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Pair Up

Apr 03, 2018 09:09PM ● By Maria Terry

Maria Terry, a Certified Sommelier and Wine Educator in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Spicy Spring


I must admit, I’m a spicy girl. When I go out, I choose the spiciest dish on the menu. When I cook, I have a heavy hand with the crushed red pepper. I don’t love the watery eyes or runny nose, but there is just something about that rush of heat that brings out the flavor in food.

Garlic is not my idea of spicy but is one of my favorite flavors. Green Garlic Dip uses garlic scapes instead of the garlic bulb. The scape is the flower stalk of the garlic plant. You can buy them in late spring labeled as green garlic. Although their season is short, they freeze well for later use. Garlic scapes are a little more peppery than the bulb, and when added to a dip with jalapeño, you get a big punch. It is perfect with your favorite vegetable dipper or chip and is a terrific way to start your evening off with a bang. To counteract this level of spice, you should have a wine with sugar in it. An off-dry Prosecco immediately comes to mind. It is light, bubbly, and has just the right amount of sweetness to cool off your mouth.

Dragon Noodles are exactly what they sound like -- spicy Asian noodles. This recipe is super easy to make and uses simple ingredients. If the egg in the dish is not enough protein for your meal, it can be a side dish for a protein entrée. As for the wine, again, you are looking for something off-dry. Riesling is great with Asian foods because its stone fruit flavors and tremendous acidity bring out the umami in the food. Rieslings are best when grown in cool climates and come in a range of sweetness. I love German Rieslings because they have a naming system that helps you know what you are getting. From drier to sweeter they are: Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trokenbeerenauslese, and Eiswein. Both the Spätlese or Auslese levels work with this dish. 

For dessert, instead of continuing the spice assault, I chose a flavor that will knock your socks off without heat. Lemon Pudding Cake is sweet and tart with intense lemon flavor. To pair, choose a delicate sparkling wine called Moscato. Moscato is made from the Moscato Bianco grape in the northwest region of Italy. It is quite sweet and has a citrus and floral flavor that will complement the lemon flavor in the cake.

So, go on. Pair Up!


Maria Terry is a Certified Sommelier and Wine Educator in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Green Garlic Dip



3 garlic scapes, cut into pieces 

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro 

2 tablespoons olive oil 

1 tablespoon dry sherry 

Lemon, juiced 

1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped 

1 cup sour cream 

Salt and black pepper to taste



Place green garlic, cilantro, olive oil, sherry, lemon juice, and jalapeno pepper in a blender or food processor. Blend until pureed. Scrape into bowl and mix in sour cream until evenly blended. Season with salt and black pepper. Refrigerate before serving.

Yield: about 1 cup


Dragon Noodles



8 oz. lo mein noodles or fresh fettuccine

4 tablespoons butter

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons sriracha rooster sauce

2 handfuls fresh cilantro 

2-3 sliced green onions



Begin to boil water for the noodles. While waiting for the water to boil, prepare sauce. In a small bowl stir together brown sugar, soy sauce, and sriracha. Add noodles to boiling water and cook according to package directions (5-7 minutes).


In a large skillet melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Add red pepper to the butter as it melts. Whisk an egg in a bowl and add to melted butter. Stir gently and cook through. Once egg is done cooking, turn off heat.


When noodles are tender, drain water and add them to skillet with cooked egg. Also, add prepared sauce. Turn heat on low to evaporate excess moisture and stir until everything is coated well with sauce. Sprinkle the sliced green onions and cilantro leaves (whole) on top and serve! Yield: 2-4 servings


Lemon Pudding Cake




4 eggs 

1 package (2-layer size) yellow or butter cake mix 

1 package (4 serving size) instant lemon pudding mix 

3/4 cup water 

1/3 cup vegetable oil 



1/3 cup lemon juice 

2 cups sifted powdered sugar



In mixing bowl, beat eggs until thick and lemon-colored. Add cake mix, dry pudding mix, water, and vegetable oil. Beat at medium speed for 10 minutes. Pour batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan with removable bottom.


Bake cake at 350 F for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Grasping tube center, remove hot cake (still on pan bottom) from the pan.


Combine lemon juice and sifted powdered sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Using a fork, prick many holes evenly in top of cake. Drizzle hot glaze over top and spread over sides of cake. Yield: 1 cake