Paprika

Surprise!  Paprika is not a hot spice, but an “amalgamating” spice that forms the base of many blends.  In BBQ spice mixes you often add three times more paprika (for color) than you do a hot spice (for zing.)  Paprika can be used in tandoori, Mexican, Mediterranean and Cajun spice blends.

Paprika goes well with a wide range of foods:

  • Hungarian goulash
  • Sauces
  • Chicken
  • Veal and pork casseroles
  • Meat loaf
  • Sprinkled on grilled, roast & BBQ meats before cooking
  • A garnish on egg dishes

Recommended dosage (per lb, or 500 grams):

  • Red & white meats = up to 1/2 cup (125 ml)
  • Vegetables = 4 teaspoons (20 ml)
  • Carbs = 2 to 3 tsp (10 to 15 ml)

Paprika blends particularly well with: allspice, basil, caraway, cardamom, chili, cinnamon, cloves, coriander seed, cumin, fennel seed, garlic, oregano, parsley, pepper, rosemary, sage, thyme and turmeric.

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Merlot

Merlot is a red Bordeaux wine.

With its strong flavor, Merlot complements stronger meats like game birds and meats, particularly rabbit.  If you’re cooking meats with herbs or mushrooms, Merlot accompanies beef, veal or lamb very nicely.

Chicken or pork cooked with tomatoes go very well with Merlot.  This wine also works with Italian foods, like pasta, pizza or vegetables prepared with basil, pesto, garlic or parmesan.

(Merlot is not recommended with fish or seafood — consider Gamay as a red wine with fish.)

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Pepper

Simple?  Not really … This article is about “vine peppers” — but NOT the green (then yellow, or orange, or red, or purple) bell peppers you grow in your vegetable garden.  I’m talking about black pepper (like the peppercorns in a grinder) … and white, green and pink peppercorns.  (But I’m NOT talking about dried pink pepper berries; they’re different.)

You’re likely familiar with black or white pepper, either ground or in a pepper mill.  Green peppercorns are freeze-dried or bottled in brine, so they are soft and used in cooking; they’re really not hard enough to grind, but you see them occasionally dried and mixed with black and white peppercorns in grinders.  Pink vine peppercorns are also bottled in brine; the dried pink pepper you find is actually a different spice altogether.

With its hot flavour, ground pepper complements all savory foods, as an ingredient or added at the table.

  • Black pepper complements: red meats, game, strongly flavored seafood, and egg dishes (in small doses!)
  • White pepper works well in sauces, soups and casseroles.
  • Green peppercorns have a wide range of uses, in: red meats, poultry, game, pork, duck, pate and white sauces.
  • Pink peppercorns are well suited to: salad dressing, poultry, seafood and white sauces.  (Decades later, I still remember a lunch I had in Montreal: angel fish with a pink pepper sauce …)

Recommended dosage (per lb, or 500 grams)

  • Red meats = 4 teaspoons (10 ml)
  • White meats = 3 tsp (7 ml)
  • Vegetables = 2 tsp (5 ml)
  • A bit less with carbs
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Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a white wine that complements more foods than any other wine does, either red or white.

It stands up to spicy dishes (is that why it’s on this blog? ;) and goes well with cream sauces.

It’s the only white wine that complements game birds; it goes well with beef, too.  Serve it with pork that’s prepared with cream sauce, garlic, herbs, onion, parmesan, or pepper.

Like most white wines, chardonnay goes with fish and seafood, particularly grilled or made with butter, garlic or pepper.  It’s very good with saltwater fish, clams, oysters and scallops.

And like most whites, it goes with poultry, particularly cooked with strong flavours: stuffed turkey, or chicken prepared with cream sauce, garlic, herbs, onion, or pepper.

Chardonnay will work with firm or soft cheese at your retro 1970’s wine & cheese party.  Or serve it to liven up a vegetarian pasta.

Being a robust wine, it goes well with many Asian foods: stir fry with ginger, mild or Korma curry, Thai or Sushi.

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Hello world!

Looking for a way to spice up that dinner you’re making?

Looking for a wine to complement that dinner you’re serving?

You’ve come to the right place.

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