Grilled Shrimp and Noodle Salad

Perfect for a weeknight dinner, this fast and zesty Thai-inspired dish features grilled shrimp and Spring vegetables.

Serves 4

Grilled Shrimp and Noodle SaladIngredients:

14 ounces flat rice noodles
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 to 2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
1 pound medium-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 medium bunch asparagus, trimmed
5 ounces shiitake mushrooms, trimmed
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/2 cup fresh cilantro

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook as the label directs; drain and rinse with cold water.

Meanwhile, whisk the lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, garlic, chili sauce and 1/3 cup water in a medium bowl. Transfer 1/4 cup of the marinade to another bowl and toss with the shrimp. Toss another 1/4 cup marinade with the asparagus and mushrooms in a third bowl. Let the shrimp and vegetables marinate 10 minutes at room temperature. Toss the noodles with the remaining marinade.

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. Grill the shrimp, asparagus and mushrooms until the shrimp is just cooked through and the asparagus is slightly tender, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Halve the mushrooms and cut the asparagus into pieces.

Divide the noodles among bowls and top with the shrimp, asparagus, mushrooms, carrot and cilantro.

Recipe and photo from: www.foodnetwork.com

What’s New in Italian Wine?

Tuscany - San GimignanoItalian wine often gets overlooked with the proliferation of New World wines invading the market, but Italy continues to be a source of new and interesting wines.  Although much of what is new in Italian wine stems from recent releases rather than new wineries, there is no shortage of the latter.  And many first time Italian wines to our shores may indeed issue from centuries old wineries.  After all, what are a few centuries to Italy?

Most intriguing to me from Tuscany are the 2012 Rosso di Montalcino and 2010 Brunello di Montalcino wines from Le Potazzine Gorelli, both of which are a home run.

Equally compelling are the organic wines from newcomer Monterotondo.  Monterotondo’s 2010 Chianti Classico Riserva positively sings from the glass.  It invokes the fecundity, purity and everlasting charm of Tuscany.

Not to be outdone, Alesandro Sderci’s Il Palazzino Chianti Classico estate has recently released the family’s outstanding 2010 Chianti Classicos.  Sderci also introduced Bertinga, an elegant Tuscan Cabernet blend, to the U.S. for the first time with the 2008 vintage.

Lest we think southern Italy the neglected step child, there are plenty of exciting wines flowing from the fabled Amalfi Coast as well as the hinterlands of Campania and points south.  Benito Ferrara, Caggiano, and Colli di Lapio make some of the best red and white wines in southern Italy.  Colli di Lapio’s outstanding 2013 Fiano di Avellino and 2010 Taurasi Vigna Andrea might be the two best white and red Campanian wines to start and finish a meal, though every wine from the diminutive Colli di Lapio estate merits seeking out.  White and red wines from Benito Ferrara and Caggiano stand out as well.

Don

Don’s April Collector Series Top Pick

fore-family-vineyards-carneros-pinot-noir-2009April’s Collector Series Top Pick belongs to an up-and-coming boutique California producer, Fore Family Vineyards.  The 2009 Fore Family Vineyard Napa Carneros Pinot Noir is a mere 208-case production and a true family affair.  I am tough on Pinots and rather particular about the ones I drink. With that said, the graceful, mouth-filling 2009 Fore Family Vineyards Carneros Napa Pinot Noir captures the essence of what draws people to Pinot Noir – elegance, complexity, and flavor.  For this reason, Fore Family Vineyards’ 2009 Pinot Napa Carneros shines and earns this month’s Top Pick.  Enjoy!

Don

Don’s April Premier Series Top Pick

donati-family-vineyard-paicines-claret-2012I really enjoy drinking good Bordeaux and the growing number of delicious Claret/Meritage offerings coming out of California. Claret, the English term for Bordeaux (an enviable union of Cabernet, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, etc.), and Meritage, California’s more familiar name for Claret, always seem to offer more in the way of balance and complexity than straight varietal offerings from any single grape, and often at a more conducive price. Add the blessings of two great vintages and this month’s Top Pick becomes a toss-up. Donati’s 2012 Claret might be the best value in California Claret or Meritage on the market, as it offers plenty of delicious fruit along with excellent purity, body, and balance. At the same time, the 2010 Château Barreyre makes many overpriced, big-name Bordeaux seem wimpy and under-endowed. At 15% alcohol, it over-delivers and proves to be a crowd pleaser. Given its size and structure, the 2010 Château Barreyre is likely to continue to evolve. So, what’s this month’s Top Pick? I opt for the 2012 Donati Claret as this month’s Top Pick for immediate consumption, but you can be sure I will be stashing away the 2010 Château Barreyre for drinking later this year and next. In the interim, don’t miss this month’s exceptional white wines – Morgadio Albariño Rias Biaxas and Tamellini Soave – two of the very best wines from their respective appellations.

Don

Celebrating Malbec World Day

Manos-Negra-Malbec-DayToday is Malbec World Day and after searching my wine stash for a Malbec, I was surprised that I didn’t have a single bottle of Malbec. All I found was a Meritage from California, that included Malbec grapes in the blend and several Bordeaux blends from France that also included Malbec grapes. With no Malbecs to celebrate with, I had to go out at lunch and pick up a couple of bottles, one for drinking today and the other for my wine stash.

Argentina produces 70% of the world’s Malbec grapes and the hilly northwest region of Mendoza is perfect for growing Malbec grapes. I love a good Malbec from this region so today, I am drinking a 2010 Manos Negras Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina.

Cheers,
Kristina