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Food column: Your taste buds are yours alone

Prepping for Walleye Fish Tacos.
Staff Photo |

I took an interesting tour and did a wine tasting with Hendry winery in Napa, California, and was reminded of one thing that I’ve always known: You will never have two people that have the same taste buds or react the same way to any flavor. Next time someone tells you how things should taste or what you should find in a bottle or in a dish, remember that it’s only what you taste that’s important, and no one can tell you any different about the textures and flavors you experience.

One of the major things that we must learn is that food changes wine. For example when you’re drinking chardonnay you should have a fatty component to allow the wine to come out. When having a albariño, you should have clean flavors with absolutely no fat. Cabernet sauvignon will always do the talking at the table, so a rib-eye will go perfectly.

There are countless wines out there, and it’s up to you to choose what you love. There should really be no rules when it comes to wine as long as you love what you’re drinking. Here are a few recipes that you can make to help you pair your albariño the way that I found it inspiring and interesting.



Walleye Fish Tacos with Sesame Cabbage Slaw

1 pound walleye filets, cut into strips

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.



Cabbage Slaw

1 small napa cabbage head

1 jalapeno, chopped finely

2 scallions, sliced thinly

1 cucumber, diced

¼ cup cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon sesame oil

Spiced Tomatillo Sauce

8 tomatillos

1 roma tomato

1 jalapeno

2 chile de arbol

2 garlic cloves

¼ cup cilantro

Garnish & At the Table

2 limes, cut into wedges

12 corn tortillas

In a bowl combine all the cabbage slaw ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Adding a little cumin always adds an earthy taste. Place on the bottom of a platter.

Place all the ingredients for the tomatillo sauce in a sauce pan and place over medium heat with ½ cup of water. Cook for 8 minutes and remove from heat. Blend for about 2 minutes, add ¼ cup of cilantro. Place in a bowl on the same platter as the slaw.

Season the strips of walleye with only salt. Bring a non-stick skillet to medium heat, then add grapeseed oil. Add the strips and cook for about a minute with skin down, flip and cook for another minute. Place them on top of the slaw.

The last thing you should do is heat the tortillas in a skillet over medium high heat until tender.

Now all your guests can build their own tacos. Garnish the platter surrounding with lime wedges so they can squeeze themselves. A perfect margarita and walleye tacos is all you need to bring smiles to your guests or family.

Nicoise Salad

4 4-ounce sushi grade tuna steaks

1 tablespoon each: cumin, coriander, paprika and fennel seed (aka Susie’s Spice)

2 eggs, boiled and quartered

2 baby red potatoes, boiled and quartered

20 french greens beans, blanched

12 nicoise olives

2 roma tomatoes, quartered

4 hearts of palm, sliced diagonally

Herb de Provence dressing (see recipe below)

salad and arugula mixture (desired amount)

This amazing salad has something for everyone at your table. You can add other ingredients or substitute any of these, but you must have the nicoise olives in order to call this amazing salad just that.

I like serving the tuna at room temperature, so I wait until the salad is assembled, then sear this part. You want to keep each ingredient together so that you can just keep turning the platter around and everyone can grab their favorite thing.

Give one side of the tuna a nice coat of Susie’s Spice. Get a non-stick skillet over high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil once you see the pan smoking. Add the tuna immediately and allow it to sear for about 2 minutes. Turn off heat and remove tuna. Place the steaks right on top of the salad.

I like to drizzle the dressing on the entire thing, but since it’s family style, sometimes it’s better to just have a nice bowl of it and have everyone dress as they desire.

Herb de Provence dressing

2 tablespoons herb de Provence

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon agave

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

In a bowl place the Dijon mustard, agave and vinegar and whisk for about a minute to let the flavors marry. Then add the extra virgin olive oil slowly so it emulsifies. Add the herb de Provence and season as desired. Place in a bowl with a spoon.

Sopa de Lima

serves 10 to 12

3 chicken breasts

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 garlic cloves

1/2 yellow onion

2 limes, zested and juiced

2 celery stalks, sliced thin at an angle

3 carrots, julienned

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

In an 8 quart saucepan bring chicken to a boil in 4 quarts of water. Reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes. Remove chicken, shred and return to reserved stock. In a skillet saute garlic, yellow onion, celery stalks, lime zest and carrots for 10 minutes. Combine vegetable mixture with chicken and broth. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Add lime juice, cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with diced avocado if desired.

Shrimp Orzo Risotto

4 portions

2 cups cooked orzo pasta

1/4 cup peas

1/4 goat cheese

1 each lemon, zest

1 sage leaf, shaved

12 shrimp, deveined and peeled

1 cup vegetable stock

2 tablespoons Parmesan, grated

In a pan add vegetable stock over medium high heat until it starts to boil. Add all ingredients and fold slowly, turning heat down to a low-medium for 7-8 minutes. Season and serve.


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