All recipes paired with wine, Salads, Summer Grilling, Veggies based & Vegetarian

Grilled summer salad

Grilled summer salad

I have seen Giada on TV once, making something like this as an Italian antipasto. I didn’t take any notes and believe it was originally combined with orzo, cheese and meat. Well, it looked delicious so I tried to create a meal based on that inspiration. It served us as a delicious light dinner with few grilled shrimps and we loved it! Use your fantasy with different veggies or serving suggestions.

Grilled summer salad

2 medium green zucchini
1 small eggplant
1 green bell peppers
1 red bell pepper
1 large red onion
2 large Portabella mushrooms
1/2 lb of snow peas
1/2 cup combined of chopped basil, parsley and tarragon
juice from half a lemon
salt and pepper
olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Bring water in large pan to broil. Rinse snow peas in water, then cut the tip of each snow pea and pull out the tough string that runs along its side. Add peas to boiling water and quickly blanch them for 30 – 40 seconds. Drain and let cool.

Preheat your grill. Clean all your vegetables and cut into about 1/2 inch thick slices – zucchini and eggplant lengthwise, bell peppers seeded and cut in half or quarters, red onion in thick slices and mushrooms caps leave whole.

Sprinkle with olive oil and grill on each side until soft. Take off the grill and let cool a little. Cut each veggies into small pieces (about the same size) and mix in a large salad bowl with blanched snow peas.

Add chopped herbs, sprinkle with a generous amount of good quality olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and balsamic vinegar, mix well and serve at the room temperature. As the warm flavors of veggies blend with aroma of herbs and oil, this is a mouthwatering experience.
Grilled summer salad
For a non- vegetarian version throw a few shrimps, sprinkled with olive oil and a sea salt (devained, but unpeeled) on the grill and dress up your salad with a delicious seafood. Enjoy a light, great summer dinner.

Wine pairing suggestions:
As I added grilled shrimp to this summer salad, I opted for crisp white wine to go with it. My first choice was Californian Pacific Rim Dry Riesling. The herbs and aromas of this salad went great with this super aromatic wine. The second choice was Kris Pinot Grigio from Italy. Both wines worked really well.

All recipes paired with wine, Ground meat, Lamb, Summer Grilling

Lamb Burgers with Relish Mayo

Lamb Burgers with Relish Mayo

Happy Memorial Day – it’s time to party! As many of us will be heating grills this Sunday, why not try your own, homemade burger for change? This lamb burger is super tasty, juicy and tender. Expecting company and not sure if people care for lamb? Make just few as an option to regular beef burgers – and see what will be gone first!

Lamb burgers with a relish mayo

3 lb. ground lamb (I bought a lamb stew meat and had it grounded)
1 bag of baby spinach (optional)
3 cloves of garlic
½ cup of fresh chopped mint
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
3 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon Worchester sauce
1 small onion (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons of shish kabob seasoning (I used Sadaf)
Salt and pepper as needed (caution, the seasoning already contains salt)

For mayo:
1 cup of mayonnaise
3 round tablespoons of hot pepper relish
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint

Take  the meat out of the fridge and let it rest, bringing it to room temperature. In the meantime, sauté washed spinach in large frying pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, about 3 minutes, until soft. Season with salt and 1 sliced clove of garlic. Drain any possible excess liquid. Set aside and let cool.

Add all the seasoning, onion, pressed garlic and mint to your ground meat and mix with your hands thoroughly, until evenly combined. Add cold spinach to the meat and work it through with your hands.Form hamburger patties and grill about 3 minutes on each side (cooking time depends on the thickness of your patties).

For your super simple, but very delicious relish-mayo sauce, mix mayonnaise with pepper relish (I like the Uncle Maynard’s hot pepper relish) – taste and add more, if desired. Add pressed garlic and a tablespoon of chopped mint. Serve these juicy burgers with the relish-mayo and any sides you like, on the bun.

For a low carb version try this twist: Instead of a bun, chop all kinds of veggies you have in the fridge, 1 red onion and mix it in grill proved baking dish. Sprinkle with olive oil, hot seasoning salt and freshly ground pepper and roast it on the grill, while grilling burgers.

Wine pairing suggestions:
I have paired this lamb burgers with an excellent Argentinian Malbec from Enrique Foster called Ique. If you can’t find this bargain in the wine store, grab another Malbec of your choice. But make sure you mention this name to the store owner – he might want to carry it. It’s really super value!

The other wine I paired my burgers with was Edna Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Another great quality wine for a very reasonable price.

All recipes paired with wine, Fish and Seafood, Poultry, Summer Grilling

Chicken and shrimp skewers

Chicken and shrimp skewers

Happy 4th of July! What to suggest for America’s special day, full of parties and picnics? I am sure everybody has their own favorites to grill – burgers, hot dogs, steaks, maybe even roasts or tenderloins on the grill. Here is an inspiration for a marinated chicken thighs and shrimp that are easy and fast to grill on skewers or in flip basket.

Chicken and shrimp skewers


2 lb of chicken thighs without the bone
(or how many you need)
1 lb of large shrimp – deveined, preferably not peeled

For a simple marinade:

½ cup olive oil
2 tbs Emeril’s original essence (or other chicken seasoning)
2 cloves garlic pressed
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional)
salt and pepper (if the seasoning doesn’t contain salt)
1 Tbs rice vinegar (or red wine vinegar)

Clean your chicken thighs from excess fat and cut into similar size pieces. De-vein your shrimp (if not already done from the store) and don’t peel it.

Mix all the ingredients for a marinade together in large bowl and pour half over the meat. Pour the rest of the marinade over the shrimp in separate container. Let it marinade for at least 1 hour (the best is overnight) in air tide container, in the refrigerator.

Use skewers or grilling flip basket and grill, turning occasionally, until the meat is done. The shrimp only takes few minutes, the chicken slightly longer, depends on the size of pieces of meat.

Serve with your favorite dip and salad or grilled mixture of fresh vegetables on the grill. Here is my favorite mix of freshly cut veggies and wedges of potatoes:

I will cut all kinds of veggies I have on hand, incl. raw potatoes (skin on) into similar size pieces. Season it with salt, freshly ground pepper, mix in few strings of rosemary and sprinkle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Mix in iron pan (or other grill-save dish) and put on the grill. Mix with wooden spoon until done. The flavors and aroma are just divine.

Wine pairing suggestions:
Since I used a generous spoon of cayenne in my recipe, I paired this grilled treat with red wine without hesitation. Even the label of Garnacha de Fuego that we opened, suggest the fire of the grill – well,maybe.

This bottle is worth to open specially if you don’t stop with the chicken and move on to burgers or steaks. This truly is superior party wine and great value! It worked well with my skewers even though it is a rich and fruity red wine.

If you skipped cayenne in your marinade, you might want to grab something lighter in body – Italian Chianti or Pinot Noir. In case you prefer white, I picked really great White Burgundy from Louis Latour Chardonnay Grand Ardèche – rich, round, really tasty and wallet friendly wine.