Tag Archives: Feta Cheese

Heavenly Cheeses, Food & Wine Pairings

Hello everyone! This is probably my longest blog post to date, because it is my favorite, and most passionate subject,  Food & Wine. This explains my blog name, Foodiewinelover.  I have put together a compilation of my dining and wining experience on Heavenly Cheeses, Food & Wine Pairings.  Please do not forget to read the descriptions on all my photos.  Cheeses are among my favorite food groups, and when I’m entertaining, I love pairing them with delicious wines. There is an abundance of cheeses, and wines from all corners of the world, but unfortunately, there aren’t enough time to mention all of them.   Ideally, I love pairing cheese with the wine from the same region, or country, especially when I’m having a themed party. However,  there are no set rules about it, and, you can mix and match food and wines from different countries, as you please. There are hard, soft, and semi-soft cheeses. One of my favorite cheeses is Parmigiano-Reggiano, an Italian Parmesan cheese, aged 36 months, that I brought back with me from Italy. To me it’s considered the king of Italian cheeses, and has a lovely nuttiness to it.  According to Giada de Laurentiis, a famous Italian Chef, it’s best if you pick it with a knife, to get into all the nook and crannies, for optimal flavors.  In general, white wine is ideal to pair with cheeses because of their higher acidity content, and boost up the layers of flavors of cheeses. However, If you are not a big fan of whites, don’t fret, red wines  also make a nice pairing. Ultimately, you decide what works well with your palate. I am also sharing with you some delectable food that goes with some interesting wines.  Here are a few suggestions to impress your friends at your next gathering.

Guidalberto paired with Parmigiano Reggiano

Sexy, seductive, full-bodied, Super Tuscan, Italian wine, blend of Cabernet and Merlot – 2012 Tenuta SanGuido – Guidalberto . The color is a scintillating cherry-red. At first, floral aromas and dark cherries on the nose, then, when I swirl it, the earthiness comes out. I smell barnyard and chocolate. I swoosh it in my mouth, I get hints of tobacco, chocolate, leather, and all the flavor profile I desire in a wine. The finish is succulent and lingering. This wine pairs heavenly with Parmigiano Reggiano.

Cheese and wine pairing

Great cheese and wine pairings: Pulenta Cab from Argentina, Robert Mondavi, Emblem California Cab, & a platter of barrel aged Feta, Ginger and Mango Stilton, Pecorino Romano cheese.

Epoisse

Wine & Cheese for Dinner! Époisses, the stinkiest cheese ever. Lol! Prima Donna, a blend of Parmigiano Reggiano and Gouda, paired with La Crema, Pinot Noir. If you prefer white, you can pair with an Albarino, or a nice Chablis, (Chardonnay from Burgundy)

Manchego and Crianza

Manchego cheese paired magically with Miguel Torres Celeste Crianza, from the Ribera del Duero region of Spain. A beautiful pairing of cheese and wine from the same country.

Malbecandcheesepairing

Girls Night Out! Malbec paired with scrumptious Comte, Idiazabal and Ossau Iraty cheeses. 🍷🍷🍷

MerlotandHumboldtFog

Merlot and Humboldt Fog cheese….Pinot Noir would have been a nice choice as well

BrunellowithDeliceDeBourgogne

Le Delice De Bourgogne cheese paired with a fantastic Brunello.  If you are into white wines, another suggestion for this cheese is an oaky Chardonnay 

 

Foodiewinelover Stonecrabs

Stonecrabs paired with Champagne for my birthday in 2014

 

Foodiewinelover Bubblies

When in doubt, bubblies go with almost everything

 

Espinacas y Garbanzos

Spinach and Garbanzos, paired with a lovely white Rioja

Bai Gorri Rioja

Bai Gorri Rioja, An elegant white wine, well-balanced with intense flavors of oak, paired heavenly with an assortment of Spanish dishes, Shrimp with Garlic, Spinach with Garbanzo beans, Paella, and Manchego cheese. This was at our Spanish-themed wine party.

 

Lamb Loin Chops

Lamb Loin Chops pair beautifully with Chateau-Neuf-du-Pape or a nice red Bordeaux

 

Paella

Paella pairs deliciously with a nice Rose’

Rose' pairs nicely with a Paella

Rose’

 

Beets and Goat Cheese

Beets and Goat Cheese pair lusciously with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc

Gouda and Epoisses cheeses paired with Merlot

Gouda and Epoisses cheeses, caramelized walnuts and fig spread, paired exquisitely with Chateau Lyonnat, a Merlot from the Bordeaux region. Delicieux!

Veal Bolognese

Veal Bolognese over Pappardelle, paired nicely with a Rosso di Montalcino

Porterhouse for two paired with a Super Tuscan

Aged Porterhouse for two paired scrumptiously with a Super Tuscan

If you are a salmon lover, pick a lush Pinot Noir from Oregon, or one from the Russian River Valley, Sonoma county, California.  They both would make great choices. For any white fish, select a crisp white wine, if you want to get fancy, try a delightful Sancerre, (Sauvignon Blanc) from the Loire Valley.  If you are on a budget, stick to a nice chilled chardonnay.  Spicy food pair well with an off-dry Riesling, Viognier or Gewurztraminer. Pungent cheeses such as Gorgonzola, or Blue Cheese stand up to dessert wines, port or cognac. Sauternes, a French dessert wine, with notes of apricots,  is a nice complement to Roquefort cheese and Foie Gras. Let’s not forget about Ricotta cheese which is used in savory dishes such as stuffed shells. They make a great pairing with a nice Chianti, Rosso di Montalcino, or any medium-bodied Italian reds.  Ricotta cheese is also used as a scrumptious filling in cannolis, and goes well with a Moscato d’Asti, a lovely dessert wine from the Piedmont region of Italy.  If you are looking for a match made in heaven,  my friend, fellow-sommelier, Certified Italian Wine Specialist, Angela, from Constant Wining suggests pairing a cantuccini, an Italian biscotti, with Vin Santo. We had it at one of our Italian-themed wine party, and it was a major hit, and a fantastic way to end a superb evening with fun friends. Mascarpone, is an italian sweet cheese, and one of the main ingredients in the delectable dessert Tiramisu. It can be paired with either the Vin Santo, or the Moscato d’Asti.

I am posting links to some of the cheeses that I feature in this blogpost,  so you can learn more about their process, origin, and history.

Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino Romano, two Italian giants, are excellent grating cheeses for pasta dishes.  Gorgonzola,  Blue Stilton, Roquefort,  are considered some of the world’s most famous Bleu Cheeses. Feta Cheese is one of the most famous Greek cheeses. Humboldt Fog, is a goat milk and pungent in flavors. Epoisses is a pungent cows-milk cheese.  Delice de Bourgogne, is a French cow’s milk cheese. Manchego is a sheep’s milk from Spain. Comté is a cow’s milk from France. Ossau Iraty is a sheep’s cheese from France.  Idiazabal is a sheep’s milk from Spain.

I hope you have enjoyed some of my food and wine suggestions, and in closing, I would love to share some fun quotes with you.

“All four elements were happening in equal measure – the cuisine, the wine, the service, and the overall ambience. It taught me that dining could happen at a spiritual level.” Charlie Trotter

“Wine to me is passion. It’s family and friends. It’s warmth of heart and generosity of spirit. Wine is art. It’s culture. It’s the essence of civilization and the art of living.” Robert Mondavi

Most importantly, I enjoy sharing food & wine with close friends, and family. It elevates the experience to another level.

Disclosure: All the pictures in this blog post are my own, and were taken either with my iPhone or my Canon Rebel T3 camera.  They were shot at various restaurants, a friend’s house, and my home.

Cheers to good health and a well-lived life!

Gina, aka, FoodieWineLover 

 

Delectable Greek Salad

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Acropolis, Athens

Acropolis, Athens

 

I love Greek cuisine, and one of the easiest dishes to make, is a classic Delectable Greek Salad. When I make it here in the US, I usually use Romaine or iceberg lettuce along with the other ingredients. Surprisingly, when I was in Greece, I found out, their authentic salad did not call for any lettuce. Back in 2008, taking pictures of food wasn’t popular like today. I don’t have any to share with you because Instagram was non-existent then. However, I will share some of my personal photos taken while visiting some of the famous and breathtaking Greek islands, Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes and Athens.

Serves 2-4 as a side – Add Grilled Chicken or Salmon, and make it a meal for 2.  Difficulty, super easy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tomato, cut up in wedges
  • 1/2 cucumber, cut up in wedges
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  •  A handful of Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 3-4 oz. of Feta cheese, crumbled, and a square for garnish
  • Red wine vinegar, lots of drizzle to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to your heart’s content
  • Himalayan sea salt, or sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon oregano

Preparation:

Place the tomatoes, Feta cheese, cucumbers, onions, olives, peppers in a medium-sized bowl. Drizzle with red wine vinegar, and a generous amount of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Mix well. Garnish with a nice piece of Feta. Voila! You got yourself a lovely and refreshing Greek salad.

Tips #1)  Always use more olive oil than vinegar. In general, the ratio is 2-3 parts oil for 1 part vinegar.

Tip #2) You can eye-ball the measurements, use a jar with a spout, it gives you more control. Most of all, as a homecook, you should always taste your food. If you like it, the chances are, your loved ones will too.

I hope you will make this delicious salad, and bring it to a picnic!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Kali Orexi!

Delectable Greek Salad

Greek Salad

 

Greek Salad

Mykonos

Mykonos

 

Rhodes, Greece

Rhodes

Shrimp Saganaki

FoodieWineLoverDecember2014 029

 

Shrimp Saganaki

I love everything Greek! After all, I’m married to one, and to his Big Fat Greek family.  One of the things they enjoy doing, is eating, and they love celebrating everything with food. I do have some knowledge on the Greek culture, because I had the opportunity to visit some beautiful places in Greece. I’ve also made some wonderful Greek friends on Facebook. One of the biggest staples in Greek cooking is Feta cheese, and I love it on almost everything. There’s nothing more Greek than that in my opinion. I love it in salads, omelettes, recipes, with Pita bread, or by itself. Today, I will share with you a lovely recipe made with shrimp and feta cheese, and it’s a winner in my book. The name Saganaki is given to dishes that are cooked in this frying pan, with two handles. Traditionally, this pan is used in making shrimp dishes, and to flambe’ some delicious Greek cheeses. You don’t need this specific pan to make this recipe, but I wanted to share some of the Greek traditions with you. Some traditional recipes call for tomato paste which I love using, and they also leave the shell on the shrimp. It does make for a killer presentation.

Serves: 6-8 Level of difficulty: Easy

 Ingredients: 

  •  1.5 – 2 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
  •  3 tbsp. olive oil + more
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pint roasted cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 – 3/4 ounce ouzo, Greek liqueur
  • Salt and black pepper to taste *
  • 4-6 oz. Feta cheese, crumbled *
  • Flat leave parsley, chopped for garnish

Preparation:

1) Place tomatoes on a tray, drizzle with olive oil and salt. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, or until caramelized.

2) In the meanwhile, In a “Saganaki” or a large frying pan, over medium-high heat, heat olive oil, sautee the garlic, 1 minute, add the shrimp. Cook for about 3 minutes. Deglaze with ouzo, turn the shrimp, add the tomatoes, oregano, black pepper, cook for 2 minutes. Lower the flame to medium-heat,  add the Feta cheese, and cook an additional 1-2 minutes, or until the shrimp are no longer translucent. Garnish with parsley. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve with orzo, potatoes or pasta. I served mine with whole-wheat angel hair. This dish makes a wonderful meze, which is Greek for snack or appetizers.

*Be careful with the salt, as the feta is already salty. I like to buy the feta in a container, and crumble it myself. It has a fresher taste than the already crumbled one.

If you don’t have ouzo readily available, use some dry white wine, it will be the next best thing. However, ouzo is the way to go in this dish, in my opinion.

I hope you have enjoyed this blogpost, and will attempt to make it soon for your loved ones. It will be the talk of the town, I promise you.

Happy Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours!

Gina/Foodiewinelover
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles

 

 

 

 

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