Mar 282012
 
Welcome back to Wine Down Wednesday where I will review a vegan dish paired with two different wines.
To pair wines with a meatless dish we must look at the spices and main flavors of the recipe.
For the spring rolls we look for a wine that would pair well with the following ingredients -
Fresh mint leaves, fresh cilantro, fish sauce, fresh lime juice and garlic.

The wines chosen to pair – LOUIS Dry Riesling 2010, ( Rheinhessen, Germany) and ARESTI Estate Carmenere 2010, ( Curico, Chile)

So far my favorite part about doing these wine pairings is learning more about the wines.  I tend to find a few and stick with them, but this exercise is getting me to branch out and learn more about the wine makers, varietals and background of each winery, which gives each wine more depth in my mind.

Louis Guntrum Winery was originally established in 1648 and was taken over by Louis Konstantin Guntrum – the 11th generation of wine makers.
During World War II, the family winery and mansion was occupied by US General Patton as he was crossing the Rhein river right in front of their estate.
The winery is located in Rheinhessen, Germany where the grapes reside in a cool climate that gets approximately 1800 hours of sunshine a year and has been certified as a sustainable winery by the German Agricultural Society.  The wine itself is actually called Niersteiner Oelberg Riesling Spatlese Trocken but they figured it was an easier sell as LOUIS Dry Riesling.  I would agree with that.

ARESTI Estate Carmenere 2010, ( Curico, Chile)
Aresti wine is a family owned business that was founded in 1951 and is run by three generations of the Aresti family – they grow over 1000 acres of vineyards. The award winning labels feature a panting called “Harvest at the Bellavista Hacienda” that depict part of the Aresti winery history.

 The grapes are grown in Curaco, the second largest wine producing valley in Chile.  It has a Mediterranean climate with a dry season that lasts about five months. Chilean Carmenere grapes were initially thought to be merlot as the leaves are very similar; however, they are actually a later ripening variety of Bordeaux.Fresh Spring Rolls

When my husband and I were first married and built our first house I had lots of wine and cheese parties. Almost one Friday night a month I would turn on the white lights lining the patio, put Michael Bublé on the CD player turned just a hair too loud, pop open a few varieties of interesting wine from the Wine Warehouse and make an appetizer. Fresh spring rolls were one of my first ever “gourmet” appetizers – I was very proud of myself. It was a Cooking Light recipe and I followed every ingredient to the letter. They were delicious, but I’m glad that now I’m much more comfortable producing my own creations, many times even more delicious than the original.
I hadn’t made fresh spring rolls in a while and I was inspired by all the spring rolls on my friend’s blog, Amanda at the Grains of Paradise. I decided create some simple ones with some creamy avocado and add the super fresh factor from cilantro and mint. I did sauces two ways, one with a fish sauce and the other with a simple mixture of sriracha and agave. I tried adding several different ingredients to the sriracha sauce but the simple two ingredient mixture was sweet and spicy perfection. I’ve been putting it on everything – salads, in soups and on sandwiches.
Sauces Two Ways
Rice Wrapper Tip: Wrapping the rolls can be daunting but once you get a few under your belt you’ll be an old pro. If you have never done this before, take a plate with raised edges and add a bit of water. Take the rice paper sheet, soak it for a few moments in warm water until it just becomes pliable and place it on the plate. The water will make it so the paper doesn’t stick and rip. Gently place your fillings, not in the center, but just a bit towards you. Fold the edges over and then roll.

Categories
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 Damn That’s Good.  I’m all about the bright flavors of lime, cilantro and mint and the buttery texture of the avocado.  I couldn’t decide which sauce was better. I love the spicy sweetness of the sriracha-agave mixture, but the fish sauce and peanuts with that hint of saltiness gave the rolls a whole new dimension of flavor.  These are perfect for the start of summer.

Category #2 – The Wines

Louis Dry Riesling

Riesling -Rating of Damn that’s Good
On first taste I thought melon.  I liked the smooth, silky texture and, though this is a dry wine, it had that hint of sweetness from a bit of residual sugar. Once it opened up I tasted pineapple and apricot.  

ARESTI Estate Carmenere 2010

Carmenere – Rating of Damn that’s Good
This wine has a slightly woody flavor; I thought of cedar. I enjoyed this a bit cooler out of my wine fridge - very drinkable with light body.

Category #3 – The Pairing
Rating of DTG for both.  Since I tend to lean towards white wines lately I was surprised how much I liked the Carmenere with this dish.  It really intensified the taste of cilantro.  The Riesling added to the sweetness of the agave in the sriracha sauce and brought down the heat.

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 and anyone outside the Greater Jacksonville area can contact E-MAIL: info@broadbent.com PHONE: US +1 415-931-1725.

Fresh Avocado Spring Rolls and Dipping Sauces Two Ways

Serves 8
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
(**Asian Dipping Sauce is not Vegan)
Ingredients

Rice Wrappers
8 Rice wrappers
Handful each, fresh cilantro and mint
3 carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 seedless cucumbers, cut into matchsticks
3 green onions, sliced thinly lengthwise
1 avocado, sliced
2 limes, quartered 

Sweet Sriracha Sauce
3 Tbsp Sriracha (hot chili sauce)
1/2 Tbsp agave 

Asian Dipping Sauce
1/4 chopped peanuts
1 to 11/2 Tbsp fish sauce
Juice 1 lime
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp agave
1 tsp sriracha
1/4 cup water 

Directions
1. Pour hot water into a large bowl – large enough to fit a rice wrapper laid flat.  Soak the first rice wrapper in hot water and place on a large dish with a bit of water in the bottom (this will keep the rice wrapper from sticking and ripping).  Spread out the edges of the rice wrapper if they have folded.  Top with a small amount of cilantro, mint, carrots, cucumber, green onion, a slice of avocado and a squeeze of lime.  Fold the edges in and then roll tightly into a tube.  Slice in half.  Repeat 7 more times.
2. Mix the ingredients of each sauce in two different bowls.  Serve each roll with two sauce cups for a taste of each sauce.
Nutrition Facts
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 155.2
Total Fat 6.3 g
Saturated Fat 1.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.2 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 304.6 mg
Potassium 429.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 37.4 g
Dietary Fiber 4.7 g
Sugars 5.1 g
Protein 5.9 g

Vitamin A 54.4 %
Vitamin B-12 0.2 %
Vitamin B-6 8.3 %
Vitamin C 25.3 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.0 %
Calcium 4.4 %
Copper 11.2 %
Folate 12.1 %
Iron 6.9 %
Magnesium 9.8 %
Manganese 17.3 %
Niacin 7.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 6.7 %
Phosphorus 7.0 %
Riboflavin 4.4 %
Selenium 1.2 %
Thiamin 5.4 %
Zinc 4.4 %

*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
Ingredients
Collard Greens (1 leaf per serving)
Fillings such as:
Hummus
Moroccan Mango Chickpea Salad, or any mango salsa would work as well
Sprouts
Corn
Directions
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!