Food & Wine Magazine: April Cover Recipe

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Asian Beef with Basil

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (disappointing flavour)

Initial Thoughts: The photo of this fresh looking beef dish literally jumps off the page!

THE TEST: April’s Food & Wine Magazine cover recipe is an exciting Asian Beef with Basil dish. The photo has a modern look and feel that is fresh, and I couldn’t wait to give the recipe a try. Just reading the list of ingredients had me drooling over the imagined flavour punch. Lemongrass? Ginger? Garlic? Anise? Basil? Yes please!

© 2012 CookThatBook

© 2012 CookThatBook

Beef chuck is marinated at room temperature for 30 minutes in a mixture of blended garlic, lemongrass, soy sauce, oil, salt, sugar and Chinese five-spice powder. Let me tell ya folks – the smell is absolutely incredible. INCREDIBLE! Every five minutes I would ‘happen’ to wander by the beef and stop for a big ol’ sniff just to make sure the aromatics were as tantalizing as I remembered. And each and every time I fell more in love with the smells that wafted up from the bowl.

© 2012 CookThatBook

Next step? Sauté the beef and remove from the heat before adding onion, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper which is browned and then cooked down in a mixture of water and tomato paste. The beef is added back into the pot along with beef broth, carrots, star anise and more lemongrass. After approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes the beef is ready to be served over rice noodles garnished with fresh basil and red chile.

© 2012 CookThatBook

© 2012 CookThatBook

THE RESULTS: Now after my big flavour buildup I’m sorry to have to inform readers that I was disappointed in this dish. With all of those lovely and powerfully flavoured ingredients I found the results to be more bland than anticipated. Don’t get me wrong – it was good. But in comparison to the way it smelled while cooking the overall flavour of the beef was weak. Good thing I happened to have a fantastic bottle of Yalumba Viognier on hand to serve (wine pairing courtesy of Kendall Harris of Wine2Three).

That being said, please take the time to hop over to Food, Je t’Aimée because I know Aimée absolutely loved this recipe. I’m happy her results turned out better than mine! It’s a good reminder about how subjective the world of food can be…even when cooking from the same recipe.

If you would like to join us next month, the more the merrier. So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine Magazine and be sure to send us your thoughts, comments and photos. We’d love to hear from you.

Cover Recipe:
Asian Beef with Basil 

© 2012 CookThatBook

As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine.

NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to

The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit


Wine Pairing by Kendall Harris of Wine2Three
This month’s cover recipe was a fun challenge in terms of a food and wine pairing. I could see there was beef (so immediately my thoughts turned to red wine), but it was served on top of a bed of light rice noodles (which subsequently turned my thoughts to white). Upon closer inspection of the recipe, I could see there was some spice called for which made me think of a fruity white wine like Gewurztraminer. But because beef is a heavier protein than fish or shrimp, I wanted a white with a little more oomph, a little more body, a little more weight to it, and I thought: Viognier. Specifically Yalumba Viognier, which is one of the nicest Viogniers I’ve ever had. Yalumba was the first winery to plant Viognier vines in Australia and they know what they’re doing with this often challenging varietal.

When you swirl and sniff a glass of Viognier, you will almost always detect an unmistakable aroma of peach and white flowers. This is the first white wine I learned to identify by scent alone, and it was that peachy fragrance that gave it away! It’s such a beautiful wine ‘on the nose’ as they say. And when you taste it, Viognier will have gorgeous fruity characteristics (which will make it pair so well with this spicy dish) and it will also have a pleasing viscosity to it; it doesn’t seem ‘watery’ as some very light (and cheap) wines sometimes can, but has more body to it which will make it pair perfectly with this Asian flavoured dish.

Cheers – I hope you enjoy this pairing!


This month’s wine pairing suggestion is Yalumba Viognier

Kendall Harris shares her adventures in the wine world as Wine2three on Twitter & Facebook. She is WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Advanced Certified & is currently developing a weekly wine series on ShawTV, where she is a full time reporter. Join her on Facebook – click LIKE at for regular fun wine info!