Tag Archives: wine

Pork Tenderloin with Red Grapes & Herb Cream Sauce + Wine Pairing

Written by Liz –


In cold weather, braised meat or a meat dish with accompanying sauce is the perfect choice, and this pork tenderloin recipe makes impressing your family or dinner date incredibly simple. Pork tenderloin is the most tender part of the animal — which makes your job easier — and I had the butcher at my local organic market cut it into 1/2-inch slices. Then just follow the recipe; prep time is 10 minutes and cooking time is 15 minutes. This recipe makes even a complete beginner look good! And, it’s easy to pair with wine (see below).

Pork Tenderloin with Red Grapes & Herb Cream Sauce

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme, crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 to 1 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon olive or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup (5 fl.-oz. can) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  • 1 cup red seedless grapes, cut in half



COMBINE garlic salt, rosemary, thyme and black pepper in small bowl. Sprinkle pork with half of spice mixture as shown above.


HEAT oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add pork and cook on each side for 3 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Remove from skillet; set aside and keep warm.


REDUCE heat to low. Add flour, evaporated milk and remaining spice mixture to skillet. Stir to loosen brown bits from bottom of skillet. Cook for 3 minutes. Add grapes and cook for an additional minute until thickened.

PLACE pork on serving platter and top with sauce.

Wine pairing:

I am a Pinot Noir lover, which goes well with pork and works fine for this recipe. But to take the flavors up a notch, I paired it with a Rhone Red Blend. This is usually based on three grapes, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre (also known as a GSM) but can sometimes include other Rhone varietals. These blends are typically described as having blackberry, leather and pepper notes, and go well with juicy, gamey meats as well as French-style spice blends, especially rosemary.


More food + wine recipes:

Drunken Pork recipe Tortellini with Pesto and Sun-dried Tomatoes
Red Wine
Braised Pork
Tortellini with Pesto &
Sun-dried Tomatoes

Pesto Pairs Perfectly with Italian White Wine

Written by Liz –

Tortellini with Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomatoes recipe

September 30 is the last day of California Wine Month so I thought I’d pair one of my favorite Italian sauces (as in the Tortellini with Pesto and Sun-dried Tomatoes above) with some California white wines made from Italian varietals. And I added a twist to the pesto that I learned from Luce, one of Bon Appetit’s top 10 best new restaurants in America.

The Food:

Luce Italian restaurant in Portland

Luce is a very small market and restaurant dedicated to simple Italian cooking in Portland Oregon. Every dish on the menu was so simply made that at first glance, it seems too easy, too sophomoric. But after a bite or two, the flavors this kind of cooking imparts transports you to the traditions of Italy. Bon Appetit called it “bare bones…Italian home cooking at its core.”

Luce Italian cooking in Portland

The pesto at Luce was made with basil, avocado, almonds, walnuts and garlic. This is pesto in Southern Italy. And it was incredible! The avocado replaces the olive oil, making the dish lighter, full of flavor and oh-so-good for your skin. To make this easy on me to make at home, I used Buitoni pesto as a base, placing about half the container of pesto in a bowl, then mixing in one whole ripe avocado and serving it over al dente pasta. A perfect late summer meal.

The Wine:

I wanted to pair this with an Italian varietal made in California, and I found 2 wines that worked perfectly. Arneis from Palmina Wines has a bright lemony quality, and enough acid to zip along your tongue with the pesto, cutting the oils and balancing the meal perfectly.

Luce Italian restaurant in Portland

Another wine, Bianchetto from Moretti Wines is a blend of 3 Italian varietals from different regions: Arneis, Malvasia Bianca and Tocai Friulano. You won’t see this blend in Italy, but it’s lovely flowery nose and fruit and acid balance also really enhanced the dish.


More pesto recipes:

Baked Pesto Chicken recipe
Baked Pesto Chicken Breasts recipe
Insalata Caprese with Pesto Vinaigrette recipe
Insalata Caprese with Pesto Vinaigrette

National Linguine Day + Wine Pairing

Written by Liz –

Pesto Linguine with Green Beans & Artichoke Hearts recipe

I love to try to incorporate as many vegetables as possible into my meals – after all, how many of us actually get the recommended dose of veggies at each meal? So when I found out about National Linguine Day, I decided to find some linguine + vegetable recipes, and also try pairing wine with them.

Well, I found 2 great recipes – super easy version and look-like-a-chef version – plus 1 great wine to go with them both. Both recipes use one of my favorite vegetables, artichoke, which is a difficult food to pair with wine, but what wine goes with artichoke, pesto, green beans and lemon? I found the winning varietal…read below to find out!

Super Easy Version: Pesto Linguine with Green Beans & Artichoke Hearts

Ingredients for 4 servings:


PREPARE pasta according to package directions, cooking green beans with pasta; drain. Transfer pasta and beans to large serving bowl; toss with pesto, artichoke hearts and pepper. Sprinkle with cheese. Garnish with basil.

Linguine with Lemon and Grilled Baby Artichokes recipe

Look-Like-a-Chef Version: Linguine with Lemon and Grilled Baby Artichokes

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh, frozen or canned baby artichokes or artichoke hearts, tossed in 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 package (9 ounces) BUITONI Refrigerated All Natural Linguine
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • BUITONI Refrigerated Freshly Shredded Parmesan Cheese


PREHEAT grill.

GRILL artichokes over medium heat until lightly browned. Alternatively, place on baking sheet, cut-side-up and position 6 inches from broiler. Broil for about 3 minutes or until lightly browned.

BRING water to a boil in large pot; add linguine. Cook for 1 minute. Drain, reserving ¼ cup cooking water.

HEAT oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute or until fragrant (the garlic should not brown). Stir in wine and cook for about 4 minutes or until slightly reduced. Add lemon juice, lemon peel, parsley, chives, tarragon, salt and pepper; cook for about 1 minute or until mixture is heated through.

ADD cooked linguine to skillet along with reserved cooking water and Parmesan cheese. Toss gently to coat. Toss in artichoke hearts. Serve immediately with additional extra virgin olive oil and Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Verdicchio with artichokes

Wine Pairing: Verdicchio

You need a wine with high acidity to pair with artichokes and something from Italy to match the food style. And a white wine since it’s a late summer dinner, pretty light with green vegetables and plenty of freshness. A Verdicchio is perfect for this! It’s crisp and snappy, matching the acidity of the artichokes and lemon, and creating some summer sizzle in your mouth. A last hurrah to the sun.


More linguine recipes:

Sensible Linguine Alfredo recipe
Sensible Linguine Alfredo
Easy Linguine with Creamy Tomato Sauce recipe
Linguine with Creamy Tomato Sauce

Pitcher Drinks: Cool Summer Sips & Cocktails

Written by Liz –

Limoncello Basil Cooler recipe

You may remember from previous posts that I love a little herb in my desserts – well, I also love a little herb in my drinks. Especially basil. And cilantro. And rosemary…ok I love them all. Give me a fennel-infused bloody mary with a touch of cilantro plus all the fixin’s and I’m a happy girl.

I was an equally happy girl when I found these easy summer drink recipes: one uses limoncello and basil and the other uses wine and sparkling orange mineral water. Both can be made by the pitcher for groups and parties, and you can always infuse your own personality into the drink – as I found out at a recent wine cocktail aperitivi party on California’s central coast.

For the Limoncello Basil Cooler pictured at top, you can easily follow the recipe; it’s oh so refreshing after a long day. Or, to create a South of the Border version, use 1 part margarita mix and 1 part dry white wine instead of limoncello, add fresh lime and lemon juice, and replace the basil with cilantro. You can even add a dash of Tequila!

Limoncello Basil Cooler

Ingredients for 6 small servings:

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil sprigs
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) limoncello liqueur, chilled, divided
  • 1 bottle (16.9 fluid ounces) PERRIER Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
  • Crushed ice cubes
  • 6 basil sprigs for serving


MUDDLE or smash 1/2 cup basil with 1/4 cup limoncello with a wooden spoon in a large pitcher. Add remaining limoncello and sparkling water.

FILL glasses half full with ice. Top with limoncello mixture, holding back bruised basil; garnish with basil sprig.

Fruity White Wine Spritzers recipe

Another super easy crowd pleaser is this recipe for Fruity White Wine Spritzers. These take no time to put together if you just follow the recipe (a little bit hard for me!) OR you can really go crazy substituting your favorite fruit, juices and herbs to get something totally unique. Get some ideas here.

Have fun mixing it up!


Related drink recipes:

Sparkling Sangria recipe
Sparkling Sangria
Strawberry Bliss Aguas Frescas recipe
Strawberry Aguas Frescas

Celebrate Drink Wine Day with a One-Pot Meal

Written by Liz –

Red Wine-Braised Pork One Pot Meal recipe

It’s National Drink Wine Day! This holiday is in the same week as International Syrah Day (it was Wednesday if you missed it), which makes for a long week if you’ve celebrated properly. I thought pairing wine with a dish for this post would be a good idea, but then thought using the wine in the dish was even better. I also wanted a one-pot meal to warm up my house and my belly in this cold weather we’re having.

I found a recipe from Chris for Oven Irish Stew, a one-pot meal using beef, vegetables and beer (remember this recipe for St. Patrick’s Day!) and decided to change it up using pork, winter root vegetables and red wine. The result is what I call Drunken Pork or Red Wine-Braised Pork: a big pot of hearty, spicy goodness for the winter months (don’t worry, the alcohol cooks off, so the dish is not really drunk). This dish, with red wine on Drink Wine Day will be the best pairing I’ll make all year.

Some tips:

  • Use any combination of winter root vegetables you like; get the freshest ones at your local farmer’s market.
  • Pick a red wine that goes well with chocolate, like Syrah or Zinfandel.
  • You can make your own dry rub using more exotic spices like cumin and smoked paprika.
  • For a gorgeous twist, use a knife to poke holes in the pork loin, then insert thin slices of garlic and carrot (this will show when slicing the finished pork, see end of post for a photo).

Red Wine-Braised Pork

Red Wine-Braised Pork One Pot Meal recipe

Ingredients for 8-10 servings (shown above):

  • 2 Tablespoons MAGGI Instant Beef Flavor Bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 pounds pork loin or pork loin roast, tied with cooking string if desired
  • 6 carrots, peeled, cut in half and thinly sliced (or 2 cups peeled baby carrots, thinly sliced)
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 beet, diced
  • 1 turnip, diced
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • 1 dried Ancho or New Mexico chile
  • 2 bottles red wine (or 1 bottle red wine & 2-3 cups Apple JUICY JUICE® All Natural 100% Juice)
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate morsels
  • 1 Tablespoon each dried oregano and thyme leaves, rubbed between fingers to release flavor
  • 8 fresh thyme sprigs, for garnish


Preheat oven to 375° F. Combine bouillon, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin and stir.

Red Wine-Braised Pork One Pot Meal recipe

CUT thin slits all over the pork loin; insert some carrot and garlic slices into the meat slits. You will have carrots and garlic left over.

Red Wine-Braised Pork One Pot Meal recipe

HEAT Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat. Sprinkle bouillon mixture over pork loin; pat with hands. Turn loin and repeat until all sides are coated.

Red Wine-Braised Pork One Pot Meal recipe

Add pork to Dutch oven. Cook on each side until browned, searing each side of the loin (shown above). Remove from Dutch oven.

Red Wine-Braised Pork One Pot Meal recipe

ADD olive oil and onion to Dutch oven; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes or until softened and translucent. Add beet, turnip, celery and leftover garlic slices. Cook, stirring frequently, until edges are browned. Add leftover carrot slices; cook until slightly softened (photo above). Add dried chile.

Red Wine-Braised Pork One Pot Meal recipe

REMOVE Dutch oven from heat; add pork loin back on top of vegetables. Pour in wine or wine/juice combination, chocolate morsels, dried oregano and dried thyme (you may have to adjust the amount of liquid depending on the size of your Dutch oven). Stir for about 1 minute or until morsels are melted; cover.

Bake, checking for doneness near end of cook time, for 2 hours or until center of pork is no longer pink.

Red Wine-Braised Pork One Pot Meal recipe

To serve, slice pork and top with vegetables and sauce (notice carrot slivers in pork in photo above). Garnish with fresh thyme.

Final step: pair with Syrah, Pinot Noir or Gamay. Pour and enjoy!


Related one-pot meal recipes:

Lasagna Cucina recipe
Lasagna Cucina
One-Pot Pasta With Tomatoes, White Beans & Pesto recipe
One-Pot Pesto Pasta

Watch the Superbowl with Pumpkin Chili Mexicana & Wine

Pumpkin Chili Mexicana

Every year about now, the biggest sporting event in America rolls around: the Superbowl. There are many famous things about this game: the rivalry of the teams, the personalities of the players, and the best commercials of the year. But my favorite thing about the Superbowl is the food.

Now I don’t mean chips and dip, or hot wings from the local sports bar. I want something homemade, hearty and spicy. And easy…especially if I’m the one planning the party. And I love chili. I wanted to make mine a bit healthier, but still spicy, and pair it with some good wine – no beer for this girl.

Pumpkin Chili Mexicana

So I used this Pumpkin Chili Mexicana recipe, added extra pumpkin, extra tomato sauce and some beans with jalapeños, then topped it with fresh arugula (cilantro works well too), crème fraîche, white pepper and grated cheddar/jack cheese (shown above). This recipe is so versatile! And it goes well with wine.

Meat Substitutions:

  • Use ground lamb instead of turkey, with fresh mint and Feta cheese.
  • Use ground ostrich instead of turkey, with fresh oregano and Gruyère cheese (good ostrich can taste like filet mignon).
  • Use other exotic ground meats like rabbit or bison – these are a bit harder to find, but I’ve been recently inspired by meat-loving chefs in Los Angeles to try them.

Wine Pairings:

  • Lighter chilis go very well with dry to off-dry Pinot Gris or Riesling, like those from Alsace, France. You can also find excellent styles of Pinot Gris from Oregon.
  • Darker chilis go well with a Rhone-style blend or varietal. Try a full-bodied Grenache or GSM blend (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre). There are also many good choices from Australia and California.

So enjoy the Superbowl, try a new combination for your chili, and take a virtual wine tour. You’ll find the best pairing before the first commercial.


Related Superbowl recipes:


Picadillo for Tacos Recipe
Picadillo for Tacos
Tequila Citrus Chicken Wings Recipe
Tequila Citrus Chicken Wings
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