Friday, September 18, 2009

YUM ...ography

Photographically Inspired Musings by a FANatical Foodie
Title: Color Guitar

I see in this two-toned photo, the artist behind the instrument. The artist takes pride in his instrument. He makes it sing. He uses the guitar as a medium to pay homage to his generation; for him, its songs are an anthem. He dismantles the guitar, looking for its heart. Will he ever find it? Must he find it? Who is the artist? Is he the creator of the instrument, or just its manipulator, the one who makes it sing? Are we all instruments just waiting to be strummed? When I die, I want to go out with Stevie Nicks singing from the rafters. I want Robert Plant singing me up and up on the stairway to heaven. I want Paul and John and Ringo and George (I always loved George) holding hands and singing me through the gate…..
While listening to the newly re-mastered songs of the Beatles, I discovered a most enjoyable cab from a little, local North Carolina vintner. Banner Elk Wineries showcased a handful of their signature cabernet sauvignon, a mature, full-bodied, elegant, complex, and well-balanced wine. It pairs perfectly with rich meats, cheeses, and dark chocolate. It won double gold medals at the 2006 NC state fair. Priced at $29.95, it’s not too costly for a rock ‘n roll splurge. Speaking of splurge, what’s better than listening to the Beatles while sipping great wine? Eating great food, of course. My recipe for Roasted Veal Chops, Stuffed with Pecorino Cheese with Madeira Wine Drizzle and Arugula Salad is just the dish to strum by.

Now, my friends, this is what YUM …ography is all about!!
See more photographic inspirations at

Roasted Veal Chops, Stuffed with Pecorino Cheese with Madeira Wine Drizzle and Arugula Salad

This is perfect dinner party fare. Purchase plump veal chops for this dish, as well as flavorful smoked ham and a wedge of pecorino that you can shave with a vegetable peeler.

4 veal rib chops, about ¾ pounds each, about 2-inches thick
A pinch of coarse salt and a grind of fresh pepper
4 thin slices smoked ham
4 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, shaved, about 1 cup
2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup Madeira wine
1 cup home made beef stock, or low sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 ounces fresh Arugula, about 2 cups leaves
2 ounces salad mix, about 2 cups torn
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium lemon juiced, about 3 tablespoons

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Use a sharp knife to cut a deep pocket into each veal chop. Place a slice of ham and 1 ounce of the cheese into each pocket. Season the chops with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sear the chops until golden, about 2 to 4 minutes. Carefully turn and sear the second side for 2 minutes more. Transfer to a baking dish. (Depending on the size of your skillet and of the veal chops, you may have to do this in batches, using additional oil and butter.) Place the chops in the oven and roast until just rare in the center, about 8 to 12 minutes.

Pour the wine into the skillet and stir to remove the brown bits. Pour in the beef broth and simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 1 cup. Stir in the tomato paste and season with salt and pepper.

Toss the Arugula with the salad mix. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the stuffed veal chops on a platter. Drizzle the wine sauce over the top. Mound the salad on the top of each chop.

Yield: 4 veal chops
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 to 12 minutes for chops, 5 to 10 minutes for sauce

Sources and Substitutions
Ask your butcher for veal chops from a source that produces humanely raised animals that are not raised with hormones or unnecessary steroids.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Yum ….ography!

Photographically Inspired Musings by a FANatical Foodie
Title: Smiley Face

I see in this black and white photograph the remnants of the day – a California day. A day of driving from vineyard to vineyard. A day of sipping, sighing, singing. A day that celebrates youth, celebrates the harvest, celebrates the artisan. A day of discovery. A day of bonding. A day that we want to be a part of. A day we want to remember.

California reminds me of fresh ingredients paired with great wine. I just sampled a bottle of Backyard Chardonnay. It’s Russian River Chardonnay, remarkably tasty and reasonably priced. Russian River is known for Chardonnay that maintains a harmonious balance between acidity and fruit. This one is stellar, opening with apricot, peach, melon, and toasted oak aromas before a palate of citrus, melon, and oak, followed by a lingering, vibrant tropical finish. Run, don’t walk to your local wine merchant and seek out C & T Cellars Chardonnay. While the bottle chills to perfection, and your perfect companion is motoring your way, create a California-inspired appy that is perfectly paired with the day. My recipe for Rustic White Bean Bruschetta comes together in minutes, with a hint of garlic and pepper and a dash of fresh lemon and basil.

Now, my friends, this is what YUM …ography is all about!!
See more photographic inspirations at

Rustic White Bean Bruschetta

Creamy white beans, tart sun-dried tomatoes and fragrant basil top crunchy garlic toasts in this simple appy that’s sure to put a smiley face on all of your guests.

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 2 more for bruschetta
1 medium garlic clove, peeled and minced, about 1 teaspoon
½ teaspoon hot chili pepper flakes
1 (15.5-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
½ large lemon juiced, about 2 tablespoons
1 (16-ounce) loaf French bread, cut into (1/2-inch thick) diagonal slices
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Parmesan cheese

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and chili pepper flakes, Cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cannellini beans to the pan and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir the sun-dried tomatoes, basil and lemon juice into the bean mixture. Set aside.

Place a grill pan on the stove top over medium high heat. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil with the garlic powder. Brush both sides of the French bread slices with the garlic flavored olive oil. Grill the bread, turning once until golden and crunchy.

Place the grilled bread onto a platter and spoon a generous amount of the bean mixture on each one. Shave slices of Parmesan cheese over the top.

Servings: Enough for a crowd
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes to grill bread
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