Hot Pocket with Wine

I noticed it one day walking home from school.  There in my shadow was the making of a rounder than normal 10 year old butt.  I had teased my mom for years about having a large backside.  There were occasions when we walked down the street that men would honk their horn at the site of my mom's backside.  I never imagined that I would end up inheriting it.  Yet sure enough, I did.  As I entered high school I was so embarrassed by it that I would tie my sweater around my waist for fear of being teased.  It wasn't as if I had an abnormal behind, it was just slightly more obvious than others.  One day I forgot my sweater at home and a boy walking behind me said, "Wow Courtney!  What have you been eating, cornbread?" I had no idea what he meant but I figured he was referring to my backside.  After high school I shed a few pounds and suddenly missed my butt.  The very thing I was always so shy about now made me feel insecure without it.  Today I don't mind having a little "junk in my trunk". I happen to believe it's one of my greatest assets;-)

Instead of a traditional ham dinner this Easter Sunday, why not think outside the box and try a ham and cheese hot pocket.  Of course I'm being funny here, but hey, they're ready to eat in 3o minutes and delicious with a glass of wine.  Kabinett German Riesling to be exact.  This is one wine you should have in your wine fridge at all times because of it's food friendliness.  It works with fried foods, spicy foods, sour foods, salty foods, and slightly sweet foods due to it's high acidity, touch of sugar and low alcohol.  Basically the whole kitchen cabinet!  Kabinett refers to the lowest (in terms of sugar and ripeness) of the 6 subcategories of quality German wine and means that the wine has almost no sugar or just a pinch.  Therefore these wines are usually the driest and least expensive.  After a bite of the food and then sip of the wine I notice the intense acidity in the wine is now tamed by the creaminess of the cheese and cuts through the grease, cleansing the palate.  I also like the play on salty and sweet.  The tinge of sweetness in the wine counteracts the salty/buttery dough, offsets the sharpness of the cheddar cheese, and helps to compliment the sweetness of the ham.  Together the wine and food seem silky on the palate and the buttery flavor of the dough springs to life.  Other wines to try with a ham and cheese Hot Pocket are German Gewurtztraminer, Prosecco, un-oaked Chardonnay, dry Rose Champagne/Sparkling wine, Beaujolais and Pinot Noir. Cheers!

Coconut Shrimp with Wine

Becoming a member of the Stars dance team was overwhelming.  Although I had rhythm, I couldn't do the splits or ballerina like turns that many of the girls could execute who had spent years training.  I remember one of the teachers showing me how to move my hips without moving my upper body in a circular motion similar to hula dancers.  I kept swaying my shoulders to try to cause my lower half to move.  I would practice this for hours in the mirror trying to get it right.  Our winter dance performance was just weeks away and I wanted to impress!  After hours of rehearsal, the day finally arrived.  I remember my mom styling my hair and make-up while I went over every step in my head.  It was raining hard out that night.  As we drove to the performance I recall driving over a large hill and sliding into three cars who were already in a pile-up.  My mom swung her arm over to try and protect me as we braced for impact.  Although we weren't hurt, I cried so hard that I had make-up everywhere.  I knew I was going to miss my dance performance and the chance to show everyone I could finally move my hips!

I think coconut shrimp should arrive with grass skirts.  Nothing makes me want to relax on a Hawaiian island more than the sight of coconuts, tropical fruit and seafood!  And who could forget a glass of something delicious in your hand to complete the experience.  Coconut shrimp with pineapple or mango chutney (another word for salsa) are incredible together.  The sweetness of the coconut along with the fresh fruit make for a delicious pairing.  So of course I had to pair this appetizer with my favorite beverage on earth, wine!  I recently tried the pairing with two wines and had the hardest time choosing which one I preferred.  In the end I chose a German Kabinett Riesling.  The slight sugar and fruitiness of the wine bring out the sweetness of the coconut and tropical fruit flavors in the dish.  The wine has a touch of sugar and relatively low alcohol which helps to tame the spice that is incorporated into many chutneys.  Because coconut shrimp is also fried, you need a wine like Kabinett Riesling with good acidity to wash the grease off the tongue.  I also truly enjoy Gewurztraminer with this dish.  Gewurztraminer's aromas and flavors of spice and exotic fruits mirror the ingredients in this dish.  The problem with Gewurztraminer is that is can be terribly low in acid and with a fried food we need good acidity.  I would look for German expressions of the grape with a tinge of sugar to work best with this dish.  Other wines to try with coconut shrimp besides the two above are New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Prosecco or sparkling wine. Cheers!

The Bobbie® with Wine

For years I heard people talk about it.  Many would say it was the best sandwich in town.  And then I found out what all the hype was about.  It’s called “The Bobbie®”.  The Bobbie® is basically Thanksgiving dinner between two pieces of French bread.  Shredded turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and mayo, make it to die for.  And let me be the first to tell you, we’re not just ordering this at Thanksgiving.   The next time you’re in Las Vegas, you have to stop by Capriotti’s sandwich shop.  Believe me, it’s worth the trip!

It's amazing how many wines work with this sandwich!  To celebrate Thanksgiving however, I suggest drinking Beaujolais Nouveau with The Bobbie®.  Beaujolais Nouveau is made from the Gamay grape and released the third Thursday of November, shortly after the grapes have been harvested.  Like Thanksgiving, Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be drunk in celebration of the harvest.  Because the wine is only 7-9 weeks old, it is extremely light, fruity and easy to drink.  Beaujolais Nouveau's berry flavors compliment the cranberry sauce, and suddenly, after taking a sip of the wine, the non-existent turkey flavor takes front stage.  Another wine to try with The Bobbie® is a German Riesling (Kabinett).  Kabinett is a drier style of Riesling.  With Riesling, the cranberry sauce and stuffing come to life, and the food and wine seem sweeter.  The aftertaste is incredible!  In addition, the Riesling has the acidity to cleanse the palate, making you want to go for another bite.  Other wines to try with The Bobbie® are Zinfandel, Shiraz (both still & sparkling), Pinot Noir, Merlot, Gewurztraminer, CA Chardonnay and Cab!