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

-Dario Zucconi

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Break is Over! Veal Chops w/Garlic Mashed Purple Potatoes and Sauteed Green Beans

It has been about 9 months since I have updated my blog. Well, this year has been a bit crazy for me.  In January, my family and I were coping with the Haiti earthquake.  Then, in February, my mother was hospitalized and had to have emergency surgery.  Then, in March, one of my best friends Evelyn was diagnosed with Leukemia and immediately began chemo treatment.  Feeling helpless (but surely not hopeless), I decided to join Team in Training to train for the Nike Women's Marathon and raise money to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).  I trained from May to October.

While training, I certainly cooked and had some wine (I couldn't give wine up all together until a few weeks before the Marathon).  But, unfortunately, with work, kids' school and extracurricular activities, official team training runs 3 times a week, well, you know, updating my blog had to take a little bit of a back seat.  Anyway, I completed (successfully!) the full Marathon on October 17, 2010.  I also raised close to $4,200 for LLS. 

This week, I had a chance to go the Farmers' Market and I got some beautiful purple potatoes and fresh green beans.  This update is nothing fancy, but I wanted to highlight some of nature's best and healthiest side dishes.  I made garlic mashed purple potatoes and sauteed green beans.  To go with those, I picked up a couple of veal chops from one of my favorite butcher shops (Ver Brugge on College Avenue in Rockridge/Elmwood neighborhood). 

To make the veal chops, I seasoned them with salt/pepper and steak seasonings.  Then, I browned them on each side for about 3 minutes on medium-high heat, and then finished cooking them in a 350º oven until medium for me (and medium/rare for Patrick).

For some extra delicious flavor to go with the veal chops, I made a mint-pine nut-garlic puree.  Basically, I took about 1/4 cup of fresh mint leaves(another Farmers' Market favorite!), 2 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts, and about 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  I blended everything together (you can use a small food processor if you have one).  I stirred about a tablespoon of feta cheese in it.  I topped each veal chop with a desired amount. Ummm. . . delicious!

For dessert, I baked some pumpkin bread using a box from Trader Joe's (hey, I am not a baker!).  I made my own whipped cream though using 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1 teaspoon of amaretto.  I garnished it with a sprig of mint.  Voilà!

To drink, Patrick and I had a glass of one of our favorite meritage wines, which I had already written about in this blog back in September 2009: Nine Points Meritage (Sonoma, CA 2006).  Safeway had it on sale a couple of weeks ago for about $11 with the purchase of 6 bottles.  It's normally about $25.

Nine Points Meritage is a Bordeaux-style blend and a cheaper version of Stags Leap wines, for those of you who enjoy Stags Leap but can't afford to have a few bottles on your wine rack.  The Meritage is smooth on the palate when you first taste it. Then, you get some nice berry flavors and it leaves a wonderful dry (some may say jammy) aftertaste.  It goes well with everything, but I particularly liked it with the veal.

Well, Patrick and I had a very relaxing evening at home -:)   Cozying up by the fireplace made us forget that it was pouring rain outside.  I am glad that it's raining this weekend since I am fighting off a little cold (postponed from the week of the Marathon!).  The rain forces me to rest at home. 

Until next time . . . Cheers! ZinAdel

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