D – We always delight in dining with friends.  This week was no exception.

Wednesday night we celebrated the first UUMC Choir rehearsal after our summer break with the “Doctors”.  Can you guess where we landed?  It starts with a “V” – yes, Vino Vino!  We enjoyed an outstanding bottle of Barbera  recommended by the general manager.  Superior as the name states!

Gaudio Bricco Mondalino  Barbera del Monferrato Superiore  ’09,  Piedmont, Italy

Saturday I took one “Doctor” to visit Antonelli’s Cheese Shop.  He purchased a fine selection of cheeses for a family party and for our upcoming Sunday dinner.  Then we went home to make dessert – stay tuned…

Sunday evening the “Doctors” joined us for an End-Of-Summer Feast.  I tell you what-we have eaten some pretty amazing meals of late, both out and about and at home.  We have also tasted some lovely wines.  This evening was no exception.

I’ll let Marc introduce you to the wines first (I’m drooling just thinking about them).

Malvira Roero Arneis 2009, Piedmont, Italy. (Spec’s)

M- This white wine is the absolute best white we have ever tasted.   We first had it at Mulberry Wine Bar.  The grape, arneis, is Italian grape from the Piedmont  region.  A beautiful mouthful of joy.  Subtle flavors that emerge into a fragrant dance on the tongue.  Elegant, decadent, gorgeaux!

**Cheese Course– accompanied by Confituras preserves (www.confituras.net) “Media Noches” – delights the tastebuds with fresh berries and a hint of anise

Forme d’Ambert, a cow’s milk blue cheese from the Auvergne region of France

Campo de Montalban, a firm Spanish cheese made from a blend of cows’, sheeps’ and goats’ milk in La Mancha.

Pleasant Ridge Reserve, an award winning, aged artisan cheese made in Wisconsin by the Uplands Cheese Company.  ** My new all-time FAVORITE cheese!!  Here is a link to a video that shows how the cheese is made – http://www.uplandscheese.com/video.html

**Tomato and Watermelon Salad with Arugula— I tried this combo first at Vino Vino and was pleasantly surprised at how beautifully the sweet watermelon played with the tang of the tomatoes and the bit of the arugula.  There were so many versions of this recipe online.  I decided to keep it simple with a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and a few shavings of the Spanish cheese mentioned above.

Brigaldara Valpolicella 2010 (Spec’s)

M – Red wine with steak?  But of course-   This wine is a lighter red than one might think would go with the meat and the sauce listed below.  But, the excellence of this wine lies in its ability to be a strong yet courteous dance partner with the dish.  Dancing with the dish, supporting the dish, not stepping on the dish, and showing its presence in the dance.

**Beef Sirloin Steak with grilled vegetables and a smoky Arrabiata sauce– Sorry, I don’t have a picture.  These succulent steaks, perfectly prepared, went straight from the grill into our stomachs.  The accompanying sauce was a perfect embellishment.  Here is the recipe from Food Network:


M- I love the challenge of cooking steak.  I usually cook sirloin.  I like the cut, thickness, and fat content or lack there of.  Debra likes her steak rare…horns off, run it through a warm room.  The Doctors asked for medium-rare and medium-pink respectively ;).  I’m eating them more medium-rare.  I’m cooking on a gas grill, olive oil/salt & pepper, sear each side, pull off the heat a bit 5-6 minutes each side, keeping the lid closed!  I use the touch test to check for done-ness– like touching your face: your cheek for rare, tip of the nose for med rare, and touching your forehead for medium.  Always letting it sit off the heat for about 4-5 minutes- the resting.

Finally, the dessert course.  Drum roll, please…

**Tiramisu!!  This was our first attempt at creating this traditional Italian sweet.  We were so delighted with the result!  I will admit that selecting a recipe was daunting.  There are so many variations, and everyone insists that theirs is either “most authentic”, “best tasting” or “easiest to create”.  We settled for a slight variation on the recipe found on the package of ladyfingers that I bought months ago just for this occasion.  We only used two eggs (No, we did not cook the eggs and everyone survived).  We added Kahlua as our liquor.  We made the coffee with Marc’s Nespresso machine.  The trickiest part of the recipe was preparing the different components in order, cleaning the beaters of the electric mixer in between each.

Assembly was very easy – just the perfect amount for a 9×13 pan.

I am so excited to have added this dessert to my repertoire.  It will most likely be making a command performance soon!

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