Monday, December 26, 2011

Medici Pinot Noir

unWine'd with a pour...

'06 Medici Pinot (Chehalem Range overlooking Newberg, OR). Deb, thanks for the introduction! I just needed Roy to "perceive" he'd been given credit. Happy Holidays & Cheers to both of you!!!

~$30 / bottle

Tasting Notes:   
I get red fruit on the nose, bing cherry to me, but not too fruit forward.  It's nicely balanced and not tannic.  The mid-palate seems to have a hint of vanilla and a slight touch of spiciness.  And, the wine has a nice lingering finish - quite quaffable.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Beef Wellington with Mushroom Pate'

Above:  20 - 25 mins in 375 oven.  130 degrees internal temp with instant read thermometer.  It produced a very nice med-rare.  If you prefer your Wellington more done, cook a few minutes longer and then use an instant read thermometer to see if it's reached your preferred doneness.

Beef Wellington: (This recipe used 4 fillets.)
4 Beef Fillets, cut into 6oz, 8oz or 10oz portions.  Your call.
1 box Puff Pastry Shells (thawed)
1 Egg
1 Tbsp Half & Half

1) Salt & paper the fillets to taste.  I use a little kosher salt & black pepper.
2) Mix egg and half & half in a bowl (sit aside)
3) Spread a little flour on the counter.  Take one pastry shell and roll it out thin.
4) Spoon 2 or 3 spoons of the pate' on the shell and then place the fillet atop the pate'.
5) Next, bring the shell up on all sides of the fillet so as to wrap the fillet smoothly.
6) Using the egg mixture, brush on the shell where you're wrapping the fillet.  It will seal/hold the edges.
7) Next, brush a light coat of the egg mixture over the entire pastry, glossy finish.
8) Place the wrapped fillet on your baking sheet (spray baking sheet so the shells don't stick) with the pastry shell seams down.
9) Repeat 1-8 for remaining fillets.

Above:  4 Wellingtons resting after the cooking process.  The meat is beef fillet cut into 6, 8 or 10 oz steaks.  Whatever you prefer.

Above:  Wellington w/ Mushroom Pate' wrapped in Puff Pastry Shell.

Below:  Mushroom Pate'
Ingredients / Cooking Instructions:
4 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp finely diced shallots
8oz finely diced mushrooms (I used Baby Bella.)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1) Melt butter over med heat and then add the shallots.  Reduce heat a little if necessary so the shallots do not brown.  Stir constantly for 5 minutes.
2) Add the finely diced mushrooms to the mixture and mix well.  Over med-low heat, continue cooking the mixture for 10-12 minutes.  Stir frequently.
3) Next, add the 2 Tbsp of flour and coat the mixture, stir for 2-3 minutes.
4) Now, add the cup of heavy whipping cream.  Mix thoroughly and bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to low/simmer.
5) Remove from heat, add salt & lemon juice, mix and then let the mixture cool to a warm touch.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holiday Pinot Noir Tasting

unWine'd with a pour...

Cooralook (Australia):  Not overly fruit forward but some cherry on the nose, a bit of acidity but with very mild tannins.  $15

Camas (France):  This Pinot is Burgundian in style. Not as much fruit on the nose, more earthiness. A little more tannic than the other three Pinots but not too tannic, a nice finish. This is an easy drinking Pinot and a good transition wine if you're not really a red drinker.  $13

HandCraft (Cali):  Red fruit on the nose, cherry, raspberry. Very mild tannins and a nice balance. A bit of lingering finish as well. $14

cooper hill (Oregon):  Light and fragrant. More toward blackberry and some earthiness on the nose, quite different than the Cali Pinot. Not tannic but with a hint of spiciness leading to a very nice finish. Very nice, give it a try if you're a Pinot fan. $18


Friday, November 25, 2011

They call me Mr. Nibs

...Cacao Nibs that is.  Try this dry rub for your next rib-eye, flat-iron or other steak.  Sear your beef in a skillet (cast iron if you have it) for approx 3 mins on each side.  You can use a couple Tbsps of butter, oil or EVOO to sear, your choice.  Afterward, transfer to grill or oven to finish cooking to your preferred doneness.

Dry Rub Mix (Source:  Internet, adjusted to my preference and enough for two steaks, 1 - 1 1/2 lbs)
2 Tbsp Cacao Nibs (you can find some at Whole Foods, other at )
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Ground Mustard
1 tsp Chipolte Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/4 tsp Ground Allspice
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar (Light or Dark)
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
(Mix all these ingredients in a food processor.)

You can just rinse the steaks and pat dry or you can apply a light coat of EVOO and then apply the rub, your choice.

These, boneless, rib-eyes are about 1 1/4" thick.  Apply a "generous" coat of the dry rub all over the steak. Afterward, wrap in Saran Wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes or overnight if you have time.  And, remember to remove the steaks from the fridge and allow them to come back to room temp before cooking.

Venge's Scout's Honor Red Wine & Bone-In Chicken Thighs

'09 Scout's Honor from Venge Vineyards.  
This wine is a blend of Syrah, Petite Syrah, Zinfandel & Charbono.  

(Charbono - The wine made from Charbono tends to be dark, with medium to high tannins & acidity.  This varietal is a grape variety from the Savoie region of France.)

This wine is inky purple (aka - a tooth stainer) in color with much dark fruit (blackberry, black cherry) on the nose, as well as some spiciness.  This wine is 15.5% so it's not for the faint of heart, it's a big boy.  The wine has good structure, a bit chewy and dusty in my opinion.  This wine has a nice lingering finish and will stand up to many bold foods. ~$38.

Dry Rub: (Apply EVOO to chicken before applying dry rub.)
Dried Thyme - 1 Tbsp
Oregano - 1 Tbsp
Cumin - 1 Tbsp
Onion Powder - 1 tsp
Smoked Paprika - 1 Tbsp
Kosher Salt - 1 tsp
Black Pepper - 1 tsp

Grill heat - Internal 350-375
Grill thighs for approx 20 mins on each side, skin up first

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pre-Thanksgiving "Pinot Noir" Tasting

unWine'd with a pour...

Meiomi Pinot - California, $19
Spindrift Pinot - Oregon, $22
Louis Jadot - Bourgogne (Burgundy Pinot) France, $21
Apaltagua Pinot - Chile, $12

Tasting Notes - Coming Soon

Saturday, November 12, 2011

'06 MEDICI, Oregon, Pinot Noir & Pan-Seared Beef Fillet

unWine'd with a pour...

I was introduced to this Pinot by my good friend Mr. PR Snipes of the Murfreesboro Snipes.  I'm a huge fan of Russian River Valley Pinots from CA but after drinking the Medici "I am now a fan!"  You cannot find this wine in my area (Middle TN) but since Mr. Snipes was recently in the Willamette Valley area, I am now the proud owner of 6 (now 5) bottles of the '04 & '06 Medici Pinot.  I will drink it slowly and purposefully.
As for my personal tasting notes, I get red fruit on the nose, bing cherry to me, but not too fruit forward.  It's nicely balanced and not tannic.  The mid-palate seems to have a hint of vanilla and a slight touch of spiciness.  And, the wine has a nice lingering finish - quite quaffable.  I give it a rating of opulent.  <$30 / bottle.

Cooking the Fillet:  I use a generous coat of EVOO on the steak and then add, to taste, shaved sea salt and black pepper.  I let that sit for about one hour at room temp.  When I'm ready to cook, I place the cast iron skillet in a 400 degree oven and let the skillet get smoking hot.  Afterward, transfer to the skillet to the side burner on the grill.  Over high heat I'll place one Tbsp of butter in the skillet and then place the fillets in the skillet.  I cook them for 3 minutes and then add one more Tbsp of butter and turn the fillets for 3 more minutes.  After that six minutes, I transfer the fillets to my grill, which is at 500 degrees, for another 6 - 8 minutes, not turning - just place them on the grill. This cooking time produces a very nice med-rare every time.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

'05 Geyser Peak Cabernet

unWine'd with a pour...

'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.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

'07 Mayo Family Syrah - purchased from Lot18

unWine'd with a pour...

I recently joined Lot18 which is a site where you can search for and see special prices for many different wines.  You can check it out to see if you find deals that interest you.

Click link below:

My first purchase was '07, Mayo Family, Syrah (Page/Nord Vineyard).  As always, I researched the prices on-line, checked the wine's rating, tasting notes, et al.  The wine was in my price range and the tasting notes appealed to me.  I bought 4 bottles and have had one to date.

This wine is a dark garnet toward inky purple in color with dark fruit on the nose.  This wine has the roundness of a nice Cabernet but with that hint of spiciness you expect from Syrah.  I thought the mid-palate had hint of vanilla & plum, though slight.  The wine has nice structure, not tannic but with a nice lingering finish.  I will decant the next bottle and see how that effects the taste as I didn't have time to do that with the first bottle.  I will enjoy the other three bottles.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sweet - Smoky - Spicy Bone-In Prime Rib

Prime+ Bone-In Ribeye
Source (Butcher Block, Franklin, Tn)  Thanks, Bruce...

unWine'd with a pour
(wines notes pending)

Slow smoked with a little cherry wood.  I seared the rib in a 450 degree oven for 25 minutes and then transferred the rib to the smok'r.  Smoking time will vary, internal temp is the key regardless of time but low and slow is good.  I pulled this rib from the smoker @ 125 - 128 degrees internal.  Afterwards, I wrapped it in aluminum foil for 30 minutes before slicing & serving.  A couple of the end pieces are a little closer to medium doneness but the remainder is as you see it in the top photo.  This Prime+ Ribeye was the best I've ever had.  The tenderness and fat marbling was excellent.  Rib below - 16 lbs.

Miscellaneous prep photos...

Rub recipe:

Prim Rib / Smoky-Spicy Dry Rub for 14 - 16 lbs

1 1/2 cubs cacao nibs, slightly ground w/ mortar & pestle (thanks to my sister for the expedited delivery of the nibs)
6 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
8 teaspoons cumin seed, grond finely w/ mortar & pestle
4 teaspoons ground mustard
4 tablespoons chipotle chili powder or chili powder
4 teaspoons smoked paprika
4 teaspoons ground allspice
6 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed (Use less or more according to your taste.)
6 tablespoons kosher salt or fine ground sea salt

Mix thoroughly.

Apply a generous coat of EVOO to the entire Prime Rib and then apply a generous coat of the dry rub.  You may have some left over if you choose not to use all of the dry rub mixture.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Simply, Thank you... Steve Jobs

Without your innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, this blog would not exist in its form.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dry Aged NY Strip on Red Oak

unWine'd with a pour...

Dry Aged NY Strip on Red Oak:
Prep, well, you don't need much prep for Dry Aged beef.  I put a little EVOO, black pepper and ground sea salt on the steaks for seasoning.  Afterwards, I let'm sit for a couple of hours at room temp.
I'm not usually a NY Strip fan but the dry aging process did the trick for this cut of beef.  It's as tender as a rib-eye and the flavor of the dry aging is unmatched.

Pick-up your Dry Aged Beef @ Wholes Foods in Franklin, TN.

Seared 2 minutes on each side and then grilled on Red Oak plank until the internal temp was 125 - 130 degrees for a nice med-rare.

09 Seghesio Zin - inky purple in color, jammy, dark fruit - maybe blueberry - on the nose, not tannic but with a slight spiciness and lingering finish. You'll be looking for a second bottle. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bacon-Wrapped Venison Tenderloin Medallions... It's Fall !!!

Venison Tenderloin Medallions:
Prep:  1/4 cup of EVOO & White Wine Vinegar in a zip-loc bag with the medallions for overnight in the refrigerator.

Dry Rub:
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp ground sea salt
1/2 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
Let the tenderloin sit at room temp for 2 hours, with dry rub applied, before grilling.

I pre-cook the bacon in the microwave for a few minutes before I wrap and grill the venison.  I cook the bacon a little more than half way done, however long that is in your microwave.  Afterwards, I use two pieces per medallion and pin with a toothpick.

....a lil "sip" whilst grilling!  Cheers...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Whole Beef Fillet

Whole Beef Fillet (~ 6 lbs) purchased from Tag'z 5Star Meats, Murfreesboro, Tn.

Prep process:  
Whole tenderloin was trimmed @ the butcher (Tag'z).  The trimmings become about 1 lb of ground beef.  

Dry Rub:
Apply a generous coat of EVOO to the fillet before applying the dry rub mixture.  The dry rub mixture consists of the following ingredients:
1 Tbsp fine ground kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp fine ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 Tbsp fresh, finely chopped, rosemary (optional)

Mix all ingredients thoroughly.  Apply the dry rub evenly over the tenderloin.  I let the tenderloin sit for about 2 hours, at room temp, before I wrap it in saran wrap & aluminum foil for overnight in the refrigerator.  Leave the fillet in the fridge for 24 hours (or a minimum of 8 hours) before cooking.

Cooking process:
Remove the tenderloin from the refrigerator 2 hours before you cook it.  Let it sit at room temp during that time so the fillet can come back to room temp.  I cook mine in a 9x13 pan with a wire grate in the bottom.  Don't put the fillet directly on the pan, it will stick...

Heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Place the fillet in the oven and cook for 20 minutes @ 450 degrees.  This gives the fillet a nice sear on the outside.  After that time expires, reduce the oven heat to 325 degrees.  Using an instant read thermometer (or other), cook the fillet to 130 degrees, internal temp, for a nice med-rare.  After you remove the fillet from the oven, place a piece of aluminum foil over the fillet (tent) and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.  It will continue to cook a little so if you prefer your fillet Rare+, cook the fillet to 125 degrees internal temp instead of 130.  After the resting period, slice the fillet as thin or thick as you prefer.

bon appetit...

Horseradish Sauce:
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp spicy brown mustard
4 tsp prepared horseradish
Mix these three ingredients thoroughly and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Apple-wood Smoked Boston Butt

Prep process: 8 lb Bone-In Boston Butt

I started the prep process by spraying the Butt with a mixture of Apple Cider Vinegar & Black Label Jack Daniels (1/2 cup of each in my spray bottle).  I keep it wet for 60-90 minutes, spraying frequently.

The Dry Rub Mixture:
I like to try different dry rubs and this rub was different from all my previous.  Mix all the ingredients, below, in a mixing bowl.  You can put a light coat of Yellow Mustard all over the Butt to help hold the dry rub or not, your choice.  Apply the dry rub all over the Butt.

2 Tbsp Coarse Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp Onion Powder
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
2 tsp Chipolte Chile Pepper
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper (2 if you prefer a little more bite)

After the dry rub has been applied, I let the Butt sit at room temp for a couple hours.  After that time, I wrap it with Saran Wrap and then Aluminum Foil and place in refrigerator overnight.

Next, I remove the Butt from the fridge and let it sit at room temp for at least 2 hours before I put it on the smoker.  You don't want the meat to be cold when it goes on the cooker.  The final piece of the dry rub is now layering on 1 Cup of brown sugar (light or dark) all over the Butt just before you place it on/in the smoker.

I cooked this piece for 9 hours over indirect heat and kept my smoker at 250 degrees (225 - 275 will be fine).  I used a few large pieces of Applewood during the cooking process as it give pork a nice flavor.  Lastly, I continue to use my Apple Cider Vinegar & Jack Daniels spray, about every 90 mins, to keep the Butt moist.  I cooked this Butt to 180 - 185 degrees internal temp and it pulled apart, with a fork, very nicely.  I do let the meat rest for 30 minutes before I pull it apart.  It was so good that most people didn't want BBQ sauce on theirs, your call.

Cheers and bon app├ętit...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tapas & Grilled Rack of Lamb

Clothbound Cabot & Robiola Due Latte cheeses w/ Peach Chutney & Honeycomb

Wine:  Prosecco & J Vineyards Pinot Noir

Prosciutto wrapped Asparagus with Blood-Orange Balsamic

Asparagus with Grapefruit & Creme Fraiche

Grilled Rack of, New Zealand, Lamb
Pick-up your Lamb @ Whole Foods, Franklin, TN

Marinade - garlic infused EVOO, chopped, fresh, rosemary, fresh roasted garlic, shaved sea salt & cracked black pepper.  24 hrs in a zip-loc bag.

Grilled lamb to 135 degrees internal for a very nice med-rare.

Grilled pears for salad with Strawberry-Basil Vinaigrette.

Wine:  ST.Francis Reserve Cabernet

Cast Iron Skillet Apple Pie

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Venge Pinot & Grilled Heart of Romaine with Flat Iron Steak and Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

unWine'd with a pour...

This Pinot has nice bright red fruit, cherry - raspberry, on the nose with a hint of dark fruit on the mid-palate, maybe even a hint of vanilla - to me.  I like the mild tannins, complexity and the lingering finish of this Pinot.  Great job Venge.  Cheers to all at Venge and bon appetit...

Seasoning the Flat Iron Steak:
Put a light coat of EVOO all over the steak.  Add a couple pinches of Kosher Salt to each side as well as some Cracked Black Pepper.  Next, finely chop 1/2 Tbsp of fresh Rosemary and sprinkle over both sides of the steak.  Lastly, I add a pinch of Smoked Paprika & Ground Cumin to each side.  Now, let that sit a room temp for about one hour prior to grilling.

Grilling the Flat Iron Steak:
I use high heat, 450-500 grill temp which is about 400 - 425 grill surface temp, in my grill.  I brush some EVOO on the grill grates and then place the steak on the grill.  I like my steak Rare+ to Med-Rare so I grill this cut for 4 minutes on each side.  Afterwards, I'll let it sit for about 5 - 7 minutes before I slice the steak, thinly.  Don't over cook this cut of beef.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

'07 PlumpJack Cabernet & Dry Aged Rib-eyes

Dry Aged Rib-eyes:  I've been planning to grill these for some time but they're not easily found, where I live anyway, and I thought I might have to buy a whole rib-eye, enough for several steaks.  So, I finally found Dry Aged beef at Whole Foods in Franklin, TN (I-65 & McEwen) where I could purchase individual steaks.  These steaks are about 1 1/2" thick and 1.25 lbs total.  They're a little pricy but definitely worth it.
Get your Dry Aged Rib-eyes @ Whole Foods, Franklin, TN.

So what exactly does Dry Aged mean?
(Source-Internet)  Dry-aged beef is beef that has been hung to dry for several weeks. After the animal is slaughtered and cleaned, either an entire half will be hung, or prime cuts (large distinct sections) will be placed in a cooler, also known as a "hot box". This process involves considerable expense, as the beef must be stored near freezing temperatures. Also, only the higher grades of meat can be dry aged, as the process requires meat with a large, evenly distributed fat content. For these reasons one seldom sees dry-aged beef outside of steak restaurants and upscale butcher shops. The key effect of dry aging is the concentration and saturation of the natural flavor.

The process changes beef by two means. First, moisture is evaporated from the muscle. This creates a greater concentration of beef flavor and taste. Second, the beef’s natural enzymes break down the connective tissue in the muscle, which leads to more tender beef.

Dry aging of beef is rare in super-markets in the United States today, due to the significant loss of weight in the aging process. It is found in steakhouses and certain restaurants.

The process of dry-aging usually also promotes growth of certain fungal (mold) species on the external surface of the meat. This doesn't cause spoilage, but actually forms an external "crust" on the meat's surface, which is trimmed off when the meat is prepared for cooking. These fungal species complement the natural enzymes in the beef by helping to tenderize and increase the flavor of the meat. The genus Thamnidia, in particular, is known to produce collagenolytic enzymes which greatly contribute to the tenderness and flavor of dry-aged meat.
Preparation & cooking:
I wanted to experience the flavor of this aging process so I didn't do anything but add a few pinches of shaved sea salt and black pepper to both sides.  I let that sit for about 30 - 45 minutes before placing them on the grill.  The flavor of these rib-eyes are beyond anything you'll get at a butcher, Publix or other.  The flavor and marbling made for a fabulous tasting steak.
I cooked these to an internal temp of 130 - 135 (a nice med-rare), removed from the grill and tented them with aluminum foil in the house for another 5 - 7 minutes to rest. If you prefer your steak medium, cook it to 140 - 145 internal temp. If you want it "ruined," cook it beyond 145... :-)
Now, more importantly, the vino.
'07 PlumpJack Cabernet
unWine'd with a pour...
PlumpJack - enough said!!! A close friend of mine got this for me in Oct 2010 @ the winery. I saved it for a special meal and it didn't disappoint with the Dry Aged Rib-eyes. This wine has dark fruit on the nose, great complexity and balance, maybe some cocoa on the mid-palate leading to an ethereal finish. Pick up a bottle for your next special occasion. 
Cheers to all at PlumpJack...