Category Archives: recipes

The Dregs: Chicken, Potato, Leek Soup

Chicken, Potato, Leek Soup
1.5 lbs Leeks (diced tender greens only)
5 cups chicken stock
3 Medium Potatoes cubed
1 small onion diced
4 boneless chicken thighs
Handful of fresh tarragon coarsely chopped
1 cup of white wine (cheap TJ’s Honeymoon works great!!)
Olive oil
1/6 cup heavy cream
3 garlic cloves peeled

1. Heat pan on high with olive oil
2. Brown chicken thighs
3. Take out thighs and set aside
4. Place leeks, garlic, and onion in pan
5. Add potatoes once leeks wilted
6. Pour in white wine
7. Sauté for few minutes
8. Pour in chicken stock and simmer until potatoes tender and soft
9. Dice chicken and add
9. Add in tarragon and heavy cream
10. Serve with crust bread

The Dregs: Mark Bittman’s Red Wine Olive Oil Cookies


Mark Bittman, I like your style. When I read this recipe initially I had to admit it seemed a little too much of the savory side to be called a cookie. The ingredients could easily serve as a base for a fantastic italian meal, which is what makes these cookies so special. I was skeptical, but being a Bittman devotee I decided to trust the man. First off when you make them the wine turns the dough into this lovely shade of lavender and with rosemary it creates a wonderfully sniffable baking experience. What’s more its a fast easy recipe that involves ingredients that most people have already and its almost impossible to screw up. For the red I used good old two buck Chuck cabernet from Trader Joe’s. The cookies came out a little more on the cakey side/crackery with a savory subtle flavor to them behind a small twinge of sweetness. I liken them to a sweet pizza dough but less chewy. Not entirely sure if that is at all appealing or enticing, but they are good. Trust the Bittman! They could be eaten with the standard milk or enjoyed with a great white wine or a sweeter red (Lambrusco me thinks!).

Other combinations that might work instead of the rosemary, pepper, and red wine are: lavender and viognier, sage and chardonnay, limoncello and rosemary/thyme

Olive Oil Cookies

Yield About 4 dozen cookies

Time 30 minutes

Mark Bittman

The New York Times


You need not use your best olive oil for these cookies, but extra-virgin olive oil will make them more interesting than “pure” or “light” olive oil.

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus a little for cookie sheet
  • 3/4 cup , or a little more, dry red wine
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs with the olive oil and wine. Use a rubber spatula to stir the liquid mix into the dry one, just until well combined; if the mixture is stiff, add a little more wine.
  • 2. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet and back 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool a couple of minutes, then remove the cookies to a rack to cool further.


That’s right I have a silpat! With that in hand nothing can stop me now.

The Dregs: Sirloin Steak with Red Wine Sauce


MMMM…Love those grill marks!

I couldn’t wait to use my new cast iron grill. So I found this simple recipe for steak with red wine sauce. The grill came preseasoned, heated evenly, and made great grill marks. The steaks came out just the right amount of pink and the red wine sauce didn’t hurt either. 😉 I used an old $6 Cabernet Sauvignon that was opened a while back and really didn’t have much to it. However, it definitely had more flavor in sauce form.

Steak with Red Wine Sauce

2- 1 1/2 lb steaks
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup of red wine
1 cup of beef broth (or one beef boullion cube in 1 cup of hot water)
1 medium onion minced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon of butter

1. Place steaks with olive oil, salt, and pepper in 1 gallon bag. Let marinate for a few minutes to hours
2. Heat medium sauce pan. Add onions and garlic, saute on medium heat until caramelized.
3. Add red wine to onions and garlic, reduce until wine just covers onions.
4. Add beef broth, reduce and let simmer while cooking steaks.
5. Heat up grill on medium high heat. Grill each side for approximately 7-10 minutes for medium doneness.
6. Let steaks rest for a few minutes with a tent of foil
7. Add butter to hot red wine sauce, let melt.
8. Pour sauce over steak and serve up…mmmmm.

The Dregs: Rosé Wine Apricot Clafoutis


Inspired by my favorite celebrity chef Mark Bittman’s recent New York Time’s video on clafoutis. I decided to create my own version of this easy French dessert. I had a lot of left over dried apricots thanks to a Costco impulse buy and decided to reconstitute these super sweet fruits with a little rosé wine to bring back the tartness that seems to go so well with a clafloutis. Most claflouti recipes are made with either plums, berries, apples, pears, or cherries, nice fresh tart summer fruits. But I REALLY had a hankering for some after watching this video and being short of clementines at the moment, decided fruit soaked in wine is never a bad option. I chose a rosé since I have had the combination of rose and apricots before and its delicious. Plus I like the added color it gives to the dried apricots. I bet this would taste equally good if made with a fruity floral white, like chenin blanc or viognier, or even a rich dessert wine like sauternes or icewein. Sometimes I am reluctant to cook with the latter though since those bottles tend to get more pricey.

Biltmore Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc de Noir 2006- $11
I bought this bottle on the estate a little over a year ago. They have a surprisingly good array of wines. This particular buy is a really nice fruity refreshing rosé, and went well with the sweet tart apricots. Very floral on the nose, I would not hesitate to drink this with any dessert.

Other suggestions for this recipe that are more widely available are: Sutter Home’s White Zinfandel and Barefoot Winery’s White Zinfandel. Both are very fruity, the latter having a nice burnt sugar caramel finish. The best part is that they are both cheap so “sacrificing” a cup or two for baking is not such a loss.

Rosé Wine Apricot Clafoutis
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s Clementine Clafoutis recipe

Butter for greasing
1/2 cup flour, more for dusting pan
3 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Pinch salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
1 cup dried apricots
1 1/2 cup of rosé wine
Powdered sugar (optional)

1. Soak apricots in wine, just covering most of them, for 24 hours in a container with plastic wrap or a lid. They will plump up a little and become soft. A lot of liquid should be absorbed and most of the apricots will not be submerged.


2. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a gratin dish, about 9 by 5 by 2 inches, or a 10-inch round deep pie plate or porcelain dish, by smearing it with butter, just a teaspoon or so. Dust it with flour, rotating pan so flour sticks to all the butter; invert dish to get rid of excess.

3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs until frothy. Add granulated sugar and salt and whisk until combined. Add cream and milk and whisk until smooth. Add 1/2 cup flour and stir just to combine.

4. Place apricots (without remaining liquids) in dish. Pour batter over fruit. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until clafoutis is nicely browned on top and center is not too jiggly when you shake the dish. Mark Bittman suggests to test to see if a knife comes clean, but I found this works just as well and doesn’t ruin the nice perfect finish. 😉 Sift some powdered sugar over it and serve warm or at room temperature. Best eaten right away, but can be microwaved next day.


The Dregs: Kasteel Bier Bread Pudding


Although my counterpart does not believe that a bottle should be left unmanned until empty (Peishan has a strict No Booze Left Behind policy), I often find my fridge occupied by opened unempty bottles that tend to linger. Alas, my fridge door as well as the distant cold reaches of the back of the fridge has become alcohol limbo, where bottles are not quite empty enough to toss, but grow too old to drink. So I’ve decided to cook away one by one my forgotten bottles. To finish off an old bottle of sweet brown beer, I made a rich bread pudding that tasted a little bit of beer and with the nutmeg it had a great eggnog quality to it. Mmmmm….tasty, one bottle down…


Leftover Beer Bread Pudding

4 eggs

8-10 slices of bread (enough to soak up the wet ingredients)

1 pint of half and half

1/2-2/3 cup of brown beer (or any other dark sweeter beer, Young’s Chocolate Stout, Milk Stouts)

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1/4 cup of white sugar (you can add a little less if beer is really sweet)

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Combine wet ingredients


2. Cut up bread into inch cubes/squares

3. Mix wet mixture with bread crumbs

4. Pour into baking dish (13×8″ pan, 2 quart souffle, whatever fits…I used three oven proof pots)


5. Bake until firm in the middle and the fork comes out clean at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes

Holiday Drink: Hot Buttered Rum

I finally tried hot buttered rum, after THREE unsuccessful attempts. I guess the weather’s finally turned cold enough to convince the bartenders at Duke of Perth that it will likely stay that way, and thus they have finally busted out their works for the highly anticipated hot buttered rum.

Yes, yes, the ingredients call for butter. And yes, yes, it’s quite a bit of butter to down in one sitting. But oh my, what a difference it made. The creamy concoction was thick and smooth, and slid down my throat, instantly warming up my tummy. It’ll taste so good drizzled on – or better yet, with – a fresh and hot apple pie. Try it, you’ll fall in love with it, like I did, like Yeming did (she who was initially horrified by the amount of butter). 😉

Here’s the recipe as provided by Foodnetwork:

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch salt
Bottle dark rum
Boiling water

In a bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Refrigerate until almost firm. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture into 12 small mugs. Pour about 3 ounces of rum into each mug (filling about halfway). Top with boiling water (to fill the remaining half), stir well, and serve immediately


Wine Pairings from a Novice

I hosted October’s Dead Grapes Society Meeting and decided to concentrate on pairings. It was definitely a challenge deciding what recipes would bring out the flavors of each type of wine not to mention could be prepared in a reasonable time frame. So I decided to go with a wide variety of flavors to try and cover all our bases.


Here is our menu with pictures, recipes, and tasting notes to follow


Blue Cheese
Port Salut
Brie (Double Cream)
Polder Blanc Goat Gouda
Raspberry Jam to complement


Polenta Fritters seasoned with red pepper flakes, oregano, and parmesan
Mini Beef Wellingtons
Bacon Wrapped Dates with Parmesan Cheese
Chicken Kebabs with Red Peppers, Onions, Crimini Mushrooms, and Bacon Wrapped Prunes




Dark Lindt Thins 85% Cocoa
Bittersweet with Nouguat 72% Cocoa
Milka Milk Chocolate 50% Cocoa
Milka White Chocolate 0% Cocoa


Fruit and Nuts
Fresh Fruit- Pears, Bananas, Honey Crisp Apples, Cantalope, Strawberries
Dried Fruit- Dates, Prunes, Apricots, Cranberries
Honey Roasted Almonds

Cream puffs with Bittersweet Chocolate Whisky and Cherry Liquor Sauce and Homemade Caramel Sauce


I gathered most of these off the net with some minor adjustments.

Mini Beef Wellingtons
1 Steak cut into rough 3/4 inch cubes
Chilled Refridgerator Crescent Dough (makes four per crescent, wraps 48 cubes per tube)
Boursin Cheese

1. Quarter a piece of crescent dough
2. Place a 1/4 teaspoon dollop of boursin cheese in center
3. Place a cube of steak into the center a wrap dough around it, try to fuse all the seams
4. Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown
Can be made ahead and frozen, bake straight from the freezer, no need to thaw.

Bacon Wrapped Dates
Seeded Dried Dates
Parmesan (not grated)
Bacon Strips

1. Cut parmesian into match stick pieces
2. Place cheese into date
3. Wrap with bacon (1/3 of a strip will do it)
4. Secure with toothpick and bake at 400 degrees, turn after 10 minutes, bake until bacon is browned

Chicken Skewers
Red Peppers
Chicken thighs cubed
White Onions
Italian Seasoning
Bamboo Skewers

1. Chop onions, red peppers, chicken and mushrooms into bite size pieces
2. Wrap prunes with bacon (1/3 strip)
3. Skewer each alternating
4. Dust with italian seasoning
5. Place on baking tray
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, until bacon is browned and chicken well done


Chateau de Beauregard-Ducourt 2005 (80% Merlot/ 20% Cab)-$13– beef wellington, bacon dates, dark and bittersweet chocolate, port salut, brie, chocolate covered fruit
Despite being decanted for 1+ hour, the majority of us felt that this was a harsh minerally bordeaux that definitely needed food to take away from its chalky finish. It was noted that it brought out the meatiness of the beef wellington and paired particularly well with the bacon dates. The tannins in this pour definitely calls for a rich dish to cut through.

Domaine des Chazelles Vire-Clesse 2005 White Burgundy-$17– chicken, polenta, goat cheese, port salut, brie,
This was one of the favorites of the night. It had a savoriness to it that was described as cheesy and rich flavor. The polenta and goat cheese went particularly well with it as well as the chicken kabobs. Mellow and deep, this white burgundy paired easily with a wide variety of foods.

Domaine des Gatilles Chiroubles Cru du Beaujolais 2004-$13– bacon dates, strawberries, raspberries, port salut, brie, dark, bittersweet chocolate
This wine paired beautifully with strawberries and on the savory end the beef wellingtons. It was very fruity and light, a very drinkable wine although not very distinctive.

Les Tours d’ Amelie Viognier 2005-$12– chicken, polenta, bittersweet, milk chocolate, blue cheese, goat cheese, dried apricots, dates
Crisp and tart, this viognier went well with fruit, particularly cantalope, pears, and dried apricots. The blue cheese and chicken went well with it too. Most felt that it was high in acidity and was complex. More on the mineral side of the spectrum and less floral, this pour showed good depth of flavor. On the nose it was surprisingly savory reminiscent of aged cheese, but on tasting had the characteristic crispness of viognier. This was definitely another favorite of the night.

d’Arenberg Vintage Fortified Shiraz Port 2002-$30– milk chocolate, caramel, white chocolate, fruit, brie, cream puffs, almonds, dried fruit, chocolate covered fruit
Although described as being part of the tawny spectrum of ports by the wine sellars, we felt that this definitely hovered towards the ruby style of ports. There wasn’t the sense of caramel or raisin notes that you would find in tawnies. However, the more caramel toasted nature came out with honey roasted almonds, and it paired wonderfully with chocolate. Notes of chocolate were found by most everyone in our group. Things to avoid were lighter sweet fruits like strawberries that brought out the berry quality of this port and made it border on cough syrup.

Chateau Huradin Ceron Sauternes 1999-$20– white chocolate, blue cheese, cream puffs, almonds, dried fruit, caramel, pears
Golden yellow in the bottle, this Sauternes was rich and sweet, some felt however that it lacked much depth or flavor. Although for the price and for the concentrated sweetness, its not bad for a Sauternes. This particular year is supposedly one of the better ones for the vineyard in terms of forming the nobel rot. However, most of the group felt it fell flat on its own. However, it paired well with blue cheese, cream puffs, caramel, and fruit. The food brought out interesting notes of apricots and burnt sugar.