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.


Permalink 1 Comment

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!

Permalink 1 Comment

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.

Permalink Leave a Comment

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.

Permalink Leave a Comment

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.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Recipe of the Week: Antipasto

June 10, 2009 at 9:13 pm (Food Pairing - Malbec, Recipe of the Week)

It’s been unseasonably hot here in Seattle … which means we’ve actually seen a few nice days.  Anyway, the heat has stolen my appetite and, all told, that’s probably for the best.  If you’re only in the mood to nibble, take a look at these great antipasto options that pair well with Malbecs.

Gorgeous Italian cured meats with hard cheeses like Asiago, Parmesan and Romano or semi-hard cheeses like Cheddar, Fontina, Gouda


Prosciutto, Honeydew Melon, & Provolone


Mozzarella & Tomato Caprese


Eggplant Rollatini


Recipe reprinted from Bon Appétit, September 2002


Nonstick olive oil spray

All purpose flour

4 large eggs, beaten to blend

3 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread

2 2/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese (about 8 ounces)

18 1/4- to 1/3-inch-thick lengthwise eggplant slices (from 2 medium)

3 cups (packed) coarsely grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese (about 12 ounces)

1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese (preferably whole-milk)

3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

3 cups purchased marinara sauce


Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 3 baking sheets and one 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Place flour in 1 wide shallow bowl, eggs in second bowl, and breadcrumbs mixed with 1 cup Parmesan cheese in another. Sprinkle each eggplant slice with salt and pepper. Coat each slice with flour, then beaten egg, and finally breadcrumb mixture. Arrange eggplant slices in single layer on prepared sheets. Bake eggplant in batches until coating is golden, turning after 15 minutes, about 30 minutes total. Cool on sheets.

Mix mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, basil, and 1 cup Parmesan cheese in medium bowl. Season filling with salt and pepper. Divide filling among eggplant slices (about 3 tablespoons per slice); spread evenly. Starting at 1 short end, roll up eggplant slices, enclosing filling. Arrange rolls, seam side down, in prepared baking dish. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spoon marinara sauce over rolls; sprinkle with remaining 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered until rollatini are heated through and mozzarella cheese melts, about 30 minutes.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Recipe of the Week: Apricot Stuffed Lamb

May 4, 2009 at 11:01 pm (Food Pairing - Malbec, Recipe of the Week) (, , , , )


I love this dish. The apricots bring out the lamb flavor without seeming over powering. This looks fantastic on the platter  so would be great for your next dinner party.  I like to pair this with a light couscous salad and the Melipal Malbec Reserve (more on that in a later post).


1 boneless leg of lamb butterflied and trimmed (4-5 pounds)
1 tbsp. coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 large onion roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic roughly chopped
1 – 1/2 cups dried apricot halves
2 tbsp. ras el hanout (a Moroccan spice mix found at specialty grocers or mix your own, see note below)


1.  Unfold lamb, rinse and pat dry. Slash 1/2 inch deep cuts about 1 inch apart all over both sides of lamb.  Season all over with 1 – 1/2 tsp. salt. Put in baking dish large enough to hold meat when unfolded.

2.  Pour 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup olive oil into blender with onions, garlic, ras el hanout and 1 – 1/2 tsp. salt. Pulse to blend into a loose paste and pour over lamb. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or over night.

3. Preheat oven to 325. Wipe marinade off lamb and arrange apricot halves in single layer over meat. Roll meat up and tie tightly with kitchen twine.  Brush outside of lamb with olive oil. Roast in oven on a rack over a roasting pan for about 2 – 1/2 hours.  Oven’s vary so test temperature at around 2 hours.  Temperature should be at least 140 for medium-rare. Remove from oven and let rest 15 minutes. Slice and serve.

Note:  To make your own ras el hanout whisk together 1 tsp. each of ground cardamon, coriander, ginger and tumeric; 1/2 tsp. each freshly ground black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and saffron (optional); and 1/4 tsp. each of ground allspice, cloves, and mace.

Permalink 1 Comment

Recipe of the Week: Malbec Braised Beef Stew

April 20, 2009 at 10:37 pm (Food Pairing - Malbec, Recipe of the Week) (, )


Sadly, the chill still hasn’t entirely left the air here in Seattle so we made this beef stew over the weekend.  It’s my variation on a recent Gourmet article and turned out rather nice.  It gets better overnight so plan on leftovers.  Serve with a salad and fresh made popovers … mmmm, warm savory comfort food.

Malbec Braised Beef Stew

12 servings


For braised beef:

  • 5 pounds boneless beef chuck (not lean), cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 head garlic, pealed and cloves halved crosswise
  • 5 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle Malbec
  • 4  bay leaves, preferably fresh
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 3 cups beef or veggie stock (I use ‘Better than Bullion”)
  • 3 cups water

For Vegetables:

  • 2 1/2 pounds small yukon gold potatoes, ½ inch dice
  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 pound pearl onions, trimmed and pealed
  • ½ pound green beans, trimmed


Braise beef:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Pat beef dry and season with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.

In a 6-8 quart oven safe pot, heat oil in pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then brown meat, without crowding, in 3 batches, turning, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a platter.

Reduce heat to medium, then add carrots, celery, onions, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 12 minutes.

Push vegetables to one side of pot. Add tomato paste to cleared area and cook paste, stirring, 2 minutes, then stir into vegetables.

Add vinegar and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

Stir in wine, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and boil until wine is reduced by about two thirds, 10 to 12 minutes.

Add broth to pot along with water, beef, and any juices from platter and bring to a simmer. Cover and braise in oven until meat is very tender but not falling apart, about 2.5 hours. Make sure the pot lid fits tight so your cooking liquid doesn’t evaporate off.  If needed, use a layer of tin foil to get a better seal.

Separate meat from veggies and broth. Puree broth with a stick blender or in batches in a food processor.

Cook Veggies:
While beef braises, peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch-dice. Slice carrots diagonally (1/2 inch). Trim ends from pearl onions and peel off the dry layer of skin. Trim ends and strings from green beans.

Add potatoes, carrots and pearl onions to stew (make sure they are submerged) and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes and carrots are almost tender, about 30 minutes. Add green beans and simmer another 10 minutes, until beans are crisp-tender and potatoes and carrots are cooked through.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Recipe of the Week – Sausages with French Green Lentils

April 13, 2009 at 11:37 pm (Food Pairing - Malbec, Recipe of the Week)

Alright, this one isn’t mine but it is so delicious I just had to reprint it here from the Saveur original. The wine simmered sausage is absolutely amazing! While the sausages are cooked in white wine the dish itself is so hearty, complex and comforting that I always serve this with a bottle of Malbec.  One of our favorites is the Achaval-Ferrer 2007 Malbec from Mendoza … more on that in just a minute.


Sausages with French Green Lentils

(Saucisses aux Lentilles du Puy)


This classic main course is usually prepared with saucisse d’auvergne, a type of fresh pork sausage that is hard to find in the United States. We found sweet Italian sausages to be a fine substitute. Simmering them in wine deepens their flavor and helps keep them moist.

2 oz. smoked bacon, thinly
sliced crosswise
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
4 sprigs thyme
2 fresh bay leaves
12 oz. green Puy lentils,
rinsed and drained
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly
ground black pepper, to taste
8 fresh pork sausages, such as
sweet Italian sausages
1 cup white wine
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1. Cook bacon in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat, until its fat has rendered, about 6 minutes. Add butter, onions, carrots, and celery; cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Tie parsley, thyme, and bay leaves together with kitchen twine; add to pan. Stir in lentils and 5 1⁄2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Discard herbs. Stir in mustard and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, bring sausages, wine, and 1 cup water to a boil in a 12″ skillet over high heat. Cook, turning sausages occasionally, until liquid has evaporated, 12–15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; add oil. Cook sausages until browned, 6–7 minutes. Serve the sausages over the lentils.
This recipe was first published in Saveur in Issue #115

Permalink Leave a Comment

A Good List of Wine and Food Pairings

April 13, 2009 at 11:28 pm (Food Pairing - Malbec, Food Pairing - Torrontes, For the Love of Wine) (, )

And much attention is given to Malbecs.  Oh yes, if you love meat, you will love Malbec.  Apparently it also goes well with veggies … um, good to know.

Wine and Food Pairing – Be an Expert!

Permalink Leave a Comment

Next page »