The Best Smoky Baba Ganoush

The best smoky Baba Ganoush starts with charred eggplant – the trick is to put it directly on the coals of the barbecue. If you’re firing up the barbecue anyway, you might as well give this recipe a try. The eggplants can char while you’re enjoying whatever has already been cooked. This recipe is probably easier than you think – and it pairs great with wine!

Recipe

2 Italian eggplants
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup tahini
1/4 teaspoon salt
Paprika
Extra virgin olive oil

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Easy and Elegant Crab Salad Recipe with Wine Pairing

In an effort to elevate our staycation, we have upped our dinner game with this crab salad recipe and wine. If you want to treat yourself, this is the way to do it!

When we know that crab will grace our table in the forthcoming weekend, it is the eagerly anticipated highlight of our week. After all, if there’s one food that makes us feel special, it’s crab. At roughly $40 a pound give or take, it’s not cheap. Consequently, it’s not a seafood that we feast on regularly. Since these aren’t normal times, it’s something we now splurge on a couple of times a month. Mind you, the portions are small. However, that keeps us eagerly awaiting the next crab dinner.

The hubby is not a mayo fan, so I add just a touch to give the crab salad that rich textural element, then complement it with yogurt for some tang and mustard for a flavor boost.

Crab Salad Recipe

Serves 2

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Hold the Mayo Tuna Salad with Wine for Dinner

Do you have canned tuna in your pantry? On a warm summer’s night it can become an easy yet elegant dinner as part of a composed salad. Simply start with this basic recipe for a no mayo tuna salad. Then serve it alongside a platter of beautifully arranged seasonal produce (read on for suggestions). Oh, and don’t forget the wine!

Tuna salad conjures up a lot of different images. To be clear, this is not the mayo laden version of my American childhood. Truthfully, that one was actually loaded with Miracle Whip then sandwiched between two squishy slices of white bread. It wasn’t a personal favorite. Years later when I encountered my first south of France version of tuna salade niçoise, it was a game changer. Now, some interpretation of that salad is regularly on our dinner table throughout the summer.

Since our neighborhood farmers market was cancelled this year, I’ve arranged for a weekly delivery of fresh produce. As the contents of the box changes, so does the salad. Use whatever sounds good to you!

No Mayo Tuna Salad Recipe

Serves 2

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Easy Tomato Salad on Herbed Yogurt

It wouldn’t be summer without a dinner featuring heirloom tomato salad on a bed of creamy yogurt. Of course, it is best served while dining outside along with a bottle of wine! Read more for this quick and easy recipe and wine pairing.

The cookbook, Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi as well as his many books that followed have provided much inspiration in my kitchen. Often, yogurt plays a role in the recipes. Here that ingredient shows up as a creamy, flavorful bed upon which the season’s tomatoes rest.

Tomato Salad on a Bed of Creamy Yogurt

Serves 1-2

Start with the yogurt mixture and combine:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt – I favor whole milk cream top style
  • 1 tablespoon mint, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dill, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

Toss together:

  • 1-2 tomatoes, sliced or quartered
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • A pinch of salt

Spread the yogurt mixture on a plate or shallow bowl. Top with the tomatoes and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Served with bread alongside, it feeds two of us as a light meal. Or, it can make a satisfying lunch for one.

Variations

If, like me, you’re still trying to minimize trips to the grocery store and rely on what’s in the pantry, feel free to make substitutions. Use whatever yogurt you stock in the fridge. No mint or dill? That’s okay, parsley works fine, too. Or add some ground cumin. If you don’t have sherry vinegar, use lemon juice. Want a more substantial salad? Add chickpeas and diced cucumber. You get the idea!

Wine Pairing

There are a number of wine options that pair well with such patio fare. Generally, I turn to juicy white wines that have a savory characteristic to complement this dish. For that reason, Grenache Blanc and Grüner Veltliner are at the top of my list. Additionally, Picpoul is a lip smacking favorite. Or, if you want to stick with something a little more classic, seek out Sauvignon Blanc.

Below are some of my favorite Washington State producers of these exciting varieties. All of them are small, boutique operations where family plays a role. Plus, they’re making fantastic, lively, food friendly wines. Shipping specials are also regularly offered these days (ground shipping was included with my recent order from Cairdeas AND the wine arrived the next day), so check out what’s available!

Cairdeas Winery

Callan Cellars

Devison Vintners

Syncline Wine Cellars

W.T. Vintners

Are you hungry for more salad and wine pairings? Try my Lentil Salad Recipe.

Lentil Salad Recipe and Wine Pairing

 

Easy Comfort Foods and Wine Pairings

Who’s ready for some more comfort food? Pasta and pizza have been heavy in the rotation lately. Now, I’m eagerly incorporating other options that require minimal prep. After all, it’s a little challenging mustering up the energy to cook a gourmet feast for two every single night. Here are some of my go to easy comfort foods that taste fantastic, and pair well with wine.

Any of these are terrific appetizer options. As the weather heats up, however, it’s very tempting to assemble an assortment of these dishes together as a grazing board and call it dinner.

Truffled Cannellini Bean Dip

1 can unsalted Cannelini Beans
1 1/2 teaspoons truffle salt
2 Tablespoons truffle oil

Throw it all in a food processor and whir it up until smooth. Transfer to bowl and top with an additional drizzle of truffle oil if desired. Serve with toasted bread, crackers, or sliced vegetables such as celery, cucumber, or fennel.

We’ve had some trouble finding cannellini beans in the stores lately. So, hummus is my backup.

Wine pairing: you can’t go wrong with sparkling wine (yes, even on a weeknight)! Or try Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or Gamay Noir. Continue reading “Easy Comfort Foods and Wine Pairings”