Category Archives: Entertaining Trails

Top 10 Bucket List Items – Number 9

Number 9 on my personal bucket list is becoming a better cook. In our travels, we have run into so many different cuisines that we wish we could import into our kitchen. As we get closer to our retirement, I have begun exploring various authors and recipes and have started learning the nuances to better, healthier (sometimes) food. As we both love food and wine, this endeavour is a natural for us. As we go, we will be sharing recipes that we found to be especially good, giving credit to the contributor, as well as commenting on the wine we chose to pair with the dish.

The early reviews from the household foodie have been positive and for that, I am motivated to continue.

We created the following dish and it is now noted as a favourite. We paired with a 2017 King Estate Pinot Noir, from the Williamette Valley of Oregon. It paired well with the dish, a Pinot or Chardonnay would be our recommendation for this pairing. The wine was fairly light and smooth, quite dry and a bit acidic. The main notes we tasted were cherry and red berries with some oak as well. Overall, we gave it 3.9 rating on a 5 scale. Not quite a 4, but still very good.

The dish itself is very tasty and fairly easy to prepare. As a note, cooking with chicken thighs changes everything you know about chicken. We did not add the heavy cream.

Our first experiment, as found at;

Familystyle Food Home | Familystyle Foodhttps://familystylefood.com/

We have found this website to be very helpful and stacked with multiple off the grid style recipes. We highly recommend it.

Chicken in White White Sauce (Vino Bianco)

INGREDIENTS


INSTRUCTIONS
2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (or 6 bone-in)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black peppercorns
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped or grated garlic
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed) coarsely chopped
1 cup dry white wine (such as pinot grigio)
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
3 fresh thyme sprig plus 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves for serving
1 pound dried fettuccine or tagliatelle pasta
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream optional
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Season the chicken on all sides with 2 teaspoons of the salt and black pepper to taste. Sprinkle the flour over the chicken and turn it to coat.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a 3 or 4-quart deep skillet or saute pan until it begins to shimmer. Add the chicken in 2 batches and sear until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Remove to a platter.

Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Pour in the wine and let it bubble 1 minute. Add the stock or water and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Return the chicken to the pan and add the tomatoes. Put the herb sprigs on top of the chicken.

Cover the pan and turn the heat down to a very low simmer. Cook 30-35 minutes for boneless chicken and 60-75 minutes for bone-in pieces. The chicken meat should be tender and falling off the bone.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.

Pull the thyme sprigs out of the pan and discard. Using two forks, break the chicken in the pan into large chunks. If you cooked bone-in thighs, discard the bones and stir the meat to combine with the pan sauce. If you’re using cream, stir it in.

Pour the chicken and the pan sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle with the cheese and additional thyme leaves and toss everything together. Enjoy!

Chicken in White White Sauce (Vino Bianco)

The Wine.

2017 King Estates Pinot Noir

Wine Wednesday – 2018 J.LOHR MERLOT

We paired this with a Chicken Parmesan, heavy on the cheese and a Cesar salad. J.Lohr has always been a go to wine, both this and the Cabernet. The Chardonnay is also excellent.

The Merlot is a very smooth, dry wine and very soft on the palate. It has major oak, vanilla and chocolate notes. You can pretty much pair it with anything.

You have likely noticed that we are big on California wines, and with good reason. They are usually fairly light, yet bold with strong berry and vanilla hints prevalent. They are reasonably priced, this one in the mid 20’s. I would recommend this wine for any type of occasion, even (especially?) just having a glass. We rate it 4.1 of 5 stars.

PS: For some reason The BC price was 16 cents lower than the average on Vivino. SHHSHH, don’t let them know.

Wine Wednesday – 2017 Noble Vines 337 Cabernet

Opened this one to drink with a homemade pizza on a Friday night. They paired well, the pizza was very cheesy and meatless. I can see why Vivino calls it popular. Typical of the Lodi, California cabs, it is a deep ruby with lots of oak and vanilla notes. Loads of berry as well for those fans. At it’s price point over 30 bucks CAD, I would consider it to be overpriced, and there are many competitors out there at a lower price. Having said that, I would still give it 4 stars out of 5, but likely will not got back to it based on the aforementioned price point.Opened this one to drink with a homemade pizza on a Friday night. They paired well, the pizza was very cheesy and meatless. I can see why Vivino calls it popular. Typical of the Lodi, California cabs, it is a deep ruby with lots of oak and vanilla notes. Loads of berry as well for those fans. At it’s price point over 30 bucks CAD, I would consider it to be overpriced, and there are many competitors out there at a lower price. Having said that, I would still give it 4 stars out of 5, but likely will not got back to it based on the aforementioned price point.

Besides pizza, I would recommend pairing with pretty much any meat dish other than fish. It is to bold for a seafood dish. Also a nice wine to just have a glass with friends.

Wine Wednesday – 2019 Meiomi Pinot Noir

2019 Meiomi Pinot Noir

This wine qualifies as one of our go to varieties. We’ve been opening this one since 2010, or maybe earlier. Very consistent and bursting with more flavour that your average Pinot. Major cherry and berries in the palate, also a bit oaky. Extremely smooth and has a sweetness to it as well. Easy to drink and pairs favourably with most dishes. We recently had it with a maple chipotle pork tenderloin and it worked very well. We also enjoy it with salmon dishes. Highly recommend, a 4.3 on our 5 scale. Our tip to you is drink it from a Pinot glass, you will notice the difference immediately when compared to a regular red wine glass.

Here’s a link to guide you to some perfect glasses.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lmowery/2019/10/16/the-best-wine-glasses-for-pinot-noir/?sh=7252db9840be

In conclusion, the price, Vivino notes as an average price 19.75. In British Columbia, 24 bucks. They sure like to gouge you here.

Speaking of Vivino, this is a great app, and available on all platforms. Take a picture of the label while in the app and voila, you have everything you wanted to know about that wine. They look at you funny in the liquor store, but, hey, why buy bad or overpriced wine.

See you next Wednesday.

Wine Review -Tom Gore 2018 Cabernet

2018 Tom Gore Cabernet Sauvignon

A workhorse Cabernet with oaky notes and definite hints of blackberry and cherry. Very typical of California Cabernet’s. Reasonably priced, usually in the $15.00 range (unless you live in British Columbia, think $18.00) and suitable for pretty much any meat dish. We enjoyed with home made pizza, lots of cheese. Recommend for the budget conscious among us, I gave it 4 stars of 5.

Mazatlan – Day 2

A very good day. Coffee on the deck watching the tide roll in. The social director had our day mapped out from there.

First stop. Hotel Azteca to visit Arturo for a milkshake, secret ingredient, alcohol.

From here, loaded up with fuel, we continued on our way. Rules are simple, the social director and her assistant duck into a store, we carry on to the next bar and have a beer. They catch up, we carry on. Their first stop, no idea. Ours was Gringo Lingo.

We continued to the Malecon. Once there we had a terrific view of the Pacific. Surf was up.

We caught a cab and headed to Centro and a place hadn’t been before. Edgar’s is a unique place, made better by 20 peso beer.

Once finished, we took off for Plazuela Machado. The plan was supper and some music. The social director and her assistant discovered a shop. We hung around in limbo for a while, saw a hummingbird and the worlds biggest bee.

Following our plan, the assistant’s assistant and I trundled off to Restaurant Mr Lionoso on the Plazuela and had a drink while we waited.

The plan from there was supper at Casa Connobio. Check.

From here it was to Lucky B’s to see Rex. Unfortunately they cancelled as it was starting to rain. Electrics and rain don’t mix very well, can’t blame them and we’ll catch with them later. Back up plan was Las Flores hotel to catch Krakken, another pretty good local band.

All in all an enjoyable day. Day 3 is going to be sedate in comparison, super bowl at La Catrina.

Review of Pinups Fun & Grill – Mazatlan

A quick review. We stopped at Pinups, a local ex-pat favourite, for a quick bite. Had the Juicy Lucy chicken sandwich. Very good, recommend. As an added bonus, they share a small square with Lucky B’s and an acoustic set was being highlighted by Rex. This is a very good band, especially when they have the full group. Will be seeing them tonight. More on them later.

Pinups web page at the link.

Pinups

Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot

Chateau St. Michelle Merlot

Chateau Ste Michelle is an American winery, situated in Washington state.  The wines from this area are becoming quite well-known and are carving out a name for themselves.  The vineyards have been in existence since the repeal of prohibition.

The wine we are reviewing is a 2011 Merlot, purchased at the Real Canadian Liquor Store here in Calgary, and is reasonably price at below $20.00.  We paired it with a Montreal spice chicken breast and sweet potato, all off the barbecue, and it was excellent.

To be truthful, I consider this purchase to be a steal and highly recommend it to our friends and readers.  Typical of Merlot, it was light and flavorful, with minimal earthiness. A very good pair to the spiced breasts.  There are hints of black cherry and some definite spiciness  There are many fruit flavors and it has a good finish.  In addition to pairing with food, it is very suitable for plain old every day sipping.

For more information on the winery, I have added a few links for you..

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