Panade a la Provence…Yum!

Panade a la Provence…Yum!

Food & Wine Magazine did it again. They totally seduced me. I mean, I love to make fun of how out of touch they are with the “little folk” who don’t have $80 to plunk down on a wine. And the recipes? Don’t get me started. Half of them require ingredients that you need to crawl up a Himalayan mountain and see the guy in the second yurt on the left in order to find them. Or hit up six specialty stores, depending on your neighborhood.

But every now and then, they’ll showcase a recipe that looks easy. Panade? Well, maybe not. BUT – call it a Tomato, Chard and Gruyere Casserole, and you’ve hooked me. How easy can that be?

Six hours after I started shopping for ingredients, the darn thing is in the oven. (Okay, so I went along the untrodden pathways to find the freshest tomatoes at little roadside stands. So it took awhile. Cutting up the chard? That took forever!) Unfortunately, the first roadside stand is where I bought my tomatoes. It was also the biggest roadside stand, the most commercial stand, and the most expensive stand. It is not a place I will go to again.

But the ingredients, by themselves, weren’t expensive, except for the gruyere cheese. $21 a pound! I bought just under half a pound, since I knew I had some in the fridge – but still, $8.50 for a tiny sliver of CHEESE? I’m thinking, the next time I’ll make it with swiss cheese, and whatever else I may happen to have in the fridge.

So you butter a casserole, layer in the day old peasant bread (which I cut the minute we got home and let just sit out), then layer in thickly-cut fresh tomatoes, then the cooked chard/onion mix (oh, go ahead and look it up – you KNOW you want to!), plus the aforementioned gruyere. Repeat, and end with the last of the bread.  Then you do some magic to it (get the recipe!) and put it in the oven. For an  hour. And a bit.

photo of the sandwich - layers of bread, tomato, cheese & chard

See? It’s a sandwich. Sigh.

When I showed the photo of the casserole to my oldest son, he said to me, “Oh. A sandwich.”

I felt like such an idiot. Because duh, this is exactly that. A sandwich. True, a hot sandwich with no meat in it and a nifty sense of France, but still…a sandwich. With expensive and yummy cheese in it.

Seduced again by Food & Wine. (Recipe, page 100 of the August 2012 Food & Wine Magazine)

What are you cooking this week?

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Hey, all month I’m over at The Romance Reviews for their Sizzling Summer Event!

Lots of contests and freebies and Author Chats – I’m there Saturday, July 14th.  Drop on by and say “hey” !


Two Rich Reds…

Two Rich Reds…

In these days of high unemployment and global financial crisis, it’s nice to relax with a bottle of wine that doesn’t break your pocketbook. I’m here to sort out the memorable from the truly awful, and each bottle is under $10 unless otherwise noted.

I’ve got two rich red wines to discuss today – one Pinot Noir from a vintner I’ve never heard of, and a red wine blend from an old friend. Settle back and enjoy!

Barrel Ranch Pinot Noir, 2009  Terravant Wine Company, Buellton, California Exclusively for Fresh N’ Easy Neighborhood Market Inc. $9.99 on Special at Fresh N’ Easy

On the Label: “Ranches once dominated the cool regions of California’s expansive coastlines, built by settlers in pursuit of the American Dream. Today many of these heritage ranches are surrounded by the finest wine vineyards, each quietly paying tribute to the early settlers by continuing the very dream they once established.

“This stylish Pinot Noir excites with bright red cherry and earthy aromas. Elegant and complex flavors of newly picked raspberry, ripe strawberry and hints of locally grown mushrooms complete this showcase of a classic fine wine.”

My Take: I liked this wine. It has a warmth to it, a big – yet not too big – mouth, and is a come-sit-down-relax-and-sip wine. It’s a, you’ve-had-a-hard-day wine. Undemanding, yet full of flavor and just the right bite of spice (not too heavy, I swear), it’s another go-to pinot noir for me. From what I read online at Fresh & Easy Wine Reviews, it’s an exclusive to their stores so don’t go looking for it elsewhere. I’m not a fan of the label, though –  I just had fresh strawberries and raspberries for lunch – the best strawberries I’ve had all year, too – and I didn’t taste either of those flavors in the wine. Please, wineries, don’t tell me what I SHOULD be tasting! Let me figure it out for myself.

My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ But don’t look for it in your local grocery store!

Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Summation Red Wine Blend California 2008 $9.99 at Vons

On the Label: “The whole is more than the sum of its parts. Inspired by Bordeaux style wines, Summation blends classic red varietals into a beautifully layered, complex whole. Smoother than Cabernet Sauvignon, richer than Merlot, more balanced than Zinfandel, this red wine blend offers intriguing flavors and aromas; roasted coffee, dark chocolate, pomegranate and black cherry intertwine to offer a multi-layered mouthfeel and sumptuous texture.”  –Founder, Jess S. Jackson

My Take: I liked this wine. Not as much as the Barrel Ranch Pinot, but it was a nice wine, complex and yet balanced. Maybe deeper in flavor than the Pinot. It went very well with grilled hamburgers (a rare treat now at our house) and smashed potatoes. This is another far too chatty label, telling me what I should taste in the wine. So I do loathe labels like this one. However, it doesn’t stop me from liking the wine!

My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~

Next week, I’ll post some terrific recipes (in advance of Thanksgiving) for mulled wine. Stay tuned!

As usual, this is just my honest opinion and depend upon my mood, the weather, and what cycle the moon is in. Your taste buds will differ.

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

One more thing…

DEMON SOUL was nominated for an award! Go check it out!