A TEXT POST

Weekend Wine Pairing: No shopping tonight. Try the quick & easy “kitchen sink” stir-fry


Hey Everyone,

Many of us go food shopping, have a list of the same items you need to replenish, and tend to make the same dinners in some sort of rotation depending on your mood and schedule.

Have you had those nights when you open the fridge and close it… open the cabinets and close them… open the fridge again and close it? A lot of us can not make up our minds on what to have for dinner at this point

What do I want to eat? Should I go food shopping? Should I just order out?

Although you recognize you should probably go food shopping, you stall and wait for the little dinner troll in the fridge to tell you what to make. Here’s a little idea that can buy you another day or so from making the trip to the grocery store.

What to do:

Empty the fridge and throw the kitchen sink at the stove for a quick and easy stir-fry.

What you could use:

(please feel free to substitute vegetables)

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped
  • 1/3 cup babycorns
  • 1 cup snow peas
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts (optional)
  • 2 cups Brown Rice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • Sliced almonds

Other potential items:
Peppers, celery, summer squash, zucchini, cashews, etc.

For protein:
Add some chicken. Vegetarians, toss in some tofu.

Toss all the ingredients in a skillet after heating up the oil and garlic. Cover. Stir and cook for 10 minutes or until everything looks bright and cooked-through. Drizzle the soy sauce on top and stir it in. Top with sliced almonds, cover, and let stand for 2 minutes. Place over rice and serve. This is quick, tasty, and you can avoid lugging grocery bags from the car into your kitchen (for at least one night).

Hopefully you have some wine on hand, but you may have to hit the store for that.  ;)

What wine pairs with stir-fry?

A dry Gewürztraminer is perfect. You could also pour Pinot Gris, or a semi-dry Riesling. However, considering the shopping that needs to be done, enjoy the wine you have in the house and let us know how it works out!

Cheers,

The Hello Vino Team

A TEXT POST

Weekend Wine Pairing: Quinoa Casserole with Fresh Veggies… and some wine of course!


Hey Everyone,

In the spirit of Earth Day, we thought we’d share a green living, healthy food and wine recipe you can try over the weekend.

Buying seasonal, local food is a boon for the environment for a lot of reasons. Since most food travels many miles to reach your table (1,500 miles, on average), locally sourced food cuts back on the climate-change impacts of transportation. Local food also generally uses less packaging, is more fresh, ultimately tastes better, and comes in more varieties. Hit up a local farm stand near you to purchase the ingredients if possible.Quinoa Casserole

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 cup dried currants
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tbls olive oil
  • 1 cup celery, chopped small
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 small zucchini
  • 1 summer squash
  • 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cup boiling water
  • Feel free to substitute veggies, or add mushrooms & onions


Spices:

  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • a pinch of cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp dried ginger, 
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp rock salt
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley or cilantro
  • fresh ground pepper to taste


Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil on medium in a large sauté pan or frying pan
  2. Chop celery in small pieces
  3. Peel and chop carrots in 1/2 inch pieces
  4. Chop zucchini and summer squash in 1 inch pieces
  5. Boil water, add quinoa, simmer 12 min covered, let stand for 5 min
  6. Stir fry celery until transparent, then add carrots (stir fry five minutes)
  7. Add zucchini (stir fry one minute)
  8. Add the spices, except for the fresh herb and salt, lower heat and stir
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  10. Add all ingredients into a casserole dish
  11. Stir in 1 3/4 cups boiling water, cover, and bake 20 minutes. 
  12. Before serving, remove the bay leaves and cinnamon stick
  13. Stir in the minced fresh parsley or cilantro, fresh ground pepper
  14. Serve

Suggested Wine Pairing:

Crisp Sauvignon Blanc with aromas of lemongrass, peach flavor and a round body.

While you’re making the meal, play some tunes!
 
Our pick is Pearl Jam (an all-time favorite). The alt-rockers fit the green bill. Interesting fact: For the past two decades, Pearl Jam has spent over $200,000 to improve forestry in Washington State to donating $100,000 to several groups that focus on climate change as part of the band’s Carbon Portfolio Strategy.

Pearl Jam continuously donates large sums of money to Madagascar and Ecuador’s rain forests in order to offset the carbon emissions that they’ve created on their tours as well.


Rock out with this recipe!
Cheers,

The Hello Vino Team
A TEXT POST

Weekend Wine Pairing: Make your own sushi & pair it with wine


Hello Everyone,

I thought it would be fun to make sushi instead of ordering it this weekend. Set aside some time, set up your station, and paint a delicious little picture on your plate.

What you’ll need for this edible work of art:

  • 1/4 lb. trimmed, raw saltwater fish (Salmon or Yellowtail Tuna)
  • Sharp knife with a cutting board
  • A clump of prepared wasabi
  • A bowl of water
  • 2 cups of prepared sushi rice
  • Soy sauce
  • Japanese pickled ginger


How to marry the fish and rice:

  • Cut the fish into individual slabs approximately 2 inches long, and a 1/4 inch thick
  • cut all the fish at once, but keep the pieces cold (in the fridge or on top of some ice)
  • Wet your hands and grab a bit of rice that fits into your palm, then roll it into a ball
  • Maneuver the rice in your hand and apply a few firm, but gentle squeezes to shape it
  • Your rice ball should be close to the same size of your cut piece of fish
  • Dab a little wasabi on the individual piece of fish
  • Press the shaped rice against the fish & cup the two together
  • Firmly squeeze the fish and rice so it becomes one piece & use your index finger to press down to create a solid shape
  • Garnish your plate with Japanese pickled ginger, and a small portion of wasabi
  • Place some soy sauce in a small dish on the side.


Wine does work wonders

Although many gravitate to beer or sake when eating sushi, surprisingly wine can enhance and compliment raw fish.  Rice flavors in sake could potentially clash with the flavors of the rice you’re eating (unless you are eating sashimi).  Because there are really no rules attached to pairing sushi and wine, the palate playground is a tasty adventure. Many wine lovers are fans of Gewürztraminer and Viognier with sushi. Another crisp white to consider is Sauvignon Blanc, however, sparkling wines do very well in this category too. If you a fan of red wine, then we suggest Pinot Noir.

Our picks for a weekend
sushi and wine pairing:

Wild King Salmon: Chardonnay
A ripe and crisp wine with fruit flavors such as apple, pear, and citrus.Yellowtail Tuna: Champagne
A dry (Brut), light sparkling wine that is refreshing and food-friendly.


Cheers!
The Hello Vino Team
A TEXT POST

Weekend Wine Pairing: Treat Yourself to Brownies & Port

Spring is here, and summer will soon be approaching fast. It’s almost time to start our diets to get into “bathing suit shape”, but until then, let’s live a little.


Bring On the Brownies

This classic brownie recipe (from TasteBook.com) is super simple - it takes about 30-40 minutes total from preparation to baking, and you may have these common ingredients in your cupboard:

  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square pan. In mixing bowl, stir butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat in cocoa, flour, salt and baking powder. Spread batter into pan. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.

Get Playful with Port

Port and chocolate pair together like Forrest and Jenny, who pair together like peas and carrots. But enough about veggies, it’s time for dessert! With this chocolatey deliciousness, you could go with either a Ruby Port or Tawny Port.

In some cases, Tawny Port has actually been worked into the brownies recipe for its nutty flavor characteristics. However, some Tawny Ports can be a bit expensive, so it’s best to stick with the younger, sweeter Ruby Port with your brownies. You also don’t have to be formal and grab a Port (or Porto) from Portugal – there are some excellent Ports being made from U.S. producers, including the Port pictured above (a blend of Tempranillo, Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Sauvignon) from d’Art Winery in Lodi, CA.

If you try out the pairing this weekend, please drop a comment on this blog.

Cheers!

The Hello Vino Team

A TEXT POST

What wine goes with a Moroccan Chophouse and Tapas Bar?


Hello Everyone,

We hope you are having a great week!

My wife and I recently visited a very cool Moroccan Chophouse and Tapas Bar called Tangierino. This chic spot combines the feel of a restaurant and lounge, and is located at the bottom of Bunker Hill in historic Charlestown, MA.Even though you may not expect a place like this to be in an area that is notorious for Irish bars, Tangierino introduces you to Morocco in a romantic way. The restaurant is dimly lit, offers unique seating with small couches or sheer-styled sheets that veil you, and you may have the occasional belly dancer pass by.

Tangierino was a very nice surprise and definitely has a pulse when you’re inside.

The dishes were spectacular with fresh ingredients from New England mixed with Moroccan spices for a flashy flavor.

We started with an appetizer Blazing Beef Tenderloin:
Sliced Prime aged beef, roll of sesame vegetables and ginger, harissa teriyakiWe then ordered Four Bone Za’atar Spiced Rack of Lamb:
Asparagus and Kalamata olives, truffle mashed potatoes, rosemary reduction

Tangierino’s wine list was solid with 66 white wines and 92 red wines.  The majority of the wine list was dominated by wine regions from Italy, France, California, Australia, Argentina, Spain, Oregon and New Zealand.With such a huge list to look at, I wanted to put our money where our mouth is and use the Free Hello Vino iPhone App to get a glass of wine to pair with the appetizer, and also one for dinner.

For the Blazing Beef Tenderloin, Hello Vino suggested a sweet Riesling, Gewürztraminer, or a Syrah/Shiraz. I personally was not in the mood for a white wine, but if I was, I would choose Gewürztraminer. We ended up trying Philippe & Vincent Jaboulet, Crozes-Hermitage, France 2005 Shiraz/Syrah.

I thought this wine was excellent with the harissa teriyaki. The dark berry fruit and hints of vanilla and toast mixed well. This was a full-bodied wine that proved to be a good start.

For the Four Bone Za’atar Spiced Rack of Lamb, Hello Vino recommended Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot. Lately my wife and I have been fans of Zinfandel, so we chose two different glasses. My wife chose one of our recent favorites, Layer Cake Primitivo, Puglia, Italy 2006 (Italian Zinfandel grape)… and I tried DeLoach, Russian River Valley, Califonia 2005/2006 Zinfandel.

The Layer Cake Primitivo did not disappoint for a second time. The creamy balance of jammy fruit mixed with white pepper took the lamb to another level. The DeLoach Zinfandel was a bit hot (high alcohol), but did bring some black pepper, ripe blackberry, and possibly a little oak to the table. This was also pretty good with dinner, but not as smooth as the Primitivo.

Either way, it was fun to challenge the Hello Vino iPhone App in a restaurant with tons of wines to pick from, and to try a delicious food and wine pairing.

Next time you see yourself staring at a wine list, give Hello Vino a whirl and see if it can help you select a glass or bottle.Cheers!
Jim from Hello Vino