"True wine enthusiasts don’t collect wines.
They collect memories of wines shared with friends and family."

-Dario Zucconi

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pesto Chicken w/Roasted Potatoes and Sweet Corn and Petite Sirah

Okay, I know it's been a while since I have written up something. You know, the holidays are a little crazy.  So, tonight I made one of the easiest, simplest, and most delicious dinners ever: Trader Joe's Pesto Genovese (basil-based) Chicken Breast (from the fresh meat section); roasted Trader Joe's Teeny Tiny Red Potatoes; and Roasted Fresh Sweet Corns with Onions and Bell Peppers.  And, as a wine pairing suggestion, we tried a glass of the 2006 Concannon Petite Sirah Limited Release.  As a special treat: I made these yummy chocolate chip cookies, recipes are courtesy of one of my clients ("Mary").  Check out the Recipes below.

Pesto Chicken
A package of Trader Joe's pre-marinated Pesto Genovese Chicken Breasts [you can find it in the fresh chicken section]. 
2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Cooking Instructions
Heat the olive oil in a non-stick, oven-proof sautee pan. Sautee the chicken breasts for about 3 minutes per side (or until they have a nice golden brown color).  Then, place the whole pan in a 350-degree oven, and cook a little longer for about 5 minutes (until the chicken has no pink when cut through; make sure you don't overcook it). That's it!

Roasted "Teeny Tiny" Red Potatoes
1 package of Trader Joe's Teeny Tiny Red Potatoes (which can be found in the produce section).
1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

Cooking Instructions
Rinse the potatoes under cold water, dry them out with a paper towel, place them in a cookie sheet, season them with salt and pepper, and the Italian seasoning.  Then, I drizzled the extra virgin olive oil on them, and mix them well.  Place them in a 375-degree oven and cook them for about 20 minutes or until they are all tender, but still whole.

Roasted Sweet Corns and Bell Peppers
4 corns on the cob (Trader Joe's has a package of 4 in the salad section)
1/2 each of a red, orange, and yellow bell pepper
1/2 red onion
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning
1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

Cooking Instructions
Remove the kernels from the cob, using a knife while the cob is standing upright in a bowl.  Slice and dice the bell peppers about the same size as the corn kernels.  Dice the red onion about the same size of the kernels.  Place the corn kernels, bell peppers and onions in a baking dish or sheet.  Season the corn mixture with salt and pepper, and the Italian seasoning.  Then, drizzle the corn mixture with the extra virgin olive oil.  Mix everything well.  Then, place the corn in a 375-degree oven, and bake for about 20 minutes.

[NOTE: This is one of my favorite side dishes.  It's easy, delicious, and good for you.]

2006 Concannon Petite Sirah-Limited Release (Livermore, CA)

This wine is a surprisingly enjoyable and versatile wines for a very reasonable price (on sale at Safeway for $6, $14 regular price).  Petite Sirah is not a wine that I typically buy and drink by itself. Usually, it's part of a blend.  But, tonight I wanted to try something different -- branch out a bit.  Well, I am glad I did. 

This Petite Sirah is a full-bodied, intensely flavorful wine.  It has deep ruby red color and inviting aromas of ripe and scrumptious berries, smooth and toasty oak and a hint of spice.  Even at the first sip, it leaves on your palate flavors of delicious berries, oak, and vanilla.  For this price, the wine is surprisingly well-balanced, leaving a long-lasting and finish on the palate.

One of the reasons I bought this wine was the description on the label.  It reads (partly): "Concannon is the world's first winery to bottle Petite Sirah, and has been doing so for over 40 years.  This Limited Release Petite Sirah is the essence of Concannon, displaying fantastic depth and character.  It is full-bodied, rich with cherry flavors and has a hint of toasty oak for a smooth, silky finish.  Enjoy your Limited Release Petite Sirah with dishes like filet mignon or your favorite lamb dishes."

Give it a try and write a comment to let me know what you think.

Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies
Finally, for dessert.  My daughter and I made these chocolate chip and walnut cookies.  I got the recipe from one of my clients ("Mary"), which she got from her friend "Elicia."  Here is the recipe, as given to me by Mary and modified slightly by me.  Give them a try. . . they are to die for! 

Cream Together [use an electric mixer if you have one)]
2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 Cup of brown sugar
3/4 Cup of granulated sugar

2 eggs
2 teaspoon of vanilla

Sift together and then add to the wet ingredients:
3/4 Cup of cocoa powder (Mary uses dutch processed cocoa, but I just used Hershey's from my pantry)
1 3/4 Cup of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda

Then mix in:
1 Cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Cup of white chocolate chips
1 Cup of milk chocolate chips and
1 1/2 Cup of chopped nuts [I used walnuts]

Drop spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet [make sure they won't touch when they bake].  Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for about 11 minutes.  When done, remove the cookie sheet from the oven, let the cookies stand for about 1 minute.  Then, remove them from the cookie sheet, and place them on a rack for cooling.  Enjoy!

Until next time . . . Cheers!



  1. hey mimine . . . it's tanicha ! i'm loving the blogg . the recipes look really good and i love your birthday cake and birthday dinner . . . they both look really good ! keep it up ! love ya !

  2. Thank you, Chi Cha. I wish you could try them with us. We miss and love you!