Monday, April 25, 2011

Beach House No 34

There's nothing more romantic then spending a quiet evening with your significant other home with a wonderful meal and a bottle of wine.  What about a warm summer night on a blanket on the beach listening to the sound of the ocean?

Memories are what we make of them....Some of us take photographs and make scrapbooks and some make wine to commemorate a special event.

A. Faustini's Beach House No 34 does just that.... 

This wonderful Sauvignon Blanc was named after a very special moment in July of 2006.  Anthony was at Beach House #34 at Castle Hill Inn in Newport, RI with the love of his life.  It was at this house that he proposed to his wife Michelle and began their journey together.

Imagine having your loved with you and over a wonderful meal sharing the story of this wine to make your evening more memorable and cherished.  Let's set up a special evening you can create simply.  To start, a light main course and my suggesting is Scottish Salmon.

And Beach House No. 34., a refreshingly crisp white wine that offers citrus and tropical fruit flavors which perfectly highlights a nice summer evening.

Lemon Butter Salmon

2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup butter cubed
6 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce
4 Rastelli Scottish Salmon filets

In a small skillet saute the garlic in butter; whisk in the lemon juice, salt, pepper and pepper sauce.  Transfer 2/3 cup to a serving bowl and set aside.

Place salmon in a greased 15-in x 10-in baking pan skin side down.  Drizzle remaining lemon butter.  Broil 4-6 in from heat for 10-15 mins or until the fish easily flakes with a fork.  Serve with reserved lemon butter.

Add simple side of steamed mixed vegetables and you have the perfect combination for a wonderful evening.

Penne In Rose Sauce w/ Sausage


This recipe has been a favorite and can be made a variety of ways!

Penne Pasta In Rose Sauce w/ Sausage


1 Tbs Butter
1 Tbs. Olive Oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1 medium onion thinly sliced
1 lb. Rastelli hot or mild sausage w/ casings removed (I prefer the hot sausage for flavor)
1 15 oz Rastelli Severino Rose Sauce
1 lb. penne pasta
Parsley & grated cheese for garnishing

Melt butter with olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion & garlic.  Saute until tender and golden brown.  Add Rastelli sausage breaking up with a spoon until cooked through.  Add Rastelli Severino Rose Sauce and simmer on low/med until heated through.  Cook pasta according to directions.  Pour sauce over pasta, garnish with cheese and parsely & serve.

Serves about 6

Click on the photos above to find out how to get the Rastelli Sausage and Severino Rose Sauce.

As compliment to this dish, especially in the spring/summer months I enjoy a unique cooling white wine that has a wonderful history accompanying it.  

Leone D’Oro™ Gavi.  DOCG, made exclusively from Cortese grapes.   The name Gavi derives from the town of Gavi which is at the centre of the production zone and the indigenous white grape variety from which it is made. Due to its close proximity with Liguria its winemaking and gastronomic traditions are more Ligurian than Piemontese, which could explain the light and fruity style of this white wine.

Gavi was Italy’s first white wine to gain international repute and is still considered one of the top ranking Italian whites today. Made exclusively from the Cortese grape, a variety which has a heritage dating back to the 1600s.  It is noted for its bone dry character and crisp, flinty and fresh acidity. The bouquet is particularly floral offering delicate aromas reminiscent of white flowers, lemons, green apples and honeydew.  It is a well-balanced wine, distinctly fruit-driven with underlying hints of almonds on the finish. 

Leone D’Oro™ (Golden Lion) is the official wine brand of Order Sons of Italy of America (OSIA) – developed with licensing partner Votto Vines Importing.  

Who are the Sons Of Italy?
The Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA) is the largest and oldest national organization for men and women of Italian heritage in the United States.  They were founded in 1905 as a mutual aid society for the early Italian immigrants, today OSIA has more than 600,000 members and supporters and a network of more than 650 chapters coast to coast, making it the leading service and advocacy organization for the nation's estimated 26 million people of Italian descent.
It was at the turn of the 20th century, a growing tide of Italians, largely from the south, immigrated to the United States.  In the US the work was plentiful and land was cheap.  They departed in search of opportunities denied by their homeland.
In southern Italy the noble families owned half of all the farmland. What did this mean to the millions of peasants who were sharecroppers?  Well they were lucky to find work six months out of the year because the landowners were careless about farming, thus productivity suffered accordingly.
The peasants were required to give as much as half their crops to the landowners.  The peasants were also taxed by the government, had their sons drafted into the Italian military and watched their children die from poor nutrition and inferior medical care.
The exodus of Italians from their villages more than a century ago has no parallel in history. Out of a population of 14 million southern Italians, an estimated five million left by the outbreak of World War I. It is the largest recorded exodus of a single ethnic group in history.
Most of these immigrants came to the United States during "The Great Migration" between 1880 and 1922. In 1923, the United States restricted the immigration of southern and eastern Europeans, but by then more than 3 million Italians had become permanent U.S. residents.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Poulet Rouge Chicken Scapiello

A great recipe from a friend using Poulet Rouge Chicken Breast

2 boneless skinless Chicken breasts, about 4-6oz each
1 cup chicken stock or broth
1 cup flour
1 cup Mushrooms, sliced
2 links sweet Italian sausage, oven roast, let cool, then slice
2 cloves garlic,
½ cup dry white wine
½ tsp oregano
salt and pepper
½ cup Olive oil

Preheat oil to 350 in a large sauté pan. Add flour to a mixing bowl and season with salt & pepper.
Lightly dust the chicken in flour & cook until lightly browned on each side; about 3-4 mins.
Remove chicken from pan, set aside, cover & add mushrooms and garlic to oil.
Sauté until lightly browned; then & add Italian sausage, white wine, broth, oregano.
Season with salt and pepper.
Mix well and add chicken breast.
Cover and let simmer 10 minutes. Serve

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 25 minutes

Of course when it comes to adding the dry white wine I suggest using the wine you best enjoy and have it along with your dinner.

Chicken Breast

Italian Wine Classifications, What do they mean?

We all know the largest producer in the world of wines is who??? Italy!  20 regions in Italy produce in excess of 3,700 different varieties.  Wow! That's what must make them the big Wine-O!

Italian wines are currently characterized into for different classifications.  Learning these classifications will explain to many of you why you enjoy the certain varieties of wine... Let's start from the highest classification and work our way down:

DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita = Certification of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin) Established in 1980.  
At the beginning five wines were promoted to DOCG status:

  • Barbaresco
  • Barolo
  • Brunello di Montalcino
  • Chianti
  • Vino Nobile di Montelpulciano. 

I could not even begin to tell you which of the above rates better for me... I love them all.

Currently 25 wines have been given this highest classification. Now you are asking yourself what does DOCG actually mean?  They have to be classified as a DOC for at least five years and they must surpass all other DOC wines in quality and characteristics. DOCG wines must pass an evaluation of a tasting committee before being bottled. They must have characteristics related to the culture, environment, and climate. As you can see the guidelines for this classification are very strict.

Ok so you saw the DOCG wines had to be classified DOC for at least 5 years so what is DOC you ask?

DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata = Certification of Controlled Origin) Established in 1963. Approximately 300 wines are classified as DOC located throughout Italy.  DOC wines are produced in specific well-defined regions, according to specific rules designated to preserve the traditional wine making practices of the individual regions. These wines have similar characteristics and guidelines as the DOCG wines.

DOC wines include:

  • Abruzzo
  • Basilicata
  • Calabria
  • Campania
  • Emilia-Romagna
  • Friuli-Venezia Guilia
  • Lazio, Liguria
  • Lombardia
  • Marche
  • Molise 
  • Piemonte
  • Puglia
  • Sardegna
  • Sicilia
  • Toscana
  • Trentino-Suditrol
  • Umbria
  • Valle D’Aosta
  • Veneto
I bet you're say there sure are plenty to choose from!!

The next and more recent classification is:

IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) Typical Geographic Indication. As the acronym suggests these wines are related to the particular production area. Established in 1992.   It is used most famously in Tuscany with the addition of French varietals like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to Chianti Classico, creating the Supertuscans

The final classification:

VdT (Vino da Tavola). Table Wine.  This classification is where most of the wines fall into. This basically means that these wines do not have any designation. The producer may produce his wine as he sees fit following a few rules.  The labels on these wine bottles are not permitted to list the vintage or grape variety. This doesn't mean that these wines are not extraordinary in quality. The most stellar of this classification is Tuscan.

Why Organic Red Italian Wine?

Organic red Italian wines are produced in a manner in which there are zero harmful or negative effects on the environment.

Organic products are for more than the die-hard, health conscious people.  If consumers are purchasing organic foods and products they should be considering the same with their wine purchases.

A few good reasons why to go organic with your wine purchase are:

  • No added sulfites - Sulfites are a primary reason why many suffer wine headaches.  1 in 10 people have a sulfite allergy   Organic wines can only have half the amount of sulfates than non-organic wines.  Sulfites are naturally occurring in many food items, however one reason sulfites are added is to enhance flavor.
  • No use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers
  • Organic products are added to enrich the soil - natural produce, grasses and legume are utilized as  opposed to chemical fertilizers.
A question many ask now is how do they keep the pests away from the vines.

If you look at nature each creation has a purpose and what many of us don't know is just what is there purpose.

Such as utilizing plants and other insects as pesticides:

Ladybugs may be used to keep away the Aphids.

Plants such as mint are used to repel flea beatles.

    The herbs, plants and flowers are used as companion plants and planted below the grape vines to keep away the bugs and insects.

    Organic vineyards are sustainable and do not contaminate the topsoil as farming utilizing pesticides and herbicides does.

    Sunday, April 10, 2011


    I've been blogging and showing you what foods and wine I love... I've also educated you on some wines I prefer but I have not educated you on why I have chosen Rastelli products each time....

    Below I will show you facts on ingredients on just one product I chose:  Grocery versus Rastelli

    Retail grocery store bought Mashed Potatoes:

    Ingredients: Potatoes, Whole Milk, Butter (Cream Salt), Margarine (Liquid and Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Water, Salt, Whey, Soy Lecithin, Mono And Diglycerides, Sodium Benzoate [Preservative], Artificial Flavor, Vitamin A Palmitate), Contains 2% or Less of the Following: Salt, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Spice, Artificial Color, Mono and Diglycerides.  Warning: contains milk and soy. 

    How many of those ingredients do you use in your kitchen?  How many ingredients do you know?

    now compare this to:

    Rastelli's Red Skin Mashed Potatoes


    I think I recognize every ingredient and have them all in my kitchen!  Click here to learn more about Rastelli products!

    A lot to think about....  I was once guilty of purchasing items I thought contained healthy ingredients only to now have been educated in what is being added to our foods...  Sometimes the picture of the product draws us in first or misleading words on the labels... Speaking of labels, here's a little knowledge for everyone on reading the labels:

    1.   Serving Size This section is the basis for determining number of calories, amount of each nutrient, and %DVs of a food. Use it to compare a serving size to how much you actually eat. Serving sizes are given in familiar units, such as cups or pieces, followed by the metric amount, e.g., number of grams.

    2. Amount of Calories If you want to manage your weight (lose, gain, or maintain), this section is especially helpful. The amount of calories is listed on the left side. The right side shows how many calories in one serving come from fat. In this example, there are 250 calories, 110 of which come from fat. The key is to balance how many calories you eat with how many calories your body uses. Tip: Remember that a product that's fat-free isn't necessarily calorie-free.

    3. Limit these Nutrients Eating too much total fat (including saturated fat and trans fat), cholesterol, or sodium may increase your risk of certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease, some cancers, or high blood pressure. The goal is to stay below 100%DV for each of these nutrients per day.

    4. Get Enough of these Nutrients Americans often don't get enough dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron in their diets. Eating enough of these nutrients may improve your health and help reduce the risk of some diseases and conditions.

    5. Percent (%) Daily Value This section tells you whether the nutrients (total fat, sodium, dietary fiber, etc.) in one serving of food contribute a little or a lot to your total daily diet. The %DVs are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Each listed nutrient is based on 100% of the recommended amounts for that nutrient. For example, 18% for total fat means that one serving furnishes 18% of the total amount of fat that you could eat in a day and stay within public health recommendations. Use the Quick Guide to Percent DV (%DV): 5%DV or less is low and 20%DV or more is high.

    6. Footnote with Daily Values (%DVs) The footnote provides information about the DVs for important nutrients, including fats, sodium and fiber. The DVs are listed for people who eat 2,000 or 2,500 calories each day.

    —The amounts for total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium are maximum amounts. That means you should try to stay below the amounts listed.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    California Comfort w/ Elegance

    I've been an advocate of many wines, however California wines have been the toughest sell for me until now.  Faustini has brought a new warmth in my heart when it comes to fine wines.

    A particular one that caught me off card was the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon.  The layering of dark fruits with highlights of black cherry, ripe blackberry, plum, dark chocolate & caramelized oak flavors was decadent.

    The mixture consists of:

                    88% Cabernet Sauvignon
                      7% Malbec
                      3% Petit Verdot
                      2% Merlot

    Aging was 22 months new French Oak.

    This full bodied red was an excellent pairing to several of my favorites.  Simply enjoyable with my favorite cheeses.

    I also found this a wonderful compliment to a cookout with one of my favorite menu items from Rastelli Direct.  BBQ season is upon us and I could not wait to enjoy a Kiva Sun Burger fresh off the grill.  Sitting outside on the deck with a full bodied red, a Kiva Sun Gourmet Burger and a beautiful sundown was a great way to end a busy day with simplicity and elegance.

    You can step it up and pair this with a rack of lamb or your favorite pasta dish.  It's all about how you want to spend the evening.  Rastelli takes the aggravation out of shopping by sending high quality foods to your door and puts a 5-Star meal on your table.  The comfort of being home to enjoy time with family or evening a quiet evening to myself is most appealing.  

     Elegant Dining or Comfort food