Archive for ‘Wines we love’

March 20, 2016

Gochujang Stir-Fry Sauce & Other Obsessions


At any given time I have a handful of food obsessions rolling around in my head. I find ways to incorporate them each week in my cooking and I often spend down time poking around online for creative ways to use them. Some fall off the list, others stick around and new ones are always finding their way to my dinner table. When the whole family loves them like I do, everyone is happy. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case… said the lentil salad I keep making.

My current obsessions…

Frisée – A crisp frisée salad with radicchio, farm picked diced apples and a little crumbled blue cheese could be one of the best salads. Skip the apple and cheese, and toss in some crispy pancetta or bacon lardons if you “Parlez-vous français.” Top with a poached egg and voilà! A Salade Lyonnaise. My recent dinner at the très chic restaurant La Chéri, in the Philadelphia Art Alliance building, included a delicious Salade Lyonnaise and too much French white wine I’m sorry to admit (nice segue to my next addiction).


Version 2

French White Wines – Extra dirty martinis and sazeracs no more… I don’t know what’s happened to me in the last 6 months but my alcohol tolerance has plummeted to its lowest levels. I’m sad to report my days of cocktails before having wine with dinner are over. I have however, found a new love of French whites. Our dinner at La Chéri introduced me to Vouvray, a refreshing white wine with a hint of effervescence. Sancerre and white bordeaux are also on the list. Here are a few delicious bottles. Sophie Bubbles is not impressed.



Lentils – To me, lentils are a perfect food. I love these lentils with chorizo and making lentil soup with sausage and spinach, and I even love canned lentils for this quick cold salad. I could go on and on. Below is Ottolenghi’s Mejadra, an ancient rice dish with lentils and fried onions (I could eat the whole bowl). It’s from his Jerusalem cookbook. If you love Middle Eastern food, check out his cookbooks. Love!


Gochujang – Gochujang is a Korean fermented chile paste. I’ve used it to make stir-fry, fried rice and chicken lettuce wraps. It’s spicy but not overpowering. You definitely need to mix it with other seasonings like sesame oil, soy sauce and fresh ginger. It has a wonderful umami type flavor. If you’re interested in learning a little more, Bon Appetit has a nice article about gochujang. Here’s the stir-fry sauce that I always make, adapted from Eating Well magazine. It’s an easy weeknight dinner with a spicy kick. Yum!


Gochujang Stir-Fry Sauce


  • 1/4 cup gochujang
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir-fry any combination of veggies and protein you like. Pour the stir-fry sauce over the ingredients in the pan and stir until everything is coated and the sauce is heated through. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve over brown rice.


** I’ve found Gochujang at some Wegmans and at Mekelburgs in Brooklyn.

April 27, 2014

Drinking Italy


Vineyard Fields in Tuscany

On the way home from our trip, Alan and I did a little math and figured out we drank at least a case of wine during our trip. We had a bottle with dinner each night, several wine tastings and a few lunches included a glass of Chianti. I did realize fairly soon into the vacation that if I wanted to enjoy the rest of the day and evening, opting for water was a better choice for me at lunchtime.


Wine tasting at Banfi

Most all of the wine we drank was absolutely delicious. Italians take their wine very seriously. They are happy to help you select a bottle and often, the wine list in a restaurant is literally a book. We learned a lot about the wine making processing visiting the Banfi winery, Casa Emma in Chianti and a wonderful winery called il Paradiso di Frassina in Montalcino. We brought wine home to enjoy from all three places. Though I scored a bottle of Casa Emma’s Vin Santo, rather than wine. Vin Santo and biscotti is my new favorite dessert. Dip the biscotti into the Vin Santo and enjoy!


Vin Santo & Biscotti from Casa Emma

Our wine tasting at Banfi ended with a nap. We must have tasted 20 wines. By the end of the tasting I realized I’m such a cheap date. I enjoyed their inexpensive Chianti better than the 2004 Brunello. We did find a wonderful Brunello at il Paradiso di Frassina to ship home, along with a wine he called 12 Grapes. Delicious.


Barrels of Brunello in the cellar at Castello Banfi


Wine barrels in the cellar at il Paradiso di Frassina

I made sure to photograph the bottles we loved most, so I could share them. We tasted a lot of great wines! I know the photos of the labels will serve as a helpful reference to search for the same wines here in the States. I could write a blurb for each one below to tell you it was smooth, easy to drink, etc. Just trust me, these were all delicious.


As I pulled together these wine photos, I realized that all the bottles below are Chianti Classico. I know that some of them are available here in the States. Though the first bottle was one of my favorites and is only available in Italy. We actually found the winery in Radda, an area in Chianti, but they were closed the day we were there. I would have shipped home a case. Sigh.





The bottle below was the only white wine we drank on the trip. We had it at Pierluigi in Rome, and it was a perfect match with our seafood dinner.


Here are a couple of dessert wines we enjoyed. I’m looking forward to opening the bottle of Vin Santo we brought home from Casa Emma. I just need to find some reasonably good biscotti.




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