All posts tagged Food

Santa Margherita…it’s Spaghetti Margherita!!

Spaghetti… the world’s favorite pasta! The love of pasta, especially spaghetti, needs no intro… however, an introduction to my Margherita-style spaghetti does! So, as part of my special contribution for the upcoming event, Authentic Italian Table: A Celebration of Pasta, Italy’s gift to the world, I’m sharing my recipe below for Margherita-inspired spaghetti. If you’ve ever had Margherita pizza, and like it, then you’ll LOVE this pasta dish, too.

This recipe makes approximately 6 servings (depending on how hungry everyone is).

Get ready! In addition to about a pound of spaghetti (16oz package) you will need:

  • 1 cup fresh sweet basil, chopped; and few extra sprigs for garnish
  • 6 0unces fresh Mozzarella cubed into 1/4 inch squares
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • Bay leaf…2 or 3 dried bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped extra fine
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 lb. cherry tomatoes, cut in halves (I use approximately 1.5lbs… I like lots of tomatoes)
  • 2 tsp. pepperoncino (crushed red pepper)
  • Touch of salt, as needed
  1. Prepare spaghetti adding a few dried bay leaves in water while cooking. Bay leaf adds a slight sweet herbal taste to your pasta. I’m pretty sure you will like it! Plus, bay leaves simmering in boiling water generate a lovely scent.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan begin sautéing garlic under low to medium heat until fragrant (approximately 2 minutes), then add tomatoes with a touch of salt and pepperoncino. Cover and cook for about 8 minutes. Try not to overcook the tomatoes. At this point, add pasta. (Note: I prep spaghetti “al dente”, since the pasta is going to cook an additional 3 minutes under low heat.)
  3. Right before you’re ready to serve, pour spaghetti into large serving bowl folding in diced fresh mozzarella, grated parmesan cheese, and chopped basil. Finally, garnish pasta with a few whole basil sprigs then dust top of the dish with finely chopped Italian parsley.

An optional thought: since it has always been in my nature to jazz things up a little bit, I do add extra pepperoncino. By now, everyone knows I love my cuisine on the spicier side!

Important to note, for Italians…WINE is very much considered a “food” category too! That being said, I just had to complete my food-and-wine experience with an Italian Pinot Grigio, and of course it comes from Santa Margherita.

There you have it — Spaghetti Margherita paired with Pinot Grigio from Santa Margherita. Salute y Buon Appetito!

 

Santa Maria…No, It’s Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio & Spaghetti Margherita!

 

P.S. This post is entered in the Pasta Blogger Competition Houston 2018. Try to follow all the fabulous food posts via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: #TrueItalianTaste

Please join us for:

Authentic Italian Table: A Celebration of Pasta, Italy’s gift to the world!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

 2 – 5 p.m.

Bayou City Event Center

9401 Knight Road

Houston, Texas 77045

$35 per person

Click here for event registration information:

Weekend with Lucas & Lewellen

Springtime means wines for warmer weather! Then, just like that… last Friday afternoon, Spring literally arrived to my front door! My friendly FedEx representative pleasantly greeted me with some new wine samples from Lucas & Lewellen Estate Vineyards, of Santa Barbara County, California. In the package: Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc — perfect  for casual get-togethers. So, I made it a Lucas & Lewellen weekend having some neighbors over Saturday for lunch, and pairing these wines with Spring-inspired dishes.

Mind your peas & carrots… we’re having herb baked chicken breast seasoned with fresh coriander, lemon-thyme, and marjoram!

Lucas & Lewellen 2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir, comprised of 94% Pinot Noir and 6% Viognier. Those citrus blossoms with the essence of fresh raspberries, strawberries, and pear, plus crisp acidity, complimented my baked chicken breast, peas and carrots, and saffron rice.

Lucas & Lewellen 2017 Sauvignon-Blanc
, made up of 90% Sauvignon-Blanc and 10% Viognier. Boy, those tropical aromas on the nose and peachy palate paired perfectly with my crab-cake in mango salsa made with fresh cilantro, and Hatch New Mexico mild green chiles.

These wines were so refreshing and fun! My neighbors loved them, and the food. Salud!

Mango salsa, cilantro, mild green chile with my crab cake!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nemea Agiorgitiko & New Wines of Greece

Today, Palm Sunday, I’ve been thinking ahead to Easter next week. This year offers two great opportunities to celebrate the Easter holiday: with traditional Western countries on April 1st, and then again Orthodox Christian Easter April 8th. Plus, it also offers additional options to expand my wine-and-food-pairing thoughts with some New Wines of Greece, which I have been eager to try.

I’ve been fascinated with the country of Greece from early childhood. My Grandpa, Angelo Dallas, came from the old country — a little village outside of Athens — and settled in Carlsbad, New Mexico, where he opened a diner called The Deluxe Restaurant. There at The Deluxe Restaurant, Grandpa Angelo met my beautiful Grandma Francis!

With fond memories of both my grandparents and their love of  home-style cooking, I learned to master roasted lamb and lemon herb potatoes. I invited friends to come over and try my lamb-and-potato dinner with a bonus taste of a new wine from Greece… 2014 Driopi Nemea-Agiorgitiko, purchased at Vinology Houston for $28.

Seasoned lamb with Pensey spices, olive oil, and lemon juice!

Roasted Lamb and potatoes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agiorgitiko is a Greek red wine grape traditionally grown in Nemea, a region north of the Peloponnese close to the narrow strip of land joining the peninsula to the mainland of Greece. This glorious red Greek grape is used to make light rosé-style wines and also fragrant, rich, full-bodied red wines like the Driopi (featured above). Paired with roasted lamb, it’s a match made in heaven. Lately, drinking Greek wines has become quite fashionable! Good for Greece, too, since the increasing number of boutique wineries are producing some excellent wines.

A special note to you grandpa, from your grandchildren who still smile, laugh, and cherish your silly nickname!  With love…  αναποτελεσματική μαϊμού (maimou fafoútis).

Cheers to you both in heaven, Grandpa and Grandma! Your family loves, and misses you!!

Grandpa Angelo Dallas “The Greek”

Francis Dallas, my beautiful and loving Grandma!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discovering Cantele Negroamaro Rosato

Negroamaro is a red wine grape widely grown in Puglia, Italy, used to make big beautiful red wines like the most recognized DOC Salice Salentino. It is also used to make one of the best Rose wines I have ever tasted: Cantele Negromaro Rosato.

I first sampled a variety of Cantele wines last October during a dinner hosted by wine writer Do Bianchi at Houston’s Italian restaurant Mascalzone. Enjoying the Cantele wine dinner, pairing presentation and experience, especially the nuance of Negroamaro … I selected their Rosato as an ideal choice for my own Italian celebration — a friend’s 50th birthday party. I needed a special Italian wine for my party … delicate, aromatic, and unique to match my friend’s lovely character and chic Italian style! And it was the perfect party pairing, along with antipasto, assorted cheeses, and music by her favorite Italian singer, Laura Pausini, as our soundtrack for the evening. It was such a great night, filled with lots of food, family, close friends, and my friend telling me she felt so loved.

A big thank you to Vinology Houston for special ordering and finding Cantele Negromaro Rosato for me; apparently, the importer only sends a small allocation to Texas.

Thanks also to Do Bianchi for the invitation to the Cantele wine dinner, and the introduction to their awesome wines! P.S. I promised to save Do Bianchi a bottle of Rosato, and I did 🙂

The Birthday Girl!!!

Concannon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Yesterday, August 31st, was #CabernetDay and for Conconnan Vineyard the celebration of Cabernet Sauvignon continues through September!

Last year in August at the Wine Bloggers Conference, I had first-hand experience of a special excursion trip hosted by the Livermore Valley Wine Country to Concannon Vineyard for an elegant dinner, unique conversation with winemakers, and lovely visit with the Concannon family. The featured picture of Concannon Cabernet Sauvignon was a gift from the winery thanking all the wine bloggers who came out to visit that evening. The experience at Concanoon was so memorable, I saved my gift for a very special occasion — a birthday dinner for a dear friend. On the menu, for my dinner party: filet mignon. And, yes, it was incredibly heartwarming to hear my guests enthusiastically comment, “What a stellar wine!” “What is this?” And, “Where can I get this? I love it!”

My thoughts: wine paired for special occasions should be chosen based on an experience, feelings and memories. Happy Cabernet Day, and thank you, Concannon Vineyards!

The dinner table is set at Concannon!

Sunset over Concannon Vineyard!

Concannon Vineyard House in evening!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Klinker Brick Winery Albariño

August 1st is International Albariño Day! Traditionally, the Albariño grape is grown in Rias Baixas, a wine region in Galicia, Spain. However, Lodi, California, is knocking out some pretty outstanding Albariño, too! So, today I’m high-lighting my favorite Klinker Brick Winery Albariño from Lodi, CA.

I first tasted this particular wine at the Wine Bloggers Conference last August in Lodi. Those peach and apricot aromas on the nose, along with the high acidity on the palate, paired nicely with the tossed kale salad we had at dinner.

With the Klinker Brick family (pictures featured above and below), I also had the unique opportunity to taste a variety of other Klinker Brick wines, which are all exceptional.

There is so much happening this week internationally with Albariño, stay tuned with #AlbarinoFiesta and Lodi tour of Albariño! Wow, wish I could be there this week in Lodi, and try that delicious Klinker Brick Albariño sorbet!!

Dinner with Klinker Brick Winery in Lodi, CA. #WBC16

The Klinker Brick family, Father and daughter Farrah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cantina Puianello Lambrusco Barghi

Very important: Lambrusco is served in a tumbler!!

There are three important things I learned about Lambrusco.

First, Lambruso is like a soft drink or wine cooler—meant to be paired with joyful, happy and family-style dining occasions. After tasting a few sips of Lambrusco, with its slight sugar buzz, semi-sweet flavors of berries and pomegranate, and an overall appealing tartness, I would definitely agree with a sense of happiness.

Second, Lambrusco pairs perfectly with comfort foods, and is married to classic Italian cuisine from Emilia-Romagna region which Italy is also very famous for.

Third, Lambrusco is served in a tumbler.

All things to keep in mind when pairing Lambrusco with an occasion, and the key, honestly, is to have fun!

Last week, I attended a Lambrusco tasting seminar hosted by Jeremy Parzen (@Dobianchi) who is an expert and educator in all things Italy—food, wine, and culture. Jeremy’s overview on dispelling the myths of Lambrusco opened my perspective to the fun state-of-mind this sparkling delight has to offer, and the zest for life Italians have enjoyed for centuries. Coincidently, National Lasagna Day was Saturday evening, and I invited a few neighbors and friends for lasagna dinner paired with one of Jeremy’s tasting selections at seminar from Cantina Puianello Lambrusco Barghi. I have to say, we all enjoyed this delightful Lambrusco, and YES … everyone had fun!! You, too, can enjoy and have fun with Lambrusco, and find selections from Parma to Reggio Emilia, Italy, at Vinology. I purchased this bottle for $14.50.

Jeremy Parzen, wine expert educator! And… famous wine blogger!!

Gwendolyn Knapp (Houston Press Food Editor) tasting Lambrusco!

My friend, Shelly, learning about Lambrusco!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spartico Organic Wine

Organic goodness! Spartico, a wine sample I received from Natural Merchants at the Utiel-Requena event earlier this year. What a sporty, cool name for this red blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet, and Spartico has all sorts of certifications like USDA organic, NON-GMO project verified, Vegan approved, and to top off the list contains no detectable sulfites. Whew, this wine is more than okay to drink!! So here we go—on the nose blackberries, black cherry, and a fresh hint of smokiness. Very tasty too! For those organic-focused consumers, Spartico can be found very easily at the Whole Foods Market. And, with all those meaty, smoky notes on the wine, I paired Spartico with my Becks Prime burger, and even thought about putting on my Spartacus widescreen DVD to give the overall food paring experience justice!

Paired Spartico with my Becks Prime hamburger…tasty!

Mustiguillo Winery Bobal Mestizaje

 

I’m having a Bobal moment!

For those of you who love red wine, you may want to try this intensely structured dark jewel with plenty of bold tannins and pleasing acidy. The Bobal grape is a proud native of Valencia, Spain, where 90% of these vines are grown in the Utiel-Requena province.

Early this year, I attended a wine event hosted by Utiel-Requena (@DOUtielRequena, #URBobal), where I first tasted all sorts of interesting selections of Bobal based wines. Therefore, still having wonderful thoughts of Bobal dancing in my mind, I ran across the Mustiguillo Winery Bobal Mestizaje (pictured above) at Costco for bargain $10.49. Those spicy dark fruits on the nose and palate are a complete black-cherry bomb! Initially, my food-pairing thoughts would have been pasta dishes. But, now I’m visualizing a Bobal tasting party with authentic Valencia-style paella on the menu….

P.S. Even better news—the Bobal grape possesses high concentrations of resveratrol, elements that support anti-aging and promote a healthy heart! Cheers to a younger and healthier me, and drinking more Bobal…

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay

Going through the wine samples last evening, I had the opportunity to finally raise a glass of Wente Vineyards (@Wente / Wente) 2015 Morning Fog Chardonnay. I decided to pair this wine with my no-fail, traditional chicken dinner! Those crisp flavors of green apple, mango, pineapple… highlighted with a touch of vanilla and toasted oak made this Chardonnay an ideal choice to pair with any family-style chicken dinner. Like … baked drumsticks over saffron rice, steamed cauliflower, and baby green salad. Delish!!

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