Archive for the ‘ Food Recipes ’ Category

Elements of Brown Butter Bourbon

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Brown Butter Bourbon

In a past article I speak about how one begins the journey into the world of scotch, whiskey, and bourbon. You must extend your taste buds from their libation comfort zone. Often Master Scotch Tasters, and even Sommeliers are forced to begin exploring taste. Sure they do it because they enjoy wine and want to take it a step further. Tasting the grapes themselves, wide arrays of wine- exploring how once their flavor is transferred into the final juice product, and how it remains a dominate flavor of the bottle, and even in blends your develop a skill to pick up on each varietal.

Beer enthusiast experience the same thing. They begin to know the elements of what is in the brew from hop to bottom!

Once skilled in the art of taste, as in the cooking field, you begin to recognize elemental flavors, you understand how building on flavor profiles will turn something simple into the perfect bite. As how I feel about drinks that are out of the ordinary. I love scotch, whiskey, whisky, and bourbons. What about it do I love? The barrel. The wood flavor that is transferred during the aging process. The same reason I love ‘Oaked’ Chardonnay.

I realize drinking a libation such as a ‘Brown Butter Bourbon’ is an acquired taste, but so is drinking Pepsi or Coke. You either like it or you don’t. We all have our favorite, but if you give yourself a chance and do the tasting in such a manner that introduces you to it slowly- I bet you will find it pleasing. For the taste alone of course. Too much of a good think can hurt you, if you drink to much. Yeah, drink responsibly.

My whole point- Elements Restaurant in Princeton, New Jersey…well, they have this Brown Butter Infused Bourbon, and I am finding myself thinking about the bottle at the bar. Hard to describe, but if you enjoy Werthers Candies (or butterscotch), then just imagine it spiked. Yes, SWEET! A great way to introduce yourself to scotch, whiskey, whisky, or bourbon.

I think my ‘Partner In Wine’ and this Chef are going to have to stop by and have one for the road. If you decide to stop by, make sure you tell them we sent’cha!


Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!


PS- Have some food, because it is pretty good too!

RECIPE: Food & Wine for Fat Infusing Alcohol- “an ingenious way to flavor spirits that he borrowed from one of Mason’s desserts. By mixing a melted fat with alcohol, chilling the mix­ture until the fat re-solidifies, then skimming it off, Freeman can infuse a spirit without leaving any greasiness behind.

Cooking With Wine

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Blueberry Chutney Sauce Marinated Duck

“If you do not have a good wine to use, it is far better to omit it, for a poor one can spoil a simple dish and utterly debase a noble one.”
~ Julia Child

Cooking with wine dates back as far as written history tells us- Greek and Roman artifacts and books show their palates loved wine, and used it often in recipes. Along the way others might have possibly used a splash here or there, but it was mainly to disguise spoiled meats due to lack of refrigeration, especially during the Middle-ages and so on.

Today using wine in the professional kitchen reigns, so if you enjoy quality dining, and yourself cook at home, then why are you not using a quality splash of vino in your dishes? Discovering local New Jersey Blueberries, and the fact that the area also had a high volume of Asian Indian restaurants an idea was sparked- Blueberry Chutney.

Using Syrah/Shiraz as a great match for the blueberries to wild game meats and chocolate. Each time the price range was $20 to $30 dollars. Cooking with wine should never begin with ‘cooking wines and sherries’ due to their over salty’ness, and sometimes they cost more than regular wine per ounce.

Unless you just do not drink wine otherwise, and remember the alcohol cooks (or evaporates*) from the dish after ? minutes, so that equation is not an issue- purchasing a less expensive bottle is better than none. However most recipes only call for a splash (2 oz) and with the outside factor of white verses red, just open the bottle you have chosen for dinner, portion out the desired amount and then close up the bottle temporarily with VinAssure, a source for pumping the air out, and preserving it for the nights meal, or other occasions.

Cooking with wine enhances the flavor, and can heighten the experience of a fine meal with friends if paired well. There is such a simple method for making these decisions, so stayed tuned for a good primer with a discussion on wine/cooking interactions, choosing a cooking wine, marinating, deglazing and finishing, plus a handful of recipes!

Blueberry Chutney Components for a Syrah/Shiraz match- This recipe has a sweet to spicy, or earthy flavor that brings out flavors of wild game and chocolate desserts. It works both as a sauce, or marinade for meats. Too heavy for chicken/poultry, but works great with marinating duck for up to three hours, and then grilled, stove top searing, or oven baked in cast iron skillet topped off with brick and other HEAVY cast iron pots.

Dark Berry, Almost Black

Two Hands, Bella’s Garden, Barossa Valley Shiraz
Deep and impenetrable, red to black.

Lifted aromas of deep red fruits, plums, cinnamon, licorice and earthy spice. Underneath subtle notes of chocolate, tar and moss complete the bouquet.

The wine is robust and rich with a balance that exemplifies the hallmarks of the finest Barossa vineyards. Red fruits and plums dominate a tight palate with earthy char and chocolate that then finishes long with fine tannins and bright acidity. Will drink well now and will improve with medium term cellaring.

*When wine is heated, the alcoholic content as well as sulfites disappear, leaving only the essence imparting a subtle flavor. Remember, if you do not like the taste of the wine you opened, then you might not want to use it in your dish- wine does however enhance the flavors of a dish, so simply ask friends or a retailer for ideas!


Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Madeira Barbecue- BBQ Please!

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Good ole carne asada

After discovering Bual Madeira makes a great BBQ and tenderizer for tough cuts of meat or pork- breaking them down into juicy morsels, I was in love! Not since the Declaration of Independence 1776 has Americans been so enamored with bottles of fortified wines known as Madeira, well, at least me and my Partner In Wine, Adrienne.

There are many meat sauce uses for Madeira, but no barbecue sauces. This gave me an idea- why not combine a traditional southern spicy recipe with a sweet Bual Madeira; it could work. If you are going to use wine for cooking, use the one you would drink; it may only take a few tablespoons, and the rest to drink.

Madeira Barbecue Sauce

1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire, or steak sauce
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, or 1 teaspoon brown mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons Bual Madeira

Mix well, and cover both sides of meat with sauce.

I went with a Carne Asada (Grilled Steak) style grill; it is most commonly a marinated and grilled flank or skirt steak which can be used in a wide variety of ways. Then marinating it in the barbecue sauce for up to 3 hours in fridge. Heat up grill and throw on the meat, basting with sauce on both sides. Heat sauce up to boiling point before serving as a side sauce.

We enjoyed eating this steak!


Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Madeira BBQ & Grilled Bread

Pairing Wine with Food- Grenache

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Pulled Pork & Beer 'Butt' Chicken BBQ

First of all, let me mention a good friend of ours, Doc @ What’s Cookin’ With Doc. He brought up a great fact about how Rose wines are so overlooked. Because they are not as popular, they are cheaper than the big reds of the old world and new world wine industry.

Pair it with the perfect plate of food, and your guest will feel you are amazing, talented, and a genius! Doc is a genius for bringing up that point! Rose is a wine that goes great with warmer weather and cool fruit laden salad or dessert. Even a simple crostini with a marinated brushetta topping fresh from the cooler, and onto their plates. Not too heavy on the garlic!

Barbecue is also a food people find hard to pair with wine. Beer always enters the picture. Nothing wrong with a good cold brew, but what if your guest do not like beer? They want a cool wine to fight off the heat of summer, or in my case I cook barbecue all year long, so I have taken on the challenge. Grenache is a great wine to pair with barbecue. As long as the sauce is light in heat/spice, and remember to leave some fat on the meats when cooking them. A California Grenache goes great with skin on ‘beer’ butt chicken on the grill. Why? Because the fat helps take down the tannic cheekiness of the big bold wines of this nature.

Maturing them a few years longer helps, but we do not always know when we open a bottle it is ready. Some of it is guess work. Shhh, do not tell my superior wine aficionados I just said that. Buying wine and trying it can be a guessing game. Basic knowledge will help steer you to becoming a better judge as time goes by. That is the fun of trying wines. Find the ones you like.

Go out and add a few bottles of Grenache to your cellar, basement, closet floor or where ever you keep it on its side in a cool dry place.

A few Grenache suggestions:
Rose- Chateau D’escians ‘Whispering Angel Rose’, France 08
BBQ- Herman’s Story Larner Vineyard, California 06

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food and Wine Writer Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Perfect Pairing- Rose & Strawberry's

Grenache- Around The World

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Granache From Around The World

[gruh-NAHSH] Grape that comes in both red-wine and white-wine varieties. When used by itself, the word “Grenache” refers to the red version Grenache Noir, one of the world’s most widely cultivated red grapes. The Grenache grape does well in hot, dry regions, and its strong stalk makes it well suited for windy conditions.

It ripens with very high sugar levels and can produce wines with 15 to 16 percent alcohol. Grenache wines are sweet, fruity, and very low in tannins. They’re usually lacking in color, except in growing areas where yields are low. The vine originated in Spain where it’s called Garnacha and Garnacha Tinta (or Garnacho Tinto) and is the most widely cultivated red-wine grape in that country. It’s widely planted in navarra and in many of Spain’s hotter areas including cariñena, la mancha, penedès, rioja and utiel-requena. In southern France not far from the Spanish border, Grenache is widely cultivated in the areas around languedoc-roussillon, provence and the southern rhône.

Also extensively grown in Algeria, Australia, Corsica, Israel, Morocco, Sardinia (where it’s called Cannonau), and California’s central valley. Guarnaccia is a Grenache strain native to southern Italy’s Ischia island, at the entrance to the Bay of Naples. Red Grenache wines are usually blended with those made from other varieties; 100 percent Grenache wines are rarely found. In Spain Grenache is blended with tempranillo, and in most of France it’s blended with cinsaut and carignan. In châteauneuf-du-pape it’s used as the primary grape, although it is blended with as many as twelve other varietals including clairette, mourvèdre, muscadine and syrah. In rosé wines-particularly those from côtes-du-rhône, côtes du ventoux, lirac and tavel-Grenache is often the dominant grape used. In California and Australia, it’s most often used as a blending wine for inexpensive jug wines. Grenache Blanc (or Garnacha Blanca) is the white variety of this grape.

Although not as popular as the red, it’s still widely planted in both Spain and France. The white wines produced are high alcohol and low acidity. Grenache is known by many different names including Alicante, Cannonao (or Cannonau), Carignan Rosso, Granaccia, Granacha, and Roussillon.


  • Marco Real, navarra Granache Spain 05
  • Domaine d’Anderon, Cotes Du Rone France 08
  • Yalumba Barossa Valley, Bush Vine Granache Australia 08
  • Herman’s Story, Larner Vineyard California 06

My impressions, were this group was comparing apples to oranges. Each glass/bottle had their own characteristics, so it comes down to a preference, and mine- all of them were great. The California Herman’s won on overall points at our AWS- American Wine Society tasting event. My taste buds lean towards old world, so I did feel if there was a bottle of Domain d’Anderson left on the kitchen table, I would have found room in my pocket book, and quietly steal away into the night!

Food pairing:

  • Smoked Pulled Pork with homemade canned tomato BBQ sauce
  • Yengling Beer ‘Butt’ Chicken, whole
  • Roasted White and Peruvian Fingerling Potatoes and Squash
  • Cheese Cake
  • Key Lime Pie
  • Maple Brown Sugar Cured Bacon with chocolate, in homemade ice cream

Food Pairing Notes: The fat of the chicken was most notable with its perfect pairing with the California Grenache, as the fat helped balance out the tannic ‘cheekiness’, and this wine could have aged a bit longer. Most all other foods went well with the wines as courses were served, another notable pairing was the Rose with Strawberry Salad!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling & Adrienne Turner were in attendance and contributed food!

We Are Back- Steak and Guinness Pie Pairing

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Chef Fresco Guinness Steak Pie

After a short sabbatical we are back, and presenting you with a word from one of our favorite food enthusiast couples- Chef Fresco once again has slammed us with a gorgeous beer and food pairing- something that would apparently go with St. Patrick’s Day, but a ‘couple’ I would welcome to my dinner table any day of the year! ~ Chef Elizabeth Stelling

“It was only fitting that we serve this dish with a Guinness brew. Michael loves Guinness and it’s growing on me. It’s a tough beer to review since it simply does not compare to anything else. It truly has a one-of-a-kind flavor to it. The best thing I can describe it to is a beer milkshake. Not an overly strong bitter beer flavor just smooth and creamy. One of the coolest things about buying Guinness in the store is that you can see their little nitrogen balls they put in all their bottles in order to produce the right head when you pour.

Kevin’s recipe calls for 2-3 hrs of cooking the meat. Ours wasn’t nearly done after 3 hrs (beef not yet tender and soup still liquidy). I checked a couple other recipes for Guinness pie and found quite a number of variations – including adding flour to thicken it up. So I did just that, cooked it for an additional hr and it was good to go! We made a few other changes to the recipe (as posted below).

To cut up the cooking time, you can make the stew the day before. Just reheat it on the stove for a few minutes when you’re ready to make the pie and all you have to do is pop it in the oven! We served the pie with peas – which seems to be the popular thing to serve with Guinness pie!” Jessi and Michael, Chef Fresco

Guinness Pairing


* 4 slices bacon, chopped
* 1 1/4 lbs beef stew meat, cut into bite sized pieces
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 3 stalks celery, chopped
* 2 large carrots, chopped
* 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
* 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
* 1 bottle Guinness
* 2 tbsp flour
* 1 cup beef stock
* 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
* 2 tsp dried thyme
* 2 tsp dried rosemary
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 pre-made pie crusts
* 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
* 1 egg, beaten


1. Cook bacon in a large pan and set aside (leaving grease in the pan).
2. Add beef to the pan and brown on all sides. Set aside.
3. Next add the onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
4. Pour in the Guinness and de-glaze the pan.
5. dd the flour, stock, bacon, beef, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf and bring to a boil.
6. Reduce the heat and cover. Simmer until the beef is tender, about 3-4 hours. The stew should be dark and thick. If it’s still pretty liquidy, continue to cook with lid off to reduce until thickened. Turn off heat and stir in 1/2 of the cheese.
7. Towards the end of the cook time, preheat oven to 375.
8. Put the first pie crust in the bottom of a pie plate. Carefully pour the beef stew in.
9. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the stew and cover with the top pie crust. Pinch the edges of the two crusts together to seal in the stew.
10. Brush the egg over the top of the pie crust (will only need about 1/2 of it).
11. Bake until golden brown on top, about 45 minutes.

Wine Down Wednesday- Give The Gift Of Spice & Wine

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As old as time, ancient time- Wine and Spices had begun to be paired together. In not so obvious ways, but as man began to move across lands conquering, taking their spoils and riches back home, a merge of the two took form. Even in today’s time we have begun to cross barriers that only the very adventuresome might try in their own kitchens. These global ocean trials have swept into the realm of wine and food pairing.

Sometimes as simple a few ingredients having been blended in a country such as the African Islands. Ingredients that we have had in our own spice cabinet for hundreds of years are being discovered to have been right in front of our noses. One such blend is Za’tar- known by many spellings and uses, is mostly used for a condiment made from the dried herbs, often Thyme, mixed together with sesame seeds, salt, as well as other spices. Used in Arab cuisine since medieval times, both the herb and spice mixture are popular throughout the Middle East and Levant still today.

Some such blends have been protected by families for centuries, and are only now being explored. These components blended with a few other ingredients such as mustard, oil, and parsley, then used as a rub for rack of lamb, and a dash of Za’atar blended with a cream sauce for Lobster ravioli can be a new discovery for the taste buds. Once this pairing has taken place- a wine pairing may develop.

Try a Charles Creek Winery- ‘La Vista’ Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet 04, an oak aged wine that has begun its perfect journey to be a leading ballet on the taste buds. Subtle rich red fruit and spice help make the right dishes such as a ‘Surf and Turf’- the perfect marriage to prove that ancient man had began a journey long before he may have realized, and one we all can continue for many many years to come!

Something in my own personal opinion is worth more than any riches, as on the spice trade it was horrendously valuable- A good meal and a great bottle of wine- Priceless beyond any gift you could ever pass on to me!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling, CookAppeal LLC Read more of her food pairings @ Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

The legendary Stagecoach Vineyard rises to an elevation of 1700 feet above the eastern portion of Napa Valley’s Oakville district, stretching from the western side of Atlas Peak to the southern portion of Pritchard Hill. Cabernet Sauvignon grown on this site is prized for it’s intensity and complexity of flavor.

Deep, saturated purple color is the introduction to this intense young wine. Dark fruit, baking spice and a dusting of fine tannins in a richly textured package suggest a good decade (or more) of cellaring, if one can resist the temptation to break out a bottle tonight.
In either case,beef, lamb or game would be prime partners for this classic Napa Cabernet.