Bordeaux Reds + A Hummus Bar!

Beau Palais Bordeaux Reserve

“This wine rains kisses in your mouth.” –Insatiable By Gael Greene

The first Wednesday of every month is Wine Wednesday! Spectacular wines under $10.00. Yep. Under $10.00. Sometimes wine is less expensive where I am, but most of the time it’s more expensive. Hopefully that means that I will pick wines that are well below the $10.00 limit for most of you.

I will post wines that I particularly like. I am no specialist by any means, but I do love wine. I know the basics of the different varietals, what regions generally produce, how wines are made, but this space is all about preference. We all like what we like, and you might like what I like too. I will also post food pairings and why those pairings are suitable for the specific wine.

Beau Palais Bordeaux Reserve 2015

Price: $9.99

Variety: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon

Guys. We made it to November. Which means it’s officially hibernation season, and all the best foods come out to play—shareable party foods or one-pot wonders. Aaaand it’s the best time of year for cozy glasses of red wine. My all-time favorite wines! The deep reds that sooth your soul and loosen the holds of everyday anxieties.

I’ve been thinking that it’s time I feature a Bordeaux red wine on here. Last month I showed you a white wine from the Bordeaux, France region. But the red wines from this area of the world are seriously delicious and admired worldwide. Generally, this keeps them pretty pricey and out of range for Wine Wednesday which makes this wine a real find!

For you wine nerds, the terroir of Bordeaux is very important to the success of its famous wines. First, it’s helpful to note that those red varieties we love—merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, etc. are all grapes that thrive in a warm, dry climate. That is a big reason as to why California is such a great producer of these babies. What’s interesting about Bordeaux, is that while it is generally perfect temperature-wise, it actually gets quite a lot of rainfall, and their lands are pretty flat preventing natural rainwater run-off. That would ordinarily be death for these grape vines. But Bordeaux’s soil is shallow and gravelly which drains well and keeps the vines dry during the crucial final weeks of ripening. Fascinating, right?!

Of course, when we say terroir, there are extremely important things like vineyard/winemaker knowledge, natural microbiome, fermenting conditions, aging preference, etc. that really characterize the wines from Bordeaux and indeed the wines from each winery within the region.

Now this particular wine is a classic Bordeaux blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon. (More wineries are beginning to blend their wines because it’s easier to use the flavors you want to cover any strange off-notes or make-up for a low yielding season) It’s a nice, soft red with rich fruit flavors like plum and blackberry. A smidge of cabernet sauvignon adds deep, punchier notes without overpowering the flavor. It’s basically cozy relaxation in a glass. Nothing is bullying your taste buds with a lot of pepper or oak. Just full-bodied wine.

And I think the ultimate decadence to add to this feeling of bliss we have with the glass of wine is spending the day slowly putting together something in the kitchen that isn’t difficult, but almost luxurious. That’s what I think of hummus. Valleys of smooth hummus filled with rivers of olive oil—simple and rich at the same time. A canvas for all the unfussy tidbits you just want to nibble on. Perfect afternoon in my mind! If we want to take it one step further, Ruth Reichl and I are on the same page with this one. The greatest meditation and relaxation comes from losing yourself in kitchen tasks like peeling the skins off of chickpeas in between sips of wine. Enjoy it! Or have a party and make your guests help you 😉 (If this seems extremely tedious to you, feel free to go the faster way and use The Fauxmartha’s quick and dirty hummus method)

Remember how I mentioned that hummus is like the best kind of canvas back there? Well what better way to enjoy than a hummus bar! Mix all of your most favorite toppings like roasted red pepper, sundried tomato, feta cheese, showers of cumin and red pepper, and have a ball dipping and sipping! Better yet, I think I just planned the snacks for your upcoming Gilmore Girls marathon. I listed my absolute favorites below the hummus recipe with a couple of bonus recipes to really make your selection top-notch. Hummus bar = best idea ever.

Hummus pairs well with deep reds like this one because it has a nuttiness from the sesame and a savory-ness from the chickpeas and garlic that make the wine more wholesome feeling. Almost as if it completes the perfect mouthful. Of course, we can use the different accoutrements of the hummus bar to further complement our red wine. Herbs like parsley add green, freshness to the flavor profile which we also get from high-quality olive oil. Browned butter (from butter-toasted pine nuts) add more nuttiness and comforting notes we generally associate with baked goods. But in all realness, choose what you like and I’ll bet it will change how the wine tastes to you in a good way. And it will be different each time. Or maybe not! But it’s a great way to spend a fall afternoon!

Homemade Meditative Hummus + A Hummus Bar

The Hummus

Adapted from My Kitchen Year

1 ½ cups dried chickpeas

1 tablespoon + ¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ cup tahini paste

3 cloves garlic, peeled

2 lemons

Salt

Olive oil

Optional: parsley, red pepper flakes, paprika, cumin

  1. Rinse the chickpeas and pick out any broken peas. Put them in a large container or bowl. Cover with enough water so that you will allow for the chickpeas to double in size. Stir in a tablespoon of the baking soda. Seal and put the fridge overnight.
  2. The next day, drain and rinse the chickpeas. Put them in a large pot. Cover with water so that there are a couple inches of water above the surface of the chickpeas. Stir in ¼ teaspoon of baking soda.
  3. Bring the water to a boil and reduce to a low simmer. Cover and cook until the chickpeas are soft and the skins begin to fall off. Be careful—if you cook too long, the chickpeas will begin to fall apart, and you’ll have a big mess on your hands. If you don’t cook enough, you’ll have a lumpy, gritty hummus. This could take 1-2 hours depending on how long you soaked the chickpeas for. Check every fifteen minutes.
  4. Once the chickpeas are ready, strain over a large bowl and set the cooking liquid aside. Run cold water over the chickpeas. Rub the chickpeas in between your fingers to loosen up the skins to discard. This will take a while, but like Ruth Reichl, I find it meditative. This will also allow the chickpeas to cool down which creates a smooth hummus rather than a pasty one.
  5. Once you have removed the skins from the chickpeas, put them in a food processor. Add the tahini, garlic cloves, and ¼ cup of the cooking liquid from earlier. Juice one of the lemons and add that too.
  6. Turn on the food processor and keep running until everything is smooth, about 4 minutes. At this point, taste the hummus and adjust seasoning. For me, that meant adding the juice of half of the remaining lemon and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. You may want more sesame flavor, so add more tahini. Or if your mixture is too thick for you, add a bit more cooking liquid. Pulse until the mixture is fully combined and smooth again.
  7. Move the hummus to a bowl for serving or a sealable container in the fridge if not using immediately. For serving, create some waves in the top of the hummus. Drizzle liberally with good quality olive oil. Seriously, you may want to skip this, but it will change the game of your hummus! Sprinkle the top with fresh parsley leaves (chopped), red pepper flakes, paprika and ground cumin to your heart’s content.

The Hummus Bar

Bagel chips

Pita chips

Carrots

Roasted red peppers, chopped

Sundried tomatoes

Crispy chickpeas (see below)

Butter-Toasted pine nuts (see below)

Feta cheese

Extra cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes, chopped parsley, olive oil

  1. To make the chickpeas, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a medium skillet. Mince a garlic clove and add it to the hot oil. Heat for a couple minutes until softened. Add a 15 oz can of drained and rinsed chickpeas. Stir and continue to heat for several minutes until the chickpeas soften. Add ¼ teaspoon salt, freshly ground black pepper, and ¼ teaspoon of paprika. Mix and continue to cook another minute or so until the chickpeas begin to crisp. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Remove from the heat and serve.
  2. To make the pine nuts, heat a tablespoon of butter over medium-low heat in a small skillet. (Cast iron works great here) Once melted, add ¼ cup pine nuts to the butter. Stir often and heat until you begin to see the nuts toasting. If using cast iron, turn the heat off. The residual heat will continue to gently toast the nuts and brown the butter which is the magic we want. If you’re not using cast iron, the pan won’t retain the heat as well, so continue to heat until the butter browns and the nuts are a golden brown.
  3. Arrange the above alongside your hummus with plenty of utensils and personal bowls for serving.
  4. An extra accoutrement to this spread? Copious glasses of red wine.

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