Swirl Wine Bar & Market

Monday, May 16, 2011

Quick Shrimp Pasta at the Beach

Every trip to the beach for us means doing something with fresh seafood.  And of course big, beautiful Gulf shrimp are the perfect source as they are quick to prepare and pack a lot of flavor.  I made this dish with sausage at home and loved it, so I decided to try it with shrimp and pancetta here at the beach.

I had gone to the olive bar at whole foods to get somethings for a picnic that I then forgot to bring with me, so I decided to make a pasta dish around the what I had bought.  I like those new little four compartment containers they have so I filled it up with the pitted castelvetrano olives, spicy Mediterranean olives, roasted tomatoes and mozzarella balls.  I tossed these in at the end and they lots of texture and flavor to this simple dish.

Once your pasta is cooked this literally takes about 5 minutes to cook and is really delicious.  We paired it with the Librandi Ciro Rosato from Calabria and it worked beautifully

serves 4
-1 lb dried pasta (I like the lumonconi, but you could us rigatoni, penne, orchiette or any short chunky style of pasta)
-2lbs head on Gulf shrimp, deheaded, peeled and deveined
-1 ounce pancetta diced
-3 cloves of garlic sliced thin
-dried pepperoncini
-1/2 cup chicken or fish stock
-a splash of whatever white wine or rose you are drinking with your meal
-your favorite olives and stuff from the wf olive bar - I used 2 types of olives, mozzarella balls and roasted tomatoes - about 1/2 cup each, chopped to bit sized pieces
-salt and fresh ground black pepper
-handful of fresh basil chopped
-lots of grated Parmesan cheese

-cook pasta to directions on package, drain and set aside.
-add olive oil to pan and heat to medium.  Throw in pancetta until just starting to brown on the edges, and the garlic and pepperoncini, and wait til they sizzle, about 10 seconds.  Add shrimp and fry until they just begin to turn pink.  Add stock and splash of wine, increase heat until shrimp are cooked through, but be very careful not to overcook.
-add cooked pasta, toss to coat it with the juices and cook for another minute.
-remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, stir in remaining ingredients and plate immediately.

The Perfect Gin Cocktail

Inspired by a bottle of John D. Taylor Velvet Falernum we've been experimenting with lately, Kerry has created our new favorite summer cocktail.  Velvet Falernum is an addictive sugar cane liqueur from Barbados and is a staple in many of the classic Caribbean cocktails.   A little cane syrup and Barbados rum are infused with lime, cloves, almond ginger, and offers limitless possibilities for the adventurous mixologist!

Just add friends, ocean breezes and a beautiful sunset and you'll have the perfect beach cocktail.  Enjoy!

1 jigger gin (we like Broker's or Aviation with this)
1/2 jigger velvet falernum
1/2 jigger fresh lime juice
splash of simple syrup to taste
shake with ice
pour into a rocks glass
top with a splash of aged rum or cachaca
garnish with a thin wedge of lime or lime peel

Monday, May 9, 2011

Female Jockey Rosie Napravnik Gives Swirl a Plug

Rosie winning the Louisiana Derby in March
Rosie Napravnik made history this weekend as the highest placing female jockey ever in the Kentucky Derby with her 9th place finish.  During racing season at the Fair Grounds, Rosie and her now fiance Joe Sharp are regulars at the shop, each having their favorite go to wines. Joe is a big and bold kinda wine guy with the Barrel Monkeys Shiraz being his most often purchased bottle (except for the day he was going to propose and asked for a bubbly worthy of the occasion...) while Rosie is a crisp and lively girl that is very particular about what she wants to drink.

The Times Picayune's Wish Magazine did a spot on Rosie this past weekend titled "My Favorite Things" where she talks about Swirl:  Napravnik loves to try the tastings at Swirl Wine Market.  "When I walk in there, they know what I like, and I'm always interested in trying something new."  Her favorite so far is Arona, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

We always look forward to racing season when our track friends come back in town and embrace our city as their own.  So much so that Rosie and Joe have even bought a house in Mid City and are ready to put down roots in New Orleans.

Great job with the Derby Rosie!  I promise we will have lots of Arona in stock when you return!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Annual Tre Bicchieri Italian Wine Dinner at Maximo's Italian Grill

Celebrate the best of Italy with an Italian wine dinner featuring the highest award winning wines of the Gambero Rosso Vini d'Italia, internationally regarded as the foremost the authority on Italian wine.  Published annually, Gambero Rosso reviewed more than 20,000 wines for the 2011 edition with only 402 receiving the highly coveted "Tre Bicchieri" or 3 glass award. It is the most prestigious honor that can be bestowed upon an Italian wine, a symbol that has come to represent superior quality and current trends which influences fine Italian wine consumption across the globe.
Each year Swirl Wines holds a dinner at an Italian restaurant, one that demonstrates the same commitment to excellence, and chooses five Tre Bicchieri award winners to match with their cuisine. We are excited to hold this year's dinner at Maximo's Italian Grill with chef Thomas Wood's specially designed pairing menu that will feature six tasting courses with five wines representing five different regions of Italy. Antonio Molesini, Italian Wine Specialist from Republic National Beverage, and a native of Tuscany, will join us in hosting the event.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

6:30pm Cocktails (cash bar), 7:00pm Dinner

$110 per person, tax and tip included (prepayment is required with reservation)

Maximo's Italian Grill, 1117 Decatur Street


Tonight's Menu

2008 Castello della Sala Cervaro, Chardonnay and Greccheto, Umbria
~Chili Glazed Scallops~
Diver scallops drizzled, sweet and spicy chili glaze served over a 
sauté of green pear and baby spinach

2001 Travagini Gattinara Riserva, Nebbiolo, Piemonte
~Wild Mushroom Bruschetta~
 Baby portabella, shitake, and oyster mushroom served on top of a crisp crostini

2005 Poliziano Asinone Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Toscano
~Pan Roasted Maple Leaf Duck Breast~
Carrot confit, grilled polenta and fresh buffalo mozzarella, finished with a Spring cherry demi-glace

2005 Tormaresca Maime, Negroamaro, Puglia 
~Grilled Domestic Lamb Loin Chop~
Baby red potato gratin and fresh local radish sprouts, finished with a blackberry truffle sauce

2006 Planeta Santa Cecilia, Nero d'Avola, Sicilia~Wild Boar and House Smoked Provolone Ravioli~
Fresh Pomodoro basil butter sauce

~Dessert of fresh, local ingredients, chef's choice~


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