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Lyra Jean
05-11-2008, 07:58 AM
How important is the wine if the recipe calls for it? I don't drink alcohol and I don't use it often enough to keep it sitting around my around my house.
So can I leave out the wine or does it depend on the recipe?

Jongfan
05-11-2008, 08:21 AM
I would suggest picking up a bottle of cooking sherry at your local market. It keeps well in the pantry and can be used in any dish calling for wine. Also, you can substitute another liquid for the wine if you prefer a non alcohol ingredient.

Seasoned olive oils, chicken broth, white grape juice, etc.
It depends on the dish, but substitutes are always available.

reigningcatsndogs
05-11-2008, 08:27 AM
When you cook with wine, I believe it is for the flavor and moisture it provides, because the actual alcohol cooks out (unless you add it right at the end). You can substitute for flavor or moisture. Along with Jongfan's list, I have seen applejuice also used as a substitute.

blacbird
05-11-2008, 09:50 AM
I would suggest picking up a bottle of cooking sherry at your local market.

Avoid any "cooking wine" at all costs. They are universally dreadful. Cook with wine a person would actually drink, even if you don't do so yourself. "Cooking wine" contains just as much alcohol as real live drinking wine does, so you aren't gaining anything but awfulness by using such crap.

First, the alcohol in wine evaporates in a matter of seconds when you cook, so you aren't contaminating your food with something offensive to anybody. The wine is used to impart flavor to your food, not a buzz.

You don't need to get expensive with it. A cheap jug wine, red or white, depending on the dish, will work quite well. I do a lot of seafood cooking, and find that inexpensive chardonnay or pinot grigio works just fine with almost everything. If you're doing a red meat dish that calls for wine, I'd recommend you go for a cheap merlot or a pinot noir. Cabernet or Zinfandel is a little strong in flavor for my taste. And if sherry is called for, it depends on your desire for sweet or tart; the bottle label will tell you. And if you're just using the stuff for cooking, remember, wine doesn't rot. A single bottle will keep a long time. But, to answer your major question, if the recipe calls for wine, use wine. Water just don't cut it.

caw

Lyra Jean
05-11-2008, 10:16 AM
Ingredients:
2 medium yellow squash, rinsed
2 small zucchini, rinsed
2 plum tomatoes, rinsed
1/4 cup white wine
3 Tbsp. Colavita Extra-Virgin Oil, divided
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1/4 tsp. pepper, divided
12 oz. Publix Frozen Sea Scallops, thawed
1/4 cup shrimp scampi sauce

Directions:
Preheat broiler. Remove ends from squash and zucchini; cut both into 1/4-inch-thick slices (1 1/2 cups each.) Cut tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices; place all in medium bowl. Add wine, 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil, Italian seasoning, 1/4 tsp. of the salt, and 1/8 tsp. of the pepper; toss until blended. Arrange vegetables in an even layer in 13x9 inch baking dish; pour remaining oil mixture over vegetables.

Combine in second medium bowl, scallops, and remaining each 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper until evenly coated. Arrange scallops on top of vegetables. Broil 8-10 minutes or just until scallops are opaque and firm, and beginning to brown on top.

Remove from oven; spread shrimp scampi sauce over top of scallops. Toss to coat vegetables and scallops; serve immediately.

Lyra Jean
05-11-2008, 10:22 AM
Ingredients:
1 small red bell pepper, rinsed
2 Tbsp. Colavita Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
4 oz. pre-sliced baby Portabella mushrooms, rinsed
1 (14 oz.) can Reese Quartered Artichoke Hearts, drained
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup white wine
1 (4.6 oz.) box Pasta Roni Olive Oil & Italian Herb Pasta
3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Directons:
Preheat large saute pan on medium high 2-3 minutes. Cut pepper in half; remove seeds and membranes. Cut pepper into thin strips.

Place oil in pan; swirl to coat. Add peppers and mushrooms; cook 2-3 minutes, stirring often, or until vegetables begin to soften.

Stir in artichokes, water, wine, and contents of seasoning packet (from pasta mix). Bring to a boil.

Stir in pasta; cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 8-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until pasta is tender. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

kikazaru
05-11-2008, 10:24 AM
Avoid any "cooking wine" at all costs. They are universally dreadful. Cook with wine a person would actually drink, even if you don't do so yourself. "Cooking wine" contains just as much alcohol as real live drinking wine does, so you aren't gaining anything but awfulness by using such crap.caw

I concur and cooking wines and sherries contain a lot of salt which can adversely affect your dish.

If I have left over drinking wine I will just pour it in a smaller bottle or jar and put it in the fridge and use it to put in gravies, soups, stews and stir fries. I usually use it up in a week or so. If the dish calls for a substantial amount of wine I will buy 2 (or more) bottles. One (or more) for drinking and the other for the recipe.

If a dish calls for wine I use it. There is something unique about the flavour of wine that enhances a dish. This is not to say that a recipe made without the wine would not be delicious especially if it calls for just a small amount, but it would not be the same without the wine. I am in Canada and I can buy "splits" which are small (maybe 2 cup) bottles of wine. Perhaps in your area you could buy something similar and just keep the remainder in the fridge til needed.

samgail
05-11-2008, 11:22 AM
I put leftover wine-on the rare occasion we have it:D-in an ice cube tray until frozen and pop it into a ziploc for future use. Works like a charm for cooking. I also do this with leftover broth.

HeronW
05-11-2008, 11:29 AM
Oh I love cooking with wine! I do alot of marinating of chicken and beef: 1/4 c ea. wine & water, 2 T tom. sauce, a bit of honey or wine & water & 2-3 T of onion soup powder.

Some foods soak up wine better than others: esp. mushrooms. I even add wine to the meatloaf mess or to burgers.

I use inexpensive red wine, Port or tawny Port by the 1/2 gal (2 L) and that lasts 3 mo.

L M Ashton
05-11-2008, 03:29 PM
First, the alcohol in wine evaporates in a matter of seconds when you cook, so you aren't contaminating your food with something offensive to anybody. The wine is used to impart flavor to your food, not a buzz.
Muslims would take offense to that. Even if all the alcohol cooked out, they still wouldn't be able to consume it - it would not be Halal.

As well, there is some evidence that not all alcohol cooks out of food (http://www.ochef.com/165.htm)as fast as previously believed. Based on that, you would indeed risk offending a great many people, whether recovering alcoholics or those who avoid alcohol for religious reasons or those who avoid alcohol for other reasons.

Stacia Kane
05-11-2008, 04:50 PM
You could try red or white wine vinegar, in a smaller amount than the recipe calls for.

GeorgeK
05-11-2008, 10:05 PM
Muslims would take offense to that. Even if all the alcohol cooked out, they still wouldn't be able to consume it - it would not be Halal.

That depends upon the muslim. I've cooked with wine and served it to muslim friends who don't drink and they knew how I prepared the food. Of course they all have doctoral degrees and understand the chemistry. They were more concerned about being sure there was no pork, rather than a quarter cup of wine in a big pot of stew.

The rule of cooking with wine is if you wouldn't drink it (as far as flavor goes) don't cook with it. Anything you can do with wine can be done with beer and beer comes in smaller containers and a wide variety of flavors. It will keep in the back of the fridge for a year or more, but the same rule applies, if you can't stand the flavor, don't use it. For most recipes you could also substitute a mild vinegar (like balsamic or rice) cut half and half with water, fruit juice, whatever.

Lyra Jean
05-12-2008, 09:10 AM
Didn't know it would blow up like this.

So I can use fruit juice if I cut it down with water? Or can I use it straight? Or does it matter and I should just experiment and see what works the best?

The conversation has been interesting to say the least.

L M Ashton
05-12-2008, 04:16 PM
That depends upon the muslim. I've cooked with wine and served it to muslim friends who don't drink and they knew how I prepared the food. Of course they all have doctoral degrees and understand the chemistry. They were more concerned about being sure there was no pork, rather than a quarter cup of wine in a big pot of stew.


Well, I was trying to present a general rule, not an absolute, but perhaps in my fuzzy state it came across otherwise. Yes, there are some Muslims who won't care. Just like there are some Jews who will eat milk and meat together. In my experience, they're in the minority.

But the rest of the Muslims who wouldn't eat that dish wouldn't do it because they don't have doctoral degrees or understand the chemistry. I'm not sure why you brought that up, unless it's to imply that other Muslims who won't eat a dish that had alcohol in it are somehow uneducated.

That the alcohol was added and was in the dish, even if the alcohol all cooks out (which wouldn't necessarily be the case, depending on the temperatures and times involved) would be enough to make the dish Haram, or not Halal, or unclean.

CatSlave
05-29-2008, 05:10 AM
Muslims would take offense to that. Even if all the alcohol cooked out, they still wouldn't be able to consume it - it would not be Halal.

As well, there is some evidence that not all alcohol cooks out of food (http://www.ochef.com/165.htm)as fast as previously believed. Based on that, you would indeed risk offending a great many people, whether recovering alcoholics or those who avoid alcohol for religious reasons or those who avoid alcohol for other reasons.
You are absolutely correct on all counts.
Do not ever attempt to put alcohol in foods for someone whose beliefs include abstinence.
And yes, the trace of alcohol which does not cook out can be enough to trigger cravings in a recovering alcoholic.
The good news is there are non-alcoholic wines available in most areas.
You could probably punch up the flavor of them with a bit of vinegar, just to give it a little bite.
Personally, I like to use dry vermouth for seafood cookery instead of white wine.

ChaosTitan
05-29-2008, 05:32 AM
Another way to keep wine on hand is to buy the little four-packs. I can't remember the brand, but you get four small bottles for less than the price of a regular sized bottle. That way you can keep the unopened wine for longer periods of time.

tjwriter
05-29-2008, 06:13 AM
Personally, I like to use dry vermouth for seafood cookery instead of white wine.

We use vermouth for all sorts of cooking, from roasts to a substitute for water in some store bought marinades. It makes for a very wonderful dish.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
05-29-2008, 09:53 PM
I didn't realize how wonderful wine was to cook with until I finally tried my spaghetti sauce with some merlot in it for some of the liquid. The alcohol in the wine helps release flavanols or flavanoids or some such chemical in the tomatoes... it's a whole new world.

brianm
05-30-2008, 08:46 AM
So I can use fruit juice if I cut it down with water? Or can I use it straight? Or does it matter and I should just experiment and see what works the best?

Use it straight and definately experiment. That's the joy of cooking! Changing, adding, experimenting. Sometimes you hit the jackpot, and then sometimes you lie and tell everyone around the table you got the recipe off the Internet and you'll never go to such and such a site again for a recipe. (Be sure you make up a name of a site that doesn't exist.):D

Cardinal rule when cooking with wine: If it isn't good enough to drink, it isn't good enough to cook with.

If a recipe calls for a small amount of wine, you can substitute a good quality sherry or dry vermouth. Both have a long shelf life and don't require refrigeration. Or use stock/broth that matches the meat product you are cooking.

Apple and white grape juices add a background flavor and slightly sweeten the original recipe, but they work well in a pinch. Avoid orange juice unless you really want to taste orange.

For recipes that call for large amounts of wine, there really is no substitute.

Lyra Jean
05-30-2008, 09:27 AM
So what's a large amount? The largest amount I've seen in any recipe so far is 1/4 cup.

JLCwrites
05-30-2008, 10:06 AM
So what's a large amount? The largest amount I've seen in any recipe so far is 1/4 cup.
You are right, 1/4 cup is about average for a recipe. You can experiment with other liquids as suggested above, or buy a decent drinking wine that isn't too expensive and freeze the rest in ice-cube trays. That way you can just pop out a cube and add it to a recipe when needed.

Hope this helps! Those recipes look yummy!

brianm
05-30-2008, 07:36 PM
So what's a large amount? The largest amount I've seen in any recipe so far is 1/4 cup.

A recipe that calls for a full bottle. Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy), for example.

Lyra Jean
05-30-2008, 08:44 PM
ah okay. Thanks for clearing that up.

Pthom
05-31-2008, 12:19 AM
One hundred percent in agreement with using only wine you'd drink to cook with. You wouldn't use other ingredients you wouldn't otherwise eat, would you?

Generally, wine has five components (in varying amounts) that affect a dish: liquid, acid, sugar, tannins, and of course, the fruit from which the wine is made. (Not all wine is made from grapes! :) ) Most of the alcohol will dissipate in cooking unless, as mentioned above, the wine is added just at the end of cooking. Tannins are the astringent-like substances that are imparted to wine during aging from various sources, but mostly from the oak barrels it's aged in and from the grape skins. Some wines have a lot of tannin, mostly reds, others have very little, usually whites.

One of the advantages of adding wine while cooking a sauce is to deglaze the pan. The alcohol works as a solvent (temporarily though, since it evaporates rapidly). Sometimes a stronger alcoholic beverage such as whiskey is used for this purpose, but in the end the result is the same: you've added liquid with certain flavor properties.

To substitute for wine, use whatever you like that imparts the desirable features of the wine (acid, sugar, tannins, fruit). Apple juice is a good option, if you add a bit of vinegar or lemon juice to it (unless you have access to some rather tart, unsweetened juice) and dilute it some with water if it's too cloyingly sweet. If the fruit flavor isn't an issue, just use water.

I once was making a sauce for a dinner party and found myself out of red wine. I had some unsweetened juice left over from canning plums. It had the desired color and tannins, but was low on acidity. In desperation, I added a tablespoon of red wine vinegar and a little water (the plum juice was pretty thick) and went ahead finishing the sauce. The sauce tasted different than it usually did, but it was perfectly fine and my guests had no idea the sauce was made with plum juice.