Opinions on food, drink and articles/TV shows involving them

Posts tagged ‘Wine’

Quinoa and Riesling

What the heck is quinoa? It’s pronounced “keen-wah” and is a grain that nutty and full of protein! It contains all of the amino acids, making it a complete protein, so it is excellent for vegetarians. Quinoa is also gluten-free, so those who are not able to digest products with gluten may enjoy quinoa as well. If you’ve never eaten quinoa, it’s similar to couscous or brown rice and is slightly crunchy in texture. Pictured below is a red quinoa dish that I made:

For this dish, I did not have a recipe, but made it up as I went along. I cooked 1 cup of quinoa with the recommended amount of water, as well as 1/2 teaspoon of salt (I try not to use a lot of salt in my cooking) and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika. I love the taste of smoked paprika and think it makes a great addition to many foods. While the quinoa was cooking, I sautéed 1 diced green pepper, 1 diced onion, and 1 package of mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika and 1/4 teaspoon of chipotle pepper powder.

After the vegetables were tender, I added some chardonnay (because I had some in the fridge) and allowed it evaporate a little bit. When the quinoa was cooked, I added it to the vegetables, mixed, added some smoked paprika on top, and it was ready to serve. It was pretty tasty for a quick meal, but probably could have used a little more chipotle pepper powder. I added some extra chipotle powder as well as some more smoked paprika on top of the dish pictured below:

With the meal, I drank the wine pictured below. The smoky flavor of the paprika made the Riesling more tart. I’ll give my meal 2.75 stars.

A nice German Riesling: Pfalz, 2007 Burrweiler Altenforst. I’m not going to try to pronounce the name as I have no knowledge of the German language; however, I’ve been told that halbtrocken translates to half-dry or semi-dry. This wine is bright, crisp, and wonderful.  It starts out slightly sweet and fruity and finishes with a nice citrus quality that makes your mouth water for more. I’m going to give this one 4.25 grapes, but I will say that I’m biased to this one as I’ve enjoyed it a couple of times before.


Pumpkin pancakes and mixed grape wine

About me: I have a self-professed love for food. My taste includes everything from Taco Bell to foie gras and I enjoy trying new things. I’ll try at least a bite of almost anything just to see what it’s like. My passion for food increased when I moved away from my friends and family for a job and found myself cooking a lot more as I had more time on my hands. Recently, a friend suggested that I start a food blog and it just made sense. The focus of this blog will be the things that I eat and drink, as well as the occasional commentary on food articles or television shows. For me, food and photography go hand in hand. My brother often makes fun of me, saying that I spend more time making my food look pretty for a  picture, than I do eating it. While this is probably true, I like to make food look good. Presentation is certainly a lot of what makes food look appetizing; therefore, pictures will be included as a compensatory rule of mine. My goal is to make you drool and entice your appetite. Let me know if it works!

I believe that people should give credit where credit is due. For this reason, I am starting out my blog discussing the very food item that a friend and I ate when she suggested I start a food blog: pumpkin pancakes. This recipe came from Better Homes and Gardens: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/pancakes-waffles/pumpkin-pancakes/. It yielded about 13-15 6-inch diameter pancakes. My friend and I enjoyed the pancakes with an all-natural syrup, however, maple syrup or regular Aunt Jemina or Mrs. Butterworth will also do the trick. It was excellent with one modification. In my opinion, the added pumpkin pie spice is a must! The recipe suggests a modification of adding 1/2 teaspoon, however, I like the spicy flavors, so I added about 1 teaspoon. That being said, I still think it could have used 1.5 teaspoons of the spice. The other modification I made was to add bittersweet chocolate chips to some of the batter before cooking. The chocolate chips brought out the spice to an extent; however, I preferred the pancakes without it so the pumpkin flavor is really showcased.

There are several things I really liked about this recipe. One is that the pancakes came out really fluffy and very moist. Another is that the recipe is quite easy to make. Third, these pancakes provided me with an easy, quick breakfast for about a week: 30 seconds in the microwave and viola. I simply cooked up all of the batter when I made them and stored them in a plastic bag in the fridge. I don’t recommend saving the batter and cooking it later. In my experience, pancake batter that is refrigerated and used later tends to get runny, and runny batter does not make for fluffy pancakes! Quite the opposite, in fact! Other variations certainly could be made with this recipe. For example, one could add whole wheat flour to replace a portion of the all-purpose flour to make these slightly healthier. Another heart healthy addition is ground flax seed, which would provide a heartier texture as well as added fiber. Nuts, such as walnuts or pecans, added to the batter before cooking would also make a great addition. The picture from the recipe website appears to have caramel on top and I have no doubt that that would also make an excellent pairing for the pumpkin. Overall, I’d give the recipe 4 stars (out of 5).

Next up, wine. I like wine, but am far from a sommelier, so my knowledge of this topic stems mainly from wine tasting and festivals. That being said, I was at the local wine store searching for a Cabernet Franc, when I discovered a Shiraz Viognier. I was immediately intrigued by this mix. As a Virginia native, I know that Viongier has become quite a popular grape in the past 5-10 years. Viognier is a white grape and Shiraz is a red grape. I thought this mix was unique, but perhaps mixing is becoming more common. I’m sure that someone more knowledgeable than I can enlighten me on wines that include both red and white grapes. This particular wine was 95% Shiraz and 5% Viognier from 2007 and priced at only $12.99. The brand is “Innocent Bystander,” which is also what attracted me to this wine as I enjoy people watching. The Shiraz added a nice spicy flavor and the Viognier added a hint of sweetness! It had a fruity aroma and finished smoothly. Another bonus: no wine opener needed here as the bottle was twist-off! Proof that good wine does not necessarily need a cork! I’ll give it 3.5 grapes (out of 5). Yes, I’ve decided that grapes will be my rating system for wines. Perhaps hops may constitute a rating system for beer, but that I’ll save that decision for a future post.