VALENTINES Weekend Recipe: Dinner for 2, wine, desert & a romantic movie
Happy Valentines Day!
Surf and Turf Temptation
“Serve a California Chardonnay with the Seafood Stuffed Avocados to complement the creaminess of the avocado and the mayo. A Cabernet Sauvignon is always a solid choice with steak.”
“Cabernet Sauvignon is delicious with Parmesan. It should also go well with the lamb. Try a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley or Walla Walla in Washington State; these cooler-climate Cabernets often have aromas and flavors of mint and herbs, which would pair nicely with the demi-glace. A Washington Merlot would be nice, too, for the same reasons.”
“You could go with a Sauvignon Blanc or a white Bordeaux. Either one would be nice and versatile with these dishes. I’d be tempted to stick with a red here, like a Barbera from Italy’s Piedmont region. It should work with the tomatoes in the mussels appetizer and shouldn’t overpower the Cornish hens. A light Chianti Classico might be just as nice.”
Lust for Lobster
Garden of Eden
“I might stick with a red wine here. Milan is not too far from the vineyards of Piedmont, so I might be tempted to go semi-local and drink a Barbera. It should be nice with the mushrooms and the salad, and work well with the gorgonzola, too. Otherwise, try a Beaujolais from France. It would go nicely with the strawberries in the salad and will be light and acidic enough to deal with the gorgonzola. Beaujolais could be your best bet.”
Dinner and a Movie
- An Affair to Remember
- Sleepless in Seattle
- The Princess Bride
- When Harry Met Sally
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
- 16 ounces milk chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 1 pound fresh strawberries with leaves
- Insert toothpicks into the tops of the strawberries.
- In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally until smooth. Holding them by the toothpicks, dip the strawberries into the chocolate mixture.
- Turn the strawberries upside down and insert the toothpick into styrofoam for the chocolate to cool.
Vintage vs. Non-Vintage Champagne
All Champagnes are made from grapes grown in France’s northeastern region, the Champagne province. Most Champagnes are non-vintage: that is, they are made from a blend of grapes from different years, aged in the bottle for 18 months. Vintage Champagne is made with high-quality grapes from the same year; they must be aged three years before they are released.
Champagnes from Dry to Sweet
In addition to classifying Champagne as vintage or non-vintage, 6 classifications are used to refer directly to the Champagne’s sweetness:
- Brut: dry, less than 1.5% sugar
- Extra Sec: extra dry, 1.2 to 2% sugar
- Sec: medium sweet, 1.7 to 3.5% sugar
- Demi-Sec: sweet, 3.3 to 5% sugar (Served as a dessert champagne)
- Doux: very sweet, over 5% sugar (Served as a dessert champagne)
Other Wines with Bubbles
Sparkling wines made by the same process can’t be called Champagne unless they’re made in their namesake French region. Chardonnay and pinot noir grapes are the main varieties used to make Champagne, and they’re grown all over the world; many regions produce fine sparkling wines that are somewhat less expensive and more widely available than French Champagne. Italian Prosecco and Asti, Spanish Cava and German Sekt are all delicious varieties of sparkling wine.
As a side note: the small clusters of grapes sold in the supermarket as “champagne grapes” are just using the cachet of the name: they’re actually fresh zante currants.
Chill the wine in the coldest part of your refrigerator. Open the bottle by twisting off the wire cage over the cork, keeping your thumb over the cork. Keep the bottle at an angle, with the cork pointing away from you. Grasp the neck of the bottle with a dry cloth; with your thumb over the cork, gently twist the bottle. You should feel the cork easing itself loose. Don’t go for the dramatic pop: removing the cork should be almost soundless.
Serve Champagne in clean, dry flutes–narrow glasses with tall sides–which show off the color and the fine bubbles while keeping the carbonation from dissipating. “Prime” the glasses by pouring a small amount of wine into the bottom of each glass, letting the foam subside before filling them fully