Wines of the Week & Cold Comforts

It's April in CLE. Yes, it's cold. Did I mention it's April in CLE? So even though I'm ready for barbecue, healthy salads and cocktails on the patio, my body wants comfort food. Last week I tried out some recipes that turned out really well, were easy to make and gave us leftovers for those mid-week rushes to get dinner on the table.

But let's start with the vino, shall we?

La Grange de Piaugier Cotes du Rhone 2008 - a medium bodied and highly aromatic blend. Warming notes make it a perfect pair with pastas. $14.99

Monte Velho Alentejano 2008 - I didn't know anything about wines from Portugal, and this is a silent winner. From the first sip, I was intrigued and wondered why I hadn't had this before. Simple, yet well balanced with a slight smoky finish. Perfect with pancetta or bacon. $12.99

Cupcake Red Velvet 2009 - this one takes the (cup)cake. Cute name? check. Good Price? check. Wonderfully delicious? check. An easy blend of zinfandel, merlot, cab and petite syrah. This is perfect with every course, from cheese to dessert. $12.99 (i think, but don't quote me on price)

*as always, wine picks can be found at the lovely Wine & Design or at your local wine store*

braised pork shoulder

Martha Stewart had a feature in her October 2010 issue highlighting a braised pork shoulder. Once braised, you could use it to make sandwiches, pasta, or just enjoy on its own. I chose to make ribbon pasta with pork ragu and sage.

pork ragu and sage pasta
It was ridiculously easy, and the next day we enjoyed the leftover pork which tasted even better after sitting. I had so much left over that I ended up freezing the rest with thoughts on pulled pork sandwiches in the future.

On a chilly day there's nothing better or hardier than bolognese. I used lamb in mine, but this recipe also works with a mix of ground beef and veal. Simple yet elegant, it turns an ordinary weekday dinner into some serious fabulousness.

lamb bolognese
The above pic as well as the recipe are by crazy white girl with a kitchen. Love her blog! The only changes I made were I used papardelle pasta and swapped her spices out with allspice, cumin and basil. If you're making the beef version, feel free to use any italian spices/herbs you have on hand. If you're in a rush, pick up the pre-chopped onion, celery and carrots from the grocer.

Heinens also had lamb stew meat available and since my husband's greatest weakness is lamb, I picked that up too. It was the week before my birthday and I was obviously trying to butter him up for extra gifts. I made my go-to easy stew that I found on kitchen daily. Again feel free to swap out the lamb for beef, it comes out wonderful either way. I paired mine with goat cheese mashed redskins.

lamb stew with caramelized shallots

The last dish I had made a few weeks back and was shockingly simple. (Do you see a trend here?) Anything that I can throw in the oven, open a bottle of wine and in 17 mins (!) is done, I love. This came out of Cooking Light's Fundamental Techniques series they featured in 2008.

tuscan pork tenderloin
The roasted endive was an unexpected new favorite. Hopefully next week will warm up and I'll be done with stews and roasts. But somehow, I think I have a week or two left.

Don't forget to enter my Sephora gift card giveaway! Visit this post for details.

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