25 March, 2009

WWTJD? Pairing Bargain Wine and Snacks from Trader Joe's

In these recessionista times, the modern hostess can have no better friend than TJ. But what to cull from the plethora of choices? We are starting a new feature WWTJD? (What Would Trader Joe Do)Wednesday. Together we will work on the scary mysteries of life like "What does that $3.99 wine taste like?" and what snacks go with it? Anyone can throw down a $12 sliver of cave aged Gruyere. BrixChicks will endeavor to present our experiences ---good or bad---to help you find an interesting mix.

For my first challenge, I wanted to see what I could do in the Appetizers For Four Sub $10 - category. Xandria had mentioned good things about The Pancake Cellars Big Day White, so I thought for $3.99, how could I go wrong? I tried a couple of things and these were my favorite. For under $10 I created "Asian Patatas Bravas" By defrosting the frozen Roasted Potatoes in the microwave, then quickly sauteeing them in Extra Virgin Olive oil , I managed to come up with the right crispy crust texture on the potato chunks, but they still tasted a little too much like Ore-Ida Potatoes O'Brien. Tasty, but not very tapas. By slowly adding some Satay Peanut Sauce to the cooked potatoes till I got the right level of taste without being overwhelming, I was pleased with the result. The spice in the satay sauce was interesting and different with the Pancake Cellars. I linked to a blog post that RJ posted that really does a nice job and I totally agreed with.

A little over $10, but very tasty were the Thai Curry Chicken Stix. Since they didn't provide a dipping sauce, I whipped one up using Soy sauce, rice vinegar grapeseed oil, garlic powder, and a squeeze of Meyer lemon. Since the Chicken stix had a lot of ginger, the sauce ended up being a good note to match with the snacks. The lemon brought down a little of the sweetness in the wine and as RJ said, this is a very forgiving wine. I even had it with guac and chips and it was serviceable.
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