Monthly Archives: November 2016

Mary Merry Mushrooms!

So happy to see my bubbly friend and her fabulous recipes featured in “A Taste of Lake Life” in the Roanoke Times  today: Fridge Magnet, sheripoore@roanoketimes.com.  She lives at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia and is one of the best cooks I know…plus she has a gorgeous kitchen with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the lake. Oh la la!!!! Here’s her marvelous appetizer mushroom recipe just in time to enjoy during the holidays:

Baby Bella Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Recipe courtesy of Mary Boyer.

16 oz. package baby Bella mushrooms

8 oz. package reduced-fat cream cheese

1 lb. Neeces extra sage sausage

1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top of mushrooms just before they are done

Start with a 16-ounce container of baby Bella mushrooms. Wash each mushroom, pop out the stems, set them on paper towels and let them dry.

While the mushrooms are drying on the paper towels, brown 1 pound sausage. Drain, rinse and return it to the pot, adding 8 ounces cream cheese and stirring until melted.

Use about a teaspoon of this mixture to fill the top of each mushroom. Layer into a casserole dish and bake 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Just before they are done, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and return them briefly to the oven.

Champagne To Serve With Stuffed Mushrooms…

The Food Lover’s Guide To Wine by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg suggests champagne blended with Pinot Meunier to pair with mushrooms.  Pinot Meunier along with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the primary grapes in champagne.

I pick up earthy notes in champagne that is primarily blended with  Pinot Meunier grapes so it makes sense that Pinot Meunier champagne would pair well with earthy mushrooms.  The taste of Pinot Meunier is often described as “confected fruit with a touch of smoke”.

Here’s a link to champagne made with Pinot Meunier grapes plus one of my suggestions to pair with mushrooms:

Argyle Brut Rosé Willamette Valley 2011 is a blend of  70% pinot noir and 25% pinot meunier with a splash of chardonnay:

ArgyleRose kind of dayArgyle 2010 Brut Rose

Wine Spectator tasting notes:  Argyle Brut Rosé Willamette Valley 2011. Light and refreshing, a refined style, with finesse to the balance of fruit and savory notes as the finish dances. Rated 91.

My tasting notes:  My bottle of Argyle arrived as a special order from Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar, Roanoke, Virginia. http://mrbillswinecellar.com

A lovely sparkling offering from Oregon. Tiny bubbles dance around the glass.  Pretty pale pink salmon color.  The first sip explodes with fresh ripe cherry flavors.  A blend of 70% pinot noir and 25% pinot meunier with a splash of chardonnay. The finish is creamy but with a little tingle on the tongue. This sparkly is well deserving of its 91 points. Cheers!

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Lovin’ Local ~ Deschutes Chili Recipe And Really Good Donuts!

Happy Holidays!

Holidays are the most wonderful time to shop and celebrate local!

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Why is this coffee so special? Because it is the Pumpkin Spice Latte that my bubbly friend and I drink every morning from September through December…and then we have to wait an entire year to enjoy it again. Sweet Donkey Coffee, our local coffee shop makes this lovely latte with fresh pumpkin puree. Our favorite barista always designs a pumpkin in our latte foam.

http://www.sweetdonkeycoffee.com/

Last week I visited the Really Good Donut pop up shop located under a tent in Sweet Donkey Coffee’s front yard.  This is serious donut heaven.  They sell out every time they pop up at Sweet Donkey Coffee!

Like Really Good Donuts on Facebook to find out the days (usually Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. until they sell out…which can be 8:45 a.m.) Really Good Doughnuts will be at Sweet Donkey Coffee.

These photos tell the story of why Really Good Donuts are REALLY GOOD! Fresh…Fresh…Fresh!!! As their Facebook page describes them:

Have you had a Really Good Donut lately? A Really Good Donut is rolled by hand, made from scratch with all natural ingredients, and perfectly glazed.

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Chocolate, vanilla, eggnog, raspberry (made with fresh raspberries, not artificially flavored!) cinnamon sugar and coconut are among the AMAZING flavors of Really Good Donuts!  Brian, one of the owners of Really Good Donuts said that the most popular flavors are Lime Toasted Coconut and Blackberry Crumble. He also explained that one of their goals is to eventually share with other entrepreneurs how to take a $1,000 investment (their initial investment in Really Good Doughnuts) and create a sustainable business.  It will be exciting to watch them thrive.

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Just for fun I sent my recipe for Bubblybee Chili Verde to Deschutes Brewery: https://www.deschutesbrewery.com

My Chili Verde contains Deschutes Black Butte Porter….yum!

Bubblybee Chili Verde

4 ounces thick cut black pepper bacon, fried crisp (reserve fat in frying  pan) and finely crumbled

½ cup finely chopped yellow onion

7  tomatillos, outer husk removed, chopped

1 Serrano pepper, seeds removed, chopped fine

7 ounce can diced green chilies, drained

6 ounce jar roasted red peppers, chopped

1 pound ground chicken

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 (15.5 ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained

1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro

½ teaspoon chili powder

12 ounce bottle Deschutes Black Butte Porter

1/8 teaspoon salt

½ ounce fresh lime juice (=juice of ½ lime)

½ teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons honey

 

Garnish:  Grated Queso Quesadilla Melting Mexican Cheese, Sour Cream, Chopped Cilantro, Lime Wedges.  Serve with Hint of Lime Tortilla Chips.

Heat the reserved bacon fat in frying pan.  Add onion, tomatillos, Serrano pepper.  Stir and heat over medium high heat until the onions are soft and transparent.  Add the green chilies, roasted red peppers, cilantro, chili powder, salt, lime juice and cumin and cook over medium heat until the tomatillos are very soft, approximately 5 minutes.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot. Add the ground chicken and cook over medium heat until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.  Add the finely crumbled bacon and the Deschutes Black Butte Porter to the chicken. Stir to combine. Continue to heat over medium heat.  Add the cannellini beans and stir to combine. Add the tomatillo mixture and honey.  Stir to combine. Continue to cook over medium low heat for 30 minutes.  Portion into soup bowls and garnish with Grated Queso Quesadilla Melting Mexican Cheese, Sour Cream, Chopped Cilantro, Lime Wedges.  Serve with Hint of Lime Tortilla Chips. ¡que aproveche!

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8 Random Facts About Champagne

Fun facts about champagne compliments of premierchampange.wordpress.com

premierchampagne

8-random-facts-about-champagneChampagne is the diamond of wines – a sparkling celebration of life and everything in it. When you need to achieve a festive atmosphere, bubbles do it best, but did you know that the cork travels at 64 km an hour once it’s popped and that it can fly as far as 54 meters? That bottle of sparkles is among the most interesting beverages in existence.

1. Origins and Authenticity

Legally, the only beverage that’s allowed to carry the grand title of ‘champagne’ is that which has its origins in the French region of Champagne. That’s why that bottle you have in your liquor cabinet has ‘sparkling wine’ on the label.

2. Marilyn Monroe’s Bubbly Baths

Marilyn Monroe once bathed in 350 bottles of champagne. The famous bath she used had a 262-litre capacity and could accommodate four people. Winston Churchill was equally enthusiastic about the beverage. He began drinking…

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Homemade Maraschino Cherries

Cherry in bottle

Fabulously quick way to pit cherries…Remove stem from fresh cherry.  Place cherry on top of the opening of an empty wine bottle, stem side down.  Take a chop stick and poke a hole through the cherry knocking the cherry pit into the empty bottle.

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Homemade Maraschino Cherries

Homemade Maraschino Cherries are yummy and boozy with fresh cherry flavor,  just not as colorful as the bright red ones we purchase in the grocery store. Delicious addition to bourbon cocktails…here’s a link to lots of Maraschino Cherry cocktails.  I will plop a couple in a glass of bubbly Cava: http://www.barnonedrinks.com/drinks/by_ingredient/m/maraschino-liqueur-9.html

  • 1 pound sweet Bing cherries, washed and pitted
  • 1/4 cup fine granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped, pod and seeds reserved
  • 1/2  cup maraschino liqueur
  1.  Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place pitted cherries on a baking sheet. Bake cherries in preheated oven for 2 hours. Increase oven temperature to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.  Sprinkle the cherries with a little bit of fine granulated sugar.  Bake the cherries for 1 and 3/4 hours more.
  2. Place sugar, water, vanilla bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Add the maraschino liqueur to the syrup and stir to combine.
  3. Place cherries in a 1-quart glass container with a tight-fitting lid and place the vanilla bean pod in the center. Pour the maraschino syrup over the cherries, cover tightly, and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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Lovin’ Sippin’ Cider!

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Both of these ciders are luscious sippin’ ciders.

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I love tasting ciders that are new to me during Cider Week!  Bold Rock Blood Orange Cider is such a treat! Blood orange juice blended with the juice of Blue Ridge apples. Crisp tart apple flavor paired with tangy citrus. Bright reddish-orange color. This is a fall and winter seasonal cider.

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Kelly’s ciders are imported from Ireland and the UK and bottled in the United States. Nice raspberry pop to it. Aroma of fresh raspberries. Tiny bit of effervescence and sweetness.

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Several local restaurants (River and Rail, Lucky, Fortunato and Local Roots) are having a friendly competition to see which bar creates the best cider cocktail during Virginia Cider Week (November 11 – 20, 2016).  Lucky Restaurant created the SCOTCHY Pippen- Foggy Ridge Pippen Gold, Rye, Drambuie, Lucky Artichoke Bitters #vaciderweek #foggyridgecider. Our Scotchy Pippen was prepared by Hunter Johnson, one of the owners of Lucky and local celebrity bartender.  He explained that this cocktail is “boozy” or “Spirit forward”.  I found it to be rich and deliciously sippable, perfect for Fall.

The ingredients for this cocktail:

1/2 ounce Drambuie
1 1/2 ounce Rye whiskey
3/4 ounce Foggy ridge pippin gold cider
Add a little squeeze of lemon if you’d like
1 drop Artichoke bitters
Orange twist

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and stir (stirring the ice gives the cocktail some “ice melt” which helps to diffuse the spirits since this is such a “spirit forward” cocktail). Strain and serve over large ice cubes in a cocktail glass. Garnish with orange peel.

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We enjoyed our cocktail with a Lucky cheese plate…freshly baked crusty bread with olive oil, olive tapenade, olive mix and camembert cheese.

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peach

Francisco and the Giant Peach cocktail River and Rail Restaurant. (not a cider drink…just a little cocktail I enjoyed recently…)

Peach infused Lunazul Tequila, St. Germain, Yellow Chartreuse, House Dry Vermouth, Floral Peach, Herbs & Bitter Notes. Stirred. Served on a Large Ice Cube. Lemon Twist Garnish.  Crisp peach flavors, refreshing!

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Texas Honey Cider ~ A New Favorite!

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Celebrating Cider Week

with a new favorite…Texas Honey Hard Cider!

12 ounce can of light honeyed sweetness ~ not sugary sweet.  5% ABV. Austin Eastciders Texas Honey Cider made in Austin, Texas.

How do you like them apples?

Hard apple cider, honey, sugar and brown sugar. Light, appley and delicious!

Available locally in Roanoke, Virginia at the Natural Foods Co-Op on  Grandin Road:  http://roanokenaturalfoods.com

http://austineastciders.com/cider

Special Announcements in River and Rail Restaurant’s Newsletter:

River and Rail Restaurant, Roanoke, Virginia:  http://riverandrailrestaurant.com

Thanksgiving Cocktail & Cider Week 

Cider Competition: 

From November 11 – 20, River and Rail will be participating in a friendly competition with Lucky and Local Roots in the Annual Foggy Ridge Cocktail Competition. 

Our Foggy Ridge Cocktail, crafted by Shane, is also perfect for your Thanksgiving Celebration.

Come in and order one, or two – and make it at home for friends and family to celebrate together this month.

Recipe: 

Equal parts Eagle Rare Bourbon, Foggy Ridge Pippin Gold, and Cardamaro, with two dashes of each apple & angostura bitters.

The cocktail is stirred, shared, and enjoyed.

CHAMPAGNE AND SPARKLING WINE TASTING WITH MR. BILLS

Dec. 5th, 7:30 PM – 9 PM

$30 per person

Champagne & Sparkling Wine Tasting

Food Pairings

Holiday By the Bottle Discounts

If you haven’t attended our Wine Tastings, this will be one not to miss. Call 400-6830 to reserve your table.

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