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Monthly Archive for August, 2006

Wasabi Dusted Prawns w/ Asian Slaw and Jasmine Rice; Lychee Sorbet w/ Crystallized Ginger

I was graciously invited by Ivonne at Cream Puffs in Venice to attend La Festa al Fresco. I wanted to bring something impressive, so while on the road for work last week I mulled over some ideas. After thinking up a couple of different menus I settled on some Asian inspired dishes. Ivonne said the food didn’t have to be Italian, it just had to include one fresh ingredient to celebrate the bounty of summer. My contibutions to the feast have more than one fresh ingredient (at least the main dish does… the sorbet only has one fresh ingredient, the lime, so it counts too!). Here’s what I’m bringing:

Wasabi Dusted Prawns w/ Asian Slaw


Ingredients: (for prawns)

8 large prawns (6 for the dish, 2 for you and a friend to munch on while assembling the final product)

dusting powder (1/2 wasabi powder/ 1/2 flour)

Procedure:  (**start cooking prawns when rice is ready)

1) Skewer prawns then coat w/ dusting powder; shake off excess

2) Saute’ in olive oil for 3 minutes on each side or until opaque throughout

Ingredients: (for slaw)

1 medium head of purple cabbage – shredded

1 cup edamame (soy beans) -  blanched and cooled under cold water

3 medium size carrots – julienned and pickled in 1/3 cup distilled vinegar, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt for one hour

Ingredients: (for dressing)

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons low salt soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 large cloves garlic – minced

1 tablespoon minced jalepeno (ribs and seeds removed)

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil


1) Mixed together all dressing ingredients

2) In a large bowl, toss slaw w/ dressing


1) Rub a small amount of olive oil in 8 oz. ramekins

2) Fill ramekins w/ rice and pack slightly

3) Place ramekin upside down in center of plate and tap to loosen “rice cake”

4) Unskewer prawns

5) Place a small amount of slaw on rice cake then top w/ 3 prawns

6) EAT!

Lychee Sorbet w/ Crystallized Ginger



1 can lychee in light syrup (20 oz.)  – drained and pureed

8 cups water

3 cups sugar

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 oz. crystallized ginger  – minced


1) Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves

2) Boil without stirring until reduced by 1/3 volume

3) Chill syrup until very cold (about 4 hours)

4) Transfer to ice cream maker, add lime juice and process according to manufacturer’s instructions

5) Add ginger halfway into the churning process

6) Transfer to covered container and freeze until firm

**Makes approx. 2 quarts



I had a friend over to sample the food w/ me and provide me w/ feedback. Two suggestions were made:

1) Add more wasabi in the dusting powder so the flavor is more “visible”

2) Put less crystallized ginger in the sorbet so it doesn’t overpower the lychee flavor

Both were good suggestions. Next time I make this menu I will use 2 parts wasabi/ 1 part flour, and I will half the amount of crystallized ginger.

***Wines served: 2006 Bodega Lurton Pinot Gris,  Mendoza, Argentina; Krimskoye Crimean Semi-Sweet White Champagne, Ukraine

I’ve never been to a cyberfeast before…. I guess we just sit in front of the computer w/ our bibs on and drool or lick the screen. Hell, I’m going to the fridge so I don’t starve to death!!

That’s all folks…


Wine Find of the Month – August


Fandango Tempranillo 2003 – Bodegas Solano   Requena, Spain

100% Selected Tempranillo direct from dry land vineyards (not watered artificially).

"Shining cherry color with a slight mulberry border. The nose is fruity and fresh, detecting a touch of red fruit and a hint of licorice. Good body, pleasant and silky, with an excellent passage over the palate."

This wine is a bargain. I liked it so much I bought nearly a case! It goes great w/ pizza or barbequed pork ribs!!

Available at The Wine Merchant or other fine wine stores in your area (hopefully!).



Basil Gelato w/ Toasted Pine Nuts


I’ve been wanting to try making an herb gelato just to see what it tastes like. Most people think of herbs in terms of savory dishes, but in Italy for instance, herb flavored gelatos are common, especially during the summer months. My good friend and blogging partner Duane, is moving soon so I decided to throw a little farewell shindig.This was a perfect opportunity for me to whip out the trusty ice cream machine and churn up a batch of basil gelato. I decided to mix in some toasted pine nuts to add some texture and flavor that would match up well w/ the basil. The results were surprisingly good… good enough to deserve a post on the Zin!! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!


1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

1 quart half + half

1 cup sugar

8 egg yolks

2 1/2 ounces fresh basil (chopped)


1) In medium saucepan heat half + half and chopped basil gently to a simmer, then turn off heat

2) Pour half + half mixture into food processor and blend until basil is finely ground, then strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove the basil

3) In medium size mixing bowl combine egg yolks and sugar and beat together until pale yellow

4) Beat 2 tablespoons of the warm half + half into the egg mixture (do this slowly to avoid curdling the eggs), then beat in the remaining half + half little by little

5) Place bowl over a pot of simmering water and cook over a gentle heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon (do not let temperature exceed 170 degrees or mixture will start to curdle)

6) Cool in an ice bath

7) Chill mixture in fridge for at least 4 hours

8) Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions, adding the toasted pine nuts at the halfway point of the churning process

9) Transfer gelato to a 2 qt plastic container, cover top w/ parchment paper cut to size (this will reduce air exposure and prevent ice crystals from forming on the surface of gelato), and freeze until firm

Yield: Approx. 1 ½ quarts

Safe travels and best of luck in your new city Duane.