There’s an App for That Salmon Chip

Salmon Chip App

Photography by Simon Burn

Dabble’s libations expert Jameson Fink could never be accused of having a chip on his shoulder. On his appetizer menu, sure. But never his shoulder.

Everyday Champagne

The only thing I like as much as Champagne and popcorn is Champagne and potato chips. Crisp, salty snacks and bubbles forever. Homemade or store-bought, a single thick potato chip with a dollop of cream cheese, a few buttery flakes of subtly smoked salmon and a sprig of fresh dill just begs for bubbles.

Jameson’s Pick: Vilmart Grand Cellier NV

Beyond Bubbles

What? Bubbles leave you flat? Well then, let’s stick with France and reach for a Sancerre. These seafood-loving Sauvignon Blancs from the Loire Valley have an acidity that pairs perfectly with tangy cream cheese and fresh dill.

Jameson’s Pick: Gerard Boulay Sancerre Chavignol 2009

Salty Capers

Salt lovers may want to toss on a few briny capers, in which case I recommend heading straight over to Riesling territory. I’m thinking of the criminally underrated dry Australian Rieslings from the Claire Valley.

Jameson’s Pick: “The Merle” Reserve Riesling 2010

Rice Stuffed Peppers

Issue-1-Dinner-Date-copy

 

INGREDIENTS

1 1/3 cups of Basmati rice

2 1/2 cups of water

12 mini peppers (all colours, tops off, cleaned whole)

1 cup carrots, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

1 cup onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped finely

5 tbsp vegetable oil

1 sprig of thyme

salt and pepper

2 cups of shredded gouda cheese

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large sauce pot add 2 tablespoons of the oil, sauté the onions, carrots and celery on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook until onions are transparent. Add the last 3 tablespoons of oil and then the rice. Mix with wooden spoon until all rice is covered with oil. Add in the water. Bring to a boil, turn heat off and cover with lid. When all liquid is absorbed, remove rice. Once all liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked, set aside to cool until comfortable to touch.

Spread the peppers on a tray and spoon in rice to the top of each pepper. Add cheese and bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve all 12 on a single platter and place in the centre of your table for a beautiful display.

App for that Seared Tuna

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The App:
Seared ahi tuna with roasted serrano créme fraiche, shiso aioli and blonde frisée and citrus salad.

Jameson’s Pick: 2010 Pazo Señorans Albariño

I have acquired an unbridled fondness for Italian white wines, especially those from Campania. (Don’t worry France, I have not forsaken you.) Seared tuna, frisée, citrus? No problem for this ultra-pure and refreshing white, which accommodates zesty fruit, snappy greens, and seafood with aplomb.
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App for That Arugula Salad

App for That - Arugula Salad

The App: Arugula salad with parmesan cheese, chopped bacon and balsamic vinaigrette.

Jameson’s Pick: 2010 Hofer Gruner Veltliner (1L)

The start to nearly every healthy meal is a hearty salad and the perfect glass of wine.

Salad and wine may not be as classic a pairing as a tenderloin steak and Cabernet Sauvignon, but when summer’s heat rolls in this light combination is a cool choice. With peppery arugula, I look to Austria’s signature white wine grape, Gruner Veltliner. Gruner, as wine geeks affectionately refer to the grape, produces many lively wines that are vegetable-friendly. It might seem obvious that a name like “Gruner” (meaning “green” in German) would partner naturally with leafy fare and it does, but the green is also a reference to the freshness of the wine. (Though, with everything in the world of wine, there are exceptions to the rule and you’ll find some rare and costly Gruners fine enough to be aged alongside other, more famous white wines.)

When selecting bottles of well-priced Gruner you’ll come across many packaged in one-litre bottles, rather than the standard 750 ml size. Who wouldn’t want an extra third of a bottle of wine? This size makes a Gruner a great choice for parties, for sharing, or for cooking and keeping a few glasses for the cook. My choice, the 2010 Hofer Gruner Veltliner comes sealed with a bottle-cap top, so there’s no fussing with a corkscrew. Not only will a one-litre bottle of wine sealed with a bottle cap get attention at your next dinner party, it will also be enthusiastically consumed.

A Taste of Coca de Recapte

Spain

Spanish Flatbread

A staple of Mediterranean Spain, the chewy, oblong flatbreads known as coques are the ultimate comfort food for locals and travellers alike. This summery version makes great tapas when cut into small pieces.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 heaped cup flour

1 level tsp active dry yeast

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing

1/2 cup lukewarm water

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 large sweet onion, sliced thinly

1 pinch chili flakes

1 large sweet red pepper, sliced thinly

2 small zucchini, thinly sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

4 oz cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup olives, optional

1 tbsp oregano, finely chopped

Extra flour or polenta for baking sheet

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Stir together flour, yeast and salt in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook. Add oil and water and mix until dough is smooth—about 5 minutes, or 10 minutes if kneading by hand. Cover bowl with tea towel and allow to rise for about 3 hours at room temperature.

Using your fingertips, lightly stretch dough into an oval shape. Brush both sides with olive oil and place on a baking sheet sprinkled with flour or polenta.

Heat remaining olive oil in a pan, add garlic, onion, chili flakes and peppers and cook until al dente. Stir in zucchini and cook for a few more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange topping over bread and bake for 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Sprinkle with oregano and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves: 4

Use good quality Spanish olive oil if you can find it. It has a distinct flavour compared to oils from other regions.

App for That Escabeche

App for That - Shrimp Escabeche

The App: Shrimp Escabeche with peppers and onions.

Jameson’s Pick: Domaine André Neveu Sancerre “Le Grand Fricambault Silex” 2010, Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc 2010.

As we finally enter the summer months and the weather gets warmer, I think about having the oven on less and eating outdoors more. What could be better than a cooling dish of escabeche (marinated seafood) with shrimp? Zesty with citrus, complemented by the crunch of sweet peppers and onions, and brightened with fresh herbs…all that’s left to do is decide what wine to add to the ice bucket.

Hopefully, you already have a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc in the fridge. Not only is it a seafood-loving wine, but its citrous notes and slightly herbaceous, grassy flavours are particularly charming with escabeche and other light, fish dishes. Feeling fancy? Then look for a Sancerrewhich is produced in a region of France’s Loire Valley that—in my thirsty opinion—produces the finest Sauvignon Blanc in the world.

If you’re throwing a patio party and need larger quantities and great value, choose a Sauvignon Blanc from Chile. I am mightily impressed with these refreshing, and refreshingly priced, white wines. Consider too, a country like Chile, with over 6,400 kilometres of coastline, knows a little something about seafood and making wines to match.
App for That - Escabeche2

There’s an App for that Platter

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Long before iPad, burgeoning party throwers spent hours pouring over sticky-thumbed cookbooks in search of the perfect bite to feed wine drinking guests. Since every party starts with an appetizer, Dabble wine expert Jameson Fink shares some inspired pairings.

Asparagus: Nothing sticks in my craw more than the old saw that asparagus is ‘difficult’ to pair with wine. Boo. A crisp, grassy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc like the 2009 Spy Valley is a perfect complement.

Portabella Mushrooms: The earthiness of mushrooms cries out for Pinot Noir. Look for a bottling from Oregon such as the 2009 Evesham Wood or a Burgundy like the 2007 Robert Chevillon to produce a fine match.

Swiss/Gouda with Dried Apricots/Apricot Jam: I love a cheese board with an assortment of dried fruit and preserves. With firm, milder cheeses such as Swiss and Gouda, I’m thinking German Riesling. My pick is the 2009 Leitz Dragonstone, which has a zippy character that cuts through rich dairy, and brings wonderful fruit and a touch of sweetness along for the ride.

Sliced Turkey and Chicken: Think dry French rosé is just a summertime porch-pounder?  Au contraire. A slice of a rustic loaf of bread, dab on some garlicky aioli, and top with sliced chicken or turkey to achieve rosé nirvana. I recommend the 2010 Commanderie de Peyrassol.

Individual cheese plates hold a tasty assortment of meat, cheese, dried fruit and jam; allowing guests to easily hold an appetizer while mingling. Look for small wooden boards at the dollar store.

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Roasted Beet Salad

Dabble Chef - Beet Salad

Plum Drizzle

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups water

2 star anise

6 plums

1 cup yogurt

1 cup sugar

5 tbsp balsamic vinegar

4 sprigs lavender (remove leaves, wash and chop finely)

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp dijon mustard

2 cups olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste
INSTRUCTIONS:

In large pot bring water, sugar, star anise and plums to a boil for 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let cool.

Remove the plums from the pot. Peel and pit them. Strain remaining sugar water into a food processor. Add the plums and remaining ingredients (except for the oil, salt and pepper) into the food processor. Blitz the mixture on a low speed until smooth, while slowly adding in the oil.

Season the Plum Drizzle with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 4 cups

Tip: Make the dressing the day before to enhance the flavours.

Substitute 1 cup of red wine for 1 cup of water to give the dressing a richer colour and zippy taste.

 

Roasted Beet Salad

INGREDIENTS:

2 medium sized golden beets, washed

2 medium sized regular beets, washed

2 candy cane beets, washed

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp brown sugar (optional)

1 chili pepper, chopped finely

Lemon juice

Salt and pepper
INSTRUCTIONS:

In a large saucepot boil the beets for 30 minutes or until tender. Drain the water and let the beets cool down. Hold a beet in one hand with a paper towel and, using another paper towel, softly wipe the skin away. Do this for each beet and then cut them into thin slices.

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a large frying pan melt butter. Add the beets to the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add honey, brown sugar, chili and lemon juice. Remove beets to a cookie sheet and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Once roasted, display them on a serving dish and drizzle with plum dressing. Garnish with chopped greens.

Tip: Add crunch with chopped candied walnuts. Mix a drizzle of honey and a pinch of salt with 1 cup walnuts. Pour mixture onto parchment paper on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes at 400F.

A Taste of Naan Pizzas with Spicy Lamb

India

Indian Flatbread

India is arguably the flatbread capital of the world, home to more than 30 different varieties. We turned the popular naan into a savoury, flavourful and spicy treat that will leave you dreaming of the East.

 

INGREDIENTS:

8 mini naans (or 4 regular)

1 small onion, minced

8 oz ground lamb

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp red chili flakes

2 tbsp plain greek yogurt

2 tbsp pine nuts

1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 cup crumbled goat cheese

Salt and freshly ground black

pepper, to taste

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Place onion, lamb, garlic, spices and yogurt into a medium bowl.

Season with salt and pepper and mix together.

Top naan breads with lamb mixture and sprinkle with pine nuts and goat cheese.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lamb is cooked through. Sprinkle with cilantro and mint before serving.

Serves: 4

App for That Pâté

There's an App - Pate

 

The App: Chicken Liver Pâté and Toasted Bread.

Jameson’s Pick: Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Cuvée Vielles Vignes Beaujolais 2009.

It’s hard to overstate the comforting decadence of a beautifully made pâté. Is it only the heartiest wines that can handle this French classic?

Absolutely not. Surprisingly, a lighter-style red with some zip, like a well-made Beaujolais, easily cuts through all that richness. And when you have some traditional accompaniments like cornichons or spicy mustard, often a wine that has a good amount of acidity is the perfect bridge from the substantial pâté to its refreshing complements.

The quality of Beaujolais from producers like Chermette makes me want to beat the drum for drinking Beaujolais year-round. Cru Beaujolais cellars beautifully, if you have the strength to resist its considerable charms. (The bottle pictured is the Nouveau, which drinks surprisingly well, but I recommend the Cuvée Traditionnelle Vieilles Vignes as an introduction to Chermette’s wines to enjoy while your Crus are tucked away for a few years.
App for that - Pate2

App for Those Deviled Eggs

App for that - Deviled Eggs
The App: Devilled Eggs and Sardines.

Jameson’s Pick: Gruet Brut NV.

I’d call deviled eggs a guilty pleasure, but I feel no guilt about enjoying them. A tray of deviled eggs is a party on a platter, bringing back waves of nostalgia of being a child at potlucks and adult cocktail parties. Now, as an adult myself, I can enjoy a drink along with the deviled eggs being passed around.

With the ultra-rich filling of egg yolk, which depending on your preference is mayonnaise, sour cream, or creme fraiche, I suggest something to combat the heaviness.

I’ve always been a fan of Chardonnay and eggs and also I think a Chablis is lovely. But since we’re being festive (this is a party, after all), I say bring out the bubbles. Since I like my wine to be a bit of a conversation-starter, I’m picking a sparkling wine from New Mexico. Yes, New Mexico. Gruet produces a quality sparkling wine at a fantastic price for over two decades. The high elevation vineyards keep the grapes cool, creating a lively sparkle in the glass. Now, when is that tray of deviled eggs coming around again?

App for That Pizza

There's an App - Pizza
The App: A thin crust pizza with tomatoes, red onions and cheese. Oh my.

Jameson’s Pick: Felsina Chianti Classico 2008

Like many, I initially thought Chianti came in a straw-wrapped bottle that, when empty, you stuck a candle in to adorn the kitchen table of your first apartment. Since that time I’ve come to appreciate Chianti as an underrated gem that delivers quality and the ultimate in food and wine comfort when paired with any red-sauced Italian dish. With apologies to spaghetti, when I think red sauce, I think pizza. Who doesn’t love pizza?

The hardest part of a pizza night is getting everyone to agree on the toppings. The bad news is, this is an argument that can get heated. The good news is, Chianti, a smooth elegant red with a perfect style-to-substance ratio, is versatile enough to go with whatever ends up adorning your pie. Veggies? Meats? Both? No problem. Chianti is the pizza peacemaker.
App for that - Jameson3