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GrilledShane.com, the perfect accompaniment to MissWineOH

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Please welcome GrilledShane as a guest blogger on MissWineOH. This post is part of the Ohio Blogging Association‘s Blog Swap this month. Many thanks to Poise in Parma for organizing and compiling the complete list of swaps.

So, here’s Shane, and all his grilled cheese glory!

Hesitant to partake in the Ohio Blogging Association Blog Swap, all my concerns vanished once it became apparent that I would be paired with a MissWineOH. A better partner, a wine blog, I could not have found to compliment my sandwiches. This has been a great experience for everyone involved and I must thank Tammy for her being such a gracious host.

Bread may be the staple of life…but with cheese it is heaven. Throw in some wine and you have a party.

Everyone remembers the traditional grilled cheese sandwich consisting of American cheese and processed white bread. However, not everyone realizes that a grilled cheese sandwich can (and should) be so much more. That is why I created GrilledShane.com…to educate the world on the amazing possibilities of the grilled cheese sandwich.

As far back as I can remember, my mother would make grilled cheese sandwiches with a special sweet butter that Nanny (my grandmother) used for the same exact sandwich. As I matured and could cook my own grilled cheese sandwiches, I still turned to my mother to make that simple, yet delicious sandwich. The mother’s touch of tradition and nostalgia simply made the gooey cheese and toasted/grilled bread taste all the better…even when still cooked with white bread and American cheese.

That emotional attachment attracted me to the grilled cheese sandwich and led me to become obsessed with a sandwich. Yes, I GrilledShane, am obsessed with the grilled cheese. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.

Even as someone who creates only vegetarian sandwiches, the grilled cheese sandwich possibilities are as endless as one’s imagination. Discover a new ingredient? Try it in a grilled cheese sandwich and you will be amazed at your new creation. Over the past three plus years, I have included such odd ingredients as mashed potatoes, edamame, nachos, grapes and tofu and each one was more enjoyable than the previous.

Recently, I created 80 new recipes in just a few weeks time, split between savory and sweet creations, for a new GrilledShane cookbook that will be released in November. Although I can’t specifically mention the ingredients I used, I don’t want to ruin the surprise, the versatility of this sandwich became more and more evident as the absurd, but delicious, ideas flowed out of my head.

Now these sandwiches from the cookbook, as well as the many original recipes on my blog, are not only sandwiches to be eaten specifically for lunch. Many could be eaten as a main course to a foodie feast or a great breakfast on a lazy weekend morning or the perfect finish to a multi-course experience.

Obviously, MissWineOH focuses on wines, of which I have very little knowledge. Sure, I know that I prefer white wines over reds, but that is as far as my experience in the wine world goes. However, I do know that wine and cheese is as classic a pairing as peanut butter and jelly. Wrapping the cheese in some unique and flavorful bread and melting it does not change the fact that wine is still the perfect drink of choice when enjoying a unique and gourmet grilled cheese sandwich.

grilledshane is devoted to all things grilled cheese: homemade recipes, news, and humorous anecdotes. Original gourmet vegetarian grilled cheese sandwiches are created with a unique twist. After reading, you will come to realize that grilled cheese sandwiches can be much more than two pieces of bread and one slice of cheese. MELT, a 100-recipe cookbook authored by GrilledShane is to be released just in time for the holiday season, November, 2012.

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Pairing Adventure – Butternut and Bordeaux

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We picked up a new bordeaux the other night. The 2008 Chartron La Fleur Bordeaux – 70%/30%, Merlot and Cabernet from Maison Schroeder and Schyler. The man wanted french wine for dinner, so I went hunting for a new appropriate recipe – it had to include butternut squash, since there was one glaring at me to be cooked from the corner of the produce pile. Velvety and berry on the palate, this wine has balanced tannins and acidity. Its not a cru – but it is a great blend and budget friendly sipping. High QPR wine at $11.99.

I modified this dish from one found on allrecipes.com

Chicken Pasta with Sage Roasted Butternut Squash

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 2/3 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
  • 3-5 chicken tenderloins
  • italian dressing
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a roasting pan with the olive oil. Place the squash and onion in the pan, and season with salt, pepper and sage. Roast 30 minutes, or until squash is tender.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place penne pasta in the pot, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the tenderloins, covered in italian seasoning, until done. Remove chicken and cut into bite size pieces, then transfer back to your skillet. Transfer the cooked squash and onion and the cooked pasta to the skillet. Gradually pour in the cream. Season mixture with sage. Continue cooking until heated through. Mix in garlic. Transfer to a large bowl, and toss with balsamic vinegar to serve.

I realize you may look at this and say OMG, that’s a LOT of balsamic. You might even think that again as you are portioning it out into the bowl. I know I did, and it scared me just a bit. Trust me when I say that it does not taste like its overly vinegary. The balsamic brightens the recipe substantially. Also, you only want to turn the squash once when its baking, and get it out of the oven when its just done, otherwise you get a squash that looks less appetizing than it tastes.

This wine was pleasing, balanced this dish well, and I recommend them together, separately, or paired with others.

We loved this adventure – and they are definitely a wine and a dish we will go back to. (as evidenced by multiple bottle purchasing on this one)

Enjoy!

Pairing Adventure – Holiday Meal – Part 2

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As a continuation from my earlier holiday post, our Christmas morning always begins with Breakfast Casserole, coffee, and poinsettias’ for those in the mood. Then we sit down later in the afternoon for a Roast Beast dinner. While the recipes here are great for a Christmas feast, I have been known to pull them out for many different family gatherings, as they are simple, and will easily feed a crowd.

Breakfast Casserole is an easy “Make the Night Before” creation. The first time I ever had this dish was at a CYO gathering of teenagers, so you know it will appeal to the masses!

MonmousseauIn 2011 we became rather fond of Monmousseau sparkling for our celebrations. Monmousseau Brut Etoile. This sparking is done in the “methode traditionnelle” and is made of Chenin Blancfrom the Loire Valley (if google translated the french correctly) As is traditional, the secondary fermentation is in the bottle. Its crisp, fruity – aromas of stone fruit, and well balanced. It is a dry sparkling, but an easy sipper. For those of us that enjoy French champagne on a California sparkling budget, this beauty rings in at $14 a bottle. Its available in wine shops in Cleveland, and we get ours from Wine and Design in Tremont.

For Poinsettias you combine your sparkling with a cranberry juice. It’s a holiday festive twist on the Mimosa, and I love to use a Cran-Raspberry, which blends well with the drier bubbles. Straight cranberry can be palate drying at times.

Our main meal consisted of Waldorf Salad, Standing Rib Roast (aka Roast Beast), the Chef’s Mashed Potatoes, my green beans, and the Chef’s amazing pound cake with lemon blueberry topping. Since she won’t even share the recipes with me, (aka Mom) – I know she won’t let me publish them. But I will give you the Waldorf Salad and Green Beans recipes on the recipes page.

There’s more than a few palates in the house when the family gathers, so there were obviously more than a few wines. We opened a wine from Vinoklet Winery in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the Ohio River Valley for Mamma WineOH. She’s always been my inspiration for my palate and over the years she’s increasingly fond of the sweeter wines… and Mamma gets what Mamma wants. So we poured the La Dolce Vita, a concord wine. Its a slightly sweet version of the concord, and frankly, a drier one than many I’ve tried. Retail – $11.99

Vinoklet’s story begins with Krešo Mikulić immigrating to the United States from his homeland in Croatia, near the Adriatic Coast in the Mediterranean Region. He grew up in the winemaking tradition and  Krešo returned to it in 1984. He purchased a dairy ranch in Colerain Township, Ohio and because of its excellent soil conditions and micro-climate, the vineyard produced first samples of wine with great success. They are producing Chambourcin, Concord, Catawba, Traminette and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The rest of us shared a bottle of one of my favorite Zinfandels – The Other Guys Plungerhead. This wine is one I’ve been drinking for years, and I love the 2009. (Though the 2006, 2007 and 2008 were just as lovely) I discovered this one in Virginia, and was totally taken by the wines of The Other Guys. Its jammy, fruity, and spicy on the finish with a bit of clove – a hint of the oak is also present. There’s about 98% Zinfandel with a splash of Syrah blended in for character. Retail – $11.99

Two things I enjoy about this wine… one – there’s a guy with a plunger on his head on the label. Seriously…. it makes me giggle. Second – the closure on this wine is a Zork. This particular closure is helpful if you open a bottle and will need to close it up for the next day, or place it in the refrigerator. The plastic unwraps and you have your own private “saver closure” on the bottle. When you see these don’t think “cheap wine” – they are a lifesaver when you don’t want to finish your wine.

We enjoyed a Waldorf Salad, a cheese and meat platter, and the company while we prepared the balance of the meal. I usually recommend a crisp white with this salad – but in combination with the meats and cheeses – the Zinfandel worked surprisingly well.

Then it was time for the Roast Beast. Sides of course were Chef’s Garlic Mash and my green beans. We opened the Thief, a Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley (that’s “Willamette, Dammit”) in Oregon. Thief, according to the bottle, is a wine “of distinction absconded from the best vineyard sites in the Pacific North West.” A cute riff on the name, but a lovely medium bodied Pinot Noir – black cherry and just a bit of cinnamon – this Pinot is heavy enough to carry the roast beast easily. At $19.99, I rate the QPR value medium – but one of the better wines I’ve seen in this from this region and in this price range.

This was our Holiday meal in a nutshell. I hope you enjoyed the wine and food around your table as much as we did!

Happy Sipping!

Light by Beaujolais – A Pairing Adventure

I had the privilege of inviting a few people over to MissWineOH headquarters for a Beaujolais tasting on December 7. It was a collision of two worlds – a few people from #MrWineOH’s office, and a few great people I’d met through my tastings.

SEDavenport and her husband, WhyCLE and her beau, and EatDrinkClev joined us to delve into the beaujolais world and nosh on some appetizers. The entire event was a twitter tasting and broadcast under the #beaujolais hashtag. All of the Beaujolais wines were served chilled to 60°F.

We started the evening with a little palate cleansing French sparkling. Yes, there are reasonable French sparklings – we picked up ours from Wine and Design in Tremont for less than $15.  The first Beaujolais poured was a 2010 Christophe Pacalet, Chiroubles. Most of our guests thought it to be a light, fruity wine. Others tasted a perfume base, followed by the fruit. This was not high on the list of favorites for the evening at $16.99. It was paired with a Pastry Wrapped Baked Brie.

Baked Brie Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large sheet of puff pastry dough or 1 tube of refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 1 round or wedge of Brie cheese (do not remove rind)
  • Raspberry Jam, or other sweet jam
  • Brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup

1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2 On a non-stick cookie sheet, lay out the puff pastry or the crescent rolls flat; put brie round or wedge on top.

2 Spread jam on brie, fold dough over top, cutting off excess dough. Drizzle maple syrup and place a handful of brown sugar on top.

3 Bake at 350º for 25-30 minutes, pastry should be golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with crackers and apple slices.

The 2009 Domaine de Colette, Regnie was the second wine poured. All cherry and berry on the palate, this wine opened up nicely and was enjoyed for the duration. We paired it with a soppressata, beef sausage, and smoked gouda platter – the olives were a hit or miss. Some thought they paired well, others thought the quality price ratio was not up to par. This wine retails for $18.99.

The third wine we poured was the 2009 Chateau de la Chaize, Brouilly. This Brouilly is from the among the oldest and most historic estates in the region of Beaujolais. Medium bodied, fruity, with a long finish, most of our guests picked this as the QPR winner of the evening at $13.95. It was paired with a Proscuitto wrapped camembert.

Proscuitto Wrapped Camembert

Ingredients

  • 6 large fresh sage leaves
  • 8 oz. whole round camembert
  • 6 large slices prosciutto
  • 12 slices French bread stick (baguette), toasted
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Arrange 3 sage leaves on top of the camembert. Place 3 slices of prosciutto over the sage. Carefully turn the camembert over and fold in the ends of the prosciutto slices to enclose. Repeat with the remaining sage and prosciutto to completely enclose the camembert.
  2. Place the camembert on the lined tray. Bake for 15 minutes or until the prosciutto is crisp and the camembert is soft. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with the bread.

Our last Beaujolais of the evening was the 2010 Pavillion de Chavennes, Cote de Brouilly – the most complex wine of the night, there was a floral aroma on the nose and spice on the finish. Even at the $21.99 price point, this became the crowd favorite and quickly disappeared. We paired this wine with Crunchy Apple Salsa over Chicken.

Crunchy Apple Salsa over Chicken

Salsa

2 cups York or Fuji apples, halved, cored and chopped

3/4 cup (1 large) Anaheim chile pepper, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup lime juice

salt and pepper to taste

Marinade

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup apple juice

1/2 tsp. grated lime peel

1/2 tsp. salt

Dash pepper

4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Combine salsa ingredients and mix well; allow flavors to blend about 1/2 hour. Serve over or alongside grilled chicken. Makes 3 cups salsa. For grilled chicken combine marinade ingredients, pour over chicken breasts. Marinate for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain and cook in an oiled skillet, turning once, until done.

WhyCLE takes pictures, I pour wine. (Thanks, Jen!)

It wouldn’t be #MissWineOH without a cupcake pairing. I chilled and poured the 2007 Markko Select Reserve Johannesburg Riesling. If you have never experienced Ohio wines, Markko makes some of the finest in the state. This is a slightly sweet riesling with floral aromas. I’d pair this with a seafood dinner or a savory chicken dish.

The cupcake I chose for this event and pairing was the pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese icing from A Cookie and A Cupcake, on of my favorite Cleveland bakers. The savory pumpkin paired beautifully with the riesling. It balanced the sweetness of the residual sugar in the wine, while allowing the minerality to show through.

So, what was the conclusion? A rousing success of course! The wines of Beaujolais are always lovely, and you should seek them out when you find them. I’d recommend pairing a Beaujolais with food – try some of the recipes I’ve included. Many thanks to @sedavenport, @whycle and @eatdrinkclev for joining us. Follow them on twitter because they are interesting and cool ladies in Cleveland.

If you’d like to join us for a future event, stay tuned to the calendar. We’ve got #wineandcupcakes and #beerandcupcakes coming up in January. Or like MissWineOH on Facebook for wine related articles and information from around the world.

The Beaujolais wines were provided by Discover Beaujolais.

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