Thursday, February 10, 2011

Big Carl's Adventures Under the Big Top

Just the other night, Big Carl decided to take a trip under the big top!

Michael David's "Petite Petit- 2007" was the featured wine of the evening.  The label is what really drew me in.  Cartoony and funny with catchy phrases on the back.  This wine is a blend: 85% Petite Sirah and 15% Petit Verdot.  I had never had a petit verdot so I thought I would give it a whorl (well actually Devan bought it for me as I had said on multiple occasions how I wanted it).

The bottle was very difficult to open.  The cork was very dry and cracked and split, ultimately falling apart as I continued to insert the screw.  I eventually had to take a pair of pliers and pull what hadn't fallen apart, out of the bottle. The cool thing with the cork though is the ends had little black elephants on them. The initial bouquet was nice- light and fruity, of which had me excited!  Upon the first taste I was a bit taken.  The intense tannins and oak seemed to knock my head against the wall.  The finish was as if someone flipped the light switch. It was very light and didn't seem to linger too long.  I noticed blackberry and vanilla notes throughout, but I had to wade through the oak barrels to get to them!  Medium-full body- started off heavy then quickly turned light.

Turns out, this petite-petit isn't so petite.  These elephants have a BIG pair of balls!!!  I think I will try it once more to see if maybe I had a crummy bottle.  Devan was less than pleased with it and chose to dump it and open a much better bottle of Pinot Noir.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A lotta pasta- Chicken Piccata

About a week ago, a delish recipe was discovered by Devan.  He started telling me the ingredients and was a little thrown off because it stated there were capers in it.  I'm not all that fond of capers but he convinced me to try it!

Prep time: 10min
Cook Time: 20min


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/3 pounds chicken breast tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 pound penne rigate pasta, cooked to al dente
  • Chopped or snipped chives, for garnish


Heat a deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and the chicken to the pan. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken until lightly golden all over, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and return the skillet to the heat. Reduce heat to medium. Add another tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter, the garlic and shallots to the skillet. Saute garlic and shallots 3 minutes. Add flour and cook 2 minutes. Whisk in wine and reduce liquid 1 minute. Whisk lemon juice and broth into sauce. Stir in capers and parsley. When the liquid comes to a bubble, add remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter to the sauce to give it a little shine. Add chicken back to the pan and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Toss hot pasta with chicken and sauce and serve. Adjust salt and pepper, to your taste. Top with fresh snipped chives.