WINE OF THE WEEK

As prices for wine from Bourgogne spiral out of the reach of mere mortals, it is comforting to know that we can still satisfy our Burgundy cravings with well-made bottles from appellations that do not fetch the exorbitant amounts of those from more prominent terroir or producers.

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Wine Of The Week

As Christmas weekend and the big day itself approach, we can think of no better way to celebrate than with Bottega Venetian Gold Prosecco. Part of Bottega’s “Liquid Metals” collection (there are also Platinum and Rose Gold versions) Bottega Gold comes in a gleaming bottle that is a lustrous work of art in and of itself. 

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Wine of the Week

Small Vines Estate Cuvee 2015

Small Vines Estate Cuvée Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2015



We are starting something new here on World Wine Guys: We will be posting our Wine of the Week and then sharing the love on social media.

 

Our premiere Wine of the Week is Small Vines Estate Cuvée Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2015, which we enjoyed on our visit to the tasting room and winery on Monday. Small Vines founders Paul and Kathryn Sloan showed off their organically farmed estate vineyards and then took us through a tasting of their current release Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. While they were all beautiful wines—and we don’t use the term lightly—when we looked back at our notes we realized that the Estate Cuvée PN is the wine we were both most rapturous about. We’re not giving points out for our wine of the week, but believe us, if you come across a bottle of Small Vines you should definitely make it your own. 

Small Vines Estate Cuvée Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2015: A nose of black cherry, violet and talc gives way to flavors of black cherry and pomegranate with a hint of smoke and a satisfying sense of earthiness. There is a hint of orange zest on the smooth, acid-tinged finish.

Small Vines is mainly available directly from the winery, but you will find it in some of the country’s best restaurants, including The French Laundry, Eleven Madison Park, and Single Thread Farms in Healdsburg, each of which has three Michelin stars.  Find out more at Small Vines.

Paul and Kathryn Sloan

Paul and Kathryn Sloan in their Small Vines tasting room.

Tapas Bar Seafood Salad

We just returned to New York from Spain (with a detour to France) and we are missing tapas bars already. There is nothing like buying an inexpensive glass of wine--usually around or under $2 US--and receiving a free small plate to enjoy with it. This tapas bar seafood salad, which is also known as salpicon, is one of our favorites. 

 

Tapas Bar Seafood Salad. Photo by Frances Janisch for The Fire Island Cookbook. 

Tapas Bar Seafood Salad. Photo by Frances Janisch for The Fire Island Cookbook. 

Tapas Bar Seafood Salad

 

When you walk into a bar in Spain, you will see a glass-covered case filled with salads and cooked foods. With each glass of wine you order, you will be offered a tapa, or small plate of food—for free!  Cold seafood salad is always a sure bet, especially with a nice, crisp glass of Albariño.

  • ¾ pound cooked crab meat, fresh or canned
  • 1 pound octopus
  • 1 ½ pounds medium shrimp
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 1 small green pepper
  • 1 medium red onion
  • ½ pound green olives, pitted
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Peel the shrimp and remove tails.  In a medium saucepan, bring salted water to a boil over high heat. Boil 3-5 minutes, until shrimp turn pink. Empty shrimp into strainer, and rinse with cold running water.

Boil the octopus in salted water until tender. This may take between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the thickness of the octopus. After cooking, allow to cool to touch, and cut into ¼ inch slices.

Break the crab meat into ½ inch pieces with your fingers and a fork. Place the shrimp, octopus, and crab meat in a large glass or ceramic bowl. 

Rinse and seed the peppers, and cut into lengthwise into ¼ inch slices, and then cut each slice in half crosswise. Dice the onion. Add peppers, onion, and olives to seafood in bowl. Toss lightly.

Add olive oil and lemon juice to bowl, and mix to coat seafood and vegetables. Lightly salt and pepper to taste. Serve cold. May be refrigerated before serving. This can be made in the morning, and plated and served at dinner time.

Wine Pairing: 

Laxas Albariño, Rias Baixas, Spain

The bracing minerality of this clean white wine is just right with seafood.

Note: You may substitute 1 pound cleaned calamari rings for the octopus. Boil approximately 3-4 minutes, until tender. 

From THE FIRE ISLAND COOKBOOK Copyright © 2012 by The World Wine Guys, LLC published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

 

Gambas Pil Pil Recipe

We are currently at our home in Nerja, Spain, and have had several versions of gambas pil pil at restaurants and tapas bars around town. Everyone's is different, but the basic recipe is olive oil, slivered garlic, chili pepper, and peeled shrimp. We use butter and Tabasco in ours, which are not traditionally Spanish, but all our friends love it.  

Gambas Pil Pil. Photo by Frances Janisch for The Fire Island Cookbook. 

Gambas Pil Pil. Photo by Frances Janisch for The Fire Island Cookbook. 

Gambas Pil Pil

Sizzling, spicy shrimp are a favorite at the merenderos which line the beaches on the Costa del Sol. These are great in the afternoon with a Rosado, a light, fruit-scented rosé wine, served as an appetizer. On cool evenings, we will also pair this with a joven or Crianza Tempranillo. 

 

·      32 jumbo shrimp, cleaned

·      8 tablespoons butter, melted

·      1 1/3 cups olive oil

·      6 tablespoons hot paprika

·      1 teaspoon ground cayenne

·      1 teaspoon Tabasco or hot sauce

·      4 teaspoons sea salt

·      12 cloves garlic, slivered

·      Crusty bread for dunking in sauce

In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, stir together all ingredients except shrimp. Place four shrimp in each of eight small oven-proof ramekins or dishes, and then spoon 1/8 of the sauce over each serving.  Arrange the shrimp, and place under pre-heated broiler for 3-4 minutes, or until shrimp is red-pink, and oil is sizzling. Place each ramekin onto a slightly larger dish, and serve at once. Be sure to yell “Hot plate!!!” as you slide it onto the table. Serve with crusty Italian or French bread, and make sure to soak up all that good garlicky-hot oil.  Serves eight. 

You can substitute 48 or 56 slightly smaller shrimp for the 32 jumbo shrimp.

Wine Pairing: 

Vivanco Rosé, Garnacha and Tempranillo, Rioja, Spain

This light and fruity rosé made from Spanish varieties has the crispness of a white wine and the mouth-feel of a red. 

From THE FIRE ISLAND COOKBOOK Copyright © 2012 by The World Wine Guys, LLC published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Tomato Season is Still Going Strong

Days may be growing shorter and evenings just a touch cooler, but tomato season is still going strong. Our stacked Caprese will have your friends oohing and aahing when it arrives at the table, although we promise you it is one of the easiest dishes you will ever prepare. The key is using the freshest tomatoes you can find, so the time is now. 

Stacked Tomato and Mozzarella Caprese Salad. Photo by Frances Janisch for The Fire Island Cookbook. 

Stacked Tomato and Mozzarella Caprese Salad. Photo by Frances Janisch for The Fire Island Cookbook. 

Stacked Tomato and Mozzarella Caprese Salad

 

There are few starters that are as dramatic and so easy to make.  Using perfectly ripe tomatoes and freshly made mozzarella you can create a delicious architectural delight. Although this is a signature dish from the island of Capri, we first had this layered presentation in Porto Palo on the island of Sicily.  Fresh basil, peppery olive oil and sea salt bring out the earthy quality of the delicious tomatoes that grow in the island’s mineral rich volcanic soil. 

  • 8 medium tomatoes
  • 64 well washed basil leaves
  • 2 one pound balls fresh mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • coarse ground sea salt
  • 8 bamboo skewers

 

Wash and dry the tomatoes.  Cut the bottoms off of each (so that they can stand upright on the plate) and discard. Slice each tomato horizontally into four slices.  Keep each tomato together and set aside.  Horizontally slice each fresh mozzarella ball into 12 equal slices, for a total of 24.  Begin assembly by placing the bottom slice of each tomato in the center of a medium sized plate.  Salt lightly.  Top with a slice of mozzarella and two basil leaves.  Add another slice of tomato and repeat until each stacked Caprese salad is complete.  Carefully spear each with a bamboo skewer, garnish with the remaining basil leaves and set aside.  Do not refrigerate if you plan on serving in the next 90 minutes.  When ready to serve, drizzle each with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. 

Wine Pairing:  Frei Brothers Reserve Russian River Chardonnay

Delightful crisp flavors of green apple and ripe stone fruits are accented by a touch of toasted brioche and creamy butter. The creaminess will hold up to the cheese, while strong acidity is ideal with ripe tomato.

From THE FIRE ISLAND COOKBOOK Copyright © 2012 by The World Wine Guys, LLC published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Hand Shucked Corn and Tomato Salad

September is a produce lover's dream. We get the last of the summer fruits and vegetables alongside the first of the fall's bounty. Corn and tomatoes are at their very peak, and it is wonderful to enjoy them together before they are gone until next summer. 

Hand Shucked Corn and Tomato Salad 

Hand Shucked Corn and Tomato Salad 

Hand-Shucked Corn and Tomato Salad

Locally grown corn and tomatoes are plentiful in the East from July through September.  There are so many ways to use them at mealtime and one of our favorites is this simple salad—the fresh flavors really speak of summer.  The minerality and bright acidity of the tomato combines beautifully with the delicate creaminess of the sweet corn.  We always use a superior quality cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.  There are some excellent oils coming from California wine country.  The subtle yet luscious peppered flavor is the perfect compliment to our Hand Shucked Corn and Tomato Salad.  

  • 4 ears locally grown sweet white corn
  • 4 ears locally grown sweet yellow corn
  • 8 large tomatoes, ripe and juicy
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

Shuck the corn, making sure to remove all of the silk threads.  Stand each ear on end and using a sharp knife, cut the kernels away from the cob. 

Core and seed the tomatoes.  Cut the tomatoes into eight wedges and then cut each wedge into two to three pieces. 

Toss the corn and tomatoes together in a large glass bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Add the extra virgin olive oil and toss.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit 1-2 hours before serving.  This allows all of the flavors to meld together. 

Wine Pairing:

Hearst Ranch Three Sisters White, Grenache Blanc-Marsanne Blend, Paso Robles, California.  Hints of tangerine, orange blossom and apricot along with racy brightness make this a wine you’ll want to start every meal with. 

 

From THE FIRE ISLAND COOKBOOK Copyright © 2012 by The World Wine Guys, LLC published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Spanish Rubbed Steak

We hate to brag, but this is another crowd pleaser. It's one of our cooking demo favorites, and before our cookbook came out this was the recipe that our friends requested most often. If filet mignon seems a little fancy for your backyard cookout, try the rub on skirt steak or flank steak. 

Spanish Rubbed Steak. Photo by Frances Janisch for The Fire Island Cookbook 

Spanish Rubbed Steak. Photo by Frances Janisch for The Fire Island Cookbook 

Spanish Rubbed Steak

This brings the flavors of Spain home, while paprika and cayenne spice up your steak on a hot summer night. 

 

·      8 filet mignon, approximately 5-6 ounces each

·      1 cup olive oil

·      4 tablespoons kosher salt

·      4 tablespoons sweet paprika

·      4 teaspoons sugar

·      1 teaspoon ground hot cayenne pepper

·      1 teaspoon dried oregano

 

Mix the oil and dry ingredients in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Spoon a small amount of the paste onto the top of each filet, spread, turn over, and repeat on the other side. Marinate for 4-24 hours in the refrigerator. If storing more than a few hours, cover with plastic or place in a plastic bag.  Cook under hot broiler or on the grill for approximately 4 minutes per side for a 1-inch thick steak, add 1 minute per side for each additional ½ inch.

Tip:  For uniform, round filets, shape the steaks and tie each with a piece of kitchen twine before rubbing, and remember to have sharp scissors handy to remove the twine before serving.

Wine Pairings:

Marques De Riscal Reserva, Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo, Rioja, Spain:  This traditional Riojan blend stands up to the strong spice of grilled meat.

or

Roda Reserva, Tempranillo and Graciano, Rioja, Spain:  More modern in style, this full bodied red has notes of ripe red cherries and aromatic herbs. 

From THE FIRE ISLAND COOKBOOK Copyright © 2012 by The World Wine Guys, LLC published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Mike's Caribbean Spiced Ribs

This is one of our favorite recipes to use for our cooking demos across the country and on cruise ships. Why? Everyone loves them! 

Mikes Caribbean Spiced Ribs. Photo by Frances Janisch for The Fire Island Cookbook 

Mikes Caribbean Spiced Ribs. Photo by Frances Janisch for The Fire Island Cookbook 

Mike’s Caribbean Spiced Ribs

We took several Caribbean trips in order to do our due diligence to the rum trade.  On each we picked up bottles of rum from Duty Free that are not readily available in the States.  We also purchased some extras to serve at our end of the summer party.  Although we fed our guests plenty of appetizers, we could not keep these ribs on the platter as they came sizzling off the grill—our friends were standing around waiting to grab the red-hot pork off of Mike’s tongs. They are steamed first and then finished on the grill, which accounts for their moist interior and crispy exterior.

  • 24 baby back pork ribs
  • 1 pound brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder

In a glass bowl, mix together the brown sugar, salt, and spices. Arrange the ribs in a large glass baking dish or platter, sprinkle the brown sugar and spice mix over the meat, and turn by hand and “pack” the sugar mixture on to coat completely. Place in refrigerator for two to four hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using your oven’s broiler pan with slotted broiler rack, remove broiler rack, add about ½ inch water to bottom of pan, replace slotted top of pan, and arrange ribs on broiler pan. (The water will be below the ribs—they will be sitting on the top of the pan, NOT in the water.) Repack any brown sugar left in the glass pan around the ribs, and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and allow to cool on the broiler pan. (Remember to hold the pan level while placing into and removing from the oven, so you don’t spill the water.)

Ribs can be rubbed and then steamed early in the day, or even a day or two in advance. If preparing the same day, store on a plate in the refrigerator, or if in advance, refrigerate in an airtight container. If refrigerated, remove to counter for half an hour prior to grilling. Preheat your grill on high, and cook for 1-2 minutes per side. (Place them one at a time on the grill with tongs. When all ribs are on the grill, count to 30, and begin turning the ribs, on at a time, starting with the first one on the grill and going in order. After all your ribs are turned, count to 30 again, and start removing them to a clean platter.

Wine Pairings:

 

Bellingham Dragon’s Lair, Shiraz Blend, Franschhoek, South Africa:  Blackberry, red cherry, smoke and clove notes are well suited to sweet and spicy Caribbean food.

Kim Crawford Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand: A strawberry and cherry opening is joined by subtle vanilla notes picked up in the barrel.

 

From THE FIRE ISLAND COOKBOOK Copyright © 2012 by The World Wine Guys, LLC published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.