Saturday, March 27, 2010

Broccoli Crunch Salad

A couple of years ago, My brother and sister in law first made this salad for a family event, and I became completely addicted. Every bite is delightful and satisfying. Heidi Swanson from out did herself again. This dish can be made anytime of year and goes along with any meal or potluck.

Broccoli Crunch Salad Recipe
Adapted from Heidi Swanson at

4 cups fresh broccoli florets
Salad Dressing:
1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/4 cup almond butter
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons hot water

2-3 small crisp apples, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup toasted walnuts
4 shallots
2 tablespoones of chopped chives

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the broccoli just long enough to take the raw edge off - 20 seconds. Drain and spin the broccoli in a salad spinner to get the water off or few good shakes against the sink in a strainer. Set in refridgerator to cool

Heat olive oil in a fry pan over medium hear. Add shallots and stir every few minutes for about 15 minutes until they get them dark and carmelized. (Do Not Burn) Remove from skillet and slide onto a paper towel to drain and cool.

Make the dressing by sprinkling the salt over the clove of garlic and smashing the two in to a paste. In a measuring cup whisk the salty garlic paste with the almond butter, lemon juice, honey and olive oil. Add the hot water and whisk until light and creamy. Taste to preference and set aside. ( I like to make this ahead and let the flavors meld together)

In a large bowl gently toss the broccoli, apples, shallots and walnuts with a generous drizzle of the dressing. Sprinkle with chives and serve family style.

Serves 4-6.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Delicious Portugal White Wine

Broadbent Vinho Verde is a traditional vinho verdo whose grapes are grown in the following regions within the Vinho Verde appelation: Braga, Barcelos and Guimãraes. This Vinho Verde is a non-vintage wine that should and can be consumed immediately. It has screw top and is inexpensive (approx. $10.00/bottle), which is perfect for taking to the beach on these beautiful south Florida days. It has a slight sparkly taste that is light and sweet in flavour.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

February Wine Pairing Dinner at Secrets Wine Dinner

Last month's Wine Pairing Dinner was a Gourmet Festival. Chef Joe always surprises us with his culinary skills. The food was straight off a French Bistro's Menu paired some unique wines from around the world.

First Course
Champalou Vouvray Sec 2007

Bouquet and Palate: A fetching nose of quince, orange, lime, narcissus, freesia, sweet corn, and green tea ushers in a luscious yet remarkably delicate palate, with a perfectly judged hint of sweetness (this is what locals call sec tendre) supporting pear, quince, and citrus. Savory salinity, a hint of caramel, chalk, and citrus zest as well as a suggestion of vanilla cream inform an ear-to-ear finish of lift and refinement.
Rating: Wine Advocate 90 points

Food Pairing: Lobster & Artichoke Bisque with Black Truffle Pate Choux Crisps: Classic Lobster Bisque  with fresh lobster and artichoke garnish

Second Course
Domaine De Reuilly Pinot Noir 2007

Bouquet and Palate: Crimson color, with an entry that is soft and racy. The wine shows delicate tannins, without being the least aggressive style Pinot Noir. It is a wine which is easy to drink and complements a wide variety of food.
Winery: Domaine de Reuilly is situated in AOC Reuilly, a 170 hectare vineyard in the centre of France, close to appellation Sancerre. The vineyard of Domaine de Reuilly extends across 15 hectares comprising the following grape varieties: 10 ha of Sauvignon, 4 ha of Pinot Noir and 1 ha of Pinot Gris.

Food Pairing: Partridge Cassoulet: A classic south of France white bean stew prepared with sausage, chicken, and fresh vegetables

Third Course

De Martino Legado Carmenere 2007

Bouquet and Palate: Legado Carmenère has an intense aroma of ripe red fruit and black pepper. On the palate the wine is full withwell-integrated tannins, balanced acidity, and a pleasant touch of oak.

Winemaking: De Martino was the first winery in Chile to bottle Carmenère as a single varietal. The fruit comes from their estate vineyards in Isla de Maipo. Here the soil is rich in sand, clay, and gravel providing excellent drainage and poor fertility. The struggle of the vines naturally controls the growth and gives the wine good intensity. Fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks followed by 12 months of aging in French oak barrels.

Food Pairing: Steak Tartare with Gaufrette Potatoes: Diced Raw Filet Mignon with Dijon capers and red onions. Accompanied with fresh cute waffle fries

Fourth Course

Some Young Punks "Drink & Stick 2007" (Matero & Syrah Blend)

Bouquet and Palate: Red scarlet color and earthy aromas, with cherry and plum, a tad spice, cinammon, pepper and sangria. A frolic of toothsome dark berries on the animated palate, strawberry and black currant, refreshed by light and exhilarating acids. This is a complex wine with full integration between vibrant fruit and subdued oak, immediately ready to enjoy and immensely suited to good food.
Winemaking: A slightly larger proportion of Mourvedre grown to good vineyards on the Fleurieu Peninsula with Shiraz from the McLaren Vale, a limited production of 1723 cases.

Food Pairing: Asparagus Risotto with Duck Confit & Taragon Nage: Slow-roasted duck over a creamy, classic Asparagus Risotto with a delicious Taragon Nage
Fifth Course
Brix Sweet Pinot Grigio
Bouquet and Palate: Brix is a term used to describe the level of residual sugar in a wine. This California Pinot Grigio has a high Brix content that makes the style much sweeter than your typical Pinot Grigio. It is a great substitute for higher priced dessert wines.

Food Pairing: Creme Brulee & Linzertorte

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Basics Share

On March 2nd, We received a colorful organic produce share. We received a bunch of staples for our weekly menu. Items included: pineapples, strawberries, blueberries, spring mix greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, bananas, mangoes and much more. The yellow and red grape tomatoes were fresh and wonderful. Also, we received Swiss Chard that I incorporated into the below recipe for Winter Minestrone.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Winter Minestrone

We had another cold snap last week and I made this yummy Winter Minestone. I added a hunk of fresh bread and made the perfect dinner for these last days of Florida's "winter".

Winter Minestrone 
adapted from Giada De Laurentis

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 leek, washed, only white and light green, chopped
1 tablespoon of bacon drippings
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound Swiss chard, stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped
1 russet potato, peeled, cubed
1 (14 1/2‐ounce) can diced tomatoes, no salt
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 (15‐ounce) can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
8 cups of vegetable broth
1/4 cup of parmesean cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and leeks.
Saute until the onion is translucent, about 10-15minutes. Add the Garlic, Swiss chard and potato; saute for 2
minutes. Add the tomatoes and rosemary sprig. Simmer until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes break
down, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, blend 3/4 cup of the beans with 1/4 cup of the broth in a processor until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture, remaining broth, and Parmesan cheese to the vegetable mixture.
Simmer until the potato pieces are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in the whole
beans and parsley. Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Discard rosemary sprig (the leaves will have
fallen off of the stem.)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chocolate Box

One of my favorite Australian's wines are Barossa Shiraz's. They do not last long in our wine rack.  Rocland Esates produces delicious wines. Chocolate Box "Dark Chocolate" Shiraz is a deep and dark Shiraz from Barossa Valley, South Australia. This Shiraz is 100% shiraz graps and is 14.6% Alcohol by Volume.

The Bouquet is strong coffee and chocolate aromas with a sweet vanillin oak finish that is smooth and silky. It's a well rounded yet bold Australian Shiraz.