Category: Wine


J is for Jambalaya

September 8th, 2011 — 8:29am
jambalaya recipe

Jambalaya

One of my more endearing compulsions is to have things organized. Everything neat, tidy, and in its place. This also refers to filling in holes when things are missing. In this case the lonely letters of the alphabet that have no recipes attached to them. The letters are D, J, U, X and Y. The blank next to the letter D surprised me a bit. Although when I did some research there are not a lot of recipes out there beginning with the letter D. U, X, and Y were obvious candidates for lonely letters. And today we will dispose of the letter J in good order. J is obviously for jambalaya.

I was wondering why I have never made jambalaya when I realized it is strikingly similar to my gumbo recipe although with a lot more rice and a lot less liquid. In fact the recipes are so similar I pretty much just adjusted the quantity of ingredients from my gumbo recipe to adapt to the jambalaya. Which largely leads to the same flavors. The textures are significantly different. The other difference is that the jambalaya cooks up in less than 30 minutes and the gumbo takes closer to an hour. No matter really. Both recipes are great. I guess it just depends on how much rice you want with your sausage, chicken, and shrimp.

Little Roo Merlot

As an aside, and not to take away the show from jambalaya, we have been enjoying a very inexpensive wine from the Little Roo Vineyards in Australia. They produce a variety of inexpensive wines with the shiraz and the merlot being very drinkable for about $5 per bottle. It is not every day you can indulge in one of you favorite pastimes for under $5. In this case we enjoyed the merlot while dining al fresco in the coolish September air.

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Vino Italiano

May 23rd, 2010 — 8:00am

Chianti and Valpolicella

This is my first post about wine. You may wonder why it took me so long to write about something I consume daily. The reality is that I tend to stick with wines that I like and that are reliably produced in the same manner year after year. I also am hard pressed to justify spending more than $15 on a bottle of wine that I drink on a daily basis. I have eaten pizza with a Chateau Lafite Rothschild, but I was young and naïve then. If the $100 bottle of wine was all you had on hand you drank it.

My other worry about price is that it is not always a good indicator of taste. How many times have you splurged on that $50 bottle of wine only to find out that it was about as good as the $10 bottle of wine you had the night before? For me this happens all too frequently. Relying on the food and wine magazines is usually suspect because the wines they recommend are often advertisers in their pages. How likely are you to give a negative rating to a wine that spent $30,000 to advertise in your magazine?

I have a new favorite food magazine La Cucina Italiana. My college roommate told me he had stopped his food magazine subscriptions except for this one. I just went ahead and added this to my list of reading without canceling any others. It is obviously about Italian food and wine. The photography is beautiful. The recipes seem reasonably simple if you can find a source for all the ingredients. The wine recommendations are always in a reasonable price range.

This month the magazine listed 25 Italian wines under $25 dollars. Interestingly the day after I received the magazine my wine store was having a one day sale of Italian wines. So off I went to see if La Cucina Italiana would be a better wine resource than most others.

I found two of the wines listed in the magazine; “Palazzo delle Torre,” Valpolicella, Veneto, 2006 by Allegrini, and “Nipozzano Riserva,” Chianti Ruffino DOCG, Tuscany 2003, by Frescobaldi. Both were memorable and worth the price.

Frescobaldi, "Nippozzano Riserva," Chianti Ruffino DOCG, 2003

We tried the Chianti first with the chicken and sausage burgers. I wanted to see how the wine would hold up with the spiciness of the meat. The wine provided its own spice contrast with anise and pepper notes. It had a nice body to it which held up well with the condiments on the burger. This was one of the best Chianti’s I have had in a long time. At $21 per bottle it was well worth the price.

Allegrini, "Palazzo delle Torre," Valpolicella, 2006

We then tried the Valpolicella with meatballs and a red sauce. I am not sure this was the best food paring but the wine was delicious regardless. La Cucina Italiana calls this a “baby Amarone.” It definitely has the richness of an Amarone with a much smoother taste on the palate. There were a lot of nice berry flavors. At $23 per bottle this is another to add to your list.

I guess, for now, I can rely on the wine recommendations of La Cucina Italiana. At least the small sampling that I tried turned out to be excellent recommendations.

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