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Here's a simple burger meal for Cabernet. I put together the topping specifically to go with Cabernet Sauvignon. Read on for the recipe, the how-to pix, and the wine pairing!

Here’s a simple burger meal for Cabernet. I put together the olive-roast pepper-rosemary topping specifically to go with Cabernet Sauvignon. (Recipe and how-to pix today. Wine pairing tomorrow!)

Welcome back, my friends! Made any plans yet for Cabernet Day tomorrow?

Well, I decided to get a head start for you…

Today, to help you get ready for tomorrow’s Cabernet Day DIY festivities, I’ll outline the easy recipe so you can shop for ingredients. (As always, feel free to play with the proportions.)

 

Wineries large and small, in Napa Valley and beyond, suffered severe damage in the quake.

Several of Napa Valley’s renowned Cabernets.

Then tomorrow, on Cabernet Day itself, I’ll walk you through the wine pairing.

Using my “Rosina’s 5 Non-Rules for Wine and Food Pairing” guide (*Click Here* for your free download), I’ll fill you in on my reasons behind the flavors and techniques for my “Napa Burgers” recipe.

 
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THE RECIPE:
“Napa Burgers” with an Olive, Roast Pepper and Rosemary Relish

Ingredients:

The Relish ~
• Red onion, cut into thin slivers
• Olive or other vegetable oil, bacon fat or a combination
• Roasted red peppers (from a jar or homemade ~ just toast peppers over a BBQ or gas burner and peel off charred skin), chopped
• Mixed olives (remove pits if necessary), chopped
• Rosemary, fresh or dried, very finely minced
• Balsamic vinegar
• Pomegranate juice
• Salt and pepper to taste

The “Napa Burgers” ~
• 1 1/2 lbs ground beef, lamb, bison or game meat
• Olive or other vegetable oil, bacon fat or a combination
• 1/4 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or grated
• Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
For the relish: Sauté onions in oil over medium heat, stirring often, until well browned. Add remaining relish ingredients, cover pan, and turn heat to low. Simmer 8 to 10 minutes to blend flavors. The consistency should be similar to standard burger relish, but chunkier.

For the burgers: Shape meat into 4 to 6 patties and season lightly. In a hot pan, sear patties in oil and sauté until well browned. Turn patties over, divide cheese evenly on top and continue cooking until done to your liking. (Want to cook the burgers on your outdoor grill? Why not!

Spoon some relish on each burger, pour some (preferably Napa) Cabernet, and enjoy!!!

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Mixed olives from the "olive bar" at my local market.

Mixed olives from the “olive bar” at my local market. Remove any pits & chop olives coarsely.

Tim's beautiful, organic sweet peppers

“Farmer Tim’s” beautiful, organic sweet peppers

Toast the peppers over a gas flame (or BBQ)

Toast the peppers over a gas flame (or use a BBQ)

Scrape off charred skin with a small knife (or fingernail)

Scrape off charred skin with a small knife, remove stems and seeds, and chop.

Sauté red onion until well browned.

Sauté red onion until well browned. (This helps build in deeper layers of flavor.)

A little balsamic vinegar goes into the pan with the olives, pepper, rosemary and pomegranate juice.

A little balsamic vinegar goes into the pan with the olives, pepper, rosemary and pomegranate juice.

Cook your burgers (in a hot pan or on a BBQ) until well browned. I'm using lean, grass-fed beef.

Cook your burgers (in a hot pan or on a BBQ) until well browned. I use bison, lamb or local grass-fed beef.

For even more flavor, add extra-sharp cheddar cheese.

For even more flavor, add extra-sharp cheddar after you flip the burgers.

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See you tomorrow, my friends, for Cabernet Day (and the pairing for today’s recipe)!

Until then, as always,
Cheers, and happy tasting,

Rosina

PS ~ Once again, if you haven’t yet grabbed your *free* download of my *foolproof* guide ~ “Rosina’s 5 Non-Rules of Wine and Food Pairing” ~ just *Click Here* and follow the prompts.

It’s the best way I know of to make the foods *you* love taste even better!

September Is California Wine Month!

Cheers, my friends – and Happy California Wine Month!

Cheers, and Happy California Wine Month!

Welcome back, my friends – Hope you enjoyed all the fun and flavors of Drink Wine With Dinner® Month!

Can you believe it’s Labor Day weekend already? Where did the summer go!

For this in-between month, as we officially transition into autumn, we’ll likely still have some good weather ahead, despite the shorter days and cooler nights.

 

It's *always* time to have fun with wine!

It’s *always* time to have fun with wine!

(Here in the Bay Area/ NorCal Wine Country, in fact, we’re in the midst of a mini-heatwave!)

In any event, September brings us a slew of special holidays to celebrate some extremely tasty official eats and drinks.

First and foremost, it’s California Wine Month.

 

September is National Potato Month!

September is National Potato Month!

It’s also National Chicken Month, National Honey Month, National Mushroom Month, National Organic Harvest Month, Potato Month, Rice Month and lots more.

We’ll have lots of fun combining these ingredients and more, with brand-new recipes and pairings.

And we’ll also weave themes like National Linguine Day, National Cheeseburger Day, National Rum Punch Day and Snack a Pickle Time into the mix.

 

Gorgeous organic Swiss chard!

Organic Swiss chard from my nearby Farmers Market

Sometimes finding wines to match will be drop-dead easy. Other times, it’ll be more of a (very welcome) challenge.

Regardless, for food and wine lovers, September means far more than Back to School Month.

Let’s enjoy some tastes of September together!

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Don’t miss “Rosina’s 5 Non-Rules” of Food and Wine Pairing, “10 Wines ~ 10 Pasta Recipes” and more in Drink Wine With Dinner® ~ An Introduction!. Special Price – $7.95!

Do You Have Your Copy Yet??? Don’t miss “Rosina’s 5 Non-Rules” of Food and Wine Pairing, “10 Wines ~ 10 Pasta Recipes,” and lots more in my fun, foolproof ebook, Drink Wine With Dinner® ~ An Introduction. Special Price $7.95 – Download Yours Now!

Until next time, my friends –
Cheers and happy tastings,
Rosina

PS ~ Want to nab a *free* membership in the fun, interactive Drink Wine With Dinner Club, and get tasty content delivered straight to your Inbox? Just *Click Here* to join instantly!

And as always, please be sure to grab your *free download* of “Rosina’s 5 Non-Rules of Wine and Food Pairing.”

It’s the best way I know to help you make the foods *you* love taste even better!

Email me anytime at Rosina@DrinkWineWithDinner.com with comments or questions. I look forward to hearing from you!

Cheers once again,
Rosina

 

Gorgeous organic peaches from my farmers market

Sliced organic peaches from my nearby farmers market, ready to sauté in butter.

Welcome back to Drink Wine With Dinner®, my friends!

Hope you’ve been enjoying Drink Wine With Dinner® Month, and I hope you’ve been having fun finding wines that make for a delicious match with your meals, both at home and out on the town!

When I tell people about Drink Wine With Dinner®, I often hear something like “Sure – but what about lunch, brunch, breakfast, midnight snack…?”

 

Melt 2-4 Tbl. butter in pan, add peaches, toss or stir to coat.

Melt 2-4 Tbl. butter, add peaches, toss or stir to coat.

We usually wind up having a good laugh about it, then kicking around wine ideas for pairing with our favorite “non-dinner” foods.

When I found out that August was National Peach Month, I couldn’t have been happier.

For me, peaches equal summer.

 

Add brown sugar and orange marmalade as the peaches cook.

Add 2 T. orange marmalade & 2 T. brown sugar.

There’s absolutely nothing like a peak-of-perfection peach in midseason, dripping with sweet, delicious nectar.

Quite a few of the growers at my nearby farmers market sell peaches, as well as nectarines, which I like just as much.

A couple of them even offer several varieties, which you can sample.

 

Add brown sugar, orange marmalade, 1/2 cup water, fresh lemon juice, pinch of salt. Cover and cook over low heat.

Add 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, pinch of salt. Cover and cook gently over low heat.

And thanks to the abundance, and the competition, prices are at their lowest now as well.

For this simple peach-orange compote – which you can enjoy on its own or as a topping for ice cream, plain cake or other fruits – I simply sautéed sliced fresh peaches in butter, adding orange marmalade, brown sugar and lemon juice, plus water and a pinch of salt.

 

Simmer very briefly to blend the peach juices with the added flavors.

Simmer 5-8 minutes, covered, to release peach juices, blend flavors and create a sauce. Peach slices should be softened, but still a bit firm at the center.

I cooked everything briefly to soften the peaches and make a medium-thick, sweet-tart sauce. You can follow the steps in the photos.

Up to this point, there’s no alcohol involved, so it’s kid-friendly.

But given that this is Drink Wine With Dinner® Month, and I had a nice little half-bottle of dessert wine waiting, I decided to spike things up.

 

Adding Cointreau, an orange liqueur

Add Cointreau orange liqueur

Tilt the pan to flambe

Tilt the pan to ignite and flambé

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I served the peach-orange compote over butter-almond ice cream. The next night I tried ginger shortbread with it. Great flavors!

Peach-orange compote & butter-almond ice cream. Super combo!

The wine was a 2009 Christopher Creek Late-Harvest Viognier, Catie’s Corner Vineyard, from Sonoma’s Russian River Valley.

I’d’picked it up at the winery several years ago, and I remembered loving its “stone fruit” aromatics (such as peach, nectarine, apricot), which would make a good match with the dessert.

The last bottle I’d tried was starting to show some sherry-like almond qualities, a natural flavor meld with peaches, orange and butter to start with.

The main thing to look for in pairing dessert wines with food is not to let the food be sweeter than the wine, otherwise the wine will taste bitter, flat or otherwise unpleasant.

If you have any concerns that your wine might not be sweet enough to pair with it, consider cutting back on the sugar in your dessert a bit, or include something plain such as less-sweet pound or sponge cake, or even not-too-sweet whipped cream. Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Don’t miss “Rosina’s 5 Non-Rules” of Food and Wine Pairing, “10 Wines ~ 10 Pasta Recipes” and more in Drink Wine With Dinner® ~ An Introduction!. Special Price – $7.95!

Do You Have Your Copy Yet??? Don’t miss “Rosina’s 5 Non-Rules” of Food and Wine Pairing, “10 Wines ~ 10 Pasta Recipes,” and lots more in my fun, foolproof ebook, Drink Wine With Dinner® ~ An Introduction. Special Price $7.95 – Download Yours Now!

Until next time, my friends –
Cheers and happy tastings,
Rosina

PS ~ Want to nab a *free* membership in the fun, interactive Drink Wine With Dinner Club, and get tasty content delivered straight to your Inbox? Just *Click Here* to join instantly!

And as always, please be sure to grab your *free download* of “Rosina’s 5 Non-Rules of Wine and Food Pairing.”

It’s the best way I know to help you make the foods *you* love taste even better!

Email me anytime at Rosina@DrinkWineWithDinner.com with comments or questions. I look forward to hearing from you!

Cheers once again,
Rosina

Drink Wine With Dinner® ~ Red or white (or pink, or sparkling), a glass of vino can make the foods *you* love taste even better!

Drink Wine With Dinner® – Red or white (or pink, or sparkling), a glass (or two!) of vino can make the foods *you* love taste even better!

Welcome back, my friends!

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I’m practically the “poster child” for the very basic notion of drinking wine with dinner (or with just about any meal, for that matter).

Moreover, in every way possible, I’ve been spreading the message that wine can make the foods you love taste even better! (Mix and match for even more fun. See two-fisted pic, at right.) 😉

In my Wine & Food SuperGroup on LinkedIn (1,500+ members in 70+ countries!), members comment on their favorite wine, food, restaurants, recipes and more. We're now an Open Group ~ welcome!

In my Wine & Food SuperGroup on LinkedIn (1,500+ members in 70+ countries!), members comment on their favorite wine, food, recipes and more. We’re now an Open Group. Welcome!

In addition to my blog and my newsletter ezine (*Click Here* to view and subscribe), I’ve developed quite a “virtual family” on Social Media, including two Groups that I’ve founded on LinkedIn.

The first one, the Wine & Food SuperGroup, has become wildly global, with more than 1,500 members from over 70 countries.

Until now, the W&FSG has been a closed Group, requiring official acceptance.

Want to be a member of my two LinkedIn Groups? Just click the links to join!

Want to be a member of my two LinkedIn Groups? Just click the links (at left) to join!

Now, however, with the launch of my Drink Wine With Dinner® Club on LinkedIn, I’ve opened up both Groups – the Wine & Food SuperGroup and the Drink Wine With Dinner® Club – to general membership.

Of course, I invite you to click the above links and join either or both of my LinkedIn Groups. Please introduce yourself in the Discussions area, and tell us more about yourself – especially what you enjoy eating and drinking, and what you’d like to see more of in our Groups. Thanks so much – I look forward to seeing you on LinkedIn as well!

Until next time, my friends,
Cheers and happy tastings,
Rosina

PS ~ Want to nab a *free* membership in the fun, interactive Drink Wine With Dinner Club, and get tasty content delivered straight to your Inbox? Just *Click Here* to join instantly!

And as always, please be sure to grab your *free download* of Rosina’s 5 Non-Rules for Wine and Food Pairing.” It’s the best way I know to help you make the foods you love taste even better!

You can also email me at Rosina@DrinkWineWithDinner.com with comments or questions. I look forward to hearing from you!

Cheers once again,
Rosina

Rare steak, exotic mushrooms with butter and red wine – perfect for this elegant WALT Pinot Noir.

Rare steak, exotic mushrooms with butter and red wine – delicious with this elegant WALT Pinot Noir.

Welcome back to Drink Wine With Dinner®, my friends!

Hope you enjoyed yesterday’s post, featuring the amazing PBS video, Julia Child Remixed – Keep On Cooking!

I mentioned then that I’d be posting about my food and wine doings for Drink Wine With Dinner® Day.

Since I had a gorgeous bottle of Pinot Noir to look forward to, I opted to sauté up some good steak, and keep it really simple so I could show off the wine.

I trust Julia would have approved…

 

A pair of lovely filets, sauteed in olive oil and bacon fat, served rare.

A pair of beef filets, sautéed with bacon fat.

“Beef with Burgundy” is the long-standing French pairing tradition; and, of course, the red wines of Burgundy, France, are primarily based on the Pinot Noir varietal.

This means I’m starting with a “Geographic” pairing (the first of “Rosina’s Five Non-Rules of Pairing Wine and Food”), which I’ll build on.

 

Shiitake and maitake mushrooms, which I'll saute in brown butter. Double umami!

Shiitake and maitake mushrooms, which I’ll sauté in brown butter. Great with steak, great with Pinot!

Big question – Do you know about umami? It’s considered the “fifth flavor” (after sweet, salty, sour, bitter); and the flavor effect that umami creates is often called “savory” or even “delicious.”

I’ll do a full post about umami soon, and I’ll fill in a lot more details for you.

The reason I mention it here, though, is that foods high in umami partner especially well with Pinot.

 

Thrace Bromberger from WALT is a wonder friend and wine-judging colleague.

Thrace Bromberger from WALT is a wonderful friend, and a savvy wine-judging colleague.

In creating this simple pairing, I built in several umami elements, to “steer” the dish even more toward the wine.

This particular Pinot Noir, WALT’s 2013 “Clos Pepe” from the Santa Rita Hills AVA in Santa Barbara County – as well as the winery itself – rank among my very favorites.

On our recent Sonoma trip, my childhood friend Maria and I beelined to the WALT tasting room off the town square.

 

My glass of WALT Pinot Noir casts its shadow onto the tasting menu at the winery.

My glass of WALT Pinot Noir casts its shadow onto the tasting menu at the winery. We tasted five wines total.

My wine-judging buddy at WALT, Thrace Bromberger, set us up with a private tasting on the comfy shaded porch. With generous pours of two WALT Chardonnays, then three Pinot Noirs, Thrace and her colleagues guided us through a leisurely comparative tasting.

(More details about WALT, with tasting notes, coming soon.)

The WALT 2013 “Clos Pepe” Pinot that Maria and I decided to bring home with us showed so many of the characteristics that I love about the Pinot Noir varietal.

 

A close-up of the WALT "Clos Pepe" Pinot.

A close-up of the WALT “Clos Pepe” Pinot.

With fresh berry and cherry, tea (Earl Grey?), subtle vanilla, spice and toastiness from French oak, plus rich earthiness and a hint of black pepper, the wine showed a beautiful balance of good acidity, soft tannins and clean, bright fruit.

It kept evolving in the glass, with a rich, supple texture and a long finish. Though this Pinot is extremely complex, it’s restrained and elegant too – hallmarks of superior vineyards and careful winemaking.

 

These wonderful little "marble potatoes" – just a little bigger than hazelnuts – cook up tender and rich in butter and broth.

These wonderful “marble potatoes” – just a bit bigger than hazelnuts – cook up tender and buttery rich.

With this in mind, I decided to keep my meal, especially my steak, really simple, so that the WALT Pinot Noir could shine as the star of the meal.

I cooked my side dishes of string beans and tri-color “marble potatoes” with just butter and chicken broth, and I’ve sketched out the methods, below, for the steak and mushrooms.

Steak – Method:
Hot cast-iron pan, a little bacon fat, salt and black pepper; sear hard on both sides to get a good crust, lower heat and cook rare. Remove steak, let it rest 5 minutes, slice thin. Meanwhile, deglaze pan with red wine and stir in a pat of butter, spoon over meat.

Mushrooms – Method:
Heat clarified butter until golden brown. Stir in chopped mushrooms, cover and cook over low-medium heat. When they begin to soften, stir in 1/3 cup dry red wine. Cover and stir occasionally until mushrooms are cooked through and liquid is absorbed.

 

Steak dinner and WALT Pinot Noir – Happy Birthday Julia Child!

Steak dinner, WALT Pinot Noir – Happy Birthday Julia Child!

By the way, I don’t often cook with this much butter (since I’m Italian, olive oil is more my go-to), but it is Julia Child’s birthday, after all… 😉

The wine pairing worked beautifully. The earthy mushrooms, black pepper and touch of smoky bacon all matched and emphasized similar flavors in the WALT Pinot.

And as for umami – The bacon, the mushrooms, the sear on the steak, and even the broth built this “fifth flavor” into the meal, and succeeded in making it even more Pinot-friendly.

 

Organic string beans from the farmers market, cooked with butter and broth...

Organic string beans, cooked with butter and broth…

It’s a great example of the way that very simple cooking can be exactly what a superb wine needs.

By supporting the wine’s flavors, and not overpowering the lighter body that’s typical of Pinot Noir, this straightforward steak dinner brought out the best in the wonderful WALT “Clos Pepe” Pinot.

I hope you’ve been discovering and enjoying delicious wine-with-food pairings of your own. And I hope you continue to do so – during Drink Wine With Dinner® Month, and beyond…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Don’t miss “Rosina’s 5 Non-Rules” of Food and Wine Pairing, “10 Wines ~ 10 Pasta Recipes” and more in Drink Wine With Dinner® ~ An Introduction!. Special Price – $7.95!

Do You Have Your Copy Yet??? Don’t miss “Rosina’s 5 Non-Rules” of Food and Wine Pairing, “10 Wines ~ 10 Pasta Recipes,” and lots more in my fun, foolproof ebook, Drink Wine With Dinner® ~ An Introduction. Special Price $7.95 – Download Yours Now!

Until next time, my friends –
Cheers and happy tastings,
Rosina

PS ~ Want to nab a *free* membership in the fun, interactive Drink Wine With Dinner Club, and get tasty content delivered straight to your Inbox? Just *Click Here* to join instantly!

And as always, please be sure to grab your *free download* of “Rosina’s 5 Non-Rules of Wine and Food Pairing.”

It’s the best way I know to help you make the foods *you* love taste even better!

Email me anytime at Rosina@DrinkWineWithDinner.com with comments or questions. I look forward to hearing from you!

Cheers once again,
Rosina