I was out at one of my favorite restaurants a couple months ago and they had a special on the menu that changed my life- Baked dates, stuffed with gorgonzola cheese, wrapped in prosciutto drizzled with honey (you probably guessed that from the title!)
Upon going back to the restaurant and asking for them again I was devastated with the news that they only make them a couple weeks a year! I just couldn’t handle this- There was no way I was going to eat these things 2 weeks a year. I need them at least once a month! You can’t understand until you have tasted them- They are pure heaven! I demanded (politely asked, begged, and pleaded) that the staff give me the recipe. They were kind enough to oblige, and it’s the easiest thing I have ever made… easier than Macaroni and Cheese.
Winco is typically where I get my dates- You can buy them one at a time from the bins and 10 of them costs about $1. Then you get some crumbled gorgonzola cheese, cut the dates open, and stuff em. Get a package of prosciutto, cut the long slices in half, and roll the dates in one slice each. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Remove the dates and drizzle honey on them (or drown them in honey, depending on how sweet you want them). Each of my dates usually gets about 3/4 tablespoon honey on top.
That’s it! I usually recommend cutting them in half with a sharp knife as you eat them because they pack a huge flavor punch and last longer that way. I ate mine while drinking a nicely chilled glass of Pinot Grigio wine. I also bought the wine from Winco. I’ve never made these for someone who didn’t instantly fall in love with me (okay, they actually fell in love with the food…). Enjoy!!…
Saturday, April 23rd from 1-4pm
Taste up to 50 organic and biodynamic wines while enjoying a selection of artisanal breads, cured meats, olives and pickles.
This is a great opportunity to speak with local wine representatives, taste and learn about the importance of organic and biodynamic farming and how it impacts the flavor and style of the wine you’re drinking. The result is a uniquely different and thoroughly enjoyable product that is not only delicious but healthy for the planet.
Many people go through the effort of reading wine reviews, going to their local wine retailer, and investing hard-earned money in a fine wine. But one way to ruin your wine investment is failing to give proper attention to the temperature at which you store and serve your wines. Aging temperature is very important and much effort has been put forth to ensure proper wine coolers and refrigerators are available to wine enthusiasts.
These wine coolers generally have very user-friendly and accurate temperature controls which can precisely maintain an internal climate in either one or multiple zones. In addition, when researching which wine cooler is best for you, many will advise on where to place the wine cooler for best wine temperature maintenance. Some wine refrigerators are better suited for the interior of your home whereas others can handle a wider ambient degree fluctuation and can therefore be kept in a garage or basement.
Red wines and white wines have their own preferred temperature ranges for both storage and serving. It’s beneficial to have at least a rudimentary knowledge of how best to chill your delicious wines. Moreover, among red and white wines, the individual varietals can also prefer one temperature range to another. The ideal temperatures for red and white wines as well as varying varietals will be discussed below but it would also be helpful to find or make a chart as a reminder when buying wines.
There are a few basic temperature facts every wine lover should know that can either negatively or positively impact aging wines regardless of the grape origin. Obviously, extremes in temperature are undesirable. Wine stored too warmly will age prematurely and its flavor will be compromised. Wine stored too coldly will also lose its flavor because it’s not allowed to mature properly. Also, it’s important to keep the cork moist to prevent cracking which could expose your wine to unwanted oxygen. This is the reason wines are not frozen or stored too coldly and why you always see wine bottles aging horizontally.
Wine Storage Temperature
The storage temperature for red wine is suggested at between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Reminiscent of the original cave storing method used in France, many wine experts suggest 50 degrees is an ideal storage temperature, give or take a few degrees. The wine caves of old were filled with small wine racks and large wine shelves without the need for cooling units; the ground itself sheltered and cooled naturally by the earth.
Wine Serving Temperature
The serving temperature for red wines depends on the body of the wine. Darker, richer red wines such as Bordeaux, Shiraz, Burgundy, and Cabernet Sauvignon should be served slightly warmer but still cooler than room temperature at around 63 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Medium to lighter- bodied red wines like Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Chianti, Rioja, and Madeira are tastier when enjoyed at 54 to 61 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wine Storage Temperature
Unlike red wines, white wines can be stored and served at cooler temperatures. In fact, a perfectly chilled white wine is intoxicatingly expressive. White wines are better stored between the temperature range of 45 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Many wine coolers on the market now offer dual temperature zones allowing independent control of temperature. This allows you to store your red wines at their ideal temperature and likewise, your whites at theirs.
Wine Serving Temperature
Similar to red wines, the perfect serving temperature for white wines can vary depending on the body of the white wine. Full-bodied white wines, such as White Burgundy, are best served at about 52 degrees Fahrenheit. Medium to light-bodied white wines like, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis, and Semillon are better enjoyed at a cooler range between 48 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. A good rule to keep in mind is never serve wine warmer than 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sweet and sparkling wines are a delightful treat! Why spoil them by serving them at improper temperatures. With a little forethought and planning, your celebratory Muscat or Champagne can add immensely to the perfect occasion. Sauternes, Asti, Muscat, Cava, and Champagne are best served in the temperature range of 43 to 47 degrees Fahrenheit. Reaching such an exact temperature can seem like a daunting task but wine coolers and refrigerators with temperature readouts can tremendously lessen the work involved.
Humidity is another environmental factor to keep in mind when storing wine bottles. Too much humidity can cause damage to wine labels and cellar woods as well as stimulate mold growth. Too little humidity can cause dry corks and air exposure. The ideal humidity range for storing any wine is approximately 60 to 75%. Again, some wine cooler and refrigerator models have a built-in humidity sensor which can assist you in maintaining a desired level. If you plan on enjoying wines in the years to come, research wine coolers and find an affordable unit that meets your wine storage needs. This will take the stress out of storing wines and allow you to simply enjoy each sip.…
No, this isn’t fast food. Those may look like normal fries, but they are far from it. You see, I have a very natural and healthy cooking philosophy. I cook as much from scratch as I possibly can. I also use the most healthy ingredients whenever possible. It takes a certain lazy spirit to, upon getting a craving for french fries, get off ones’ butt and go to the drive through. You are assured three things if you do that- 1) You will be damaging your body with deadly nutrition, 2) you will get fat and ugly, 3) you will spend more money than you should be.
Upon staring at that pile of fries on my plate are you wondering where I get off saying such things? Well, I made those fries! No, they aren’t from a bag of frozen fries from the store either. I got a sweet potato (which is actually healthy for you), cut it up in french fry strips, and put it in a saucepan of hot olive oil. Olive oil is super good for you- You should have at least 1 tablespoon per day. There are many nutrients that are classified as “fat soluble”, meaning your body won’t absorb them if you aren’t eating good fats.
Sweet potato fries are amazing. You can either contrast the sweet fry with salt or you can compliment and deepen the sweetness with a hint of sugar. I initially made them with hamburgers but a couple potato’s make way more fries than I had imagined- So I actually ended up getting 3 meals out of them.
You can take this olive oil frying method further and use it for pretty much anything you normally buy fried. Another favorite is making nachos with freshly fried whole wheat chips. How do you get chips? Easy- You cut tortillas into triangles. It’s not rocket science. Everything you eat at restaurants is made somewhere for dirt cheap with the most unhealthy ingredients to reap the biggest profit. You can flip a switch, make it at home, and realize not only a huge savings from your pocketbook but also your wasteline. Enjoy!…
What I love about a blog called “Food and Wine” is that there are so many things I can really talk about. Food and Wine truly are two of my greatest passions. I often say that when I own a home someday I don’t even need a bedroom as long as the kitchen is huge. Now let’s get one thing clear- I am not a wine expert. I am not a four star chef. I am someone who loves to cook and drink wine and I try to continuously learn more about them. As I learn- I will teach, to the best of my ability, anyone willing to read and join me on this vino-culinary adventure.
When I think about all the wine related things we can talk about my mind swirls. How about wineries? We can go into what wineries are the best at making certain wine varietals. We can explore which wineries are the most fun to visit. What wineries are the best by region- Such as Sonoma, Napa, the NorthWest, Central California, Europe… the list goes on and on.
Speaking of wine varietals- We can go into the differences between them. There’s Cabernet Souvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Port, Champagne, Bubbly Wine, Zinfandel, and many more varietals; Not to mention the countless versions of each type. For example, what’s the difference between dry and sweet Chardonnay.
Wine is rarely enjoyed straight out of the bottle (unless it’s cheap and at a frat party). There are countless wine accessories we can go into. I’ll research and display wine glasses, wine decanters, wine refrigerators, wine racks, wine bottle openers, wine cellars, wine stoppers… whew! I’m out of breath! Each one of those categories is deserving of an entire blog by itself- But I’ll do what I can to get you the relevant information.
And the last wine related topic on my mind (for now!) is wine and food pairing. You know how powerful this can be if you’ve ever successfully paired a wine with anything- Be it cheese, dessert, or an entre. Adding food to wine tasting can give the wine an entirely new flavor. It’s often shocking how big the difference can be. Don’t get me wrong- It doesn’t necessarily mean the wine flavor is always better with food; It’s just different. The particular wine you are drinking may be equally fantastic with food and all by itself. I can’t wait to explore more wine pairing opportunities with you!
In another post we will get into some of the culinary topics this blog is going to cover. One of which will be the ability to actually cook with wine. The ability to cook well with wine is a mark of a good chef. You need to be aware of all the tools available to you for adding flavor. It’s amazing to think of how many ways wine and food go together.…