Wine Review for the Weekend: Rappahannock Cellars Chardonnay

Source: Rappahannock Cellars

White wine is such an acquired taste.  While I tend to prefer red wines, I have been on the search for a perfect wine to pair with poultry and seafood dishes.  This wine also has to have the ability to be enjoyed on its own.

Imagine my surprise when I visited Rappahannock Cellars in Hume, Va. one weekend to find the perfect white wine that could meet the criteria above.  When I had the first initial sip of Rappahannock’s 2010 Chardonnay, I knew this wine would pair well with a crab cake and would also be able to be enjoyed while sitting on the porch.  This Chardonnay was aged in French and Virginia oak barrels, and you could taste the oak overtones, along with a buttery finish.

Rappahannock is one of my favorite wineries in Virginia, and the staff is always friendly.  I strongly urge you to make the trip out there to enjoy their wines (Noblesse Rouge is one of my favorites, and my boyfriend loves their Red Dessert Wine).

There’s something about…

Imagetraveling that makes you want to be at home, being surrounded by family holding vigil for a loved one, and something about baking that soothes/heals the soul.

Last week, I traveled to Texas to be with a loved one, who had a medical crisis, and I was reminded of the strength of family.  Whether or not, you are from a tight knit family, it is always amazing to see how family cares for each other in times of need and how prayer can make a difference.

While I did not do any baking in Texas, I made up for it in my apartment kitchen last Saturday.  I whipped up a batch of Graham Cupcakes and Key Lime Buttercream.  Perhaps, it was the warm weather that inspired me to make these delicacies or the fact that my boyfriend and I were visiting with my Dad, who loves key lime pie.

The cupcakes were easy to make, and the buttercream was awesome.  You can find the recipe over at Ming Makes Cupcakes.

In the meantime, enjoy these cupcakes with your loved ones and bring a smile to their face.

Off the Rack…Wine Review for the Weekend

In the past, I have been kind of neglectful when it comes to posting.  It is sad, but of course, life happens…which is good, right?  Well, there are times for relaxation in my world through running, yoga, and entertaining.  Entertaining is one of my favorite things to do, and so one night, my boyfriend decided to bring a bottle of wine over that was reminiscent to the one we had on our first Valentine’s Day together.  This is the basis for the Wine Review for the Weekend series.


Source: Trump Winery

This week, the wine of the weekend is Kluge Estate (now Trump Winery)’s New World Red.  It is one of the best red wines I have tasted, and it is versatile enough to pair with steak and chocolate.  While the wine we had on our first Valentine’s Day was from the Kluge Estate repertoire (Albemarle’s Simply Red), this red was full bodied with hints of oak, black cherry, and currant.  Of course, we chose to celebrate Valentine’s Day with chocolate and this wine.

There is no doubt that we will be adding more bottles of this, and the Albemarle Simply Red to the wine rack shortly.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Everything fell out of line this week.  My boyfriend is out of town, and since he comes over for dinner during the week, I was left to my own defenses.  Since I had class every night after work, I fixed a pot of chicken tortilla soup that I could heat up once I got back home.  The Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food.   Although the recipe was vegetarian, I added cooked, shredded chicken to the recipe for protein.  I also omitted the chili powder for Penzey’s Spices Arizona Dreaming Blend and Chipotle Tabasco Sauce for heat.  It was super easy.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (Adapted from Everyday Food)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

1 T. Olive Oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp. Arizona Dreaming seasoning

1 tsp. cumin

1 tbsp. Chipotle Tabasco Sauce

1-28 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice

2-15 oz. cans of black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can. reduced sodium chicken broth

1 pkg. frozen corn kernels

Coarse salt and ground black pepper

1 C. Crushed tortilla chips, plus more for serving

1 tbsp. lime juice, plus lime wedges  for serving

Avocado slices for serving

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium.  Cook garlic, Arizona Dreaming, chipotle tabasco and cumin until fragrant.  It will only take a minute, then add the tomatoes with sauce, beans, broth, corn, and 1 C. water.  Season with salt and pepper.

Bring soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Add tortilla chips, and cook until softened.  Remove from heat, and add lime juice, season with salt and pepper.  Serve with crushed chips, sharp cheddar cheese, avocado slices, and lime wedges.

This should serve 4 people.

Bulgogi Made Easy

I have been trying to eat healthier lately.  In fact, one of my Lenten goals was to focus on being healthier, in terms of my mind, body, and spirit.  However, there are times when you crave comfort foods to soothe your soul during difficult situations.   Last Sunday, I was scouring through my Google reader and came across a great recipe for a healthier version of Bulgogi.  Bulgogi is a food that I would often eat during my college years with friends, and I was excited to see a healthier remake of the recipe on Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!   This turned out to be great, and while Gretchen made it more healthier by serving with brown rice, I opted for Portuguese rolls instead.  I also served the Bulgogi sandwiches with Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

I also added diced red bell peppers to the saute pan with the onion that the recipe required.  After they were softened, I added the marinated beef.  The marinade for the shaved beef consisted of:  Tamari Sauce, Sesame Oil, Sugar, Minced Garlic, a pinch of ground ginger, and some freshly ground black pepper.

The dish was a success, and my boyfriend asked me to make it again for him.

Suggested Drink Pairings:

Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Dortmunder Gold

Shiner Bock

Rappahannock Cellars (Va.) Noblesse Rouge

Chrysalis (Va.) Vineyards Rubiana