Food and Wine Process Map

Steak and red, seafood and white, dessert and….Food and wine pairings are so confusing that sometimes one needs a process map to figure it out! I thought it would be fun to create a visual process map (yes, I am THAT nerdy) using different combinations. I help groups visually describe their processes so it isn’t surprising my work follows me home! (Process maps are also good to use for recipe planning. It helps organize thoughts into coherent ideas.)

I don’t always pair the “appropriate” wine with food because I like experimenting. Food and wine can be analytical and unpredictable at the same time, but that is part of the fun! Try fried chicken and Champagne, a la Max’s Wine Dive, or a fresh garden pizza and Rose. You might be surprised what works for you.

What is your most creative food/wine pairing?

Food and wine process map

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Sunday Supper with Kendall-Jackson Merlot

Sunday dinners are a tradition in my house. My Mamaw always made huge, home cooked meals on Sunday for the family. Sunday “supper” was a requirement if you were in town. Ham, pork chops, collard greens, and soft fried potatoes. Mamaw’s soft fried potatoes were legendary. Must have been that 30 year-old cast iron skillet seasoned with bacon grease!Grandmother

Sunday supper is a Southern tradition that never left me. This past week we decided to BBQ brisket and vegetables. The hubs and I have experimented with several different BBQ seasonings and techniques, but never quite found the right combination. We wanted Franklin’s quality, but kept getting dried out, over seasoned meat. This week we kept it simple: salt, pepper, and 18 hours in the pit over low heat. It was finally hug-yur-Mamaw good! Simple is always better!BBQ Brisket

And of course, Sunday supper in my house is not complete without wine. I’m sure you have realized that I like the Kendall-Jackson brand, but there are three reasons why I keep KJ wines at my house:KJ Wine

1. Affordability-I don’t believe that wine has to be expensive to pair well with food or provide an interesting addition to the table. I like quality and value.

2. Flexibility- I like that some wines can be very complex and distinctive, but they do not always lend themselves to the modern table.  New world wines like Kendall-Jackson are flexible and can be paired with a variety of food. KJ has a good balance of fruit and spice.

3. And gosh darn it, it just tastes good! You should always drink what makes you happy!

I thought the Kendall-Jackson 2010 Merlot would pair nicely with smokey BBQ. I picked a Merlot over a Zinfandel or Cabernet because I thought the mellow fruit would balance out the spicy BBQ. I did not want a smokey Zin to cover up the 18 hours we spent on the brisket! I don’t usually pair bold wines with bold food. With food, as in life, I need balance.

The berry notes and dark cherries of the wine tasted like a light cherry wood smoke added to the pit during the last few hours. Not too fruit forward, but enough to appreciate its fragrant presence. I was afraid the more exotic spice of anise would taste strange, but paired with the wine’s slate minerality, it allowed the brisket to take on a woody flavor. Dark and earthy. Natural and organic. Just the way good Texas BBQ should be prepared. I think the KJ Merlot could also be paired with my Smoked Honey Dijon Rack of Pork!KJ Wine and brisket

I served grilled corn-on-the-cob and yellow squash which provided an interesting dichotomy to the spicy BBQ. The summer vegetables were sweet and the wine enhanced the fresh, garden flavor.

Overall, I think the Kendall-Jackson 2010 Merlot is a great value and flavor for backyard BBQ’s. Because I was serving up Mamaw’s Sunday supper, I thought a reliable wine would be the best choice. Every meal is a feast when you have good wine at the table!Wine and Flowers

*Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own. I was not provided samples or compensation so it is all about what I think!

Happy New Year!

Let me first say, Happy 2013! I can’t believe a new year is already upon us.

After a busy holiday season we decided to have a quiet, romantic NYE at home complete with steak, lobster, brown butter risotto, and a nice 2002 Cakebread Merlot. It was such a wonderful wine that I wish I had another bottle to celebrate New Year’s Day!2 We decanted the bottle and it was perfectly smooth by dinner. I love that Cakebread wines are well-balanced and can be consumed alone or with food. The Merlot was a nice addition to the filet mignon and even the lobster. If you like brown butter and risotto, Giada De Laurentiis has an excellent recipe. I did not put the lobster in with the risotto, but it was just as good. I received one of her cookbooks for Christmas and I am looking forward to making many more of Giada’s recipes!

Unfortunately, we did not make it to midnight, but I was perfectly happy sharing good food and good wine with my honey 🙂 2012 was full of many great things for us, but  here’s to being healthier, happier, and discovering new adventures!

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