Sweet Potato Soup & Cabernet Franc

The sweet potato soup garnished with bacon and sage paired with the 2011 Barboursville Cabernet Franc Reserve from Orange County, Virginia is a delightful pairing. I really love the way the rich berry notes and caramelized fig flavors in the wine bring out the sweetness in the potato. The slight herbaceous notes in the wine bring the sage to life. The bacon add just a touch of texture and richness to the dish!

Recipe: Sweet Potato Soup 


4 large sweet potatoes (peeled & cut into equal size large dice)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 cup chicken stock (add more if you like your soup a little thinner)
1/4 cup chopped sage (garnish)
crumbled bacon or pancetta (garnish)


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Put sweet potatoes on sheet tray and toss with olive oil, salt & pepper.  Roast for 45 minutes to an hour until fork tender.
Remove from oven and transfer to food processor. Add chicken stock and pulse until well combined. Transfer sweet potatoes to medium saucepan and add nutmeg and salt & pepper to taste.  Warm through and serve. Add sage and bacon for garnish. Serves 4. Enjoy!


Paleo Pairing: Short Ribs & Syrah

A snow day calls for a hearty meal of braised short ribs paired with a big meaty Syrah. I gave my delicious short rib sliders a Paleo friendly make-over.

My Paleo Pairing for day 29 features Short Ribs & Syrah! The Cakebread Cellars Syrah is outstanding with this dish. A great bold, jammy & spicy Zinfandel would also do the trick. Check out some of my go to Zins here.


8 short ribs (trimmed of excess fat)
Salt  & Pepper
2 tbls. olive oil

4 carrots
4 stalks of celery
1 large yellow onion
1/2 medium fennel bulb
4 sprigs rosemary & thyme
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 bottle dry red wine (Bordeaux, Cotes du Rhone, Chianti)
1 qt. low-sodium, gluten-free chicken stock
1 tbsp. juniper berries
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce


Pre-heat oven to 350°

In a large dutch oven, drizzle a thin layer of oil over medium heat. Pat dry meat with paper towels in order to get a better sear. Generously coat short ribs with salt and pepper.   Once the oil has a slight shimmer place the short ribs in pan and let brown on all sides – about 4-5 minutes per side. Patience is key here. This is where all the flavor develops.

While the beef is caramelizing, place carrots, celery, onion, garlic and ½ the fennel bulb in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.

Once beef is browned on all sides, remove from pan.  Add chopped veggies to the beef rendering and caramelize for 10-12 minutes.  Once veggies are caramelized, add tomato paste and let cook 2 minutes.  Add red wine and deglaze pan. Let reduce for 10 minutes.  Add 1 quart low sodium chicken or beef stock, rosemary & thyme bundle, juniper berries and bay leaf and stir.  Gently place short ribs in dutch oven. Make sure there’s enough liquid covering all the ribs. You can add extra stock if needed.

Cover dutch oven and place in oven at 350° for 4 hours. Check halfway through the cooking process and turn the meat and ensure it’s fully covered.  Serve short ribs over smashed sweet potatoes.


Paleo Pairing: Barbera & Chicken Marinara

It looks like mother nature has an interesting sense of humor. We are expecting  a foot of snow in coastal Virginia.  Since I will be snowed in for the next few days, I will need to get creative with my Paleo Pairings this week. Tonight, my meal was inspired by a nice bottle of Barbera.

My Paleo Pairing for day 28 features Chicken Marinara & Barbera.  Barbera is a grape from the Piedmont region of Northwest Italy. It is one of my go to pizza wines. It is the 3rd most planted grape in Italy.  Barbera is high in acidity and low in tannins making it a versatile food friendly wine. Barbera also offers great value.  The Wall Street Journal recently posted a great piece on Barbera wines. You will normally see Barbera d’Asti or Barbera d’Alba on wine labels. That simply means the Barbera grape from the Asti or Alba region. Pio Cesare and Vietti are excellent producers.


4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup almond flour
1 tbsp. sea salt
1/2 tbsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 cup olive oil

Easy Marinara Sauce

1 can crushed tomatoes (San Marzano)
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 garlic cloves
1 onion (small dice)
1/4 cup dry red wine (Barbera)
1 tbsp. sea salt
1/2 tbsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. sugar


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

For the easy marinara sauce, heat olive over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Add minced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for about 30 seconds to release aromatics. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer over low heat.

Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Dredge in almond flour, making sure chicken is well coated. Heat olive oil in large sauté pan (oven proof). Sear chicken for about 5-7 minutes, until golden brown. Turn chicken and place pan in oven for 25 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes. Top with marinara sauce and serve.


Paleo Pairing: Beef Tenderloin & Napa Cab

The last Sunday of our Paleo Pairing challenge calls for a succulent beef tenderloin and a Napa Cab!

My Paleo Pairing for day 26 features a 2008 “Eileen” Cabernet Sauvignon from Chiarello Vineyards with Beef Tenderloin & Bordeaux Reduction.  This wine is full-bodied and complex with bold dark fruit of blackberry and cassis, a hint of mocha, velvety tannins and a long elegant finish. This wine is  a real powerhouse and the perfect match for beef tenderloin.  We had our first bottle of this for our anniversary last year at Michael Chiarello’s restaurant Bottega in Yountville, California. I have become a big fan of the Chiarello Family Vineyards.  We ordered this wine from their website.  It’s a little bit of slurge, but worth every penny!





3lb beef tenderloin
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper

Bordeaux Reduction

1 package of baby portobellos
2 shallots
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. Worcestershire
1 bottle Bordeaux (under $15)
4 thyme sprigs
4 rosemary sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. peppercorns


Heat olive oil in large pot, add shallots and mushrooms and cook for about 15 minutes until slightly caramelized. Add sugar and stir. Let cook for another 5 minutes to get a really deep caramelized color. Add worcestershire sauce and stir. Add wine and bring to a boil. Leave the sauce on a low boil for about 20-25 minutes until the wine reduces by about half.  Add chicken or beef stock and the rest of the seasoning and bring to a boil. Once the sauce comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 45 minutes.  Makes approximately cups of reduction. Sauce can be made up to 2 days in advance.

The meat will sear better if you remove the beef from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you plan on cooking it. Pat the beef tenderloin with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Add salt & pepper on all side of the tenderloin.  In a dutch oven of oven proof pan, sear tenderloin on all sides – about 5-7 minutes total.  Transfer to oven and cook for 22-24 minutes for medium rare. Remove from oven and transfer to platter and cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing.  Serve with reduction sauce and a side of roasted asparagus.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps & Vinho Verde

Chicken Lettuce Wraps paired with a bright, effervescent Vinho Verde is an excellent pairing on a warm day.  Vinho Verde comes from the Minho provence along the coast of northern  Portugal. Vinho Verde is not a grape varietal, but rather a region. The term Vinho Verde means “green wine.” There are more than two dozen permitted white grapes including Alvarinho in Vinho Verde.  These wines are simple and refreshing with bright citrus notes, a hint of salinity due to the proximity of the Atlantic ocean and vibrant acidity. You will also find a light effervescence to this wine because many winemakers add a touch of carbon dioxide before bottling.  It’s a great summer sipper. It’s also excellent with mexican food and seafood. Drink young. The best part, these wines are incredible affordable starting at about $9 for a decent bottle.  Check out the Gazela. I like the way the lime notes bring out the cilantro in the lettuce wraps. Of course, there are some wonderfully complex Vinho Verdes that come with a higher price tag. Looking for a little splurge, check out the Monte Cascas (SRP: under $20).  This wine boasts aromas of freshly squeezed key lime juice, honeydew melon & agave nectar tantalizing your senses. This a light, dry & crisp summer wine with piercing acidity. It’s the perfect accompaniment to an array of fresh Mexican dishes especially Guacamole with lime infused tortilla chips. If you are going to add some spice to your lettuce wraps, reach for bottle of off-dry Riesling. The touch of residual sugar is the perfect pairing for spicy fare.

Recipe: Chicken Lettuce Wraps 


8 lettuce leaves (Bibb)
1 avocado
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 lime (juice)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 cups shredded chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken)
1/2 cup salsa
2 scallions (thinly sliced)


In a small bowl, mash avocado with salt, pepper, cumin & garlic powder. Set aside. In a separate bowl toss shredded chicken, lime juice and cilantro.  Separate and wash lettuce leaves and pat dry with paper towel. Divide avocado spread among the 8 lettuce leaves. Top with shredded chicken mixture. Add salsa & scallions. Serve immediately.

Paleo Pairing: Vino Nobile & Swordfish

When it comes to food, there’s nothing better than a hearty Italian meal shared with family & friends. I have such a passion for Italian cooking and believe it or not there’s so much more than bread and cheese. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore cheese, but we all know it’s not Paleo friendly. So tonight I am making a dish you would typically find in northern Italy. A flavorful roasted swordfish with eggplant, capers and tomatoes paired with an awesome Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

Most people tend to reach for a white wine with swordfish, but keep in mind it depends on the type of fish and the sauce also plays a huge role in determining the right wine pairing. Swordfish is a rich, meaty fish and can definitely stand up to a red wine.  For this dish, I mirrored the acidity of the sauce with my wine selection.  The eggplant, tomatoes and rosemary are a great flavor profile to pair with the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. If you were doing a lemon sauce, I would stick with a dry white wine like a Pinot Bianco or Falanghina.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano comes from Tuscany and is one of three Sangiovese DOCG zones in the region.  Vino Nobile is  made from the Sangiovese Prugnolo grape whereas Brunello di Montalcino is made from Sangiovese Grosso and Chianti is made from the Sangiovese Piccolo grape.  They are all different mutations of Sangiovese. Vino Nobile is also the smallest zone. This area produces exceptional wines that are typically medium-bodied with vibrant red fruit of raspberry and cherry, hints of anise and tea, velvety tannins and vibrant acidity.  If you love Brunello, but don’t love the price tag, grab a bottle of this.

For tonight’s meal, I opened up a 2009 Corte alla Flora. I picked this up at Sirena’s in Norfolk for under $30. They offer 40% off the menu price for to-go wines. They have an awesome selection of Italian wines.


4 swordfish steaks
4 tbsp. olive oil
4 garlic cloves minced
2 tbsp. capers
1 tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. sea salt
1/2 tbsp. pepper
1 red onion (medium dice)
1 eggplant (medium dice)
1-28oz can whole tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup dry red wine (Vino Nobile, Pinot, Chianti, Barbera)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine onions and eggplant and place on a sheet tray with 2 tbsp olive oil, a pinch of salt & pepper and roast for 45 minutes. Set aside.

Once veggies are roasted, heat olive oil in ovenproof dutch oven or large skillet over low-medium heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for about 30 seconds to release aromatics. Add  wine and let reduce for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and break up with fork. Add Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, roasted veggies, rosemary sprigs & capers.  Stir until well combined.

Pat dry swordfish with paper towels. Season with salt & pepper. Arrange swordfish steaks on top of tomato mixture and bake for 12 minutes until cooked through.  Toss in parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 4.



Paleo Pairing: Pork Tenderloin & Cotes du Rhone

It’s hard to believe that I am already on the third week of my 31 day Paleo Challenge. Creating flavorful and different meals everyday takes some serious thought when you are eating Paleo, but I am already feeling and seeing the benefits of the extra time in the kitchen.

My Paleo Pairing for day 21 features Pepper Crusted Pork Tenderloin & Cotes du Rhone. Cotes du Rhone are typically Grenache dominated wines blended with Syrah and Mourvedre. The GSM (Grenache, Syrah & Mourvedre) blends are becoming quite popular. These wines are incredibly food friendly.  This wine has dense fruit and spice notes along with soft tannins that make it a nice compliment to the lean pork tenderloin.  An affordable one (under $20)  to try with this for a weeknight meal is the JV Fleury Cotes du Rhone Cairanne. It’s a good introduction to a Cotes du Rhone at a good price point.


2 Pork Tenderloins
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 tbsp. Roasted Garlic Spice Rub –  blend of roasted garlic, rosemary, oregano, thyme, gray salt, chili, and citrus zest
1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper


Add spice rub and pepper to pork tenderloins and coat evenly on all sides. Let marinate in the spice rub for about 30 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large cast iron skillet or dutch oven, heat olive oil until very hot. Add pork tenderloin and sear on all sides.  Place pan in oven and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer to a plate, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Serves 4-6.



Paleo Pairing: Beef Tacos & Zinfandel

Since tacos are a staple in so many households I thought it would be fun to create a Paleo version.  I substituted lettuce wraps for tortillas and used mashed avocados in place of sour cream.  The result was a healthy tasty taco that I will definitely make again.

My Paleo Pairing for day 19 features beef tacos in lettuce wraps paired with a Zinfandel.  You can also opt for a Riesling if you like your tacos on the super spicy side. Other wine pairings would include a Barbera or Beaujolais for a milder version.

Refer to my chili wine pairing for a detailed analysis of spicy food pairings and recommendations on some great Zinfandels.


1 lb lean ground beef (93%)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small jalapeno (seeded and diced)
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper

8 lettuce leaves (Boston lettuce)
2 avocados (mashed)
diced tomatoes (garnish)
scallions (garnish)


Heat olive oil in medium skillet, add beef and let brown.  Add jalapeno and the rest of the seasoning and combine. Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes to combine all the flavors.

Rinse lettuce leaves and pat dry with paper towels. Take a spoonful of smashed avocados, add beef, diced tomatoes and scallions. Serve immediately. Serves 2-4.

Paleo Pairing: Lemon-Caper Flounder & Bordeaux Blanc

My 31 day Paleo challenge continues with my day 18 recipe of pan seared flounder with lemon & capers and a refreshing Bordeaux Blanc.  When most people think of Bordeaux, they tend to think of the world renowned rustic reds, but there are some phenomenal white wines from Bordeaux that are incredibly food friendly. I like to refer to them as the “other” Bordeaux. The white varietals are blended, just like the reds. The main white varietals are Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion and Muscadelle.  These are extremely approachable in their youth. The world famous dessert wine Sauternes is also made from Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.

When seeking out a Bordeaux Blanc look for labels that say Graves, Pessac-Léognan, or Entre-Deux-Mers.

For a splurge, I love the Chateau Carbonnieux Blanc Pessac. This particular wine retails for about $45, however there are some really great ones under $15 a bottle. Keep your eyes open for the following producers Chateau de Bonhoste and Chateau Reynon Blanc.


2  flounder fillets (skinless)
2 tbsp. olive oil or grapeseed oil
1/4 cup almond flour
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. capers
1 small shallot (fine dice)
1 meyer lemon (zest & juice)
1/4 cup dry white wine (Bordeaux Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio)


Pat fish dry and sprinkle with salt & pepper and dredge in almond flour. Heat oil in large sauté pan over medium heat until hot.  Add flounder and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side.  Remove from pan and cover with aluminum foil.  Add shallots and let cook for about 30 seconds. Add wine and deglaze pan.  Add lemon juice, zest and capers and let cook for about 5 minutes to reduce the pan sauce and cook out the alcohol in the wine. Pour pan sauce over fish and serve immediately. Serve with broccolini and mashed parsnips. Serves 2.


5 Spice Stir Fry & Evolution

I was inspired once again by my spice cabinet tonight.  I reached for my 5 spice (star anise, cinnamon, clove, fennel, sichuan pepper), chicken and a bunch of veggies and whipped up a great stir fry and paired it with Evolution.

Evolution is a blend of 9 grapes (Pinot Gris, Riesling, Muscat, Gewurtzraminer, Muller-Thurgau, Semillon, Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner & Chardonnay).  Evolution by Sokol Blosser features aromas of lemon curd, tropical fruit and nectarine.  The wine has a beautiful crisp finish with vibrant fruit. It makes for a phenomenal pairing with stir-fry, sushi and Thai food.  It’s  also a great picnic wine or summer sipper. I picked this up at Whole Foods for under $15.

Recipe: 5 Spice Stir Fry


4 6-oz chicken breasts (thinly sliced)
1 tbsp. olive oil or grapeseed oil
1/4 cup homemade chicken stock
1 tbsp. 5 spice powder
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. fresh minced garlic
2 tbsp. fresh grated ginger
1 leek (thinly sliced)
1 red bell pepper (julienned)
2 cups broccoli
1 head baby bok choy (chopped)


Thinly slice chicken breasts, put in plastic bag or bowl and toss with sesame oil, 5 spice powder and sea salt.  Let marinate for about 30 minutes.

In a wok or large saute pan, heat olive or grapeseed oil over medium-high heat.  Sear chicken in batches. About 5-7 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside in a bowl. Reduce heat to medium-low and add leeks, garlic and ginger. Saute for about 1 minute to release aromatics. Add pepper, broccoli,  bok choy & chicken stock.. Let cook for about 5-7 minutes. Add chicken back in until heated through. Serves 4-6.


Paleo Pairing: Roast Chicken & Ramey Chardonnay

I am revamping my favorite roast chicken recipe and making it Paleo friendly for today’s Paleo Pairing by substituting an olive oil rub for my herb butter and I am also nixing the mashed potatoes.

16 days of a dairy-free, grain-free diet hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would be. It does however require a lot of planning and prep in the kitchen. I will definitely incorporate parts of the Paleo philosophy as part of my diet beyond my January challenge, but I am looking forward to having an occasional treat and reintroducing butter and cheese.

My Paleo Pairing for day 16 of my month-long Paleo challenge features Roast Chicken & Ramey Chardonnay.  Check out my other favorite California Chardonnay producers here.


4-5lb chicken
1 lemon (quartered)
1 head of garlic (cut in half)
1/2 spanish onion
handful thyme & rosemary sprigs
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbs Herbs de Provence (mix with olive oil)
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil for drizzle


Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Remove giblets from chicken cavity and generously salt & pepper cavity.  Stuff the bird with lemon, onion, garlic, thyme & rosemary sprigs. Place chicken in small roasting pan with a rack and truss the legs.  Gently separate the skin from the chicken breast and smear the herbs de provence mixture underneath the skin. This is a great trick that keeps the chicken super juicy! Drizzle a little more olive oil on top of the skin and season with salt & pepper.  Roast chicken for about 1 hr and 15 min or until juices run clear and meat thermometer reads 165 degrees.   A good rule of thumb is about 15 minutes per pound at 425 degrees. If the chicken is getting too brown on the outside, cover with aluminum foil half way through roasting and remove at the end to ensure you have nice crispy skin.

Beef Bourguignon & Burgundy

Julia Child started inspiring amateur cooks and housewives across America when she first brought us her famous Boeuf Bourguignon recipe on The French ChefThis recipe takes about 30 minutes to pull together and another 2 plus hours for cooking, but it’s so worth it! Plus, you’ll have lots of leftovers.

The classic pairing for beef bourguignon is none other than an elegant Burgundy.  For those that don’t know, red Burgundy is made from 100% Pinot Noir from the Burgundy region of France. Until recently, French wine laws did not allow producers to put the varietal on the label.  A change in wine laws now permits this to help European wine makers compete on a more global scale. However, many producers in France are very traditional and have not implemented these changes. When you are shopping in a wine store and see Burgundy on the label and no mention of Pinot Noir, rest assured it’s made from the Pinot grape. There is one exception to this – Beaujolais. Beaujolais is an appellation within Burgundy that’s known for a red wine made from the Gamay grape. While Grand Cru Burgundies are among the most sought after collectible wines in the world, there are some great values out there.  Your best values are going to come from the Côte Chalonnaise in southern Burgundy. Look for the following region on the bottles (Rully, Mercurey and Givrey). With that said, your favorite Pinot Noir will work just fine with this dish. I am going to stay true to the French tradition and reach for a bottle of Burgundy! Here are a few great choices for some inspiration if you want to explore a Burgundy.

Recipe: Beef Bourguignon (Note: This is my paleo-friendly version)


3 lbs pot roast (stew meat)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 & 1/2 tbsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. Herbs de Provence
4 thyme & rosemary sprigs (tie with kitchen string)
1/2 bottle of Pinot Noir or Burgundy
1 tbsp. tomato paste

1 medium yellow onion (medium dice)
2 small sweet potatoes (medium dice)
4 carrots (cut on angle – 1/2 inch pieces)
2 parsnips (cut on angle – 1/2 inch pieces)
1 cup portobello mushrooms (sliced)
1 bag of pearl onions
1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)


Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

Pat beef dry with paper towels. Season with salt, pepper & garlic powder on all sides. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat.
Sear beef in batches. About 3-4 minutes per side should give you a nice sear. Don’t crowd the pan! Transfer beef to a bowl. Set aside. Add diced onion to pan and cook for about 5-10 minutes in beef fat to get another layer of flavor. Add carrots, sweet potatoes, & parsnips. Mix with onions to get all your veggies covered with all that beefy goodness. Add tomato paste and integrate with veggies.  Add wine a little at a time and deglaze the pan.  Add stew meat back to pan, mushrooms, Herbs de Provence, rosemary & thyme sprigs and chicken or beef stock. Make sure all the meat and veggies are covered. Cook for at least 2 hours in the oven. I usually let mine cook for about 3 hours. The longer you cook it, the more tender the beef is. If you choose to thicken the sauce, mix 1 tbsp. almond flour and 1 tbsp. grape seed or olive oil in a small ramekin until well combined and add to stew.  Add parsley and serve. Serves 8.


Paleo Pairing: Baked Omelet & Prosecco

Ever wonder what to pair with an omelet? Look no further than a nice glass of bubbly. Today’s Paleo Pairing is all about breakfast for dinner.
Eggs are pretty challenging to pair with wine, but a glass of sparkling wine works like a charm. I often go for a sparkling rose like the J Brut Rose from Sonoma, California, but I also love a fun, flirty Prosecco with omelets and frittatas. There are a lot of great Prosecco’s out there. I really enjoy the
Tesoro della Regina and the Montelliana Prosecco. Both retail for about $15.

One of the things that I love the most about making omelets is that you they are pretty much a blank canvas, you can add anything you want to it.
For tonight’s omelet, I added leftover roasted veggies and pesto shrimp.  Feel free to add any veggies or meat that you like.


12 eggs (8 whole eggs, 4 egg whites)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. Herbs de Provence
2 cups roasted or sauteed veggies


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix eggs in medium bowl with seasonings. Coat a square baking dish (9X9) with olive oil. Add veggies and protein if desired. Top with eggs and bake for 45-50 minutes until eggs are set. Bon Appetit.


Meyer Lemon Chicken & Virginia Viognier

I love using lemons and wine to cook with. The two combined provide a refreshing acidity to any dish and when you are going low carb, it’s all about packing a flavor punch. It’s easy to get bored with baked or poached chicken, so I spiced it up tonight a little with a Meyer Lemon Rosemary Chicken. I have found that almond flour is a great way to add a little texture to meat. You can use regular lemons, but I find Meyer lemons are a little sweeter and tend to pack more juice.

When choosing wine for this dish, you definitely want to stick with a white varietal and there are many that work. You want a wine that mirrors the citrus note and that has medium body. If you haven’t tried a Viognier, this is a great choice. Viognier is the official state grape of Virginia and is indigenous to the Rhone Valley of France. Viognier is quite unique, it tends to have the similar body of a Chardonnay, bright citrus notes of a Sauvignon Blanc and some of the floral aromatics of a Riesling. It’s a great choice when you are tired of the same old Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. It’s highly aromatic, but it’s not sweet.  Keep in mind Viognier is difficult to grow and can become bitter when conditions aren’t perfect.

Recommended Producers

There are several other wines that would work quite well with this dish such as a nice Chablis, Pouilly Fuisse or unoaked Chardonnay from the U.S. Since I am a Virginia girl, I need to recommend the Chatham Vineyards Church Creek Steel Chardonnay. They use dijon clones and make a really great unoaked Chardonnay with vibrant acidity and nice minerality that may remind you more of a Burgundian style than a typical American Chardonnay. It also offers a great value at under $20 a bottle.

Recipe: Lemon Rosemary Chicken (Paleo-friendly)


4-6oz chicken breasts
2 tbsp. olive oil (plus more for brushing)
1 tbsp sea salt
1/2 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp Herbs de Provence (thyme, basil, savory, fennel & lavender)
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup dry white wine (Viognier, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Unoaked Chardonnay)
2 meyer lemons (zest from one)
rosemary sprigs for garnish


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Brush a thin coat of olive oil on the chicken, then sprinkle salt, pepper & Herbs de Provence on both sides of the chicken. Then dust both sides in a thin layer of almond flour to provide a little texture and nutty flavor.  Heat olive oil in a large saute pan (oven proof) and sear chicken on both sides for 5 minutes or until golden on each side.  This will help lock in the juices. Add  juice & zest from 1 lemon and 1/4 cup wine to the chicken. Put in oven and bake for 25 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with rosemary and lemon slices.

Cocoa Spiced Pork Tenderloin & Merlot

A great food and wine paring is one of life’s simple pleasures. I was inspired tonight by my spice cabinet, namely my cocoa spice rub from Napa Style. This is a delicious blend of cinnamon, grey salt, unsweetened cocoa powder, coriander, nutmeg, cloves & pepper. This makes for a delicious crust on pork and beef.

I paired this cocoa spiced pork tenderloin paired with a fruity, elegant Merlot. I used Michael Chiarello’s recipe Seared Pork Tenderloin with Cocoa Spice Rub for tonight’s main course. You can also buy the cocoa spice rub online at Napa Style.

There are a varietals that come to mind with this dish namely a Merlot and a Zinfandel. I would normally navigate away from a Merlot with pork tenderloin because it’s so lean and you really don’t need a high tannic structure for leaner meats.  However,  I really love the way the bright plum fruit in Merlot enhances the cocoa notes in the spice.

It’s unfortunate that Merlot gets such a bad wrap. Who can forget the movie Sideways and the main character Miles’ disdain for Merlot. The irony in the movie comes when he is describing his most treasured bottle of wine in his collection and he refers to a Right Bank Bordeaux which just so happens to be a Merlot dominant blend.  That little fact is never mentioned in the movie. A little trivia for you!  Anyhow, I digress.  While there are plenty of bad Merlots out there, there are also many of bad Pinots, Cabs and any other varietals too, but there are also a lot of really great Merlots on the market. Here are a few great producers including a great value out of Washington State and a splurge out of Napa!

Recommended Producers

Seven Falls Merlot, Wahluke Slope, Washington State  (SRP: $14)
Charles Krug Merlot, Napa, California (SRP: $25)
Pride Mountain Merlot, Napa, California (SRP: $55)

I also like they way a Zinfandel brings out the spice notes in the rub.  Either way, you really can’t go wrong with this dish. Pork tenderloin, much like poultry is pretty bland on its own, so your seasoning and sauces really matter when selecting the right wine.