Recipe of the Week: Steak with Parmesan Butter, Balsamic Glaze, and Arugula

December 18, 2009 at 12:55 am (Food Pairing - Malbec, Recipe of the Week)

photo by Flickr user

Baby,  it’s cold outside… Rainy too, now that you mention it.  To warm up, try uncorking a bottle of Malbec and devouring a savoury steak dinner with someone you want to get cozy with! The following recipe from Bon Appétit is ridiculously simple, but sure to fill you up and make you forget all about the nasty weather. It shouldn’t be difficult to find a great-value Malbec to pair it with, so check your local wine shop for the best deals. At $15.99, this Terrazas de los Andes Malbec Reserva Mendoza 2005 looks pretty tasty!

Steak with Parmesan Butter, Balsamic Glaze, and Arugula

Serves 2.


  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese plus Parmesan cheese shavings
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 12-ounce rib-eye steak
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 4 cups (lightly packed) arugula
  • 2 large lemon wedges


1. Mix grated cheese and butter in small bowl.

2. Season generously with salt and pepper; set aside.

3. Sprinkle steak generously with salt and pepper.

4. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat.

5. Add steak; cook to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.

6. Transfer to plate.

7. Add vinegar, shallots, and sugar to skillet; boil until reduced to glaze, stirring constantly, about 1 minute.

8. Divide arugula and Parmesan shavings between 2 plates.

9. Squeeze lemon over.

10. Slice steak; place atop arugula.

11. Top steak with Parmesan butter.

12. Drizzle lightly with glaze.


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Recipe of the Week: Eggplant with Creole seasoned Wild Rice Stuffing

December 1, 2009 at 12:39 am (Food Pairing - Roussanne, Recipe of the Week, Uncategorized)

photo courtesy of Flickr user Robyn Gallagher

Thanksgiving may be over, but stuffing should stick around all year long! This is a delectable and hearty vegetarian recipe from Snooth author Gregory Dal Paz. Eggplant with wild rice, garlic, and French bread…. Yum!

It pairs perfectly with a glass of Roussanne – a tasty, acidic Rhone varietal. If you’re looking for a bottle to drink with this dish, try our RivkaSimone Wines 2008 Santa Ynez Valley Roussane.

Keep the holidays alive while you enjoy this creative twist on stuffing 🙂

Eggplant with Creole seasoned Wild Rice Stuffing

Serves 6.


  • 2 large or 3 medium eggplants
  • 1 cup wild rice, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup onion, fine dice
  • 1 cup celery, fine dice
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, fine dice
  • Scooped out insides of eggplant, 1/2inch dice
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chipotle chili pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 cups of French Bread, ½ inch dice, baked until well toasted, Toasting the bread cubes before adding them to the stuffing will help produce a crisper crust for the finished dish.
  • ½ cup chopped celery leaves, or parley leaves
  • 2 eggs, well beaten


  1. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, and scoop out the center, leaving enough meat inside the skin, about an inch, so that it holds its shape when baked. Dice the scooped out flesh, and reserve for use in the stuffing.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F, make sure to place racks in the lower and middle thirds of the oven.
  3. In a strainer, rinse the rice well with cold water.
  4. Place a large (6qt or larger) stock or sauté pan over medium high heat. When the pan is warmed, add the butter and allow to melt. When the butter is melted, and just beginning to brown, add the onions, celery, peppers, diced eggplant and salt.
  5. Sauté the vegetables until the have softened, about 6-8 minutes, then add the garlic, chipotle, dried thyme and paprika. Blend well and sauté until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add 3 ½ cups of the vegetable stock. Raise heat to high until the stock comes to a simmer.
  7. Add the rice, reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover the pot.
  8. The rice will take about 40 to 45 minutes to fully cook.
  9. While the rice is cooking you can slice and toast the bread cubes and turn your attention to preparing the squash.
  10. Toast the bread cubes on a baking sheet placed on the middle rack of the pre-heated oven. After 4 minutes or so give the cubes a stir to help promote even browning. Allow to bake for an additional 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Remove the bread from the oven and raise the heat to 425F
  12. Once the rice is fully cooked remove the pan from the heat and blend in the bread cubes, adding additional stock as required. Allow the rice to cool enough so that the eggs won’t cook when you stir them in.
  13. Add the celery (or parsley) leaves and eggs and blend until well combined.
  14. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.
  15. Fill the scooped-out eggplant halves with this mixture, dividing it evenly among the halves. Place them on an oiled oven tray or baking dish, and bake for 40 minutes, on the lower rack in the preheated oven.
  16. Let cool briefly, slice widthwise and serve.

Del Paz offers this recommendation to make this dish even more delicious:

    I like to top the eggplants with a bit of cheese for color and flavor but I’ve omitted the cheese, keeping this strictly vegetarian. For this dish I like a Sheep’s milk cheese such as Manchego or Pecorino.

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Recipe of the Week: Cornish Game Hens with Stuffing

November 10, 2009 at 12:05 am (Food Pairing - Malbec, Recipe of the Week, Uncategorized)


photo courtesy of flickr user longhorndave

This flavorful poultry dish pairs perfectly with a glass of full-bodied Argentinian Malbec.  I was lucky enough to have this for a family dinner last night, and it was truly delicious – definitely a rival for traditional Thanksgiving dinner!

Cornish Game Hen Dinner

Serves 4


  • 4 Cornish Game Hens
  • 4 full garlic bulbs
  • 2 lemons
  • 6 sprigs of Rosemary
  • House herb mix
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Wash Cornish Game Hens inside and out with cold water and dry with paper towels.

3. Stuff each game hen with 1 full garlic bulb cut crosswise.

4. Stuff each game hen with 1/2 of 1 lemon cut in quarters.

5. Stuff 1 sprig of rosemary in each game hen.

6. Tie legs together with string.

7. Pour Olive Oil over each bird to cover it.

8. Sprinkle house herb mix over each bird and skin rosemary of each branch and sprinkle over each bird.

9. Salt and pepper each bird

10. Lay all 4 birds in a greased casserole dish, not touching each other

11. Cook in preheated oven for 1 hour for normal sized birds.

12. Take out when golden brown and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.


In a separate large pan make stuffing to serve on the side.

Stuffing Ingredients

  • 1 large package of Pepperige Farm Stuffing (small bits)
  • 4 stalks of celery washed and strung
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 apple skinned and cored
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberrries
  • 1/2 cube of butter
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • Olive oil


1. In a large pan over medium heat place olive oil in pan.

2. Dice onion, celery, apple and saute in the pan for 5+minutes stirring occassionally.

3. Add butter and chicken stock

4. Add stuffing mix and heat together for 2-3 minutes under low heat

5. Transfer to a greased baking dish

6. Place in oven with the birds for the last 1/2 hour of cooking until hot

Serve the birds and stuffing with any version of cranberry sauce you like. Adding lemon zest over cranberry sauce gives it a tasty zing!

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Recipe of the Week: Curry Pumpkin Soup

November 2, 2009 at 11:42 pm (Food Pairing - Viognier, Recipe of the Week, Uncategorized)


Halloween has come and gone once again… This means that chilly weather is swiftly approaching and you probably have some extra pumpkins on your hands! This week’s recipe will solve both problems by warming you up and making use of those leftover gourds (well, using canned pumpkin is probably easier). Did I mention this Curry Pumpkin Soup recipe pairs beautifully with a glass of aromatic, fruit-forward Viognier? Viognier is known for complementing spicy foods… perfect for this tasty seasonal dish from Enjoy!


  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Arrange pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until seeds begin to brown.
  2. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in flour and curry powder until smooth. Cook, stirring, until mixture begins to bubble. Gradually whisk in broth, and cook until thickened. Stir in pumpkin and half-and-half. Season with soy sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring just to a boil, then remove from heat. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds.

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Recipe of the Week: Red-Wine-Braised Duck Legs

September 15, 2009 at 10:07 pm (Food Pairing - Malbec, Recipe of the Week) (, , )

I hate to admit it but it’s really starting to feel like fall and I’m kind of enjoying it.  I’m craving duck and potatoes.  Go figure.  The following recipe is adapted from one a found in an old issue of Gourmet. I’ll use a nicer wine for this recipe than I normally would in cooking since it only calls for 1/2 a cup.  Plan on enjoying the rest of the bottle.  We used the  Achaval Ferrer Quimera Mendoza 2003 Malbec this time around but any dry red will do.



6 large whole duck legs (about 4 1/2 pounds total), trimmed of excess fat

1/2 cup malbec wine

2 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled

8 fresh thyme sprigs

1 cup mixed dried fruit such as dried sour cherries, chopped dried apricots, chopped pitted prunes

5 cups chicken broth

* Accompaniment: herb roasted potatoes


Preheat oven to 350°F. and season duck legs with salt and pepper.

1. In a heavy pot or dutch oven just large enough to hold legs in one layer, cook legs, skin sides down, over moderately high heat 10 to 15 minutes, or until skin in crisp and browned. Removing fat from kettle as it is rendered with a metal bulb baster or very carefully spooning off). Turn legs over and cook until browned on the other side, about 2 minutes, transferring to a plate.

2. Pour off  fat from pan and reserve 1 Tbsp if making roast potatoes.  Deglaze with wine, scraping up brown bits. Simmer wine until reduced to a syrup and add garlic, thyme and 1/2 cup dried fruit. Return duck legs, skin sides up, to kettle and add broth. Bring mixture back to a simmer and braise, uncovered, in oven 2 hours, or until legs are very tender. Transfer legs to a platter and keep warm.

3. Pour braising mixture into a 1-quart measuring cup and let stand until fat rises to the top. Skim off fat and pour liquid through a sieve into a saucepan, pressing hard on solids. Boil liquid until reduced by about one third and slightly thickened and add remaining 1/2 cup dried fruit. Simmer sauce until fruit is softened, about 5 minutes, and season with salt and pepper.

For Potatoes

Cut small red skinned potatoes in quarters, put in baking dish, season with salt and pepper,  toss with fresh thyme and 1 Tbsp reserved duck fat.  Bake for 30-45 minutes depending on how well you want them browned.

** Have you tried this recipe? Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments.

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Recipe of the Week: Grilled Fish Tacos with Mango and Avocado Salsa

July 27, 2009 at 11:11 pm (Food Pairing - Torrontes, Recipe of the Week)

So I have a small confession to make … The main reason I started to cover white wines is so I can feature fish recipes.  It no secret that I have a passion for wine but I LOVE fish.  I will love fish until the very day I die of heavy metal poisoning. Anyhow, this dish goes well with Torrontes or even a nice Viognier.

Here’s a favorite reposted from – quick, healthy, and very tasty.

fish taco

Grilled Fish Tacos with Mango and Avocado Salsa


2 fish fillets, such as sea bass, red snapper or salmon, 8 ounces each

1/4 cup diced red pepper

1/4 cup chopped scallions

1/4 cilantro, lightly packed

1 ripe avocado

1 cup shredded lettuce

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 plum tomatoes, diced

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 cup diced mango

freshly ground black pepper

lime wedges, for garnish

8 corn tortillas

salt to taste


For the mango-avocado salsa:

1. Remove and discard the pit and skin from the avocado and rub the flesh of the avocado with some of the lime juice to prevent it from discoloring.

2. Chop the avocado and toss it with the remaining lime juice, mango, red pepper and scallions. (This can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.)

For the fish:

3. Preheat the grill.

4. Brush the fillets with oil and season generously with salt and pepper

5. Grill the fillets on both sides until just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. (Thin fillets take less time, thicker fillets take more.) Cool slightly and cut into 1-inch pieces.

6. Meanwhile, separate the tortillas into 2 stacks, wrap them in foil and warm them on the grill while the fish is cooking.

To serve the tacos:

7. Fill the tortillas with fish, lettuce, tomatoes and mango-avocado salsa. Serve 2 tacos per person with lime wedges on the side.

** Have you tried this recipe? Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments.

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Torrontes: The White Grape of Argentina

July 16, 2009 at 12:04 am (Food Pairing - Torrontes, For the Love of Wine, Torrontes Reviews) ()

If you first tried Torrontes a few years ago, you may have been overwhelmed by Eau de Cologne florals  that quickly fall off to a flat and flabby finish.  We’ve tasted a few recently and we’re impressed with the improved quality of the Torrontes .  While still opening with a strong floral scent, today’s wines seem to have a much crisper texture, with an elegant, medium-weight body and generally have a powerful punch of peach and citrus flavors, similar to Viogniers.  Torrontes is a great sipping or “stand-alone” wine.  It’s terrific with salads, cheeses and grilled/smoked meats and can hold its own against spicy dishes as well.

Could Torrontes be the next Pinot Grigio sensation?   Argentina Vintners (and a few others) would like to think so.  Ambitious wineries are looking to reproduce the Malbec sensation with Torrontes and through some very similar tactics and we’re really excited to watch this market grow.   Again, we love the quality to price point ratio.

Torrontes, the only grape considered indigenous to Argentina, is also the most popular and widely grown white grape in Argentina.  This native  white grape is grown mainly in the provinces of Catamarca, La Rioja, Mendoza, Salta, San Juan and Rio Negro.  Salta produces wines that are less flamboyant, but tend to be more crisp, whilst those from Mendoza are intense and ‘bigger’ wines.

And for a touch of trivia … In Chile, Torrontes grapes are grown primarilly for the production of Pisco. Try ordering a Pisco sour next time you’re our at a nice cocktail bar.  yum.

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In Honor of Summer, I Relent …

July 14, 2009 at 11:08 pm (Food Pairing - Torrontes, For the Love of Wine, Torrontes Reviews)

Summer days are precious in the Pacific Northwest and nothing says summer like a chill glass of white wine. So while we will continue to cover all things Malbec, I wanted to branch out and touch on Torrontes – the white grape that is as genuinely Argentine as Malbec.


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Recipe of the Week: Pasta Puttanesca

July 9, 2009 at 9:23 pm (Food Pairing - Malbec, Recipe of the Week)


I’m not usually a big pasta fan but I’ve always loved this dish.  The olives give it a great zing and depth of flavor.  It’s a quick and easy dish good for a weekday dinner and it serves 6 so pack your lunch for the following day. If you’re looking for a little extra protein, you can toss in some tuna or clams. Less traditional but a tasty option.

We like to serve it with the Pascual Toso Malbec I reviewed yesterday. It’s a hearty enough wine to stand up to the flavor of this classic dish.  Serve it with a salad and crusty bread dipped in Virgin Olive Oil … I’ll even spare you the bad pun about whores and virgins.


  • 1 pound dried spaghetti, spaghettini, or linguine fini
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, forced through a garlic press
  • 4-6 anchovy fillets, mashed with a fork
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice (preferably Italian), roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, quartered (get the good ones, please!)
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 tablespoon  chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Pinch of sugar (optional)
  • canned tuna or clams (optional)
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh arugula (optional)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan


  1. Cook spaghetti in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 1/2 Tbsp salt for 6 qt water) until barely al dente.
  2. While pasta boils, cook garlic, anchovys, red-pepper flakes,  1/2 tsp pepper in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and pale golden, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes to skillet along with olives, capers,  oregano, and tuna or clams if using. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is ready. Stir in sugar and salt to taste.
  4. Add drained pasta to sauce. Add parsley and arugula, if desired.  Simmer, turning pasta with tongs, until pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan.
** Have you tried this recipe? Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments.

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Recipe of the Week: Asado with Chimichurri Sauce

July 1, 2009 at 8:00 pm (Food Pairing - Malbec, Recipe of the Week)

The Fourth is coming  right up and it’s BBQ time.  Hotdogs, hanburgers, and ketchup stained cloths are the standard buy yesterday I talked about Sangria so I thought I’d throw a little Asado on the grill this year.


Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Asado on the grill

Asado on the grill

Asado with Chimichurri Sauce

reprinted from



1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 Cup Water
1 small bunch flat leaf-parsley; chopped (should equal about 1/2 cup)
1 medium onion; finely chopped
4 cloves garlic; finely minced
1/2 of a red bell pepper; seeded and finely diced
1 tomato; peeled, seeded, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 Teaspoon bay leaf (laurel); very small flakes
1 Tablespoon coarse salt
1 Teaspoon ground black pepper
hot chili flakes to taste


2 pounds  skirt steak, flank steak, brisket, or short ribs

coarse salt


1. Make sure all of the fresh ingredients are well washed and clean before preparing.  Add all of the ingredients except the oil and vinegar into a large bowl and toss well to make sure that the salt is spread evenly around the ingredients. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.

2. Next add the vinegar and water. Mix well. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.

3. Finally add the oil and mix well. Make sure that the liquids cover the rest of the ingredients. If not add equal parts of oil, water, and vinegar until they are covered at least by a quarter of an inch. Transfer to a non-reactive clean bowl or jar that can be covered. Make sure to cover well. Place in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to blend overnight. For better results prepare at least 2 or 3 days ahead of time.

4. Grill the Asado. To turn American cuts such as skirt steak, flank steak, brisket, and short ribs into asado, make a hardwood or charcoal fire and let it burn until half the wood has turned to glowing embers. Slide the embers to one side of the grill, placing the grate 3 to 4 inches above. Grill the meat directly over the embers while the remaining wood (or coals) continues to smolder. After the meat has cooked on one side and been turned, season with large-grain salt. Add condiments, like chimichurri, a piquant herb salsa, and mayonnaise, at the table.

Side dishes should be simple: sliced tomatoes, lettuce, ripe avocado, and shredded carrots, all sprinkled with olive oil and vinegar. Gather some friends, uncork the malbec, and light the fire.


This is how it's done in Argentina. Wow!

Go here to learn more about the culture behind Asado.

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