June 25, 2010

Through the Grapevine

You know what doesn’t have any sodium in it? Having a glass of wine with good friends. It is as sodium-free as sodium-free can be. And sometimes, after a rough week, when medical needs seem to swoop in unexpectedly like a rainstorm in June (seriously, what is going on with this weather?), what you really need is some quality hang time with your buds while sipping on something that can be directly ordered off a menu.

The truth is, although completely possible–and just wait until you see the incredible restaurant reviews coming next week–dining out with a restricted diet can get exhausting. So it is nice to be in a social setting without worrying about whether your pinot was previously blanched in salted water or your cab was sauteed in salted butter.

But while this tale of crushed grapes and lifted spirits is a great reminder to take out some time to treat yourself, no post would be complete without a satisfying, low sodium recipe for your belly. For while a glass of wine may perk up your taste buds, it is not a meal replacement. But a glass of wine is a great source of flavor when cooking and I often tell kitchens to use the sweet elixir to make a simple, low sodium sauce. Little culinary suggestions never hurt.

So here is a peppercorn, cream sauce recipe that uses a base of white wine to create a rich aroma and taste. Ladle the velvety sauce over pork, pasta, fish, or even steak to give your meal warmth and elegance. And remember, that although dining with restrictions can be challenging, it enables you to be more creative and to look at everyday ingredients–like that well-deserved, glistening glass of wine–in a whole new light.

Chow on.


  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons white wine (or brandy)
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns


1. In a skillet or sauce pan, cook the butter over medium heat and allow it to brown. The butter is ready when it turns a nice tan color and smells slightly nutty.

2. Add chopped shallots to the pan and sauté 2 minutes.

3. Reduce heat to low and add the white wine, whipping cream, and peppercorns.

4. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a rolling boil and cook until the sauce thickens, about 6 minutes.

5. When the sauce is slow to run off your spoon, turn off heat and add to your dish (whether it is pasta or protein).

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: