By now, you are probably wondering about the title of this post and the picture of my famous rosemary bush being attacked by a giant land crab ... LOL!
My rosemary bush is unstoppable. I cut massive amounts off to use ... I give it to neighbors and when they say they have enough, I "gift" it to them on their birthdays and anniversaries. This bush, withstood the landfall of hurricane Wilma 3 years ago. I lost all my vegetation during Wilma, not to mention some roof tiles ... NOOOOOO ... the rosemary bush just flipped her the "herby" finger!
OK, enough of that! I cut long skewer size branches and soak them in water for 4 hours. I clip all but the last 2-3 inches off of leaves and then skewer my large shrimp on them. Drizzle on some good EVOO and S & P .Grill them on a medium heat for 3-5 minutes each side. You don't want to over cook these bad boys and get them chewy. The rosemary not only makes a great presentation, but smells terrific, also. Garnish with a lemon wedge.
I team this up with a refreshing homemade coleslaw and my neighborhood famous potato salad and what could be better? Perhaps, pairing this Labor Day fair with a Yellow Tail Chardonnay?
Yes, I think that is a terrific idea! The Reserve Chardonnay has peach, melon and tropical fruit flavors and a creamy fullness that pairs perfectly with our meal. Why wait until a holiday for this treat?
Wine food pairing should be enjoyed everyday ... even Labor Day. CHEERS!
The other day couscous was on the menu and I used chicken broth as the liquid to give it a nice rich flavor. After the couscous was rehydrated I popped in some frozen peas ... the heat from the pasta warms them up, but they keep that nice crunch and I garnished with toasted slivered almonds. Now I could have stopped there, but I really wanted to make this a complete meal so I steamed up fresh asparagus, laid the spears on top and drizzled with some pumpkin seed oil ..... OH MY ... this was great!
Pumpkin seed oil made right in the Stryrian region of Austria ... it doesn't get much better with its rich nutty flavor!
I paired this combo with a refreshing Spritzer made from a Chablis Blanc from California and soda water from my very own soda machine ... YUMMO! When you are looking for something to do with a wine that is a bit to sweet for your tastes, sometimes a spritzer is the perfect solution. The soda machine is my way of going "green" in small way to avoid all the plastic bottles in our landfills.
All in all, a very satisfying summertime meal with wine food pairing always in mind. CHEERS!
If you are interested in going green with your own soda maker, you can check it out at RIGHT HERE:
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According to the United States Department of Labor:
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.Sounds good to me! My friends Anna Maria and Ullie are taking a brief moment to enjoy the fruits of their labors by relaxing in their pool with a nice glass of Barefoot Cabernet! You can never have too many of these moments in your life!
On the edge of the pool we all sit watching and enjoy some wonderful treats that she has prepared for the occasion. We have some fresh bread, cheeses, fire roasted red peppers in olive oil and an unknown pate ... YUMMERS!
The best is to just get together with friends and family to enjoy ... that's what wine food pairing is all about. CHEERS!
For instance, we have several banana trees in our back yard ... actually they grow almost like weeds down here. The great thing is that we have these really tasty baby bananas every now and then, but the bad thing is that one day you have no bananas and the next day you have 200 ripe ones ... LOL! So, to outfox the wiley banana, I have started to boil the green bananas and eat them like potatoes to make the stack last longer!
Some banana trivia:
Did you know that there are over 500 different types of bananas. That means if you ate a different kind of banana everyday, it would take almost a year and a half to eat every one.
Although generally regarded as a tree, this large tropical plant is really an herb. That means it does not have a woody trunk like a tree. The compacted, water-filled leaf stalk is composed of leaf sheaths that overlap each other and grow from an underground stem called a rhizome..
The banana plant can grow as high as 20 feet (or 6 meters) tall. That's as big as a 2 story house. They are the world's largest herb.
Bananas are not just green and yellow, some bananas are red.
OK, now that you are astounded with banana facts, I'll just tell you that they are pretty darn good. I clean them up good with soap, cut off the ends and then drop them in boiling water. Pierce them with a fork to check for doneness, like a potato. Take them out, peel and you can eat them like a mashed potato ... I smash them up, add olive oil and s & p and they are an island delight!
I served this the other night with some fresh snapper on the grill and it was just like traveling to the Caribbean! I paired all of this with a chilled savignon blanc from California and it was the perfect compliment to the meal. Light and refreshing for a warm summers eve.
Wine food pairing is just what you make it, so enjoy. CHEERS!
I love to keep fresh basil in the herb garden and when the spirit moves me pesto makes such a great compliment to so many dishes, but one of my faves is pesto and pasta. This is totally delish as a quick meal and you can either do it straight with the pesto only or add some fresh mushrooms, chicken and grated parm on top ... OH BOY ..... yummers!
The Pesto Manifesto:
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves .. really pack the leaves in
- 1/2 cup EVOO
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- a couple of garlic cloves
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Romano cheese
Some people like to add a pinch of sugar to bring out the extra flavors and you can also squeeze it a bit of lemon juice to keep it from turning brown. Other folks, like myself, just store it with a layer of Olive oil on top. Any way you do it is one terrific way to spice up your meals!
The other night I did the pasta routine and served a crisp chilled Italian Pinot Grigio from Santa Margarita. It was refreshing and just perfect for a summertime meal.
Wine food pairing can be simple and tasty with the pesto manifesto. CHEERS!
Watermelon is composed almost totally of water and of course lot's of other good things also. In my younger years it was really cool to make melon balls, add vodka and freeze .... what a thirst quencher .. until you had to take a nap! Actually I still like to do that for a summertime party. Sometimes I even wear a watermelon party hat!
The recent "big buzz" on watermelon is the affect it has on your libido. I just read this recent article out of Beijing:
BEIJING, July 3 (Xinhuanet) -- Watermelon is regarded as a good fruit to quench thirsty, but can you imagine it may also be a natural Viagra? asked Texas A&M University researchers on Wednesday.
Go figure ... who would have thought about turning to watermelon when you want to do the "wild" thing?
The researchers said the active ingredient in watermelon which is responsible for the effect is citrulline. The phytochemical can be converted in the body into an amino acid known as arginine, which is known to relax blood vessels much like viagra does.
"The more we study watermelons, the more we realize just how amazing a fruit it is in providing natural enhancers to the human body," said Dr. Bhimu Patil, director of Texas A&M's Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center in College Station.
They said a typical 4-ounce serving of watermelon (about 10 watermelon balls) has about 150 milligrams of citrulline, though without mentioning how much citrulline is needed to have Viagra-like effects. There is more citrulline in the rind than the flesh.
Another beneficial ingredient in watermelon is lycopene, an anti-oxidant that protects the human heart, prostate and skin health. But without much fat in the melon, adsorption is not expected to be good, the researchers noted.
Then, of course, there is that old favorite song by Tom T. Hall "Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine" ..... this song brings back memories for many baby boomers ... LOL!
I don't know if you can really successfully pair watermelon with any wine, but I know that it makes a darn good wine all by itself! Watermelon and vodka, watermelon party hats, Old dogs and children and watermelon wine along with a refreshing "kick" for your libido .... Wine food pairing says why not? CHEERS!
Yep, Saturday afternoon and it is steamy and rainy out in SW Florida. What can wine food pairing come up with to make the afternoon a success? Hmmmm ….. how about a pizza pie made with whole wheat dough? My new bread maker knows just how to do it right … all I have to do is feed it the right ingredients … LOL!
One hour later and the dough was ready to stretch in the pan … I know, some talented people “throw” their dough in the air … I am not blessed with that talent. As a retired paramedic, I can do CPR with the best of them, crawl into an upside down vehicle and stabilize a patient or even deliver a breech baby with a non English speaking Mom, but I simply cannot get pizza dough to fly in the air and land nicely in the pan ….. I guess everyone has certain claims to fame :-) So, I “cheat” and use a rolling pin, the crust is still is not round, but it ends up tasting pretty good anyway. I sprinkle the pan with a bit of corn meal to keep it from sticking, prick the crust with a fork to vent and pop in the oven at 450F for 15 minutes to brown.
Meanwhile, my sauce is ready to go, I have sliced fresh mushrooms, onions and get out my stick of pepperoni to slice thinly … YUMMO … this is going to be good! Everything is ready for assembly mozzarella cheese goes on, a drizzle of EVOO and topped with some basil and in the oven it goes again for another 15 minutes.
Of course, I have been sipping on a Chilean Merlot while making the pizza preparations … a must with any meal that requires this much concentration. Concha y Toro Frontera is the wine for the afternoon and it satisfies quite nicely while I work in the kitchen. My husband and I both agree that it combines great with my homemade pizza … but wait, what about entertainment? No, I am not going to sing, but there is a cool horror movie on … and after all, what is better with pizza and wine on a rainy Saturday afternoon, huh?
Horror movie it is! Wine food pairing, pizza … CHEERS!
Wine food pairing with linguine … sometimes I just have a craving for some good pasta in the middle of the day. Electricity has been restored to the Florida homestead since TS Fay left and I am in the mood to crank down the AC and boil up a pot of tasty noodles … LOL!
I have a boneless, skinless chicken breast in the fridge, it has my name all over it and it says cook me up! So how about a creamy garlic, chicken Parmesan with fresh mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes … YUMMERS!
I garnished this with some fresh basil from the herb garden, cherry tomatoes that I halved to make it look pretty along with some parm cheese that I have slivered off the block with a veggie peeler.
I popped the cork on a tasty Cabernet and with the extra rich cheesy sauce all was well with the world. Wine food pairing on a summer afternoon. CHEERS!
This really was a nice lunch, of course I had my crank up portable radio in the background playing some bluesy kind of music. All was right with the world and then it happened ...... I looked up and suddenly the dolphins in the bay began their "Flipper" show! Of course you never know when this will happen ... they certainly don't perform on cue and usually stop before I get the camera ready .... LOL .... suffice to say it was even better than what the short video clip shows, quite spectacular actually!
Mother Nature has so many sides ... she is a fickle girl ... one minute she gives us Fay and then the next gives us a wonderful wildlife show, go figure.
Wine food pairing is terrific from my backyard. CHEERS!
You never realize how spoiled we are until we have to do without. Fortunately we didn't really have much damage from Tropical Storm Fay .... a few leaky windows, some tree damage, but thank goodness no storm surge. Our prayers were answered in regards to that because that can be so devastating. Living in Florida we know that these storms and hurricanes happen and the best we can hope for is that we have a small inconvenience and no loss of life or major property damage.
Without electricity, our Koi fish came up to the pond surface for extra oxygen after the first day. They like to have oxygen rich water so we took turns going to the pond and scooping big bowls full of water and letting it splash down to create a bit of O2 .... we also had small battery operated air stones for the pond, but they didn't really do the trick. When the power finally came back on the fish darted over under the waterfall and seemed to enjoy the splashing once again!
Our food needs were met quite nicely with the grill and side burner. The real trick was not to open the fridge very much and let the cold out. We figured we had one more day before we would have to start tossing stuff.
Here is Big Al working on a glass of Chablis and grilling up some killer chicken drummies ... I paired this with some broccoli slaw that I had made the day before and a foil packet of potatoes, onions and peppers on the grill. Sometimes wine food pairing is just a matter of doing it!
All in all it wasn't all that bad. I had the portable radio so we had great tunes playing, wine and a delicious BBQ ... what more could you want?
I've lived in Florida for 30 years now, so I know the drill. I have my batteries, crank up radio, extra water and my gas tank is full .... but, my friends, I did not expect the supply of Pinot Grigio in the City of Naples to be depleted! How can I weather the storm without my favorite chilled white wine? Of course there was Reisling or Chardonnay on the shelves, but for something as critical as a hurricane it must be my favorite Pinot Grigio.
So while there was water available and plenty of red wine ....
So I have declared a state of emergency. I only have one bottle left in my wine closet and it must suffice. I hope this storm does not linger about.
Wine hurricane pairing is an exact science and it has rules!
Ok, I must leave you all for now and complete my preparations .....
Wine food pairing sometimes takes a vacation from heart healthy foods and breaks out the deep fat fryer from the depths of the kitchen cabinets. I just had the terrible craving for fried coconut shrimp, my very “most” favorite type of fried food! I was even humming ... put the lime in the coconut ...hmmmm ...
I got clearance from my husband for the delicious but deadly shrimpies, cranked it up and tossed the frozen shell fish into the fryer. I get them already prepared from the Restaurant Depot, an east coast Florida warehouse that specializes in foods just for restaurants. You know, the times that you have been served wonderful coconut shrimp at an expensive restaurant, well I have the same ones …LOL!
Ok, I mix up a quick dipping sauce of orange marmalade, a little water and a dash of jalapeno juice from the jar of peppers for a little “kick” and garnish the plate with a slice of lime for squeezing. It is great with the coconut shrimp!
While I am frying I throw a few French fries in also, why not, my arteries say …. !
I paired all this with a crisp chilled Pinot Grigio from Italy Cantina Rosa. I must say that is was quite a delicious meal. Certainly not gourmet, but what the hey …
Wine food pairing … put the lime in the coconut ….. CHEERS!
Wine food pairing is taking a serious look at raspberries. I found a bunch of them and decided to have a super late lunch with these YUMMY berries.
I wanted something light, but I wanted to make sure that it filled everyone up. What about a refreshing salad? Out came the fresh field greens from the fridge, washed, spun and arranged in the big bowl. Two good handfuls of plump raspberries along with a goodly portion of crumbled blue cheese and topped with chopped walnuts! I dressed this with a raspberry vinaigrette that I found in the cold section of Publix and man oh man was this tasty!
I cheated a bit, please don't tell anyone, and popped some "tube" croissants into the oven to bake and of course make the house smell terrific ... LOL!
I chose to pair this all with a nicely chilled Sauvignon Blanc. The tangy, tart character was just what the doctor ordered. When in doubt, I always think that Sauvignon Blanc is one of the best dry white wines to go with the largest variety of food.
Wine food pairing in the summer time .... refreshing. CHEERS!
I am fortunate because I have a wonderful backyard looking out over Snook Bay right next to the Gulf of Mexico. Our now “cool” tub sits on the screened lanai protected from the brutal Florida buggies … YEAH! OK, enough of the view and on to the drink and eats!
I decided to do cocktail hour in the pool with a freshly made spinach dip. You know the kind you put together with water chestnuts, thawed frozen spinach, sour cream and powdered ranch dressing mix. Hey, I’m not big on cooking in this heat, so this “no cook” dip was just the ticket! I placed multi grain crackers into a basket lined with a cloth napkin and the “eats” were good to go!
For the beverage of choice, well, I decided on chilled champagne, actually sparkling wine. My very fave is Freixenet and the ice bucket worked great in the tub along with the food. You will have to imagine everything floating around in my blow up ring. It works just fine.
Sometimes when it comes to wine food pairing, you have to use your imagination! CHEERS!
We are in the dog days of summer and wine food pairing is asking the question …. What can we do that will be tasty and yet refreshing?
Have you considered a wine sorbet? I love the sorbets that you can easily make with fruit, fresh or frozen, a good water source and a little simple syrup and your ice cream maker. What if you add a nice wine to the mix, either white or red and a bit of simple syrup. You know, sugar that has already been dissolved in water and good spring water. Toss all this into the ice cream maker, follow the instructions on the ice cream maker and in just a bit you will have a refreshing sorbet to cool your palate!
What a refreshing afternoon treat or a cooling dessert after your evening BBQ. Wine food pairing experiments in the summer. Let’s cool down. CHEERS!
Beach Dogs wine from South Eastern Australia has juicy ripe blackberry aromas and the Cabernet that we tasted was perfectly structured.
All of this said ... we paired it with brats that always are a hit. I par boil my brats in beer, what else .... and then toss them on the grill for a bit to finish up. I always do an extra foil packet with onions, and sliced green and red peppers. Not only do they brighten up the plate, but they just taste darn good!
Of course, I had to tweak my husbands favorite sauerkraut and serve that alongside. I always drain and wash the kraut then add it to sauteed onions, bacon and a healthy swig of white cooking wine. Seasoned with caraway seeds, S & P and a dash of Italian seasoning. Let all this cook down for a while until tender and you are looking at kraut that passes the Austrian husband test .. LOL!
Wine food pairing can be tail wagging good. CHEERS!
OK, we live in Florida, why not? I trimmed the top a bit and put it in a glass of water for a few day ... not much happened except the water got cloudy ... so I went out to the back yard, dug a shallow hole filled, it with water and then placed the scraggly looking top, in the hole, brushed dirt and mulch around it and gave it a quick sprinkle of water.
Houdini was told to keep an eye on it while he did his perimeter checks and was warned specifically NOT to piddle on it! This is it after one year ....
Two years pass by and we have a magnificent pineapple specimen ready to eat ... what should I do with this bountiful harvest? As you can see, it is not all that big so I want to make it count!
First off, we sample a bit of fruit and it is the sweetest pineapple I have ever tasted ... YUMMO!
As the wine food pairing queen, though, I wanted to do something special. I made a salsa out of the pineapple, red onion, cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime (off the neighbors tree!)
Friends had just dropped off some pompano that they had caught earlier in the day .... OH MY! Was this a treat. I grilled the pompano in the fish basket and then garnished the plates with the fresh pineapple salsa ..... the combo together was awesome!
I popped the cork on an Italian Pinot Grigio and the crisp chilled wine, fresh fish and salsa were better than anything I have ever eaten in a restaurant setting ....
Wine food pairing at home, with the freshest ingredients is sometimes the very best. CHEERS!