Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What a Crock

We all have one of these, right?  Received it as a gift, stored it away and it collected dust...  Most people think a crock pot is mostly used for roasts, chili, soups or gravies, but after conversing with many people I've seen it can be used on a larger scale.. In fact, the infamous crock pot can be used to create fine dining dishes while you work, play or just simply enjoy your day!

I decided to go on a quest to not only reduce my kitchen time but to create my favorite meals that I normally enjoy out or require a little more attention when cooking.

Into the attic and basement I went to find that crock pot and brush off the cob webs and see what I could create!  Ok, found the crock pot... Check... Next I picked out one of my favorite meals I enjoy when dining out... Chicken Marsala...  Hmmm... No way can you do this in a crock pot, right?  Wrong..... Found a recipe and it was delicious!!  About ten minutes prep time and a wonderful Marsala appeared!  Curious to see how to make it?

Crock Pot Chicken Marsala

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 boneless Poulet Rouge skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 jars (6 oz each) Green Giant® sliced mushrooms, drained (I use fresh, sliced mushrooms)
2 cup sweet Marsala wine or Progresso® chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup cornstarch
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

• 1. Spray 4- to 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In cooker, place garlic and oil. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper; place in cooker over garlic. Place mushrooms over chicken; pour wine over all.
• 2. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 5 to 6 hours.
• 3. Remove chicken from cooker; place on plate and cover to keep warm. In small bowl, mix water and cornstarch until smooth; stir into liquid in cooker. Increase heat setting to High; cover and cook about 10 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened.
• 4. Return chicken to cooker. Cover; cook on High heat setting 5 minutes longer or until chicken is hot.
• 5. To serve, spoon mushroom mixture over chicken breasts; sprinkle with parsley.
Serve on a bed of brown/white rice with a green salad.
Make sure to use sweet Marsala wine. Dry Marsala makes this dish taste too acidic.

It's that simple to have a gourmet quality meal ready for you when you get home!  

And make sure you have chilling all day a nice bottle of Domodimonti LiCoste from the region of Marche, Italy which will go perfectly with this dish...

About LiCoste:

Offida, White, Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC)
Grape varieties
Golden honey yellow.
Elegant notes of flowers, hazelnut and mature fruits like bananas and peaches.
Pecorino is a dry and fragrant wine with flavors of gooseberry, lychee and tangerine. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Headed for the Outback, Mate

When I said headed for the Outback, I didn't mean out to eat....I was thinking more like, Australia.  A destination from my bucket list...  For the time being I brought the Outback to our house.

Looking into where in Australia I want to go I came upon Gawler River just west of the major wine producing district of the Barossa Valley.  Intrigued because I so enjoy wine (as you can tell from my blog) I wanted to find a great new Australian wine.
The town of Gawler is abundant with beautiful bed and breakfasts with lush courtyards and peaceful surroundings.  There is a restaurant for whatever your taste desires, from Italian to Thai.  If you just want to relax with a cup of joe you'll find a cafe a short step away.  

After getting wrapped up in all the photos and beauty of Australia I had to get back to the task at hand, Where's the wine? It just so happened we had the pleasure of meeting someone from Australia who introduced us to Wild Fox Wines.  I expected to hear they were like the other Aussie wines I've had.  I was surprised that they weren't.  Wild Fox is certified organic!  (keep telling me more) Their vineyard is true to the best biodynamic and organic farming practices producing award winning wines.....  My other find was in the story of Wild Fox Wines and where it all began.... It began 70 years ago in a village known as Agrelopo on the historic island of Chios, Greece (yes I said Greece).  This is where they farmed in tune with the cycles of the moon and sun, coaxing the seasons, to achieve the ultimate nutrition in their produce from the soil, rain and sun.  

Wild Fox also enjoys the status as one of the states longest certified and premium organic vineyards.  Their vineyard has been organic since 1998 and is A Grade Certified in organics and biodynamics with the Biological Farmers of Australia.  What better can you ask for than that, besides taste.... Wild Fox Wines are also preservative free, making it possible for the most sensitive to indulge...

The other evening we opened a bottle of 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, chilled to perfection.  It was pale and clear with a wonderful fruit intensity abundant with fresh fruit up front leaving a crisp limey after taste with a long and clean finishing.
I served this wine along side brazilian lobster tails and pasta with light oil, garlic, lemon and butter sauce.  Just a hint of crushed red pepper was added to the dish.  The wine added just the right finishing touch accenting the lemon and cooling the pepper.

Add a little flare to your meals by adding a wine from one of your favorite destinations. Look forward to getting home and take yourself to destination unknown with each meal and fine wine.