Wine Wednesday – Raats Chenin Blanc

photo-298I recently stumbled upon this awesome South African Chenin Blanc completely by accident. I was looking for some South African whites to try and noticed this label said “Unwooded” which means it was aged using steel tanks instead of oak barrels. This technique is used to preserve the wine’s “original”, vibrant, fresh fruit character making the flavors light, refreshing and smooth. I have tried a lot of unwooded/unoaked wines from Chardonnay to Pinot Noir and I have yet to be disappointed, so I thought I’d give it a shot!

The Chenin Blanc grape originated in the Loire valley of France but is thought to be one of the first grapes grown in South Africa around 1655 (it is now the most widely planted grape in South Africa.) Due to the grapes high acidity, it can be used to make a wide variety of wines from sparkling to desert wine.

This Chenin Blanc is rich in citrus flavors, with hints of pineapple, honeysuckle and orange blossom with a bright, tangy minerality. Due to the range of flavors it pairs well with a variety of foods and makes for a great everyday summer white, especially for the price!

Raats Original Chenin Blanc 2011 (Unwooded)

  • Price: $13.99
  • Varietal: 100% Chenin Blanc
  • Region: South Africa, Coastal Region
  • Tasting Notes: Beautifully structured on the palate, bursting with fresh yellow and white fruit flavors. The wine finishes subtly, yet distinct with great minerality and citrus flavors.
  • Food Pairing: An easy-to-pair wine since it has a wide flavor profile, but they especially recommend it with curry or similar spicy dishes as well as sushi and oysters.
  • Score: 88 points
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Zucchini Bread with Honey Butter

photo-292Happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend doing whatever it is that you love. I spent my weekend camping, relaxing, and making enough zucchini bread to feed a small country. One of our friends harvested a huge zucchini from his garden and gave it to me- It was one of the largest zucchinis I’ve seen!photo-289Unfortunately, once zucchinis get that size they are not as tender and delicious to cook with but they are still great for making zucchini bread. Morning Glory Farm on Martha’s Vineyard is notorious for their zucchini bread and since I was having a small case of FOMO (fear of missing out) after seeing all my friends and family enjoying a beach picnic OTV, I pulled out my comfort cookbook and made some zucchini bread, which allowed me to briefly pretend I was on the Island. photo-294I normally enjoy my zucchini bread plain or with a little cream cheese but the idea to make honey butter came to me and I thought zucchini bread and honey butter would make an amazing combination. I was right. Turns out honey butter is good on EVERYTHING! photo-295 I took some of the honey butter and made french toast with it this morning. I used a little in the pan to cook the french toast. I topped it with some fresh peaches and some more honey butter instead of maple syrup… It was heavenly. photo-290I love this recipe for zucchini bread because its light, simple and totally delicious! The hardest part about this recipe is waiting for it to cool down before enjoying it!!

Zucchini Bread with Honey Butter (Click for printer friendly version)

Preparation time: 25 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour | Servings: 2 Loaves

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (if using a very large zucchini remove the large seeds before shredding it.)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray two 9″x5″ bread pans with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine zucchini, oil, eggs and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Beat sugar into mix until it is thoroughly creamed.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  5. Once liquids and sugar are well mixed, add dry ingredients. Mix until batter is well blended and even in texture. The batter should be smooth, outside the zucchini shreds.
  6. Pour batter evenly into pans
  7. Bake for approximately 1 hour or until bread is brown and springs back when gently pressed in the middle.

Honey Butter by Ski Boots in the Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

  1. Place butter in microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 15-20 seconds, so the butter is very soft but not melted.
  2. Add honey and vanilla.
  3. Using an electric hand mixer or kitchenaid mixer beat on low speed until thoroughly combined.
  4. Using a rubber spatula scoop butter onto a large piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap and roll into a log.
  5. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Serve on zucchini bread, french toast, pancakes or just about anything! Enjoy!

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Jalapeno Corn Fritters

photo-288Ahh its Wednesday! Happy Hump Day! If you haven’t seen this commercial it will put a smile on your face! Every stand at the farmers market has huge bushel of corn right now and while they are not the big ears of sweet corn you get towards the end of August, nothing is better than fresh corn. Jake and I are having a corn stand off- He likes to roll his corn in the butter plate- I prefer not to. How do you butter your corn? Until we come to an agreement I will not serve corn on the cob in my house…Just Kidding! But I have been looking for a new and different way to eat corn because I hate when it gets stuck in my teeth! photo-287Sweet summer corn and spicy jalapeno come together for a South of the Boarder party on your plate with this dish. Its a perfect side to fish, chicken or steak- or for a vegetarian option serve over a chopped salad. These fritters would also make the perfect eggs Benedict, put a poached egg over the corn fitter, drizzle with hollandaise, now that’s how you spice up your morning! Enjoy! photo-286Jalapeno Corn Fritters with Avocado Salsa

Ingredients (Makes 8-10 fritters)
  • 2 cups cooked corn, frozen or fresh
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp salt, plus extra to taste
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • For garnish: Greek Yogurt or sour cream, lime, avocado, and tomato
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, combine 1¼ cups corn, the jalapeño, onion, cilantro, and garlic. Pulse until very finely diced, but not completely smooth.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the processed mixture with the remaining corn, all spices, cheese, cornmeal, baking powder, and eggs. Mix until fully incorporated. Add more cornmeal as needed.
  3. In a heavy skillet over medium heat, heat 2-3 Tbsp olive oil. When the oil is hot, form the batter into patties (it should be slightly sticky, but not enough to make this step impossible), and cook in batches.
  4. Cook each patty until golden brown on each side, 2-3 minutes per side.
  5. Cut 1 avocado and 1 tomato into small cubes. Squeeze half a lime over avocado/tomato mixture season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with Greek Yogurt or sour cream and a lime wedge.

Peach & Goat Cheese Flatbread

photo-283It was another beautiful weekend in the Mountains of Utah. It has been very warm but the wild flowers are bursting in the back country. On Saturday I went on a beautiful hike at Alta through the most amazing meadows of wild flowers- pictures do not do justice to the beauty of the scenery.  photo-282I also made a trip to the farmers market down in Salt Lake where I got some beautiful peaches, fresh basil and other delicious goodies for the weekend. photo-285I used Naan as the dough which was a super easy, no bake option to pizza dough, which makes these peach & goat cheese flatbreads the perfect summer appetizer. The sweetness from the peaches and the saltiness from the goat cheese is the perfect refreshing combo that’s ready in no time! Enjoy!

Peach & Goat Cheese Flatbread (Click for printer friendly version)

Ingredients: Makes 2 flatbreads

  • 1 package Tandoor Baked Naan, Original
  • 2 fresh ripe peaches, sliced thinly
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbed
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Fresh basil
  • Balsamic reduction for drizzling (can be purchased from the grocery store already reduced and bottled or click here for directions to make your own.)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Place the two pieces of Naan on a baking sheet and brush them with olive oil, coating the entire top.
  3. Place half the peach slices evenly on the olive oiled side of the Naan, sprinkle half goat cheese crumbs over the peaches, repeat on other flatbread.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes or until goat cheese begins to bubble (don’t let it get too brown or burn)
  5. Drizzle balsamic reduction over the flatbreads, garnish with chopped basil ribbons, finish with a few turns of freshly cracked pepper and salt to taste.
  6. Slice them up into little bite size pieces and enjoy!

Fettuccine Cacio E Pepe with Summer Veggies

photo-278I think I have an unhealthy addiction to pasta and Parmesan cheese. When ever I go visit my grandmother in Italy I smuggle the largest hunk of Parmesan cheese I think I can get through customs without being arrested. Exhibit A:photo-276Maybe it was my obsession with the children’s book Strega Nona and her magic pasta pot growing up that caused me to have sweet dreams of pasta flowing through the streets in abundance. So it seems only natural that it is now one of my favorite things to cook (although I would enjoy cooking it even more if I had one of those magic pasta pots). photo-274Cacio E Pepe is a Roman pasta dish that literally translates to “Cheese and Pepper.” This 3 ingredient dish (butter, cheese and pepper) is a staple in Rome. One of my favorite celebrity chefs from “Top Chef” Fabio, won’t hire a cook in his kitchen unless they can make this dish flawlessly. While its not rocket science, it does require some finesse to perfectly blend the butter and cheese into a creamy delicious sauce.photo-275 I love buttery, cheesy noodles but since its summer and the farmers market is overflowing with amazing fresh vegetables I decided to give Fabio’s Cacio E Pepe a summer facelift. On my trip to the Canyons farmers market today, I picked up some fresh peas, corn and zucchini to saute up and serve atop the pasta. You could add just about any vegetable you like to this recipe, everything goes well with butter and cheese!

Fettuccine Cacio E Pepe with Summer Veggies (click for printer friendly version)

Ingredients: Serves 4-6

  • 1 box of fettuccine or spaghetti
  • 8 oz. (a stick) Salted butter, plus 1 Tablespoon
  •  2 T. black pepper, freshly cracked
  • 1- 1½ c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups fresh corn, cut off the cob
  • 2 cups fresh peas (you could substitute frozen if you must..)
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into ribbons using a peeler
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. In a large skillet melt 1 Tablespoon of butter, add peas, corn, zucchini and white wine, cook until tender and most of the liquid has cooked off. Remove from heat, set aside.
  3. Add the pasta and cook to al dente.
  4. While the pasta cooks, melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the fresh cracked pepper.
  5. When the butter begins to bubble, turn off the flame and remove from heat.
  6. When the pasta is ready, reserve 2-3 tbsp. of the pasta water and drain the pasta. add the noodles and 2-3 tbsp. of the pasta water to the sauté pan with the butter.
  7. Cook over medium high heat until the liquid bubbles and thickens, tossing the pasta as needed.
  8. Remove from the heat and add the Parmesan cheese, tossing rigorously until all ingredients are incorporated into a creamy sauce.
  9. Add the sauteed vegetables, toss one last time to coat all the ingredients evenly. (This step needs to be done quickly before the creamy sauce cools and thickens too much).
  10. Garnish with additional black pepper and Parmesan, and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Cacio E Pepe recipe from Fabio Vivani

Spicy Mango Margarita with Chili Salted Rim

photo-273Mmm whats more refreshing than a chilled margarita on a hot summer day? Perhaps only a swim in the ocean! I’ve been asked a lot over the last week about my last post and if I am changing the name of my blog… Don’t worry Ski Boots in the Kitchen is not changing its name! My post “from Mrs. Hardy’s Kitchen” was just the first post I’ve done since being married and changed my last name! Now that I’ve cleared things up and you’ll be able to sleep… Onto the best margarita recipe you’ll ever try! photo-271Depending on how much spice you like you can substitute the Serrano chili for a Jalapeno chili which is a bit less intense, however the Serrano gives this marg the perfect KICK! The chili salted rim also contributes to the perfect fiesta in your mouth!

Spicy Mango Margarita (Makes 1 pitcher)

Ingredients:

  • one 16oz bag frozen mango chunks (or 3 cups fresh mango)
  • 3-4 slices Serrano Chili or Jalapeno Chili (spice to your taste)
  • 1.5 cups good tequila
  • 3/4 cup peach schnaps or peach liquor
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 cup ice

For the rim

  • 3 tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Chili pepper
  • Lime wedges

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Combine salt and chili pepper on a small plate. Using a lime wedge, wet the rim of the glass and dip the rim of the glass in chili salt. Pour and enjoy! photo-272

From Mrs. Hardy’s Kitchen… Spicy Peanut & Chicken Soba Noodles

photo-263My apologies for the long absence and lack of posts- June was kind of a busy month for me. I traded my ski boots and apron for cowboy boots and wedding dress. Yes, I got married! It was a beautiful day surrounded by friends and family. Now that the craziness is over and I have lots of new kitchen gadgets… I’m back at it! photo-262We are in the middle of a horrible heat wave here in the mountains, which means my desire to be anywhere near a stove or hot flame is nonexistent. That is why this chilled soba noodle salad is perfect for a hot & humid summer night! This also makes great leftovers for lunch or is perfect for beach picnics and mountain side concerts! Enjoy!

Spicy Peanut & Chicken Soba Noodle Salad (Click for printer friendly version)

Recipe By Ski Boots in the Kitchen (Serves 4-6)

  • 1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed from the bones and shredded (I do this with my hands, its easier)
  • 1 large bell pepper or 8 mini sweet peppers like the ones above, chopped
  • 1/2 a large English cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 a package buckwheat soba noodles
  • 2-3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • Green onions for garnish
  • Raw peanuts for garnish, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Spicy Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2-3 teaspoons Sriracha (you can add more or less depending on your spice tolerance)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Juice from 1/2 a lime
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions

  1. Chop the peppers, cucumbers and cilantro, set aside.
  2. Pull chicken from the bone and allow to cool on a plate while the water for the soba noodles is coming to a boil.
  3. Cook soba noodles according to the directions on the package (Don’t over cook them! they cook very fast!)
  4. While soba noodles are cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the spicy peanut sauce. If the sauce seems too pasty and thick, add a little water and continue mixing to thin it out (it should be the consistency of a creamy salad dressing)
  5. When the noodles are done cooking, drain them and rinse them under cold water. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl and toss with peanut oil immediately to avoid them from sticking together.
  6. Add chicken, veggies, cilantro, peanut sauce and toss together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate or serve immediately.
  7. Garnish with green onions and chopped peanuts.

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