- Crab salad appetizer
- Maine Tomato Summer Salad, made with my wife's incredible, home-grown tomatoes
- Lobster-Corn-Bacon Chowder
- B&M Brown Bread with Raisins
- Vermont Maple Cheese Cake
- Moët & Chandon White Star - for a toast
- Two white wines for the white wine lovers
1. Grgich Hills 2008 Napa Valley Chardonnay
2. Stag's Leap Karia 2009 Napa Valley Chardonnay
- Two red wines for the red wine lovers
1. Zenato Valpolicella Superiore
2. Mate 2005 Brunello
The crab salad turned out better than my previous attempt (http://viaggiviniecucine.blogspot.com/2012/05/delicious-easy-crab-salad.html) because I used lump crab meat instead of claw meat. I would have preferred U.S. crab meat, but our local Publix only had imported Philippine crab meat.)
Maine Tomato Summer Salad
While the ingredients for the tomato salad were simple, the results were incredible because the celebrity tomatoes my wife is growing this year are mouth watering. I found the recipe at: http://www.newmainetimes.org/articles/2011/08/17/maine-ingredientsummer-tomato-salad/
I made a couple of changes to the following recipe:
a. I only used one quarter of an onion, in order not to detract from the taste of the tomatoes
b. I used about 3/4 of a cup of basil instead of a full cup
c. I peeled the tomatoes because the skins are a tiny bit tough
3 lbs. mixed local tomatoes (all one variety from your garden is fine too)
1 large sweet onion
1 cup packed, washed fresh basil leaves
1 cup packed, washed fresh basil leaves
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tsps. sugar
1/4 c. red balsamic vinegar
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
Wash, core and chop the tomatoes into chunks.
Put all of the tomato chunks with their juices in a large salad bowl.
Peel the onion and cut it in half and then cut each half into small pieces by making 5 lengthwise cuts and then cutting along the horizontal axis. If this seems too complicated or confusing, cut thin slices and then cut the slices into smaller pieces.
Add the onion to the salad bowl.
Gather the basil leaves together and cut them into thin ribbons (a sort of thick version of a chiffonade) as shown below. You should previously have removed all the stems.
Add the basil to the salad bowl and grind fresh pepper over the top of the salad. If you like the taste of pepper, use a lot -- if not, just a dusting.
Sprinkle the sugar over the vegetables, add the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and toss the ingredients together until well-combined.
Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes and serve at room temperature. This salad is very juicy and may be also used as a bruschetta. It is delicious with any grilled meat dish.
This turned out as tasty as the last time I made it (http://viaggiviniecucine.blogspot.com/2012/05/lobster-corn-bacon-chowder-we-love-it.html). This time I made the full recipe because there were eight of us. I added a couple slices of bacon and a couple extra ounces of lobster.
B & M Brown Bread
B & M Brown Bread with Raisins is a canned, sweet bread made in Portland, Maine. It is a type of traditional New England Brown Bread/Boston Brown Bread. There is also a B & M version without raisins. Both breads are 99% fat free and sweetened with molasses. They B & M brand has been around since the late 1860s.
Vermont Maple Cheese Cake
This was my first attempt at a cheese cake. It was easy to make and I was delighted with the results. I found the recipe at one of my favorite recipe sites - epicurious.com: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Vermont-Maple-Syrup-Cheesecake-14965
- twenty four 5 by 2 1/2 inch graham crackers
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (preferably Grade B, which has a bolder taste)
- four 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup pure maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Make Crust
- In a food processor, finely grind graham crackers (will produce about 3 & 1/2 cups)
- Melt butter
- In a large bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, butter, and maple syrup.
- Press evenly into bottom and up side of a 10-inch springform pan. (I used a 9-inch pan.)
- Wrap bottom of pan with 2 layers of heavy duty foil to avoid leakage.
3. Make filling
- In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment or in a food processor, beat cream cheese on low speed, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, until smooth.
- Add syrup and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add vanilla and cream, and beat until combined.
- Pour filling into crust and bake into middle of over for 1 hour. (Cake will not be set in center, but will set as it chills.)
- Cool cake in pan on rack.
- Chill cake, covered, at least 8 hours, and up to 4 days.
- Remove side of pan. Serve cheesecake in wedges, drizzled with maple syrup.
1. Moët & Chandon White Star - terrific. This champagne is the perfect way to begin an evening. My wife and I enjoyed a visit to the winery in Eparnay, Champagne, France in 2006.
2. Grgich Hills Estate 2008 Chardonnay. This wine is produced at the Grgich Hills Estate in Rutherford, Napa Valley, California by the iconic wine-maker, Mike Grgich, whose 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay won the white wine portion of the famous 1976 Paris Tasting (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judgment_of_Paris_(wine)) His chardonnays are produced without malolactic fermentation, so they do not taste buttery like those that do undergo that fermentation.
Also, his wines are organic and biodynamic (http://www.grgich.com/about/vyd_farming.cfm).
The word "Hills" in "Grgich Hills" does not refer to hilly terrain, but to Mike Grgich's founding partner at the estate - Austin Hills of Hills Brothers Coffee fame.
The Grgich Hills chard was nice, but I like the next chard better. My wife and I were wowed by the Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon we tasted when we visited the estate last October (http://viaggiviniecucine.blogspot.com/2011/12/grgich-hills-winery-worth-visit.html).
3. Stag's Leap 2009 Karia Napa Valley Chardonnay
This wine is produced by Warren Winiarski at his Stag's Leap Wine Cellars. His 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon won the red wine portion of the 1976 Paris Tasting (http://www.cask23.com/history/parisTasting/). He is a very interesting person - originally a university professor, who decided he preferred wine making (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Winiarski)
I thought this chard was very nice.
4. Zenato Valpolicella Superiore
We love this wine and enjoy it often.
Three of the four couples at our dinner did a wine tasting together in 2004 at the Zenato winery in Peschiera del Garda near Lake Garda in northern Italy. Their wines and hospitality were wonderful.
5. Mate 2005 Brunello di Montalcino
Brunello is one of my two favorite types of Italian wines. It is produced near the small and interesting hill town of Montalcino in Tuscany. (My other favorite type is Barolo, which is produced in the Piedmont in the northwest.)
The Mate Brunello is produced at a small winery that was founded and is operated by Candace and Ferenc Mate, a very interesting couple. She is an artist and he is an author of many books on topics such as sailing and Tuscany. Some of her paintings adorn the labels of their wines. I highly recommend his books - The Hills of Tuscany and A Vineyard in Tuscany.
Within a few years of establishing the winery, they were producing highly rated wines; e.g., their 2006 Brunello received 95 points from Wine Spectator.
We purchased the 2005 Brunello when we visited the vineyard with friends and our niece in 2005. I love this wine and wish I had purchased more. The Mates only produced 400 cases of it.
Candace by Her Vines
Candace with Her Cat
The Mates' Beautiful Tuscan Kitchen