Tag Archives: red wine

Chocolate & Wine to Celebrate

We did not post anything about a wonderful blog milestone or an exciting event that has happened in our lives.  So although both are a little delayed, we’re glad to be sharing it!

First the milestone: the blog has been up and running for over a year and we didn’t even realize it.  It all started on October 20, 2010 with this blog post!  So we’re almost going into Month 13, unbelievable!

Having this blog has been a great experience.  It’s definitely pushed us to try different recipes and tastes.  Although we have always tried new recipes, having this blog ensured that we keep looking for something we hadn’t made before.  It did not allow us to be stuck in a dinner rut.  Over the last year we’ve realized more of what we like, what we’re good at making, and have higher goals of learning even more.  Sam has always been a little more adventurous in the kitchen, rarely following recipes.  It’s been a bit of a learning curve for me, but I’m getting much better at adjusting recipes to our tastes, or taking ideas rather than following exact directions.

Our goal is to continue this project (a hobby I guess).  We hope that all of you are learning and trying out some of these recipes.  Definitely let us know of any feedback- that’s the only way to improve!  And keep up with new posts through our Facebook page!

And now for another exciting announcement!  I know some of you already know this, but for those that don’t…we’re engaged!  It’s been a couple of months since the engagement, but I never felt like there was a right time!  Since we’re celebrating a 1 year anniversary of the blog, I thought it’d be perfect to also celebrate an engagement.

For this joyous occasion, I decided to make a chocolate cake!  The taste had a wonderful depth, and it’d be a great dessert for a girls dinner night, paired with some red wine!



Red Wine & Vanilla Yogurt Chocolate Cake

Adapted from: 17 and Baking

1/2 cup of butter, softened
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup of wine (I used Merlot)
1/4 cup of Greek vanilla yogurt
seeds of 1 vanilla bean (substitute: 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1 1/2 cups of flour
3/4 cup of cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 scoop of vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Spray a 9″x5″ loaf pan with cooking spray.

Beat the soft butter on medium speed with your mixer, until the texture become smooth.  Slowly add the sugar and egg, continuously mixing the batter.  Once everything is beaten, add the wine, yogurt and vanilla.  Continue mixing the batter and slowly add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Stir well until everything is incorporated.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan.  Bake for 1 hour, but make sure the batter is cooked through (the toothpick method).  Depending on your oven, you might need an extra 5-10 minutes.  Cool the cake for 10-15 minutes before serving.  A great addition is a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

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Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market Summer Salad

Yes, it was a Farmer’s Market day today!  As I’ve written before, the Penn Quarter Farmers Market, here in Washington DC, is amazing!  It’s held every Thursday and we’ve been purchasing various fruits, vegetables, meats and eggs from there every week, it’s something I look forward to!

For over a week I’ve been craving a vegetable salad.  Just fresh veggies- easy and simple!  The weather has also cooperated today, it wasn’t too hot, which made it even better.  After making dinner, we went up on the roof and had our delicious salad, with some wine.  There was a nice breeze, and it wasn’t hot and humid.  Couldn’t have asked for a better Thursday night dinner.  I think there will be many more of these as the summer continues.

Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market Summer Salad

2 large heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped
9 small cucumbers, sliced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt & pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients together, and serve.  Bread and wine taste delicious with this!

Sam’s Summer Pasta Sauce

One of the first meals that Sam had made for me was this sauce, and I loved it!  He’s been perfecting this baby for years, so it is delicious.  I couldn’t wait until the tomatoes were in season, since this pasta is significantly better with deep red fresh tomatoes.

It’s finally tomato season!  Hopefully, my pasta sauce recipe will help you figure out how to use them.

It looks like a lot, but really, this one is pretty easy.  I developed this recipe over a couple years of trial and error.  Originally, I prepared the sauce as noted below, but then simmered it for about an hour over the stovetop.  I’ve found that omitting this last step and serving it with the tomatoes and herbs in their raw state gives the sauce a really nice, fresh-from-the-garden flavor.  I hope you like it.

Sam’s Summer Pasta Sauce

1 box, dry pasta (I recommend penne or rigatoni)
3 large, ripe tomatoes, quartered
2 zucchini, slice length-wise & chopped into chunks
2 squash, slice length-wise & chopped into chunks
1 yellow onion, chopped
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced thickly
5 garlic cloves, minced
handful of fresh basil
6 sprigs of fresh oregano
¾ can, drained, pitted, black olives
Dry red wine (a nice Chianti works well)
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

In a large saucepan, melt the butter together with the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Then add the squash, zucchini, and onion together with the salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.

Now is a good time to start boiling your pasta.  I recommend cooking in liberally salted boiling water until al dente.  When done, drain and rinse in cold water to ensure it doesn’t continue to cook.

When the onions are translucent, add the mushrooms and garlic.  Continue to sauté until the mushrooms soften but still have a bit of a bite.  Remove from heat.

In a large food processor, add quarter of the sauté mixture together with the tomatoes, oregano, basil, olives, and a splash of wine and olive oil.  Pureé and add more salt, pepper, and olive oil as necessary.

Serve the sauce with the remainder of the squash mixture over the cooked pasta and top with a little fresh, grated parmesan (not that powdered stuff!).  Oh, and don’t forget to drink the remainder of that wine!

Buon appetito!