Posts tagged ‘Wines’

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.

July 30, 2015

Drinking Italy – Summer 2015


I was thinking of writing such a lovely post about how beautiful the vineyards were in Italy, how driving through the hills of Tuscany there were miles of sunflower fields, like an endless sea of yellow. We learned that all those sunflowers were used to make oil… interesting. I was thinking that I should fill you in on how serious the Italians are about their wine. Black roosters and DOCG. Brunello vs. Chianti and Chianti isn’t Chianti, if it isn’t made in Chianti. The deliciousness of the Sangiovese grapes and that we learned all grapes are white inside, it’s their skins that make the red wines… well, red.

Then I was just thinking about how freaking hot it was. 102 degrees one of our days in Florence and how we were melting in Sienna, even though it was only 98 degrees that day. And then I thought how delicious the ice-cold beers were and that for the first time, I realized that alcohol actually never cools you off, it makes you hotter. Maybe because we were in Italy, the heat wasn’t nearly as offensive as it can be here; or maybe it was because it was generally a dry heat, like Arizona and Vegas instead of the humidity laden muck of summer in New York City. Beer played as important a role in our drinking this trip, as did the wine. I even tried to enjoy Campari. There’s something so sexy about a Negroni. Well it wasn’t happening… too medicinal for me. The disappointment on the handsome Italian bartenders face. In his head I’m sure he was thinking “f*cking Americans!” But the beer, that was a great relief. Here’s what we drank along our travels.


Our home away from home in Florence, one of our favorite parts of the hotel stay was the bar. Crisp refreshing cocktails and an impressive spread of free bar snacks. The bartender made me my first Aperol Spritz. Delish! Everyone else seemed to be ordering them, too.






We had a wonderful afternoon visiting the Poggio Amorelli winery. A family run vineyard, we enjoyed a tour, wine tasting and lunch. They specialize in Chianti and other wines, as well as making their own olive oil and balsamic vinegar. They also made a killer cheesecake which they served for dessert alongside our Vin Santo and biscotti (my favorite). Here I learned that the whole “Italian” ricotta cheesecake thing found commonly in the States, is actually not even Italian. I guess it’s more of an Italian American tradition? Like chicken parmesan and spaghetti & meatballs.





Other wines we enjoyed and my favorite Italian beer…







Watch out Italy! The Jacobson’s will be back soon, hopefully not in the middle of summer. Maybe a springtime trip to Milan with a visit to Modena and Bologna next time. Meanwhile, I wonder if they sell this beer here in the US?

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