Apr 252012
Welcome back to Wine Down Wednesday where I review a vegan dish paired with two different wines from Broadbent Selections.

For an ideal pairing we look at wines that compliment the flavors of the Roasted Moroccan Carrot dish; cinnamon, coriander and cumin.

The wines chosen to pair are
Weinert Carrascal (2007), Argentina and
Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc (2011), New Zealand.
The Dish
At the recent Tour de Farm I picked up a gorgeous bunch of carrots, sweet onions and a few bags of potatoes – when I got home Moroccan flavors came to mind.  It would be perfect with the variety of veggies and the mixture of spices; cinnamon, coriander and cumin to compliment the natural sweetness of the carrots.  Outside there is parsley growing in my herb garden and I had some tofu and raisins on hand to round out a perfect meal.

Details about the wine.
Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc (2011), New Zealand
Spy Valley is crafted by the Johnson Estate, a family owned winery located in Marlborough, New Zealand.  It is one of the youngest wineries I have reviewed – founded in 1993.  Overlooking the vines are two huge, white domes – a facility that gathers information on satellite communications for the US and New Zealand – hence the name, Spy Valley.

Both the wines and vineyard are certified sustainable by the New Zealand Winegrowers Sustainable Wine Growing Program which is audited each year.   Most of the Sauvignon Blanc is grown on beautiful, sunny river terraces along the Omaka River and the grapes are fermented in steel barrels.

 Weinert Carrascal (2007), Argentina
Weinert’s first vintage was made in 1977 and the Carrascal is a blend of Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and is fermented in an underground cellar in oak French casks. The name, Carrascal, comes from the place in Mendoza where many of the wineries came together to bottle their wine in clay amphora factories.

Here is the rating info.


Category #1 – How well my dish turned out.
Category #2 – How well I like the wine.
Category #3 – Pairing notes – How well this wine pairs with the dish.

Rating Scale

Bleck -This wine is pretty bad.
Ho Hum- I could drink it if I was at a football game and there was nothing else in the cooler.
Nice -Good table wine. I would keep this in the wine cooler if it was a good value.
Yum – This is good, I would pay a fair bit more and have it for a special occasion.
Damn that’s Good – Self explanatory.
** We will use the same terminology for how the dish turned out and how well it paired.

Category #1 – The Dish

Rating of YUM. I was so pleased with how this dish turned out. Moroccan food has lots of fragrant aromatics, a melody of flavors that has good balance, with no spice overpowering the others. The result is spicy, sweet and satisfying even without a lot of fat. Roasting the vegetables imparts a touch of caramelization on the outside and for anyone new to tofu this is a perfect dish to start with – the spices coat the tofu well and the outside turns a touch crispy. I can’t wait to try this again with new vegetable variations.

Category #2 – The Wines

Sauvignon Blanc, Rating of YUM. Apricot and tropical flavors, tangerine/citrus and a sweet grassy/herb-y taste. A touch sweet, it would be great for a steamy night in Morocco (or Florida).

Carrascal, Rating of Nice. Spice, coffee, deep plum, raspberry/raisin. Bold with a nice smooth finish.

Category # 3 – The Pairing

Sauvignon Blank Rating of YUM. Going back to that steamy night in Morocco-I can picture myself sipping this wine and eating this piquant dish while sitting on a decorative pillow on the floor with lots of rich fabrics draped around. Ok back to reality.

Red Rating of YUM. The red intensified the mixture of spices and the sweet raisins. It complimented the dish well and made it shine. It was a bit richer than I have been drinking lately but if you like a bold but well balanced red this will be perfect.

Where to buy
All the wines will be for sale locally at the Grotto in San Marco. You can contact Mitch Woodlief, grottomitch@aol.com with questions and pricing (please call first to ensure they have the wine in stock) and anyone outside the Greater Jacksonville area can contact E-MAIL: info@broadbent.com
PHONE: US +1 415-931-1725. 

Roasted Moroccan Carrots and Tofu

Inspired by Cooking Light, Roasted Moroccan Spiced Grapes and Chicken, April 2012
Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free


1 large onion, chopped
1 bunch (about 6 medium) carrots, chopped (I used KYV Farm)
2 small potatoes, chopped (KYV Farm)
1 block tofu, pressed and cut into cubes

Seasoning (get this ready first)
1 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp each salt, black pepper, ground cumin, ground coriander
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp red pepper

1/3 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup raisins


1. Preheat baking dish in oven to 450F. 

2. In a medium bowl mix seasoning mix with a whisk.  Add onion, carrot and tofu; toss to coat.

3. Remove heated dish from oven and spray with cooking spray; spoon carrot mixture over evenly.  Bake 45 minutes or until veggies are browned and tender; tossing halfway through.
4. Divide mixture over four plates, top with raisins and fresh parsley.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 247.2
Total Fat 11.2 g
Saturated Fat 1.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 521.7 mg
Potassium 1,024.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 39.0 g
Dietary Fiber 8.2 g
Sugars 10.3 g
Protein 16.5 g

Vitamin A 230.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 26.4 %
Vitamin C 52.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 5.3 %
Calcium 62.8 %
Copper 25.8 %
Folate 17.3 %
Iron 23.7 %
Magnesium 23.2 %
Manganese 68.7 %
Niacin 11.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 6.7 %
Phosphorus 26.7 %
Riboflavin 11.2 %
Selenium 21.6 %
Thiamin 19.8 %
Zinc 13.2 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Sep 272011
Before I launch into my adventures in Wine Country…if you are here for the sushi click here.
I have returned from my 10th anniversary trip with the new knowledge that I am not, in fact, a city girl like I thought I was.  I’m much more of a relaxing and drinking wine all day and eating good food kind of girl.  We arrived in San Francisco last Saturday in the afternoon after a layover in Dallas where we began the celebration with Bloody Marys.

We pulled our bags off the baggage claim and dragged two bags, two sets of golf clubs and four carry-ons to the BART station where we proceeded to enter the world of public transportation.  When we arrived at our stop we then dragged all our bags to the hotels and got settled in.
The view from our hotel room at the Westin, Union Square.
Trolleys (Part of the Muni day-pass we bought.)
  Sunday we walked from Union Square to Chinatown.
We knew this place must be good.  There was a cat running through the restauraunt and a dead lobster floating in the tank.  But it was PACKED with locals.
We really got crazy and went with some kind of sesame ball.
From there we walked to the Ferry building and then headed to Fisherman’s Wharf.  On the way we got this view of Coit Tower.  We saw it from every angle that day.
 In the wharf area we hit a bar and proceeded to drink too much during the Jaguars game…
…THEN got bikes (this was a bad idea) because we were on our way to bike the Golden Gate…
…to Sausalito…
…we then took the ferry back and returned the bikes and started back to Union Square on foot, passing by Lombard…
…we made it back to the hotel to get ready for dinner…
…at Betelnut, a Pan Asian restaurant.
…where we had a noodle dish with sea bass that I added lots of hot chilies too and it needed cilantro. 
And then had a drink at the Clift hotel which was very cool but each drink was $15.  I had a blackberry margarita that I can say was almost worth it though; fresh berries and all. They have very cool paintings where the eyes move subtly so you aren’t sure if you actually saw the change or not.  I suggest going there even to see the “paintings”.  Wish I got a photo of those!
The next day we got up to walk Golden Gate Park… 
…walked to the Haight/Ashbury area where we did some shopping.  I got two super cute dresses, a belt and the flowy top I wore wine tasting for around $100…
Lunch back at the Ferry building at Delica…if you are there you MUST try this restaurant.  Japanese influence with California ingredients.
…Spicy Burdock Root Salad, Carrot Ginger Soup, Hijiki and Soybean salad.  I also tried the Wasabi Garlic Potato Salad and the Spinach and Sesame Salad at another time and had a lot of trouble deciding which was my favorite.
…after lunch we made our way back to take the trip to Alcatraz which was awesome.  You can take a audio self guided tour…
We walked back to the Ferry Building where I got dinner from the market there; that I proceeded to dump all over the street from the trolley we were riding.  No photo of my broken frosty wine bottle and salad splayed across the street.  After all the walking I was exhasuted; this was not my finest moment if you can imagine.
Tuesday day in San Fran the boys played golf and my friend Justine and I got a pedicure, ate at Delica again and then Chris and I had dinner at Perbacco.  I had a lovely lemon ricotta ravioli and Chris had sort of a short rib and egg noodle dish.  They were good but I would try elsewhere if I dined again in San Fran.
After dinner we hit the Starlight Room in the Drake for dancing.  It was SOO much fun.  Awesome music and a few of the city.  I would DEFINITELY go there again.
Wednesday the relaxing started when we got our very comfy minivan and drove over to visit the redwoods. Relishing in the fact that we could get in and out as we pleased without waiting and stopping at each block.  I have a renewed appreciation for what you city folk go through.  You expend so much energy getting around it’s a wonder anyone actually needs to work out.
As soon as I stepped out in Muir Woods I felt like I was at home (you know me, the camper that I am).
We walked through the woods, smelled the pine in the cool misty air and walked through the muffled quiet.  We headed back to the car after a short walk and took the winding (and tad bit foggy) ocean drive to wine country.
    The hotel there in Petaluma was much quieter, there was a lovely pool and we could park right out front and walk in. 
We found a fabulous little café called Luma that was so amazing we ate there two nights in a row. 
The first night I enjoyed a tomato ginger soup with the most wonderful texture; not too smooth, just perfectly rustic, and then a colorful Asian inspired salad that was topped with sesame seeds, a light sesame vinaigrette and blackened shrimp.  The result was shockingly perfect.  SO mad I didn’t get a photo.
 The next day we rented a driver to drive us around to the wineries outside Sonoma Valley.  We chose to go to all wineries with wines that we could not buy at home. 
We hit Ledson…
…Chateu St Jean, our favorite was Chateau St Jean where Bob, the sommelier, took us through the most informative wine tasting as well as gave me a priceless tip on taking daytime photos of sim ply forcing the flash.
And finally Deerfield.  Yes, only three, but it took us five hours and by the end it was probably good we didn’t hit two more because we started taking silly photos of ourselves stopping to smell the flowers.
Ok drunks…on to “the caves” at Deerfield.


Stick a fork in us.  We’re done.  Time for dinner!
We closed out the day back at Luma again with apps, pizzas and salad.
The next morning the boys played their second round of golf at Bodega Bay which was GORGEOUS.  Every hole was on the ocean.
  Justine and I wound our way through the hills close by.  We discovered Wild Flour Café with the MOST amazing scones we have ever experienced. 
Pumpkin, pecan, chocolate chip and an asiago, green onion, which we enjoyed in the actual wildflower garden complete with frolicking children. 
We made our way over to the town of Occidental where we found a small gift shop and coffee bar.  We both had a chai tea coconut latte and decided it was the best we ever had.  From there, at the suggestion of a long time yogi that was partaking in a most fabulous concoction called “Desire”, we went to my most favorite meal on the trip at….Lowell’s.  All organic, local, vegetarian. 
I got a macro bowl with brown rice, greens, roasted root vegetables, tempeh, lentils and a miso ginger sauce.  My body had been screaming for that exact sort of dish that I had so been missing since I left home. 
It doesn’t look that great here but in the dish’s defense we bought it in Occidental and didn’t eat it till we got to the beach on Bodega Bay to wait for the boys to finish up. 
Roasted root veggies, greens, tempeh, brown rice, lentils and a miso ginger sauce.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
Now for the “sushi”.
What did I do with all that delicious mango salad from my last long ago post?

I made another take on a Forks Over Knives recipe.  Simply cutting the stems off some gorgeous green collard leaves, blanching them in boiling water for about 30 seconds and then wrapping my delicious fillings.  Not only did the leaves hold up well for three days but they were almost easier than the standard wraps to use!

Alas, I can not provide nutrition information for this one as I did not measure the amounts I put in, however, it was so wonderful that I simply had to share.  I know there are those that need to follow exact recipes, however, I hope that this one allows you some freedom to experiment and at the same time, enough information to allow you to do so.
Collard Sushi with Hummus and Moroccan Mango Chickpea Salad
Vegan and Gluten Free
Inspired from Forks over Knives pp. 172
Collard Greens (1 leaf per serving)
Fillings such as:
Moroccan Mango Chickpea Salad, or any mango salsa would work as well
1. Prepare a large bowl filled with ice water.  Bring a large, straight sided skillet or Dutch Oven filled with water to boiling; remove stems from collards and blanch for 30 seconds.  
2. Cut the thick woody part of the stem out, spread the hummus, fill with toppings and top with sprouts, just under and around the main rib line.
3. Fold in the sides and roll from the bottom up until closed.  Cut into sections and enjoy!
Sep 162011
One more day and I’ll be off; flying through the air, straight to San Francisco where we will be for four nights and then heading over to Sonoma for the next three nights for our 10th anniversary.  This is really the second major trip my hubby Chris and I have taken where we fly out of town (last one was to Mexico about 6 years ago) so I wouldn’t call us major out of state travelers; hence why I’m SOOO excited.  We will be there with another couple, our best friends Justine and Kerry that we have vacationed with before.  I promise to get back to blogging right when I return, but in the mean time I will try and tweet some good photos and updates.
As my parting gift I leave you with this salad.  But it’s not any salad.  It’s an almost raw salad (except for the chickpeas; they would be kinda hard not cooked), so it’s super easy to throw together, versatile; I ate this alone and then in two other recipes, and perfectly balanced.
Lightly sweet and very fresh.
Mango, lime and cilantro are such a classic and delicious combination, don’t you think?
(Almost) Raw Moroccan Mango Chickpea Salad
Inspired by Taste Space
Serves about 8 1/2-cup servings
Vegan, Gluten Free


3 garlic cloves
1 knob fresh ginger (about 1 1/2 inches long)
1 cup baby carrots
1/2 large red onion, quartered
Juice 1 lime
1 tsp garam masala
1 Tbsp agave
1/4 tsp of salt
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 ripe mango, seeded and chopped (1.5 cups)
1 cup cooked chickpeas  (this is the not-raw part so omit if you are eating raw)


1.  Mince the garlic and ginger in a food processor until very finely diced; add the baby carrots and onion and pulse until finely diced.

2. Mix the lime, garam masala, agave and salt in a small bowl and add to carrot mixture. Pulse to disperse through; add cilantro, pulse once or twice until combined. 

3. Pour mixture into a bowl, stir in mango and chickpeas. 

**Garam masala is an Indian spice mixture you can get in specialy grocery stores or on line at Frontier or Penzey’s.

Nutrition Facts

8 1/2-cup Servings (Perfect for side dish)
Amount Per Serving

Calories 68.2
Total Fat 0.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 174.6 mg
Potassium 173.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 15.0 g
Dietary Fiber 2.4 g
Sugars 5.3 g
Protein 2.0 g

Vitamin A 42.9 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 11.3 %
Vitamin C 19.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.0 %
Calcium 2.2 %
Copper 5.1 %
Folate 7.4 %
Iron 3.1 %
Magnesium 3.7 %
Manganese 12.3 %
Niacin 2.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.1 %
Phosphorus 4.1 %
Riboflavin 2.4 %
Selenium 1.8 %
Thiamin 2.8 %
Zinc 2.8 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Jun 082011
For a while I had a debate going with myself as to whether to give complete recap on how I did during the 21 day detox where I cut out meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, wheat and caffeine.  Recently I was asked by a fellow blogger about the outcome she encouraged me to do a post so here goes.
Now mind you, this technically isn’t about all the details of the detox. It is more about my own personal experience and does not reflect any of the other detoxers.

That being said, when it comes down to it I did feel great and it did help digestion and my sleep was wonderful.

The program gives lots of recipe suggestions, offers motivational MP3 downloads and an online support group that I really enjoyed.

Now that it is over I look back on the real reason I joined. 

This is an excerpt from a post I had in draft before I started. “The first step in my journey to mindful eating was realizing it is OK to be hungry every now and then.  This is a daily struggle for me.  The weekends have proved to be extremely hard when it comes to not eating when I’m not hungry.  I was going to blame my social engagements but I know it’s all me.

I drink wine. I eat. Especially chocolate.     

Step number two is learning even more about my body and what it is trying to tell me. In order to do this I need to eliminate common allergens such as dairy and wheat and then after the detox as I slowly add them back I will know what the effects of each type of food are on my body.”

Ultimately, though, I think even this second step was driven by the intention of losing weight. This would be the WRONG reason to do a detox because if portion size and emotional eating issues are there before the detox, they will still be there during.  And I would be proof. 

I thought, for sure, this would be “it” when it came to losing the last 5 or 10 pounds.  It had to be the magic bullet.  I do realize I don’t have 50 pounds to lose; however, over the years there has been a slow 1 to 2 pound weight gain and I am working very hard to stop the progression before it gets out of hand.  As it is I work out diligently, striving to burn between 400 to 1000 calories per day; I do cardio, weights and power yoga. I stay away from eat fast food (with the exception of the occasional Chipotle Grill), eat my whole grains, TONS of veggies, lean organic protein and low fat dairy. I have tried weight watchers, low carb, low cal and intuitive eating.  I have read self help books and diet books.  In the end I still have my issues with listening to my body and actually gained weight. About three pounds on my 5’3 frame. 

Thinking back I am trying to remember the point I lost the ability to eat intuitively and can’t pinpoint the time. Subconsciously I think I knew I would gain because I love so many of the foods on the detox and I know my portion size issues.  Aside from fresh fruits and veggies I could have nut butters, whole grains, dried fruits, maple syrup, agave.  Some of these things are really caloric and, when I brought up the bit of weight gain the first week, I was advised to listen to my body which is great advice for most people who are doing the detox for the right reasons and don’t have eating issues. 

I realize I have self image issues to work on.  I know I eat when stressed, bored or anxious.  I have the hideously horrible issue of comparing myself to others. 

At this point I’m trying to tackle all this by keeping my focus on the positive things in my life.  My hubby, daughter, family and friends are amazing.   I consciously choose each morning to not judge others and work towards not judging myself.  And I stay busy with my loves of blogging, writing and volunteering with the farm.  I will continue to do my daily workouts and add lots of cardio (that also provide stress relief from work) and have started eating pre-packaged non-GMO Amy’s meals for lunch (they have a new Light and Lean line under 300 cals) as portion control.  Additionally I’m snacking on fresh veggies only between meals and staying away from even healthy desserts at night such as a whipped frozen banana. Lastly, I visited my doctor to have all my levels checked and discuss any options.  

Am I glad I did the detox?  Yes.  Because I learned a lot about myself.
This leads me to my recipe.  As a continuation from prior to and during my detox, I will continue to eat vegetarian meals a lot of the times and, other than my frozen lunch, continue to focus on unprocessed foods.  Like these white Eggplants…..

Three of my favorite foods come together in this light, sweet and spicy side dish; eggplant, dates and sweet potato. 

Moroccan Sweet Potato and Eggplant with Dates

About 10 rounded 1-cup servings


1 large onion, sliced thinly
5 cloves garlic, pressed
2 large sweet potatoes, diced (I used an organic white variety)
1 1/2 lb eggplant, diced (I used white eggplant)
2 bell pepper (I used green but red would be good)
1 tomato
2 1/2 tsp tumeric
2 tsp garam masala
1 cup tomato sauce
3 cups vegetable broth
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chopped dates
Crushed red pepper flakes, optional garnish
Cilantro, optional garnish


1. Heat 1 Tbsp of the vegetable broth in a large pot.  Sauté onions for about five minutes, until softened; add the garlic, sweet potato, eggplant, bell pepper,  tomato, tumeric, garam masala, tomato sauce, vegetable broth, salt and ground pepper; bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until the sweet potato and eggplant are soft.

2. Stir in dates. Garnish each plate with crushed red pepper and cilantro.

Nutrition Facts

1 rounded 1-cup Serving
Amount Per Serving

Calories 101.7
Total Fat 0.4 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 583.3 mg
Potassium 341.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 24.5 g
Dietary Fiber 3.8 g
Sugars 9.2 g
Protein 2.0 g

Vitamin A 137.8 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 11.9 %
Vitamin C 37.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.0 %
Calcium 2.4 %
Copper 8.0 %
Folate 5.4 %
Iron 5.2 %
Magnesium 5.1 %
Manganese 14.5 %
Niacin 5.1 %
Pantothenic Acid     4.2 %
Phosphorus     4.0 %
Riboflavin 5.5 %
Selenium 1.4 %
Thiamin 6.1 %
Zinc 2.0 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. 

Sep 072010
I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend.  Ours was busy but really nice.  The highlights included Rombauer Chardonnay, a pedicure in “Chick Flick Cherry” and a family boat ride (just the three of us which is rare) to Whitey’s Fish Camp for the boiled seafood platter.  My little one was charming the pants of everyone shakin’ her booty to the band. 
Can’t say I’m glad to be back at work so we will focus on more positive things.
Like this salad.
If I could dive into this salad I would.  It’s spicy, sweet, crunchy, has that meaty texture from the barley and a finish of crisp lemon. 
I stayed pretty true to this recipe, only making a few minor changes.

Moroccan Chickpea Barley Salad

 Serves 6-8


1 1/2 cups  pearled barley
3 cups veggie broth or water
1 teaspoon salt
Olive oil
1 15-ounce can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and strained
1 cup shelled pistachio nuts
1 cup diced dried apricots
4 chopped green onions or scallions
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Zest and juice of a lemon
Spice Mixture or 1 Tbsp Vindaloo seasoning
Coarse ground salt to taste

Spice Mix:
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon turmeric


1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot on medium high heat. Add the barley and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Add the broth, and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer and simmer until the barley is tender, about 45 minutes.  Remove from heat, drizzle olive oil and set aside to cool.

2 Add the chickpeas, pistachios, apricots, green onions and parsley to a large bowl and mix well. Add the zest and juice of the lemon and mix again. Add the barley and mix. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the barley and mix well. Taste, and add salt if needed.