They are often characterized as light-med bodied with high acidity and low tannins with aromas and flavors like strawberry, cherry, bananas, bubblegum, white pepper, clove, and herbs.


Now for this wine in particular:

Domaine Pascal Berthier 2006 Saint-Amour had lovely, refreshing aromas of sweet strawberries, peaches, bubblegum, white pepper, vanilla and clove with flavors that echoed the same and a nice long peppery finish. It opened up nicely over the evening and we enjoyed it with grilled salmon with an asian marinade and a chickpea-raisin salad (it paired nicely with both).

Next time you are craving a bright and lively red wine I recommend giving gamay, and more specifically, Beaujolais a try!

Santé


That's a very bad blogger!

15.8.11

It's true. I am a bad blogger. My apologies for going M.I.A. I guess I just needed to unplug for a while. It started with me coming down with a cold mid-summer (who gets sick in the middle of summer?) followed by my neck/back getting injured. You would think being laid up would give me ample opportunity to blog, but instead I just watched movies and episodes of Mad Men in bed.

Fear not friends, I am back and ready to kick butt at life! I have been feeling energized enough this last week to go out, I thoroughly cleaned my house yesterday, and have planned some new things for Fork and Vine. I will be unveiling a new feature this Wednesday so stay tuned, as for now I will stay mum to keep it a surprise.

Here are some shots from my hiatus to give you a clue as to what I've been up to:



Enjoying Happy Hour at Clyde Common with my friend Morgan.


We shared this pancetta wrapped trout stuffed with spinach. Yummers!


Watching the sunset on the waterfront with Morgan and some cold brewed Stumptown, which I probably should not have had at eight in the evening.

I put my new hand mixer (thanks Mom and Joe!) to some use and made whipped cream for this delicious trifle of gluten free angel food cake and berries.


One of our customers at work brought in these delicious tomatillos from their garden to share with our staff. I took some home and made a prawn stew with them. Recipe to follow this week.


 Will's sister, Kate, was gracious enough to share her concert at the zoo tix of Imelda May with us. We met her and her kids and friend at the zoo. Emma and I had a good time dancing.


Kate captured this great photo of Will and I. We like to coordinate our outfits!


 Last Friday I met up with my brother and his friends at Gilt prior to watching Will race in the Twilight Crit. My brother was kind enough to have a Moscow Mule waiting for me.


We then headed over to cheer Will on in the Twilight Crit. He did amazing, I am so proud of him!



To all my blogging friends, what do you when have a block? How do you stay motivated to keep up with posts? I'd really love to hear from you and how you combat these roadblocks!