Winexpression to Close

I must fly away to another flowerAfter almost 8 years, I have decided that my Wine Blogging journey has come to an end. Thanks to all the readers, PR staff, and fellow wine bloggers that supported me through this journey. I have a few posts to finish up and will explain a bit more, but basically this forum has run it’s course in my life and I am ready to move on. I have valued the feedback I have received and thank you all for your support. Stay tuned for a few more posts with the most valuable wine lessons I’ve learned, tips for wine bloggers, and some final reviews and notes from recent tastings I have attended.



Flayvors of Washington Video Contest Announced

Flavors of Washington Contest 2009Columbia Crest, the maker of some very nice value wines in Washington State, has announced a partnership with Food Network star Bobby Flay to promote the second annual “Flayvors of Washington” video cooking demonstration contest. The winner will receive a prize package valued at over $5,000 USD, and a chance for one-on-one cooking time with Chef Flay.

Here are a few of the contest details:

Your recipe should be inspired by a Columbia Crest Grand Estates wine and include at least one Washington-state ingredient (Apples * Asparagus * Blackberries * Chanterelle Mushrooms * Cherries * Clams * Dungeness Crab * Halibut * Hazelnuts * Lentils * Melon * Morel Mushrooms * Mussels * Oysters * Peaches * Pears * Raspberries * Salmon * Spot Prawns * Strawberries * Sweet Onions). Your video should be no longer than two minutes and showcase why you’ve got the winning recipe. America will vote on the entries and help select the semifinalists. Bobby Flay will then choose two finalists to come to New York for the Flayvors of Washington Face-Off Challenge, where they will prepare their dishes for a panel of judges and a winner will be decided!

Enter now through June 8, 2009.

Grand Prize

* Opportunity to cook with Bobby Flay in New York
* $5,000 cash
* Wine refrigerator
* Selection of items from the Bobby Flay at Kohl’s cookware line
* Autographed copy of Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill and Grill It! cookbooks
* Selection of Bobby Flay sauces and rubs
* Columbia Crest glassware and corkscrew
* Washington wine books

The official entry page and announcement form is here. []

Cooking With Wine

2005_linne_calodo_nemesisAnyone who watches the Food Network knows that many hosts have advised time and again not to cook with wine you wouldn’t drink out of a glass.  I thought that by now this was a well known fact.  But to my astonishment, while talking to a friend about a spaghetti sauce recipe, they mentioned that they had some cooking wine they could add to it.  NOOOO! was my initial thought.  But then I remembered that they aren’t a wine drinker.  So I kindly mentioned that the wines flavor intensifies when you cook with it, so if it doesn’t taste good on it’s own, it won’t taste good in your food.

I made that spaghetti sauce recipe over the weekend and it turned out great!  We had a 2005 Linne Calodo Nemisis [website] open and I decided to add it to the sauce.  Now by no means do you have to use a 4 year old wine, it’s just what I happened to have open at the time.  But by all means use wine that you enjoy drinking.  And don’t worry about not having any wine left over.  Most recipes only call for a small amount to be added so there will be plenty to share with dinner.

Posted by T.A.P.

The Best Pizza Ever – Off the Grill

Pizza and David ArthurThis is possibly the best pizza I’ve ever had, and it’s a recipe that anyone with a Barbecue (Preferably Gas) can make. My father came to my house one day when my wife and I planned on making pizza in the oven as we normally do.  Larry recommended throwing it on the grill and the idea at first struck me as odd. Do you rub olive oil on the dough to keep it from sticking? Isn’t it going to burn?

Turns out, this is the best way to cook pizza at home, in fact, I don’t think I’ve had a better pizza from home. So here it is, give it a try and I’m sure you’ll be a believer. This isn’t a new method, as I have seen a similar set of instructions in the Dean and Deluca cookbook, but I think it’s one that people are scared to try. So, if you are trying it for the first time, comment on it here and let me know what you thought.

Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Yield: 4 Servings

16 oz (1lb) Pizza Dough divided into two halves
1 8 oz Can Tomato sauce
2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Chopped
½ Medium Onion
5 Medium (or 10small) Cremini Mushrooms, Thinly Sliced
Sliced Black Olives
3 Links Sausage (Cheese and Wine or comparable)
Cheese (4 Cheese Blend, Parmesan, Asiago, Fontina, Mild Provolone)
Olive Oil
Dried Oregano
Salt & Pepper to taste
Fresh Basil

Preheat Barbecue to medium high heat
Separate dough into two equal halves and stretch (don’t roll) into 8 inch Diameter rounds on a floured surface.
Place directly on Barbecue (no need to oil grill or dough) and cook for 4 minutes. Flip and reduce heat to med-low and cook for an additional 3 minutes

Remove casing from Sausage, crumble and cook in a medium sauce pan on medium heat. Remove and drain on paper towels.
Add sliced onion and mushrooms to same pan and cook over medium high heat until onions are tender but not caramelized.
Return sausage to pan and remove from heat.

Place cooked pizza dough with the side you cooked first, facing up on a baking sheet.
Spoon on a thin layer of tomato sauce
Sprinkle salt, pepper, oregano, and chopped garlic to taste
Add a thin layer cheese
Layer the Sausage/ onion/ mushroom mix and black olives over the cheese
Add another thin layer of cheese
Drizzle olive oil around the crust
Place the pizzas on the center of the grill and reduce the temperature to low (I have a three burner model and I turn off the middle burner). In 3 Minutes rotate the Pizza 180 degrees (for even cooking) and leave for another 3 minutes.

Remove pizza, add fresh chopped basil and allow to sit for 2 minutes.

Cut and serve.

Wine: I paired this with a 2001 David Arthur Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine had an amazing nose bursting with blueberries and cocoa. The mouth feel was impressive and had the distinct flavor of rich black cherry with a very long finish. The wine is still a little young and was a little hot on the finish, but as it opened with air, it became more refined. A very impressive wine.
94pts – JAT