July 5, 2011

Zucchini Boats and a Virginia Rosé

As promised, more updates on the first fruits of our labor from the garden. Or first vegetables, to be exact. Seems like the different types of squash are in first, so the other day, we had two zucchini to be creative with. The easiest route is always to just make them into a side dish with some onions, herbs and butter, but the other day, I really felt like making my famous zucchini boats. Here's a picture of the boats lined up at the zucchini marina... Yes, I know, they are sort of overflowing, but the more filling, the better!

I guess I once had a recipe for this dish, but I have made it so often since, that I just use whatever I have on hand for the stuffing. The main ingredient to the filling is always ground beef, or you could use ground turkey or really any other type of ground meat. Or you could even make it vegetarian with an all-veggie stuffing. I also mixed in onions, garlic, corn, roasted red peppers and feta cheese. Before it went in the oven, I topped it with some shredded mozzarella, and added some chopped parsley at the very end.

Here's a recipe to give you a general idea, but please, just throw in some ingredients that you like. I have also learned that by just baking the zucchini boats, the zucchini do not get as soft and tender as I like them, so I blanche the scooped out zucchini halves for about 4 minutes in boiling water before I stuff them. Oh, and in the baking dish, I spoon some tomato sauce around them.

For this flavorful summer dish, I chose the quintessential summer wine as a pairing partner, a rosé. It was the 2010 Cardinal Point Rosé from the Monticello area in Virginia, which is made from Cabernet Franc grapes. I am very picky about the rosé wines that I like, and it's uaually a "love" or "hate" relationship. Rarely do I feel indifferent towards a rosé. They definitely have to be dry and have to have some strawberry fruitiness to them.

The Cardinal Point definitely fit the bill. It had aromas and flavors of lots of red berries and almost fools you into thinking that it is sweet with all that fruity goodness, but in fact, it finishes very dry. What a lovely wine. Definitely have to file this one in the "love" category. As you can see in the picture, I loved it so much that I did not even get to snap a photo until I was already on the last glass... oops.

I think the rosé was a great match with the zucchini boats. While the ground beef and tomato sauce would steer one towards a red wine, and the zucchini and corn towards a white, the slightly chilled rosé was just perfect for this summer dish. Final verdict: an amazing combination.

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