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From Barbara's Kitchen Looking for something to pair with wine? Trust what you like

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Posted: Friday, April 26, 2013 7:37 am

Dear Barbara: What would be a good food match for a really outstanding, velvety Zinfandel? — Sophie from Lockeford

Dear Sophie: I’m a believer that you should drink what you like, not what someone says you should drink. I know there is some truth in saying that some wines can overpower your food, or are so light that the heavier food takes over, but I have never really gotten into wine pairing. There is something to be said, however, about pairing a fine Port with chocolate and a good Cabernet with a great steak!

Zinfandel is a medium to-full bodied wine that goes well with grilled meats, tomato-based dishes and spicy foods. If you are going to serve Zinfandel with a cheese course, I suggest bleu cheese, Roquefort, Monterey jack, Edam, longhorn, and/or Gorgonzola. I hope this helps.

Dear Barbara: I like to make ravioli from wonton wrappers. Lately, the filling wants to leak out into the water and almost half are not usable. I thought I was making them like I had before, but obviously I must be doing something different. Help! — Marsha from Lodi

Dear Marsha: There are several things that could make the filling leak out of the ravioli. When you make them, you need to be sure all the edges of the bottom wrapper, which has the filling in the middle, are moist with water before you put the second wrapper on top. It is very important that you work out any air pockets as you are sealing them. Be sure you are sealing them tightly.  Sprinkle a little cornstarch on a cookie sheet to set each ravioli on while you are making them, and cover them with a clean kitchen towel.

If you cook them immediately after making each one, they tend to leak. The cooking water should be at a simmer, not a boil. Wonton ravioli are very delicate. Gently slip them into the simmering water. As soon as they float, they are done; about two minutes. The only other thing I can think of is that you may be trying to make them too full. Just a teaspoon of filling is enough. You have now talked me into wanting to make them for dinner tomorrow; I like to top them with a little browned butter, a few torn basil leaves and just a little grated parmesan. They are so good!

Barbara Spitzer is a Lodi home cook who also develops recipes for specific consumer products. Do you have a cooking question? Send it to Barbara Spitzer at Please include your first name and city.



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