Monday, May 20, 2013


One of my favorite recipes for the summer is Guacamole because is really easy, lots of fresh flavors, very healthy and very versatile as a side dish, meaning that can go with just about anything from tacos, any mexican dish to sandwich or burgers. This is a simple recipe, in 10 minutes you have a very tasty and chunky Guacamole.


  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 red onion or white onions (I preffer red ones), minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1-2 serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed, minced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro (leaves and tender stems), finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lime or lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped
  •  2 Tsp of Olive Oil

 * Cut avocados in half. Remove seed. Scoop out avacado from the peel, put in a mixing bowl.

 * Using a fork or a potato masher  roughly mash the avocado. (The guacamole should be a little chunky.)

* Add the chopped onion, cilantro, lime or lemon, salt . Chili peppers vary individually in their hotness. So, start with a half of one chili pepper and add to the guacamole to your desired degree of hotness. Add the olive oil so the guacamole gets a nice texture.

* Be careful handling the peppers; wash your hands thoroughly after handling and do not touch your eyes or the area near your eyes with your hands for several hours.

* Really cold tomatoes hurts their flavor, so don't chop the tomatoes or add to the guacamole until ready to serve.

Remember that much of this is done to taste because of the variability in the fresh ingredients. Start with this recipe and adjust to your taste.

* Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole to prevent oxidation from the air reaching it.
* Before serving, chop the tomato, add to the guacamole and mix.

I love a good  Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc) from France o Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand to pair this dish. Sauvignon Blanc has lots of acidity for tasty and creamy dishes like guacamole.

Here´s a good track. This is John de Sohn ft. Kristin Amparo, this song always put me in a really good mood. Eat and Drink. Cheers.

Follow me on twitter @davidesalegna

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wine Temperatures

Wine Temperatures

When it comes to serving temperature, a wine should always have the right temperature. Too hot and the wine’s alcohol will be emphasized, leaving it flat, flabby and very unpleasant taste. Too cold and the aromas and flavors will be muted and, for reds, the tannins may seem harsh and very astringent. Too often, white wines are served straight out of a fridge (big mistake!!)  While reds are opened at a very warm room temperature, neither of which are ideal for the wine. Here are some tips from Wine Spectator Magazine to reach the perfect temperature:
  • “Light dry white wines, rosés, sparkling wines: Serve at 40° (6 C)° to 50° F (9 C°) to preserve their freshness and fruitiness. Think crisp Pinot Grigio or Riesling and Champagne. For sparkling wine, chilling keeps bubbles fine rather than frothy. This is also a good range for white dessert wines; sweetness is accentuated at warmer temperatures, so chilling them preserves their balance without quashing their vibrant aromas.
  • Full-bodied white wines and light, fruity reds: Serve at 50°(9 C°) to 60° F (15 C°) to pick up more of the complexity and aromatics of a rich Chardonnay or to make a fruity Beaujolais more refreshing.
  • Full-bodied red wines and Ports: Serve at 60° (15 C°)  to 65° F (18 C°) —cooler than most room temperatures and warmer than ideal cellaring temperatures—to make the tannins in powerful Cabernet or Syrah feel more supple and de-emphasize bitter components.”

Be Prepared
It can take an hour or two in a fridge to chill a white or bubbly (Champagne, Cava, Prosecco …) down to the right temperature, and there’s no harm in sticking a too-warm red in there for a little while too. On the other hand, a red pulled from a cellar, cooler or fridge may need up to a half-hour sitting out at room temperature. If you can afford it, it’s handy to have a small wine cooler with temperature settings up to 65° F (18 C°); you can use that to hold bottles you want to open for dinner or a party.
Warm Up or Cool Down
Need a quick fix? If the wine is too warm, immerse it in a mix of ice and cold water ( half two thirds (2/3) bucket of ice and a third of cold water) —this chills a bottle more quickly than ice alone because more of the glass is in contact with the cold water. It may take about 10 minutes for a red to 30 minutes for Champagne or other sparkling wine. You can even stick a bottle in the freezer for 25 minutes.
If the wine is too cold, decant it into a container rinsed in hot water or immerse it briefly in a bucket of warm water—but don’t try anything with high heat. If the wine is only a little cold, just pour it into glasses and cup your hands around the bowl to warm it up.
Keep in mind that a wine served cool will warm up in the glass, while a wine served warm will only get warmer. It’s always better to start out a little lower than the target temperature.

So now there´s no excuse for you to drink wine at a wrong temperature. If you have any questions feel free to contact me at my twitter @davidesalegna

Here´s a little Carol Emerald for you to start drinking some wine and have a few laughs. Cheers 

Image Courtesy of Concha y Toro.
Source. Wine Spectator

Monday, June 18, 2012

Spicy Hummus with Pita Chips

I love Summer time because everything is easier, laid back and more relaxed. That applies to cooking too, so usually I pick recipes that are easy to make, because I dont want to spend the day trapped in a kitchen when the sun is shinning. Hummus can be quickly made with just a few items that canbe kept on hand. You can make hummus up to 3 days in advance and toast the pita up to a dar ahead.


 * 4 pita bread rounds
 * 1 can of chickpead (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed
 * juice of 1 or 2 lemons (depends how acid you want it)
 * 1 teaspoon of salt
 * 1 teaspoon of hungarian paprika
 * 1/4 of cayenne pepper
 * 1 clove garlic, minced
 * 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
 *1/4 cup minced fresh flat leaf parsley


Preheat the oven to 350° F. Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, cut each pita into strips or triangule pieces. Arrange the pita pieces in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Romeve from the oven, let cool, and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, lemon juice, salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic and olive oil and process until pureed, about 2 minutes. Spoon into a serving bowl, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve with the pita chips.

With tempetures of 90° F and 95°F I usually drink a nice cold Stella Artois ( Beer) or if you want something a little bit more classier go for something bubbly like a nice Prosecco: I chose Maschio because its very crisp, good acidity and also very refreshing, you can get  it for a vey good price, so it´s a win win situation.

This song always puts  me in a very good mood when I hear it on the radie and everyone´s saying it´s the song of the summer of 2012, so enjoy it!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pico de Gallo for the upcoming Summer Days

Pico de Gallo

I´ve been MIA this past month due to the amount of work that I have in the office, but I promise to post as many recipes and wines as I can, so you can try it.

This is an easy recipe for this hot summer days, even a person with no cooking skills can do it, this is chopping and mixing, That´s it!!!


  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup  cilantro leaf , chopped (or more to taste!)
  • 2 -3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoon Olive Oil

Combine all ingredients; cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. 
Serve with pita chips, tortillas or toasted bread.     

This dish goes really well with white wines specially Riesling or Gewurtztraminer. If you choose Gewurtztraminer from Alsace from Hugel. Very crisp, good acidity, and light to drink. If you choose Riesling you can go for a cheap version but a really good one. Riesling from Chateau St. Michelle 2010.

I chose for today this lovely tune from Jamiroquai, very summery and very relaxing, enjoy everyone.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Penne All´Arrabiata


2 cloves of garlic, peeled & thinly sliced
1 onion chopped
2 tablespoons  olive oil
1  can of Pplum tomatoes
2 chillies, finely chopped or Pepper Flakes (to taste)
1/3rd cup chopped basil (to garnish)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Grated Parmegiano Reggiano Cheese or Grana Padano
1 bag of penne

  • Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the garlic, onions and chillies. Cook over a low heat until the garlic is golden brown nad onions are soft, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the tomatoes and season with salt & pepper. Cook for approximately 30 minutes, until the sauce is thick.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large saucepan in boiling salted water until al dente.
  • Serve immediately and top with the grated cheese and chopped basil. 

     A wine pairing for this food is a good Chianti Classico Riserva a Masi Valpolicella or if you like to be bold enough you can try an Australian Syrah.  Buon Appetito.

    this is a song that always put me in a really good mood!! good to start the day. Just Like  Heaven, The Cure.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

International White Grape Varieties ( The Classics)

White Grapes

There are five grapes varieties that are considered classics in the wine world. This range from the extreme popular such as the Chardonnay and some other that are less familiar like Semillon. But all of them have in common one thing: Excellent wines no matter where are they planted.

For several decades Chardonnay has been one of the most successful white wines in the world and one of the grape varietal sold in the United States. The grape is grown in almost every wine region in the world because can adapt to a wide variety of climates and conditions. Chardonnay based wines tend to be fuller bodied and softer in acidity than most of white wines. The grape neutral characteristics lend themselves well to heavy manipulation in the winery, such as barrel fermentation, extreme oak aging and of course malolactic fermentation.
The Native Homeland of Chardonnay is Burgundy, France. The Aging Regime is almost always aged in oak. The varietal characteristics are citrus, green apple, olives, nuts and minerals if its old world style, and if its new world style has aromas of pears, apple pie, pineapples, toffee, butter, vanilla.
Also Chardonnay can also be used to produce sparkling wines and is the only grape variety that can legally be grown in the French region of Champagne. California has become t he worlds second most important producer of Chardonnay after Burgundy.

Sauvignon Blanc.
It is generally produced into lighter bodied, acidic and dry white wines reminiscent of ripe grapefruit. The term Sauvignon is actually derived from the French word “wild” or “savage”, a nod to the typical grassy and herbal notes often present in wines produced from this varietal. Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent accompaniment to a wide range of foods thanks to the acidity that this grape has.
The best wine regions that produce Sauvignon Blanc are in the Loire Valley in France, most notably two villages: Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume. Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc is the text book version: light, clean, acidic and intensely grassy and herbal. These wines are all aged in stainless steel or neutral oak to preserve the freshness of their flavor characteristics.
New Zealand produces their Sauvignon Blanc in a similar way, rarely allowing to be aged in oak barrels. The unique terroir of this island nation produces white wines with bright grapefruit and tropical notes, which has made this grape the most important grown in that country. The planting of this variety was decreasing before New Zealand’s version gained international attention, reversing this trend.
In California is known also a Fumé Blanc. The acidity is medium to high. The Varietal characteristics are grapefruit, tropical fruits, gooseberries, freshly cut green grass, herbs and cat urine.

This grape variety is considered the chameleon of the winemaking world for its ability to translate terroir and change characteristics based on where it is grown. This quality, along with the grape’s natural affinity for food, makes it a favorite amongst many wine professionals.
In terms of style Riesling can also vary widely (sweet or dry, sparkling or still, table wine or dessert). It is one of the few grapes varieties in the world that can produce both world class sweet wines and dry wines. The one characteristics is always present is a central core of acidity.
The roots of Riesling traces back to Germany hundreds of years ago, and many of the best Rieslings are still produced there. The best Rieslings produced outside of Germany would be those produced in the French wine region of Alsace. Located along the German border, Alsace is home to mostly dry, fuller-bodied Riesling  than those in Germany. Besides Alsace, several other cool climate wine regions in Europe to grow the Riesling grape, most notably Austria.
Rieslings almost always aged in stainless steel and should not have characteristics of oak. The varietal characteristics range from mineral, honey, petrol notes, to floral and fruity depends on the terroir.

Pinot Grigio
Even though Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are two names for the same type of grape variety, there tend to be major style differences depending upon how the wine is labeled. Pinot Gris is the French name for the variety, and the French style producing of this wine is medium bodied, oak aged whites, on the other hand Pinot Grigio is t he Italian name for this grape variety and Italian style Pinot Grigio tends to be crisper and higher in acidity, and is never aged in oak. For the most part, winemakers around the world will label their wines either Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio based on the style they emulate.
Pinot Grigio/Gris is a genetic mutation of Pinot Noir, although it is almost produced into a white wine. In the vineyard, the grapes themselves can range from green to deep purple, even on the same vine, because of these varying levels of pigmentation, winemakers produce white wines from the varietal by removing the skins prior to fermentation.
The varietal characteristics of Pinot Gris is ripe apples, peaches, almonds and cream, the Pinot Grigio have green apples, citrus, minerals, and spice.

 Here´s the first part of the international varieties of grapes focusing on the white ones. Please if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave it here or follow me on Twitter @davidesalegna.

Photos: Thanks to Getty Images and Google.
Some Info for this post was taken from The Sommelier Prep Course of Michael Gibson ( Amazing Book to prepare for the exam)

The song that I chose for today's post is one of my favorites from the 80´s and is from the one and only King of Pop Michael Jackson (Sorry Usher or Chris Brown deal with it!!!). " The Way You Make Me Feel".

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunday Brunch

Hello fellow bloggers, How are you today?? Hope you guys had a great weekend. Usually on Sundays my Mom and I do some big and elaborated lunches for the whole family. But this Sunday I wasn’t in the mood for that, so I did a Salmon that was easy and fast (and easy to clean afterwards). The thing that I love about this meal is that is very easy to make and delicious.

Salmon Filet with mini potatoes sautéed in butter and chives.

Salmon Filet
Dill or Fennel
½ pound of mini potatoes (or Idaho potatoes)


Take the Salmon Filet and add Salt and Pepper to your taste. Take the Dill or the Fennel and cut it into small pieces. Rub it to the Salmon Filet and let it rest for a few minutes.

Now while you let the Salmon marinating a little, take the potatoes and cut it in halves put it in a pot half full of water and let it boil or until they’re soft ( not too soft because it could fall apart and get messy). When the water is at a boiling point add plenty of salt ( potatoes absorbs lots of salt). Drain all the water. Take 4 tablespoons of butter and melt it. Add the chives (cut it as small as you can). Add the potatoes to the butter and chives mixtures.

In a hot pan put some olive oil. As soon as the olive oil is warm, place the salmon in the pan. Since you don’t want to eat a dry fish, I cook each side for 4 minutes and it’s well done and still juicy. In a plate put the mini potatoes and the Salmon together and you´ll have a complete and healthy meal. Enjoy!!!!

In case that you want to drink some wine with this recipe I recommend a Pinot Noir from Oregon or Washington State because French ones( specially Burgundy) are very expensive, but if you have the money go for it and be a Bon Vivant. Pinot Noirs are excellent because they are lighter red and will not overpower food with the tannin.

I leave with a song that I love from a great band, the song is Just Say Yes from Snow Patrol. I was in this kind of mood yesterday!!! Thanks for reading my blog!! Leave comments or suggestions!!