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This Is bc

Monday, April 24, 2006

The scene in which food and wine enter the blog

In the past I've entertained the idea of starting a website where I can make my favorite recipes available and easily accessible. That website has never come to full fruition, but I think that this blog will serve as a suitable substitute. I'm still working on the navigation part but if you like/don't like what I'm doing in the sidebar, I would appreciate the feedback.

I think offering recipes and wine recommendations here will be an important step to offering some real content that I actually know something about. Hopefully there will be something you can enjoy as well.

. . . . . . . .

So last night Aaron took the reins in the kitchen and organized the cooking of a great meal. Here are the three recipes we followed, all from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking, and the wine we drank with the meal. The chicken is a great and easy curried dish, especially for when a sauce would be too heavy or time consuming. The spinach can be extremely spicy (depending on how many chilies you use,) but the ginger and chilies put a great twist on boring sauted spinach. Plain basmati rice can be served obviously, but this turmeric rice is a nice change of pace.

Ground Chicken with Peas
Murghi ka keema
Serves: 3-4
Approx. time: 15 min.


1 large pan (a 10 or 12 inch)

3 T vegetable oil
1 stick of cinnamon
4 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 t fresh ginger, finely grated
1 1/4 lbs. ground chicken or turkey
6 to 7 ounces peas (1 bag of frozen is fine)
1/4 t ground turmeric
1 t garam masala
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t salt
2 T lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper

Set pan over medium-high heat and add half of the oil when the pan is hot. Add cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaves. After a few seconds (and the spices get fragrant but not burn!) add chopped onion. Once onion gets some color add garlic and ginger. After a few seconds either move this aromatic mixture to a plate or push it to one side of the pan furthest from the heat. Add the remaining oil and then the ground meat. Stir and chop meat until none of the meat is pink. Stir together all of the remaining ingredients, including the onion mixture. Cook until the peas are warm. Remove the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and bay leaves and serve with Basmati rice.

Spinach with Ginger and Green Chilies
Saag bhaji
Serves: 3-4
Approx. time: 5 min.


1 wok or large pan

1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
2 T vegetable oil
1 1/4 lbs spinach, trimmed and washed
1 or 2 fresh hot green chilies, finely chopped
1/2 t garam masala
1/4 t sugar
1/8 t cayenne pepper

Cut the ginger very thinly, then stack the slices and cut into slivers. Set the wok or pan over high heat. Add oil when the pan is hot and then add the ginger. When the ginger gets a little color add the chopped chilies and then the spinach. The spinach will wilt quickly. If there is not enough room for all of it, add in smaller batches and stir so that the spinach wilts and makes enough room for the rest. Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Serve.

Turmeric Rice
Peelay chaaval
Serves: 3-4
Approx. time: 30 min.


1 Medium pot

2 C basmati rice
2 3/4 C water
2 T vegetable oil
3 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
4 cardamom pods
1-inch stick of cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 t ground turmeric
1 t salt
2 T chives or scallion, finely sliced

Put pot over medium-high heat and add oil when pan is hot. Add cloves, bay leaf, cardamom pods and cinnamon. After a few seconds and the spices get aromatic, add the garlic. When the garlic get golden, put in rice, turmeric and salt. Stir to combine. Add water and cover. When the water comes to a boil reduce the heat to as low as your stove will go. Set timer for 25 minutes. Fluff rice with fork when cooking is done and add chives or scallion.
. . . . .

2004 Firestone Vineyard Gewürztraminer

I don't love whites but this grape (Gewürztraminer) produces a wine that taste like no other white. I was really blown away by how well the wine was able to stand up to the spice of the Indian meal it was eaten with and how much bold flavor it contributed. It would go really well with any spicy meal that would be hard to find a wine with which to pair.

The bottle is from the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County, California and you can find it for under $15. The wine has a musky, spicy flavor but also a little sweet (the bottle says its like lychee)and it finishes very smoothly with almost no acidic feel on the palate. If you want to get a nicer and more expensive bottle, you should probably go for a winery in Alsace, where they specialize in Gewürztraminer.

Good to know: Gewürz means "spicy" in German.
The varietal is sometimes also called Traminer.
The grape thrives in cool weather, so look for bottles from Northern Italy, Alsace, California's cooler areas, New Zealand, etc.

Paired with: Ground Chicken with Peas
Spinach with Ginger and Green Chilies
Turmeric Rice


Blogger adam said...

this boy is a champ!!! such diligent blogging!

April 24, 2006 10:47 PM  
Blogger Quimby said...

I love gewurtzraminer. In fact, just tonight I was discussing it in the context of hating white wine but really, really liking the Raminer.

Funny that the root means spicy--I've always had it recommended to me with Thai. Maybe that means it goes with spicy food?


April 25, 2006 12:46 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

I'm about 95% and 30% sure these are sarcastic comments, respectively. Despite calling into question your commenting in earnest, I welcome the words of encouagement.

Dave, I would love to discuss raminer with you further. I'm surprised you were just discussing it because I feel like its an overlooked wine. Are you still in Paris, or might we share a bottle of gevurtzraminer this weekend?

April 25, 2006 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

brian, you make me laugh.

April 26, 2006 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

p.s. this is ec

April 26, 2006 10:50 AM  

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