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Summer Garden Recipe

Green Beans and Zucchini With Sauce Verte 

Looking to use some of your fresh herbs you are growing in the garden this summer?  I just came across a great recipe in June 2010 issue of Bon Appétit; actually if you grow vegetables as well you can practically grow this whole side dish.  The recipe is Green Beans and Zucchini with sauce Verte (French meaning green sauce).  The recipe also provides a tip saying any extra sauce can be stirred into rice, couscous, or used as a fish or meat sauce if desired.

Sauce- 1/3 cup of packed fresh basil leaves, 1 green onion; coarsely chopped, 2 tablespoons of packed fresh parsley, 2 tablespoons of drained capers, 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice,  2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 garlic clove; peeled, 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil.

To make the sauce blend the first 7 ingredients in processor until finely chopped.  With machine still running gradually add olive oil. Process until coarse puree forms.  Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.  Can be made 1 day ahead, cover and refrigerate.

Vegetables- 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 pound of green beans; stem end trimmed, 12 ounce zucchini; halved lengthwise with each half cut lengthwise into 1/3 inch wide strips, 3 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley for garnish.

To prepare the vegetables, heat oil in heavy large non stick skillet over medium high heat.  Add vegetables and stir until coated with oil.  Sprinkle with salt and 3 tablespoons water. Cover; cook vegetables until almost crisp-tender, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes.  Uncover, cook vegetables until just tender, approximately 2 additional minutes.  Stir in enough sauce verte to coat vegetables generously.  Season with salt and pepper, transfer to serving bowl and garnish with parsley.

For more great summer recipes, visit, a great website and magazine for recipes to pair with your favorite wines.

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Summertime Appetizer

Not sure exactly where this recipe originated as I recently acquired it from a friend who acquired it from another, so I hope I am not stealing anyone’s top secret recipe, but it was so good I felt the need to share. It is a great summertime appetizer, or you could potentially make enough portions to consider it a meal along with a salad and maybe some brown rice to soak up the juices left from the salsa mixture.
Shrimp with Spicy Fruit Salsa
½ cup diced mango
½ cup diced papaya
½ cup diced pineapple
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ Thai chile, seeded and minced or substitute jalapenos instead
8 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
To prepare the salsa: combine the mango, papaya, and pineapple in a medium bowl. Whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, cilantro, olive oil, and Thai chile in a small bowl and pour the mixture over the fruit. Toss lightly to coat the fruit.
To prepare the shrimp: season the shrimp with salt and pepper and cook in a very hot sauté pan with the canola oil for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until just cooked.
Spoon some of the fruit salsa onto each plate and top with 2 shrimp.
Enjoy with your favorite white wine, my suggestion would be a good Chardonnay that can stand up to the potent mix of flavors in this dish.

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Summers Fresh Produce with Wine

Summer is great time of year for enjoying the fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season with your favorite wines. It is also a time of year that many people like to eat light. The hot weather sometimes suppresses our appetite as well as the fact that we want to look good in our swimsuits, can also help to curb what we eat. Either way, it is a great time to indulge in the local fresh vegetation available. How about slicing up a nice ripe tomato, layer it with fresh mozzarella cheese, sprinkle with salt, pepper, some fresh basil and drizzled with your favorite dressing or even balsamic vinegar? Makes a nice refreshing snack you can pair with your choice of wine. Another easy vegetable snack would be steaming asparagus until just tender, but still a bit crunchy. Serve along with your favorite ranch dressing for dipping. My personal favorite, are the fruits. A fresh juicy crisp apple goes great with a glass of wine and a few slices of cheese. A platter of fresh grapes to compliment the grapes in your glass goes a long way too. The possibilities are as endless as the variety of vegetables and fruit available in summer.

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St Patricks Day

Here is a great easy St Patricks Day recipe, Irish Cheddar and Stout Fondue. I know when you think St Patricks Day you think Irish stout and this is made with stout, but it pairs nicely with wine too! This recipe found in Bon Appetit recommends serving the fondue with steamed vegetables, such as potatoes, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and apples, but can be served with just about anything. We served it with bread chunks and honey wheat pretzel sticks.

1 pound Irish Cheddar cheese, grated (or Sharp white cheddar)
2 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 cup (or more if desired) Irish Stout
6 tablespoons frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Toss cheese with flour in large bowl. Bring 3/4 cup stout, juice concentrate, and mustard to simmer in large saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add cheese mixture, stirring constantly, until cheese is melted and smooth, thinning with more stout, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.
Note: we also added spicy brown mustard in addition to the Dijon mustard which enhanced the flavor.

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Mediterranean Pot Roast

Looking for an interesting recipe for company? We just prepared this Mediterranean Pot Roast that was outstanding, a recipe from Betty Crocker. We paired it with Italian style green beans, potatoes, gravy, salad and some biscuits. The best part of this dish is that the pot roast is done in the slow cooker for 5-6 hours so the meat is extremely tender. Also a good portion of your prep is done long before your guests arrive, so you can concentrate on your side dishes and enjoy your company. We used the below recipe but added our twist with a bit of red wine added to the broth. We also saved the drippings from searing the meat and mixed them with some broth, store bought gravy mix (McCormick to be exact), again adding a little red wine to the gravy as well. Lastly we added some sundried tomatoes to the gravy to simmer for a while and removed them just before serving. Give it a try, it was real hit. The dish pairs well with a bold full bodied red, or white wine to compliment the beef and tomatoes.

1 boneless beef roast (preferably a rump roast)
1 tablespoon of Italian Seasoning
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
1/2 cup sliced pitted Kalamata olive
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 cup of frozen pearl onions
1/2 cup red wine

Spray skillet with cooking spray, heat over medium high heat. Lightly salt and pepper beef, cook in skillet about 5 minutes, turning once, or until brown on all sides. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and chopped garlic, remove from skillet. Place beef, seasoned side up, in a 4 to 5 quart slow cooker, spreading tomatoes and olives over roast. Add broth, onions and this is where we added the red wine we had opened for extra flavor. Cook 5-6 hours on low heat until tender.
For the gravy (which is not part of the recipe) we used the skillet drippings from the beef adding red wine to deglaze the pan. Next we added 2 packages of McCormicks brown gravy made following package directions.

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Kale and White Bean Stew

In the winter we know most parts of the country are lacking in fresh fruits and vegetables that are at their peak. Well, Kale, a hardy, healthy winter green is grown in cold weather, so it is prime time for a neat Kale recipe. Kale is a member of the cabbage family and also rates high in the dark green leafy vegetable category that we always hear is so good for us. Kale is a source of several vitamins including, A, C, and K, it is high in antioxidants, calcium and fiber. We know all of these are helpful in keeping our immune system in balance and fighting off disease. Kale comes in several varieties including Curly Kale, Tuscan Kale and Red Kale. Keeping in mind that Kale has a strong, rich, flavor with an almost peppery kick, why not pair the below recipe with a light Sauvignon Blanc to offset the spicy flavor? This recipe is courtesy of the February Bon Appetit magazine and sounds great for a cold winter night. Try it tonight!

Kale and White Bean Stew
Makes 6 servings
1 ½ pounds kale leaves, center ribs and stems removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped peeled carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped shallots (about 4)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 15-ounce can white beans (preferably organic) drained
4 cups (or more) vegetable broth
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon Sherry wine vinegar
2 tablespoons assorted chopped fresh herbs (such as tarragon, parsley, and chives)

Cook Kale in large pot of boiling salted water for 1 minute. Drain. Transfer to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain. Squeeze out excess water. Coarsely chop kale. Heat Olive Oil in medium size pot over medium heat. Add chopped carrots, celery, shallots and garlic; cook until soft, stirring, about 15 minutes (do not brown vegetables). Add white wine and simmer until liquid is slightly reduced, about 7 minutes. Add white beans, 4 cups broth, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 20 minutes. Add Kale and simmer 5 minutes longer. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Add more broth by ½ cupfuls to thin stew, if desired. Mix in Sherry wine vinegar and chopped fresh herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.