This week’s ad specials are suggesting a easy summer cocktail party on the patio. The preparation is easy, the cooking is minimal, and the results are deliciously fun. Plus, these are some good ideas for Jazz on the Green which starts July 7 at Midtown Crossing’s Turner Park.
Couturiere Goat Cheese
: My cracker of choice with goat cheese is Reduced Fat Wheat Thins (because of their crispness and flavor not because of the reduced fat aspect.) And how easy is that to prepare or to take to a party or to the park. Pairings suggested: Bridgeview Blue Moon Dry Riesling for Oregon (Mike’s pairing) and/or Isabel Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand (Frank’s pairing with a little help from Mike.) Note that Sauvignon Blanc is a classic pairing with spreadable goat cheese.
Peppadew Peppers stuffed with Couturiere Goat Cheese, or Odyssey Feta with Tomato and Basil, or Boursin Cheese. Or try all three and decide which cheese you like best with Peppadew Peppers. To stuff these slightly sweet, slightly piquant small peppers grab a small zip lock bag, place some room temperature cheese into the baggie, snip off a corner of the bag, and squeeze some of the cheese into each Peppadew Pepper. Pairings: Bridgeview Dry Riesling wine and New Belgium’s Abbey Super Cru ale which is brewed with some Asian Pear and reportedly double the malt and double hops of their Fat Tire, and finally add in some Saison yeast.
Odyssey Feta Cheese with Tomato and Basil spread on Wohlner’s Sourdough Bread. If you shop Wohlner’s on Saturday one of the bread’s of the day is Kalamata Ciabatta with Sundried Tomatoes and Rosemary. The Couturiere Goat Cheese would also be wonderful with this bread!!!
Fresh Chicken Wings grilled then tossed in Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce and regrilled. Here’s a secret the kitchen staff at the sport bar doesn’t tell you—when they make wings for themselves they grill them after the sauce has been added. Some sports bars will do that but you’ll pay dearly for that final step. Yep, it caramelizes the sauce and add more and better flavor. At home I first grill cut the wings into parts (those little nubbins don’t have enough eat so use them for chicken stock). I often bake the cut wings ahead of time to insure they are fully cooked (this is easy to do while preparing other things), or even better grill them until fully cooked. Reheat the wings on the grill, then toss them in Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce and then back onto the grill for a few minutes. These are much better than any deep fried ungrillled sports bar wings, so worth the effort, and it gives you bona fide wing braggin’ rights! Pairing: Usually I drink a nice lager beer but last week I had a nice zinfandel with these grilled wings and it was a good pairing! Zinfandel is such a great grilling and BBQ wine.
Cooked Sausage Appetizer Sampling Plate for Patio:
Charcuturie in the form of sausages is making the way on to the menus of top restaurants in San Francisco, New York City, and the Boiler Room in Omaha. A charcuterie sampling plate is the rage! Wohlner’s expertly creates and makes both novel sausages as well as classic sausages. Sausages grilled and then cut into bite size pieces to be speared with a toothpick make a wonderful appetizer which will win you raves.
Cherry Pecan Brats: Mike created this unique sausage two years ago now it’s back for summer grilling. The combination of cherries, nutty pecans and meaty brats is, well, memorable. Again, grill these until they reach a temperature of 160°-165°, then cut them into bite size pieces and watch your guests devour these with delight. I believe each guest dipped these pieces of Cherry Brats in to mustard.
Paring: Mike rightly suggests Laetitia Pinot Noir where classic cherry flavors of pinot meet the cherry brats. Or maybe try a moderately chilled Louis Jadot Beaujolais Village. Yum!
Smoked Brats: Wohlner’s butchers took our homemade brats and then judiciously smoked in our own smokehouse. The result was that they improved upon perfection. Because they were slow smoked these particular brats, unlike other brats, are fully cooked and only need be lightly reheated—thus they are super easy and super fast to prepare and serve. Cut bite size and serve with a mustard or a mustard dipping sauce.
Pairing: This is easy—German style sausages with German beer--- Octoberfest style beer of Spaten beer. And Warsteiner Premium German Lager is on sale this week.
Wohlner’s Chicken Sausage with Apricots. Mike and the crew created this deliciously novel sausage just in time for summer. Yes, a light and lean chicken sausage with pieces of fruity apricot. For convenience I lightly simmered with a ½” of water on the stove to fully cook the sausages then reheated them on the grill for even more flavor and color. (You can skimp the simmer on the stove top and only cook them on the grill, as you choose.)
Pairings with Wohlner’s Chicken Apricot Sausage: A lightly sweet and chilled Riesling or Kabinett would be excellent with the fruity apricot and light chicken in the sausage, and it would be interesting to compare a semi sweet Riesling with the dryer style Bridgeview Blue Moon Riesling. An American style lager beer would also be a good pairing.
Note: I’m dying to try Wohlner’s Chicken Apricot Sausage with a dipping sauce made of Apricot Jam, a little ginger and some minced canned chipotle pepper for a dimension of heat, but be careful because chipotle can overwhelm the apricot and chicken.
Wohlner’s Italian Sausage wrapped with roasted Red Bell Pepper. Roast a whole fresh Red Bell Pepper over the high heat of the grill until the skin turns black and blisters, then place the pepper in a small paper bag, or in a glass bowl and cover with plastic wraps, to steam the pepper for a few minutes. Next carefully peel the skin off the red bell pepper, remove all the seeds and cut into 1” wide strips. Grill the sausage, cut into 1” pieces, and wrap each Italian sausage piece with a strip of roasted red pepper, use a toothpick to pin the pepper strip to the sausage. (Sometimes I use canned Mancini Roasted Red Peppers, cut into strips and toothpick to a 1” piece of cooked Wohlner’s Italian sausage and then toss them back onto the grill to give the canned peppers a little more grill flavor.)
Pairings: Chianti or a zinfandel. And definitely lager beer!!