whole wheat chocolate chip cookies

This is Robin Bellinger’s recipe and was posted on Serious Eats (www.seriouseats.com) a few months ago. I made some minor changes – using dark brown sugar, increasing the chocolate (recommended by Robin if you prefer more chocolate in your cookies), and flattening and baking the cookies longer for a crispier cookie. They are delicious – crisp on the outside, but still chewy and very chocolatey!

– makes about 3 dozen –


3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375°F. Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and eggs. Whisk together flours, baking soda, and salt. Gradually stir flour mixture into butter mixture and then fold in chocolate chips. Drop onto a greased or lined cookie sheet, flatten slightly with your fingers, and bake 11-12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on baking sheets before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wine pairing: Really? Well, dessert wines, ports, or brandies would all work, but these cookies are really, really good with a glass of milk, and since this came from Robin’s Eating For Two blog, that’s what I’ll recommend! Cheers!

curried butter noodles

This is Philippe’s creation – a practically instant, comfort food recipe:

Cook the noodles of your choice. We usually use matchstick-thin Asian-style wheat noodles or Udon noodles for this recipe.

Drain and toss back into cooking pan with butter, curry powder, salt, and chili sauce (Sriracha is a favorite) to taste.

Serve hot with chopsticks!

Bon appétit!

Wine pairing: Riesling is a great go-to wine for spicy dishes. It’s balance of sweetness and acidity compliments the spice nicely. A crisp Sauvignon blanc would be lovely as well, or a just off-dry Rose. It’s always a good idea to pair regional wine with foods inspired by the region; so definitely try a wine from Asia (India and China are both producing wines that are becoming more readily available to Western consumers). Cheers!

tropical fruit salade

Lunch today. One of my favorites – especially in winter just before, after, or if I’m really needing a tropical vacation. I’ve had similar salades in San juan, St. Barth, and Hawaii.

Chop several different tropical fruits (mango, papaya, pineapple, avocado, kiwi, banana, etc.) and serve over a bed of greens. Pomegranate is a lovely addition in winter. Hearts of palm are frequently served in the versions I’ve had closer to the equator.

Sprinkle with grated coconut. Maybe throw some chopped cashews, macadamia nuts, or sliced almonds on there.

Dress with fresh lime or lemon juice and olive oil. Chopped fresh cilantro adds a nice herbal contrast.

Bon appétit!

Wine pairing: Something with rum – mai tai, painkiller, pina colada, rum punch. A fruity white wine such as a New Zealand Sauvignon blanc or a Viognier from Virginia or France would be lovely.

orzo salade

As the weather warms up, I tend to spend less time “cooking” and more time eating simply prepared, fresh ingredients. Orzo pasta is ridiculously easy and quick to prepare, cooking in less than 5 minutes. This is a great quick lunch or dinner, or paired with chicken grilled under a brick, a delicious accompaniment.

Cook orzo in boiling salted water until al dente, usually about 3-4 minutes. Drain.

Toss with 1-2 Tbsp each olive oil and fresh lemon juice.

Add chopped fresh herbs – parsley and oregano are my favorites for this.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over salade greens.

Bon appétit!

Wine pairing: A white or rose with good acidity pair well with the lemon component in this dish. Think Pinot grigio, Albarino, Greek whites, crisp Chardonnay. Reisling would work as well, as long as any sweetness is balanced by its acidity. Avoid malolactic or oaky wines, unless you like your wines flabby and lifeless! Cheers!

chicken grilled under a brick

We actually use an old cast iron skillet instead of a brick, but 1-2 bricks wrapped in aluminum foil would work perfectly. This recipe is adapted from Williams-Sonoma’s Essentials of Grilling Cookbook, which is very well-worn. I do not measure the ingredients in the marinade, and I add some white wine and fresh herbs to the recipe as well.

Whisk together the zest and juice of 2 lemons, about 1/4 cup each dry white wine and olive oil, 3-4 cloves minced garlic, chopped fresh herbs (oregano, parsley, and rosemary work well), fresh pepper, and a big pinch each of red pepper flakes and salt.

Remove the backbone from a 3.5-5 lb chicken and flatten the bird by crushing its breastbone. Soak in the marinade for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours. Refrigerate if marinating longer than 30 minutes, but bring to room temperature 20-30 minutes before grilling.

Place the chicken, skin side down over hot coals (it may help to oil the grill rack to prevent sticking), and place the hot cast iron skillet or bricks on top of the bird (let the skillet/bricks warm up in the grill with the coals – use grilling gloves!). Grill, covered, for 15-20 minutes (based on bird size).

Turn the chicken over, replace the bricks, and cook an additional 15-25 minutes, until the thigh juices run clear. The chicken will be blackened on the outside, but tender and juicy inside.

Let the chicken rest on a carving board 5-10 minutes before serving.

It’s really nice served with orzo salade and the wine you used in the marinade!

Bon appétit!

Wine pairing: A nice dry white wine, such as the one used in the marinade would be lovely. As would a dry rose, or a light-bodied red. Since the grilling process adds smoky flavors, a smoky Cotes-du-Rhone would pair really nicely without clashing with the lemon in the marinade. I would serve both a white (Greek, Albarino, Chardonnay, South American, old-world Sauvignon blanc) and a red (Greek, Southern French, Spanish) and enjoy the contrasts of each wine with the dish. Cheers!

lemon pasta with spring greens and feta

We finally (!) have some greens in our garden ready for picking. One of my favorite ways to serve them is tossed with pasta:

Cook whole wheat pasta until al dente. (We use about 5.5 ounces for 2 servings; rotini is a good choice for catching the bits of feta and oregano.)

Meanwhile, sweat 1-2 cloves of minced garlic over medium-low heat in 3-4 Tbsp olive oil until tender and fragrant, but not browned.

In a separate bowl combine 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice and 1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano. Add the garlic and olive oil, freshly cracked pepper and a big pinch of salt, Whisk to blend.

Add the pasta. Toss in some greens – baby spinach, arugula, fresh basil, tsatoi, etc.

Crumble 2-3 ounces of feta cheese and stir to combine.

Finish with a drizzle of really good olive oil.

Bon appétit!

Wine pairing: There are some fabulous whites from Greece that would compliment the Greek flavors in this dish. I am most familiar with the grape Assyrtiko, but there are several others worth trying (Roditis, Savatiano). This dish would also pair well with Pinot grigio from Italy, Albarino from Spain, most any crisp white wine with little malolactic fermentation or oak influence. Cheers!