#3 Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Wine?

Yearning to impress with a great new recipe, this holiday season ?  Instead of staring at the spice rack wondering what to pick, why not try livening up and lightening up several of your old standbys by adding wine?

Cooking with wine doesn’t have to be complex or challenging.  It’s all about having fun with flavors and inventing something new and delicious.  Wine is packed with lots of wonderful flavors that come out well with cooking and baking. For example. you can add lots of flavor t,o fried fish by adding less oil or butter to the pan and adding a quarter of a cup of  white white.   If poaching is more your style, poach the fish over a pan of boiling white wine.

Wine also makes a great marinade for pork, beef, chicken, or turkey.   Wine helps to keep meat, poultry, seafood, and fish  moist and juicy while it cooks.  Simply poke holes in the meat, poultry, fish or seafood. Place in a bowl.  Cover with wine. Refrigerate, covered, for 24 hours.  Then, cook.  Red or pink wine for beef, venison, and goat.  White for everything else.

Baking with wine can be a fun and delicious way to use up leftover wine or those bottles gathering dust that you just  know you aren’t going to drink.    Cut the oil by half and add the other half in wine in cake mixes, cookies, brownies, etc.   Red wine for chocolate desserts and try white, sweet wines for everything else.  Experiment with using complementary flavors in the wine and match them with the dessert….try a wine with raspberry, strawberry, or orange notes in chocolate brownies.   Put a vine with cherry notes into a vanilla cheesecake, then top with cherries.  Cut up fresh fruit into a bowl, cover with wine. Refrigerate for a few hours.  Add some sugar and some corn starch.  Mix.  Use as a pie filling.

Chocolate chip cookies become ambrosia when you add wine with raspberry or orange flavors.  Peanut butter cookies sing when  you add an apricot, strawberry, or peach flavors from a white merlot.   Chardonnay in a spice cake or carrot cake adds dimensions of flavor to the dessert.  Peach pie with a bit of white zinfandel ? Sure.  Sponge cake with a lemony wine could be tasty when paired with a lemon glaze.

No, sorry to disappoint you, Grandma or your weird next door neighbor isn’t going to get intoxicated by eating your main dishes or baked desserts.  The alcohol disappears when you cook or bake with it.

Looking for something unique that still has the alcohol kick ?   Add a little wine to jello and use in salads, pies, and other desserts.  Instant chocolate pudding flavored with wine ?  Why not ? Pink merlot in vanilla custard?  Go for it.  Port in cream cheese makes a yummy dip.   Yogurt mixed with a little merlot as a dip for fruit ? Oh yeah. Dessert wines on ice cream?   Been there. Done that.  It’s the new alternative to chocolate syrup.  Add a little wine to salad dressings, for an interesting change.

The key to adding wine to any recipe successfully is to taste, taste, taste.  Taste your batters, marinades, and other dishes as you make them.    If it doesn’t taste good, start over.  The fun is in the adventure of experimenting.  If you come up with something amazing,  be sure to write it down.  Your family and friends will ask you to make it again and again. Who knows, one of your creations could end up in a cooking magazine or win an award.

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