A Taster's Journey is a newsletter on food, wine and travel. After 15 years of studying, tasting, teaching, and selling wine, I created this newsletter to not only share my passion about wine, but of food and travel as well. Each month I hope to share wines that I am drinking, food that is in season, restaurants that I have enjoyed, and places I have traveled. Enjoy!"

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Time to Grill

June 25th, 2005

Summer is my favorite season because you can enjoy the entire day outdoors. And what better way to enjoy a beautiful evening than to start up the grill and eat under the stars. Although everyone has their own grilling favorites, I though I would share a couple dishes I enjoy hopefully stimulating new menu ideas. I have also included recipes for a couple common side dishes, but with some unique twists.

Spicy Hanger Steak
Hanger Steak (from a good butcher)
1 tbs. adobe seasoning
1 tsp. ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne chili powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 shallots, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
2 limes, juiced
1 tsp. honey
1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil

Rub the steak with the top 4 powders and place in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and marinade for 4 – 24 hours. An hour before grilling, remove the meat from the marinade, scrape off the excess cilantro, season with salt, and let rest till it reaches room temperature. Grill over high heat for 3 minutes (for rare) per side. Actually the meat is a little undercooked when it is removed from the grill, but let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Stuffed Turkey Breast
Grilled chicken is a crowd favorite, so why not try something new and stuff a chicken or turkey breast. The presentation is beautiful and the stuffing adds some interesting new flavors. I prefer turkey because it is larger, making it easier to roll.

Stuffed Turkey Breast

Stuffed Turkey Breast

1 small turkey breast (5 lbs.), deboned and butterflied
1 box frozen spinach
1/2 small onion, chopped
7 tbs. olive oil
60 pine nuts
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano
10 sage leaves
salt and pepper

Debone and butterfly a small turkey breast keeping the skin intact, or ask you butcher to do this for you. To make the stuffing, add 3 tbs. olive oil to a frying pan, once heated add the onions and cook over medium heat till translucent. Squeeze all the liquid out of the defrosted spinach, chop coarsely then add to the frying pan with another 2 tbs. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. While the spinach warms, toast the pine nuts in a separate pan till light brown, approximately 10 minutes. Add both crumbs to the spinach with an additional 2 tbs. of olive oil to keep the mixture moist. Season again with salt and pepper. Remove the frying pan from the heat. Chop 5 sage leaves and add to the spinach mixture with the grated parmigiano and the pine nuts. Add the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate till it has cooled. Lay the butterflied turkey breast on a cutting board skin side down, spread the stuffing mixture evenly over the turkey, then roll the turkey and tie with butchers twine. Season the rolled turkey breast with olive oil, sage, salt, and pepper. To grill the turkey, initially place it directly over the heat on your grill, and roll the breast so that you brown the outside, being careful not to burn the skin. Once brown, move the turkey off the direct heat, cover the grill, and roast for about 45 minutes or until the internal temperature of the breast reaches 160° F. Remove from the grill, cover lightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

SIDE DISHES…

Potato Salad
3 lbs. round yukon gold potatoes (size of golf ball)
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/8 cup fresh chives, chopped
1 tbs. dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Place potatoes (unpeeled) in a large pot of cold water, then boil for about 15 minutes till cooked. Drain in colander, and let cool for about 10 minutes. Cut potatoes in half and place into a bowl. Toss in scallions, chives, and parsley. Mix vinaigrette using oil, vinegar, mustard, and ample amounts of salt and pepper. Pour dressing over potatoes and gently mix. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Serve warm, or chill and serve cold.

Cole Slaw
1/2 head green cabbage, cut into thin strips
1/2 head red cabbage, cut into thin strips
2 carrots, peeled into strips
7 tbs. apple cider vinegar
5 tbs. grape seed oil
1 tbs. dijon mustard
1 pinch dried dill
salt and pepper to taste

Shred red and green cabbage into thin strips and add to a bowl. Using a potato peeler, add long strips of carrot to the bowl. Make the dressing using the vinegar, oil, mustard, and dill, then taste to assure the acidity level is to your liking. Add liberal amounts of salt and pepper to the vinaigrette and then add to the cabbage. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate for 24 hours to allow the flavors to meld together.

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