Pad Thai Chicken

This Pad Thai recipe was inspired by my favorite Thai restaurant, S&L Thai. The recipe was originally printed in the local paper many years ago and I’ve managed to keep it. I’ve made some slight changes but kept to it’s authenticity. This is one of the best Pad Thai dishes I’ve had. Yummy!!!!


2 tbs. oil
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 lb. chicken (cut in bite size pieces)
2 eggs
4 oz. of soaked rice noodles (about 30 minutes)
3 tbs. fish sauce
3 tbs. white vinegar
4 tbs. sugar
crushed dried chili pepper
4 oz. bean sprouts
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1-2 tbs. crushed peanuts
lime slices
chopped cilantro

Heat oil in pan over medium high heat, add garlic and chicken. Stir fry chicken until cooked, about 10 minutes, add eggs and stir fry until the egg sets.

Add rice noodles, vinegar and fish sauce. Stir fry till blended together, about 15 seconds.

Add sugar and chili pepper (optional) to taste. Mix together.

Add bean sprouts and green onions. Toss together and stir fry for one minute. Just before removing from heat, add 1 tbs. oil and mix in.

Remove to platter, garnish with crushed peanuts, cilantro and lime slices.

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Villa Toscano 2008 Red Wine Cerchio

Shenandoah Valley Amador County

Villa Toscano 2008 Red Wine Cerchio

I received my two bottle shipment as a wine club member and one of the wines received was Villa Toscano 2008 Red Wine Cerchio. My previous post on Villa Toscano still stands minus this wine. What a disappointment, especially when this wine is about $20+. This 2008 Cerchio was very dry, had no body, and finishes with heavy tannins. Sorry Villa Toscano but this is one I will be sure to have you remove from sending. Thumbs down on this one. Can I get a replacement?

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Beef Bourguignon

Ina Garten inspired

Beef Bourguignon

I’ve been meaning to try this recipe since watching the movie, “Julie and Julia”, I’m so glad I did! This was quite a yummy French dish, and I have to say, I’ve never cooked any French dishes. I found this recipe on Food Network, recipe by Ina Garten, her instructions made it much more simpler or maybe just easier to read. I made some changes to her recipe, only because it made more sense to me.


* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 8 ounces smoked bacon, diced
* 2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
* Kosher salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
* 2 yellow onions, sliced
* 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
* 1/2 cup Brandy
* 1-1 1/2 (750 ml.) bottle of red wine such as Pinot Noir (enough to cover meat)
* 2 tablespoon tomato paste
* 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 pound frozen whole onions
* 1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced

For serving:

* Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.

Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.

Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Brandy, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol (this part is too cool, but I suggest pulling it off the stove once you light the Brandy, repeat back to stove until alcohol is completely burnt off) Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the wine enough to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.

Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley

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Peju 2007 Cabernet Franc

Napa Valley, Rutherford

Peju 2007 Cabernet Franc

Peju 2007 Cabernet Franc – Napa Valley, Rutherford

As a wine club member of this wonderful winery, one of the smaller vineyards and a bit spendy, all of their wines are yummy! If I had to choose between the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, my pick is definitely the Cabernet Franc. About a couple years ago, we went tasting and for me, I like doing side by side comparisons after I’ve already completed the tasting, then revisit the ones I really enjoyed. Their Cabs are ones that definitely need to be aerated or need time to breathe. So, after my side by side comparison of the Peju Cabernet Sauvignon and the Cabernet Franc, the Cabernet Franc seemed a bit more smoother. The 2007 Cabernet Franc has a wonderful bouquet, deep rich color, and soft tannins. Definitely a wine to enjoy by itself. But then again, it’s your preference.

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Shrimp w/Wilted Spinach

Shrimp With Wilted Spinach

After having a a heavy lunch, i.e., burger, I wanted to have something light for dinner, this one is perfect, not to mention healthy.

I made this with a Ginger Sesame dressing that I whipped up. Great to marinade the shrimp in.



1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar
1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
1/3 Cup Olive Oil
2 Tbs. Gingerroot minced
2 Tbs. Garlic minced
1/8 Cup Water
2 Tbs. Honey or Brown Sugar
1 Tbs. Sesame Seed
1 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes

Mix all ingredients together, put in salad dressing container, shake well.

Add a pound of raw Shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail on, to a bowl. Add dressing/marinade enough to coat shrimp. Marinade for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, roast sliced red bell pepper and red onions in oven until browned. Cooked 3 slices of bacon then crumble.
Heat large pan over medium high heat, add shrimp w/marinade, cook until shrimp turns pink on both sides, add spinach, toss slightly and remove from heat.
Add roasted bell pepper, onions and crumbled bacon to each serving. Serve with warm bread.

Serves 4.

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Anselmo Vineyards 2008 Merlot – Shasta County

2008 Merlot

Anselmo Vineyards 2008 Merlot

Anselmo Vineyards is located in Shasta County, one of the hidden gems in this area. I visited this vineyard with a couple of my friends to do some wine tasting and lunch. Let me say that this place was such a great find and to think it’s located in “our own backyard”, so to speak.

Pleasantly surprised on their generous pours and added touch with antipasto, cheese and crackers to accompany your selected wine flight. Didn’t really need to order lunch after that spread, but what the heck. The lunch was presented beautifully and again a generous amount for one person, I had to take home my leftovers. The staff and owner were very nice and welcoming, the owner even shared some of the wine he was sipping on, which was not part of the flight I selected.

So among the different wines I tasted, my favorite was the 2008 Merlot. This wine has a wonderful bouquet, dark ruby color, full body, and finishes smooth. This wine is one to put on my Yummy list! The bottle is quite spendy, about $30, so not a bad idea to save for a special occasion, share with a date, or perhaps have with a romantic dinner.

Looking forward to heading out there again and picking up a bottle or two.

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Bad Dog Ranch 2008 Petite Sirah – California

2008 Petite Sirah California

Bad Dog Ranch 2008 Petite Sirah

This Bad Dog Ranch 2008 Petite Sirah comes from Sonoma, California.  The read says, dark red in color. Hints of blackberry, plum, and pepper.  A great blend for a delicious, long, soft finish.

My take, rich dark color, has a nice bouquet and finishes smooth.  This 2008 Petite Sirah is one to remember and keep around.  Bottle price is under $10.

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Pork Sinigang – Filipino Dish Favorite

Pork Sinigang – Filipino Dish

This is a traditional Filipino dish that everyone will love! You can normally find the Tamarind soup base at any Asian market.


2 Tbs. Oil
4-5 Garlic Cloves – minced
1 Onion – sliced
1 Tomato – sliced
2-3 Lbs. Pork – cut in 2″ chunks (I use both Pork Neck Bone and Pork Shoulder)
10 Cups Water
1 Packet Tamarind Soup Base
1 Lb. Chinese Long Beans – cut to 3″ in length
2-3 Jalapeno Peppers – halved (depending on how hot the peppers are, I usually cut 1-2 peppers in half and leave the other whole)
1 Juice of a Lemon
2 Tbs. Fish Sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

Saute garlic, onions and tomatoes in oil, add pork and water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cover for 3 hours.
Add Tamarind Soup Base, bring to a boil, then simmer another 10 minutes.
Add Long Beans and Peppers, simmer until Beans are cooked.
Add lemon juice, fish sauce, salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 8-10

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Cabernet Sauvignon

Penfolds Koonunga Hill 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

Penfolds Koonunga Hill 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon South Australia

I say, have I not learned anything about Cabs from Australia? This wine was found at our local Holiday Market, advertising 88 points, not that I really understand the pointing system, but my assumption is the higher the points the better, right? So just about $10, I thought, why not try it.

Very dry and no body to this Cabernet, I can’t think of anything to say but this one is a dumper, yuk! Sorry Penfolds Koonunga Hill. I’ll say it again, I need to stick to Shiraz from Australia, since I have yet to be disappointed.

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Rainbow Creek 2008 Marlborough Pinot Noir

This Rainbow Creek 2008 Pinot Noir from the Marlborough region, is one I was quite pleasantly surprised about. As the bottle states, this wine produces traditional open-tank fermentation using natural yeasts, matures in French oak barrels. Shows bright berry aromas, with velvety, dark red fruit characters that give a soft yet lingering finish.

When I poured a glass of this Pinot Noir, I found it to be more of a light brownish in color, so my thought was it would be light in taste, but to my surprise, this was actually the opposite, more of a heavier Pinot Noir, agreeing to the soft yet lingering finish. This is one to keep on my list of good budget wines. Not one I would put in the “yummy” category, but certainly one to enjoy.

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