A Great Day For A Cabernet

Anyone with teenagers will tell you they are the reason you grow old. This past weekend was no exception to that rule. My nineteen-year-old son decided to take a 6-hour road trip in a 10-year-old car without putting oil in it. We received a phone call late Friday night that his engine had seized and could we possibly come and get him.

The next morning, we all piled into the car for a fun filled trip to West Lafayette, IN, home of the Purdue Boilermakers. We stopped at the Hooters Restaurant in Merrilville, IN for lunch in order to fortify ourselves for the coming ordeal. As I wasn't driving, I decided to have a glass of wine with my Hamburger. I usually like to try the house wine when I eat out, and this time I decided to go with a Cabernet Sauvignon from Twin Valley by E & J Gallo Vineyards. This is a bold wine that is still soft and full-bodied making it a great all purpose varietal that goes with almost anything such as My Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf by Wolfgang Puck.


3 Tbs. olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1/2 lb. mushrooms, finely chopped

3 large cloves garlic, minced (about 2 Tbs.)

1 C. heavy cream

1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh oregano

1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 lb. lean ground pork

1 lb. ground veal

1 egg, lightly beaten

13 strips bacon, about 3/4 lb.


In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and continue sautéing for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the cream, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Set the mixture aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the beef, pork, veal, and cooled vegetable mixture. Stir in the egg.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring a saucepan or kettle filled with water to a boil.

Put a 9-by-5-by-2 1/2-inch loaf pan on a work surface with a short side facing you. Arrange the bacon slices parallel with the short end and slightly overlapping, to line the bottom and sides, with the ends extending over the rim of the pan. Add the meat mixture, patting it down and leveling its surface. Fold the ends of the bacon strips up and over the ground meat mixture to enclose it.

Place the loaf pan in a larger baking or roasting pan and place the larger pan on the middle shelf of the preheated oven. With the shelf and pan still extending out of the oven, fill the larger roasting pan with boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the loaf pan. Cover both pans with aluminum foil, carefully slide in the oven shelf, and bake for 1 hour. Carefully remove the foil, taking care to avoid steam, and continue to bake for 30 minutes more, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat loaf registers 165 degrees.

Remove the meat loaf from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Carefully pour the juices out of the pan. Cut the meat loaf crosswise into 8 slices.

Yield: 8 servings

(Chef Wolfgang Puck's TV series, "Wolfgang Puck's Cooking Class," airs Sundays on the Food Network. Also, his latest cookbook, "Wolfgang Puck Makes It Easy," is now available in bookstores. Write Wolfgang Puck in care of Tribune Media Services Inc., 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, N.Y. 14207.)


Other great pairings from Wolfgang Puck include:

French Onion Soup

Beefsteak Stir-Fry with Snow Peas, Bell Peppers, Orange, and Garlic

Huntsman-Style Beef with Wild Mushrooms

Mandarin Noodles with Sauteed Tenderloin and Vegetables

And let's not forget all the great desserts that Wolfgang has created that would be spectacular with this wine, including Date Pudding Cake with Sticky Toffee Sauce.



9 oz. (280 g) chopped pitted dates

1 C. (250 ml) plus 2 Tbs. water

1/3 C. (80 ml) orange juice

6 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 C. (180 ml) tightly packed light brown sugar

1/2 C. (125 ml) granulated sugar

1 Tbs. grated orange zest

3 eggs, at room temperature

2 C. (500 ml) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp. salt


1 C. (250 ml) plus 2 Tbs. light brown sugar

1 1/2 C. (375 ml) heavy cream

1/3 C. (80 ml) milk

2 Tbs. corn syrup

1 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped


First, prepare the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (180 C). (Use a regular oven, not a convection oven.) Butter and flour a 9-inch (12.5-cm) round cake pan. In a 2-quart (2-l) saucepan, combine the dates, water and orange juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the dates have absorbed all the liquid and pull away from the side, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or in a mixing bowl with a handheld electric mixer, cream together at medium speed the butter, sugars, and orange zest for 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. One at a time, beat in the eggs until smoothly incorporated, scraping down after each addition. Continue to mix at medium speed for 5 minutes. In another mixing bowl, sift together twice the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the date mixture and dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix at low speed just until the dates and dry ingredients are completely incorporated.

Fill the cake pan with the batter, which should come about two thirds of the way up its side. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan a half turn and continue to bake until the cake gives slightly to the touch and a skewer inserted into its center comes out clean, 8 to 10 minutes more. As soon as the cake goes into the oven, prepare the sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cream, milk, corn syrup and butter. With a small, sharp knife, cut the vanilla bean lengthwise in half. With the knife tip, scrape the vanilla seeds from each half into the pan.

Over medium heat, cook the ingredients, stirring frequently, until they form a golden-brown sauce that registers 230 degrees (110 C) on a candy thermometer inserted in the pan, about 10 minutes. When the cake is done, transfer the pan to a serving plate. With a skewer, prick the top of the cake deeply several times all over its surface so the sauce will be able to seep inside. Pour half of the sauce over the cake and pour the rest into a sauceboat or serving bowl. Cut the cake into wedges, transferring them to individual serving plates. Serve warm, passing the remaining sauce alongside.

(Chef Wolfgang Puck's new TV series, "Wolfgang Puck's Cooking Class," airs Sundays and Wednesdays on the Food Network. Write Wolfgang Puck in care of Tribune Media Services Inc., 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY. 14207.)



Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble

Vanilla Kipferl

Warm Chocolate Cupcakes with Molten Centers

So the next time you're looking for the perfect little red to go with a meal, why not try the Cabernet Sauvignon from Twin Valley. Have a tasty week!


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