Monday, July 25, 2011

Kevin Bacon's CRUNCHY ASIAN SLAW. Everybody and Their Brother Has It.

I honestly believe that a Crunchy Asian Slaw recipe is like the Kevin Bacon theory.

You know the game. 

You holler out the name of a movie star, and one way or another, that movie star has starred with a celebrity, who's starred with a celebrity, who has starred with  a celebrity, who has starred guessed it......

Kevin Bacon!

Well I think this recipe is just like the Kevin Bacon theory. 

I bet you've been to a BBQ or a Pot Luck, where someone has brought Crunchy Asian Slaw.

I would venture to guess that one time or another, you've heard someone say...."Oh, my cousin Betty always makes Crunchy Asian Slaw, but hers is a little different"..........................or maybe you've heard........."Oh my husband's mother's sister makes this every year for our 4th of July family BBQ".

Somehow you know someone, who knows, someone, who knows someone who makes Crunchy Asian Slaw.

I can't tell you how many time I've brought this dish to a function, and someone has said........"I know someone that makes Crunchy Asian Slaw".

So, after more than 15 years of serving this dish, and hearing these comments,  I have decided to call this, my Kevin Bacon Crunchy Asian Slaw.

I'm sure he won't mind.

Plus, out of all the Crunchy Asian Slaw's I've tried over the years, I like this one the best.  I think Kevin will agree.

Slaw Ingredients:
1 (14 ounce) bag classic cole slaw mix (I like the kind with only green cabbage and carrots)
2 packages Raman Noodles - Chicken Flavor
1 c. slivered almonds
3 Tbsp. butter

Dressing Ingredients:
1 of the  chicken flavor packets from the Ramen Noodles (use only ONE of the chicken packets. Discard the other packet, or save and use to throw in your water next time you make rice).
2/3 c. Vegetable Oil
2 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
4 Tbsp. Sugar
2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
1 tsp. Black Pepper

In a large pan, place the 3 Tablespoons butter and on medium heat, gently melt butter along with the slivered almonds.  Stir frequently as you are just gently toasting the almonds.

Be sure you get the "slivered almonds" and not the "sliced" almonds.

Once the almonds are gently starting to brown, break up the Ramen Noodles into bite-sized pieces, and add to the pan with the almonds (reserve the chicken flavor packets for later, do not add this to the almonds).

Stir to combine the noodles, almonds and butter.  All you are doing at this point is gently warming the crunchy noodles.  Once that has been accomplished, set pan aside, off the burner, so the noodles and almonds cool.

Now to make the dressing.

Take only one of the chicken flavoring packets, and either discard the second packet, or set aside to use at another time.

Get out a jar with a tight fitting lid.  This is where those Mason Jars come in handy.  Love these guys.

Add in the ONE chicken flavor packet.

Then add the vegetable oil, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and black pepper. 

 Put that tight fitting lid on there and shake it like Kevin did in Footloose.

You really need to get all the chicken flavor granules and sugar all mixed up and dissolved.

Shake Shake Shake that bottle.

"Loose....Footloose...Kick off your Sunday shoes.......Please Louise......Pull me offa my knees..."

Look how good Kevin shakes that bottle.

Once you've finished your dance moves, grab a nice large bowl, and toss in your cole slaw mix.

Now toss your almond and crunchy noodles into your slaw.

Now one more quick shake of the bottle.

Pour the dressing all over the slaw mix, and toss toss toss.

Sometimes I actually use my hands and get in there and toss it all together to be sure everything gets well coated with the dressing.

Cool and Crispy.

Sweet, yet tangy (Just like Kevin).

When you take this dish a BBQ, and someone tells you that their Aunt Betty makes Crunchy Asian Slaw, you can now un-officially tell them....... "This isn't just ANY Crunchy Asian Slaw.............oh no..........It's Kevin Bacon's Crunchy Asian Slaw".

That'll get em dancing.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Weekend Wine Time - July 22, 2011 - Francis Ford COPPOLA WINE

When you hear the name Francis Ford Coppola, you probably don't think "Wine".

I bet the first thing that comes to mind is Marlon Brando and Al Pacino in The Godfather.

Well, besides making movie history, the Coppola family has been making wine for several generations.

This is such an interesting story.  35 years ago Francis and his wife Eleanor began looking for a cottage in Napa Valley California to use as a weekend retreat so they can make homemade wine! 

Imagine that.  Weekend retreat to make homemade wine.  Rumor has it that he purchased his first property with the monies from The Godfather 1.

Fast forward 35 years, and two wineries later,  Mr. Coppola and family have some pretty delicious wine.

This is Francis Ford Coppola's thought on wine and the celebration of drinking it:

"I’ve often felt that modern life tends to separate all the ages too much.

In the old days, the children lived with the parents and the grandparents, and the family unit each gave one another something very valuable.

So when we began to develop the idea for this winery, we thought it should be like a resort, basically a wine wonderland, a park of pleasure where people of all ages can enjoy the best things in life – food, wine, music, dancing, games, swimming and performances of all types. A place to celebrate the love of life."

And that's just what Francis has done.  He's created a family-like winery.  Complete with Bocce Ball, Swimming pool and cabanas, a Movie Gallery (of course), Live Music, Wine Tasting and an Italian Street Fair.

One of their most recent events at the winery is: "Tasting in the dark"

Join us for a fascinating wine tasting that explores how flavors and aromas in wine are accentuated by simply turning off the lights. Guests are blindfolded and led to our Winemaker’s Lab for the tasting, which is hosted by Hoby Wedler, a blind graduate student from UC Davis. It's a unique and unforgettable tasting experience perfect for any wine lover.

Tasting in the Dark

Reservations RequiredOffered the following dates: 7/24, 8/6, 8/27, 9/17 at 1pm
$55 per person
2 hours, including tasting of four (4) win

What a fun event that would be.

I've never been to Napa Valley, but it's definitely on my Bucket List.

Hopefully, if I ever make it there, I'll be sure to stop off and visit Mr. Coppola's Vineyard.

But in the mean time, here are two of his wines that I personally love and can be purchased locally at most Spirit Stores.

  • A light, elegant white wine that balances sweet, juicy flavors with bright acidity.
  • Received Gold Medal at 2009 Orange County Fair Wine Competition.
Crafted from grapes grown in two regions of Napa Valley – Yountville and Chiles Valley – our Sauvignon Blanc flaunts a fresh, vibrant style, which is accomplished by 100% stainless steel fermentation. Here, luscious tropical fruit flavors mingle with hints of pink grapefruit figs and fresh grass.

  • A classic California red table wine, light and fruity, designed for everyday enjoyment.
Rosso is made from a blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from climatically diverse growing regions across California. This helps us achieve more complexity and intriguing nuances. Lodi fruit in particular benefits from temperature differentials where extremely warm daytime weather is offset by cool afternoon breezes from the San Joaquin Delta.
The supple texture and rich, juicy flavors of plum, cherries, mocha, and strawberry jam make this wine a perfect accompaniment to almost any meal.

If you happen to ever be in the Napa Valley area, plan your visit to the Coppola winery.

I bet you he'll make you an offer you can't refuse.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Weekend Wine Time. July 15, 2011


Red or White?  Good Rule of Thumb.....

Red wine with red meat.
White wine with white meat.
This may be one of the most widely recognized rules of thumb in wine-and-food matching.

If fish or chicken is your grilling choice this weekend, then try this:

Sauvignon Blanc - Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine best known for its herbal flavors. Sauvignon Blanc is  is a popular choice for fish and shellfish dishes.  Wine experts have used the phrase "crisp, elegant, and fresh" as a favorable description of Sauvignon Blanc. When slightly chilled, pairs well with fish, cheese, chicken, and Sushi.  Remember to chill before serving.

If red meat is your grilling choice this weekend, give this a try:

Red Table Wine - If you're not a big "red wine" person, try "Red Table Wine".  Most liquor stores have a brand of basic "Red Table Wine".  Table wine is a blend of different types of red grapes, and leans a bit to the sweeter side, instead of dryer side.  This type of wine is a good start for those who have not normally been a red wine drinker.  The label will actually say Red Table Wine. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Oh Let Me Count the Ways! My Love Poem to ROASTED SUMMER VEGGIES

I believe Elizabeth Barrett Browning put it best when she said.....

"How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways..."

If I could recite a love poem to a plate of food, I believe it would be to this recipe.

I am head over heels, totally smitten, and completely bonkers for these naturally sweet, roasted vegetables.

I'll just come right out and say it. 

I think I'm in Love.

How can I put it so that all who read this will understand? 

Well, I'm not Elizabeth Barrett Browning, but I'll try my best.

I give you my Love Poem; to the most delicious plate of veggies I've ever tasted:

Oh my love.... your vibrant colors makes me wish my eyes were as large as Marty Feldman's, so I can see more of you......

My darling, your incredible roasted scent makes me wish my nose was the size of Jimmy Durante's, as I can't get enough of your smell.........

and Oh my love, I wish my mouth was as big as Julia Roberts' so I could eat a pound of you in one bite.
Oh let me count the ways!

There it is.  That's my Love Poem to these incredible, naturally sweet roasted veggies.

Now let's get roasting.

2 ears sweet corn
1 red bell pepper
1 small zucchini squash
1/2 bunch fresh asparagus
Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Dice up 1/2 of a bunch of asparagus into bite-sized pieces, throwing away the bottom inch of the asparagus tips (the bottom ends get rather tough).

Now take the red pepper, seed it, and dice into bite-sized pieces.

Are you falling in love yet?

Now dice the small zucchini into strips then dice them into bite-sized pieces.

Take the two fresh ears of corn and cut the kernels off the cobb.

Certainly by now the love bug is heading your way.
Now, place the lovely veggies in a long sheet pan. 

Drizzle them with Olive Oil.  Be generous.  Take your hands and toss these pretties thoroughly with the oil.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt, and a sprinkling of pepper on the veggies.  Toss them again thoroughly.
Look at these glorious colors.

Has Cupid's bow struck yet?  Oh it won't be long now.
Bake at 400 for 18 minutes. Please be sure the veggies are in a single layer on the sheet pan.  Very important.
WARNING:  When these are finished roasting, and you take them from the oven, you will WISH you had a Jimmy Durante nose.  The smell is fantastic.

Be ready to instantly, and utterly fall in love with the natural sweetness of the roasted red pepper and sweet corn.  It's a miracle of love how sweet these veggies are.

That's it...I'm a goner.

You had me at hello.............

I think Hubby has fallen in love too........"Wow, my mouth just exploded with flavor"

Perfectly put honey!

Here are Some Serving Suggestions:

* Serve them immediately as a side dish with fish or any grilled meat

* Refrigerate and eat them cold (Yes cold! They are just as delicious cold)

* Wonderful used for a veggie Quesadilla.  Grill your tortilla with the veggies, black beans, diced jalapenos and Monterrey Jack cheese (add grilled chicken if desired).

Now if this doesn't make you want to write a Love Poem, then I don't know what will.