First, the picture above is a hilarious reminder to never ever attempt a sexy, bored withdrawn face again. I look ridiculous, lol.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way welcome back! This week we’re diving into some of the food and wine pairings present at the dinner party I recently posted about.
Full disclosure, during the planning process there were a ridiculous amount of options thrown my way. Chefs suggested food I couldn’t pronounce, wines that cost so much it made my head spin, but through all of that noise I knew those things, while nice enough, weren’t my style.
Instead I decided to host an event with food that I could more or less make in my kitchen on a Wednesday night after a long day at work – with wine that was within my price point. That’s what Lush Life is all about. Enjoying a fabulous life in an achievable way.
Minus the dessert, below are the pairings that I came up with and reasons why they work. Keep this in mind, despite many well-meaning articles to the contrary there’s no exact science to this because everyone’s palette is different. Still, I do think you’ll enjoy these pairings a great deal.
Enjoy and cheers!
Salad: Spinach salad with baby beets, goat cheese, shallots (yum), and a chive-sherry vinaigrette. If you don’t have these ingredients then making a simple spinach salad with traditional toppings will do. For a protein add shrimp or chicken.
Paired with: Condes de Albarino $13.99
Why: This a coastal wine, which means the grapes were grown near the sea. Much like the elements on and around a coast, the wine is light and crisp. As a result you’d want to pair it with something that’s fresh and not too heavy, a perfect choice for shellfish and salads.
Soup: Tomato soup with parmesan croutons.
Paired with: Keep calm and don’t pair your f*cking wine with soup.
Why: It’s not that deep. It’s a free country in which you can do whatever you like, but pairing a liquid with another liquid is strange to me, plus at this point in the dinner there was more than enough wine to go around.
Seafood: Dungeness (West Coast) crab cakes, topped with mango chutney and remoulade a.k.a the creamy sauce that’s found atop almost all crab cakes. The crab cakes could easily be substituted for salmon croquettes, which are are quick, cheap and easy to make.
Paired with: Catena Alamos Chardonnay $8.99. This is a great bottle of wine for the price point so buy 3 bottles. The Alamos Malbec is a winner, too.
Why: Crab meat, at it’s best, is just like a good Chardonnay: buttery and smooth. This is a classic pairing for good reason but if you don’t like buttery, oaky Chardonnay then pair it with sparkling white wine. Fried food and bubbles are a match made in heaven.
Poultry: Chicken breast stuffed with rainbow chard and Boursin cheese and a side of broccolini. An easier option would be a chicken breast stuffed with spinach and feta and cooked in the oven. Here’s my favorite recipe.
Paired with: A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir $14.99.
Why: Because this dish is kind of heavy I’d recommend a red wine for sure. Stuffed chicken and Pinot Noir is another classic pairing and although stuffed chicken is always yummy Pinot Noir is the real star here. It’s, in my opinion, one of the most versatile red wines ever and as a result pairs well with just about everything from fish to poultry to red meat. And speaking of red meat…
Red meat: Chargrilled lamb chop with chianti demi glace – also known as fancy brown sauce, yam hash and roasted baby carrots. This one’s a bonus because I’ve never made a lamb chop in my life but I like eating them! According to the always accurate Internet lamb chops are super easy to cook. All you have to do is coat them with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper then broil on each side and sprinkle with rosemary. You can totes do it, here’s the recipe.
Paired with: Tempranillo $17.99. This particular brand is a little on the pricer side for me and while it’s good you can absolutely find a cheaper bottle.
Why: Tempranillo is a grown woman, full-bodied wine, so by default it goes well with red meat. Traditional pairing rules aside, this Tempranillo goes really well with many Spanish dishes and smokey dishes like BBQ. The lamb chop ticks off both boxes so it’s a win.
Bonus: Pair this wine with steak or beef tacos. Yumyumyum.