Aug 25, 2010

Stuffing Tomatoes with Rice and Bellies with Wine

I'm a nerd. I love gadgets. I love my Blackberry like it's my child, but I love kitchen gadgets even more. Last week, Serious Eats featured a fun wine gadget: the Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator. As soon as I read that it would make my "$7 wines taste like real winners too" I knew I had to have it. One stop at Bed, Bath, & Beyond and $40 later, I had my new toy.

Margaret and I had planned a wine & dinner night tonight - my first opportunity to try out the new gadget. I had jokingly purchased a $7 wine to see how fabulous the wine aerator could make it. Margaret also brought over a cheapo wine. There's absolutely nothing wrong with getting your wine on for a few dollars, but with my new gadget, we were about to wine and dine. 

The gadget is really easy to use - you just pop in the filter, hold over your wine glass, and pour in slowly. In order to test the effectiveness of the aerator, Vinturi suggests that you sample wine that has been aerated and compare it with the same wine straight from the bottle. My little Bio major and I thought it would be fun to test this product to see what it would do with our $7 wines.

Here I am with craptastic wines and a fantastic gadget:
Close up of the gadget:
First, pour a little sip of the wine straight from the bottle:
Then pour a sip through the aerator. Be careful not to spill. 
Sample the sip that was poured straight from the bottle.
VOMIT a little as it burns your esophagus.
Then sample the sip that has been passed through the aerator. 
Smile at your delicious $40 wine.
Mmm, good. We noticed that the wine was much smoother and tasted less aciditic. After quite a few samples, we decided to start cooking. Wine + cooking = FUN.

Fun and a whole lot of forgetfulness. I forgot to photograph most of the cooking. I had bought all the ingredients needed for the Christina Orzo recipe because I thought it was so good. We decided to revamp the recipe and make Orzo Stuffed Tomatoes.

  • 1/2 pound shrimp
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium vidalia onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano
  • 2 oz goat cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • Cook rice according to directions. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 375*.  Cut tops of tomatoes and set aside. Scoop out tomato pulp and set aside with tops. Dice tops & pulp.
  • In a medium pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute for 3 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; saute for 1 minute. Add reserved tomatoes, wine, and shrimp. Cook until wine evaporates and shrimp is fully cooked.
  • Combine rice, tomato mixture, and goat cheese. Place tomatoes in a baking dish and add rice mixture among the shells. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until tomatoes are tender. Serve immediately.
Creamy tomato and rice mixture:
Action shot! Hair blowing into the...steam. So hot right now. No, really. I told you it was 375*.
Duh, I love posing with my food. Duh, I drank too much wine and had a sassy little head tilt going on. Fug. Stop judging, please.
Glamour shots of the stuffed tomatoes:
Glamour shots of the wine lovers:
So...we might have had too much $7 wine because we were acting like it was $1,000,000 wine. Now we're making banana bread. Gotta go! XO.


  1. haha getting giddy on cheap wine, sounds like not a bad night.. wonder if this will make ur banana bread turn out EVEN BETTER!! <3

  2. I have never heard of a wine aerator before. Seems like a great investment for future wine-enjoying. I bet it would make my $4 wine taste amaazing!

  3. LOL, I LOVE gadgets too..I need a wine aerator, I never invested in one because I don't drink a lot, and I don't drink because I don't want to "ruin" the wine by openinng it and not consuming it all, haha. I love Yellowtail too btw!!!

    Looks like a fun night, I wanna come!!!!!! You ladies have so much fun!!!!

    The apron is adorable :-)

  4. Mmmm that looks really good!! And by the way, I love your hair! very Victoria-Beckham. very chic :)

  5. I can only afford cheapo vino, so naturally I'm a fan of gadgets that make it taste like it's worth much more!

    Stuffed tomatoes are tasty!! I baked eggs in tomatoes a couple nights ago and they were delish. I need to try your orzo recipe next!

  6. i've never seen that wine aerator before, but it looks pretty cool! hey, if you have any questions about Aussie vino, please feel free! let's just say i've tried a few :)

  7. I should get one of those for my parents! They LOVE their wine. Cute apron (and dress- love the color ;)). The tomatoes look so good. I love cooked tomatoes. Deliciousness. Sooooo Lindsay and I were talking and we think we need to plan a second Charleston's cafe meet up (since it was just the three of us the first time...aka the three original amigos- you in?)

  8. Hey! I just bought a wine aerator too! Well... ok... I bought it about 2 months ago and we've never used it. Evan though we've drank plenty of wine to have used it with. Hm. Now I have inspiration to move forward and have my wine prosper with the cool gadget!

  9. I've never heard of an aerator. It seems cool!

  10. hahaha you are so much fun! come up to philly for a weekend and we'll play wine connoisseurs and cooks! i have the vinturi too! it's just so bubbly and loud - it sounds like someones slurping! and i loveee stuffed tomatoes. i used to eat them everyday in greece :)

  11. Oh fun! I must get that gadget and try out your recipe!!!

  12. I ADORE my wine aerator... I have the same one and I can totally tell a difference.

    PS- Fug. Bahahaha! Nonsense, you're presh.

  13. Fab way to make a bottle of bubbly stellar! That could get me into trouble.

  14. Ok, I need one of those. My husband is all about saving a buck on wine, so maybe this will make it taste better! Your orzo looks so good! I am in serious need of some stuffed tomatoes lately! Glad you had a great night. Ok, so my husband wanted me to ask if you have tried the "clone" recipe for Chick fil A? I saw you posted it a while back. Since he can't have the real deal any more I was going to try out the clone with his gluten free flours.

  15. Those aerators are amazing. P's parents bring take one when they travel. I'm with Erica on her comment above, we need a Charleston Cafe date with the three of us.

  16. do you know who you look like...amanda seyfried. seriously.

  17. Girllll you're recipes are AMAZING! I cannot wait to make that Orzo- picking up shrimp to make it for our special Friday night dinner :) haha- I'm such a nerd! I cannot wait! It's all I've been thinking about lately & then you go & re-create it- O.M.G. I think my mouth just died & went to heaven :D
    And, I've never seen that wine thing, but now I'm super curious..I might have to try it myself! not bad for $40! :)

  18. Love gadgets but I'm all out of space to store them :(.
    The stuffed tomatoes look so good.
    Now ... for that banana bread. Need my mailing address ;)

  19. Love it!!

    Oh and how did the banana bread turn out?!!! I bet yummy!!

    The wine thing is so cool!!!!!!!!! I think I might have to tell Mike about it!!! We need that !!! Love it and so glad you bought it and tried it out, so now I can buy it!

    U are so beautiful in every way! Love ya girl!

    p.s. yes bring your own slad dressing when out dining! I do it all the time! xoxo

  20. That's it. We need to live closer. I swear by that wine aerator. SWEAR. I don't have as fancy a version, though, lol.

    Move over stuffed peppers, tomatoes is where it's at!

  21. i can't wait to use the aerator!! we should buy super cheap wine and let the magic happen. :)

  22. what a cute little montage with your new toy. I have never heard of such a contraption. Love your wine stained teeth and beautiful stuffed tomatoes. I ate a stuffed tomato last night too, only mine wasnt homemade!

  23. ha I just love your posts! Those tomatoes look gourmet as well! Make me some!


  25. I actually saw that and was like "I wonder if that works?!" Love the review and that you had too much wine! :D

  26. Oh my gosh, my parents have an aerator and it's awesome! Love it! Did you know you can get a stand for it to be placed on as well!
    That recipe looks soo good and cheesy....yum!

  27. So cute! I love that you actually wear an apron when you cook. I've heard amazing things about wine aerators, they actually used one at a wine class I took. Looks like it was $40 well spent!

  28. Our tour guide gave us a demonstration with an aerator when I went to the winery tour and it totally does make a difference! He failed to mention it could make cheap wine taste good though (probably because he wanted us to buy their expensive wines, duh). :P

  29. I should look for one of those! I choose wine by the prices, and how much I like the bottle. Doesnt always lead me to quality! :)

    Those stuffed tomatoes look fantastic! I love stuffed tomatoes.

  30. lol I love your wine play by play! You are so freakin cute! I'm not a wine drinker, but they have those at the Havana House (a wine and cigar place where I live), everyone goes nuts for them!

  31. Gotta love the esophagus-burning wine! And you look so cute and domestic haha I love it!

  32. That recipe sounds delicious. I am going to have to try that!

  33. aw good times. i love cooking+wine nights! so fun. what an awesome investment gadget you have there. i might just have to try that out.

    for your recipe (that i will be making asap) did you use raw shrimp? frozen? pre cooked? gracious!

  34. I'm totally a cheap wine gal, too! $3 at TJ's? Sign me up!

    I'm pretty sure I've seen this tool in SkyMall, you know the magazine that you read on airplanes? Anyways.

    Looks like you kids had a fun night!!

  35. LOVE the apron girl! Too cute :) and the meal looks delicious!

  36. Sounds like a cool gadget, but I don't drink so it wouldn't be much use to me!

  37. I love gadgets AND wine! Your recipe looks incredible. I host a recipe swap for healthy, affordable food every Friday and this would be a great addition. Hope to see you there!

    I've been looking for other good foodie blogs, your is great! I followed. :)

  38. I did a demonstration of a few wine aerators on the View from the Bay show back in December. Great way to age and soften wine at an accelerated rate. The Vinturi is featured (works really well). Check it out:


    Paul Kalemkiarian
    President, Wine of the Month Club

  39. Seems like a cool gadget! And a fun evening! I'll have to try those stuffed tomatoes--they look amazing!

  40. Love the action shot, they ended up looking amazing!! When I get tipsy I do the mouth open look which maybe I shouldn't do in places with random men who I've never met since I'm sure it doesnt leave a nice impression of me.

    That wine gadget looks cool, I am interested in that. I am all for the wine thats on sale and can't spend $20 on a bottle so under $10 bottles are perfect for me but the burning in my throat, not so much.

  41. Your tomatoes look delicious! I love orzo, it is so versatile! My favorite use of it is creating a mediterranean pasta salad with feta and olives, yum!

  42. That looks absolutely fabulous and like so much fun! Definitely need to try the orzo recipes out!


  43. That is WAY cool--I am actually a red wine lover, but don't always love the price. So this would be worth the investment...great post!