Monthly Archives: October 2018

Happy Champagne Day! Celebrating With Tapas

Happy Champagne Day!

close up of beer in glass against black background

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We will be celebrating Champagne Day all weekend! Our celebration began last evening as we enjoyed tapas with wine pairing at Rockfish Restaurant in the Grandin Village, Roanoke, Virginia. Every third Thursday of the month they offer a flight of tapas paired with a wine flight. https://www.rockfishfood.com/. The theme last evening was Italy.

Our evening commenced with a glass of bubbly at home…

(Photograph by megapixie.com)

Then on to Rockfish…Our first tapa was Gouda, caramelized onion and spiced apple.  This tapa would be easy to recreate at home. It was served with Prosecco di Valdobbiadene.

Italian Tapas

Oyster Rockfish, fried with arugula puree, fennel apple slaw.

Tapas were originally designed to place “on top” of the wine glass to keep away flies.  The Oyster Rockfish was paired with Broglia Gavi La Meirana. This lovely white wine is like “Pinot Grigio” on steroids.  It has a lively lemon lime acidity that is a perfect pairing with seafood.

Swedish style meatball paired with Montevento Montepulciano. The rich berry jam notes in this wine complemented the tangy tomato flavors in the meatball sauce.

My favorite tapa of the evening was the Duck Pastrami, bourbon mustard and pickled onion.  Paired with Langhe  Nebbiolo.

After devouring the tapas we were still a bit peckish, so we ordered a cheese plate that was accompanied by delicious Rockfish flatbread crackers.

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Lemon Pots de Crème With Almond Brittle Sprinkle

lemon pots de creme

Viva La Local! Please visit the Roanoker Magazine Behind the Page blog:

https://theroanoker.com/blogging/behind-the-page/viva-la-local/

to find new Virginia products offered in local Roanoke grocery stores.  Love supporting local!

sliced of citrus lemons

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Lemon Pots de Crème is one of my favorite desserts because I can make them the day ahead, refrigerate the ramekins, then garnish the desserts right before serving. This recipe is from Fine Cooking magazine with my additions of the sweetened whipped cream (add a little powdered sugar to the cream) and almond brittle sprinkle.

Ingredients

  • Finely grated zest of 4 lemons
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod reserved (or 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract)
  • 10 large egg yolks
  • Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish
  • Candied citrus peel or candied flowers, for garnish (optional)

Preparation

  • Put a large pot of water on to boil for the water bath. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Put eight 6-oz. ramekins in a large roasting pan or baking dish with high sides.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the lemon zest, juice, and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Simmer until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes; set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and the vanilla seeds and pod (if you’re using vanilla extract, don’t add it yet) and bring to just below boiling. Remove from the heat.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until smooth. Gently whisk a ladleful of the hot cream into the yolks and then whisk the yolk mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the cream. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 170°F on an instant-read thermometer, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the reserved lemon syrup and strain immediately through cheesecloth or a fine sieve. If you’re using vanilla extract, stir it in now.
  • Divide the mixture among the ramekins in the roasting pan. Pull out the oven shelf, put the roasting pan on it (be sure it’s stable), and pour enough boiling water into the pan so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the ramekins with a sheet of foil (simply lay the sheet on top, don’t crimp the edges) and bake for 25 to 45 minutes—start checking early—until the custards are set about 1/4 inch in from the sides, the centers respond with a firm jiggle (not a wavelike motion) when you nudge the ramekins, and the centers of the custards register 150° to 155°F on an instant-read thermometer (the hole left by the thermometer will close up as the custards firm). Let the custards cool to room temperature in their water bath. Remove the custards from the bath, cover them with plastic, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Garnish with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and candied zest or flowers, if you like.

Make Ahead Tips

Custards may be baked up to two days ahead and refrigerated, covered with plastic.

Garnish

Lemon Zest

Almond Brittle:

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup sliced almonds

2 tablespoons sugar

Slice butter into several slices and place it on a baking sheet (with sides so butter won’t run off sheet).  Place in oven and allow the butter to melt.  Remove the baking sheet from oven and sprinkle the almonds on the butter. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the almonds.  Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 3 – 5 minutes. Watch carefully because the almonds will burn easily. Remove from oven and stir the almonds. Return to oven for more toasting if needed.  When the almonds are toasted remove from oven and allow to cool.

Place a dollop of whipped cream on top of each  pots de crème and sprinkle with crumbled almond brittle.  Sprinkle a little lemon zest over the almond brittle. Serve chilled.

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A Pinot Noir Lesson for Self with Tendril Cellars

This sounds like such a fabulously fun Pinot Noir tasting! Love Talk-A-Vino’s descriptions including ” Rutherford dust”. Cheers!

Talk-A-Vino

Tendril Cellars winesBack in May, we virtually met with Tony Rynders of Tendril Cellars and talked about … many things wine, of course – you can find this conversation here.

Tony is one of the few winemakers I know who teaches people about his wines by conducting organized tastings. As I didn’t have an opportunity to attend any of those events, I decided to run a lesson for myself on the same subject. How you ask? Easy – by tasting the wines blind.

I can literally see the surprised looks and raised eyebrows. How is it a blind tasting if I know already everything about those wines? You see, the lineup I had included 6 wines. Out of those six, four were different Pinot Noirs – different vineyards, different winemaking process, different price points. Obviously I was not planning to try to identify the exact wine, but still – will I…

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Learn About Do’s and Dont’s for Sabering a Champagne

Happy Sabering!

Champagne Sabres Blog

Great news, your friend just announced that you are invited to a party whereas, you are the one who is going to open a bottle of champagne. You have the chance of getting all the visitors to turn their heads on you and announce your plan to behead the bottle with a sword. This can be really exciting indeed. Perhaps you already know how to execute such art, but then again, here are the do’s and don’ts of champagne sabering or also known as sabrage.

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Philipponnat Royale Réserve Brut

King Louis XIV rarely drank anything other than champagne. I would have loved to participate in one of his evening meals, sitting at the King’s table laden with gold, silver and crystal dishes!

Vinthropology

Abundantly regal and intense. At once sharp, structured and refined.

An intriguing champagne expressing a clear predominance of Pinot Noir. Luminous straw yellow colour with gold hues, elegant perlage with fine, persistent bubbles. Warm aromas of citrus, mandarin, cranberry, orange blossom, magnolia, dried roses, dried apricot, vanilla, toasted and brioche. Subdued intensity on the nose turns into a powerful palate with high acidity and minerality, well balanced with a slight sweetness. Finishing with a long persistence with notes of pomegranate and plum.

Clos des Goisses, Vallée de la Marne, Champagne View of the vineyards in Clos des Goisses, Vallée de la Marne, Champagne

The Philipponnat family tradition runs over 5 generations of Champagne production in the heart of Champagne, in the region of Vallée de la Marne. Among their vineyards is Clos des Goisses, part of the family’s property for nearly 100 years. This “Clos” is noted for its steep 45 degree slant facing south in one of…

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