Monthly Archives: July 2011

Cooking with Wine

Pasta with Cherry Tomatos, Fresh Herbs and White Wine Sause

When I was little, I would watch my mom cook lasagna or meatballs.   There was never a recipe, and there was never any measuring. It was always a little of this and a little of that until it looked and tasted just right. Often when my mom cooks, whatever is in the house and needs to be used up is added to what she’s making.  This is my theory on cooking too. I’m never really sure what I’m making until it’s done, but usually whatever I come up with is pretty good. I won’t lie though — there have been some misses!

My two secret weapons of flavor are garlic and wine. In my opinion, you cannot go wrong throwing some wine into the mix. Whether you add a little red wine into a marinade or sauté some veggies with white wine and pour them over pasta, it usually is yummy!  As a bonus, whenever you cook with the wine you drink, you know the wine is going to go well with the food you’ve made because the same flavors are already in the cuisine.

Tuesday I had no idea what to make for dinner. I really didn’t have much in the fridge. No veggies or fresh herbs, but I did have a cheap bottle of chardonnay and some frozen shrimp in the freezer.  I decided I would make a shrimp scampi type meal. The entire meal, including boiling water and cooking pasta, took about 20 minutes. It was simple, fast and delicious!  The finished dish consisted of 6 ingredients — shrimp, wine, garlic, a little butter, olive oil and pasta — plus some salt and pepper.   I couldn’t ask for a simpler meal, but without my trusty wine, it wouldn’t have been possible!  Read the rest of this entry

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Syrah Vs. Shiraz

Syrah Grapes

Is there a difference between Syrah and Shiraz?… yes and no.  They are made from the same type of dark skinned grape, but based on the climate in which the grape is grown, you can expect to find very different characteristics in the wine. By paying attention to whether it is labeled Syrah or Shiraz, you can usually get a pretty good idea of what to expect from the wine

The Syrah grape originated in the Rhone area of France and is used to make dry, full bodied reds.  There are myths that the grape was originally brought to France from the city of Shiraz in Iran.  There is no actual proof, however, to back this up. There has. however, been DNA typing of Syrah grapes that prove that they came from two grapes from the Rhone Region of France. Read the rest of this entry

Hosting a Wine Party-Happy Hour

It doesn’t matter if you are throwing a party in the summer or winter as long as you have the right drinks and food to nibble on your guest will be happy. Recently a couple of our friends (Dana and I) have been throwing some fun happy hours on Friday evenings and inviting friends over. Its a great time to unwind and relax with friends after a long work week. This inspired me to write a post for our readers who want to have a happy hour of their own or perhaps just a causal get together.

Here is the beauty of throwing a happy hour or just a quick get together you don’t actually have to cook anything. All items can be purchased at the store, wine shop, or cheese shop.

Tip #1-This isn’t a dinner party. Set a time for your friends on the invite if you must. If you are hosting a happy hour its important to note that the party will happen between 5pm-7pm, you know before dinner time.

Tip #2-Get a nice combo of high end and not so high end wine. Lets face it not all of your friends know good wine. However if they don’t tell them to read this blog we can help! But don’t feel obligated to supply the party with all of the beverage options tell your friends to bring some wine over too.

Tip #3-Have some food to nibble on for your guest. This doesn’t mean go out and get them food but snacks only. Dana has already given you the skinny on cheese and wine pairings. If you haven’t read it now is a good time..click here. But I’ll make it easier for you by providing a list

  • Cheese
  • Olives
  • Hummus
  • Veggies
  • Crackers-Water Cracker, Whole Grain
  • Fruit

Totally optional but I love a nice plate of Prosciutto. If you’re feeling a little fancier cut up a nice melon and wrap the Prosciutto around it. Its tasty.

Tip #4-Have fun! The beauty of wine is that you sip it and enjoy the company of your friends. Remember to relax and enjoy yourself.

If you want to make your party/happy hour a little fancier light some candles around. It’ll look beautiful.

Enjoy your happy hour or casual get together!

Cheers!

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