Wine Tasting with James Callahan of Rune Wines

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James Callahan & Oren Molovinsky

I always enjoy wine tastings paired with good food. Tonight’s event was at Farmboy in Chandler. It was a reception-style evening that hosted James Callahan of Rune wines and was paired with Hors D’oeuvres from Chef Dennis Bagnasco. I just recently visited Farmboy for the first time for lunch a couple of weeks ago. Rune Wines (Rune means a mark or letter of mysterious or magical significance) was founded by Arizona native James Callahan in 2013 and is located in Sonoita – the heart of southern Arizona wine country. Tonight we got to sample four of his Arizona wines that were paired with samples of locally sourced cheeses, meats, and vegetables. Farmboy is all about using and highlighting local Arizona ingredients and was the perfect place to host this event. Both Oren Molovinsky of Farmboy (who owns Molovin Farm in South Chandler, AZ) and James Callahan of Rune wines were on hand to talk about their lasted endeavors.

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Rune Wines

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Smoked Chicken, Goat Cheese & Grilled Tenderloin

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Smoked Chicken

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Flourless Chocolate Cake & Rune Wild Syrah

Our first wine was the Rune 2015 Viogner paired with goat cheese and a rice cracker. Our second pairing was the Rune 2016 Rosé paired with a smoked chicken breast with arugula and topped with a aioli. Their third pairing was the Rune 2015 Grenache paired with a Mesquite grilled tenderloin with mushrooms. And the final pairing was the Rune 2015 Wild Syrah paired with a flourless chocolate cake topped with a raspberry. I really love the artwork on the wines and the story on the back of the bottles. The food was delicious and paired nicely with the wine samples. My favorite was the Wild Syrah – Rune’s flagship wine. Tonight was an enjoyable evening of meeting new people and supporting local businesses.

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Christmas Party

MYA Christmas Party 2012

I love Christmas parties. It’s fun to see everyone get dressed up and celebrate the holidays together. I am blessed to be a part of a wonderful group of friends that I get to do life with and grow in my relationship with God with. We had a white elephant gift exchange and lots of great food. What a great night of fellowship!

Swedish Christmas Julbord

DSC04701Smörgåsbord is a type of Scandinavian meal served buffet-style with multiple cold dishes of various foods on a table, originating in Sweden. A julbord is a standard Christmas dinner in Sweden. I’m half Swedish and tonight I tried my first Christmas julbord at IKEA. We tried herring, poached salmon, hard-boiled eggs with shrimp, meatballs, lingonberries, ham potatoes with dill, rice pudding and assorted cheeses and desserts. It was all very interesting and I’m glad I had a chance to try something new.

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IKEA Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thanksgiving

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I love cooking on Thanksgiving. I’ll have the Macy’s parade on in the background followed by some football games while I cook. It’s fun to plan and organize all the ingredients and what to cook first so that everything comes out hot. I just love how cheap all the food is at this time of year. Best advice I heard is to take your list of sides and cut it in half (I have a tendency to make too much). This year I had the honor to cook for several people without family, so I bought an almost 25 lbs turkey. This year I brined my turkey with a killer blend from World Market. Some of the sides I made were a green bean casserole, sausage stuffing, deviled eggs and pumpkin pie. I’m thankful my turkey came out great!

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We had over fifty people show up for our Thanksgiving dinner. It was a blessing to serve them and eat and fellowship with them. I saddens me that Thanksgiving gets overlooked because it is such a wonderful holiday. I love spending time with friends and family in community over food.

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Still a classic….

DSC04663I like to Black Friday shop just as much as anyone, but it belongs on Friday…

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Halloween

I had a blast hanging out with my son on Halloween. I was a pirate and he was some sort of a dark Jedi (I think… haha). Anyway.. we cruised around town and then stopped by our friends the Durben’s. Their neighborhood is full of activity as kids all over the place go trick or treating. It’s was a chance for us to bless the community as we gave out a ton of candy. We also had a fun time together eating good food and enjoying each other’s company.

Lentil Soup

  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 cup sliced carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons instant chicken bouillon granules
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage, crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 pound fully cooked smoked sausage links, sliced diagonally
  • Snipped fresh parsley

Rinse and drain lentils. In a large saucepan of Dutch oven combine lentils, water, green pepper, carrot, onion, bouillon granules, sage, ground red pepper, and garlic. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 30 minute or till vegetables and lentils are tender. Stir in sausage and heat through. If desired, garnish each serving with parsley. Makes 4 servings.

* – from Soups & Stews by C. Holcomb

I made this soup for a potluck – fun night!

Labor Day

For me Labor Day is my prelude to Fall. I know in a few weeks, the weather starts to cool (if you call below 100 degrees cool in AZ), Pumpkin spice lattes start rolling out and the leaves sort of change. But most of all, I get to bust out my hoodie and beanie. I got to go to a few fun Labor Day parties and eat some great food to start off the count down to Fall.

 

Dinner Party inspired by some of my favorite chefs

It was my turn to host my missional community from church. I love hosting dinner parties and I thought I’d look up a couple of recipes from some chefs that have inspired my cooking over the years. I made chicken parmesan with steamed asparagus and garlic bread. I also made a cherry clafouti and zucchini bread for dessert. Everything turned out great (aside from slicing my finger and getting stitches) and I ended up having 12 people over.

This is a simple marinara recipe I like to use from Giada De Laurentiis’ book. It’s cool because you can use it as it is or add other ingredients to make other types of sauces like vodka sauce. I used it for my chicken parmesan.

Directions

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 small onions, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

2 dried bay leaves

In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)

For Julia Child’s 100th birthday celebration this week, I thought I tackle one of her French desserts. This is her Cherry Clafouti recipe.

Ingredients

    1. 1 1/4 cups milk
    2. 2/3 cup sugar, divided
    3. 3 eggs
    4. 1 tablespoon vanilla
    5. 1/8 teaspoon salt
    6. 1/2 cup flour
    7. 3 cups cherries, pitted
    8. powdered sugar, for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Using a blender, combine the milk, 1/3 cup sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour, and blend.
  3. Lightly butter an 8-cup baking dish, and pour a 1/4-inch layer of the blended mixture over the bottom. Set remaining batter aside.
  4. Place dish into the oven for about 7-10 minutes, until a film of batter sets in the pan but the mixture is not baked through. Remove from oven (but don’t turn the oven off, yet).
  5. Distribute the pitted cherries over the set batter in the pan, then sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Pour the remaining batter over the cherries and sugar.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until the clafouti is puffed and brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm.
  8. Servings: 6-8 for dessert, 4 for breakfast.