champagne

Just Another Tazmanian Sparkling Rosé!

We have a new grocery store in Roanoke, Virginia…Earth Fare!  “Healthy Food For Everyone”   Their food philosophy: “We pledge that our food is free of added hormones, antibiotics, artificial fats and trans-fats, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and preservatives, bleached or bromated flour, artificial colors or flavors”.

Their prepared foods section is amazing…let’s take a tour…starting at the cheese case where I met Aaron who gave me a taste of the most delicious “Brie” cheese…

EF Cheese case

EF Brie cheeseEF Brie Cheese with bread

Jasper Hill Farm Harbison ~ soft and decadent brie-style cheese is wrapped with spruce for structure and flavor.  Made in Greensboro, Vermont. Amazing buttery taste. https://www.jasperhillfarm.com/harbison

EF Baguette sign

I served it on freshly baked baguette (sold at Earth Fare daily for 98 cents…mine was still warm when I purchased it…yum).

I paired this lovely cheese with Jansz Rosé, sparkling wine from Tasmania.  The first wine I’ve tried from Tasmania.  Delightful!  I found this bubbly at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar in Roanoke, Virginia.   http://mrbillswinecellar.com

Jansz Tasmania is a pioneer of deluxe sparkling wine in Australia. Jansz is made by the méthode champenoise.   Pale salmon in color, with a fine bead, this wine has a rich floral bouquet of strawberries with a soft and creamy palate. $26 range.

tazmanian champagne

Ef shrimp saladEF salads

EF shrimpEF shrimp on grillEF shrimp on plate

Grilled Shrimp Quesadillas 

Earth Fare Herb Shrimp Salad with red and yellow bell peppers and lots of seafood seasoning makes fabulous Grilled Shrimp Quesadillas.  So easy to prepare…spray grill with vegetable spray. Top a taco size flour tortilla with shrimp salad and finely grated Monterrey Jack cheese. Top with another flour tortilla and grill until cheese is melted and tortilla is toasted. Flip once. Remove from grill and cut into triangles. Serve warm.

avocadoEF guacamole

Guacamole!  

I love Earth Fare Fire Roasted Corn Salad.  Fabulous addition to homemade Guacamole.

EF chips

Late July Organic Sea Salt and Lime Tortilla Chips are my new favorite…crispy yet sturdy enough to hold up to chunky guacamole.

Ef pretzels

EF bloody mary mix

Another Earth Fare treat  for Sunday Brunch…Pretzilla Smithfield Ham Swiss Cheese Bites.  Cut a little bit of the bottom off of each pretzel bite so the bites will sit up straight, then cut the bites in half. Spread one half with whole grain mustard and the other half with Duke’s mayonnaise.  Fill the pretzel bites with thinly sliced Smithfield ham and Swiss cheese. (I found that  since the Smithfield ham is salty I did not need to top the pretzel bites with the salt that was included in the package.) Heat the pretzel bites in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven until cheese is melted.  Serve warm.

And to finish the weekend…

champagne bottle

  • This vintage Millesime champagne has 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay grape varieties from a unique, single harvest year. Well refined on the nose, with notes of gingerbread and croissants. A complex and very assertive mouth. A champagne to enjoy as an aperitif or set to accompany gourmet dishes.  

    Millésime

    kitty catkitty on shoe
    signkitty Artie
    Our kitties are growing! So happy !

 

 

 

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In The Southern Tradition ~ Country Ham Pretzel Rolls

My “go to” for holiday hors d’oeuvres? Country Ham Biscuits of course!  Did you know that the perfect size for a country ham biscuit is the circumference of the top of a champagne flute? (1 3/4 inches round).  Coincidence, I think not.  Salty country ham and a chardonnay predominant champagne make a perfect pairing!

I am always looking for creative ways to change up my traditional hors d’oeuvre menu. When I saw these yummy pretzel rolls I immediately thought filling them with country ham.

To make these yummy Country Ham Pretzel Rolls, I preheated my oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  I split the pretzel rolls in half lengthwise and spread on side with Duke’s mayonnaise and the other side with Pommery whole grain mustard.  Then I topped the mustard side with shaved Smithfield (country) ham and slices of swiss cheese, placing the mayonnaise side on top of the cheese.  Then I brushed the rolls with melted butter and sprinkled the tops with black sesame seeds (optional). Bake the rolls for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Remove from oven, cool slightly and cut into 4 slices horizontally. Serve warm.

Jeeper champagne

As soon as we devoured the pretzel rolls we sat back and enjoyed a tasting of Jeeper Champagne.  60% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir, and 15% Pinot Meunier handpicked grapes. $60 range.

The story of this champagne begins in 1949.  It was then that Armand Goutorbe, son of Victor Goutorbe, on his return from the Second World War, decided to produce and sell his Champagne.

Armand Goutorbe christened his brand Champagne JEEPER, with an eye to making himself stand out from the many wine growers of the region also named Goutorbe and in reference to the Jeep bestowed upon him (he returned from the war to his native Champagne disabled)  by the local authorities to help him ascend the vineyard slopes with ease.

You can see why this champagne appealed to me, knowing that I love Jeeps. My own Jeep Overland is named “Dolly D”, for Dolly Dawn who was known as the “Champagne of Big Band Singers”!

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/dolly-dawn-mn0000172847/biography

Jeeper Champagne has a light golden color with tiny bubbles dancing around the flute.  Elegant with glazed apple notes.  This champagne lends itself to pairing with food and we found a fabulous pairing…

crisps with package

crisps

Adams Reserve New York Extra Sharp Cheddar (made in upstate New York) paired with Virginia Gold Orchard Asian Pear Marmalade. The marmalade was a special gift from my bubbly friend Cindy.  Their Asian Pears are homegrown & handpicked in Rockbridge County, Virginia and they are delicious! I put a smear of the marmalade on top of the cheddar cheese on a Apricot and Ginger Raincoast Crisp Cracker. Oh la la…it was a “pearfect” pairing with the Jeeper champagne.

apples

http://www.virginiagoldorchard.com

mug with ginger beermug

Roundng out the weekend…these crisp Fall days are perfect for a chilled Moscow Mule made with BundAberg Spiced Ginger Beer.

Here’s a link to BundAberg Brews Cocktail Recipes:

https://www.bundaberg.com/en-us/mixology-2/?mixer=ginger-beer&alcohol=

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Celebrate National Deviled Egg Day ~ November 2, 2017

egg Bacon and Balsamic Deviled Eggs 

Follow this easy recipe (originally published in The Roanoke Times ~ Gretchen Mckay  Pittsburg Post Gazette – TNS)  to make the most delicious Deviled Eggs…

Bacon and Balsamic Deviled Eggs

12 hard-cooked eggs

The original recipe called for 1/2 of the amounts of the following ingredients. I doubled the amounts because I LOVE bacon and I found the original recipe for the filling to be just a bit dry.

10 bacon slices, cooked crisp and crumbled

2/3 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon very finely chopped shallot (the original recipe called for onion. I find shallot to have a bit less of a bite than onion which I prefer for this recipe)

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons Balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cornichon or sweet midget pickle for garnish, sliced into thin slices

paprika for garnish

To cook the perfect hard-cooked egg:  Fill large pot with water (enough to cover the eggs you are going to cook). Add a little salt.  Bring water to a rolling boil.  Place eggs in boiling water and cover pot. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and drain water out of pot.  Add ice to eggs to immediately stop cooking and allow to cool quickly for peeling.

Peel eggs and rinse well to remove any bits of shell.  Cut eggs in half lengthwise and scoop out the yolks. Put yolks in separate bowl and mash.  Add bacon, mayonnaise, shallot, mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined. Spoon the mixture in the egg halves evenly. Garnish each egg half with a slice of cornichon and sprinkle with paprika.

Makes 24

  • reference: The Ultimate Paleo Cookbook, by Arsy Vartanian (Page Street Publishing)

tailgate eggs

SC fried deviled eggs

Fried Deviled Eggs!

Thank you to Chef Roger Light, Executive Chef, Shenandoah Club, Roanoke, Virginia, for sharing this perfectly delicious and unique Deviled Egg recipe:

sc chef Carlos

Super Delicious!!! Chef Carlos demonstrated how to make fried deviled eggs, starting with hard-boiled eggs. Cut the eggs in two and place the yolks in a mixing bowl.  Place the white halves on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Blot the egg white halves gently with paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible.

Grind panko bread crumbs in a food processor or blender to make the crumbs more like the consistency of flour.  Place flour in one bowl, egg whites mixed with a little water in another bowl and panko bread crumbs in a third bowl. Dip the egg white halves into flour, then egg white wash, then panko bread crumbs.  Place them on the paper towel lined baking sheet (replace paper towels if the towels are moist). Press the crumb mixture into the egg so that it adheres well.

Heat canola oil in a large pot on the stove.  Fry the egg white halves in hot oil until they are light golden brown. Remove the eggs from the oil with a slotted spoon or tongs and place on the paper towel lined baking sheet.  Allow to cool.

Using the hard-boiled egg yolks, prepare a deviled egg filling the same way you prepare your favorite deviled egg filling recipe. Add mayonnaise, pickle relish, mustard, or balsamic vinegar.  Sprinkle some crisp crumbled bacon in each fried egg half and then fill with the deviled egg filling. Garnish with smoked paprika or chopped chives.

SC ME and eggs

Go ahead and ask, you know you’ve always wanted to ask…

What Champagne Should I  Serve With Deviled Eggs?!

Baron champagne

Champagne Pairing For Deviled Eggs:

Baron-Fuenté Esprit Champagne Grand Cru

92 points Wine Spectator

30% each of  Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier grapes resulting in a creamy, rich brioche, lemon curd and almond flavors.  Delightful and elegant. $30 range.

happy-refrigerator

“Always keep a bottle of Champagne in the fridge for special occasions. Sometimes, the special occasion is that you’ve got a bottle of Champagne in the fridge.”
― Hester Browne

cats two

cat artie

These Fall days are getting a bit cooler and Daylight Savings Time is right around the corner, so our days are getting less productive by the minute!

Happy Deviled Egg Day!

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Dinner In 10 Minutes ~ PORK AU POIVRE ~ With Champagne Pairing

As much as I love to cook, sometimes I don’t have time to do all of the chopping and mixing and fussing to make a delicious dinner, so I look for shortcuts.  I’ve found the roasted pork tenderloin at Fresh Market to be a saving grace in dinner preparation. Here’s one of my favorite “go to” recipes that takes 10 minutes to prepare and plate:

pork

PORK AU POIVRE

Serves 4

4  (1/2 inch thick) slices pork tenderloin (I purchase the pork loin already roasted in the deli section of Fresh Market)

1 tablespoon black peppercorns, freshly ground

1/2 teaspoon salt (or a little more to taste)

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup cognac

1/3 cup heavy cream

  1. Melt butter in a frying pan.  Place pork tenderloin slices in the pan and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  2. Heat the pork over medium heat, turning once, for 2 or 3 minutes, until pork is browned.
  3. Carefully remove the pork slices from pan and place on a plate.  Add cognac to pan and warm slightly. Add cream to cognac and stir, warming for a minute or two.  Place the pork back into the pan and spoon the sauce over the pork. Serve warm.

To complete my Pork Au Poivre dinner I serve a Fresh Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing (also purchased at Fresh Market).  Minimal cooking with maximum flavor!

With less time in the kitchen I can enjoy nap time with these two little rascals…

cats

The champagne pairing which was absolutely fabulous with the Pork Au Poivre was Francoise Bedel  Dis, “Vin Secret” Champagne.  Beautiful golden color with a delicate bead of fine bubbles. Ripe fruit and baked apple, with hints of tropical fruit.  86% Pinot Meunier, 8% Pinot Noir and 6% Chardonnay, the earthiness of the Pinot Meuneir makes this champagne a lovely pairing for roasted pork.  My husband proclaimed it a “Perfect Pairing”!  $50 range. Available locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar or on-line.  http://mrbillswinecellar.com

Treveri Cellars Sparkling Rosé

I  found this gem at one of our local grocery stores, Tinnell’s Finer Foods ~ http://tinnells.com

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

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Perfect Pairings For Your Thanksgiving Dinner ~ Virginia Wines and Spiced Pear Cocktail

mr bills VA wine sign

mr bills VA wines

These are the wines that our neighbors make.

Virginia Wine Class ~ Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar ~ Roanoke, Virginia

mr bills VA wine 2mr Bills VA rose

 

Ox-Eye Winery Riesling and Shy Ox Rosé  and were my favorite of the wines we tasted in the Virginia Wine Class.    $20 range.  The Riesling  was smooth, clean and bright with crisp apple notes. The Shy Ox Rosé has a lovely pink color and tasty crisp apple notes that seem to  give the wine a bit of effervesce.

 

The Ox-Eye Riesling will be a lovely pairing for Thanksgiving turkey.

mr bills apple 2mr bills apple 1mr bills apple

A yummy pairing to begin a holiday meal ~  Ox-Eye Riesling or Shy Ox Rosé served with this little nosh ~ Cabot Clothbound Cheddar (balanced sharpness, slight nuttiness, caramel sweetness), Murray’s Heirloom Apple Butter on Firehook Cinnamon Baked Crackers.

champange Shenandoah Club

Grande Réserve Brut, Héritage Familial NV

66% Pinot Noir
33% Chardonnay

Smooth mousse with rich pear, brioche and spice notes.  A delightful aperitif leading into Thanksgiving dinner.

http://www.champagne-barnaut.com

Here’s my favorite recipe for green beans ~ always on my Thanksgiving table…enjoy!

Parmesan Prosciutto Green Beans

A family favorite! You’ll find this dish on my holiday table often.  Easy to prepare and full of flavor. Here’s the recipe:

1.5 pounds fresh green beans
3 oz prosciutto (I use the packaged Boar’s Head brand.  Prosciutto sliced in the deli may not fry very well)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup shaved Parmesan
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 stick butter, cut into small pats

Wash green beans and remove stems. Place in large pot of boiling water (no need to add salt since this recipe has lots of salty ingredients).  Cook beans until they are just tender.  Drain and set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place olive oil in a frying pan and place over medium-high heat. When oil is hot place prosciutto slices in the pan and fry, turning once, until prosciutto is crispy. Remove slices from pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels.

In a bowl combine parmesan and panko bread crumbs.  Place green beans in a baking dish and sprinkle with panko bread crumb mixture, toss to combine.  Dot the green beans with the butter pats.  Crumble the prosciutto and sprinkle it over the green beans. Place green beans in oven and bake for 30 minutes.

And a lovely cocktail to sip as all of the Thanksgiving frivolity has begun to curtail…

.

Spiced Orchard Pear

Recipe from the Culinary Institute of America ~ as published in the October 18, 2017 issue of The Roanoke Times

Scotch is the star in this crisp Fall cocktail recipe!

Servings 1

2 ounces blended scotch

1/4 ounce pear puree

1/2 ounce orange liqueur

1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 ounce Winter Syrup (recipe below)

1 cinnamon stick for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, combine the scotch, pear puree, orange liqueur, and syrup.  Add ice, then shake until well-combined.  Strain into a rocks glass, over fresh ice, and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Chef’s note:  If desired, lightly burn on end of the cinnamon stick with a torch.  Invert the rocks glass over the cinnamon stick on a heat-safe surface or plate while you prepare the cocktail.)

Bubblybee note:  This will envelop the interior of the glass in cinnamon smoke which will give a cinnamon spicy note to the cocktail.

Chef’s note:   You can find pear puree in the freezer section of some grocery stores, but if not, just put 3 to 4 pears in a saucepan with about 1/4 cup of water. Cook until the pears are soft, then blend them to a smooth puree.

Bubblybee note:  To make pear puree I put the peeled and cored ripe pear in my blender with the other ingredients and pureed the mixture until very smooth.  Then I put the mixture in my cocktail shaker with ice to complete the recipe.

Winter Syrup

Makes about 3 cups syrup

2 cups water

2 cups sugar

the peel of 1 orange, white pith removed (I used the peel of 2 clementines. Then I used the clementine segments as a garnish for the cocktail.)

1 star anise (note: star anise and cardamom pods can be quite expensive when purchased by the jar.   I purchased mine by the ounce at our local natural foods co-op, purchasing only what I needed, which was much less expensive.)

3 whole cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

5 cardamom pods

Combine water, sugar, orange peel, anise, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Cook until mixture is simmering and the sugar has dissolved. Set aside until cool, then strain.  Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

Happy Thanksgiving Y’all!

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To Every Season There Is Champagne

pumpkin

Welcome Fall!  Cooler temperatures, colorful leaves…let’s toast this beautiful season with champagne!  Pumpkin can be a bit overdone this time of year (just ask any coffee shop barista about pumpkin lattes!) but champagne is perfect for any occasion, any season.

pumpkin

Fleutau champagnechampagne

Fluteau 2006 Cuvée Symbiose Champagne  

Champagne Fluteau, founded in 1935, is a family owned winery located in the southern part of the Champagne growing region of France. The grapes are all hand harvested and sorted to ensure that the grapes arrive at the press in pristine condition.  Artisan crafted grower champagne.  Crisp with apple and lemon notes. Lovely pairing with seafood.   Lots of lovely little bubbles dancing in the flute.   $50 range.

champagne and pumpkinchampagne toast

White pumpkins are my favorite…I love creating tablescapes with white pumpkins.

Voirin-Jumel Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru Champagne

100 % chardonnay.  Small producer located in Cramant, France.  Lovely pairing with oysters. $40 range. Light lemon notes.

Truly a very special treat…one of my favorite champagnes… 1998 Cuveé R. Lalou Champagne Cuveé Prestige.  Lemon, crushed granite, honey,  toast – and nice finish.  Beautiful radiant gold with effervescent bubbles.

René Lalou was the Chairman of the prestigious Champagne house of G.H. Mumm during the 20th century.    In tribute to him, a special cuvée bearing his name was produced  from 1966 to 1985.  Luckily for us,  in 2007, G.H.MUMM decided to revive this legendary cuvée.  The Cellar Master devised a champagne de terroir bred from the best of the House vineyards and named it R. Lalou.  $200 range.

Champagne…if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector.  It encourages a man to be expansive, even reckless, while lie detectors are only a challenge to tell lies successfully.  ~ Graham Greene

cocktail mixercrackers

Sometimes I enjoy mixing a cocktail without all the fuss of sourcing and measuring the ingredients, so I was happy to find Cocktail Crate Craft Mixers at Fresh Market…”Born in Queens, NYC”.  Bubblybee chose “Ginger Bee”, mixed it with vodka, served it in a frozen “Copper Mule Mug” with lots and lots of fresh lime.  Rich honey sweetness, fresh ginger and subtle clove.  Just add one part spirit to one part mixer in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake!

I served Dewey’s Sharp Aged Cheddar Crackers with my cocktail. Delicious crisp little crackers that disappeared quickly! A southern favorite, Dewey’s Crackers are also available in these flavors Low Country Boil,  Chipotle Cheddar Cornbread, and Carolina Style Barbeque.

If you’d like to sign up for the Fresh Market newsletter (to find out about new products and promotions),  here’s the link:  https://www.thefreshmarket.com

toast-1

CHEERS!

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The Valencia Champagne Cocktail

I love to find Cocktail Cookbooks with cocktail recipes from the “golden age of libation”.  I found this fabulous Valencia Champagne Cocktail recipe in Cocktail Hour by Susan Waggoner and Robert Markel:

naan cocktail

Valencia

This delightful champagne cocktail was an international favorite.  It cast its golden glow on Europe between the wars, and was a popular specialty of the house at the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles. One sip and you’ll understand why.

2 ounces Apricot Brandy

1 ounce chilled Orange Juice

4 dashes Orange Bitters

3 ounces ice cold Champagne

Pour brandy, orange juice, and orange bitters into a cocktail shaker with cracked ice.  Shake and strain into a chilled champagne flute or wineglass. Immediately top with cold champagne.

bitters

Orange bitters are a cocktail flavoring made from the peels of Seville oranges,  cardamom,  caraway seed, coriander and burnt sugar in an alcohol base. These bitters have a definite orange flavor with a bit of an evergreen taste to me. Pungent but pleasant, adds the perfect “pop” of orange to orange based cocktails.

And here’s a yummy, easy to prepare appetizer to pair with your Valencia Champagne Cocktail…I’ve fallen in love with these Naan Dippers. I call them “Baby Naan” because they are so cute.

naan bacon

Bacon, Avocado and Tomato Baby Naans

Toast the baby naans lightly and allow to cool to room temperature.  Spread mayonnaise on each baby naan. Spread each baby naan with fresh ripe avocado.  Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.  Top with crumbled crisp bacon and one thin slice of Roma tomato.  Cheers!

naan strawberry

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naan kitty

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