wine and food pairings

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What a heavy week. The anniversary of the Boston Marathon brought a lot of heavy heartedness to the city, and another suspicious backpack brought flashbacks and nerves. I hope the rest of the week brings peace and cheers and at worst sore muscles as we look forward to welcoming the Boston Marathon back.

Before the week began, I got away to enjoy some seriously warm temperatures (80 degrees!) and belated birthday celebrations with my family in NJ. Originally we planned on going out to dinner, but when the weather turned out to be perfect, we decided to grill at my sister’s.

I knew I wanted a luscious white for sipping on the backyard swing while my brother-in-law kindly cooked dinner, and I was pretty sure it had to be a Viognier. Luckily the Wine Chateau, a store near my mom, offered a good selection, including my choice, this 2010 Fess Parker Viognier from Santa Barbara County.

Fess Parker Viognier

Just as you would expect from a Viognier, this wine was full of stone fruit flavor like ripe peaches. The mouth feel on a Viognier is such a huge part of its beauty, and this one certainly had weight, along with slight oak and vanilla notes. This Viognier goes perfectly with sunshine. I also highly recommend pairing it with a grilled dinner.  We had a serious feast of grilled shrimp, chicken sausage, lobster, mushrooms, asparagus, corn, and salad, followed by homemade chocolate ice cream. It was pretty much the best birthday dinner I could have asked for, and it was a nice preview of summer.

grilled lobster

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Tags: Summer wine, Viognier, wine, wine and food, wine and food pairings, wine of the week, wine pairing, wine tasting

Two weeks in a row! I did miss posting my normal Wednesday Wine and Food Pairing yesterday because I really wanted to share all of my photos from Taste of the South End. It was a great event, and I wanted to strike while the iron was hot!

This week’s wine and food pairing is actually from last Friday. I worked from home which is one of my favorite things ever. Without having to waste the time of a commute, I got SO much done and was able to throw together an easy spinach lasagna.

I started out with about 4 cups of fresh baby spinach.



And a 14 ounce can of Trader Joe’s marinara sauce, which I doctored up with extra garlic, basil, oregano, and a teeny glug of olive oil.


The filling was a large container of part-skim ricotta, one whole egg, a handful of nutty, salty parmesan, and a cup of part-skim mozzarella.


I used the “no boil” lasagna noodles. Starting with a layer of sauce in the bottom of a glass baking dish, I layered sauce and spinach, noodles, cheese filling, sauce, etc. The recipe I was roughly following called for another cup of mozzarella sprinkled on top, but we really didn’t need it.


Cover tightly with foil and bake at 375 for about 40 minutes. For the last 4 minutes, I put the broiler on which resulted in bubbly brown deliciousness.


For the wine pairing, I broke into the latest wine that we bought at the Bin Ends fine wine flea market. We tasted a few Sicilian wines there and decided to add a few bottles to our rack.

On this particular evening, we opened a Cossentin Nero d’Avola. This Sicilian wine was a perfect match. Dark red and tasting of dark berries and a little bit of anise, this wine worked well with the richness of the cheese as well as the acidity of the tomato sauce. We have another bottle of this Nero d’Avola left as well as a bottle of Francesco Nicosia Nero d’Avola waiting for us at Bin Ends. I love trying new grapes! The Nicosia wine that we ordered has the perfect blend of fruit with a hint of black pepper which I LOVE in a wine, so I will definitely be giving that its own post once we go pick it up!

Are you ready for the weekend?! I am so happy its almost here and more than looking forward to getting my 21 mile run. . . and my longest pre-Boston Marathon run over and done with!

What are you doing this weekend? Does it involve wine? ;)

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Tags: Food, lasagna, pairing food and wine, Sicily, wine, wine and food pairing, wine and food pairings

Maybe its the recent Mad Men marathon we engaged in that made me feel like cooking something old fashioned or the cold weather and my tired self wanting something comforting. All I know is that I decided last week that I needed to make an easy chicken pot pie.

My sister got me making this recipe in the first place, and I was happy to see how truly easy, versatile, and re-heatable it is.

The ingredients:

1 store bought pie crust

2 cans reduced fat cream of chicken soup

3 chicken breasts, chopped in chunks

3 cups chopped carrot

2 cups string beans (I used frozen because I could not find fresh)



To make the filling, I simply mixed the soup, carrot, string beans, and chopped, raw chicken. I topped it with a good grinding of black pepper and popped it in the oven at 375 for about 15 minutes. In the meantime I stretched and rolled the pie crust to make it fit my pie the best that I could. Then I placed the crust on top of the pie filling and put it back in the oven until golden, about 35 minutes.


Now, I know its not at all pretty. That’s partially because I could not get the crust to stretch and it sort of fell apart. This definitely is not a dish with a wow-factor, but it was really good


Since I only used a top crust, I cut down on the fat and calories of a full pie but still had a bit of that buttery flaky goodness.

It would be easy to vegetarianize the pie by using cream of mushroom soup and omitting the chicken.

The wine pairing of the week? Even before the Austrian wine tasting last week, I had purchased some Austrian wine at the Bin Ends. I decided to pair this creamy, buttery pot pie with a really fresh 2007 Weingut Groiss Grüner Veltliner. The green bottle that this wine comes in is the perfect container as the wine has some great green apple flavors with some of those characteristic Austrian minerals in there. Basically it was refreshing and palate cleansing and went really well with the pot pie. This is a wine that I am excited to drink throughout the spring. Bin Ends has some great deals on Austrian wines, and if you live in the Boston area, you should definitely check them out!

What is your favorite homestyle, throwback meal?

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Tags: chicken pot pie, Food, Gruner Veltliner, wine, wine and food pairings

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