Spice Up Your Love Life

Compiled by Wine Press Staff

This Valentine’s Day, be sure to add hot chiles to your shopping list. These pods of passion can help you turn up the heat, both at the dinner table and in the bedroom.

Capsaicin—the active ingredient in chiles—stimulates nerve endings to release chemicals, elevating the heart rate and possibly triggering the release of endorphins, giving you the pleasurable feeling of a natural high.

The following recipes (and more on have been submitted by Oregon wineries. With each dish, you will find a wine to match; the marriage of the two should provide a steamy and memorable evening.

Important to remember: When using chiles as an aphrodisiac, be sure not to overindulge. There is nothing romantic about an ulcer and the resulting trip to the ER.


Lemongrass-Enrobed Catfish  (Trey Trung Kroeung)

By Thomas Houseman • Anne Amie Vineyards, Carlton

“Just weeks before the 2009 harvest, I had the pleasant surprise of winning a trip to Cambodia. Intrigued by what I discovered on the streets and in the markets, I was inspired to take a one-day cooking class. What I learned was that Cambodian food marries heat, salt and sweetness, often with a tangy or smoky note that gives a great depth without searing heat. I have adapted this recipe for catfish, and I feel it shows these qualities well. Enjoy a bit of steamy Southeast Asia in the doldrums of winter in the Pacific Northwest.”Thomas Houseman, Anne Amie winemaker


3 dried New Mexico chiles

1 tablespoon lemongrass, minced

4 cloves garlic

2 medium shallots

2–4 Piquin or Thai chiles, seeded

4 Kaffir lime leaves

3 thin slices ginger, peeled (galangal, is traditional, but harder to find)

* pinch turmeric powder

½ cup water


4 8-ounce catfish fillets

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 cup Anne Amie Cuvée A Müller-Thurgau or Amrita

1 cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

4 Kaffir lime leaves, finely julienned


1. Marinate catfish fillets in the Müller-Thurgau or Amrita (for 1 to 24 hours, covered, in refrigerator). 2. For the paste, soak the New Mexican chiles for 10 to 15 minutes in lukewarm water to soften; remove and drain. Discard seeds and stems. Place all the paste ingredients in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. 3. Pan-fry the catfish in the oil over high heat, until firm but not browned, turning once. 4. Using a separate pan, cook the paste over medium heat for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the aroma is released. Add the coconut milk, salt and sugar. 5. Add the fish to the sauce and cook 5 more minutes. (If the paste is too thick, add Muller-Thurgau or Amrita marinade liquid until the desired consistency is achieved). 6 Serve with jasmine rice and garnished with the julienned Kaffir lime leaves. Yields 4 servings.


2008 Anne Amie Cuvée A Müller-Thurgau or 2008 Anne Amie Cuvée A Amrita


Maple & Cayenne Pepper Pecans

By Rob Folin and Carole Stevens • Folin Cellars, Rogue Valley

“This is one of our favorite quick recipes! These tasty treats are great for all occasions. The spicy components of the Syrah complement the fiery, sweet and salty pecans. Who knew you could fight fire with fire … or spice with spice!” Carole Stevens, Folin Cellars co-owner


½ stick unsalted butter

½ cup maple syrup

1½ teaspoons table salt

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 1/3 cups pecan halves


1. Melt the butter with the syrup, salt and cayenne pepper in a pan over a gentle heat. Add the pecans and stir to mix, leave them on the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. 2. Spread the pecans on a silicon pad, parchment paper or piece of foil to cool. Arrange the sticky pecans in bowls to serve. Yields 16 servings.


2006 Folin Cellars Rogue Valley Syrah


Coq au Vin (dahloo)

By Annie and Scott Shull • Raptor Ridge Wines, Carlton

“We love chicken; we love wine; we love curry. We also have a very long-standing and loving relationship with our pressure cooker. It’s great for busy people like us, who still like that slow-cooked flavor but have very little time to spend in the kitchen. We have Caprial and John Pence to thank for this discovery. About two years ago in a cooking class at In Good Taste in Portland, they changed our lives with their pressure-cooking wisdom.”  Annie Shull, Raptor Ridge co-owner


4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

2  teaspoons kosher salt

3 large carrots

12 crimini mushrooms

3 medium-sized potatoes

½ cup 2008 Raptor Ridge Pinot Gris

2 tablespoons curry powder

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

* basmati rice, prepared

1 14-ounce can of lite coconut milk

1 Serrano pepper


1. Wash and drain 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Cover with kosher salt and let stand about 10 minutes until salt marinates and desiccates the skin. 2. While chicken stands, prepare veggies: Cut 3 large carrots, in rustic fashion (quarter-cut) to allow for most surface area; destem and slice 12 crimini mushrooms into medium slices; and peel 3 medium-sized potatoes and slice into quarters. 3. Over medium-high heat, braise chicken, until skin is brown on both sides in the pressure cooker pan, uncovered. Set aside chicken. With the remaining pan juices, braise the carrots until they take on a golden-brown color. Set aside carrots. Deglaze pan with ½ cup 2008 Raptor Ridge Pinot Gris. To this sauce, add back the carrots, chicken and potatoes (hold mushrooms aside until later). Add curry powder, cayenne pepper and enough wine to cover the chicken half way. Note: In most pressure cookers, you need to have at least 2 cups of liquid for the food to be cooked properly and not burned. 4. Bring pressure cooker up to 250°F, or until the pressure valve is releasing steam at a modest and controlled rate. Note: It will take a while for the cooker to reach the steaming phase, about 5 to 10 minutes. Steam for 15 minutes. This is the perfect time to prepare a pot of basmati rice over which you will serve the curry. 5. After the first 15 minutes of steam, shift the pressure cooker to release the steam before completely opening the lid; then add 1 can of lite coconut milk, the sliced mushrooms and a Serrano pepper, de-seeded and thinly sliced into slivers. (This is when things get flavorful and hot.) Replace the lid, return to steam for 10 more minutes. Open the lid and serve over rice. The aromas wafting through the kitchen are hot, steamy, perfumed and sexy.


2008 Raptor Ridge Pinot Gris


Spicy Kettle Chip-Crusted Chicken with Rose City Pepperheads Sweet & Sour Sauce and Mashed Sweet Potatoes

By Michelle Burlitch • Coelho Winery of Amity

“Earlier this winter, the proprietor of Coelho Winery, Deolinda Coelho, had been having a hankering for a chip-crusted chicken dish. So, my husband and I came up with a recipe using some of the Oregon products in our tasting room. A little spice keeps the inner fires lit, comfort food cravings are satisfied in the chicken cutlets, and the dinner is rounded out with the hearty winter root vegetable. The 2007 Coelho Winery Divertimento Pinot Noir Rosé is the perfect match for this February dinner; the wine is the quintessential color of romance, and the light tannins and gentle astringency of the Rosé balance the spiciness of the Kettle chips and complements the sweet and sour sauce.”Michelle Burlitch, Coelho Winery marketing coordinator


2 pounds chicken breast (boneless)

2 ounces Kettle Spicy Thai potato chips

1 egg

1 ounce water

½ cup flour

* dash of salt and pepper

2 ounces butter

2 ounces olive oil

2 ounces Coelho Winery Divertimento Pinot Noir Rosé

* cilantro and green onions, diced

* plain Greek yogurt


6 teaspoons Rose City Pepperheads Mango Madness Pepper Jelly

4 teaspoons hot vinegar (cider vinegar plus ground cayenne, spice to taste)

2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses

4 teaspoons key lime juice

6 teaspoons Coelho Winery Divertimento Pinot Noir Rosé

2 teaspoons grated ginger


1 sweet potato per person


1. Chip-Crusted Chicken: Pound chicken between parchment or waxed paper until you’ve formed ½-inch-thick cutlets; set aside. Blend salt and pepper into flour; set aside. Whip egg with 2 teaspoons water; set aside. Crush potato chips to large crumbs; set aside. Heat butter and olive oil together in pan until butter mixture foams. After butter mixture foams, dip each cutlet into flour mixture, then egg mixture, then potato chip crumbs, thoroughly coating with each dip. Place in pan with hot butter mixture. Brown for 4 minutes on each side; then add 4 ounces Coelho Divertimento Pinot Noir Rosé; cover. Turn heat to low, turn chicken cutlets once after 4 minutes. Continue cooking until liquid has evaporated from pan (approximately 3 to 5 minutes). Remove from heat. Keep covered. When ready to serve, remove chicken from pan to cutting board, slice into ½- to ¾-inch slices. Garnish with diced cilantro and green onions. Pour sauce (recipe below) directly on chicken and serve. 2. Sweet and Sour Sauce: In a small saucepan combine all ingredients and simmer on med-low heat until jelly dissolves and sauce starts to bubble. Turn to low and cover until ready to serve. 3. Mashed Sweet Potato: Use one sweet potato per person. Poke sweet potatoes with a fork. Bake directly on oven rack, with a drip catch pan on a lower rack for 50 minutes at 425ºF or until done. Remove from skins and mash. Top with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt. Garnish with diced cilantro. Yields 2 to 3 servings.


2007 Coelho Divertimento Pinot Noir Rosé


Spicy Chicken Sausage in Vodka Pepper Sauce with Pasta

By Vicki Leuthold • Maryhill Winery, Goldendale, Wash.

“This is an excellent meal served with our Sangiovese due to the great fruit/acidity combination with the spice and cream. Always serve with friends and loved ones. It is best when using your own canned garden tomatoes and homegrown onions, peppers and herbs (but what isn’t?).”Vicki Leuthold, Maryhill Winery co-owner


1 pound chicken sausage

1 large onion large, diced

1 large sweet red pepper, diced

1 large green bell pepper, diced

1–3 small jalapeño peppers, diced

1–3 small serrano peppers, diced

16 ounces diced tomatoes (canned, skinned, drained)

* Italian seasoning

* salt and pepper, to taste

1/3 cup vodka

½ cup cream

* your favorite pasta (Rotini suggested)

* arugula, to garnish

* Parmesan, grated, for garnish

1/3 cup fresh parsley


1. Sauté chicken sausage in large skillet until just done. Add onion and peppers until soft (approximately 7 minutes). Then add tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, and cook for 15 minutes. Turn heat down. Add vodka and cream and simmer another 5 to 10 minutes. 2. Boil pasta in generously salted water until tender. Drain and add to sauce. Stir well and serve over bed of arugula, then top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley.


2006 Maryhill Winery Sangiovese



By the Momtazi Daughters • Three Degrees Winery, McMinnville

“This is a delicious dish from a region called Ghilan by the Caspian Sea in Northern Iran, where our father’s family is from. It is a great appetizer.” —Tahmiene Momtazi, Three Degrees/Maysara winemaker


6 medium eggplants

5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

3 eggs, optional

2 medium tomatoes

4 tablespoons canola cooking oil

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 medium jalapeño, finely chopped


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake eggplants until they swell and the skin bursts. Take eggplants out of oven, and let them cool down slightly. Peel them and cut the hard tops off. Cut into small pieces. 2. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Cook tomatoes in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain the pot and let cool slightly. Peel tomatoes and cut into small pieces. 3. Sauté garlic in oil over medium heat until golden; add eggplant pieces and sauté for another for 5 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper, and the whole jalapeño pepper and sauté until the excess water is gone. Optional: Beat eggs well with a fork and add to eggplant mixture, mix and fry for another 5 minutes. Serve with pita chips, fresh pita bread or over rice. Yields 6 servings. 


2008 Three Degrees Pinot Noir


Dad’s Spicy Linguine and Clam Sauce

By Sara Barber • EIEIO & Company, Carlton

“Nothing compares to homemade linguine and clam sauce made with local Manila littlenecks and paired with EIEIO & Company Cuvée I Chardonnay. This Chardonnay, which is likened to some of the great, unheralded high-altitude Chardonnays from Southwest France, has an intense minerality and pairs impeccably with shellfish like clams and oysters.”Sara Barber, EIEIO & Company assistant winemaker


32 ounces whole manila clams. 

1 pound pasta (spaghetti, linguini, etc.), cooked according to directions

2 ounces extra virgin olive oil

2 strips hickory-smoked bacon

1 small onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1½ cups dry white wine

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 pinch of cayenne pepper (more if you want more heat)

1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley

* Parmesan cheese, grated


1. Steam clams until shells open. Reserve clam juice after steaming; set aside. 2. Cut bacon strips into ½-inch pieces. In a large skillet, on medium-high heat, add the olive oil and bacon; cook bacon halfway, approximately 2 minutes. Add the onion; cook until the onion is soft but not browning, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic; cook about 1 minute. 3. Deglaze the pan with the wine, and add the reserved clam juice. Reduce liquid by one-third. 4. Add the red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper. Add the clams, parsley, and salt and pepper, to taste. Combine cooked pasta and sauce; toss thoroughly, and let it set 3 minutes. Top with grated Parmesan. Yields 6 to 8 servings.


2006 or 2007 EIEIO Cuvée I Chardonnay


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