Cool Climate Wines
Cavatelli with Mussels, Lillet and Dill
The perfect match for this creamy cavatelli-and-mussels dish: Muscadet, a coastal wine that's superb with shellfish.
Pairing: 2009 Domaine Luneau-Papin Domaine Pierre de la Grange Muscadet Sevre & Maine Sur Lie
Whole Wheat Rigatoni with Roasted Vegetables
Tossed with sweet acorn squash and roasted tomatoes, this whole wheat pasta from Eric Chopin is packed with fiber and vitamins A and C. Olives and toasted pine nuts add heart-healthy fats.
Pairing: 2009 Felton Road Pinot Noir
Redfish on the Half Shell
Donald Link suggests grilling or roasting this fish, then serving it in its hardened skin ("on the half shell"). You can also use a large, flexible spatula to slide the fillets off the skin and onto a platter, discarding the skin, for a more elegant presentation. Redfish—a white-fleshed fish with big scales that are hard to remove—is an ideal choice, but striped bass is great too. You'll have to buy the fish directly from a fishmonger; ask him to leave the scales on the fillets.
Pairing: 2010 Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc
Seared Bison Strip Loin with Juniper and Fennel
Chris Cosentino spices his bison strip loin with juniper, since juniper berries often grow where bison graze; the bison can also be replaced with a beef strip loin. For putting a good crust on a juicy steak, Cosentino says, "A hot stone is awesome!" Sometimes known as cooking a la plancha, the method requires heating a smooth stone or cast-iron griddle over hot coals, creating a surface ideal for searing, no oil required. Pizza stones work well here.
Pairing: 2009 Andrew Will Cabernet Franc
Spicy Shrimp in Chile Sauce
Since fresh coconut juice can be hard to find, use a combination of water and canned coconut milk instead.
Pairing: 2009 Domaine Albert Mann Schlossberg Grand Cru Riesling
Slow-Roasted Pork Belly with Eggplant and Pickled Fennel
This pork belly is so ultrarich that it needs a red wine with lots of tannins to help clear the palate and make it even easier to reach for another bite. Try a Syrah from Washington state; the cool climate helps create structured, intense wines.
Pairing: 2007 Sequel Syrah
Spicy Turkey Posole
Posole is a hearty Mexican soup or stew made with hominy (dried corn kernels with the hull and germ removed) and pork or poultry. Tim Love finds that the recipe is an excellent way to use up leftover turkey.
Pairing: 2009 Castle Rock Pinot Noir
Sizzling Shrimp Scampi
Scampi refers to shrimp that are split, brushed with garlicky butter and broiled. The recipe here calls for flavoring butter with lemon, garlic, parsley and thyme, then dotting it liberally on shrimp and roasting the shellfish until it sizzles.
Pairing: 2007 Cape Mentelle Chardonnay
Focaccia-Stuffed Squab with Bean Stew
"It's traditional to stuff birds with plain bread," restauranteur Celestino Drago says, "but I like to use focaccia with herbs; it's nicer."
Pairing: 2008 Kellerei Andrian Tor di Lupo Lagrein Riserva
Pan-Fried River Trout with Corn Cakes and Red-Pepper Coulis
This crispy trout recipe is an adaptation of one of chef Rollie Wesen's signature dishes.
Pairing: 2009 Chehalem INOX