Monthly Archives: May 2017

Rosé Showdown – California Versus Spain

More reasons to love Rosé all year round! Thanks to one of my favorite wine bloggers Talk-A-Vino…wine, food and life

Talk-A-Vino

A glass of wine as an “adult beverage of choice” continues its growth in popularity. If we will take a closer look at that world of wine, we will discover that there are two types of wine which are leading that growth pattern – those two types would be Sparkling and Rosé. I’m not talking about the growth in the dollar amounts or number of bottles produced, but rather a growth in attention and demand. Today, you will be pressed hard to find a winery around the world which doesn’t produce at least one type of Rosé and one type of sparkling wine – for sure this is the case with Rosé. The production might be tiny (few hundreds of cases or even less) and far less than the demand is – but it is the wine which commands lots of attention.

Rosé from California and Spain

Another “phenomenon” makes me happy about the Rosé…

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Lemony Herbed Fresh Ricotta Recipe + Dhondt-Grellet Brut Grand Cru Champagne

Tōgarashi is the Japanese name for chili peppers. The Nanami Tōgarashi that I purchased at a local Asian food market is a combination of chili peppers, white and black sesame seeds, ginger, orange peel and seaweed. It has a nice little kick of spiciness to it.

To serve my fresh ricotta I generously sprinkled the serving plate with freshly ground gourmet peppercorns (pink, black, white and green) and Nanami Tōgarashi so that the cheese would pick up the little bits of pepper and spice as each guest spread the cheese on toasted baguette slices.

Fresh Ricotta is super easy to make. I tried several recipes made with lemon juice (that did not have enough acidity to make the milk curdle) that failed before I found Ina Garten’s recipe (uses vinegar, not lemon juice) which works perfectly.

Here’s the link to Ina Garten’s Fresh Ricotta recipe:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/homemade-ricotta-recipe-1923290

I like to mix into to the ricotta:

8 large fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

4 green onions, white part only, thinly sliced into tiny rounds

10 chives, chopped fine

Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon + 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Serve on toasted baguette rounds that have been brushed with melted butter. Garnish with tiny basil leaves and (if in season) chive blossoms.

 

Dhondt-Grellet Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Prestige du Moulin — N.V.

A perfect pairing for my lemony herbed fresh ricotta.  100 % of Chardonnay from two Grand Crus villages (Cramant & Chouilly).  $55 range.   Golden color with delicate consistent bubbles in the flute. Elegant with notes of white flowers, quince paste and freshly baked pastry.  A grower champagne, only a handful of cases are brought into the United States each year.

You are invited to visit my Facebook Page: Bubblybee

Celebrating Spring In Roanoke, Virginia

11 Week Old Baby Goats

Our friends have a farm and are introducing goats into their farm animal family.  We enjoyed visiting them and watching the baby goats eat everything in sight while they butted  heads.

We love to sip rosé wine at one of our favorite local restaurants River and Rail.  http://riverandrailrestaurant.com

Recently we were delighted to find a Virginia rosé on their wine list:   Blenheim Vineyards Rosé. $17 range.  Aromatic nose of pink grapefruit, green strawberry, and apricot.

Established in 2000 by owner Dave Matthews, Blenheim Vineyards is located 20 minutes southeast of Charlottesville. With three vineyard sites growing seven varieties, the goal at Blenheim Vineyards is to make high quality wines that reflect the climate, soil, and beauty of the surrounding piedmont landscape.  http://blenheimvineyards.com

Love the “boards” at River and Rail Restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia…housemade pimento cheese garnished with R&R’s pickled vegetables served with grilled bâtard; housemade charcuterie served with whole grain mustard.

One of my favorite local farms is Thornfield Farm. They offer fresh fruits and vegetables including adorable baby turnips (pictured on left above) that are crunchy like radishes but just a little sweeter than red radishes:

April-Thanksgiving THURSDAYS 3pm-6pm: Sweet Donkey Coffee, 2108 Broadway Ave SW, Roanoke, Virginia 24014

April 22-Oct 28th SATURDAYS 8am-12pm: Grandin Village Community Market, 2080 Westover Ave SW, Roanoke VA 24015

http://www.thornfieldfarm.com

I chopped the baby turnips and put them underneath fresh spinach along with fresh mushrooms and hard boiled quail eggs to make this lovely spinach salad garnished with a chive blossom fresh out of my garden (and a couple of pieces of Smoked Gouda Cheese that complimented the crispy bacon on the salad), drizzeled with poppy seed dressing.

One of my favorite Virginia wines is this delightful bubbly…(accompanied above by fresh edible flowers from our local farmer’s market)

Thibaut – Janisson Virginia sparkling wine. 100% chardonnay with crisp apple and pear notes.  The wine’s creator has the experience to make a fabulous wine…so glad he chose Virginia as his home (from The Washington Post):

The wine’s creator, Claude Thibaut, is a blunt-speaking, 57-year-old Frenchman of modest build and a wide-eyed expression that suggests surprise or anticipation, as though he just heard a champagne cork pop. A native of the Champagne region and graduate of the University of Reims, he has made sparkling wine in Australia and in California, where he worked for J, Iron Horse and Kendall-Jackson. Thibaut   came to Virginia in 2003 to create the sparkling wine program for Kluge Estate (now Trump winery) near Charlottesville. He started his own label two years later, partnering with his friend Manuel Janisson, proprietor of Champagne Janisson & Fils.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/a-sparkling-wine-that-has-shed-locavore-light-on-some-of-virginias-finest-vineyards/2014/12/11/fa8c7fe8-802c-11e4-9f38-95a187e4c1f7_story.html

Lavender Latte with housemade lavender syrup!

Summer Specialty Coffee, Sweet Donkey Coffee, Roanoke, Virginia

http://www.sweetdonkeycoffee.com

Working on the final touches of our kitchen remodel including unpacking all of the boxes of kitchenwares!  Love cooking on my new Kitchen Aid induction stove.

 

 

Summer Snacks ~ Chive Blossom Dip

In the “good-ole summertime” I love creating recipes that are simple to prepare and will hold up in the heat when we entertain outside.  Here’s one of my new favorites Chive Blossom Dip:

Pink rose blooming next to chive blossoms in my herb garden.

Chive blossoms in bloom in my herb garden.

Chive Blossom Dip

Easy prepare in two minutes!  In a small bowl, combine 5.2 ounce package Boursin Shallot and Chive Cheese with 3 to 4 tablespoons milk. Mix each tablespoon of milk into the cheese and add more milk as needed to make the dip smooth and dip consistency. Put dip in a pretty serving bowl.  Garnish with fresh chopped chives and a chive blossom in the middle of the bowl. Serve with Terra Exotic Potato Chips or your favorite kettle cooked potato chips (kettle cooked potato chips are usually heartier and stand up to the humidity in  the summer better than other types of potato chips).

Boursin Cheese

Creamy, spreadable cheese flavored with garlic and herbs.  Other flavors are now available:  shallot and chive, pepper and cranberry and spice.  (You can make dip out of these flavors too – just change the garnish to crumbled crisp bacon for the pepper boursin and chopped toasted pecans or walnuts for the cranberry and spice boursin.)

To learn more about Boursin Cheese, please visit:  http://www.cheese.com/boursin

Easy recipes that do not require cooking are especially important to me right now…our kitchen/dining room remodel is about half-way completed. Granite countertops are being installed today. Can’t wait to get back in the kitchen and start cooking again!

You are invited to visit my Facebook page:  Bubblybee.net

Derby Day 2017, Roanoke, Virginia ~ The Best Derby Day Gala Ever!

On Saturday evening we celebrated the 9th Annual Derby Day Gala at Rockledge on Mill Mountain, Roanoke, Virginia with 200 + friends …

143rd Run for the Roses…May 6, 2017

The Best Derby Day Gala Ever!

#derbydaygala

Mint Juleps With Sugar Cane Stirrers

All net proceeds from the Derby Day Gala at Rockledge benefit the Southwestern Virginia Chapter of American Culinary Federation (ACF) and Apple Ridge Farm. The fabulous food at the Gala is prepared and artfully presented by the Chefs and the Chef Students. This culinary magic is created with the leadership of Chef John Schopp and  Chef Ted Polfelt, both renowned chefs from Southwest Virginia. This year a portion of the Derby Gala funds raised will go to support Team USA in the “Culinary Olympics”,  which will represent our country in the Olympics-level event held every four years (the next one is in Germany 2020). Prominent Guest Chefs at the Derby Day Gala associated with the “Culinary Olympics” included:

Chef Jeff Blount – baking and pastry instructor in Myrtle Beach.  He created the chocolate lounge at the Derby Gala. The lounge included a Derby Day lady wearing her fancy Derby hat…the entire sculpture was made of chocolate!

Handmade lime coconut and Dreamsicle chocolates!

Chef Denny Trantham was the former executive chef at Grove Park Inn (Asheville, NC) and now works for US Foods. He is known for his southern cuisine.

Kevin Storm is the Assistant Manager of The American Culinary Federation’s Culinary Team USA and Executive Chef at Bellerive Country Club St. Louis, Missouri.

Chef Chris Hill has a huge social media presence and has just released his first book “Making the Cut”.  https://www.facebook.com/ChefChrisHill/

Chef Jeff Bland also joins the Derby Day culinary team from US Foods.

The Derby Day Gala Menu included:

Assorted Appalachian Inspired Sushi Maki Boards ~ Pimento Cheese, Trout Rillettes, Fried Pork Skin, Shaved Brussels, Pickled Spring Vegetables.

Garden Table (All Vegetarian) including Blackberry Salad With Heirloom Tomatoes and Lemon Verbena.

Assorted Yuca, Potato And Beet Chips

Cathead Biscuit Station With Hams, Jam, And Country Greens (Cathead biscuits are called “cathead” because they are the size of cats heads)

Smoked Prime Rib With Duck Fat Yorkshire Pudding

“Gator And Grits” With Barley Grits, Alligator, And Tasso Ham Gravy

Plancha Fried Crisp Corn Funnel Cake With Drunken Bourbon Blackberries, Pickled Strawberries, Orange Carmel Cream, Peach Salsa, Minted White Chocolate, And Sourwood Honey Marshmallow Cream.

And the grand finale….

Adult Cotton Candy With Nougatine Dust, Flower Petals, And Fennel Pollen

Sugar Sculpture

 Created By Chef John Schopp

The attire that evening was as magnificent as the food…
And The Best Lady’s Hat Winner Is…

 

Best Dressed Gentleman

Mint Julep Socks and Horse Bow Tie!

COCKTAILS!

Dehydrated orange peels bring out the essence of the orange to make the drink flavors POP!

https://www.facebook.com/luckyroanoke/

Lucky Bar Featured Cocktail
The Bourbon Stinger

Bourbon, Honey Infused With Sage And Habanero, Lemon And Orange Bitters.

Celebrity Bartender Hunter Johnson one of the owners of Lucky Restaurant crafted special Derby cocktails onsite…

The Handsome Devil

A beguiling beginning, smooth finish and a quality, complex spirit beneath it all make this quaff an unabashed lady killer.

1/2 cup (2 ounces) bourbon

1 1/2 tablespoons Lillet Blanc

1 1/2 tablespoons simple syrup

4 mint leaves

2 dashes Fee Brothers Peach Bitters

1 (3 x 1 inch) orange peel strip

Mint sprig

Combine first 6 ingredients in a cocktail shaker, fill with ice. Cover with lid, and shake vigorously 30 seconds or until thoroughly chilled. Strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass filled with ice.  Top with orange peel and mint. Makes one drink ~ Lucky, Roanoke, Virginia

We’re Toasting: Rosé On KXAS-TV/NBC DFW

Spring Time is Rosé Time! Lots of yummy Rosé wines to choose from…

Red Wine with Breakfast

Happy Easter! To toast the season of spring, and celebrate the holiday I once again was able to join the 11 am News team at KXAS/NBC DFW to celebrate the perfect wine for spring and summer, Rosé. But this is dry Rosé, not the sweet and sticky stuff we all drank back in the day. These Rosé wines are juicy and fresh, with fresh acidity, brightness and balance. A link to the segment is here.


Though in our home we like to drink Rosé all year long, now is a great time to start enjoying the thirst quenching wine as the 2016 vintage wines are available now from wineries around the world, as a key part of Rosé is to enjoy it young and fresh.
There are so many options out there though, how do you know what will fit your palate and preferred wine style?  Here are a few…

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How to Open Champagne?

Love the quotes in this champagne post! Cheers!

VIKAS RAJPAL

Celebrating Champagne!

“Come quickly, I’m drinking stars”
— Dom Perignon

Champagne is the wine of celebration, or if you were Marilyn Monroe it’s just bath water.

To help with your particular celebration here’s a 10-step primer for mastering those bottles of bubbly. (at least it’s not a 12-step program!)

“I get no kick from champagne.
Mere alcohol doesn’t thrill me at all,
So tell me why should it be true
That I get a kick out of you.”

 — Cole Albert Porter (1891 – 1964)

“I get a kick out of you”
from “Anything Goes”, 1934

The Night They Invented Champagne!

champagne glass and bottleOnly French wine from the Champagne region is truly considered champagne.

Champagne is sparkling wine produced by a traditional method named for the Champagne region of France.

True “Champagne” only comes from this region near Reims, Epernay and Ayers in northeastern France, and accounts for 20 percent of all French wine and spirits production.

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