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When in Milan — Eating and Drinking with Friends

When in Milan — Eating and Drinking with Friends

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.” – James Michener The thing I love most about traveling is that it allows me to take a step away from all that is familiar. New places. New people. New climates, food, and customs. Why would you ever leave home if you were afraid to embrace the unknown? When, on our recent trip to Italy, the pilot makes an announcement that the crew should “prepare for initial decent,” my stomach did a flip. Ten whole days of discovery ahead of us–I was stoked. When we arrived at our Milan apartment–red-eyed and running on adrenaline–we were welcomed by owner Hermann, his wife and two little girls. Feeling SO out of our element in a country we had only dreamed we would visit one day, we were immediately embraced (literally) by this tiny family and led into their modern Milano abode. It was more than we could have imagined. As Hermann guided us through the tiny loft apartment, pointing out the espresso machine and giving us tips on how to get around in the area, I suddenly felt so worldly– so welcome. We spent the day exploring the area — filling our baskets with bottles of red wine from the market, eating pizza at an outside cafe, watching a rousing game of bocce ball at the park. I was quite content to sit on the park bench and watch people. In the evening, trying hard to stay awake so we could get on Italian time, we were drawn into a local restaurant by the sound...
Raisin, Grape, Pomegranate and Honey Chutney*

Raisin, Grape, Pomegranate and Honey Chutney*

This week Nancy’s food pairing for the Ripasso is perfect for fall. With sweet and sour flavors, the fresh dish is the perfect complement for the Italian vino — with its delicious aromas of dark chocolate, fig, cherry and plum. Raisin, Grape, Pomegranate and Honey Chutney* 2 Cups Golden Raisins 2 Cups Halved Red or Green Grapes 1 Cup Pomegranate Seeds 1 Cup Chopped Granny Smith Apples (skin on) ½ Cup Chopped Roasted Almonds ½ Cup Honey Juice and Zest of Two Limes ¼ Cup Reduced Pomegranate Juice (Made by reducing 1 Cup Pomegranate Juice down to ¼ Cup) Step One Toss the raisins, grapes, pomegranate seeds, apples and almonds together in a bowl. Step Two Whisk the honey, zest and juice and pomegranate juice together in another bowl. Add the honey mixture to the fruit, set aside to let the flavors meld for 30 minutes before serving with the sweet potato apple cakes and roasted pork loin that has been rubbed with ground cumin, ground fennel, salt and pepper before roasting. Sweet Potato Apple Cakes* 3 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided ½ Tsp Cumin Seeds ½ Tsp Fennel Seeds ½ Cup Minced, Peeled Apples (Jonathan, McIntosh, Empire) 2/3 Cup Minced, Peeled Raw Sweet Potato 1 Tsp Sea Salt 3 Medium Baking Potatoes, Cooked, Peeled and Grated 1/3 Cup Chopped Cilantro ¼ Cup Cornmeal Step One Sauté the cumin and fennel seeds in 1 TB of the olive oil until they pop. Add the apples, sweet potato and salt to the pan and cook and stir over high heat for 2-3 minutes. Set aside and let cool. Step...
Live Dangerously! Grill Some Corn This Weekend

Live Dangerously! Grill Some Corn This Weekend

When I saw Nancy’s pairing this week, I decided it was high time I learned how to grill corn. It’s doesn’t scare me or anything–I’m just stuck in my ways, I guess. Corn is boiled. Pies are baked. Turkey is roasted. Unless you’re from the south, that is. In the south, after a few drinks on Thanksgiving, it’s customary to drop a 15 pound bird into a large vat oil to 350 degrees. The fact that you have to stay THIS far away from your food when cooking it is tells me the danger meter is outside my comfort zone. I like my skin and I think I’ll keep all of it, thank you. Besides that… I don’t own a birthday hat. Anyway, grilling corn on the cob cant’ be nearly as life threatening as deep frying a turkey, so I’m going to give it a try. Nancy gives you the step-by-step on how to make this delicious complement for our Sauvignon Blanc. So live dangerously, people. Grill yourself some corn this holiday weekend! Grilled Corn Salad Wraps It doesn’t get better than this with fresh crunchy summer corn on the cob. Perfect as a starter for a backyard barbeque – it can also star on its on as a delicious veggie dinner! 6 Ears of Corn 1 Red Bell Pepper 1 Red Onion, Quartered Olive Oil for Grilling Vegetables 1 Cup Chopped Tomatoes 1 Ripe Avocado, Chopped 4 oz. Monterey Jack Cheese, in ¼ inch cubes ¼ Cup Chopped Cilantro Butter or Bibb Lettuce Warm Corn Tortillas Crispy Tortilla Strips* The Dressing ¼ Cup Lime Juice ¼ Cup Extra Virgin...
Pizza de Resistance

Pizza de Resistance

I made the most awesome homemade pizza last night! Okay, I know…big deal, right? It’s a pizza (and it wasn’t even a homemade crust…). But let me tell you, it wasn’t so much that it tasted great (which it really really did…), what makes this the “pizza de resistance” is that one piece of pizza was just 115 calories! By example, a slice of cheese pizza at Pizza Hut weighs in at around twice that — so that made me very happy. Now, I’m not trying to be the calorie police here, it’s just that I’ve been on this pretty strict “diet” of just 1200 calories a day — and I was running out of ways to make chicken interesting. I don’t eat fish–and I’m not into too many vegetables — so this whole calorie restriction thing has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for me.  Not so much in keeping to it, but in finding things to eat that I actually like (that doesn’t cluck.).There’s more to life than chicken, surely? Everyone is telling me that I’ve put my body into starvation mode, which is why I’m not losing weight, so I went on a mission yesterday to find something GOOD to eat! After a quick search,  I found this pizza recipe and voila… a chicken-free dinner that didn’t taste like cardboard! Here’s a few pics (and as an added bonus, I’m sharing my recipe find below). Oh, and I might add: Feel free to post your favorite calorie-wise recipe in the comments. I beg you. Anything that doesn’t include seafood,  mushroom, green pepper, kale, turnip,...
Big Cab Calls for Big Beef

Big Cab Calls for Big Beef

This week, chef Nancy Waldeck. has paired the Ironstone Cabernet with Beef Kebobs with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce. Beef Kebobs with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Big Cab calls for Big Beef! Try this easy recipe to enjoy the deep dark goodness of this delicious red. 1 ½ LBs Sirloin steak, cut 1”  thick 1 Tsp Smoked Paprika Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce: 8  Red Bell Peppers 1 TB Olive Oil 1 Large Red Onion, finely chopped 3 Cloves Garlic, grated 2 Tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves ½ Cup Red Wine ½  Cup Orange Juice 2 TBs Tomato Paste Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper Step One Cut the top and bottom off each pepper. Make a slit down the side of the peppers and open them up and remove the ribs and seeds. Place them down flat on an aluminum foil covered sheet pan and broil until brown. Remove from the oven and make a package out of the aluminum foil. Set aside unttil cool enough to handle. Remove the skin from the peppers and coarsely chop. Step Two Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat and add the oil.  Add the onion and cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is tender.   Add the garlic, then thyme and chopped poblanos and stir until fragrant, another 2- 3 minutes.  Let cool slightly and remove mixture to a food processor. Add the wine orange juice and tomato paste; blend until smooth.  Return mixture to pan and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Keep warm. Step Three Cut the steak...