Monthly Archives: February 2018

Washington Bubbles To Start The Celebration!

I totally agree with Larry the Wine Guy. Hats off to Treveri on creating delightful sparkling wines at such a reasonable price. Recently I reviewed Treveri Rosé on bubblybee.net… “A lovely weekend sparkling!  It’s fresh, it’s pink, it’s peachy, it’s fizzy, and it’s only $13.99.  A blend of Syrah and Chardonnay from the Yakima Valley in Washington State.”  http://www.trevericellars.com

Larry The Wine Guy

Bubbles Not Just For Celebrations

I always say that sparkling wines or Champagne are usually thought by most average consumers to be Celebration Wines. I drink them all the time and so should you. They are one of the most food friendly category of wines. They pair with almost everything and almost every cheese as well. Since it is Washington State Wine Month All March and ABC Fine Wine And Spirits The A B C Stands for ALWAYS BE CELEBRATING, I wanted to review for you a Direct To You (Proprietary) Bubbly they carry from the Evergreen State to kick off the Month Of March and hopefully Kick off every month for the rest of your wine drinking lives.

Treveri Cellars

Treveri Grieb FamilyMeet The Grieb Family. The guy in the middle is DA BUBBLES man of Washington State. Juergen Grieb (Owner and Winemaker) was born and raised in Trier, Germany, where…

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Crispy Smashed Herbed Potatoes To Celebrate National Potato Lovers Month

February Is National Potato Lovers Month

Sometimes it’s just plain fun to play with our food.  Smashed potatoes are the perfect example.  Make lots because they will disappear fast!

Smashed Lemon Herb Crispy Potatoes 

Fill a large stock pot with lightly salted water. Bring water to a boil.  Place small Yukon or Red Skin Potatoes in boiling water and cook until tender. Drain and set aside.  The potatoes can be prepared immediately or place them in a plastic bag and store in refrigerator overnight.

To smash and top potatoes:

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit

Spray cookie sheet lightly with vegetable spray

Cut potatoes in half and smash with bottom of a can (wash bottom of can before smashing the potatoes)

Drizzle 1 teaspoon melted butter over each smashed potato

Sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Top with a mixture of finely chopped basil, chives and parsley. Drizzle each potato with 1/2 teaspoon (or a little less depending on the size of the potato) olive oil. The olive oil will help crisp up the potato.

Top herbs a sprinkling of frozen grated lemon and 1 tablespoon finely grated sharp cheddar cheese per smashed potato

To make frozen grated lemon:  Place a washed lemon in the freezer section of  your refrigerator. Once the lemon is frozen, get  your grater, and shred the whole lemon (no need  to peel it) and sprinkle it on top of your  foods.  The lemon seeds catch on the grater so there is no need to worry about seeds getting into your grated lemon.

Bake smashed potatoes for 8 – 10 minutes in 450 degree Fahrenheit oven. (Watch carefully so that the potatoes do not burn.)  Potatoes should be very crispy on top.

Serve warm with a bit of sour cream and/or ketchup.  Applesauce and sour cream is also a delicious garnish for this dish.

Have fun playing around with the toppings on the smashed potatoes ~ try a variety of herbs and grated cheeses or spreadable cheeses.  Delicious for lunch, dinner, a snack, even breakfast!

The definition of Bon Vivant is:  A person who lives luxuriously and enjoys good food and drink.

To pair with the smashed potatoes I served Bon Vivant Sparkling Wine from California.  California Sparkling Wine made in the French style,using the traditional méthode champenoise. This sparkler is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Several sources compare it to Veuve Clicquot, but I think that is more true for the yellow label rather than the bubbles inside. I am glad I tried it, but found it be just an average sparkling wine.  $20 range.

So I finished the glass of Bon Vivant and moved on to Pinot Noir.  As the weather gets warmer…we’ve had record-breaking warm weather in Roanoke, Virginia during February, 2018…the warmest it’s been in 100 years!  …my taste turns towards Pinot Noir. One of my favorite things to do is sit outside on the deck with a glass of Pinot Noir.  Although potato dishes are not necessarily classic Pinot Noir pairings, I found the earthy herbs and pop of lemon in the smashed potatoes to pair with the Pinot Noir quite well. Plus, I was just in the mood for a nice Pinot.

Sojourn Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2011

Lush, rich cherry flavors with spice and cola notes.  Balanced with a long finish.  $45 range.  Our source for this wine, Wines ‘Til Sold Out  recommends Sojourn:  “This is the kind of Pinot that California Drinkers dream about!”  On the palate you get ripe cherries, cranberries, cola, nutmeg, vanilla and shitake mushrooms.

This is what the kitties were up to when I innocently turned my back to start cooking in my kitchen this morning!  Empty brown paper bags are a particular favorite around our house.

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Why I love Pink Peppercorns and Pink Champagne On National Margarita Day!

Today is National Margarita Day ~ February 22, 2018. Please keep reading to get my favorite margarita recipe ~ Pink Champagne Lemonade Margaritas!

But first…let’s talk about another one of my favorites…pink peppercorns and other funky color seasonings…

Love Salt and Pepper!

Fun facts about Pink Peppercorns:

  1. Always good to have pink peppercorns on hand because they add a pop of spicy peppery flavor to any savory dish.  They are available on -line if you can’t find them locally. Frontier Co-Op grinder bottle is one of my favorites.
  2. They may seem expensive ($8 to $12 for a .80 ounce bottle)  but they last forever, a little grind goes a long way.
  3. Pink peppercorns are not peppercorns at all.  They are a dried berry of the shrub Schinus molle, commonly known as the Peruvian peppertree. They do look like peppercorns and they have a peppery flavor.
  4. A word of warning...pink peppercorns are members of the cashew family, they may cause allergic reactions including anaphylaxis for persons with a tree nut allergy. I had no idea until I read about this yesterday.   Over the years I’ve developed a tree nut allergy (not severe thankfully) so there goes my  love of pink peppercorns. For those of you who do not suffer this allergy please enjoy pink peppercorns for me!

Fun facts about Himalayan Pink Salt:

Himalayan pink salt is used to flavor food.  It is also used to make salt lamps which are illuminated with an electric light or candle inside. Both the salt used on food and the salt lamps are said to have health benefits, but I’ll let y’all decide on your own about that.

Blocks of Himalayan salt are also used as serving dishes. These blocks of salt can be heated (heat on the grill to serve grilled meats) or chilled to serve sushi, fruits and cheese. The salt blocks give the food a delicate salt flavor.

Fun facts about Green Peppercorns:

  1.  These peppercorns are packed in a vinegar brine.
  2.  They are meant to be eaten whole.
  3. My Mom popped a few green peppercorns (whole) in her Bolognese Sauce. Gave her sauce a little peppery punch which was delicious!
  4. Green Peppercorns are perfect in Steak au Poivre.  Here’s a link to a Food Network recipe for Steak au Poivre with a mushroom, green peppercorn and Dijon sauce:

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/steak-au-poivre-with-a-mushroom-green-peppercorn-and-dijon-sauce-and-pommes-frites-recipe-2124423

green peppercorn bowl

green peppercorn ingredients

Green Peppercorn Boursin Green Bean Salad

One of my favorite salads ~ so much flavor with so little effort!

Yield: 3 servings

1 pound fresh green beans, stems removed, cut in half

1 teaspoon green peppercorns (packed in brine) mashed with a mortar and pestle

5. 2 ounces Shallot and Chive Boursin Cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon

1 heaping teaspoon grated frozen lemon ( Place a washed lemon in the freezer section of  your refrigerator. Once the lemon is frozen, get  your grater, and shred the whole lemon (no need  to peel it) and sprinkle it on top of your  foods.  The lemon seeds catch on the grater so there is no need to worry about seeds getting into your grated lemon.

1/8 teaspoon salt

Fill medium size stockpot half way full of water. Bring water to a boil.  Add green beans and cook until crisp tender (do not undercook or overcook the green beans) 8 – 10 minutes.  Immediately drain the water off the green beans and “shock” them by dropping them in  ice water so that they will stop cooking. Quickly remove them from the ice water and pat dry. Place the beans in a salad bowl and mix in the Boursin cheese.  Add the mashed green peppercorns, tarragon, grated frozen lemon and salt.  Stir with large spoon to combine all of the ingredients.  The Boursin will become creamy and will coat the green beans.  Cover the green bean salad and place in refrigerator until service.

 

The book What to Drink with What You Eat recommends rosé champagne to pair with black pepper.  Here’s my suggestion for a rosé sparkling wine that will be good to splash on top of the Pink Champagne Lemonade Margaritas (recipe below):

Chandon Rosé California Sparkling Wine ~ strawberry and ripe cherry flavors.  $22 range.

Now on to the Margaritas!

I often take food/drink photographs on my kitchen floor because the sun beams onto the floor perfectly for photos.  I have 4 very curious kitties and they often wander into the photo. Today “Ziggy Elman” (named after the Jazz trumpeter) wandered into the photo of my Pink Lemonade Champagne Margaritas. It looks like he took a lick of my margarita. He did not. He was just licking his lips anticipating getting a lick of it  (which I would never allow).

margarita kitty

Pink Champagne Lemonade Margarita

One of the fun things about this cocktail is that when you finish the cocktail you get to eat the blackberries that have been soaking in the margarita…yum!

Rim margarita glasses by dipping them in lime juice and then rolling the edges in fine sugar (“Extra Fine” otherwise known as “Fine” sugar is best for rimming cocktail glasses because it has the smallest crystal of all white sugars.  It has a delicate appearance and dissolves easily into cold drinks). Locally I purchase fine sugar at Fresh Market or it is available on-line.  Place margarita glasses in the freezer to chill  while preparing your cocktails.

12 ounces frozen pink lemonade, thawed

(use empty lemonade can to measure water, tequila and orange liqueur)

1 can water

1 can tequila

1/4 can orange liqueur

Rosé Champagne or Sparkling Wine ~ a splish splash for each drink (optional)

Blackberries and limes for garnish

Lime slices and fine sugar to rim the margarita glasses

Place the pink lemonade, water, tequila and orange liqueur in a large pitcher. Stir with a big spoon until all ingredients are combined.  In batches, place margarita mixture and ice in a blender container. Blend until ice is finely crushed.  Serve in chilled margarita glasses.  Top each cocktail with a splash of Rosé Champagne or Sparkling Wine. Drop a few blackberries into the margaritas and then cut slits in some blackberries to set on the sides of the glasses.  Place one thin lime slice in each glass. Place any unused portion of this cocktail in a freezer container and place in freezer to keep cold for refills.

pink lemonade magaritas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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National Margarita

2 fun videos ~ how to make a Virgin Margarita and a Cointreau Margarita ~ both delicious ~ Happy Margarita Day from 3 Courses on a Budget Blog.

3Courses on a budget

There are many myths legends and stories about who, when and where this drink was first invented. But the closest is the one according to cocktail historian David Wondrich, author of Imbile, whose best guess is that the margarita evolved from a cocktail known as the “daisy,” which has been around since the 1800’s, with its gin and whiskey sisters. The daisy cocktail would change sooner or later in the hands of a Mixologists who was trying new drinks and combinations a soon combined tequila into a daisy cocktail. This Mexican-influenced daisy soon became known by its Spanish name, margarita, which means daisy. This drink became popular during the 1930s and 40s.

Frozen-Margarita

This is now an essential part of any cocktail menu at any bar, pub or restaurant. Today we celebrate National Margarita Day. So, to everyone out have a drink on me.

Here is a video showing…

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Celebrating Dining In Cookbook With Taittinger Champagne

Tattinger champagne

Taittinger Champagne ~ lush and silky, notes of ripe pear and a touch of citrus, freshly-baked brioche with lots of tiny bubbles bouncing around the flute.

I recently entered a contest sponsored by Taittinger Champagne and I won this lovely cookbook, personally signed by the author.

Here’s Alison Roman’s bio from her book:  …the author of Dining In, is a contributor at Bon  Appétit magazine.  Formerly the Senior Food Editor at Bon  Appétit and BuzzFeed, her work appears regularly in the New York Times and has been featured in GQ, Cherry Bombe, and Lucky Peach. The author of Lemons, a Short Stack Edition, Alison has worked professionally in kitchens such as New York’s Momofuku Milk Bar and San Francisco’s Quince.  A native of Los Angeles, she lives in Brooklyn.

In her new cookbook Alison Ramon encourages us to cook at home with recipes that are fun and fresh.  “…for me there is nothing more special or satisfying than cooking for your friends, family, lovers, or, perhaps most important yourself.” And she loves going to the grocery store (one of my favorite places on this planet!) The first recipe I made out of her cookbook was this delicious salad, using as many fresh herbs as I can find this time of year. It reminds me that Spring is right around the corner!

Vinegared Romaine with Sour Cream, Bacon and Herbs…thick cut smoked bacon, crisp green romaine lettuce, fresh herbs…parsley, cilantro, tarragon, and/or dill…drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with flaky sea salt.

Dear Readers, what is your favorite cookbook? I would love to hear from you…

“Now and then it is a joy to have one’s table red with wine and roses.”                                                                                                                            ~ Oscar Wilde

lemon

My bubbly sister-in-law Gwen sent me this delightful idea.  I put some “grated lemon” in my hot tea this morning and it is absolutely delicious!  I plan to keep grated lemon in my freezer from now on.

Place a washed lemon in the freezer section of  your refrigerator. Once the lemon is frozen, get  your grater, and shred the whole lemon (no need  to peel it) and sprinkle it on top of your  foods.  The lemon seeds catch on the grater so there is no need to worry about seeds getting into your grated lemon.
Sprinkle  it to your vegetable salad, ice cream, soup,  cereals, noodles, spaghetti sauce, rice, sushi,  fish dishes, whisky… the list is  endless.
All  of the foods will unexpectedly have a wonderful  taste, something that you may have never tasted  before.  Most likely, you only think of  lemon juice and vitamin C. noodles.
What’s  the major advantage of using the whole lemon  other than preventing waste and adding new taste  to your dishes?
Well,  you see lemon peels contain as much as 5 to 10  times more vitamins than the lemon juice  itself.  And yes, that’s what you’ve been  wasting.
But  from now on, by following this simple procedure  of freezing the whole lemon, then grating it on  top of your dishes, you can consume all of those  nutrients and get even healthier.  

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These Wines are Guaranteed to Make Valentine’s Day Sparkle

Cheers to St. Valentine by Michelle Williams, Rockin’ Red Blog!

ROCKIN RED BLOG

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. For some that means being “swept off your feet” like in a romance movie. For others it is a day of resentment reflected in a good break up movie. For those of us who have been with the same partner or spouse for decades and have grown kids it really does not mean much at all. However, I am always up for an opportunity for bubbles. So whether or not Cupid’s arrow has its sights on you, Valentine’s Day can be a fun day to explore a wonderful world of sparkling wine.

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