Archive | August, 2012

Drunken Burgers

23 Aug

Napa Valley is known for great chefs and talented wine makers. What do you get when you get both in one? You get idea for burgers made with red wine! First time we met wine maker, Chris Phelps he was making fabulous brick oven pizzas at a party. I do not eat pizza, EVER! However, that night I ate my share without any regrets. When we met with Chris again the other day, he gave me an idea for burgers made with red wine. I could not wait to test them on my hubby, and he loved them. They were very moist and delicious.They are  on the list to cook again soon for a party soon. I know I will get in trouble, if my husband hears that I used some of the wonderful wine Chris made, but I thought it would be only appropriate since he gave me the idea for the burgers.

  • 1 pound of lean grass fed ground beef
  • red wine (at least 2 cups)
  • red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp steak seasoning

Mix all the ingredients together. Use enough wine that the mix is loose but firm enough to form into patties. Let the patties brine in the fridge for at least 2 hrs. Grill on medium high grill until to your desire. I served the burgers with mushrooms sautéed with garlic and olive oil.


Sun-dried Zucchini Pizzas

21 Aug

We have made so many new wonderful friends in California during our stay. One of our new friends owns a winery that makes fabulous wine, the Harris Estate. We had a wonderful visit with owners and absolutely fell in love with them and their wines. Not only do they share their wine with us, but also the bounty of their garden. I was given an idea to make zucchini pizzas with the monstrous zucchini I got. We did few different experiments with it and here is my favorite one.

  •  zucchini sliced about 1/8 inch thick (large zucchini can be too watery)
  •  sun dried tomato pesto
  • mushrooms chopped up
  • tomato slices
  • fresh basil
  • cheese if desired

Heat a grill on medium high heat. Place the sliced zucchini on a cookie sheet. Top the slices with pesto, mushroom, tomato slice, basil and cheese. Grill until the cheese has melted and zucchini is slightly charred on edges. This was a fun vegan dinner.

Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad

20 Aug

Fresh grilled corn and wine ripe tomatoes are in season. Grilled corn is like eating candy corn. Wine ripe tomatoes are as sweet as grapes. I made this salad tonight and served it with fresh wild salmon fillet. The dinner was wonderful and paired well with wonderful California Cabernet.

  • pint of wine ripe cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
  • grilled corn and cut off the cob
  • cucumber, seeded and chopped up
  • 1-2 tbs fresh  chopped herbs such as basil, parsley and rosemary
  • 2-3 tbs aged balsamic vinegar

Mix all the ingredients together and let set in room temperature for 15-30 minutes before serving.

Grilled Baby Bok Choy

16 Aug

Yesterday at farmers market I found baby bok choy and could not resist buying it. Since it is vegan night at our house, I decided to grill it. I usually eat bok choy at oriental restaurants and thought asian flavor marinate would be nice. It worked very well. I bought the smallest bok choy I could find. Pulled any wilted outer leaves and cleaned and dried it.

  • bok choy halved length wise
  • 1 tbs low sodium tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs mirin (seasoned rice vinegar)
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1 glove of garlic finely minced

Heat the grill to medium heat. Combine the basting mix in small bowl. Baste the bok choy on both sides. Pour rest of the marinate over the bok choy. Grill, turning once, until slightly softened and streaked brown.

Grilled Swordfish Kebabs in Spice Brine

13 Aug

Swordfish has never impressed me, but I absolutely  love this recipe. I have made it now twice in the past week and everyone who has tasted it has given it thumbs up. I have to give serious apology to swordfish.                                                                               I have been in California and have had the opportunity to shop at wonderful farmers market and at fishmonger. Everything is very fresh and wonderful. I am not even going to mention the wonderful wine I have had a chance to try. Cheers to swordfish.

  • 2 fresh swordfish steaks cut in to 1″ cubes
  • 1 tbs ground cumin
  • 1 tbs coriander
  • t tsp black peppercorn
  • 1 1/2  tbs kosher salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tbs honey
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • 2 tbs mint leaves chopped

Mix all the spices together. Place the swordfish cubes in a ziplock bag and pour the spice mix in the bag. Marinate the fish in the fridge 30-60 minutes turning the bag at least one time. Heat a grill for medium high heat. Place the fish on kebabs leaving space between pieces. Grill 4-6 minutes total turning once. I have served this over salads and with grilled vegetables. Both worked well.

Spicy Grilled Salmon

13 Aug

Spring is officially here. I know in some parts of the world it is still very cold. Florida spring is perfect at the moment. We will suffer later in the summer, but for now, outdoors is perfect. The days are already longer, and we love to spend our evenings out on the patio. Grilled meal outside is perfect way to end a day.   This salmon recipe will spice up an evening in any weather.

For the salmon:

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • juice of 1 lemon
  •  salmon fillet
  • olive oil spray

Combine all the spices in a small bowl. Squeeze lemon juice over salmon then rub in the spices to completely coat; set aside to rest about 15 minutes. Grill salmon over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side or until the fish is opaque throughout.

Spicy Grilled Salmon

Grilled Spicy Salmon

Grilled Spicy Salmon

Tomato and Arugula Salad

7 Aug

Nothing is better than seasonal fruits and vegetables. We bought delicious cherry tomatoes straight from the field. They were like eating candy. I had to try a new salad and this was very refreshing. I love summer!


  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup canola oil or virgin olive oil

In  a blender mix the mustard and vinegar well together. Transfer to bowl. Mix the oil by hand. If you want dressing to be thick, you can add the oil in the blender. The dressing will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks.


  • pint of ripe cherry tomatoes cut in halves
  • 1 small shallot finely minced
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 cucumber peeled cut in half-length wise and seeded
  • 4 basil leaves
  • arugula

In a small bowl cover the minced shallot with vinegar and let macerate at least 10 minutes. Slice the cucumber into thin half moons. In a large bowl toss the arugula with some of the dressing. Plate the arugula, top with cucumbers and tomatoes. Sprinkle some shallots on top and finish of with basil leaf on each plate.

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