Recommendation

Wine is the answer, but I can’t remember the question!

Which is why I have a great wine for you that is at a great price. Before I give you this recommendation I want to let everyone know that a Napa Cabernet, although great, are not the only good Cabernet out there. So the next time you see it on the menu try an Argentinian Cab and thank me later!

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TAPIZ CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009

Sell price: (10$-15$)

Some wine maker notes:

  • Expressive aromas of cassis with delicate touches of pepper, spices and chocolate. In the palate is long and persistent. Features sweet tannins.

I would like to end this on a serious note by saying to all the women out there that drive me to drink…I have never thanked you! 

as always,

Buon Appetito America!

JCL

Neapolitan-Style Shellfish

The other day I was out with a beautiful young lady who preceded to ask me a question to which I could not answer. She turned to me and said “what is the greatest dish that you had ever had.” I would like to think my silence was partially because I was distracted by her but in all honesty I did not know. Then it hit me. While I was in Naples I came across the most simple, delicious yet elegant dish I had ever had. 

When I got back to the states I had tried to duplicate it to the best of my ability, yet I always fell a bit short. The dish was always great but it wasnt Naples great. After tampering with the ingredients a bit, I think ive got it!

Without further ado I give to you:

Cozze e’ Vongole alla Napoletana (Neapolitan-style shellfish)

Cook time: ~ 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 5 1/2 lb mixed clams and mussels
  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Bermuda onions (finely chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
  • 1 leek (cut into rings)
  • 1 lb of tomatoes (coarsely chopped)
  • 4 cups dry white wine
  • ~ 3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper

The first step is a little trick that I learned. Instead of rinsing your shellfish place them in a pot of cold water that has a cup of corn meal in it for about 30-45 minutes. The cornmeal will slightly be absorbed into the shellfish helping expel all the sand that is inside.

While they are draining start de-bearding your mussels. The “beard” is the course like thread that mussels use to attach themselves to rocks and piers.  You may use your fingers or a knife to help grasp the beard and pull it quickly toward the hinge of the shell. The beard rips out of the mussel and should be discarded.How-To-Clean-and-Debeard-Mussels

Next, scrub the surface of your shellfish to remove any sand and corn meal residue.

Over medium-hi heat, heat the olive oil in a large pot and begin to saute’ the garlic, onions and leeks. When the onions have become translucent begin to stir int he tomatoes and season with salt and pepper and cook briefly. (about 4 minutes)

Next, add the shellfish , cover the pot and cook for another 4 minutes. Be sure to shake the pot several times while they are cooking.

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pour in the wine, blend in the parsley and then cover the pot cooking for another 10 minutes on medium heat. When finished be sure to discard any of the mussels or clams that did not open and serve in a bowl with the broth you have created.

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All I have left to say is make sure that there is bread for dipping

and as always,

Buon Appetito America!

JCL

Ham-and-Cheese Waffles

The other day I went to a restaurant that advertised breakfast anytime. So I ordered waffles during the age of enlightenment!!!

My friends, modern-day cooking is all about deconstructing a dish and then reconstructing it into something that is as good as the original. What makes this a daunting task is that the dish you are trying to transform is probably a classic that is being enjoyed all over the world. No matter how intricate or subtle, we live in a culinary world that is all about deconstructing food and making it taste superb!

In this entry im going to try something different. Some say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Many people settle for a bowl or fruit, oatmeal or even just a cup of coffee to get their day started. All I can say to that is…What if I can make breakfast the best tasting meal of the day, would you ever want to settle for a bowl of fruit?

So the next time you are making breakfast for family, friends or a one-night-stand try this recipe and they will definitely want to come back for more:

Ladies and Gentlemen I give to you:

Cialde con Prosciutto e Formaggio(Ham-and-Cheese Waffles)

serving size ~ 12 waffles (depending on size of waffle iron)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda and salt
  • 3 large egg whites (keep yolks separate)
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup soda water
  • 12 tbsp ham
  • 12 tbsp shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • and of course a Waffle Iron

Pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees F or plug-in your Belgian waffle maker to get the iron hot. If you have a oven iron heat the iron until very hot.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the first 5 ingredients. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg whites and let sit for a few minutes.

In a separate mixing bowl whisk the yolks, butter, buttermilk and soda water. Then gradually mix that same bowl into your large bowl of dry ingredients leaving your bowl of egg whites to be mixed in last.

Loosely chop up your ham. Coat the waffle iron with a non-stick spray( lite butter or oil will also work) pour your batter over your waffle iron. Scatter about 1 tbsp of ham and cheese over each waffle.

Cook until golden brown and make sure they are cooked all the way through. I recommend serving with a nice warm maple syrup and butter.

Hey! Who ever said that ham and cheese was only a sandwich!

and as always,

Buon Appetito America!

JCL

Recommendation

“Wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, every day more civilized.” –  Andre Simon

When you are surrounded with great people and pop the cork on your first bottle of wine, there is no way that it will be your last. Take it from me, as you continue to open bottle after bottle your conversations go from good to entertaining in 3 bottles flat!

This next wine I am about to share with you is a great selection for any occasion. From the moment I tasted it I knew that I needed to share it with the world!photo

Candor Zinfandel Lot 2

Sell price: (15$-20$)

I know what your thinking but you are not mistaken. Candor does not have a vintage for their Lot 2 Zinfandel. It is a blend of two different locations and two different vintages!

Some winemaker notes:

  • Exhibits bright berry flavors, vanilla and licorice on the nose. Initial impressions of lush red fruits strawberry and cherry – integrate well with silky tannins and lead to a round and full mouth-feel!

“Candor Lot 2 gains more complexity, shows plenty of youthful vibrancy, and has the backbone to mature gracefully. By working with experienced family farmers in proven Zinfandel growing regions, we can highlight all the best qualities of the varietal. We get one classic California Zinfandel, with moderate alcohol and impeccable zest.”

Austin Hope
 

and as always,

Buon Appetito America!

JCL

Parmesan and Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that is overlooked in many everyday households. Not only is this recipe very easy but also very healthy! Cauliflower itself is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is also a great source of protein and can be used in a great diet for weight loss! The next time you open your pantries throw away all those EasyMac’s and lunchables and make room for the stuff that can not only benefit you but also taste great.

This recipe makes the perfect side dish to elevate any main entrée. However, don’t be surprised if you find yourself eating all the Cauliflower instead! 🙂

Parmigiano e aglio cavolfiore (Parmesan and Garlic Roasted Cauliflower)

Cook time: ~ 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of Cauliflower
  • 6 cloves garlic(minced)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 large Ziploc resealable bag
  • 1 large baking sheet

First start by preheating your oven to 450 degrees F

Start your Mise-en-place (prep) by cutting the green cabbage like stem off the cauliflower and break the large head into small fleurettes

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Put the cauliflower aside and mince all of your garlic. In the large resealable bag add the cauliflower first, then the oil and lastly the garlic. Seal the bag and give it a good shake so the cauliflower is equally coated by your mixture.

drizzle some oil on the baking sheet first and then place your cauliflower in the pan so the “tree-like” bush is sticking upwards. Season with the salt and pepper (if you want a little extra flavor try truffle salt).

place the cauliflower in the oven for 25 minutes. Stir halfway through the cooking time. With 5 minutes remaining take out and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese lightly over the contents of the pan. Bake for 5 more minutes until golden brown.

Remove contents from oven and give a second sprinkle of the parmesan and serve!

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You say “cauliflower, YUK!” I say “just give it a try”

and as always,

Buon Appetito America!

JCL

 

Also if you really like cauliflower see:

Farfalle pasta with cauliflower! (https://peacelovepasta.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/recipe-entry-2/)

Recommendation

Italian red wines continue to captivate my senses when accompanying any dish. I like to switch up my wine selections to include other regions of the world but I always find myself wanting to trying new Brunello’s, Barolo’s and Super Tuscan’s, etc…When speaking of Italian beauty, I don’t think its whats in the drinking water but instead whats in that 750ml of grape goodness that is responsible for all its greatness.

Dining out the other night I stumbled across a wonderful Montepulciano that brought my date to her knees! LOL..I like to think most Italian men have those same qualities 🙂  However, this particular Sangiovese/Merlot blend had my attention!

2008 La Braccesca Vino Nobile di Montepulciano:

Sold anywhere from $20~$25

Some winemaker notes:

  • This medium bodied Montepulciano has a fresh vanilla front. Chalky tannin attack, then smooth on the palate, sweet red berry fruits, palate also with velvety feel. Supple and mouth-filling texture. Long and good.

and as always,

Buon Appetito America!

JCL

Wine Publication #7

How “Merlot” can you go!

Open up your brain tanks everyone, I’m about to pour some premium Vino knowledge! It is amazing since I’ve started this blog how many questions people message me every week about food and wine. The most recurring question I get is about which wines pairs best with certain foods/cuisine.

I want to first start off by saying, drink what you like! Dont let the snobby wine talk get you down. Over 90% of people in the wine world couldn’t tell, or care the difference between a $10 bottle and a $100 bottle (the best bottle of wine I ever had the pleasure of tasting was sold to me for $3 dollars out of a gentleman’s basement). With wine, comes rules and with rules the enjoyment factor is diminished. It is a beverage that is meant to bring together families and friends and be shared with good conversation. Take it from me, more often than not you tend to throw your inhibitions to the wind allowing for some much-needed frivolity!

Now don’t get me wrong. The wine pairing idea is not a hoax and for the most part is quite valid. It is true that certain varietals of wine can enhance certain types of cuisine. However, I tend to typically drink red wine and don’t give a shit if a nice Riesling will compliment my fettucine alfredo (but that doesn’t mean I havent tried it)! the idea is to drink what you like but not be afraid to try new things! So when you are hosting your next dinner party or out for a nice meal try pairing with what you are going to order *BUT ONLY IF YOU LIKE THE SUGGESTION*

Enough Rambling, this chart should be of some help:

and as always,

Buon Appetito America!

JCL