Chicken Satay & Gewürztraminer

Chicken satay is a great low-carb choice for those us of watching the scale. This is a great meal, but the perfect pairing can take it to a whole new level. While a Riesling is a go-to match, a Gewürztraminer works just as well.  Gewürztraminer is an aromatic white grape that grows best in cooler climates. Some of the world’s best Gewürztraminer’s come from Alsace, France.  This varietal tends to boast tropical, stone and candied citrus fruit notes followed by fragrant floral notes, sweet spice of ginger and a touch of residual sugar.  I really like the way the sweet spice creates the perfect complement to the spicy satay sauce. The Trimbach is one of my go to Gewürztraminer’s. The Finger Lakes region of New York is also producing some excellent aromatic white wines.

Recommended Producer:

Recipe: Chicken Satay


Chicken Skewers

4 chicken breasts or thighs  (cut into strips)
2 limes (juice & zest)
2 tbsp. grapeseed oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. pepper

Satay Sauce 

1/2 cup almond or cashew butter
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
1 tbsp. fish sauce
1 lime (juice)
2 tbsp. fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 scallions (chopped for garnish)


Thread chicken strips on skewers. Set aside. Brush a thin coat of grapeseed or olive oil on grill pan and heat until very hot. Add chicken to grill pan and let cook for about 4-5 minutes per side.

While the chicken is cooking, take a small sauce pan and add coconut milk and almond butter and simmer over low heat until combined. Add the rest of the ingredients and remove from heat. Put sauce in serving dish and top with scallions. Serve warm with chicken skewers.



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.

Five-Spice Chicken Soup & Riesling

Asian five-spice is a staple in my pantry, it adds so much flavor to so many dishes. This five-star soup recipe takes chicken soup to a whole new dimension.  The great thing about this soup is that you can pretty much add as many veggies as you like. I like my soup with an extra kick, so I added some jalapeno in addition to the five-spice which is typically a blend of (star anise, cloves, cinnamon, sichuan pepper & fennel).

I am opting for an off-dry Riesling to accentuate the five-spice powder in the soup.  Remember,  you want to pay attention to the spices and sauces when pairing wines.  I really like the way a Riesling cools the palate with a touch of residual sweetness and also  makes the flavors pop with its vibrant acidity. The best Rieslings in the world come from Germany, particularly from the regions of Mosel and Rheingau. The steep slate slopes add a minerality that can’t be found anywhere else. Riesling is also known for its piercing acidity that make it an incredible partner with an array of dishes.

For an affordable weeknight pairing under $15, here are a few recommended producers that are widely available for purchase.

Recommended Producers 

High-Def Riesling, Mosel, Germany (SRP: $12)
Dr. Loosen”Dr. L” Riesling, Mosel, Germany (SRP: $13)
Kung Fu Girl Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington, USA (SRP: $14)

Recipe: Five-Spice Chicken Soup


2 tbsp. olive or grapeseed oil
1 leek (thinly sliced)
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 jalapeño (seeded)
2 tbsp. five-spice (if you like a milder version, only add 1 tbsp and omit the jalapeno)
1/2 tbsp. sea salt
1/2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 head bok choy (chopped)
1 red pepper (julienned)
1 cup broccoli (chopped)
1 zucchini (sliced)
2 cups shredded chicken
32 oz homemade chicken stock or organic
1 cup coconut milk
scallions (optional for garnish)


In a large stock pot, heat olive oil and add leeks. Let cook for about 5-7 minutes until translucent, add garlic and jalapeno and cook for about 30 seconds to release aromatics. Add 5 spice, salt & pepper and stir with veggies to release the oils in the spice. Add the rest of the veggies, chicken stock & coconut milk and let cook for about 30 minutes until all flavors are well combined. Add additional stock or water if needed to make sure veggies are covered. Add 2 cups of cooked shredded chicken and warm through. Serve immediately. Add chopped scallions for garnish.

When I don’t have time to make a roast chicken, I usually poach alot of chicken on Sundays and shred it while it’s warm. This way I have plenty of chicken on hand to add to weeknight recipes.  To poach chicken, take a large stock pot and add enough water or chicken stock to cover chicken breasts.  Add 1 tbsp. peppercorns, 1 tbsp. sea salt, 1 bay leaf, 1 tbsp. garlic powder and 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning to flavor the chicken.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat right away to low and cook another 15-20  minutes. Drain and let cool. Shred or slice chicken.