Monday, November 24, 2014

Homemade Baja Fish Tacos

Tacos and beer is a classic and beloved pairing, but who says you can't pair tacos with wine? That's right: wine.
I did my study abroad program in Guanajuato, Mexico, where street tacos are a classic 'quick food' staple. Mexican food and culture holds a special place in my heart. But then again, so does Washington state wine. The 2013 Chardonnay by Chateau Ste Michelle is a food-friendly wine with bright apple and sweet citrus flavors. It's a full-bodied white that pairs well with not only with the fish in the tacos but also all the bright and flavorful toppings, like pickled onions and cilantro.

Here's a quick recipe that feeds 4: Slice a 1/2 red onion and marinate it in white vinegar and 2 heaping spoonfuls of sugar. While that's pickling, finely mince one large bell pepper (red or orange), 1 cup of cilantro, and half a head of purple cabbage. Finally, cook 1 1/2 lb filet of white fish (tilapia or cod are great for this). Once the fish is cooked, microwave your corn tortillas for about 10-15 seconds so they are malleable and don't break when you stuff them. Create your tacos with your chosen ingredients and enjoy with a glass of wine.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Zephyrhills Open House #floridafavorites

Zephyrhills is a Florida-based company doing great things to help the environment, specifically the waterways of the Sunshine State. The people at Zephyrhills asked me to extend this invitation to my readers to attend an Open House at their plant. It's this Saturday -- check out all the details below:

48 Hours in New Orleans

Oh, New Orleans, you foodie mecca. You have won my heart. 
Recently we traveled to NOLA to witness the wedding of our friends Megan and Gabe. 
In the quintessential New Orleans nuptials, they wed in historic Jackson Square and then we all took part in a Second Line Parade to an incredible reception at the beautiful Hotel Mazarin. A big Congrats to the Copellos! When we weren't toasting the happy couple, we spent the weekend eating and the next eating destination. Here's a glimpse at some of my favorite dishes and drinks.
 Loved this muffuletta from Napoleon House. They serve them hot and chock full of olive relish, which in my mind, makes the best type of muffuletta.
Warm, soft, buttery beignets fresh from the kitchen at Beignet Cafe. The line outsie of Cafe du Monde was way too long to wait in. This place around the corner is said to be just as good and while I have no basis for comparison, I'd venture to say these were stellar.
Our one fine dining meal out was at Restaurant August. This is " huitlacoche agnolotti, with slow roasted Sandy Hook rabbit and smoked chilis." It was amazing and I would happily eat a plateful of this. After every bite I was raving.
We took Megan's advice and sought out the best Moscow Mule in town at Bar Tonique. This was definitely tasty - you have to love a place that makes their own ginger bitters.

This pasta dish is Buccatini Nero from Emerils' New Orleans, one of the entree courses in their 3-course lunch menu for $22.50. Squid ink pasta, corn, tomatoes, shrimp and tasso ham. Delicious!  Another meal, not pictured, but worthy of mention, was the Fried Peacemaker Po' Boy we had at Acme Oyster House -- piles of fried shrimp and oysters on a fresh white baguette, covered in hot sauce.  New Orleans has so much great food, I think you'd have to spend weeks there in order to experience all the amazing flavors the city has to offer.

What are your favorite NOLA foodie spots?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Wine Wednesday: Sauvignon Blanc Picks & Pairing Ideas

Two new Sauvignon Blancs I am loving these days are both crisp and great for fall sipping. The first is Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc 2013. This one has aromas of grapefruit, nectarine and lemon and bright acidity.
I paired the Matanzas Creek with a seared tuna steak, rubbed with spices I got at Sanwa Market and my zucchini noodle salad -- here's the recipe

The second one that has recently found it's way on to my Total Wine shopping list is Chateau Ste Michelle 2013 Sauvignon Blanc.
The mostly stainless steel fermentation makes this a very crisp Sauvignon Blanc. It has hints of melons and herbs. I paired this one with grilled turkey burgers topped with sharp cheddar. On the side, grilled peaches. This was my first time grilling peaches and it won't be the last. It's such a simple side dish, and you could easily turn it into a dessert topping it with ice cream. Why not?! 

What are your favorite Sauvignon Blancs? Leave me a comment below!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Tampa Tailgate 2014: Kickoff to a Cure to be Held at Amalie Arena, Sept. 20

The 13th Annual Tampa Tailgate: Kick-Off to a Cure, an event to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, will return to the Amalie Arena (formerly the Tampa Bay Times Forum) on Saturday, Sept. 20 from 6pm–11pm. The event combines football, food and festivities with the goal of raising funds to go toward Cystic Fibrosis research and patient services.
The event: Saturday night college football will provide the entertainment, while fans celebrate with an indoor tailgate party. Guests will enjoy food and drinks from premier Tampa-area restaurants that have donated time and services to help find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. Plus, a silent and live auction will include sought after sports memorabilia, spa packages and vacation getaways. Individual tickets are $100 and include unlimited food and beverage (beer, wine, cocktails) from a wide variety of Tampa's top restaurants. Buy tickets.

The reason: Tampa Tailgate was founded by Chip and Heather Bauder soon after their son, Logan, was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when he was 5 months old. The Bauders are my neighbors and one of the nicest families you could ever meet. I've learned a little more about CF over the past few years through their fight, and I've always been in awe of Logan's positive attitude as they all battle for a cure together by way of this event.
Logan and his dad, Chip at last year's Tampa Tailgate. Logan spoke to the crowd about his battle against CF and did such an amazing job sharing his story -- he brought the house down!
Logan has never known what it's like to just wake up and start his day -- or go to bed at night without doing treatments for his condition.Funds from this event are put directly toward research toward a cure for this
 Each year Logan creates original artwork to promote the event, and it's featuyr. This piece was entitled "Buccaneers Assault on CF." 
For ticket and sponsorship information, visit or call (813) 374-9041. Like Tampa Tailgate on Facebook for up-to-date event information.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Recipe: Easy Quinoa Burgers

We all know quinoa is a superfood (it's a whole grain high in protein) and this is a super easy recipe. Most quinoa or veggie burgers require some sort of fiddling around with a food processor, but with this recipe, you use prepared hummus as the "bean" component, so you don't need to can just quickly chop all the ingredients by hand and go to town!  One key tip I have: don't skimp on the olive oil when cooking the burgers in your pan. Don't use non-stick cooking spray! You need real olive oil to give the patties their crispy outer texture - plus it adds flavor and healthy fat.
 Easy Quinoa Burgers

  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package instructions 
  • 1 cup prepared hummus (any brand you like) 
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 3/4 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • black pepper to taste

  • Mix all ingredients together well in a bowl. If the mix seems too crumbly, add a bit more flour to hold it all together.
  • Form 4 large patties
  • Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan on medium high
  • Cook patties on one side for 7 minutes on medium heat, then flip and cook on the other side for 5 minutes.
On the side, I tossed together a salad with sunflower seeds, tomatoes and pickled onions. Any side salad will work well with the burgers. You can also serve them on a bun, but I feel like you get more of the flavor and texture when you go bun-less with these. A good pairing would be a red blend that can stand up to the flavors of garlic and cumin in the burgers. I served mine with a glass of Archimedes.
Archimedes is a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc with flavors of black cherries, red plums, sandalwood and vanilla, along with smooth tannins. It is aged for 24 months in French oak.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Flavor Run is Coming Back to Tampa!

It's back! The Flavor Run is an family fun, un-timed 5K walk/run that includes a new fun twist on the popular color runs by engaging all of your senses; taste, smell, touch, hearing, and sight. Instead of traditional color stations, they have "Flavor Stations" where runners/walkers are covered in fruit flavored color powders.
Plus, they have an awesome Post-Run Flavor Zone that includes vendors, live entertainment, fresh fruit and children's activities. The Flavor Run donates a portion of their proceeds to local children’s charities, including Kid’s Charity of Tampa Bay and Camp Boggy Creek.
When: Saturday, September 20th, 2014 at 9am
Where: Florida State Fairgrounds
How much: $35/person when you join/create a team or family + kids 6 and under are free.

As a reader of my blog, you get a $5 discount. Use the promo code TAMPAUNCORKEDSAVE5 when you register and $5 will be taken off the price of your registration. For more details, check out the Flavor Run website, Like the race on Facebook page, or join the event on Facebook.