Loaded Baked Potato Pringles with Wine

Pringles® are addicting.  The moment you pop the airtight seal and catch a whiff of the delicious Loaded Baked Potato scent, you're hooked.  I think the serving size should be changed to include the caloric content of the entire can.  I don't know a person alive who can stop themselves from eating more than the suggested serving.  It's as if they put some sort of chemical substance in them that makes your brain tell your hand to keep reaching in the can and stuffing your face until its empty.  And as kid who loved to play with my food, Pringles® served as the perfect duck lips to annoy my grandmother with by making quacking noises.  Several times I attempted to take a sip of a drink with the chips placed like this in my mouth.  Crazy as it sounds I was able to accomplish it since Pringles® are so durable.  Loaded Baked Potato is my favorite flavor.  The visual I get when I think of this flavor convinced me to try them.  Needles to say, I wasn't disappointed.  True to my wine loving nature my next question was, "Hmm, what wine should I pair with Pringles®?"

Duck lips and wine.  Now that's what I call sophistication!  Contrary to popular belief, Pringles® are fried, not baked.  When thinking of what wine to pair with my favorite flavor I had to take the greasiness of the food into consideration.  In the end I chose Chablis.  Chablis is a white wine made from the Chardonnay grape in Burgundy, France.  The wine has aromas of flowers, green apple and citrus with a distinct note of flint or steel from the soil.  Unlike many of the big, rich, buttery and oaky Chardonnays most people are familiar with, this one is quite different.  The cool climate gives the wine a lighter body and incredible spark of acidity that is missing in most "New World" Chardonnays.  After a bite of the food and then a sip of the wine I notice the sour cream and chive flavors spring forth.  Even the bacon flavor makes a small cameo appearance.  Both the wine and the chip feel light and crisp, mirroring each other.  Neither the wine nor the food out does the other.  There is really a balance of flavors and synergy that happens when you combine both.  The acidity in the wine washes the salt and grease off the tongue and I find myself continuing to reach in the can for another chip accompanied by another sip of wine.  Other wines to try with Loaded Baked Potato Pringles® are Pinot Noir (esp. Oregon or New Zealand), Chinon, Pinot Grigio, Kabinett Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc (esp. New Zealand), Cava, Champagne and Sparkling wine.  Cheers!

Fish Tacos with Wine

Boats and I don't rock well together.  As much as I can see myself vacationing on a yacht in Southern France, my stomach turns at the thought of it.  I've been on cruise ships, catamarans and even speed boats.  I'm fine at first, but if the waves get to be too much, my head is hung over the edge.  My trip to Aruba in the summer of 2007 was no exception.  I love adventure.  I'll try almost anything as long as it doesn't involve jumping off the side of a bridge or out of an airplane.  We scheduled an array of activities while on the island.  ATV-ing, parasailing, horseback riding and last but not least, snorkeling.  Snorkeling is extremely boring to me but because I didn't want to upset my boyfriend, I participated.  Did I mention there is a boat involved with getting out to the coral reefs?  If the boat ride wasn't enough, the waves were high that day and my head was bobbing around like a beach ball on top of the water.  I felt the urge to throw up but held it in.  Then some insane woman next to me pulled a bagel out of her swimsuit and shredded it into pieces underwater.  Next thing I know, what seemed like a million fish swarmed past me.  I screamed so loud you would have thought a shark had attacked me!  I swam to the boat as fast as I could and once on-board, held my head in my hands.  Fish tacos were being served for lunch but I wasn't having any of it.  I won't say that I'll never get on a boat again but remind me to pack Dramamine and check bathing suits for hidden bagels!

Pra Soave Classico is one of my favorite summertime sippers.  Soave is a white wine from the Veneto region of Italy.  The wine is full of stone fruit and citrus with a beautifully crisp mineral finish.  Pra is slightly fuller-bodied than your usual Soave and has an incredible balance.  And for the price, (around $15) you can't beat the quality.  Whether you prefer your fish tacos grilled or fried, the wine will work beautifully.  I personally enjoy fried fish tacos, but to each his own.  After a bite of the taco and then a sip of the wine I notice the wine act somewhat as a lemon.  It adds that fresh spritz of citrus that squeezing a lime or lemon on the taco does.  The weight of the wine holds its own against the tortilla and batter fried fish so that neither one gets lost.  Finally the crisp acidity stands up to the sour cream sauce, mimics the crispness of the cabbage and helps to cleanse the palate in-between bites.  Absolutely delicious!  Other wines to try with fish tacos are Assyrtiko (Greek white wine), Sauvignon Blanc (esp. New Zealand), Albarino, Vinho Verde, Chardonnay (esp. for grilled fish tacos), Rose (esp. Navarra region of Spain), Pinot Grigio, Riesling (esp. lighter/crisper versions) and Prosecco.  Cheers!

Pigs in a blanket with Wine

I grew up taking a bath before bed every night.  After hours spent swimming in my grandmother's pool, a bath was always in order.  My cousins and I would come running in the house soaking wet, leaving small footprints on my grandmother's carpet.  She warned us to dry off before heading inside but we couldn't wait to get in the warm bathtub that awaited us.  Myself and my cousin Jason and Christina would pile in the tub and grab our barbies and soldiers to extend our playtime.  We were only 4, 5, and 6 and loved spending every moment together.  The day came when my grandmother told us Jason was not allowed to take a bath with us anymore.  My grandmother explained that he was getting too old to take a bath with girls and would need to shower separately.  I could see the look of heartbreak in his eyes from being too young to understand why he was different.  As we all turned slightly older we started to realize what made him so unique.  He had boy parts; a weenie is what we called it.  On random nights my grandmother would let us skinny dip with the lights off before bath-time.  Christina and I would scream, "Hide your weenie!" as we covered our private parts and jumped in the pool.  We'd giggle as we tried to hide our tiny bodies against the inside rim of the pool even though it was practically pitch black outside.  My grandmother would bring towels to the edge of the steps and one by one we'd hop out as fast as we could so that the other couldn't catch a glimpse of each other.  That was my first experience of what made boys and girls so different and forever filed away the word "weenie" in my mind:-)

The name alone sparks interest in trying this tasty little snack.  Pigs in a blanket consists of tiny baked hot dogs or sausages wrapped in dough and served with a side of mustard.  There are other versions of this snack such as IHOP's sausage links wrapped with pancakes.  They're easy to make since they typically come frozen and are perfect as an appetizer at parties or get-togethers.  I particularly like serving these at a gathering because they pair with one of the of my favorite wines on the planet, dry sparkling Rose.  Plus, most ladies love anything pink.  Bouvet, a sparkling Cab Franc from the Loire Valley of France is always my first choice.  After a bite of the food and then a sip of the wine I immediately sense the sweetness of the dough and notice the flavor of the meat is heightened.  The fruitiness of the wine helps to tame the spiciness of the mustard and the bubbles help to wash the array of flavors and flakiness of the dough off the palate.  The wine is refreshing and can't help but make you want to add 3 or 4 more to your plate.  Other wines to try with pigs in a blanket are Champagne, dry rose, white Zinfandel, Kabinett or Alsatian Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Beaujolais, Barbera, Cab Franc, Pinot Noir, and a fruity young red Zinfandel. Cheers!

Carrot Cake with Wine

Easter was always about the gift basket.  Screw coloring eggs, I was in it for the chocolate bunny, stuffed rabbit and coloring books.  The day before Easter was always reserved for decorating eggs, which I loved to dip in every color and write my name on so that there was no doubt as to who the best Easter egg designer was.  We'd even leave carrots outside on our patio table for the Easter bunny to fuel up on while he hid our eggs.  My grandmother would usher me to bed the night before Easter as she set out my basket, returned carrots to the fridge and hid eggs for me to find.  One year she even went as far as throwing rocks on the roof to pretend the Easter bunny had landed at my house.  As with Santa Claus, I was told the only way to receive my gift was to fall fast asleep.  I pinched my eyes tight as I imagined the Easter bunny on our roof.  I don't know how she did it, but somehow there was always a basket right next to my bed on Easter morning.  When it came to finding eggs hours later, it was strictly a competition thing for me.  I wanted to find the most eggs at any cost, even if that meant taking one out of your basket when you weren't looking!  Here's to wishing you great memories this Easter with family and friends and a great bottle of wine!

In honor of the Easter bunny I've chosen a dish based on his favorite food, carrots!  Carrot cake was always a favorite of mine.  The sweet moist cake layered with cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with walnuts is the perfect dessert to celebrate the end of a delicious Easter dinner.  Take this dessert to another level by adding a glass of Harvey's orange infused Cream Sherry and even the Easter bunny would rethink eating carrots without a glass of wine.  Sherry is a fortified (alcohol has been added) wine from Spain that comes in a range of styles from dry (almost no sugar) to sweet.  Cream Sherry is made by blending different sweet wines together.  After a bite of the cake and then a sip of the wine I notice the orange zest found in the cake spring to life against the orange flavors present in the wine.  The two combined create almost an orange creamsicle like creamy texture and flavor on the palate.  The wine has just enough acidity to wash the cake off the tongue and neither one out does each other; meaning that I don't loose the flavor of the cake or the wine when I combine the two.  Other wines to try with carrot cake are Muscat (esp. orange), Tokaji Aszu, sweet Riesling, Malmsey Madiera and late harvest Zinfandel.  Cheers!