“Call up a couple of friends that share your love of wine and invite them over. Tell them that you have been waiting to open these bottles and that you couldn’t think of anyone that you’d rather share them with. Fine wine, like life, is meant to be enjoyed.” Loosely quoted from Matt Kramer, Wine Spectator, April 30, 2012.
Our friends Dan, Teri, Tom and Kathy joined us for our monthly Wine Time gathering.
This month found us tasting a Ridge Winery Chardonnay from the Santa Cruz Mountains in California and a Le Vieux Donjon red from the southern Rhone Valley in France.
As always, our Wine Time gathering brings with it a sampling of new appetizers and snack ideas. Let’s take a look.
Kathy brought these great Zucchini Tomato Bites. They travel well, as she arrived with them on a baking sheet, assembled and oven ready. Popping with color, zesty and fresh in flavor and savory with Gorgonzola and Parmesan, these certainly didn’t last long. And did they pair well with the vibrant finesse of this big California Chardonnay…YES.
- 5 medium zucchini about 6 inches long
- 4 ounces Gorganzola crumbled
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes thinly sliced
Cut zucchini into 3/4-in. slices. Using a melon baller or small spoon, scoop out the insides and discard, leaving the bottom intact. Place zucchini on an ungreased baking sheet; spoon 1/2 teaspoon crumbled blue cheese into each.
Combine Parmesan cheese, basil and pepper; sprinkle half over blue cheese. Top each with a tomato slice; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan mixture.
Bake at 400° for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve warm. Yield: 35 appetizers.
A toast to Kathy for that one.
For the Red Wine, I decided on a low-brow appetizer to pair with a high-brow wine. An assortment of grilled cheese sandwich bites. The group favorite was a combination Buffalo wing sauce, chicken, Maytag blue cheese and pepper jack cheese. Thank you Ina Garten for that one. Just take cooked chicken breast, shred and mix with Buffalo Wing Hot sauce. To assemble, place chicken on bread, top with crumbled blue cheese and a slice of pepper jack cheese. YUM! Big time. Grilled cheese combinations that I threw together that require no instructions are:
- Caramelized Onion and Monterey Jack
- Arugula with Jarlsberg
- Mozzarella with basil and sliced tomatoes (Kathy why didn’t you tell me I probably should have sprinkled with balsamic vinegar?…next time)
Cooking several sandwiches side by side on a griddle easily serves a small crowd. When they’re golden, just cut them into fourths and arrange on a serving tray and you’ve got yourself some easy little appetizer bites. And aren’t the combinations endless? A toast to that. And did they pair well with the big red French wine? Probably not but who cares.
Also on the table were crackers and cheese, dry-cured Italian sausage with marshmallow creme sauce and our traditions, Cheetos and Little Smoky sausages with mustard and BBQ sauce for dipping.
And I’ll leave you with an American still life shot that’s full of character and charm, just like the person who created it. Dan’s appetizer plate.
Wine Time…It’s What’s for Sharing with Friends.