The Guest Gourmet
MONTHLY FOODIE NEWS-BLOG
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Inspired by Wine Country
Organic Field Greens with Sauvignon Blanc Pairing
This week I took my ﬁrst wine tour in Temecula. When ﬁrst arriving upon wine
country I was amazed that I had not stumbled upon this beautiful place before.
After only a 20 minute drive we were on the main street that is surrounded by rows
and rows green grape vines, beautiful castle like wineries, and blue ponds lined with
wooden fences. Nature at it's best.
We didn't waste anytime getting down to business: wine and food
tasting. We began with a light and crisp variety of white wines.
The ﬁrst was 2006 Sauvignon Blanc. Crisp, fragrant with the
slightest under tones green apple and ﬂoral aromas, it paired
perfectly with an organic salad with dried cranberries, local goat
cheese, toasted walnuts and a lemon vinaigrette. Next was a wine
I had never tried before, Golden Jubilee. This was a sweet and
fun wine with ﬂavors of ripe peach and pineapple.Complimented
with a savory warmed goat cheese and artichoke dish, it paired
perfectly. After touring several different wineries I found my
favorite wine of the day, which came from the family owned
Ponte Vineyards. A crisp chardonnay with the hints of coconut,
marshmallow, vanilla,and green apple. This along with my "Shrimp Scampi with
Linguine " was a great ending to a great day.
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How To Pair Wine with Food
Pairing a wine with a dish is not always an easy thing to do. It takes a ﬁrm
understanding of the ﬂavors and ingredients to make a successful match. The great
thing about wine pairing is that there are no set rules. Red wine doesn't have to go
with red meat, just as white wine doesn't have to go with poultry or ﬁsh. Sometimes
when serving a steak, I will choose to go with a nice full bodied Chardonnay to
balance out the richness of the meat. As I learned wine tasting, no wine is made the
same. Which offers endless possibilities of pairings.
There are though, a few keys to remember when planning a wine pairing.
• Your nose knows best!!
While taste is naturally the way to "taste"
there are only 4 senses your taste buds can
recognize, sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. By
smell, we can recognize some 200 ﬂavors.
It is best to ﬁrst smell your wine, in
general, checking for fruity or earthy
aromas, quality of the bottle and alcohol
content. If a wine smells strongly of
alcohol, it is a stronger bodied wine. If it
smells of fruit or earth under tones, then it
is a milder taste and lower alcohol level.
Smelling your wine also prepares your
taste buds and "awakes" the palate.
• Balancing ﬂavors.
Pairing a sweeter wine with something savory and and salty is a natural pairing.
The salt in the food with lend itself nicely with a refreshing, crisp,sweet wine. Just as
a heavier wine would go nice with something of a heartier meal, such as red meat
or a tomato sauce. Imagine the classic french fries and a milkshake. You wouldn't
want a milkshake and a cookie, or a burger with a cup of black coffee, because
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there would be no balance of sweet and savory, it would just be overwhelming.
Wine pairing is just like life, it's all about balance.
• Start out light, and end strong, then, umm, go light again!!
Picture a color scale, in this case we will say it is blue. The ﬁrst shade is light blue,
then baby blue, navy and ends with midnight blue. Starting with the lightest variety
and ending strong. This should be your wine scale. If serving more than just an
entree, it is best to start with a light wine and introduce heavier wines as the meal
goes on. Dessert should always be light however. If serving dessert I recommend
going for a sparkling wine. Many times a sweet wine is served at dessert, such as
Moscato, and it battles with the sweetness of the dessert and is overwhelming. With
a sparkling wine, it is refreshing and light, perfect after a great meal.
Fun Wine Vocabulary
Body—the viscosity of the wine (a wine can be as thick as water or as thick as
Big—high in alcohol
Buttery—having an aroma of butter or butterscotch
Crisp—high in fruit acidity (in a positive way)
Finish—the wine’s aftertaste
Fruity—the fruit of the wine is made from the grape or another fruit ﬂavor is
Bouquet-total aroma of the wine.
Tannin-a natural constituent of wines, especially reds. It is a bitter-tasting material
which is partially responsible for preserving wines during their sometimes long
aging periods. Bite a grape seed to experience the ﬂavor of tannin or have a cup of
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Cooking With Wine
I think one of the best ways to spend an evening at home is pouring a nice glass of
wine and having a nice dinner. If possible, I always prefer to cook with wine in
recipes when called for. Cooking with wine adds such a great depth of ﬂavor that is
impossible to ﬁnd any other way. Also, wine is a healthy alternative to dishes as
opposed to using extra butter or oils. For example, when making a risotto, instead
of adding butter and oil in the beginning, I add just a
tablespoon of butter, no oil, and add extra white wine.
Or when roasting a whole chicken. I used to stuff the
breast with pats of garlic butter, now I add 1 cup
chicken broth along with1/2 cup vermouth to the
bottom of my roasting pan and the chicken is so moist
Choosing which wine to cook with is sometimes a
challenge. The same rules do not apply to cooking as
they do to pairing. As a basic rule, you always want to
cook with a wine you would drink. I wouldn't make
shrimp scampi out of my Ponte Chardonnay, but I
wouldn't use a bottle that smelled like it was about to
turn. I have made many delicious meals with a$5 bottle
of wine. Remember, you always reduce wine by 50%,
by doing that you will be cooking the alcohol out, and
concentrating the wines ﬂavor, which is why you need a
nice tasting wine.
If a recipe calls for dry white wine, a safe bet would be an American Sauvignon
Blanc. This wine will be very dry and offer a fresh light herbal tilt that will enhance
nearly any dish. For red wines, I almost always use port, unless I am making a
special recipe that calls for something special. And, last but not least, Never Use
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Techniques to Cooking with Wine
• When making a pan sauce on the stove, always add wine to a hot pan, do not
boil, but let simmer so the wine doesn't turn bitter. Then add stock or other
• Always reduce by 50%.
• Add wine to soups, stews and chili's in the beginning, right when you add broth so
alcohol can cook out and ﬂavors can blend.
• If using a drinking wine to cook, it is a nice balance to serve the same wine with
• Move over, cork, and make way for screw caps. Today, screw caps are replacing
corks on more than just inexpensive bottles. Currently, screw caps seal 75 percent
of Australian wines and 93 percent of New Zealand wines, and they're gaining
popularity in all countries, including here in the U.S.
• The United States is the 4th largest country to
produce wine. Italy is #1, followed by France
• The top three imported wines sold in the U.S.
are Yellowtail (Australia), Cavit (Italy), and
Concha y Toro (Chile).
• According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, there
are 100 calories in a 5-ounce glass of wine
(compared to 150 calories in a 12-ounce beer).
Plus wine is a fat-free and cholesterol-free drink.
• One 750 ml bottle of wine contains 2.4 pounds
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of grapes, 25.6 ounces of wine, and 4 glasses.
• Thomas Jefferson helped stock the wine cellars of the ﬁrst ﬁve U.S. presidents and
was very partial to ﬁne Bordeaux and Madeira.
• Costco is the largest wine retailer in the USA. Their wine sales exceed $750
• The color of wine comes from the grape skins. White wines are produced by
removing the skins shortly after harvesting. California White Zinfandel is actually
made from red Zinfandel grapes after the skins have been removed.
• White wines gain color as they age, while red wines lose color over time.
• Each grapevine in a vineyard can produce an average of 5 bottles of wine.
• Many grapevines will produce good-quality grapes for more than 40 years.
Shrimp Scampi with Linguine
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• 1/4 c. olive oil
• 1 lb peeled and deveined large shrimp (raw; 20 to 25 per lb)
• 1/4 c. minced fresh garlic
• 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper ﬂakes
• 2 lemons
• 1/2 c. dry white wine
• 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon black pepper
• 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 3/4 pound linguine pasta, dry
• 2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
• 1/4 c. toasted pine nuts
Fill a medium stock pot with water and 1 tsp salt. Bring to boil. Once boiling, add
pasta and cook until al dente, about 7-9 minutes. Drain and rinse under luke warm
water for only a few seconds to remove excess starch. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. In a large bowl or plate
season shrimp with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Then using a micro plane or the
smallest holes inbox grater zest the lemons (using only the yellow skin, not the white
bitter pith). Toss shrimp to coat and set aside. Once pan is is hot, add the olive oil
and 2 1/2 tablespoons of butter. Melt butter into the oil. Once butter has melted
add 1/2 the garlic, cook until garlic is soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the
shrimp and juice of 1 lemon and sauté until just pink (still under done), using a
slotted spatula remove shrimp from pan and set aside. Then add wine and
remaining garlic and reduce by 1/2. Once reduced add remaining butter, lemon
juice, red pepper ﬂake, shrimp, salt and pepper, minced parley, and pasta. Using
tongs, gently mix to combine.
Divide into bowls and and top with toasted pine nuts and Enjoy!
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Created by : Chef Teri McIllwain
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