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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Greek Pizza and Dead Letter Office Shiraz

When we lived in Cleveland, Mike and I loved this pizza place that was on the first floor of our building. Our favorite pie was their Greek pizza which included Gyro meat as one of the toppings. Now I don’t have a spit and a broiler to make my own gyro meat, but have figured out a tasty alternative. I made this pizza last week when a lamb-loving friend came over for a week night supper.

WINE: 2007 Henry’s Drive “Dead Letter Office” Shiraz, Padthaway (Australia)

We first discovered Henry’s Drive wines and in particular, the Dead Letter Office when I worked for WineStyles in Coronado. A couple of weeks ago, Mike and I popped in a BevMo and were delighted to find the 2007 vintage. I knew a Syrah or Grenache or a Rhone blend would pair well with this pizza. Our friend also loves Syrah, so thought it would be fun to try an Australian version with the meal.

This Shiraz was a fantastic pizza wine. The nose displays chocolate and berries. On the palate, the wine is lush and smooth beginning with dark berries, cinnamon spice and a chocolate finish. It did need time to breathe, so open it up when you place the pizza stone in the oven.

RECIPE: Greek Pizza

In my Homemade Pizza Blog Post, I give a lot of tips on using a pizza stone as well as my recipe for pizza dough and red and white pizza sauce. I made this pizza with white sauce, but I think it would also be great with the red sauce too (I just haven’t tried it yet).

• Pizza dough
• ¼ cup corn meal
• White Pizza Sauce (or Red Pizza Sauce)
• 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
• ½ lb of “gyro meat” (recipe below)
• 1 roma tomato, diced
• ¼ cup of onion, diced
• ¼ cup feta cheese
• ¼ cup sliced or chopped olives (I prefer kalamata)
• ½ tsp dried oregano leaves

1. Place pizza stone in oven and turn oven to 450° or 500°. Let heat for 30 minutes.
2. Sprinkle paddle or cutting board (whatever you will use to transfer pizza onto pizza stone) with corn meal.
3. Roll out pizza dough. Add more corn meal if dough is sticking to surface.
4. Top pizza dough with white or red pizza sauce.
5. Spread mozzarella cheese over pizza dough leaving a small rim for the crust.
6. Spread gyro meat over the cheese.
7. Sprinkle olives, onions, tomatoes, and feta cheese over pizza.
8. Sprinkle oregano over top.
9. Slide pizza onto pizza stone in oven.
10. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes until cheese begins to brown.
11. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting and eating.

RECIPE: “Gyro Meat”

• 1 tsp olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 lb ground lamb***
• 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp salt
• 3/4 tsp pepper

1. Heat olive oil in pan on medium high
2. Sauté garlic for 2 minutes.
3. Add ground lamb, oregano, onion powder, salt and pepper.
4. Stir seasoning in lamb and break lamb into small pieces.
5. Cook until no longer pink.

***You only need ½ lb of meat for the pizza. However, I usually find ground lamb in 1 lb. portions. I like to make it all. You can then freeze the leftovers for another pizza. Or you can use the leftovers to make wraps the next day. I use the leftover feta and olives from the pizza, plus diced tomatoes and lettuce. An easy and delicious lunch!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Slightly Spicy Seared Tuna Steaks and Edamame Salad with Snosrap 2007 Cyrano Syrah

The tuna pairs perfectly with the gorgeous edamame salad. This dish is very healthy, yummy, and easy. Don’t skimp on the quality of the tuna as it is best served seared and rare. You can ad more sriracha and/or red pepper flakes to make it spicier. The salad recipe serves four, but I make a whole batch even when it is just my husband and I. The leftovers go great mixed with a can of tuna for lunch the next day.

WINE: Snosrap 2007 Cyrano Syrah

Parsonage is my favorite local winery, and I love this Syrah. Notes of chocolate mingle with the berries on the beautiful bouquet. The palate is full of berry fruit with subtle pepper, spice, and chocolate. The wine was delicious, but I am not sure this is the perfect pairing for this dish. Experiment with it and let me know what you find out.

RECIPE: Slightly Spicy Tuna Steaks
Servings: 2

• 2 (7 oz.) tuna steaks
• ¼ cup olive oil
• 3 tbsp. soy sauce
• 3 tbsp lemon juice
• 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
• 1 tbsp sriracha
• 6 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tsp red pepper flakes
• 1/2 tsp pepper
• 1 tbsp olive oil

1. Combine all ingredients except tuna and 1 tbsp olive oil in bowl to make marinade.
2. Marinate tuna for several hours or overnight.
3. Heat a cast iron skillet on high with 1 tbsp of oil.
4. Cook tuna about 2 -3 minutes per side to achieve a nice sear but a rare tuna steak on the inside.

RECIPE: Edamame Salad
Servings: 4

• 2 cups frozen corn kernels
• 1 lb. shelled frozen edamame
• 1 red bell pepper, chopped
• ½ cup red onion, finely chopped
• 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
• 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
• 1/3 cup lemon juice
• 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• ¾ tsp salt
• ¾ tsp pepper.

1. Thaw corn in refrigerator for a few hours.
2. Cook edamame according to package directions. Once cooked drain and rinse in cold water.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper.
4. Add edamame, corn, red pepper, onion, cilantro and basil to bowl.
5. Stir everything together.
6. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ceviche with Snosrap Sauvignon Blanc

About 10 years ago, I traveled to Panama and ate ceviche for the first time. I loved it. About a year later my brother gave me a junior league cookbook that had this recipe in it. Over the years this has become a staple whenever we host a party. It is one of my husband’s favorite things that I make, so I often half the batch for our personal happy hour or to take along on winery picnics (my husband is always able to polish off the leftovers). This recipe makes about 2 lbs and is always enough (with other appetizers at a party). When serving at a party, I would put out a smaller amount and replenish the serving bowl with ceviche from the fridge or place the serving bowl inside a large bowl with ice.

Ceviche is fish or shrimp marinated in a citrus acid, such as lime juice, that essentially “cook”’ the fish. In reality the acid pickles the fish so appears in taste and texture to be cooked. IMPORTANT: Pickling does not kill parasites or bacteria they way heat will. Use high quality, fresh, clean fish or shrimp!!! I have included pictures with the directions to help you see what the pickling process looks like. I am sure there are hundreds if not thousands of different types of ceviche. This recipe is fairly simple with some Mediterranean flair. I love serving it with the Scoops tortilla chips as this holds the ceviche well. You can also serve in lettuce wraps for a healthier alternative.

This recipe falls into the category of time consuming but not technically difficult. In addition I’ve learned some shortcuts. I used to squeeze a dozen limes to get the lime juice. This always took a long time, and I always seemed to have a small cut in my hand that really stung from the juice. A few years ago, I decided to try a bottle of lime juice instead. It was so much simpler and worked great. My husband never noticed the difference. My Whole Foods usually has fresh, peeled and deveined shrimp. This also speeds up the process by not having to clean the entire shrimp. Of course, using halibut or another fish is also faster. I also have a mini chopper that I use for the onions, olives, cilantro and oregano. The recipe does take some time as the shrimp or fish needs to marinate in the lime juice, and the ceviche should also sit for a while before serving.

WINE: Parsonage Snosrap Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Monterey

Sauvignon Blanc pairs very well with the ceviche. The Parsonage Snosrap Sauvignon Blanc begins with a grassy bouquet with a touch of honey. The palate boasts grass and melon with a hint of pear and lime. I also think an Albariño or Dry Rosé would complement the ceviche nicely.

RECIPE: Ceviche
Serving: ~ 2 lbs

• 1 ½ lbs shrimp or white fish (ex. halibut)
• 15 oz. bottle of lime juice or 12 limes
• 3 large tomatoes, diced
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• 6 oz. can pitted green olives, drained and finely chopped***
• ½ bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
• 1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
• 1 tsp salt
• OPTIONAL: Family size bag of Scoops tortilla chips
• OPTIONAL: Iceberg lettuce to make wraps

1. Peel shrimp if necessary.
2. Cut shrimp (or fish) into ½ inch or 1/4 inch cubes or pieces. Place in large bowl.

3. Either squeeze lime juice over shrimp or pour bottle of lime juice over fish/shrimp. Stir to evenly coat. If all the shrimp/fish does not fit in the juice add more or stir after a couple of hours so all pieces get exposed.

4. Cover and place bowl in refrigerator overnight or for at least five hours.
5. Check that all fish shrimp looks done. Drain and rinse fish/shrimp with cold water.

6. Combine the shrimp/fish and remaining ingredients

7. Refrigerate ceviche for at least a couple hours to let flavors blend together. I usually make this in the morning and serve in the afternoon or evening.
8. Serve with tortilla chips or in lettuce wraps.

* * *Pitted green olives are often the hardest thing to find. My local Whole Foods carries them in a can. I have sometimes found them in jars at various supermarkets. Another option is to look for them in olive bars. Worst case scenario you can pit them yourself, but personally I usually scope out a couple stores before going with this option.