Sunday, September 5, 2010

Holiday Helper: Labor Day Festivities

Labor Day - a holiday I'm afraid I usually don't see, but due to the fact Napa Valley is experiencing a late harvest this year, I received a holiday!  Yay!  Drinks all around!

So how does one incorporate wine into Labor Day; a holiday usually reserved for beer, one last day at the pool, picnics and family fun.  Well, the best example is to highlight our Californian menu:

Entree: New York Strip Steak (yum) on the grill
Sides: Grilled Sweet Corn and My Favorite Potato Salad (recipe to follow):

Picnic Potato and Chicken Salad (Courtesy of the Food Network, by Sunny Anderson in 2008)
- 4 Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and ground pepper to taste
- 1 (6 oz.) skinless chicken breast
- 3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
- 1/4 cup diced celery
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
- 2 sage leaves, chopped
- 2 heads Bibb lettuce.

(I usually mix it up somehow - for instance, I am using a bag of heirloom potatoes and not peeling off the skins.  I've also opted out of the chicken this time because we'll already be having steak.  And I'll be using my favorite Sierra Nevada mustard for tomorrow's potato salad.  I also usually boil the potatoes and never wrap the salad in lettuce, although a good idea.)

- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place potatoes on a sheet tray, toss with oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast until golden and tender, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cover chicken with water and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Poach until cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from poaching liquid, let cool for a bit, and cut out chicken into cubes.
- In a large bowl, toss together potatoes, chicken, and bacon with the celery, onions, and garlic.  Add the mayonnaise, mustard, paprika, herbs, salt, and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.  Mix until well combined.
- Serve salad in Bibb lettuce cups.  Roll up and eat.

So what wine to serve with this super meal?  Well, I'm not a true believer in only serving red wines with red meat and white wines with fish, etc.  I pretty much believe in drinking whatever you want!  But I have 2 suggestions.

If you're in the mood for a white, why not try the J. Lohr Riverstone Arroyo Seco Chardonnay (2006 vintage is the one we've had and enjoyed recently).  The wine is slight oaky, but still carries a crisp acidity to take on those last days of summer.  Quite refreshing chilled, and should complement the picnic attitude all the same.  Plus, it's a real bargain - $14.00 for the 2008 vintage.

OR if your in the mood for a red, might I suggest Bridlewood's Syrah - pick any one you like!
Some of the best Syrah's I've tasted in California!  The winemaker sure knows what he's doing when it comes to capturing the essence of Syrah in several styles.  We've enjoyed many of them, and they surely fall within our thrifty wine buys that are definitely treasures.

OR if your in the mood for the sweet stuff...why not try a bottle of Riunite Lambrusco.  You can find it everywhere in the U.S., it's cheap, sweet, slightly bubbly, and usually a crowd pleaser at picnics.  Although my personal belief is the sweet stuff sits heavier in your belly, you can usually please a crowd with a bottle of this stuff:

Or maybe you have a suggestion of your own!  Let me know your recommendations for picnicking fun on your Labor Day holiday!  I'm always ready for your suggestions!  Regardless of what you choose - remember the point is to ENJOY the extra day off while bottoms up!  As that is how "Johnny Depp" and I are hoping to spend the day as well.  Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. How fun! However, Lambrusco has a tendency to turn ones mouth purple but fun nonetheless!