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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Garlic & Herb Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

This has got to be the easiest recipe, especially if you love stuffed mushrooms like I do. In fact, my daughters (ages 14 and 9) put these together without any help from me. Last spring, I was speaking with my hairdresser, Michelle and she asked if I had a good recipe for an appetizer that she needed to bring with her for Easter dinner. Because she is also the owner of the salon, she's also quite busy and didn't have a lot of time. I suggested she try these stuffed mushrooms since she could make them the night before and leave them in the refrigerator until they were ready to be baked. Well, she said it was a hit and everyone loved them (and she said she has even made them on other occasions since).  They are really quite good and perfect in a pinch if you are having a last minute get-together.  

Garlic & Herb Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

16 Extra Large White Mushrooms
1-8oz Container Garlic Herb Cheese Spread, like Alouette®
1 c. All-Purpose Flour
Egg Wash (3 Eggs with ¼ c. Milk)
½ c.  Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs
½ c. Panko Breadcrumbs
Cooking Spray

1. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and discard; then gently wash off the tops. 
2. Fill each mushroom with the cheese until it is level with the top of the mushroom. 
3. In three separate bowls; add flour, egg wash and breadcrumbs. 
4. Dredge the mushroom first in flour, then in the egg wash and then in the breadcrumbs. 
Place on baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Repeat for all mushrooms.  Bake at 350°F or approximately 20-25 minutes or until cheese starts to bubble. Serves 8.


Did you like this recipe? You can find this along with many other ideas in my cookbook Carrie's Experimental Kitchen available at, and IndieBound

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rosemary Semolina Boule Bread

Rosemary Semolina Boule Bread
  • 5 c. Bread Flour
  • 2 c. Stone Ground Yellow Cornmeal
  • 1 Package Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 tbsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh Rosemary
  • 2 1/2 c. Warm Water
  • 1/4 c. Cornmeal
  1. Add flour, cornmeal, yeast, salt and rosemary to a 14 cup food processor. 
  2. Pulse until all ingredients have been blended then gradually pour the water in from the top of the machine, with the machine still running. 
  3. When the dough starts to attach itself to the blade in a sticky, smooth ball, let it go for another minute then stop the machine. 
  4. Carefully remove the dough and place into a floured bowl. 
  5. Coat all sides of the ball with the flour, cover with a clean dishcloth and let it sit for 2 hours; allowing the dough to rise. 
  6. Cut the dough into four equal pieces and shape them into smaller balls; try not to handle the dough too much you want to keep some air in the bread. 
  7. Let rest 15 minutes and preheat your oven to 450°F. 
  8. Sprinkle a baking sheet with the cornmeal and add another baking sheet under the top pan (this will prevent the bread from burning on the bottom before it is fully cooked). 
  9. Place your loaves on the pan and make 2 cuts into the top of each loaf. 
  10. Bake for 25 minutes until the top of the bread is golden brown; spraying the tops of the bread with water twice during cooking time (this will help make for a crunchy crust). 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chicken Ditalini Soup

I have to say that I currently know of at least ten people at this very moment who are sick, including your's truly (and for my sick family and friends, this one's for you!). According to an interview by MSNBC with Nutritionist Joy Bauer several years ago, it also DOES help you when your sick. First, hot fluids in general help keep nasal passages moist, increase mucus, prevent dehydration and sooth a sore throat. And the psychological comfort that soup provides may also have an effect for those who are feeling ill. But most interesting is the supportive evidence that was shown in a scientific study, led by Dr. Stephan Rennard out of University of Nebraska. Researchers found that chicken soup with a variety of veggies, may contain substances that function as an anti-inflammatory and potentially ease the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections, including congestion, stuffy nose, cough, and sore throat. In other words, a healthy dose of chicken soup with veggies is good for a cold. So, this is what I made myself for lunch today and I can already breathe clearer...AHHH!

Chicken Ditalini Soup
1 lg. Chicken Breast, bone in
1 Stalk of Celery, chopped
8 Baby Carrots, sliced
¼ c. Red Onion, chopped
1 tbsp. Canola Oil
4 c. Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
4 c. Chicken Stock Water
½ c. Ditalini
1 tbsp. Parsley, finely chopped
Kosher Salt, to taste
Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

In a large pot, add chicken and 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil; then let simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and discard the skin and bone. Chop into a small dice and let sit for the moment. Strain the chicken stock water so that you have a clear broth and reserve on the side (there should be 4 c. of stock water).  Using the same pot, heat the oil and add the celery, carrots and onions. Sauté until the onions become translucent and add back in the chicken, chicken broth and chicken stock water. Bring to a rolling boil then simmer for 45 minutes. Add the Ditalini and cook for another 15-20 minutes. Makes 8 cups. 


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lime Bars

My kids LOVE Key Lime Pie. I may have mentioned it once or twice before. So when I came across this recipe for Lime Bars from Brandy's Baking Blog back in July, I couldn't help but print it out in hopes of trying it out one of these days. O.M.G.!!!!! She was totally right! These lime bars were creamy, slightly tart but not too much and not overly sweet. She had adapted this slightly from the Evil Shenanigans blog herself (which is why I also want to give props to them as well). So, even though this is not my recipe, I couldn't help but share it with all of you. Give them a try, you really won't be disappointed! This was so easy, especially for a non-baker like myself. (See you can tell by the picture I can't even cut them into nice even squares.) Not a fan of limes? I think next time I'm going to try them with some Meyer Lemons! (Hey Mom, this is a hint to bring some up from FL when you come!). 

Lime Bars
For the crust:
1 1/4 sleeves of graham crackers
6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
zest of one lime

For the filling:
2 large egg yolks
1-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lime juice

1. Heat the oven to 350F.  Line an 8″ square pan with parchment paper that hangs over the edge of the pan by a few inches (so you can remove the bars from the pan more easily).  Grease the parchment paper.
2.  Place the graham crackers, sugar, and lime zest in a food processor.  Pulse until the graham crackers are reduced to fine crumbs and the mixture is well combined.  Turn on the food processor and slowly stream in melted butter until all crumbs are coated.  Press crumb mixture evenly into the prepared pan.  Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
3.  Once the crust is cooled, combine the egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk until well mixed. Stir in the lime juice and combine. It will begin to thicken slightly.  Pour the filling into the crust, making sure the filling reaches the edges. Bake for 15 minutes, or until just set.
4.  Cool to room temperature, then chill for several hours or overnight.  Pull the bars out of the pan using the parchment paper and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares with a sharp knife, wiping the knife clean with a damp cloth between cuts.  Store in the refrigerator.  


Monday, September 12, 2011

Horseradish, Garlic & Rosemary Encrusted Roast Beef Served with Au Gratin Potatoes

Fall is here. Not officially of course, but in this house it might as well be. School is back in session. Weeknights are filled with carting the kids back and forth to their cheer practices and weekends are consumed with township football games. Why just today, I noticed that some of the leaves are starting to change. Where did this year go?? So after a fun filled weekend of Bunco, birthday parties and football, I wanted to ring in our first game(well at least the first game I attended-we were away over Labor Day weekend) by making a roast beef dinner after we got home and just relax for the what was left of the weekend. I definitely tend to cook differently in the fall/winter months vs. the spring/summer; as I'm sure most of you do as well. When the weather starts to get cooler, my family and I long for comfort food and this is a good one. Plus, it was a big enough roast that I would more than likely have leftovers (so I could make my Beef Barley Soup the next night...recipe to follow!) If you're not sure which cut of meat to buy, here is a guide:

Horseradish, Garlic & Rosemary Encrusted Roast Beef
2-3lb. Beef Eye Round or Beef Round Top Round Roast
2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. Prepared Horseradish
1 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp. Fresh Ground Black Pepper
2 Cups Beef Broth

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, horseradish, rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper until it forms a paste. Add meat to a baking dish and spread the mixture on top. Add 1 cup of the beef broth to the bottom of the pan and place in the oven. Cook for approximately 1hour or until desired doneness. Baste every 30 minutes and add the remaining beef broth when the roast is halfway done. (Don't add all of the broth in the beginning or you will boil your meat). Serves 4-6.

To make gravy:
1 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1-2 tsp. Cold Water
Pan Drippings

Mix the cornstarch and water together until the cornstarch has dissolved. Add the pan drippings to a small pot and heat over medium-high heat. Gradually add the cornstarch mixture and stir continuously until your gravy has thickened.

Nutrition Facts per Serving
Calories 384, Carbs .8g, Fat 16.3g, Protein 55.2g, Fiber .1g, Sugar .2g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate. 

I normally make a traditional mashed potato with this but I was in the mood for Au Gratin potatoes. I have never actually made them before but I must have had them at a relative or friends house though because I found a recipe for them on lined post it paper in my recipe box and must have forgotten about them. So if this is yours, let me know so I can give proper credit where credit is due. =)  This particular recipe; however, called for Gruyere cheese. Which I didn't have. It also called for quite a bit of butter. Which I didn't want to use. So I did adapt it slightly from the original version and boy were these DE..LIC..IOUS!!! They were so creamy (well of course they are, they're made with heavy cream!) and the potatoes were perfectly cooked--not too hard, not too mushy. Though we were all fighting to see who could get most of the browned top (we love burnt edges in this house).

Au Gratin Potatoes
1 1/2 lbs. Russet Potatoes (Approx. 6)
1 Tbsp. Butter
3 oz. Havarti Cheese, shredded
1 Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, grated
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp. Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1/8 tsp. Ground Paprika

Peel potatoes, rinse well and slice them into 1/4" thick slices. Melt butter and grease a 9"x9" baking dish.  Place a layer of potatoes, then sprinkle some of each of the cheeses. Layer this way until you reach the top of the pan. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream, salt, pepper and paprika. Pour over the potatoes and bake at 375°F for 1- 1 1/4 hours until the top is bubbly and golden brown. Serves 4-6. 


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bunco Apple Theme Party: Sausage, Apple & Sage Stuffed Bread, Brie en Croute with Apples, Cinnamon & Pecans and a Red Apple Sangria

First, let me start off by saying I thought I would never in a MILLION years ever belong to a Bunco group, let alone love it. I knew people over the years that played and they would occasionally ask me to fill in but I never managed to actually attend one of these games. Earlier this year, a bunch of my friends decided to start our own group. I originally only committed to being a substitute player for when someone couldn't make it but was moved to a regular player a couple of months ago after someone dropped out. I figured what the hay since it was only once per month and we all take turns hosting the game at our house. What is Bunco you ask? Officially speaking and the way we interpret the game is #2 below:

bun·co also bun·ko (bung' ko)
n. pl. bun·cos, also bun·kos
1. A swindle in which an unsuspecting person is cheated; a confidence game.
2. A parlor game played in teams with three dice.
3. A winning throw in the above game; three of a kind of a specified number.

[Probably alteration of Spanish banca, card game, from Italian banca, bank, of Germanic origin.].

In simple terms, it's a night where 12 women get together, leaving their significant others, children and troubles behind, and have a fun night out with food, drink and TONS of laughter and oh yeah, roll some dice. (What happens at Bunco, stays at Bunco is our favorite motto!). Click here if you would like the complete rules of the game..though there are variations depending on your specific group. So what does all of this have to do with a food blog you ask? It was my turn to host this past Friday night. Yes, I get September. What the heck do you do in September as a theme? I couldn't get April like my friend Jenn where we all wore bunny ears or Donna where we had a Mardi Gras theme. I started thinking and all I came up with was Football and Back to School themes. Though I do love football, I'm not an avid watcher (except for the teams my daughters cheer for that is) nor did I feel like hosting a tailgating party with chili and beer. So, I opted for an Apple theme (get it, back to school, apples for the teacher, apple picking..whatever, it worked for Anyway, I started thinking of different food and drinks that I could make using apples and came up with Sausage, Apple and Sage Stuffed Bread, Brie en Croute with Apples, Cinnamon and Pecans and a Red Apple Sangria. Luckily for me, they were a hit and we all had a great night!

This bread was so easy to put together, in fact, I par cooked it the morning of, then just wrapped it in foil to finish it off right before my guests arrived. The sweetness of the apples mixed with the sausage was a unique and tasty twist on an old favorite. 

Sausage, Apple and Sage Stuffed Bread
1 lb. Pizza Dough
4 Links Cheese and Parsley Sausage, casings removed
2 Paula Red or Macintosh Apples, peeled and cored
6 Fresh Sage Leaves, finely chopped
1 Cup Shredded Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese
1 Tbsp. Canola Oil

In a large frying pan, add the sausage. Break it down to small pieces while browning until it is completely cooked; approximately 8-10  minutes. While the sausage is browning, slice the apples into 8 wedges, then slice into 1/4" small pieces. Add the apples and sage to the sausage and simmer 2-3 minutes until the apples start to get soft. Roll out the dough into a rectangle about ¼” thick. Add the sausage mixture to cover entire dough area leaving ¼” border around all sides. Top with shredded cheese. Gently roll from left to right, sealing the ends by pinching the dough together. Place seam side down on lightly greased baking sheet. Brush top of loaf with the oil and bake at 425°F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Slice and serve hot. Serves 12. 

For the next appetizer, I used the same theory as my Baked Brie with Dried Cherries but this time I topped the cheese with apples, cinnamon and pecans. I even threw in some Agave syrup to help bind it together to make a paste. This was incredible if I don't say so myself but how can you go wrong with apples and cinnamon?! Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of this one. I wasn't paying attention(my guests started to arrive and I was busy greeting them at the front door) and the cheese cooked a little longer than I had wanted and it started oozing out of the side. One minute fine, the next a slight mess. Didn't matter though and no one seemed to care. My husband was just glad there was some left for him to try after he got home (did I mention when hosting you also kick your family out of the house to fend for themselves for the night? =) ).

Brie en Croute with Apples, Cinnamon & Pecans
1- 19oz. Brie
1 Macintosh Apple, cored, peeled and sliced into 1/4" thick slices
1/3 Cup Pecans
1 tsp. Butter
2 Tbsp. Agave Syrup
1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 Pkg. Refrigerated Crescent Roll Dough

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place whole pecans on a baking sheet and bake approximately 5 minutes until lightly toasted. Remove from the oven, cool and finely chop. While pecans are in the oven, heat a small sauté pan over low heat and melt the butter. Add apples and cinnamon and cook approximately 3-5 minutes until apples start to soften. Add the pecans and Agave syrup and mix well; forming a paste. Using a small knife, scrape off the white coating on all sides of the Brie. Add the apple mixture to the top of the Brie. Open the crescent roll dough and using a rolling pin, roll it out so that it will cover the entire Brie. (It's ok if you have to piece it together). Cover Brie with the dough and place on a baking sheet Cover Brie with the dough and place on a baking sheet with the seam side down. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with crackers. Serves 10-12. 

Now, last but certainly not least, was the Red Apple Sangria. Since most of my friends are red wine drinkers, this was a no brainer. Sangria has become our favorite summertime drink and now with the cooler weather approaching, it will be back to regular wine (no other reason for me other than Sangria makes the perfect cool drink on a hot summer day). The regular Sangria I make is citrus based so this time, I altered the juices, added a little fizz at the end and it was also a hit. Now remember, I was making this for 12 people so feel free to cut this recipe in half. 

Red Apple Sangria
2 Bottles Dry Red Wine (I used Ocasa Malbec)
2 Cups Red Apple Schnapps
2 Cups Apple Juice
2 Cups Pineapple Juice
1 Cup Cranberry Juice
7 Up or Sprite
1 Apple
1 Peach
1 Pear

In a large pitcher, add the first 5 ingredients and mix well. Peel, core and slice the fruit into 1/4" thick slices and add to the wine mixture. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours for better flavor. Pour Sangria into a glass filled with ice about 3/4 of the way full. Add a splash of soda right before drinking to each glass. Serves 10-12. 


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Black Bean Zucchini Fritters

Guess what? I still have more zucchini to use up! I think this is the never ending supply this summer. Thank goodness I love it but I wasn't sure what I was going to try next. While I was in FL last week, I had posted a restaurant review where I had tried Black Bean Cakes. They were amazing but more on the spicy side served with guacamole, salsa and sour cream. I liked them so much I figured I'd give mine a little Mediterranean twist and throw in some of that zucchini too (Shhh..don't tell the kids, they'll never know!). These fritters were to die for and I could make an entire meal out of them alone! By using the self rising flour they puffed up like a cake but were light and fluffy, not dense like a regular black bean cake and the lemon and basil gave them such a fresh taste. **One side them immediately for the best flavor. I had made my husband a plate for dinner to eat after he got home from work and after they were reheated in the microwave, they were REALLY dry.

Black Bean Zucchini Fritters
1-15oz. Can Black Beans, rinsed well
1 Cup Zucchini, skin on and grated
1 Clove Garlic
2 Tbsp. Fresh Basil, chopped
2 tsp. Lemon Zest
1/2 Cup Self Rising Flour
2 Egg Whites
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1/4 tsp. Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Canola Oil, for frying

Add all ingredients to a bowl. Mix well until it looks like a thick, sticky batter. Heat approximately 1" of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Gently drop a heaping kitchen tablespoon (a.k.a.soup spoon) of the mixture and flatten. Fry 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels or a brown paper bag to remove excess oil. Makes 8-10.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Carrie's Wine List Part Due (that's 2 in Italian) :)

Since my original Wine List post back in June, I have tasted some AMAZING wines this summer throughout my travels to add to my selection. During the past week alone, I have had three separate wines that were delivered to my Mother's home from Laithwaites Wine out of the UK (a monthly wine of the month program). Luckily for me, my Mom loves deep red, dry wines just as much as I do! I never was one to purchase from a wine of the month club but seeing as how we didn't have a bad one yet, I may have changed my mind. Remember, as much as I love food, I can't describe how a wine tastes..."Oh it's so fruity with a hint of oak...blah, blah, blah". I just know it tastes damn good, pares well with just about anything I eat (especially since I don't like ANY white wine even though I know it's supposed to go better with chicken or fish), and doesn't give me a migraine headache the next morning. That's how I judge my wine....take it or leave putting on airs here. Some of the wines I mention below, I can't find locally. Simply type the name into your Google search engine, and it will show you where you can find this type of variety in your area.  

So drum roll please.....And for those of you who take your wine more seriously ("Excuse me, do you have any Grey Poupon?), I've also included a brief description and a helpful image of the wine label---I know it helps me (I only "get it" if it's visual!) 

Monasterio de Santa Cruz 2008--"From a great small estate, this delicious gem is a must-try for fans of fruity Rioja and Ribera. Monasterio is a red you know you can rely on ... mouthfillingly rich and mellow, crafted by one of Spain's winemaking masters - and amazing value given its quality credentials. Tarragona has long been an insider's secret. Its soaring temperatures and ancient vineyards produce wines of remarkable intensity. Here, winemaker Mario Garcia combines deeply aromatic Monastrell with a dash of noble Tempranillo for a deliciously smooth red." 
$12.99/bottle USA

H J. Fabre Malbec 2009--"Hervé is at it again! Judges recently awarded his 2009 Reserva the gold medal at the 2011 Argentina Wine Awards. Seventeen years ago, Hervé and Dianne Fabre left their native Bordeaux for Argentina and now run one of the country’s leading estates. Rigorous vineyard management keeps grape yields low (and flavor and color concentration high) while the non-use of herbicides benefits both the local environment and the wine. The result? Hervé's 2009 Reserva is an utterly delicious barrel-aged classic with intense color, a fragrant nose of chocolate and blackberry and considerable flavor complexity. If you like to drink wine with your steak, this is red for you."
$17.99/bottle USA

The Patriots Merlot--"8,000 miles, 1,000 wines - one gloriously smooth Merlot! The Patriots has Bordeaux style elegance plus a smooth juiciness that's uniquely Chilean - gently oaked with silken berry flavours. And the Santa Rita estate (highly regarded by fine wine critic Robert Parker) helped shape Chile's history - its cellar proved a useful hiding place for Chilean patriots fighting for independence from Spain in 1814."

$12.99/bottle USA

Go figure...they're from Spain, Chile or Argentina! I LOVE dry red wines and I think you'll like them too.  Now, here are some other wines I tried over the last few months. Let me know what you think of them as well. Some I have tried at restaurants, some I purchased at my local wine store. I'm amazed at how much of a markup the restaurants get for these wines but this list is helpful when you're being asked by a sommelier which wine you would like to have off of their wine list. 

il Volano Toscana--"This super culty and incredible producer has turned yet another stunning, top value effort. Mostly Sangiovese, this has great purity of red fruits with just a kiss of plum, but shows great balance of earthy aspects and soft acidity. This is more than your average pizza and pasta wine! 75% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, Cannaiolo Nero, Merlot." 
$9.99/Bottle USA

Querceto Chianti Classico 2008--"Brilliant ruby red with a delicate and appealing bouquet. Dry and balanced, with a soft and elegant body. Pair with red meat dishes and cheese. Alessandro François based the philosophy of his company on the production of some particular selections coming from a deep study of the vineyards properties. His aim is to raise the characteristics and the potentialities of the different grape varieties cultivated in different conditions. 88 Points. "
$13.29/bottle USA

Clos de los Siete Super Red Blend 2008

 --"A collaborative project by seven producers under the banner of Michel Rolland, this is a blend of composed of Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. Very dark in the glass, this is not a shy wine.
critical acclaim:"Quite ripe, but focused and juicy, with blueberry, açaí berry and bramble notes laced with fruitcake and spice hints. A nice briary edge keeps the finish honest. Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Verdot. Drink now. " 89 Points 
$18.79/bottle USA

Clos du Bois Alexander Valley Reserve Merlot 2007--This inky, ruby red Merlot has developed aromas of toasted oak, blackberry and baking spice that segues into a round, full-bodied wine with great concentration, strong tannins and black cherry flavors. This is a serious Merlot that Cabernet lovers may want to savor. This full-bodied Merlot is a perfect match for meaty dishes made of beef or lamb or more subtle pairings built around earthy flavors, such as mushrooms and herbs."
$19.79/bottle USA

Trumpeter Malbec 2010

 --"Inky and dense with attractive berry aromas and a touch of cinnamon and sweet spice. A fully, fruity wine, with excellent body, intense tannins, flavors of cherry, blackberry, boysenberry and plum intermingled with hints of cardamom and pepper, and a long, full finish."
$10.29/bottle USA 

Luccarelli Pazzia Primitivo Di Manduria Old Vines 2007 750ML--"Intense ruby red colour; wide and complex to the nose. Fruity with prunes and slightly spicy. Full-bodied wine, soft and rich with fine tannins; notes of cocoa, coffee and vanilla on the finish."

$29.99/bottle USA (This was one I had out at a restaurant)

Vina Alicia Paso de Piedra Malbec 2007-- Wine Advocate 89 Points "The 2007 Malbec Paso de Piedra spent 10 months in barrel. Purple-colored, it offers up a fragrant bouquet of spice box, violets, black cherry, and plum. On the palate it has excellent depth and concentration, layers of spicy black fruit, light tannin, and 2-3 years of aging potential. This is a super value that over-delivers big-time."
$17.99/bottle USA

Bodega Norton Malbec Reserva 2007

 --#90 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2010. "Deep red color with hints of purple. Expressive on the nose with notes of ripe black fruits, violets, and tobacco. Long finish. 100%, 12 months in first and second use french oak barrels 10 months before release."
critical acclaim: "Very ripe and primal still, delivering a large core of velvety textured raspberry, fig and boysenberry fruit that is liberally laced with dark toast, pastis and roasted vanilla. Should settle in nicely with modest cellaring, as the structure is dense, but polished and integrated. Drink now through 2011. 61,000 cases imported."
$14.99/bottle at Gary's Wine and Marketplace(one of my new favorites!)

Brunello di Montalcino--"Colour: ruby red closer to pomegranate, after some years acquires a tint of amber. Aroma: complex intensive and elegant bouquet with scent of undergrowth and predominance of violet and musk. Taste: the taste is strong, hot, dry but not much, pleasantly tanninic, lively, harmonious and lingering."
$27-$62 Depending on the year

2007 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre--Antonio Galloni Wine Advocate 90 Points. "Enticing scents of chocolate, espresso, dark fruit, licorice and new leather emerge from the boisterous 2007 Palazzo della Torre. This wine is produced using an innovative RIPASSO method. Well-structured, smooth and rounded, this wine is characterised by a long, elegant finish. Deep ruby red in colour, it has a delicious wild berry perfume, with flavour of raisins. The grapes Corvina Veronese, Rondinella and Sangiovese from the Palazzo della Torre vineyard follow two different paths: 70 % of the grapes are vinified immediately after the harvest, the remaining percentage is dried until the end of December. At this point, the wine ferments again with the dried grapes."

$14.99/bottle USA (at Gary's Wine and Marketplace; another one of my favorites!)

Ok so now here's the BAD WINE LIST! I don't remember why these made the list whether it was taste or headache, but in any event, they're here and I don't recommend them. Luckily, there were only 2. :)

TriVento Amado Sur Torrontes 2009

Cecchi Bonizio Sangiovese di Maremma Toscana