Monday, December 27, 2010

the morning after

Is it really over? Goodness, how quickly a day goes by. This year's Christmas dinner in my home was the usual juggling act as I attempted to serve 27 people at a table meant for 10 at the most. I had to resort to two seatings, not what I would have preferred, but honestly I did not have a choice. The first seating was for "the kids" and by that I mean anyone younger than 22 years old. Our very youngest is not yet two but the twelve other kids range in age from 16 to 22, which is a scary thought. They are very big. It seems not that long ago they all could just fit on our laps. Now they want their own chairs. Ok, ok.

The KIDS asked me to make enchiladas for dinner, an unconventional choice for our traditions, but why the heck not?
Despite all the hard work and my overly ambitious menu that started off manageable, I truly feel this dinner is a labor of love. It is the one day of the year when my entire family gathers to spend time together, enjoying each other's company and acknowledging the changes that time brings.  I wouldn't change a thing about it.
The ADULTS were more interested in the braised short ribs and spinach timbale.
This year's menu. No, not vegetarian.

The blizzard that arrived the day after Christmas was perfectly timed to keep me home, to rest and reflect on my good fortune and the blessings of the love of my large and ever growing family.
This cock-eyed cutie captured my heart when I met her at the Cluny Museum in Paris this October.
 I can relate to her weary expression.
The very persistent snow and wind caused drifts to form INSIDE my doorway!
The view from upstairs looking down into my garden. The amazing sights of the season.

My favorite recipe from Christmas dinner was the Spinach Timbale.  The easiest version to make is by using frozen spinach, thereby saving several steps:
-chop an onion and saute till tender in butter
-blend a package of defrosted spinach with the cooked onion, a bunch of chopped dill and salt and pepper in a food processor till fine. 
-add 2 cups of heavy cream, 3 eggs and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and blend another few seconds till well combined.
-butter a baking pan and pour the spinach mixture in.
-bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes till the timbale sets.

This delicious, savory treat will be a great side dish for just about any hearty winter meal.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

in the mood

I once heard a Mid-Western visitor comment that he did not like the North East landscape, complaining "you can't see anything because of all the trees." At the time I thought what a strange comment. Aren't trees the whole point? But I did appreciate the humor of the image and in fact every winter I look forward to a landscape revealed through the spindly fine lines of bare tree branches.

This weekend I went up to The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park to hear The Waverly Consort's holiday concert of music from the Middle Ages.  The museum was decked out in holiday mode and the atmosphere was warm & cozy within the heavy stone-faced interior.
The vocal music was heavenly, echoing around the hall. 

I have been making holiday cookies, candies and latkes all month and have many more big festive meals to go. My friend Joann, a wonderful home cook, turned me on to a really tasty appetizer she served us last night from a recipe found in Cooking Light Magazine. The Artichoke and Fennel Caponata was so good, filled with fresh zippy flavor. Cooking Light has very reliable recipes and this one was no exception. It is an addictive treat that won't fill you up. Try it on the IT Crackers from last weeks post. A big batch will go a long way and makes a great condiment on grilled or roasted foods.
Artichoke and Fennel Caponata
This delicious caponata is worth a try. The recipe is simple to make and loaded with tangy capers, sweet golden raisins, lemon zest and parsley.
the wine pairing:
Beautiful pictures, Deb. I wish I had known about this recipe prior to my big holiday party this past Saturday night, which by the way was a big hit. Lots and lots of food. Passed hot hors d'ouerves with an antipasto table, shrimp cocktail and sushi platters. The Artichoke and Fennel Caponata would have fit right in with the other antipasti.

For occasions such as a holiday bash or informal get together where there are a variety of finger foods such as this caponata, I recommend a crowd-pleasing selection of wines. I had plenty of Pink Prosecco on hand which really contributed nicely to the festive atmosphere. For whites, I had an inexpensive French blend from the Cotes de Gascogne called Domaine Sancet. It's a blend of wonderful white varietals such as Colombard, Ugni Blanc, Gros Manseng and Sauvignon Blanc. Lots of upfront fruit and extremely food friendly. And only $7.99 per bottle! For reds, I had plenty of d'Arenberg Stump Jump Shiraz 2008 to go around. Rated 90 points by The Wine Spectator, this ripe, juicy, fleshy Shiraz retails for around $8.99. These are the types of wines I like to offer at my parties - especially when they are on the larger size and the wallet is an issue. Simple, easy-quaffing juice is what I seek out! I save the more serious, expensive selections for smaller, more intimate gatherings where people are in attendance not only for the food and company, but for the wine as well!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

hale to the kale

It is hard to avoid kale these days as it lingers perpetually at farmers markets, a hero to the end, the last of the greens to withstand the ever chilling temperatures. Hook Mountain Growers latest blog post is all about kale and includes some wonderful recipes to check out. It got me thinking about this rough and ready green that has enough ruffle-y bounce to wear as a ballet tutu.

Bringing kale home from the market the bag bulges as if stuffed with new down pillows. When preparing, trim off the chewy stems and cut the leaves into bite sized strips before cooking. I was making a standard sauteed kale with garlic for a client this weekend and jazzing it up with a balsamic reduction, when I decided to go in a different direction with the bunch I bought for myself. This quick making dish of curried kale with chick peas and raisins is satisfying and warming on a cold almost winter day.
 Simmer the meaty kale and earthy chick peas with sweet coconut milk and tart raisins to make a delicious meal of balanced flavors and textures.

Curried Kale with Chick Peas and Raisins 
2 quarts water, salted
1 Bunch of kale, stems trimmed off and leaves chopped into 1" strips
1 Tbs. canola oil
1 onion thinly sliced
1.5 Tbs. curry powder
1.5 cups cooked chick peas
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup golden raisins

Bring water to a boil and blanch the kale for about 6-8 minutes until tender and bright green. Drain and set aside. In a saute pan heat the canola oil and saute the onions about 5 minutes till golden. Add the curry powder and stir to combine completely with the oil in the pan. Add the chick peas, coconut milk, rasins and kale and stir to combine.  Simmer ten minutes and taste to adjust seasonings adding salt as needed. Serve with a grain like basmati rice or quinoa.

the wine pairing:
This is great! I am on a kale kick but have been running out of ideas for its preparation. Lately I have been eating it raw - simply chopping it very small and enjoying it mixed with some finely chopped celery and cabbage and tossing it with one asian vinaigrette or another - whatever is inspiring at that moment. So thank you, Deb, for another kale option!

Curry is something else I have been enjoying. In fact, aromas of this spice fill my house at this very moment, having just made a curried yellow-split pea soup which came out quite good if not a little thin. (oops). Deb, as usual, I have a question. Is the coconut milk you used sweetened? I am never quite sure which one to use when cooking.

For this particular recipe, I would open a great bottle of Gewurztraminer. This white varietal has extremely distinct aromas and flavors of lychee fruit. And, there are heavenly "spicey" characteristics as well. One of my favorite whites, it has its admirers and its opponents. I think most people either love it or hate it. If you have not yet had the "gewurz" experience, I strongly urge you to run to your local retailer and purchase a bottle!

Many Gewurztraminers are off-dry (slightly sweet) but there are many drier styles available. The grape is at its finest in Alsace, France. For outstanding representations of this grape, look to producers Trimbach or Zind Humbrecht. They are absolutely two of the finest producers of this white in Alsace. 

The unique floral, spicy aromatics and distinctive flavors of this wine make it an ideal match for Asian, Thai, and Indian cuisines. Gewurztraminer would definitely complement Deb's dish perfectly!

Monday, December 6, 2010

the IT cracker

The wreath has hit the door. There is no turning back now. Tis the season. Yes, the hustle and bustle, but I LOVE IT! Life would be awfully dull if every day was the same. A change of pace quickens the blood and reminds me that I am alive.  Racing along Fifth Avenue last week on the way to meet a friend I caught glimpses of holiday lighting displays that made me stop in my tracks. Fendi had a three story high wall of animated lights that resembled dripping icicles. Sublime!
(I forgot my camera, but found this blog with fantastic photos of the Fendi display)

Today, is a stay at home day to begin organizing the home-front. It takes me a while to get into full holiday mode. I am always late to get the tree up and even later to take it down.  Hannukah came early this year and I have been cranking out batches of LATKES for my clients. My niece and I have just scheduled our annual marathon cookie baking date. We are hoping to try some new recipes this year. The last of the thanksgiving leftovers went into the soup pot and now we are down to our last few bowls. Looking for something new to serve with it before the family threw it at me I found a recipe by Mark Bittman for Cheese Crackers that I had cut out of the NY Times almost a year ago. The recipe had caught my eye because the crackers resemble Cheeze-Its, a truly evil product that I absolutely adore but never allow myself to buy (I think each IT is about 150 calories.) Could I possibly make my own less evil version of this? I trust Mark B. completely. He is a straight shooter and tells it like it is. The recipe was simplicity itself, took no time and was a really tasty treat. I think it is my new go-to for a while.

Mark Bittman's Parmesan Cream Crackers- click here for recipe 

The ingredients (flour, salt Parmesan cheese and butter) get dumped into a food processor. Just add some heavy cream and your dough is done.

The dough was easy to roll out and score. This is what the crackers look like coming out of the oven.

I made three versions of toppings: Chipotle Chili powder, Fleur de Sel and Black Pepper

Make big batches of these and keep them in tins, they will last the holiday season as a wonderful savory treat to serve with cocktails or A GLASS OF WINE!

Gotta give this a go for this year's holiday block party! This time of year, many a weekend night consist of sitting around my living room fire with a few friends nibbling on cheese and crackers and drinking good wine. This ritual is a wonderful way to spend a cold winter's night! A block of cheese, these Parmesan cream crackers, and a glass of red are exactly what I envision.

But what red? That is the question...Hmmmm....It is a regular practice of mine to serve cheese with wines from the particular region of origin of the cheese. Right now, I am on a big Burrata kick - a fresh Italian cheese made from Mozzarella and cream. While savoring cheese and wine in a friend's wine cellar, I fell hopelessly in love with this wonderfully buttery, rich cheese. The outer shell is mozzarella, but when sliced open, a deliciously thick cream oozes out. Yum! So, I'm thinking some Burrata, a nice piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano, some olives, the Parmesan crackers and an Italian red would be a scrumptious combination!
A nice Sangiovese is an ideal match. Sangiovese is the main varietal in Chianti, so I wouldn't hesitate to pour this alongside these terrific delicacies. Right now, one of my favorite everyday reds is Rubio, from Poggio San Polo. It is 100% Sangiovese and hails from Tuscany. It is fresh and fruity, yet has great elegance and finesse as well. Aromas of fresh cherries abound, and the subtle spicy notes on the palate are marvelous. An intense wine, it is also delightfully quaffable and makes the ideal partner with a variety of cheeses and "antipasto".
At only $11.99, this little gem is definitely worth seeking out. But if you are putting together a spread like this, and can't find it, simply ask your neighborhood retailer to make a recommendation on a nice Sangiovese!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I am on a first name basis with my vegetables now. Well, perhaps it is a surname. But it is THIS baby's first name, as in Gilfeather Turnip. Actually it is a rutabaga. Why quibble?
 Gilfeather, ready for his close-up.

The turnip/rutabaga in question was bestowed upon me by the besotted. I was told it was THE BEST rutabega, the finest in the land. That is not saying much, I'm just saying.

Turnips, rutabagas, whatever, they are not all that exciting. I knew nothing about the revered Gilfeather so I  humbly accepted the gift and went forth to prepare it for consumption. Mashed, grated, yeah yeah yeah. I'm thinking fried, DEEP fried. Root vegetables taste pretty damned good deep fried and I had a hankering.

I cut Gilfeather fairly thin so he would fry quickly and have a lot of fried surface area. It did indeed fry up quickly. It was golden within 5 minutes and crispy brown within eight.

Ok YUM! It tasted great! A tiny bit sweet, a tiny bit weird, just like most turnips/rutabagas. If you have tried them you know that indescribable earthy tangy flavor. I liked Gilfeather. I can't say I could pick it out in a blind taste test but it was definitely everything a rutabaga should be, and that is not too bad!
I served these with a quick dipping sauce made from mixing sour cream and mango chutney. The creamy curry flavor worked well with the fried rutabaga.

I like that this recipe is so simple - and yet there are so many different variations you could use in the way of dipping sauce. Sour cream and mango chutney sounds yummy. I still make the chick pea patties featured in a much earlier blog, and this sauce would be perfect with it!

Deep fried anything and sparkling wine are a match made in heaven. This dish would be just great as an hors d'oeurves at a party, with a glass of bubbly on the side. I just love the idea of this combination. For my annual holiday block party, I am going to be sure to have plenty of Riondo Pink Prosecco on hand, which is always a huge hit. This wonderfully crisp, fruit-forward, delicious sparkler would be my first choice to serve with Deb's rutabagas! It is medium bodied and lively with flavors reminiscent of fresh picked strawberries!

Friday, November 26, 2010


Happy day after Thanksgiving! The calm before the next storm. This day is dedicated to staying in my pajamas as long as possible and NOT SHOPPING.  But cooking? Yes, perhaps.
A perfect time to hike the Palisades overlooking the Hudson River to catch the last glimpse of Fall's colors, as the mild weather continues this month.
A few leaves can be found still clinging to the branches, but not for long!

Today seems like a good day to clear out the old and make way for the next phase of the season as we head towards winter. My friend Jennifer came up with her own version of this ritual which turned into a batch of homemade soup she calls Veggie Sausage Soup

Jen: It all began with the beautiful brussel sprouts that I found at Union Square Greenmarket and just had to buy even though Ron (her boyfriend) doesn’t think that he likes them. He asked me what I was going to do with THOSE? I have to confess even though I like them I have never bought or cooked them myself. My father keeps a huge vegetable garden in our home in Lexington, Kentucky, although he is slowing down now at 92. However, he never grew Brussels Sprouts and I had never seen the plant until yesterday when I was looking online for a recipe.
Jennifer's picture

Deb: I think Brussels sprouts are more a cool climate crop and probably do better up North where they get a touch of frost.

Jen: Anyway, in the process of preparing to leave for a long Thanksgiving holiday I needed to use a few things in the refrigerator before I left.  The brussel sprouts, goat cheese, baby portabello mushrooms, vegetable sausage patties and more needed to get used or thrown away.

Deb: Vegetable sausage patties?

Jen: Yes, I buy Morning Star Hot & Spicy Veg Sausage Patties (I think from Whole Foods) and they are really good! The Brussels Sprouts I actually cored and quartered for the soup. It came out great! Ron and I both loved it.  He says that he has decided that he just didn't realize he liked Brussels Sprouts.

Deb: Cored the sprouts!? Wow, that is a loving touch and probably not necessary as the core will get as tender as the leaves when cooked. Sounds like you have a winning recipe on your hands. May I please share it on the blog?

Jen: Oh why yes! Thanks!

The sprouts I made for Thanksgiving soaking in a bowl of cold water before cooking. I like to do this to refresh them and add a little extra moisture.

Coring a sprout takes some time and patience. Not sure it is worth it or even needed. Maybe fancy pants restaurants do this. Hmmmmm.

Jennifer's Vegetable Sausage Brussels Sprouts and Mushroom Soup

2 packages of 6 each Morning Star Hot & Spicy Veg Sausage Patties
1 small handful of Dried Porcini Mushrooms (I didn’t think I had enough Baby Portobellos)
1 small container Brussel Sprouts- trimmed and quartered
1 head or 6-8 cloves of Garlic, peeled
1 small package Goat Cheese
½ of a container of Baby Portabello Mushrooms
1 head or 6-8 cloves of Garlic peeled
1 bag of Frozen Pearl Onions
1 container of Chicken Stock (4 cups)
1 cup of Water and ½ teaspoon of Veg. Better than Bullion (It needed a little more liquid)
Parmesan Cheese
Olive Oil

Cook the Vegetable sausage patties at 350 on a baking sheet about 12 min to get them a little crispy on the outside. 
Place the Porcini Mushrooms to soak in a small bowl of warm water.  
Place the Brussel Sprouts and the garlic cloves on a baking sheet. Then drizzle Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper and toss.  Roast in oven for 20 mins at 375 tossing 1 to 2 times while cooking.  Slice the Baby Portobello’s.  
Place a large pat of Butter in a soup pan. 
Drain the Porcini (I like the Porcini chopped in small pieces) and Sauté Both types of mushrooms. Make sure to salt and pepper. 
Put the Frozen Pearl Onions in at this point too. Once the onions looked done I then added the Chicken Stock and Goat Cheese. 
Crumble the cooked Veg. Sausage Patties and add to soup. 
Make sure not to overcook the Brussel Sprouts that were roasting and add to soup.  
Save the roasted whole cloves and smash/chop and then add to soup. 
Add a small chunk of grated Parmesan Cheese. Last Salt, Pepper and Cayenne Pepper to your taste.  
My Pearl Onions, the bigger ones seemed a bit tough so I scooped out some of the bigger ones along with some of the liquid and blended them in the Blender and added them back in.

Thanks Jennifer, this sounds great! I love the cooking improvisation that took place in your kitchen born of necessity and a willingness to take a risk. Amanda is away this holiday weekend so we will have to pair this soup with whatever wine is leftover!

Ok, one more amazing cauliflower to share! This is the Romesco variety that I picked up at Chelsea Market and used as the centerpiece of a holiday crudite platter. I cut off some of the smaller floretes, blanched them and sliced in half to nibble on with the dip.

Monday, November 22, 2010


This is the time of year when we begin preparations for the holiday season, even if it is just a mental adjustment. The weather is changing, the light is changing, the time has changed, the colors are changing. That is a lot to adjust to.  It is no wonder many people feel especially stressed right now, as we stare down the home stretch of the biggest family meal of the year.
My approach is to go with the flow as much as possible by following the lead of the evolving colors outside my door.

 Like a small school girl, I can't resist picking up pretty colored leaves that I find carpeting the sidewalks these days.

The last of my crop of heirloom tomatoes. I think my total yield was about 10 tomatoes for the whole season. Pitiful, but proud. We just don't get enough sunshine in my backyard to support this crop, but I had fun visiting the plants each day with hope in my heart and will certainly give it another shot next summer.

 Time to bring some plants in from the garden. The coleus is from a cutting off a magnificently growing bush in my backyard that is now curled up and leafless. I managed to get the cuttings in the nick of time. We shall see if it survives the minimal sunlight on my windowsill over the winter.

Can you believe another crazy colored cauliflower? 
These butternut squashes came from a farm stand on the corner of Bleecker Street and Sixth Avenue, not exactly a rural area! They each weigh almost five pounds. Heavy lifting on the subway ride home.

To simplify Thanksgiving, go with the produce that looks best and has bright color. A basic roast vegetable dish will bring out maximum flavor. No need for elaborate cheese sauces. Throw a lot of peeled garlic on the roasting pan around the vegetables and drizzle olive oil over everything. A good hot 400 degree oven will get your vegetables golden and fork tender in as little as 30 minutes depending on how small you cut everything.
These roasted vegetables will make a magnificent display on the Thanksgiving table. Pictured here is the orange cauliflower, the butternut squash and a variety of an Asian yam.  Don't be afraid to keep things basic. No one wants a stressed out dinner. Let the ingredients do the work for you by showcasing what they have been working on all summer out there in the field absorbing all that sunshine and nutrients from the soil. The taste and color is a gift from nature! Thanks, nature!

Amanda, what should we be looking for to pair with our dinner this year? Thanksgiving tends to be a heavy meal with a lot of rich sauces so I will be looking for something crisp and light for the white and something smooth and fruity for the red. I can't wait to hear what you suggest!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!!!

The roasted vegetables look beautiful! And so easy! As for wine, this is one of those dinners where you don't have to look for the "perfect match" as there are so many different elements to the Thanksgiving dinner. Just look for those wines that are the most food friendly.

Every year, I choose a variety of wines to enjoy at the table - wines I know everyone will love. For those of you that will be enjoying Turkey with your feast, Riesling is a great match for white, and Pinot Noir is a great selection for red. (These are great choices for purely vegetarian fare as well...) This year, I am going to incorporate a sparkling Rose into the mix with my Thanksgiving meal. I love to enjoy Champagne or sparkling wine with my dinner, and Thanksgiving is just the opportune time to sip some bubbly with the main course. Many people think of Champagne as something to be poured for a toast, or to accompany hors d'oeurvres. But it is wonderful alongside entrees as well. It contributes a wonderful "vibe" to holiday dinners!

My selection will be as follows: I will bring some Prosecco, which is a big hit with my family, for the afternoon pre-dinner festivities. This includes a large variety of cheeses, dips, spreads, chips, veggies, etc. Prosecco is ideal. We sip it all afternoon. For the sit-down part of our meal, I will be enjoying Domaine Carneros Brut Rose (a delightful sparkler from California), Zind Humbrecht Pinot Blanc (a white from one of Alsace's greatest producers),and Georges Duboeuf Morgon Jean Descombes 2009. I highly recommend a Cru Beaujolais - these are wonderful accompaniments to Thanksgiving fare. Not your typical, run-of-the-mill Beaujolais - these are the "cream of the crop", the highest level of Beaujolais. To set these apart from the more mass-produced Beaujolais Villages and Beaujolais Nouveau, producers do not put the word " Beaujolais" on the label. These are spectacular, very affordable wines. The aforementioned Morgon, for example, retails for about $12.99. And, the 2009 vintage is one of the best ever, so now is the time to indulge in these gems. Look to Georges Duboeuf for consistently good quality wines.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

the color purple

So about that cauliflower? Dude, what am I going to do with that amazing purple beautious monstrosity? A quick search on my favorite recipe go-to site turned up the PERFECT RECIPE! I was looking for something that would really feature the insane color of this vegetable and the recipe for Cauliflower Steaks with Cauliflower Puree seemed to fit the bill. The premise of the recipe was to cut slabs (steaks) of cauliflower and pan sear them to get a crust. The rest of the cauliflower florets get parboiled, then roasted, then pureed with some milk and served as a sauce over the slabs (steaks.)
What I love about epicurious, aside from their vast archives, is all the notes people write after the recipe. When I looked at people's comments on this recipe it was immediately clear that the consensus was "BLAND". Well, heck yeah that seems obvious. Why not make a cheese sauce to puree with the cauliflower to give it a little umph? And instead of parboiling and roasting before pureeing why not pan sear the florets as well to get some crispy flavor in one step rather than two. Anyway, I was off and running.
I put some of the cauliflower in a soup. It looked so perky and tasted great too!
Roasting the cauliflower did nothing to diminish the color. After roasting I chopped it up and put it into a vegetable quesadilla for one of my favorite clients.
Ok, so onward with the recipe, or perversion of the recipe shall we say. Look at these slabs, how gorgeous!
While I was on the color kick I started eyeing the green tomatoes I rescued from the garden this morning. How about a few slabs of green tomatoes to go along with the cauliflower slabs? 
The plan was hatched! Pan seared green tomatoes, pan seared slabs of purple cauliflower, pan seared cauliflower florets (add a little water to the pan and cover to let the florets steam a little till tender before pureeing)
Puree the tender florets, then add some bechamel sauce with cheese (2 Tbs. butter, melted, 2 Tbs. Flour stirred in, 1.5 cups milk, whisk, 2 oz. grated cheese, melt)

Plate this and laugh! I think I need my friend Katie the amazing chef and food stylist to help me out here. I could not stop giggling as I ate this because it looked so ridiculous and yet it tasted AMAZING!!! The purple puree was to die for, the green tomatoes added a perfect fresh tartness, the cauliflower slabs were filling and satisfying. This is one funky looking delicious dish. I think if I was working with a white cauliflower it would look fine or at least not startlingly peculiar. I don't know if I would have the nerve to serve this in this incarnation, but the flavor was really really good and worth the experiment.

Amanda, I am thinking an orange or green wine might be just right with this?

Unfortunately the color of the wine I have in mind cannot live up to the vibrant colors of your dish! But I have to say - I actually don't think it looks silly at all - from an aesthetic standpoint, it's amazing! Sure, it's different. But it's just a testament to the natural beauty cooking with vegetables can offer us. I would be thrilled is this plate was set down before me at a restaurant.

Deb - I saw a beautiful orange cauliflower today at an organic market. I have only had the standard, now paler-in-comparison white varietal. Are there taste differences between colors? And to what do we owe these beautiful differences in color? I don't remember seeing all of these different options when I was a kid...

Now onto wine - I want a light, crisp, lively white with this. A wine with a little "tartness" to it would be a good choice, to match with the tartness of the tomatoes. The tartness of the tomatoes with a wine that has no "tart" characteristics, will render the wine weak and thin. A white Bordeaux would be a great complement to Deb's work of art. A mixture of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, whites from the region are typically crisp and acidic (from the Sauvignon Blanc) with a rich, round quality (from the Semillon). 

The Entre deux Mers is a wine region in Bordeaux which lies between two rivers (hence the name) - the Garonne and Dordogne. The region produces wines with fine minerality. Chateau Bonnet is a great, inexpensive representation of wines from the area. At $11.99, the wine displays great aromatics with lively citrus components.  The acidity will work well with the tartness of the tomatoes, which is important, as well as serve as a contrast to the cheese sauce. A Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand would also be a good choice. If you're feeling like a little bubbly, perhaps a bottle of Prosecco. But whatever you choose - I would stick with white on this wine.