So you appear well-raised

Month: August 2020

La Fête Du Rosé and Ginger & Cilantro Baked Salmon

Just go ahead and get the 3-pack. Trust me on this.

At some point in your life, you need to be able to put together a fairly healthy, flavorful meal.

This dish for me was one of the first really impressive dishes I learned to make. It’s a favorite of mine, though I hadn’t made it in a really long time. The other day, I began thinking about what would pair well with my new rosé. A lightbulb came on over my head and I pulled this old recipe from the hollows of my mind.

I should tell you that the recipe originally called for tilapia. I used salmon and pretty much always have. You can experiment with various types of fish if you’d like. I might even try this with chicken one day.

La Fête Du Rosé is an absolutely delicious French-style rosé, so it’s very dry. This wine has a deep pink color and I definitely thought I detected cherry on the nose. To be a rosé, this is a BIG wine. I mean, it really is very flavorful and hits your entire tongue with different flavors. I detected a bit of citrus.

The wine and fish paired very well. I can’t imagine a lighter rosé being able to stand up to big flavors of sesame oil and soy sauce and the like, so I definitely recommend this particular one.

Ginger & Cilantro Baked Salmon

Ingredients:
The ingredients, including a little jalapeno, hiding behind the cilantro.

1 pound of fish

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated (about 1 tablespoon)

1 jalapeño pepper, roughly chopped (optional)

1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Scallions, chopped for garnish

Extra cilantro, to garnish

Directions:
  1. Heat the oven to 475°F. Pat the fish dry, season lightly with salt and pepper, and lay in a 9×9-inch or 8×8-inch ceramic or glass baking dish.
  2. Combine the garlic, grated ginger, chopped jalapeño, cilantro, white wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a small food processor. Process until blended.
  3. Pour the sauce over the fish, rubbing it in a little. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily and is cooked through.
  4. Serve immediately over brown rice or orzo, garnished with the additional scallions and cilantro.
I opted to serve my fish over orzo finished with blood orange olive oil and steamed green beans.

Lemon Ricotta Cake and Moscato

Lodali Moscato d’Asti

Whenever someone mentions Moscato, I frown. I don’t even try to hide it anymore. Why? Because it’s been bastardized. What is actually a light, floral subtle wine has been served any and everywhere and with everything. Winemakers are adding tons of residual sugar, giving it a syrupy taste and really losing the beauty of the grape.

But, not all Moscato is bad. In fact, if you pick a good one and you pair it correctly, it can be a pleasant experience. It’s a dessert wine and works extremely well with summer desserts. Think berries and lemon. It doesn’t work with chocolate.

In my attempt to find a good Moscato, I came across Lodali’s 2019 Moscato d’Asti. I was specifically looking for something a little bubbly and this was it. Having never tried it before, I was just hoping for a good experience and that it would go well with the Lemon Ricotta Cake I was making.

It was PERFECT! This wine retails for less than $20 – somewhere in the range of $12-$16. It was effervescent without being too bubbly. Just enough to create some fizz in the glass. Lodali delivered on the florals typical of a Moscato, but also came with a slight citrus that cut through the sweetness. It played really well with the richness of the cake.

I almost never buy ricotta cheese, but I was making stuffed shells and had some cheese left. This recipe is so simple and doesn’t use a ton of special ingredients. It’s a great one to bring to any summer gathering.

Lemon Ricotta Cake

The ingredients, except for the topping

Ingredients

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (scoop and level to measure)

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest

3 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese

Topping

1 lb. fresh strawberries, diced or sliced

3 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided

1 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line bottom with a round of parchment paper and butter parchment.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together sugar, butter and lemon zest until pale and fluffy.
  4. Mix in eggs one at a time (mixture will appear lumpy), blend in vanilla.
  5. Add in half of the flour mixture and mix just until combined, add ricotta and mix just until combined. 
  6. Add in last half of the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Gently fold batter to ensure ingredients are evenly incorporated. 
  7. Pour batter into prepared springform pan and spread into an even layer. Bake in preheated oven until cake is set (a toothpick can come out moist but no batter), about 45 – 50 minutes.
  8. Let cake cool 10 minutes then run a knife around edge to loosen any edges that may have stuck slightly, remove springform ring and continue to let cool.
  9. Once cool, slice and serve with macerated strawberries and whipped cream.

In Love With LVE

True love.

Every time you turn around, some celebrity is putting their name on a wine bottle. Everyone has a wine these days. So when I saw that John Legend had one too, I rolled my eyes, thinking he was just another one jumping aboard an obviously lucrative train.

It was at the aforementioned wine gathering that I was offered John Legend’s sparkling rose. I want to take a moment to tell you that I had full confidence in Legend and his rose. His wife, Chrissy, doesn’t seem the type to let him put out some shit. If it tasted bad, I imagine her telling him, “Babe, this tastes like backwash. Try again. This won’t do.” Behind every successful man is an amazing woman who calls him on his shit.

I have a thing for sparkling anything. Bubbles make me feel luxurious. This was no different. Right off the bat, I noticed that it wasn’t a light rose. It was a deeper peachy-pink compared to the other wines that were on the table. I took this as a good sign.

On the nose, it’s refreshing and sweet, maybe giving you notes of berries. You almost think the wine itself will be sweet. Thankfully, it’s not. It is bright, with a slight citrus note that makes this a winner for the summer heat. This sparkling rose is one that you can enjoy alone, but certainly has the heft to be paired with cheese and charcuterie.

I went back to the tasting table several times and I know I had to have finished at least half a bottle of this by myself. It’s that good! Even with all that I had, there was no headache. It was just a really smooth, delightful experience.

The best thing about this wine, besides the taste – it’s only $20. Affordable luxury. You have NO reason not to try it. The website doesn’t ship to every state, but check with your local Total Wine and see if they can get it for you.

The Wine That Gave Me the Blues

No, that’s not toilet water.

This past weekend, I went to a wine gathering of sorts. I won’t call it a festival, because it wasn’t that. That’s a story for cocktails when we can all get together again.

This shindig was supposed to highlight black-owned wines. I have personally been on a quest to try more, so I was genuinely excited for just about all of the wines.

One wine that stands out is a blue wine. Yes, you read that correctly, BLUE. Like smurfs. It was called Amour Geneve. I saw it and couldn’t imagine it tasting like anything other than a corner store quarter water. That . . . would have been an improvement on what it DID taste like.

It was supposed to taste like a white wine. You know – light, crisp, great on a hot day. Good with fish or chicken – all the things you come to expect of a white wine. So I took a sip. It was like a VERY bad white wine. At this point, I was convinced that my opinion was based on it looking like 2000 Flushes. I closed my eyes and tried again, this time imagining a wheat-colored wine. NOPE. Still bad. All bad. And now my tongue was a freaky shade of blue. A scarlet letter to let everyone know I had imbibed in the blue swill.

I know they say this blueness is naturally occurring, but it looked very unnatural. And the taste was overly bitter and had no complexity at all. I can’t think of anything I’d pair this with. Because typically if I don’t like a wine by itself, I think, “Well, if I pair it with . . . .” and then my mind starts conjuring recipes. There’s nothing that would save this wine. All in all, I’d say skip this one. If you just want something blue, get Boone’s Farm.

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