Monday, March 27, 2017

Blue Cheese-Pepper Steak Wraps with Hammersky Merlot

12 ounces boned top round steak
2 tablespoons Water
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
4 (8-inch) fat-free tortillas
Cooking Spray
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 onion cut into ¼-inch thick wedges

1 medium red pepper cut into ¼ inch strips

  1.  Trim fat from beer; slice into ¼-inch strips. Set aside.
  2.  Combine the mustard, black pepper, garlic, and salt in a large bowl. Add beef, tossing to coat.
  3.  Place a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until hot. Add beef mixture; sauté 4 minutes until done. Remove from pan; keep warm. Add mushrooms, onion, and bell pepper to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Add water; cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in beef mixture and vinegar. Remove from heat; stir in cheese.
  4.  Warm tortillas according to package instructions. Spoon 1 cup mixture onto each tortilla; to each serving with ½ cup lettuce, and roll up.  

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 wrap)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Recipe: Shrimp with Avocado paired with J. Dusi Pinot Grigio

Spring has sprung here in Paso Robles. The trees are in bloom and the sun is shining. We thought this recipe would make a great treat to share with a friend or two on the patio. 

Shrimp with Avocado Salad

1/4 cup of white wine vinegar
1/4 cup grape-seed oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lb medium shrimp, cooked, peeled, and deveined
2 ripe avocados
Lettuce - preferably butter lettuce or red leaf lettuce
Lemon slices for garnish
As and Option - 2 Tbsp chopped roasted walnuts or pistachios
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Combine oil, vinegar, and garlic in a bowl. Chop shrimp into 1/2 inch pieces and add to oil mixture. Arrange leaves of lettuce on individual plates. Cut avocados in half and remove pits. Remove some of the avocado around the pit area and mix in with the shrimp. With a spoon, carefully scoop out avocado halves from their skins in one piece. Place avocado half on plate with lettuce, spoon shrimp mixture on to avocado. Sprinkle with walnuts and cilantro (optional). Serve with lemon slices for garnish. You can serve this along with vegetables or cottage cheese. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Art of Blending Wines

Blending has become a highly-respected part of the process of winemaking in Paso Robles. Winemakers view blending as a highly-evolved art form. The basic idea of blending is to mix different varietals of grapes (or years of the same grape) in order to create a final wine that possesses a quality that is superior to that of each of the different components singularly.

Today in Paso Robles, one of the most common types of blends is called a “GSM” and involves the blending of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. In Paso Robles, blending has become so popular that winemakers now plant their vineyards just for the purpose of blending. Blending can also be done with white wines as well, such as all our highly acclaimed White Rhone Blends that have been popping up in many tasting rooms.  

Another way to blend wines is to blend wines that are from different vintages or years. When blending wines from different vintages commonly the bottle will have a printed "NV" which means non-vintage. These wines are not associated with a specific year.

When properly handled, blending can help to balance the flavors as well as the levels of tannins and acids. It should be pointed out that blending can help to improve the quality of wines that already at least somewhat good on their own. If you have a okay or average wine that you wish to improve, consider mixing; a process that can take away an off flavor. I have personally done this in a restaurant and was much happier with the outcome! Plus,my friends were quite impressed that I was able to “kick my wine up a notch"!

If you have never tried to blend wines before, but want to give it a shot, it’s best to start with just two wines. Blending gives you the ability to select the best characteristics of multiple wines and then blend them together to achieve a far better flavor. While the process may seem complicated, even the most novice home winemakers can create a good blend at home.