Sunday, August 19, 2007

Little Miss Muffet meets Ocean Spray

A couple of weeks ago I had Gana and Desilet over for dinner, a themed dinner if you will. You may have read that we went to Astoria a couple weekends ago and got the pleasure of visiting the Shallon Winery (I don't know how to hyperlink things, my apologies for not using that tool). One of the purchases made was a wine called "Cran du Lait" which I thought was French, but I was mistaken. This wine is a mixture of 25% Cranberries and 75& Whey. Yup you read correctly, whey, the liquid remnant of what is left in the process in making cheese. I think I was less surprised that it was whey because of the color of the wine. It has this beautiful strawberry color, without the strawberry taste.

For the dinner with Gana and Desilet, I decided I would use Cran du Lait in all areas of the meal. I got some chicken breasts and used about a cup and a half of the wine as the base of my marinade. I then used a bit of garlic powder, onion salt, and parsley. I was very nervous about what the chicken would taste like - I figured it would be either really great or really bad, especially since I let my meat marinate overnight.

I was incredibly conservative with the seasonings I used and the amount, I simply didn't know how they would react with the wine. I baked the chicken, and it came out okay. I was able to taste a hint of the cranberry in every bite, but that was about it, so when I do this again I would be more liberal both with the types of seasonings and the amount - it's okay to be creative I am telling myself.

To go along with the chicken, I sauteed some bell peppers and green beans in a combination extra virgin olive oil and about a half cup of Cran du Lait. I have to say this was my favorite part of the meal. I really enjoyed the way the bell peppers had a nice flavor to them, like a little bit of a tart kick, but not too much. The green beans had a hint of the cranberry flavor, this I would definitely do again in the same manner.

Sadly, the part of the meal I think was the least appealing was the three cheese tortellini. I over-cooked it which was really the worst part. After the water was drained, I put a hint of extra virgin olive oil and some Cran du Lait for a bit of flavoring. It wasn't bad but the over-cooking of the pasta probably had a worse effect than I would have liked.

When I served dinner I put a bit of Ginger Ale in our glasses and then poured the Cran du Lait. I was less than thrilled with the effect and think that it is actually better by itself without any bubbly, but hey, that is just me. Dessert was a Strawberry Shortcake purchased at the local Safeway (so no real use of the Cran du Lait there, except to drink it with).

So that was my Cran du Lait themed Chicken and Pasta dinner. I think I want to try it next with a fillet Mignon or pork chops, but the chicken is definitely a keeper (with some modifications).


  1. I was skeptical when you proclaimed that you were going to use the Cran du Lait in everything for the dinner--but it was definitely a winner.

  2. I'm a new reader and a big fan! People might find this interesting: There is a great debate starting about the merits of olive oil v. wine. Really interesting stuff! Thanks and keep up the great posts!