If you’re a Floridian you know that you don’t actually start panicking about a hurricane unless it is above a category 3. Since Erika decided to show us her softer side and turn into a tropical storm, then dissipate completely, I figured we could eat, drink, and be merry. Of course no dinner is ever complete without friends. Our friends, Nadia & Paul, Isa & Jero, and their children joined us for our wine pairing dinner of the week. Well, the children ate pizza and didn’t sample the wine, but they did watch Big Hero 6 in the man cave as we adults slowly got inebriated. Nadia even brought her fabulous shrimp scampi (bonus, she added cilantro to it, which apparently is scarce these days). You guessed, it gets its own wine. The evening’s meal started with an eggless Caesar salad, followed by cilantro shrimp on crispy french bread, and culminated into a filet topped with a cabernet sauce made with a demi glaze. For dessert we had a vanilla cake with pink buttercream frosting. Once again, special kudos to thevinepost.com for great picks and hand delivery.
Caesar Salad … Paired with Columna, Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain 2013
A light crisp flavor, compliments the creamy parmesan cheese and taste in the dressing.
- 2 cloves of crushed garlic
- lemon juice from 1 lemon + lemon rind
- 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup of grated or shaved parmesan cheese (I like shaved because it is more creamy)
- 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
- Put all ingredients into a blender, blending until smooth.
- Salt and pepper to tast.
Note” I rarely add salt because the parmesan is pretty salty already.
Shrimp Scampi with Cilantro … Francois Carillon, Bourgogne Blanc (Chardonnay), Burgundy, France 2012
full-bodied Chardonnay with medium plus acidity and holds up to the strong cilantro flavors well.
About the recipe: The recipe below comes from my good friend Nadia Spivak who picked it up while visiting Italy. She happens to be an economist and a brilliant one at that which makes her an awesome addition to our dinner table. Interested in a woman who can cook and discuss geoeconomics? Then go to http://www.statsandsensibility.com
- 1lb of tail off, deveined shrimp (used frozen, but best if fresh)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 of chopped cilantro
- cajun seasons (you can use any variety of cajun seasoning/spicy seasoning)
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- French bread, sliced and lightly toasted
- Bring olive oil to a sizzle and add garlic.
- Once garlic is golden in color add cilantro, mix cilantro and garlic for about a minute and add shrimp
- Add cajun seasons to taste/ tolerance for spicy food
- Cook until shrimps turn pink and no longer translucent
- Salt to taste
- Remove from pan and serve on french bread
- Garnich plate olive oil or chopped parsley. You can also use leftover cilantro.
Note: When plating add a little more olive on the perimeter of the plate. It will be picked up by the bread and give a nice flavor in each bite.
Filet Mignon with Cabernet Sauce … Round Pond “Kith & Kin” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2012
Serves as a nice bridge from sauce to wine. Great full body and does well with asparagus.
Recipe make filet for 6 people with some leftovers
About the beef: For the locals, I highly recommend Publix Greenwise. Ask for Drew. This is the second time he has taken care of me. His portion recommendation was right on. I bought hormone free and antibiotic free filet. It was fantastic!
- 3lbs of filet (each piece should be cut between 2 to 2.5 inches in thickness. You can butterfly the pieces as well)
- 3 chopped shallots
- 3 cloves of crushed garlic
- 1 cup of chopped baby bella mushrooms
- demi-glaze. I used Williams & Sonoma Organic Beef. You can also get something less pricy called Better than Bouillon,
- 2 cups of cabernet. Don’t use cooking wine. It will ruin the dish. You can buy a cheap table cabernet and it will do, just no cooking wine.
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Asparagus (1 package)
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
Steps for Cabernet Sauce
- Melt butter and bring olive oil to a sizzle in a saucepan.Note: with sauces I always use a mixture of butter and olive oil to ensure that my ingredients don’t smoke while getting a nice olive oil taste and crisp.
- Add garlic and shallots and cook until golden.
- Add chopped mushrooms.
- Cook mixture until mushrooms are dry and add the wine to deglaze the pan.
- Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of demi-glaze.
- Immediately after demi-glaze add heavy cream stirring the mixture together until the texture is creamy.
- Lower heat and allow to simmer until the mixture is at the desired thickness. You don’t want this sauce to be runny. It needs to sit nicely on top of the filet. Taste the sauce ensuring that it has the appropriate amount of salt. I usually don’t need to add salt because the demi-glaze is salty enough.
Steps for Filet
- Marinate filet in Worcestershire sauce, cabernet wine (just a little), lemon, pepper (add salt just before grilling)
- You can leave filets to marinate overnight, but if you don’t have time they only really need about 1/2 hr.
- Grill to taste.
Steps for Asparagus
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Prepare a bowl of ice water
- Cut bottom 3 inches of asparagus off and dicard
- Put asparagus in boiling water, leaving them there for maximum of 1 minute.
- Remove from boiling water and submerge in ice water for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Put in a dish, add some lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
Note: To plate this dish put filet in the plate, spoon sauce over the top of the filet and align asparagus next to the filet. I served this with scalloped gorgonzola potatoes in a separate ramekin. For potato recipe see blog post Guest Appearance.
Vanilla Cake, Pink Buttercream Frosting, White Chocolate Shavings
We decided not to do a dessert wine as none of us like sweet wines, however we did indulge in a nice single malt scotch while nibbling on this cake. It’s not for everyone, but I enjoyed the contrast of flavors. I used a simple vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream frosting recipe for this cake. I used some red food coloring to make the frosting pink. On top of the cake, after piping the frosting out, I added some white chocolate shavings for an extra something. The piping was not perfect and I had to redo some of it, but it was worth it. I made the cake on a Friday and served it on a Sunday. I kept it in the fridge and it was fine. Note: I used only 4 eggs and a little extra oil and the cake turned out great. The recipe calls for 5 eggs but when I tested it I didn’t like the egg taste in the cake.
For the cake and frosting recipe go to http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/classic-vanilla-cake.html
When my friend Cecelia came over the following day I made her a leftover salad. I used mixed greens, leftover Caesar dressing and the rest of the shrimp scampi on top.I served the shrimp cold this time. Who said leftovers can’t be fun?