Saturday, June 13, 2020

New York Finger Lakes Wines – Lonesome Stony Rose and Fox Run Rieslings Paired with Quick-Prepped Seafood #WinePW

Wines from New York Finger Lakes are no stranger to wine lovers in the US and globally due to their world-class quality and the diverse wine portfolio the region has to offer. While Rieslings are the Finger Lakes’ signature variety, other varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Lemberger have been added to the mix. Thanks to Linda Whipple from My Full Wineglass, some #WinePW bloggers are very lucky to receive samples from the wineries in Finger Lakes. In this super exciting wine delivery, I received Fox Run’s Silvan off-dry Riesling and Semi-dry Riesling and Stony Lonesome’s Cab Franc Rose. The best way to enjoy these awesome wines, in my opinion, is to pour myself a full glass while eating some quick-prepped seafood and watching the sunset at the beach.

New York Finger Lakes Wine Region

The Finger Lakes wine region in New York is the home of 140 wineries. It is located south to Rochester and Syracuse, encompassing over 9,000 square miles and including the 11 Finger Lakes, part of Lake Ontario and a section of the Erie Canal.

New York Finger Lakes (Photo Credit: Finger Lakes Wines Alliance)

There are three AVAs designated in this region - Finger Lakes AVA, Cayuga Lake AVA and Seneca Lake AVA, which were established since 1982. The four main lakes of the Finger Lakes AVA include Canandiauga Lake, Keuka Lake, Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake.  Each lake showcases its own unique viticulture characteristics and resulting unique flavor profiles. 

Photo Credit: Finger Lakes Wine Alliance

The Finger Lakes were carved out by successive waves of glaciers for hundreds and thousands of years. These large and deep freshwater lakes and the soil deposits surrounding them are the Mother Nature’s gifts to modern winemaking, forming the foundation of cool-climate wines in this region. The soil types include grain size distribution and protolith composition, with the presence of clay and limestone in the subsurface. Grain size and texture mainly affect drainage, a critical parameter of vineyard performance.

The average temperature of much of central New York is too low for wine production. Most of the vineyards in the Finger Lakes AVA are located close to the lakes, particularly the deeper ones such as Seneca Lake, benefiting from their moderating effect on temperature and precipitation, known informally as the "lake effect." The effect brings warmer minimum temperatures in the Winter and cooler maximum temperature in the Summer.

Silvan Riesling: subtle oak on nose and palate, off-dry, lime peel, wet slate, almond, yeasty and creamy
Semi-dry Riesling: tropical fruit on the nose and palate, zesty, moderate-sweet

Fox Run Vineyards – Drink Wine, Be Happy

Fox Run Vineyards started its first grapes planting in 1984. Ten years later, Scott Osborn and his first business partner, Andy Hale purchased the winery from the Wildricks. In 2012, Scott and Ruth Osborn teamed up with Ruth’s sister and brother-in-law (Kathleen and Albert Zafonte) to make Fox Run Vineyards exclusively family owned. Now with 50 acres of east-facing vineyards on glacial soils, the winery produces a remarkable range of limited-production estate wines. As a certified lake friendly farm since 2002, the vineyard practices have no negative impact on the water quality of Seneca Lake. They minimize herbicide use and add nutrients back into our soils through regenerative farming techniques.

The 2018 Silvan Riesling (SRP$25) spent time in small oak barrels during fermentation. Malolactic fermentation was avoided and no lees stirring was deployed, resulting in a complex aroma and creamy mouthfeel in this Riesling.

The 2017 Semi-Dry Riesling (SRP$14) was fermented in stainless steel tank at moderate temperatures, using three different yeast strains. The wines were chilled just before reaching dryness to leave a small dose of sugar for sweetness.

3 Brothers Wineries - BOLD. BRAZEN. BRILLIANT.

3 Brothers Wineries was founded by Dave and Luanne Mansfield in 2006. Since then, the estate has expanded business into microbrewery and café, drawing over 150,000 visitors per year. Innovation and providing great customer experiences – “We’ve got something for everyone” become part of 3 Brothers’ strategies. In 2019 they have released 375 ml canned wine spritzers to tap on the trends of alcoholic canned drinks market.

Cab Franc Rose: dry, floral on the nose and palate, honey, lime, medium-mouthfeel, long finish

The 2019 Stony Lonesome Cab Franc Rose (SRP$18) was overnight-soaked prior to pressing, allowing for the vibrant red color to infuse from the skins while not catching too much textural phenolics to extract and heavy tannins.


Quick-Prepped Seafood – 15 Minutes Work

Indulging in these beautiful wines at the beach, I really don’t want to slave myself cooking-wise. A brief trip to the nearby Asian grocery store gave me quick and fool-proof pairing ideas. The quick-prepped menu is crawfish quick-boiled in Cajun seasoning, sautéed fresh mussel with a drizzle off-dry Riesling, and shrimp wonton noodles.

Crawfish tastes like a lobster and looks like a miniature one too. It’s super affordable, at the price of around $5 per pound. The prep instructions are like boiling lobsters. When the water is boiling, add some Cajun seasoning to it before dropping the crawfish in. Once the water is boiled again, the crawfish is cooked. This is by far my favorite way of cooking crawfish - spicy, salty, and finger-licking good. The presentation of crawfish is so picture perfect too!

Sautéing mussel is a fool-proof recipe. Start with a bit olive oil in the frying pan and cook the crushed garlic until golden brown. Add in the mussel until it opens up. Drizzle the Riesling that you have in your glass to get the sizzle. Here we go, I can’t think of anything else that’s as effortless and as good for the Rieslings you are drinking.

Shrimp wonton noodle gives you a bit carb for the dinner. I found the pre-made shrimp wonton noodle bowls in Costco very authentic and convenient. If you need to make your own, use any ramen noodle you have in your pantry. Prepare it according to the package instructions. For the shrimp wonton, you could buy the wonton wrappers  in the grocery store, wrap with de-shelled shrimps that are seasoned with a bit salt and sesame oil. Pre-made shrimp wontons are also widely available in the frozen aisle of the Asian grocery store.

When cooking is so effortless, you can relax, chill and sip these beautiful wines that are so good with the seafood.

Disclaimer: wines are samples. Opinions and ideas are my own.

To see what other wine bloggers are pairing their Finger Lakes wines, check out the following: 

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Enjoying Gilgal Cab Sauvignon – Merlot and Yarden Pinot Gris with Grilled Wagyu Steak, Alaska Sockeye Salmon and Poke Ahi Tuna Bowl #WinePW


It’s another exciting week of wines in May 2020 when the #WinePW bloggers received samples from Yarden Wines, a major importer of Israeli wines in the US. A big thank you to Jeff at Food Wine Click for his sample coordination with the Winery. I’m not a newbie to Yarden Wines. I paired their Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 and Galil Alon 2014 with a thick cut of grilled Wagyu beef steak in the winter. It was a no-turning-back moment which I surrender to these wines whenever I indulge in expensive steaks. The Yarden Pinot Gris 2018 and Golan Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot 2017 however are different – they are causal, modern, and your food-buddies that you can trust to deliver at any time with any meal plans!

Photo Credit: winebytheglass.com

Wines of Israel

Israel is located in the western Middle East at the very eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea, bordering Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. The wine-producing land is about 13,600 acres, which is small by size in comparison to other New World wine-producing countries. Israel however produces 40–45 million bottles of wine per year. Most Israeli wine is consumed within the country, as only around 20% is exported each year. There are approximately 300 wineries in Israel, ranging from small operations that produce a few hundred bottles of wine per year, to large wineries making more than five million bottles  of every variety and in every region.

Causal, modern, and your food-buddies!

The US has underpinned the development of the Israeli wine industry over the past few decades through its tremendous consumption demand. This driving force brings some very New World styles and techniques in wines to this old country. Israeli wines, kosher or not, still create some confusion nowadays especially if you overlay the religious and dietary restrictions. To be considered as truly kosher, various products including wines need to be prepared only by Jews as some modern Orthodox Jews believe. Mevushal wines, which are wines that have been flash pasteurized, are consumed by certain highly observant Orthodox Jews. For a wine to be termed as kosher wine, strict Judaism laws have to be followed and applied throughout the winemaking process. As a general rule of thumb, the laws governing the production of kosher wine are not all that different from those required for organic wine production anywhere in the world. For regular wine drinkers like myself, I simply see wines from Israel like these Yarden wine samples are great wines that have made big impact in the wine world and should be widely enjoyed.  

Gilgal Cab Sauvignon – Merlot paired with a thin-cut Wagyu Steak, Alaska Sockeye salmon filet and a side of asparagus grilled on a cask iron pan done indoor!

Yarden Wines

Yarden Wines is composed of Golan Heights Winery and Galil Mountain Winery, which exports Israeli wines to the US. Golan Heights Winery carries three distinct labels: Yarden, Gilgal (Gamla in Israel) and Mount Hermon. Golan Heights Winery is considered as Israel’s leader in quality, technological innovation, new variety development, and sustainability. The vineyards of Golan Heights are the only few wine-producing areas in Israel that enjoy the ideal conditions as in Bordeaux or Tuscany, for producing internationally renowned wines. They are blessed with the ideal grape growing conditions and terroirs, including diverse soils (limestone, basalt, alluvial, clay loam), and cool high-altitude elevation. After planting their first vineyards in the Golan in 1976, the Winery was established in 1983 by four kibbutzim (collective communities) and four moshavim (cooperative communities). In 1984, the Winery released its first wine - the 1983 Yarden Sauvignon Blanc - creating great excitement in Israel and abroad. Since then, Golan Heights Winery has played a significant role in developing and nurturing Israel’s current wine culture. The Winery also has altered the way Israeli wines are perceived worldwide and has firmly placed Israel on the world wine map. In 2012, Golan Heights Winery was named New World Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast.

The Galilee is a perfect accompaniment with the poke rice bowl which has fresh Ahi tuna cubes and home-made guacamole that lie atop a plate of warm and nutty brown rice

Yarden Pinot Gris 2018 (SRP: $22.99)

The Galilee features notes of Asian pear, crab apple, lime, grapefruit, peach and tropical fruit, coupling with floral characters and ending with mineral notes. This charming medium-bodied Pinot Gris showcases freshness and drinkability - perfectly on its own but even better when pairing it with a poke bowl of warm brown rice with fresh ahi tuna cubes tossed in soya sauce, lime juice and sesame oil and freshly made guacamole. The acidity of the wine echoes the limey taste of the tuna and guac. The weight of the wine is spot-on with the nutty rice and buttery mouthfeel of the guac.

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Yarden Galilee Pinot Gris 2018 features notes of Asian pear, crab apple, lime, grapefruit, peach and tropical fruit, coupling with floral characters and ending with mineral notes. This charming medium-bodied Pinot Gris showcases freshness and drinkability - perfectly on its own but even better when pairing it with a poke bowl of warm brown rice with fresh ahi tuna cubes tossed in soya sauce, lime juice and sesame oil and freshly made guacamole. The acidity of the wine echos the limey taste of the tuna and guac. The weight of the wine is spot-on with the nutty rice and buttery mouthfeel of the guac. What a great pair to welcome the summer🍲🌞 • • #chinesefoodandwinepairings • • • #yardenwines #galileewine #isarelwine #pinotgris #golanheightwinery #pokebowl #ahitunapoke #winelover #winelovers #winelovers🍷 #winelover🍷 #summerwhites #summerwhitewine #attheyardentable

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Golan Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot 2017 (SRP$17.99)

The Golan is a dynamite on the nose with pronounced chocolate, expresso coffee and soft oak. As you taste it, the wine is not overpowering, with unripen cherry, plum, chocolate, roasted coffee, and lighter notes of herbs in the background. It’s flavorful, medium-bodied and by no means heavy-lifting - perfect for a surf and turf dinner that I indulged with a thinly cut Wagyu steak, Alaskan Sockeye salmon fillet and a side of asparagus on a weeknight. 

The grassiness and gaminess of the American Wagyu beef (learn more about Wagyu here) brings me back to this steak over and over again. The wild-caught Alaskan Sockeye salmon fillet is the healthiest version of the US salmons you could get. If you can find Scottish salmons, go for it as its milder taste but buttery texture will definitely go well with this Cab Sauv – Merlot as well.

For other resources, please visit:

https://winesisrael.com/en/

https://www.winesofisrael.com/

Disclaimer: The wines are sample. All opinions in this post are my own.

Check out other #WinePW bloggers' Yarden wines and food:

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Cru Beaujolais – Cedric Lathuiliere Fleurie Paired with Frog Legs #Winophiles

 

Cru Beaujolais Cédric Lathuilière Fleurie and Pan-fried Frog Legs

In May, the #Winophiles has ventured out to Cru Beaujolais to learn about this French wine area's geo and to taste these high-quality Beaujolais wines. Our host, Cindy from Grape Experiences introduces wines from Fleurie, which is the 'Cru' of my featured wine from Domaine Lathuilière-Gravallon. 


Cru Beaujolais - 10 Crus

Cru Beaujolais lies north of Lyon and immediately south of Burgundy. Cru is vineyard in French, and Cru Beaujolais refers to an entire standalone AOC - wine-producing designated area that consists of ten crus, starting the most northerly Saint-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Brouilly, to the most southerly Côte de Brouilly. The soil types in the area are (pink) granite, schist, clay, sandstone and limestone. The climate is semi-continental thanks to its proximity to the Mediterranean. The region is overall warmer than Burgundy, which vines consistently bear fully ripen grapes year after year. The dominant grape of Cru Beaujolais is Gamay (over 99%). Cru Beaujolais offers Gamay wines that are the most affordable, robust, food friendly, and age-worthy. Let’s take a look at the geo breakdown.

Photo Credit: beveragemedia.com

  • Saint-Amour

Saint-Amour is Beaujolais’ most northerly appellation, featuring wines that are light, youthful and causal-drinking and have dominating flavors of ripe red fruits. Wines from Saint-Amour show their best within a year or two after harvest.

  • Juliénas

Juliénas is located below Saint-Amour. The wines there are known for their structure, slightly more tannic profiles, abundant notes of dark berries and violets, hints of warm spice, and vibrant acidity. Because of this tannic structure and solid backbone, wines from Juliénas are some of the bottles that demonstrate strong age worthiness out of the Beaujolais region.

  • Chénas

Chénas is the smallest cru in Beaujolais. Wines coming out of Chénas are full-bodied and bold, highlighting their dark fruits, spicy, floral profiles.

  • Moulin-à-Vent

Wines from Moulin-à-Vent are considered as some of the most structured and have the highest cellaring potential in all of Beaujolais. Despite of the wines’ solid frame, these wines are not overly tannic and maintain an elegant and approachable persona. On the palate, wines from this Cru are complex, presenting flavors of ripe dark berries, crushed red flowers, and wild-life game.

  • Fleurie

Fleurie has one of Beaujolais’ highest concentrations of world-renowned producers, fetching a remarkably high regard among both the industry and consumers. Vines in Fleurie grow over decomposed and loose granite on the higher slopes and produce wines with more mineral characters than those from the lower clay slopes. Wines from Fleurie are fuller and are known for their floral and mineral notes, showcasing sophistication and silkiness - soft, violet, rose petal, and red fruits.

  • Chiroubles

The vineyards of Chiroubles sit at the highest altitude out of the ten Crus. The wines are wildly fun, having notes of iris, strawberry, and bright red fruits. These are the ready-to-pop wines for immediate consumption.

  • Morgon

Morgon is the second-largest Cru in Beaujolais, just after Brouilly. Like Fleurie, Morgon is the home to a lot of high-end producers, including the renowned ‘Gang of Four’ vignerons, Lapierre, Breton, Thévene and Foillard. Wines, having cherry, metal and crushed stone notes, are full-bodied and super friendly with meaty and hearty dishes.

  • Régnié

Régnié, the youngest Cru in the area, produces the region’s most interesting wines due to its mineral-laden soils. Its wines are aromatic and bright, and are dominated by flavors of raspberry and red currant.

  • Brouilly

Brouilly covers one fifth of Beaujolais’ entire area and has the highest wine production of the area. Its soils are broken down into mostly pink granite and limestone marl. Wines from Brouilly are all-out fruit-forward, the typical Parisian ‘bistro’ wines that are light and easy-drinking.

  • Côte de Brouilly

Côte de Brouilly sits within the larger Brouilly appellation. Their wines are structured, age-worthy, meat- and cellar- friendly, and have flavors of dark berries and wet stones.

Domaine Lathuilière-Gravallon - Cross Six Appellations in Beaujolais

Domaine Lathuilière-Gravallon is located in Villié-Morgon, in the heart of the Beaujolais region for five generations. In 2013 Cedric Lathuilière and his wife, Cathy Gravallon took over the Domaine from Cathy's parents and continued its legacy in the Beaujolais wine regions. The vineyard, which consists of 15 hectares of vines, spreads across six appellations including Chiroubles, Fleurie, Morgon, Brouilly, Beaujolais and Beaujolais Villages. Hand-harvest is typical at the vineyard as it sits on sleep hillsides. The Domaine's philosophy is to practice sustainable viticulture which respects the terroir, minimizes manual manipulation, and discourages herbicides and chemical products.

Cédric Lathuilière Fleurie (SRP $15)

Charming Cedric Lathuilière Fleurie!

Cédric Lathuilière Fleurie is intensely floral but less fruity, ending with a touch of wet stone note. It’s a very modern and food-friendly wine that absolutely pairs well with many foods – pan-fried frog legs, T-bone steak and shrimps in my plate.

Frog legs are considered as delicacy in many parts of the world due to its high nutritious value, high price tag (e.g., $12.99 per pound for live frogs in the Asian grocery store) and scarce availability. Frogs are rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and potassium but ultimately the novelty dictates the price.

Fishmonger will 'prep' the frogs just like cleaning fresh fish! 

I know people may start thinking about the notorious ‘wet markets’ in Asia... Frogs are popular in high-end restaurants in Europe and are available in US restaurants too. Of course, the "prepping" of the frogs is behind-the-scene and I usually tell people to think about frogs like a food group in a pure gastronomical context rather than a prince. 

Scarcity in availability fetches the high price - a frog weighs nearly 1 pound ($13) but only the pair of legs are meaty!

For me, since I grew up in Hong Kong and had eaten frogs cooked at home or in restaurants in so many ways like pan- and deep-frying and sautéing, I see frogs as expensive seafood and cook them at home for special occasions. While there are fully prepped and degutted frozen versions out there, I do opt for fresh frogs if they are available. Fresh frogs just taste so differently from the frozen ones as the fresh ones have that pleasant and sweet taste that you can only find in very fresh fish like live sea bass and rainbow trout.

To cook any really fresh seafood, less is more. I simply pan-fried the frog legs with a bit olive oil on the heat-up cask iron pan. The key thing is not to overcook them - 2-3 minutes each side is good enough. Season with a bit black pepper and salt. The frog legs serve as the perfect appetizer along with the steak, shrimp and sweet potato. The best part is that this was the birthday dinner for one of the adventurous eaters at home, my younger daughter who enjoyed the frog legs a lot. As she said it, "Yummy! it tastes like chicken!"

Check out other #winophiles bloggers' great Cru Beaujolais finds: 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Show Love, Sip Mionetto Prosecco and Eat Chinese Noodles #SparkleatHome #WinePW

Mionetto Cartizze DOCG, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG and Prosecco Organic Extra Dry with Chinese Noodles Cooked in Six Ways  

You like it or not…the global Covid-19 pandemic has established a new way for people to interact with others, foods and drinks in any occasions. When dining and drinking at your favorite restaurant with friends and families to celebrate was what you typically did in the recent past, celebrating in a home-bound style, drinking bubbles at home and cooking with a mindset of using what you have in the pantry may have become the new normalcy.  The bottom line is that the thoughts and love matter the most when we go above and beyond to bring joy to people during difficult times! 

Prosecco gains huge popularity in the sparkler market recently due to its refreshing and citrusy tastes and approachable price points. Of course, its Italian DNA has fizz and fun written all over it, making it the go-to celebratory wine for all walks of wine drinkers.

Prosecco DOCG vs Prosecco DOC

Prosecco is made in Veneto, the Northeastern of Italy. DOCG stands for the Controlled and Guaranteed Denomination of Origin that certifies the location and imposes quality controls to the production of wines, often becoming a selling point and status of the wines. The Prosecco di Valdobbiadene area along with the Conegliano, the hilly areas where the best quality of Prosecco are produced, acquired the DOCG status in 2010. The highest quality DOCG production remains in the historic “Superiore di Cartizze” micro-area, which is only 107 hectares in size but produces outstandingly opulent wines year after year.

Prosecco DOC - Controlled Denomination of Origin area was established in 2009 and comprises of five provinces of the Veneto region (Treviso, Venezia, Padova, Belluno and Rovigo) and four in the Friuli - Venezia Giulia one (Gorizia, Pordenone, Trieste and Udine). The soils of this much larger growing area are very diversified, from stony to clayey or sandy, yielding Prosecco that’s typically less intense and persistent than the DOCG’s.

Photo Credit: Mionetto

Mionetto was founded in 1887 by Francesco Mionetto in the small village of Valdobbiadene. In the heart of the Prosecco region where you see the rolling stretch of soft and sinuous hills, Mionetto produces exceptional wines with consistent national and international acclaim that equates for quality, tradition and innovation.

Photo Credit: Mionetto
The beauty of the hills takes in many physical forms. While some slopes roll gently towards the valley, others are much steeper. For protection from the prevailing cold alpine winds and icy rains from the North, vines are on Southern slopes. And southeast slopes are best. They face the morning sun, benefiting from the early sunlight and a morning jolt of CO2, needed for sugar production.

Why Mionetto Prosecco is perfect for Chinese Noodles?

When I say Chinese noodles, it means cooking noodle dishes with typical Chinese seasonings, condiments and Chinese cooking methods. The key concept in my cooking here is to use what you already have, improvise, innovate and cook to your own taste, “wow”ing yourself and your families with versatility and yumminess!


Mionetto’s Prosecco DOCG and DOC are really Asian food friendly in so many ways. These Proseccos, which are inherently light, crisp, fruity and aromatic, can deal with the complex tastes (e.g., savory, spicy, garlicky, salty, creamy) that come from the typical Chinese seasonings . While the fresh floral and tropical fruity notes and cleanliness are pleasure on the nose and palate, Mionetto Prosecco’s soft citrus and subtle nutty notes stimulate your appetite for more yummy noodles.

Cartizze DOCG Dry (SRP$35); Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry (SRP$15.99); Mionetto Prosecco Organic Extra Dry (SRP$18.99)  

Cartizze DOCG Dry (Shop Here)

As the stand-out of Mionetto’s Luxury collection, this elegant Cartizze luminates golden highlights and releases impressions of apple and pear, alongside an undertone of citrus and glazed almond. On the palate it is creamy, well-balanced, quite structured for a Prosecco, and has lingering tiny bubbles. Its residual sugar is 24-26% g/l with an acidity of 5.8-6% g/l, qualifying as a dry Prosecco. I found Cartizze particularly delicious with the four Chinese noodles (see below) that are made from whole wheat pasta. The nuttiness and density of the noodles do play out well with the sugary almond and creamy notes of this wine.

Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry (Shop Here) 

Another Prosecco in the Luxury collection, the Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry Prosecco has long-lasting bead of pin-point bubbles. Its rich bouquet is reminiscent of rich floral bouquet and emphatic impressions of apple, white peach and sour mango, with a subtle touch of lemon. Its residual sugar is 17-19% g/l with an acidity of 5.6-6% g/l, qualifying as an extra dry Prosecco. The creamy mayo salmon cold noodle is to die for when pairing with this Prosecco. The wine’s acidity adds freshness to the salmon sauce and calms the spiciness coming from the Sriracha sauce.

Mionetto Prosecco Organic Extra Dry (Shop Here) 

This Prosecco is a delightful refresher with perfume of delicate elderflowers on the nose and an explosive of green apples on the palate. It’s crisp and floral that I found it a perfect accompaniment for the curry lamb noodle and the cold noodle in the ginger and scallion infused oil.

Six Chinese Noodles – Using Pantry Ingredients

During pandemic, the grocery shopping experience is not fun but rather stressful - social distancing, wearing a mask and being germaphobia. Using ingredients already available in the pantry to cook a meal and being creative and improvised becomes a status quo. However, by no means, we will shortchange the flavors of the dishes you put out there as daily meals or for any celebrations. The key prep for these noodle dishes is having the basic Chinese condiments and seasonings handy in your pantry.

The six Chinese noodles I am preparing are:

  • Stir-fried whole wheat spaghetti with minced garlic and oyster sauce;
  • Stir-fried whole wheat spaghetti with sliced garlic, white pepper and red chili flakes;
  • Whole wheat pasta tossed in sesame and soya sauce and topped with sliced cucumber and any cooked chicken;
  • Whole wheat spaghetti tossed in mayo, lemon and Sriracha sauce and mixed in canned salmon and blanched string beans;
  • Korean cold noodle mixed in salty ginger and scallion infused oil;
  • Stir-fried flat Chinese noodle in curry powder and thinly sliced or ground lamb. 

Six Chinese Noodles

Making ginger and scallion infused oil in a small sauce pan; adding fresh lemon juice to mayo,  Sriracha sauce and the canned salmon  

Ingredients (widely available in major grocers or Asian grocery stores):

·       Soya sauce

·       Oyster sauce

·       Sesame/Tahini sauce 

·       Sriracha sauce

·       Whole wheat spaghetti or any type of pasta

·       Korean cold noodle 

·       Chinese flat noodle 

·       Scallion

·       Ginger

·       Garlic cloves

·       Red Chili Pepper Flakes

·       Curry powder (turmeric powder, cumin powder, garam masala powder

·       White pepper

·       Mayo

·       Canned salmon

·       Lemon

·       Sliced lamb or slices of roast beef cold cut

·       Store bought roasted chicken

How to:

1. Garlic and oyster sauce noodle: if you are getting tired of cooking spaghetti with the same old tomato or Alfredo sauce, give this whole wheat spaghetti a try and no doubt it will become your favorite. Depending on how much you like garlic…the more the merrier in my case. Peel and mince at least five cloves for half a pound of spaghetti. Heat up olive oil in a frying pan and stir fry the garlic until golden brown. Toss into the pre-cooked (al dente) spaghetti, add 1 tbsp of oyster sauce for every half a pound of spaghetti you put in. Add the pasta water in the pan until the spaghetti is moist and the oyster is evenly dissolved. It’s perfect to serve it warm or at room temperature.

2. Garlic, white pepper and red chili pepper flake noodle: This is a spicy noodle dish. Pan-frying the spaghetti with sliced garlic and red chili pepper flakes in olive oil is very Italian. I add white pepper powder, which has more heat than black pepper, to kick up the spiciness. Prior to tossing the cooked noodle in the pan, use olive oil to fry up the garlic, white pepper and red chili flakes so the dried spices can release its aromas.  


 3. Cold spaghetti tossed in sesame and soya sauce and topped with sliced cucumber and any cooked chicken: Start with mixing 4 tbsp sesame/Tahini sauce, 1 tbsp soya sauce and 1 tbsp of sugar and 4 tbsp of hot water all together until the sauce can coat the back of a spoon. Adjust any of the condiments to the mixture to your liking. Hand shred the chicken and slice cucumber and put it atop the cooked spaghetti. Drizzle the sauce over the chicken, cucumber and noodle. This can be served at room temperature or cold. This is a great way to use up your store bought or left-over roasted chicken. Substituting with chicken or turkey cold cut is equally tasty too.


4. Spaghetti tossed in mayo, lemon and Sriracha sauce and mixed in canned salmon and blanched string beans: 
To talk about complementing Prosecco, this spaghetti salad is a no brainer. Mix a cup of mayo with a can of salmon (completely drain the liquid inside), juice of half a fresh lemon, 1 tbsp of Sriracha sauce (if you like spicy) and salt. While you are cooking the spaghetti, blanch a handful of string beans. Toss the spaghetti and string beans and the sauce into a large mixing bowl and  gently coat the noodles with the sauce. Oh man, this is so delicious and healthy. I have been making extra on this salmon sauce as I like it on a rustic toast too.


5. Korean cold noodle mixed in salty ginger and scallion infused oil: If you like Asian food, you may already have some sorts of dry noodles that can be used for cold noodle dishes in your pantry. These noodles are from Korea, Japan or Taiwan. The texture of these noodles are chewier then regular noodles when cooked and cooled, providing great mouthfeel. I like to heat up some sliced ginger, scallion and salt in olive oil and drizzle the oil on these cold noodles. It’s a vegan meal but with super big favor. This ginger and scallion infused oil is exceptionally good with grilled or steamed fish and seafood too. 

6. Stir-fried flat Chinese noodle in curry powder and thinly sliced lamb: This is a creation that incorporates a tad Muslim and Indian cooking. As you may also do when cooking in pandemic, you browse through your pantry and see what you have and what other seasonings you can use to cook. I see turmeric, cumin and garam masala powder…who knows when I got them but they are in fact killer seasonings with lamb. To “wake up” these pantry seasonings, add a bit olive oil and use low heat on the non-stick frying pan to toast the powder. Once you smell the aromas, quickly stir fry the thinly slice lamb and the pre-cooked flat noodles.  

Some people may be able to continue celebrating in person with their loved one in special occasions with wines and foods. Some can only drop off a gift bag (e.g., wines and masks) at their loved ones’ doorsteps and rely on technology to interact with them remotely, observing the stay-at-home guidelines and protecting their loved ones. Either way, it’s a show of love and care!

Disclosure: The wines in this post are samples. All opinions are my own.