MISSION, KS–(Marketwire -07/12/12)- (Family Features) Warm weather calls for lighter fare and the simplicity of outdoor entertaining. So, take your entertaining outdoors and chill out by serving up delicious small bites paired with crisp, refreshing white wines.
Pour a glass of Chardonnay and fire up the grill for savory mini pizzas topped with fresh asparagus and marinated artichoke hearts. Then, to really heat things up, serve a spicy side of marinated green beans with a Sauvignon Blanc. End on a sweet note with zesty mini lemon cheesecakes paired with Mirassou California Moscato — as close as one can get to capturing summer in a bottle.
Get started with these recipe and wine pairings from California’s Mirassou Winery. For more recipe ideas to brighten up your table visit www.mirassou.com or www.facebook.com/MirassouWinery.
Grilled Artichoke and Asparagus Mini PizzasPair with Mirassou California ChardonnayPrep time: 20 minutesCook time: 15 minutesMakes 4 servings2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided1 cup 2-inch pieces fresh asparagus, halved lengthwise1/2 cup pitted mixed olives, cut into wedges1/4 cup roasted red peppers, cut into thin strips2 tablespoons chopped roasted garlic1 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste1 14- to 16-ounce ball of pizza dough8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese1/4 cup grated dry jack cheese (plus additional for topping) Toasted walnuts (optional topping)
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in olives, peppers, garlic and artichoke hearts; cook for a few minutes more to heat through. Season with salt and pepper; set aside and keep warm.
Divide pizza dough into two equal pieces. Roll each out into an 8 x 10-inch oval on a lightly floured board, and brush both sides with remaining olive oil.
Grill over medium-high heat for about 1 minute on each side or until puffed and lightly charred. Reduce heat to low and top with cheeses; cook for 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted, rotating pizzas once or twice to help cook evenly.
Top with vegetable mixture and additional dry jack and walnuts, if desired.
Spicy Marinated Green BeansPair with Mirassou California Sauvignon BlancPrep time: 15 minutesCook time: 15 minutesMarinate time: several hoursMakes 12 servings1 1/2 cups white wine vinegar1 1/2 cups water1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns2 to 3 teaspoons crushed red pepper2 1/2 teaspoons sugar2 teaspoons kosher salt1/2 tablespoon whole mustard seed4 cloves garlic, sliced2 large stalks fresh dill3/4 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
Place all ingredients except green beans in a medium saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
Place green beans in shallow dish and pour boiling marinade over top. Let cool, then place in plastic bag and refrigerate several hours or until ready to serve, turning bag occasionally.
Mini Moscato CheesecakesPair with Mirassou California MoscatoPrep time: 20 minutesCook time: 20 to 25 minutesMakes 24 mini cheesecakes1 cup finely ground gingersnap cookies2 tablespoons butter, melted12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature1/2 cup sugar2 tablespoons flour2 tablespoons Mirassou Moscato1 teaspoon each: vanilla and lemon extract1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk, beaten Store bought lemon curd, lemon zest, mint and fresh raspberries (if desired)
Preheat oven to 350F, and spray a 24 cup mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Stir together ground gingersnaps and butter in a small bowl. Press about 1 1/2 teaspoons into each cup then press firmly into the bottom of each. Brush any crumbs off the top of the muffin pan and set aside.
Beat cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth; beat in flour, Moscato and extracts on low speed.
Add eggs and beat just until combined.
Spoon equal amounts into each cup (they will be very full).
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until filling feels set to the touch.
Let cool completely, and then run a small thin knife around the edge of each to remove from pan.
Place on a platter and top each with lemon curd, lemon zest, mint and fresh raspberries, as desired.
Your Warm-Weather Wine Choice: White or Red? White wines are perfectly refreshing for warm-weather fare, but what about options for red wine lovers? David Mirassou, wine expert and sixth generation of America’s oldest winemaking family, recommends Pinot Noir, a light and versatile red wine that can pair just as nicely with lighter dishes and small bites as many white wines. After all, Mirassou says, just because the weather changes doesn’t mean your preference for red wine has to change with it.
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