Foodie Friday: Appetizer Edition

Greetings food and wine lovers! This edition of Foodie Friday is dedicated to finding a decadent appetizer that can stand up to the winter cold, but won’t derail all those health-focused New Year’s resolutions. One that comes together quickly, with just a few simple ingredients, but pack plenty of satisfying flavor! I give you the Avocado & Pistachio Oil Crostini:

Avocado Pistachio Crostini

 

Please, hold your applause. This appetizer is simple, yet delicious and delivers a healthy dose of MUFAs while you’re imbibing. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • French baguette
  • 2 avocados
  • ½ cup crushed or chopped pistachio nuts
  • Pistachio oil
  • Salt to taste

Are you ready for how simple this is? Here’s what you do:

  1. Set your oven to Broil
  2. Slice the baguette and brush each one with a bit of pistachio oil
  3. Place them in the oven until crisp – it will happen quickly so don’t walk away!
  4. As you keep an eye on your bread, cut the avocado into slices
  5. Remove bread from the oven and top with avocado slices, sprinkle with pistachio nuts, and drizzle with remaining pistachio oil. Sprinkle salt on top

That’s it! Literally, less than 15 minutes for a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Pair with a light, bright white wine. I like Sauvignon Blanc with this appetizer, and generally go with one from Flora Springs Soliloqy Vineyard, but I also think an Albariño or Petit Manseng could make wonderful pairings for this one! You may want to try Michael Shaps’ Odette, or Chrysalis’ Albariño. Bon appétit!

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Foodie Friday: Spicy Melon Salad

In celebration of summer’s belated arrival, this Foodie Friday post is devoted to a refreshingly simple, yet flavor-packed, appetizer salad. A seemingly odd set of ingredients, this salad never fails to please at summer event,s and full credit for this incredible creation goes to Fusions Cuisine of Northern Virginia. The sweet, juicy melon provides a refreshing, cool background for the interplay of spices between the sambal and onion. The cilantro and mint then follow through to balance the heat on the finish.

My palate doesn’t always jump at the chance to mix savory and sweet in the same dish, but this salad is theater for your tongue. Try it. Trust me.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

  • 1 Honeydew melon
  • 1 Red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp Sambal (a chili-garlic paste; find it in your grocery store’s international aisle)
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • ¼ cup Red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chopped Fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp chopped Cilantro

Directions:

  • Peel and seed the honeydew, then cut the melon into one inch cubes
  • Add the other ingredients and toss to coat
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper

Suggested Pairing:

This salad has a ton of flavor, so you need a wine that will stand up to it. At the same time, the refreshing nature of the salad deserves an equally refreshing wine. Go with a Moscato d’Asti – it will stand up to the spice without competing with the dish. Try Cardinale Lanata Moscato d’Asti with a bright floral nose, and plenty of white peach on the palate.

 

Cardinale Lanata

Cardinale Lanata

Foodie Friday: Cucumber Roll-ups!

Happy Friday, and welcome to a new series here on Cuvee: Foodie Fridays! Each week, I’ll post a delectable dish along with a wine pairing to share with your guests or with your special someone. Starting off easy with an awesome appetizer that is perfect for spring/summer meals: chorizo-goat cheese stuffed cucumber roll-ups.

Just a few ingredients will earn you rave reviews!

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 1 English Cucumber (the longer kind, usually plastic wrapped in the grocery store)
  • .5 lb Chorizo
  • 1 4-ounce log of goat cheese
  • Toothpicks for serving

Directions for Deliciousness:

  • Cook the chorizo in a skillet (if using chorizo sausage, remove from casing before cooking)
  • Allow chorizo to cool slightly. While still warm, mix goat cheese in with chorizo
  • Put mixture into a bowl and chill in refrigerator (at least one hour, but can be made ahead and chilled overnight)
  • Peel cucumber, and cut it in half
  • Now slice thin pieces of cucumber lengthwise (the easiest way to do this is using a mandolin, but a knife will work with steady hands)
  • Once chilled, spoon a tablespoon of chorizo-goat cheese mixture onto one end of each cucumber slice.
  • Roll the cucumber up around the mixture and secure with a toothpick.

Suggested pairing:

2011 Shenandoah Vineyards Chenin Blanc-Viognier – This wine really does showcase the best of both Chenin Blanc and Viognier worlds. Predominantly Chenin Blanc, this blend has the body and creaminess to stand up to the goat cheese in this appetizer, but is light enough not to overpower the cool crispness of the cucumber. The Viognier adds just a hint white peach. Enjoy!