Saturday, December 11, 2010

Roasted Spicy Pecans, 'tis the season...

These are very easy to prepare and they're a great snack.  Melt a 1/2 stick of butter along with 1 1/2 tsp of ground cumin and 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper in a skillet or sauce pan.  Stir for about one minute after the butter is completely melted.  Remove pan from heat.

Pour 3 cups of pecan halves into the butter mixture along with 2 1/2 Tbsp of sugar and 1 tsp of salt.  Mix well.  Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake 20-25 minutes @ 300 degrees.

'07 Daniel Gehrs Syrah

'07 Daniel Gehrs
 Central Coast Syrah, ~$20

Dark fruit, a hint of chocolate, mild tannins and a nice finish. After being open for about 3 hours, the final glass showed a hint of vanilla bean.  I believe this wine scored 94 and I would buy it again.  I would decant the next bottle for a couple hours and then pour.  The last couple glasses were the best to me.  

It goes well with Frank Sinatra's and Bing Crosby's holiday music, a fire and good friends. It's great for sipp'n & shar'n. Cheers to all...

Friday, November 19, 2010

'07 Carneros Creek Reserve Pinot Noir

Friday evening tapas: '07 Carneros Creek Reserve Pinot Noir: Bing Cherry on the nose, slight hint of oak, mild tannins with a nice finish. Great by itself or with food.

Goat Brie, Tallegio & a Cabot Clothbound Cheddar with a fresh French Baguette alongside Spicy Peach Chutney and fresh Savannah Bee Company honey w/ comb.  The chutney and honey, respectively, paired very well with the three cheeses and the wine.  Cheers to all...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A great Thanksgiving holiday wine...

'05 ELU Meritage from St. Supery

The 2005 Élu's aromas of plum and black cherry permeate this inky, garnet hued Bordeaux blend. Vanilla and hints of tobacco are present on the long, full finish. This wine is seamless from the beginning to the last sip. This Meritage is a blend of four varietals. This wine has great balance, easy to drink and should go with everything on your Thanksgiving Day table, coffee table or card table.  Cheers to all...

Friday, November 12, 2010

'05 Calandray

This wine is less than $20 and doesn't necessarily need food, it's just a great drinking wine. To me, it's black currant/plum/fig on the nose. The mid-palate is dark fruit with a hint of spice and the finish lingers nicely. The second glass was more mellow than the first, just keeps getting better. Give it a try. Cheers to all...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cornish Hen & Cabernet Franc

Tonight's dinner was Cornish Hen, Roasted New Potatoes and Sauteed Arugula paired with "Hard Row To Hoe's" Cabernet Franc.  This was my first Cornish Hen cooked in the oven.  We placed a slice of lemon and a sprig of rosemary inside the hen.  The outside was basted in white wine, EVOO and chicken broth.  The hen roasted in the oven @ 425 degrees for 25 minutes and then we lowered the oven temp to  350 for the remaining time.  We cooked the hen to an internal temp of 165 - 170 degrees.
The Cab Franc wine from Hard Row To Hoe paired very well with the Cornish Hen.  And, this was a recommendation from, Judy (vintner @ HRTH).  I don't usually drink a lot of Cab Franc but it was very nice with the hen.  I thought the wine had plum on the nose and after decanting, it was nicely balanced, mild tannins and a great finish.  I would definitely drink this wine again.  Cheers to all at Hard Row.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

White Chicken Chili & Red Zins

A Zinful weekend...
Started out with friends over this past Friday night for the Yankees - Rangers game. We had a fire and HDTV on the deck as well as our Chicken Chili and Zinfandel. It was a great evening for a fire and my wine stays the right temp as well. It's the little things... Even though I'm a Red Sox fan, our Yankees' fans friends were quite disappointed with the outcome. There's heartbreak with every season. Nevertheless, it was a great evening to be outside enjoying the Fall weather. Cheers to all...

Monday, October 11, 2010

13th Anniversary: Venge's Sangiovese & Beef Fillet

Our 13th wedding anniversary today.  And, since Venge's wines have been a go-to for us since visiting in '06, I thought we should have a bottle tonight.  The meal:  beef fillets (pan seared and grilled), broccoli casserole and grilled French bread.  The wine:  '07 Atlas Peak Sangiovese from Venge Vineyards.  This is a big boy @ 15.5 alcohol @ ~$30.  After corking the bottle and pouring a small pour, the first sniff told me that it was definitely 15.5.  So, we decanted it for 45 minutes or so and it has become much more balanced now.  It's showing some nice fruit on the nose.  The tannins continued to soften over time and the mid-palate show a little earthiness and terroir, to me.  The Atlas Peak has a nice lingering finish and should pair very well with tonight's meal.  Cheers to all.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Valpolicella & Chicken Thighs with White BBQ Sauce

This is a recipe that is definitely in my Top 10 of "go-to" for the grille. I have decided that I just don't care for white meat chicken; therefore, chicken thighs. I put a light coat of EVOO on the thighs to start. The rub consists of: dried thyme, cumin, paprika, onion powder, kosher salt, black pepper & dried oregano. I apply the rub and let the chicken stay at room temp for at least one hour. I always want what's going on the grille at room temp so that it cooks evenly. I grille the thighs, 20-25 mins on each side (fat side up first), with the grill surface temp at 325-350 degrees.  


1 Tbsp dried Thyme
1 Tbsp dried Oregano
1 Tbsp ground Cumin
1 Tbsp Paprika
1 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

This is enough rub for 8 - 10 chicken thighs


As for the potatoes, I found this recipe on a wine blog that I follow. "Balsamic Potatoes" I cubed about 6 new, medium sized, new red potatoes. They cooked in balsamic vinegar, kosher salt, black pepper, crushed garlic cloves and chicken broth. About 50 mins @ 425 degrees in the oven. Just keep an eye on them.


White BBQ Sauce

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp coarse ground black pepper
1 Tbsp spicy brown mustard
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp horseradish

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate all day before cooking.  Sauce will last up to a week in an airtight container.


Now, most importantly, the vino. And vino it is tonight, Valpolicella from Veneto, Italy. Veneto is Northwest of Venice. This wine is a blend of three varietals. I've been drinking Valpolicella for a few years and I love it. It has nice fruit and tannin balance. This wine was a little bing cherry on the nose, possibly a hint of blueberry. This wine was nicely balanced, not tannic but with a nice finish. The mid-palate seemed to be plum or maybe raisin, to me anyway. I thought it paired well with the chicken, homemade white bbq sauce and balsamic potatoes. 


Happy Fall to all. Cheers...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cotes Du Rhone

 It's been a couple weeks since I've cork'd a bottle of vino so I decided tonight was a good night to cork a bottle. In my most recent reading about the Cote-d'Or (Southeastern France), I had decided that my next bottle was to be a Nuits St. Georges. So, I stopped by my go-to wine store today and Tim did not have the Nuits. As always, with a backup choice in mind, I decided on Cotes Du Rhone (aka Hills of Rhone). There are many great Pinots grown and produced in this region.
The 2007 Cellier des Chartreux Côtes du Rhône Chevalier d'Anthelme for ~$20 was the bottle I brought home. This wine has a great balance of fruit and earthiness, blending Olde World and New World, on the nose. The mid-palate is earthiness and plum with a great finish. This wine is a Grenache blend and if you're a fan of Pinots, you'll enjoy this wine as well. Think "Chicken Parm."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It's a football filled weekend

Pro Football is officially underway this Sunday as well as a great second Saturday of college football, all is right with the world now. When the pigskin starts fly'n, the pork starts smok'n, at my homestead anyway. I'm prepared for our first Titans' tailgate tomorrow morning as the Titans host the Raiders @ LP Field. I've smoked 14lbs of Bone-In Picnic Shoulder for BBQ and I'll cap that off this evening by smoking a 5lb stick of Beef Bologna. We'll be eating good tomorrow morning. I may have to try some of this bbq tonight, always taste before serving, with some red zin but tomorrow will be mostly cold beer and cocktails.  TITAN UP and Cheers to all football fans...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

'05 Geyser Peak Cabernet & Bone-In Pork Chops

Charcoal grilled bone-in pork chops, some with bbq sauce, some with pineapple bourbon sauce - grilled french bread & fried squash croquettes. The wine pairing was an '05 Geyser Peak, Alexander Valley, Cabernet ($16 USD). The vino's nose was dark fruit that resembled black cherry and blackberry, nice tannins and a slight hint of dark chocolate on the mid-palate. The finish was fruit and a bit of lingering tannin. Very nice for the price. The desserts were dark chocolate brownie, caramel pecan square and black & white toffee bar. Yes, I just adjusted my belt, one notch, outward. Have a great Labor Day Holiday and Cheers to all...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells

Today was my 44th birthday.  My awesome wife made my favorite "Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells."  There are several ingredients in the shells and they are most excellent.  She also prepared a side salad with homemade blue cheese dressing and French bread w/ EVOO, fresh rosemary and garlic.
Our boys seriously surprised me with a bottle of Caymus Special Select.  If you're not familiar with it, well, it's not your everyday wine.  Well, it may be yours but it's not my everyday.  I've had it before and it's definitely in my Top 5 of go-to Cabernets.  It's dark fruit, complex, opulent and oaky with a hint of chocolate on the mid-palate.  And a nice lingering finish.  It's just great!!!
After diner we moved on to the desserts:  Caramel cake, Strawberry cake, Red Velvet cake and Chocolate Chess Squares (my personal favorite).  And, since the Caymus had been consumed, we moved on to the "Left Bank Bordeaux."  Val bought me a bottle of '05 Chateau de Cruzeau.  It's a blend of Cabernet, Merlot & Cab Franc.  This wine is very different from the Caymus.  It's earthy on the nose, maybe a little floral.  And, it's more tannic and an oaky, coffee like mid-palate with a nice long finish.  Love the Bordeaux style as well.  It's very nice.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fresh Guacamole & Vinho Verde

Avocado, Roma Tomatoes, Vidalia Onion, Minced Garlic, Kosher Salt, Cayenne Pepper & Cumin

$7 Vinho Verde (Portugal):  crisp, acidic, refreshing, maybe a little floral and grapefruit

Sidecar Martini:  Pear Vodka, St. Germain and a splash of $21 Nino Franco, Prosecco

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Prosciutto Wrapped Bread-sticks

Prosciutto, Onion & Chive Cream Cheese & Bread-sticks.

1 box breadsticks
1/4 lb, thinly sliced prosciutto
1 container, onion & chive cream cheese

Place two slices of the prosciutto on a cutting board (or countertop) and spread a light to generous coat of cream cheese.  Wrap the "prosciut" around two breadsticks.

Enjoy these with some Vouvray Chenin Blanc.  Crisp & acidic and spot-on for summertime.


unWine'd and relax with Raphe

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pork Loin & Apple Chutney with '05 Amarone

This evening's cooking consisted of a French-boned pork loin with a dry rub, apple-ginger chutney, baked potato and an '05 Amarone della Valpolicella, Bolla ($39).  The pork loin was purchased from Tag'z 5Star Meats in Murfreesboro, TN.   I used a light coat of EVOO and then applied the dry rub which consisted of:  black pepper, kosher salt, minced garlic, cumin, coriander & thyme.  Not a heavy coat of the dry rub but just enough to season and not overpower the taste of the pork.  Normally I'd cook the loin on the grill but it was raining here most of the day so I cooked this one in the oven.  I cooked it @ 450 degrees for 20 minutes and then turned the oven down to 350 degrees and cooked the loin until the internal temp was 140 degrees.  You don't want to over cook the loin as it'll continue to cook after removing it from the oven.
The Apple Ginger Chutney was very nice with the pork.  This was my first attempt at chutney.  Granny Smith apples, fresh ginger, spanish onion, EVOO, minced garlic, brown sugar, honey, and a couple other ingredients...  Cooked slow in a sauce pan on the cooktop.  I thought this was very good and it tasted great with each bite of the bone-in chop.
The '05 Amarone della Valpolicella, Bolla paired very well with the meal.  It has a bing cherry and earthiness nose with some acidity.  I decanted it about one hour before we ate dinner and as it opened up,  it became more balanced.  It had a nice clean fruit finish.  If you're a Pinot Noir fan, you'll probably enjoy this as well.  Cheers to all...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

FOX17 WZTV - Segment on grilling & tailgating

FOX 17 in Nashville has a show each weekday morning, for a couple of hours, named Tennessee Mornings.  Being that I've been part of "Just A Pinch" on-line recipe club in Franklin, TN since Nov 2009 and that my wife is the Controller there, I was asked to host tomorrow's 4 minute segment to discuss grilling & tailgating with the Tennessee Titans.  They asked me what we'd normally prepare for tailgating and Boston Butt (aka Pork Shoulder) came to mind.  I usually put this on the night before the game and let it cook all night.  It usually takes, on average, about 90 minutes per pound so I can just back into Sunday's departure time and let it cook all night.  We wrap it in foil and make our 40 minute trek to the stadium parking lot.  Afterward, it's ready to pull and make sandwiches, etc.  Hopefully this 5 lb piece will be enjoyed by all @ FOX 17 tomorrow morning.  Football is upon us once again and that Fall weather will be here soon.  Cheers to all...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ribeye a' deux

     This evening's cooking, being done inside because I'm tired of this relentless heat, is the second of two French-boned Cowboy Ribeyes that I purchased from The Butcher Shop in Franklin, Tn.  I decided to create a little rub, without measuring, and see how it works.  I started with shaved sea salt, cracked black pepper and then added a few pinches of cumin, onion powder and garlic powder.  The ribeye had been coated with a light coat of EVOO prior to applying the rub.  The cooking process today will be to sear the ribeye in the oven @ 450 degrees for 15 minutes and then reduce oven heat to 325 degrees and cook ribeye to an internal temp of 115-120 degrees for a "nice" med-rare.  After cooking, it'll rest for about 15 minutes and the temp will continue to rise a few degrees.  It'll be magnificent.  The side dishes will be squash / zucchini casserole and roasted new, yellow, potatoes.
     We also prepared an appetizer to enjoy while the ribeye cooks.  We roasted some fresh garlic that we spread on a french baguette (with a light coat of EVOO as well) and then topped that with fresh mozzarella slices.  Into the oven that goes for about 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees.  If you've not tried this, give it a try. Easy to prepare and it's great tasting.
    Today's wine choice is the '06 ST.FRANCIS Cabernet.  It has a dark fruit nose with a hint of plum.  And, since it's aged in French & American Oak, the mid-palate is toasty-oak (maybe even like a piece of toast to me) and it has a nice fruit finish, fairly complex.  It was a bit tannic and tight as I poured the first couple of small pours, to taste, but after being decanted for 45 minutes to a hour, it became much more balanced.  It's $24 and it will pair very well with the marbling in the ribeye and the side dishes.  Bon Appetit and Cheers to all...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

J Vineyards

If you're a fan of Jordan Wine, as I am, you'll want to check out J Vineyards.  Judy Jordan, daughter of Tom Jordan, Jordan Wine, is making wine in the Russian River Valley.

Click link below to read the  article on J Vineyards:
J Vineyards Article

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lily Pinot & Rotisserie Chicken

So many cooking, today I chose to use my grille's rotisserie, which had not been used in a couple years if memory serves me correctly.  I picked up a whole chicken @ Tag'z 5Star Meats, here in Murfreesboro, and decided to use a simple dry rub so we could enjoy the juicy taste of the chicken.  I started with a light coat of EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil), a light coat of fine ground black pepper as well as kosher salt.  After about 4 hours of resting with the rub, it was time to put the "chick" on the rotisserie.  The grill temp was about ~300 degrees and it cooked for approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes to get to an internal temp of 170-175 degrees.  As the chicken was cooking, I brushed on some EVOO about every 30 minutes.  In the end, I ended up with a nice golden brown, crispy outside and juicy inside.  I did notice that the dark meat was much more juicy than the white but it was all very tasty.

Today's vegetable was fresh eggplant from the local Farmer's Market.  I actually got up early enough to get there and get some fresh veges.  I should do this more often...

Grilled Eggplant with Fresh Ricotta & Grilled Tomato-Basil Relish
 8 ounces fresh sheep's milk ricotta
1/8 cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Stir together the ricotta and parsley in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper.
2. Place the grilled eggplant on a large platter and top each slice with a heaping tablespoon of the ricotta and a heaping      

tablespoon of the tomato-basil relish.
3.  Eggplant slices were grilled for approx 5 to 6 minutes on each side with the grill on high.  Nice grill marks, you're done.

Grilled Tomato-Basil Relish

2  ripe plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 small red onion, finely diced
1 cloves finely chopped fresh garlic
1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup finely chopped fresh basil

1. Heat your grill to high.
2. Place the tomatoes in a bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Place tomatoes on the grill and grill until charred on all sides, and just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from the grill and coarsely chop. Put the chopped tomatoes in a bowl, add the remaining 1 tablespoons of oil, onion, garlic, vinegar and basil and gently mix until combined. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Can be made 4 hours in advance and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving. 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Flat Iron & The Show

Flat Iron Steak, Grilled Hearts of Romain & French Bread paired with "The Show" Cabernet from "Three Thieves Winery," located in St. Helena, CA (lil North of Napa). The steak, which has some marbling, goes well with the Cabernet. This Cab is full bodied but not overpowering with tannin nor alcohol. It has some dark fruit on the nose, blueberry most prevalent, a smoky-oak mid palate and a nice fruit finish. $16

Grilling Hearts of Romain (cut in half) and French Bread. Lightly coat the lettuce w/ EVOO before grilling. Grille 3 to 4 minutes, just long enough for leaves to start wilting. And, 3 - 5 minutes on the bread. Bread has EVOO, lil Kosher salt and cracked black pepper & a "smidge" of dried Rosemary but "no parsley - sage - thyme." (Remember the song?) :-)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

7 Deadly Zins, Lodi, CA

This afternoon was a quick grille between rain storms...  However, rain that was seriously needed.  Yesterday, it was 105 degrees before calculating the heat index, just too HOT.  After the rain today it was 88 and it felt like Fall was one sleep away.  Nevertheless, back to reality, it's not quite Fall yet.  So, more importantly, back to the vino.  This afternoon I just grilled up some burgers and cooked a few potatoes to go with the 7 Deadly Zins, Zinfandel from Lodi, CA.  Lodi is South of Sacramento and inland Northeast of San Fran.  This is one of Val's, the wife, favorite Zins and Zin pairs well with so many different things.  We cork'd it and poured a couple ounces in each glass and then gave it see-swirl-sniff-sip...  I got mostly dark fruit on the nose, maybe the blue of a blueberry muffin stood out the most.  It was a little tight at first, like your cheeks sticking to your gums, so to speak, but after about 30 minutes it opened up nicely.  The second sniff-sip led me to a smoky-pepper mid palate but not overpowering pepper.  The finish was nice fruit, not too peppery.  At this price, <$20 USD, it's a bottle you can open on Wednesday or Saturday or any other day, even Thanksgiving Day for that matter.  If you're a Zin fan, give it a try.  Cheers to all...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

4 Options from Burgundy

"Article sourced from Cork'd:"  @corkd on twitter; 4 Regions that offer GREAT value.

There is some value to be had from less buzzed about vineyard sites along the Côte d’Or. If you’re looking to dip your toe in Burgundy without emptying your bank account, here are three areas to look for on the label:

Marsannay, located at the very top of the Cote d’Or, can present some serious value. This most northern growing area is just south of Dijon, France. With average prices under $40 (even in good vintages, like 2005), these 100% Pinot Noir wines can eximplify true Burgundian characteristics – a balance of red fruits, earth and character – without breaking the bank.

On deck we have Fixin. Fixin is sandwiched between Marsannay and the highly prestigious Gevery-Chambertin AOC. The Burgundy Report has provided an amazingly in depth description of what to expect from Fixin, explaining that its “premier crus can certainly compete with the average premier cru labeled Gevrey”. The best part of all? These bottles are often a third the price of Gevrey-Chambertin.

Continuing our journey southward, St. Aubin presents a third option. This lesser known area, which we’ve previously highlighted, falls within the Cote de Beaune region, tucked between the world’s most heralded Chardonnay vineyards of Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet. St. Aubin is a source of value for both great Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as it’s located very close to Pommard, a well-respected Pinot Noir-focused area. Its diverse soil types and many southerly exposed vineyards provide enough sunlight to make Paris Hilton happy. And because it doesn’t get nearly the press of Hilton’s sun soaked curves, you’re sure to find lots of value.

Batting cleanup for team “Value Burgundy” is Nuits St. George. The southern most appellation of the Cote d’Or Nuits, Nuits St. George annually produces around 1.7 million bottles. The region’s vineyards are dominated by Pinot Noir, and make very little white wine from the Chardonnay variety. The wines from this AOC are more revered and slightly more expensive than those previously mentioned but brings loads of red berries, truffles, ample tannins and true terroir that you can expect from many upper-tier Burgundies. You may want to look to reserve these wines for birthday dinners or an anniversary.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

'07, Napa Valley, Avalon Cabernet

Today's appetizers included three different cheeses, salame and water crackers.  While we snacked, the charcoal grille was heating up and getting ready for the portabella mushroom caps and boneless ribeyes.  Earlier, I put a light coat of EVOO on the ribeyes and then added a little cracked, fresh, black pepper and ground sea salt.  We put that aside and let it sit for about 3 or 4 hours at room temp.  While that was resting, I prep'd the mushroom caps by brushing a light coat of EVOO on both sides and sprinkling a little cracked black pepper and sea salt each side.  Afterwards, I put 8 oz of fresh spinach in a skillet with about 2 TBSP of EVOO, 1 TBSP of Balsamic Vinegar, 1 TBSP of fresh Goat Cheese and 1 TSP of Garlic Powder.  I reduced that down in the skillet and set it aside.  All the while, we had some new potatoes cooking in the oven (diced w/ greek seasonings) for about 45 mins @ 350 degrees.  The charcoal grille was at 450 degrees and I put the ribeyes on for about 6 to 7 mins on each side (over direct heat) and placed the portabella mushroom caps with the spinach & goat cheese mixture on the "indirect" heat side of the grille.  After the ribeyes and mushrooms were done, we grilled a few pieces of French Bread (coated w/ EVOO, cracked black pepper & dried rosemary) for about 3 or 4 minutes.

Today's wine selection was an '07, Napa Valley, Avalon Cabernet.  It's actually a blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Cabernet Franc & Petite Syrah.  I opened it 24 hours before cooking and let it stand in a decanter.  It had dark fruit (blackberry, black cherry) on the nose, a little toasty oak and vanilla on the mid-palate (aged in American Oak) and a nice finish.  It was very nice after sitting in the decanter for 24+ hours @ 55 degrees.  This wine is $15 USD or less and it's very nice.  The tannin in the wine paired very well with the ribeye and its marbling as well as the mushroom cap with spinach & goat cheese reduction.  A fine meal indeed.  Cheers to all...

Raphe's Whole Beef Tenderloin

This is a great recipe, especially if you're cooking for 8 to 10 people.  Each end of the tenderloin will be closer to medium doneness and the center will be an awesome med-rare.  It's ridiculously good !!

Whole Beef Tenderloin:  5 lb to 6 lb  (Cooked in the oven.)
Have the butcher trim the whole tenderloin for you.  Get the trimmings ground into ground beef for burgers, chili, etc.

Lightly coat the entire loin w/ Olive Oil (EVOO)

1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 1/2 Tsp Onion Powder
1 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 1/2 Tsp Fine Ground Black Pepper
1 Tsp Ground Red Pepper
1/2 Tsp Ground Cumin (a key ingredient)
1/2 Tsp Ground Nutmeg

This will cover a 5lb to 6lb tenderloin well.  Generously covering but not too heavy.

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl then spread evenly over the entire tenderloin.  Wrap and chill overnight, if possible.  If not, 4 hours minimum.   Bring back to room temp before cooking, minimum 2 hours at room temp.

I cook this on a rack in a baking pan (9x13 or the like).  Don't lay it directly on the pan.  Use the rack !!

I start the cooking process with the oven on 450 degrees and let the loin cook for 15 minutes.  Then I reduce the heat to 350 degrees for an additional 30 - 40 minutes.  I do use a small meat thermometer and when the internal meat temp reaches 125 degrees in the thickest part of the loin, I'll take it out of the oven.  Or when your thermometer reads Med-Rare, take it out of the oven unless you prefer the beef more done.  Depends on how your oven cooks, somewhere between 50 min and 1 hr total.  The smaller end will be done earlier so you can cut it off if you want so that it doesn't over cook.  And, it's a good snack for everyone to try...  The ends will be more toward med and the center will be a nice med rare.

Monday, July 19, 2010

'06 Summit Lake Zinfandel, Howell Mountain AVA

06 Summit Lake Zinfandel (Howell Mountain AVA), $19 here in Middle Tennessee.
Big dark fruit on the nose. I definitely got the blackberry & black cherry. The mid palate was a smoky oak and leather, to me. The finish was nice with a hint of pepper. Upon first opening the wine, it was a little tight. After 30 minutes in my decanter, it became more balanced and I thought it had good structure. I paired this wine with our handmade pizza that had sun-dried tomatoes, bacon, mozzarella and red sauce. The wine was great with the pizza. Personally, I prefer a Red Zin with a hint of that peppery finish. I've been trying more Red Zins lately as they seem to pair well with many different foods. It's a wine that you can bring out on, say, Thanksgiving Day and it pairs well with all the different flavors of that season. I will drink this wine again and share it with my friends. Cheers to all...

Turn Up The Heat

Wine pairing and grilling contest for ST.FRANCIS Winery & Vineyards. I have a 2lb French-Boned Cowboy Ribeye for Two, Caramelized Onions, Fried Corn and grilled French Bread. I paired that meal with ST. FRANCIS'S '05, Sonoma County, Merlot. Check out the video. Cheers to all...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Raphe's Remarkable Ribeye

French-Boned Cowboy Ribeye for 2: Pan Seared & grilled ribeye, caramelized vidalia onions and fried corn w/ green chilies & sun-dried tomatoes for a little kick. I paired that meal with an '05 ST.FRANCIS Merlot. The Merlot was $19 @ Stones River Total Beverages, here in the Boro. The wine was dark fruit on the nose and tannic at first (like cheeks sticking to your gums tannic) but within a hour, the wine became much less tannic and more balanced. It had a smoky-oak smell as well and the finish was nice. If you're a Merlot fan, give it a try. Cheers to all...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

White Burgundy & Kabobs

Pan Seared Scallops & Chicken, Vidalia Onion and Nectarine on skewers. And, we had a White Burgundy wine with that. The wine was a 100% Chardonnay from Burgundy ($16). '07 Louis Latour, Grand Ardeche from Brinkmann's Wine & Spirits in Franklin, TN. The wine was a lite green to wheat straw in color, floral on the nose, a little minerality on the palate with nice balance and a good finish. This wine is neither oaky nor buttery, which I prefer. I don't drink a lot of white wine but I thought this was good w/ the scallops and chicken skewers. If you're a Chardonnay fan, give it a try. Cheers to all...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Coffee Encrusted Beef Fillet

Coffee Encrusted Beef Fillet, Fried Eggplant, Grilled French Bread and Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Seghesio Zinfandel. The Seghesio, at $19, is a great bottle of wine and pairs well with many different foods. It's dark fruit like blackberry and black cherry on the nose, a hint of chocolate on the mid palate and a nice finish. If you remember the smell of your mother's or grandmother's kitchen when she was making grape jelly, then you can imagine what this wine smells like. As for this pan seared fillet, this old skillet holds lot of memories of my mother cooking in our old farm house in rural West TN. It's still producing great food to this day. Cheers to all...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sunday evening with Sangiovese

This evening I prepared grilled chicken thighs (special dry rub), grilled French bread and fried corn that was cut fresh from the cob. My wife has a great white BBQ sauce that she makes for the chicken that's seriously good. The wine choice for this evening was an '08 Sangiovese from Venge Vineyards. The Penny Lane had some cherry and a little dark fruit on the nose, a solid structure in the mouth and nice finish. To me, it's drinks like a Pinot Noir. I've been receiving wine from Venge since '06 and I truly enjoy every bottle they send me. Kirk Venge and team continue to create some great vino. Visit them @ and try a bottle or two. Cheers to all...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

PoolSide Sangria

PoolSide Sangria: Ed Hardy Red Sangria (Brinkmann's Wine & Spirits) <$10; Cut up oranges, strawberries and black grapes, pour Sangria in pitcher and add the cut fruit, let it sit in the fridge overnight if possible. Put blackberries, blueberries and black grapes in freezer overnight and then add them to the glass before you pour the Sangria for drinking. Cheers to all...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Dinner with the Monastrell grape...

Tonight, the entire dinner was prepared on the grille. Flat Iron Steak (not be confused with flank or skirt steak), Hearts of Romaine, French Bread and Yellow skin potatoes.

I was introduced to a new Spanish wine & grape last evening, Monastrell. Unbeknownst to me, Monastrell is grown in several parts of Spain and France. The origin us unknown, for sure, but it originally took on the name Mourvedre. Today, Monastrell is the 5th most popular varietal in Spain, as it relates to acreage.
The bottle we tasted last evening was fairly young, very tannic and astringent upon first tasting. After it had been decanted for a hour, it became much more balanced and less tannic with a mild finish. This wine would be well suited for roasted beef or beef stew. Cheers to all...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pinot Wars

We've had World Wars but Wednesday evening it was Pinot Wars... Chile vs Oregon
I tasted both the Chilean Apaltagua ($13) and the Belle Vallee ($23) from Oregon. Two very different wines but both very nice for the price point. The Chilean was much more floral and earthy, old world, on the nose as compared to the Belle Vallee's mostly red fruit (raspberry, cherry) and a hint of dark fruit like blueberry. They both had a nice structure and good balance. The mid-palate was different as the Chilean was more like forest floor and the Belle Vallee more minerality. The finish was very nice on both, maybe just the slightest hint of white pepper, but that's just me. If you're a lover of the Pinot Noir, I think you'll be pleased with both of these. Cheers to all...