mashed potatoes and gravy

Tipsy Tuesday – Wine & Gravy

mashed potatoes and gravyYes, you can put wine in gravy and it tastes delicious! Try this recipe out next time you have mashed potatoes with poultry for dinner. It really seems to add a more gourmet dimension to your typical chicken gravy.

Chardonnay Mushroom Gravy


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1-3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Chardonnay
  • 2 Tablespoons green onions or leeks, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


In a medium skillet, melt butter. Add mushrooms and cook 3-4 minutes or until softened, stirring often. Mix in cornstarch, stirring continuously until  incorporated. Add in chicken broth, wine, green onions, salt and pepper. Cook, continuing to stir, until thickened, about 3-4 more minutes.

Serve hot with mashed potatoes.

Linda's Signature


Summer Picnic Wines

I found some delicious summer white wines to accompany your next picnic or light lunch. These will keep you cool under the summer sun and save you money since they are all under $15!

A Chardonnay can be both creamy or very light and refreshing. Pair this varietal with white fish, grilled chicken or salad to keep it light.

2009 Four Sisters Chardonnay


2009 Four Sisters (4/5) – fruity flavors of peach and melon and subtle notes of flowers, apple, fig, lemon and toasty oak. It has a nice balance and smooth finish.



Hess Chardonnay


2009 Hess Chardonnay (3.5/5) – offers a smooth, oaky taste with tropical notes of pineapple, apple and pear.




2009 simi chardonnay

2009 Simi Chardonnay (3.5/5) – a medium bodied wine with the aromatic aroma of fruits – nectarine, pineapple, orange, and green apples. The taste is very balanced with distinct flavors of tangerine, peaches and green apple with hints of vanilla and honey as well as a slight toasty oak.


2011 Dominican Oaks Chardonnay

2011 Dominican Oaks Chardonnay, unoaked (3.5/5) – aromas of green apple, pear, lemon and tropical fruit with flavors of melon, orange and pineapple. It is a lighter wine with a firm acidity that has a lingering minerality at the finish.


Sauvignon Blancs are especially refreshing with summer salads.

2009 Slingshot Sauvignon Blanc


2009 Slingshot Sauvignon Blanc (4/5) – a perfect pairing of refreshing citrus, hints of honeydew and key lime with a crisp fruity finish.



2011 Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc


2011 Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc (3.5/5) – a sharp citrusy New Zealand wine with flavors of lemon, lime and grapefruit accompanied by notes of pear and grass. A nice light wine for the price.



Want a slightly sweeter but crisp wine you can opt for a Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris. Again it pairs great with seafood, appetizers and salads highlighted with fruit. Here are my daughter’s absolute two favorites.

santa margherita pinot grigio.

2010 Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio (4.5/5) – This is a dry, crisp and refreshing wine with fruity aromas of citrus, pear and golden delicious apples.


2008 Kris Pinot Grigio


2008 Kris Pinot Grigio (4/5) – A light flavorful Italian wine with refreshing notes of apple, peach, pear and melon. It has a very crisp, citrusy taste with hints of  almonds and honey as well as a nice body and soft finish.



And lastly, try a sparkling viognier, albarino or prosecco for just sipping or to pair with appetizers such as cheese or fruit, a lunch of tuna or chicken salad or with a light dessert.

2010 Casillero del Diablo Voignier


2010 Casillero del Diablo Voignier (4/5) – a medium-bodied wine with aromas of rose petals, apricots and peaches and creamy flavors of the same along with papaya and just a hint of oak and vanilla.



2011 Conde Villar Alvarinho.

2011 Conde Villar Alvarinho (4.5/5) – a full, rich wine with complex aromas of jasmine and orange blossoms and refreshing flavors of pear, lemon and melon. Very nicely structured and a smooth finish.



Riondo Prosecco


Riondo Prosecco (4/5) – a light bodied, fruity wine that has a wonderful effervescence and a fresh clean taste.  It has subtle, slightly sweet flavors of tangerine, pears and apples and ends with a crisp, citrusy finish.



Linda's Signature

Wine Wednesday – Gordon Brothers Chardonnay

2010-Gordon-Brothers-ChardonnayI love trying new Chardonnays, especially in the summer when I want something light and refreshing, and this 2010 Gordon Brothers Family Vineyards Chardonnay really hits the mark.

The wine is comprised of 100% Chardonnay grapes and produced in the oldest estate winery in Washington state, and let me tell you, it is absolutely fabulous! Upon opening, you will be greeted with aromas of apples, pear and melon as well as some toasty floral notes.  On your first sip, you will find a wonderfully complex wine with flavors of butterscotch, or maybe it’s caramel, tangerine and pineapple and a rich, smooth, lingering finish. A great wine to stock up on and enjoy during the heat of summer.

Food pairing: An excellent wine to accompany turkey, fish, pork, cream-based pasta sauces, salads and a variety of cheeses.

Price: $14.99

Rating 4 out of 5

Linda's Signature

Father’s Day Supper – Chicken in Lemon-Wine Sauce

Chicken in Lemon Wine SauceOur family is trying to be healthier in 2013 so I have been trying to find new ways to dress-up chicken for special dinners like  this one today.  The dish actually turned out to be the perfect summer dinner, light and packed with flavor and was loved by the most important person – Dad.

Fathers Day loveHappy Father’s Day to all you Dad’s out there. Thanks for being there when we needed you and always showing your love and support. We love you!


Chicken in Lemon-Wine Sauce


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of cracked black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons light olive oil
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (such as Chardonnay)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Garnish: Parsley sprigs, lemon slices


Flatten each chicken breast with a meat mallet by placing in ziploc storage bag and pounding until 1/4″ thick. Take out and season with salt and pepper then dredge in flour.

In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil. When butter just starts to turn brown add the garlic and chicken pieces and cook for 3 minutes per side or until brown. Remove from skillet and cover to keep warm.

In same skillet, add wine and stir to incorporate any browned bits from pan. Boil until reduced by almost half, about 3-5 minutes. Add the broth, oregano, thyme and lemon zest and return to boil.

Combine the egg and lemon juice and stir into wine-broth liquid. Stir until sauce is smooth and has thickened slightly. Add chicken back to pan and simmer for five minutes, turning once, until chicken is warm and thoroughly cooked. Add parsley then remove to serving platter. Pour sauce over chicken then garnish with parsley sprigs and lemon slices.

Serves 2-4.

Wine pairing: It is always best to use the same wine which you added to the dish which, in this case, would be a Chardonnay. You could also opt for a lighter wine that pairs well with citrus such as a Pinot Grigio, Riesling, French Chablis or a Sauvignon Blanc. If you are more of a red wine drinker you might try a Zinfandel, Syrah or even a Samur Champigny.

Happy Father’s Day to all you Dad’s out there. Thanks for being there when we needed you and always showing your love and support. We love you!

Linda's Signature

Wine Wednesday – 2011 Glass Mountain Chardonnay

2011 Glass Mountain ChardonnayWhile attending my son’s wedding in Austin Texas we had the chance to stop by the hotel bar for a drink. Their house white was a golden colored Chardonnay from the Glass Mountain Vineyard near St. Helena, California. I was surprised to note that the parent company is none other than Markham Vineyards, producers of  excellent wines, and among which are some of my favorites. This particular vintage is comprised of 77% Chardonnay, 16% Chenin Blanc, 5% Riesling and 2% Sauvignon Blanc, which gave the wine a nice crispness, probably from the Chenin Blanc and Riesling grapes, and a toastier oak edge from the Chardonnay grapes.

The flavors were mainly those of tropical fruit, crisp apple and pear with just a hint of vanilla and oak. Aromas were very pleasant reminding one of golden apples and fresh melon. There was a nice minerality to it and it finished very clean and smooth. A great choice for an everyday wine and even more so when you consider the low price.

Food Pairing: Pair with poultry, seafood and white fish, creamed based pastas, vegetable soups, light appetizers or just by itself.

Price Range: $6.99-$8.99

3 and one half out of 5

Linda's Signature

Celebrate National Wine Day – 2010 Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio

2010 Santa Margherita Pinot GrigioI have to be honest and say I am not much of a Pinot Grigio fan but this fares better than most and is the favorite of my daughter (who has great taste).

The 2010 Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio is a wine grown in the Alto Adige region of Italy which is known for producing the best high quality pinot grigio grapes. It was interesting to learn that the Pinot Grigio grapes are actually the white variety of the red grapes used to make Pinot Noir wines.

This particular wine is pale in color with a fruity aroma reminiscent of citrus, pear and golden delicious apples. It is a dry, crisp and refreshing wine that is perfect to pair with a summer meal. This casual drinking wine is a definite one to stock up on. Serve well chilled.

Food Pairing: Pairs well with fish, chicken, quiche, soufflés, Thai and Chinese dishes as well as soft cheeses, oysters and, surprisingly, pizza.

Price Range: $9.99 – $19

4 and one half out of 5

Linda's Signature

Wine Wednesday – 2011 Maple Ridge Chardonnay California

2011 Maple Ridge ChardonnayI love Wine Wednesday since I get to taste several wines so that I can pick a favorite to post about. Lucky me!

This wine was featured in Total Wine the week before I went on vacation so thought it would be a nice white to try while soaking up the warm tropical sun of Key West. And indeed it was! It was an instant hit with all members of the family, not only the Chardonnay drinkers but the Pinot Grigio ones as well. It is often hard to find a wine that will please both palates so I am one happy camper.

This wine is very light and crisp with a wonderful blend of pear, apple and honey flavors. It has a touch of vanilla from the oak barrel and delivers a smooth, refreshing taste. I would recommend this one heartily for summer dining and plan on stocking up on it while it is still available. A great wine for the price!

Food Pairing: Pair with seafood, lightly sauced pastas, green salads, especially those highlighted with fruits like this delightful Spinach & Strawberry Salad, and creamy to mild cheeses.

Price: $7.99

4.5 out of 5 ratingRating 4.5/5

Linda's Signature

Got Scallops?

Then today is your day because it’s National Coquilles St. Jacques Day!

Courtesy of the Food Network – here is Rachel Ray’s version of Coquilles St. Jacques:


Total Time: 1 hr 5 min
Prep: 25 min
Cook: 40 min Yield: 4 servings

Level: Intermediate

2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons chopped shallots
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
12 medium clams
18 black mussels
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup white wine
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 medium shrimp
6 sea scallops
8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 lemon
1 quart fumet (fish stock)
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup bread crumbs
4 teaspoons parsley, chopped

In a frying pan over medium high heat, add butter, shallots and garlic. Sweat the garlic and shallots until they become translucent. Add the clams and mussels and toss everything together. Season with salt and pepper. Deglaze the frying pan with white wine, cover with a lid and let cook until the mussels and clams start to open. Strain mussels and clams and set aside, reserving the liquid (it will be used to make the veloute).

In a frying pan, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and heat the pan until it is smoking hot. Season the shrimp and scallops with salt and pepper. Carefully place the scallops in the pan and sear, until golden brown on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the shrimp to the same pan and saute until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same frying pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and let it get hot. Add the mushrooms and saute until they are cooked and most of their liquid is released. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside.

Preheat the broiler.

To make the veloute: In a saute pan melt butter and add flour until both mix evenly together. Let cook for a few minutes on light heat until the mixture resembles pancake batter. Take the pan you used to cook the shrimps and scallops and deglaze it with the liquid you saved from the mussels and clams and squeeze in the lemon. Add the fumet and let reduce. Add the cream and again let reduce over medium heat. Add the butter flour mixture and stir until everything starts to thicken. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Remove the shells of the mussels and clams. Cut the scallops in 4 and remove any shell that is still on the shrimp. Add the mushrooms, scallops, shrimp, mussels, and clams to the veloute and stir everything with a spoon. Fill the baking shells or bowls with the seafood veloute and sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and parsley. Place under a broiler until the top becomes golden brown. Place the hot dish onto another plate to serve.

Christina signature 3


Wine Wednesday – 2011 Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling

2011 Chateau Ste Michelle RieslingOK, I must admit, not liking Rieslings all that much, that I picked this wine up by mistake thinking it was a Chardonnay. Boy, was I surprised! It was really very refreshing, light and not too sweet and was enjoyed down to the last drop.

This Washington state vineyard, located in Columbia Valley, has a full complement of wonderful wines from Sauvignon Blancs to Chardonnays to Cabernet Sauvignons, all of which I have tried and enjoyed, however, they have the notable distinction of being the largest Riesling producer in the world as well as having the #1 selling American Riesling. This particular vintage, pale yellow in color, is a medium-dry wine with peach, pear and light citrus characteristics accompanied by a hint of minerality. It is light to medium-bodied and finishes very nicely. It is a wonderful summer wine and a bargain at the $7.99 price point.

Food Pairing: This off-dry Riesling is a versatile wine and pairs well with a range of foods. Try it with spicy dishes such as Asian shrimp, Indian chicken or sweet barbecue pulled pork as well as smoked fish, grilled duck, turkey and even cold cuts.  It will also match up well with salty foods as well as sweeter vegetables like corn or yams but stay away from red meat with its strong flavor as it tends to overshadow this light wine.

Price Range: $5.99-$12.99

Rating 4 out of 5

Linda's Signature