Ginger Miso Sea Bass in Shitake Mushroom Broth Recipe

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•2 cups water
•4 tablespoons red miso (aka-miso) or white miso, divided (Hikari was the brand I used)
•8 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, thinly sliced
•3 green onions, dark and pale green part thinly sliced, white part minced
½ red pepper thinly sliced & chopped
1 head of bok choy, chopped
•2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
•1.5 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon chopped shallots
•2 6-ounce skinless striped bass fillets
•1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
Chopped cilantro
Serves 2

Whisk 2 cups water and 2 tablespoons miso in medium saucepan. Add shiitake mushrooms, ½ T of ginger & red pepper and simmer over medium heat until mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in green onion. Simmer on low for 5 minutes. Cover to keep warm and set aside.
Meanwhile, mix 2 tablespoons miso, shallots, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, and minced fresh ginger in small bowl. Sprinkle striped bass fillets with pepper. Spread ginger mixture over 1 side of bass fillets, pressing to adhere. Sprinkle panko over coated side of fillets; press to adhere.
Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fillets to skillet, coated side down, and sauté until brown and crisp, about 3-5 minutes. Turn fillets over and sauté until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. Divide shiitake mushroom broth between 2 shallow bowls. Place 1 fish fillet in center of each bowl. Sprinkle chopped fresh cilantro over and serve.


Sea Bass in shiitake, ginger miso broth

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I had a craving for sea bass in a miso broth so I decided to try to make it myself. I have only had a similar dish once before & I have never forgotten it. I was wondering through the West Village in NYC after passing my first level sommelier exam. I wanted to celebrate with a special dinner. I came upon a tiny restaurant down a small side street. It had long curtains over the window & looked very elegant. There was a bar at the front of the restaurant. I love sitting at the bar when I am by myself so I decided to check it out. I am sorry to say that I have lost the name of the restaurant. It is bummer because I had one of the best meals in my life: Sea Bass in miso broth. I decided tonight was the night to try & recreate it.  I think I did a pretty good job. I looked up recipes online & put together my version. I will post the recipe shortly.


Pali Wine Co Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012

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I tasted my first Pali Pinot Noir earlier this week. The Pali Alphabets is
a Pinot Noir made with Willamette Valley fruit. I highly recommend it. One of the best $20 value Pinot Noirs out there right now. I would hunt down the 2012 which was a premier vintage for Willamette Valley. I love the bright strawberry/soft cherry fruit & mild baking spice on the palate.

I am totally jealous of the owners of Pali Wine Co., Tim Perr & Scott Knight. These guys caught the Pinot Noir bug & decided to start a winery in 2005. They set a goal of tracking down the best fruit from various regions in California to create top notch Pinot Noir. They later branched out to make Oregon Pinot Noir. Can you imagine having a bottle of Pinot Noir with your dinner and saying
“hmm wonder where that fruit comes from? Shea Vineyard? Where is that? Oregon?” Google Shea Vineyard. Pick up the phone: “Hello, is this Dick Shea? I just had a bottle of Bergstrom Pinot Noir and it was stunning. I have a winery in Lompoc, CA & would love to make a Shea Pinot Noir. Can I buy some of your grapes?”

Shea Vineyard has been described as a “Grand Cru” vineyard in Oregon. The US does not actually classify vineyards. France is the only country that does. The French Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) oversees the Vineyard Classifications. The various grape growing regions in France have regional classifications: Burgundy has Premier Cru & Grand Cru at the highest level. It doesn’t necessarily indicate wine quality but it defines a vineyard with great potential. The condition or terroir of the vineyard is extremely favorable for grape growth. Shea Vineyard is one such vineyard in Oregon. The grapes from Shea are highly sought after by some of the premier winemakers in the US.

There is an organization called the American Grand Cru Society. Their website states “Our purpose is to offer consumer wine education based on vineyard and varietal place of origin, and the specific wine qualities and characteristics that are so expressed.” The organization is spearheading a movement to classify vineyards in the US. A group of wine industry leaders and experts have nominated vineyards that they feel qualify for Grand Cru status. It seems like a admirable movement to me.

Pali Alphabets Pali Shea

Let’s try this again

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Once again my New Year’s resolution…post on wineblurbs. I think my problem in the past was a lack of a theme. I have found my theme!! Oregon Pinot Noir. Anyone who know me, knows that Pinot Noir flows through my veins…especially Oregon Pinot Noir. I was fortunate to be invited to attend Pinot Noir Camp in 2007. It was a life changing experience for many reasons. Most significant was my Mother passed away suddenly just days before I left for Camp. I know it seems crazy that I would head to Pinot Noir Camp immediately after my Mother died. In fact it was a fabulous diversion. I fell in love with Oregon, the Willamette Valley and Pinot Noir! It will never replace my love for my Mother but I always think of my Mother when I drink Oregon Pinot Noir.

I have always been intrigued by one particular vineyard, Shea Vineyard. While the owners of Shea Vineyard make wine under their own label: Shea Wine Cellars, they also sell 75% of their harvest to 23 different winemakers. I have tasted a few different Shea Pinot Noirs over the years. I find that I have now become obsessed with learning everything I can about Shea Pinot Noir. I have been trying to accumulate wine from all 23 winemakers. I believe I am up to 15 now. This is not an inexpensive commitment. They average around $55/bottle. I plan to focus on Shea during my posts going forward. I will post about the history of the vineyard and try to determine what makes its grapes such a hot commodity.

Grilled Shrimp Soft Tacos

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Here is the recipe:

Grilled Shrimp Soft Tacos


  • 20 raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried ancho chili pepper powder or cayenne powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lime
  • Slaw
  • 1/2 bag of broccoli slaw
  • 3-5 oz of plain fat free greek  yogurt
  • ½ freshly squeezed lime
  • Chopped mango to taste – ¼-1/2 mango


  • One Avocado peeled & mashed
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • Squirt of fresh lime juice
  • Stir

Tomato Salsa

  • Fresh or jarred tomato salsa – 1 Tablespoon


  • Shredded pepper jack or monteray jack – to taste

Whole Wheat Soft tacos or Corn Tacos

Makes 5-6 tacos

In a bowl whisk together olive oil, garlic, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper (if using). Add in shrimp and toss to coat completely

Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to give the flavors a chance to marry.

In a bowl blend broccoli slaw, greek yogurt, lime juice & chopped mango. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes.

Grill shrimp on high for approximately 5 minutes on each side. Make sure the shrimp has curled & no gray flesh is showing. Shrimp should be dark pink. Shrimp can also be cooked in a fry pan for same amount of time.

Turn off grill. Grill Soft Tacos on grill until brown stripes form on both sides or cook in fry pan. Approximately 5 minutes on each side.


Fill Tacos: Spread Avocado on bottom. Cut shrimp in half. Put 5-6 shrimp halves in taco. Add tomato salsa. Add Slaw. Add cheese. Fold over and serve.


Shrimp Soft Tacos & Beldui Txakolina

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Shrimp Soft Tacos & Beldui Txakolina

We had a great dinner last night that I threw together with what I had in the refrigerator & freezer. It came out really great. Perfect for the first 70+ degree night of the year.
Recipe to follow.

Trata at the Armory

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We ate dinner at Trata at the Armory on Sunday evening. It was my first time there. I read all the reviews on Yelp which appeared to be mixed. I was excited to see the space as I have always been intrigued by the Armory building. I remember skating at Cobbs Hill as a child and looking over at the mystery building. I was always curious about the fact that “prisoners” were housed there before I was born.

I never saw the “before” pictures but I have to believe the building was in horrible condition. The renovated space is impressive. I loved the industrial vibe of the décor. It is worth a visit just to check out the architecture. The bar is spacious and very inviting. Our server couldn’t be more friendly and accommodating. I found the wine by the glass menu to be a huge disappointment. She poured me a taste of the Irony Pinot Noir from California ($8/glass). It had no resemblance to a Pinot Noir…perhaps the winery added some Syrah to the blend. I moved on to the LZ Rioja from Spain (Tempranillo grape). At $10/glass it was not much better. I had really wanted to order a bottle of red wine as the bottle choices were much better. Four other people were joining us and I wasn’t sure if they would prefer one of the vast beers on the menu or a cocktail. I wish I had gone with the bottle. Luck would have it that they all wanted red wine so I pushed my Rioja aside and ordered a bottle of the Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon ($50). It was a winner. It was an excellent choice with everyone’s burgers..not so great with my fish tacos. There were some other decent wines on the menu for less money. I just don’t understand why a restaurant with seemingly sophisticated taste would choose to have such uninteresting wines by the glass? I would probably hesitate to meet anyone for a drink at Trata as there were no reds by the glass that I would enjoy. Let’s hope they bring in some better choices: Chinon (Cabernet Franc) from France; A to Z Pinot Noir from Oregon perhaps; Cotes du Rhone from France; Italian Cabernet Sauvignon/Sangiovese Blend…

Time Flies…

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Where did the last 8 months go? I am very disppointed in myself because I started this blog primarily because I was heading out to  San Luis Obispo, Templeton & Santa Barbara, California to visit wineries. I was hoping to share our experiences at the wineries. Obviously, that never happened. We did hit some fabulous places: Justin, Foley, Wild Horse, L’Aventure, Treana, Jack Cellars….The region is known for Rhone Blends (grenache, syrah, mouvedre…), Zinfandel & Pinot Noir. I was especially excited to taste the Pinot Noirs. My cousin Laura lives in the area and she turned me onto some I had never heard of Rotta, Red Soles & Jack Cellars. Jack Cellars was definitely my favorite. Pretty easy to guess what their speciality is…they make gorgeous Pinot Noirs.

My next big wine adventure of the year was passing the Certified Sommelier Exam! I took the Introductory Course & Exam in April (prerequisite) & then the Certified Exam in May. I will give an overview of the experience in my next post.

Wine at Charity Events

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I recently read an article by Jay McInerney of the Wall Street Journal outlining his New Year’s Resolutions. He vowed to not drink any wine at Charity Events in 2012. He was tired of drinking “lousy” wines. Vinojoe addressed Jay’s complaint on his blog “” I think it is a good goal for Charity events to come up with a better way to make the Events more palatable.

I have to agree with Jay that it is typically the norm for Charity events is to serve “lousy wine.” I am not a beer or liquor drinker so I often have to decide whether to drink at all. I get it that the event is for a good cause and the ultimate goal is to make money for the charity. I have always wondered why we can’t BYOB? I don’t mind buying a ticket for a dinner event where mystery chicken is served, but I would at least like a decent glass of wine.
I have been involved with a Gala Event in Rochester, NY for the past 6 years. We call our event OTBN…Open that Bottle Night… A fabulous concept coined by WSJ writers Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher. Guests buy a ticket for $150/person & bring a special bottle to share with their table. We haven’t had to print invitations for the last 2 years…we sell out 3 months before the event. The cause is very important: “Bivona Child Advocacy” which helps children that have been sexually & physically abused.

Most Charity events involve some kind of Silent or Live Auction. The Charity makes the majority of their proceeds from these auctions. If the wine is “lousy,” guests tend to bid less and leave earlier.

Wine Country Trip

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Getting excited for my trip next week to Paso Robles,San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara. I plan to visit as many wineries as possible. I am working on setting up appointments right now at: Justin Winery & Hope Family. I will share tasting notes, pictures and hopefully some fun stories about the trip. I am traveling with 7 other women…all relatives!