entertaining

Million Dollar Cocktail

There’s lots to love about Rosé Cider.  Read about my favorites ciders with tasting notes in the Roanoker Magazine behind the page:

https://theroanoker.com/blogging/behind-the-page/the-romance-of-rose-cidre/

Million Dollar Cocktail

I love any recipe that is named “Million Dollar”. This Million Dollar Cocktail recipe is worth its weight in gold!  Absolutely divine!

Place Nick and Nora style cocktail glass in the freezer to chill while you prepare the cocktail.

For each cocktail:

2 fl ounces Gin (Sunset Hills Gin, made in Virginia, is my favorite gin of the moment.  Light and delightful, it does not have a strong juniper taste.)

1/2 fl ounce freshly pressed pineapple juice (I blended fresh pineapple in my blender to make “juice” which was more like a thin puree.)

1/4 fl ounce Grenadine syrup

1/2 fl ounce pasteurized egg whites (find these in the refrigerated egg section of the grocery store)

A few drops of Blood Orange Bitters

Pineapple chunk garnish

Shake the gin, pineapple juice, Grenadine syrup and egg whites with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass. Place a few drops of blood orange bitters on the top of the cocktail.  Garnish with a pineapple chunk.

bright bubble color flatlay

Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Pexels.com

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Steger Creek Opens New Stores In Roanoke, Virginia

Steger Creek Opens New Stores!

Steger Creek Fine Gifts and Collectables always felt like home to me. For years I’ve gone to their Starkey Road location to buy the prettiest greeting cards, hostess gifts and home décor items. They recently opened two delightfully charming new locations (the Starkey location is now closed).  When I visited the new stores this week I found my favorite gifts and goodies as well as some new treats and got a little history lesson in the process.

A Norfolk Southern train was chugging along behind the store when I arrived at The Virginian Railway Station, 1402 Jefferson St. (intersection of Williamson Road and Jefferson Street). The Virginian Railway was a 440-mile line completed in 1909 to transport coal from West Virginia to Tidewater.  The Virginian Railway Depot was built that same year to serve Roanoke. Passenger service continued from this depot until 1956 when the Virginian merged with Norfolk and Western Railway.  The depot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Steger Creek opened the depot store in July and their hours are: Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

I’ve always wondered about the name, Steger Creek and just found out that it is derived from an actual creek running through Central Virginia where the owners, Michael and Alex Pace, own property.  As the creek flows, it feeds the Rivanna River, which ultimately flows into the James River.

Steger Creek always has fun snack ideas with recipe cards. I was tickled to find one of my favorites The Original Savory Party Cracker Seasoning. No bake! Easy To Make!  I used Keebler Mini Club Crackers to make my party crackers. I combined 1 2/3 cups of canola oil and 1 package of Savory Seasoning in a ZipTop Bag and mixed well.  I added 2 (11 ounce each) boxes of mini club crackers and sealed the bag.  Then I tumbled the bag every 5 minutes or so until all of the savory seasoning was adsorbed.  I let the crackers rest in the bag overnight then I put them in an air tight container and stored in the refrigerator. SO SNACKABLE!

Their second new location is at the Taubman Museum of Art.  Open Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 12-5 p.m. This quaint shop is full of treasures – jewelry, colorful scarves, hand-hammered metal giftware, local art, fanciful umbrellas and so much more. At the Taubman store I bought some of my favorite Rose & Ivy Pecan Pepper Glaze to make a delightful appetizer:

Rose & Ivy Pecan Cheese Bake

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 8 ounce block cream cheese, softened

½ cup mayonnaise

2 green onions, finely chopped

6 Ritz crackers, crushed

8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

½ cup Rose & Ivy Southern Pecan Pepper Glaze

 

Combine mayo, cream cheese, cheddar and onions in greased quiche pan. Top with crackers and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.  Top with bacon, drizzle with Southern Pecan Pepper Glaze before serving. Serve on your favorite crackers. I like Carr’s Table water Crackers for this recipe.

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Put Sunshine In Your Champagne Flute This Weekend! Champagne Snockered Watermelon!

If you LOVE melon, you are going to LOVE this idea!

Champagne Snockered Watermelon!

The Wall Street Journal July 14/15, 2018 issue:

Drunk on Summer… recommends matching your favorite melon variety with a sympatico spirit.” The article, written by Aleksandra Crapanzano, makes these melon/spirit combinations:

Cantaloupe (Sugar Cube, Serenade Cavaillon or Savor melons may be substituted) with Ruby Port

Honeydew (Snow Leopard, Honey Whites, Diplomats or Honey Orange melons may be substituted with Prosecco, Champagne, Cava, White Rum or Gin

Seedless Baby Watermelon with Vodka, Sambuca, Cachaca or a mix of Silver Tequila and Cointreau

I cut my baby watermelon (Fresh Market) in half and made a little hollow in it. Then I poured champagne into the hollow and ground some pink peppercorns all over the watermelon flesh. You can use your favorite champagne, cava, prosecco or sparkling wine to make this melon.  We dug into it with a spoon and drank the liquid that was left in the hollow after we devoured the flesh. Super Tasty and Boosy!

 

It would be grand to walk outside to find an orange tree full of bright juicy oranges, but not all of us have that luxury. For the rest of us freshly squeezed orange juice is the next best thing to plucking oranges from a tree. I like to use my “Juiceman” juicer to squeeze my juice:  http://www.juiceman.com/

Champagne and orange juice is a great drink. The orange improves the champagne. The champagne definitely improves the orange.”

Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

This classic cocktail dates back to the early 1920’s when a drink called “Buck’s Fizz”  (two parts champagne to one part orange juice) was invented at the Buck’s Club in London.   Later in 1925, a bartender at the Ritz Hotel in Paris named Frank Meier invented the classic half champagne half orange juice Mimosa that we’ve grown to love.

Freixenet Brut Blanc de Blanc

This bubbly Cava is perfect in Mimosas.  Produced by the same winery that gives us Gloria Ferrer, one of my favorite sparkling wines:  https://www.gloriaferrer.com/carneros-winery

The perfect casual summer sipper…from Catalonia, Spain. 100% Chardonnay grapes.  A sparkling value…$10 range.  Lots of fun bubbles. Notes of baked apple with just a touch of lemon. Available on-line. I also found this Cava locally at Tinnell’s in Roanoke, Virginia. http://tinnells.com

Try Blood Orange juice in your Mimosa for a splash of color!

Codorniu Anna Brut Rosé Cava is another fun choice to make Mimosas.  Available at Earth Fare locally or on-line. 70% pinot noir and 30% chardonnay. Lots of bubbly berry flavors ~ raspberry, strawberry and cherry. $15 – $20 range. 

Here’s a link to the most  DELISH Mimosa recipes:

https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/g2720/mimosa-recipes/

Here’s some more sunshine to put in your wine glass.  Blood Orange First Press. Fun French Rosé Wine with Orange & Other Natural Flavors. The orange flavors balance the sweetness of the wine.  So pretty in the glass.  Easy to sip in the sunshine.  I would call this a “girlie” wine since I would drink it with my girlfriends by the pool or on the patio.  Available locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar or on-line. $12 – $15 range. 

 http://mrbillswinecellar.com/

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Fire And Ice Kentucky Lemonade ~ Celebrate Derby Day!

What’s shaken’ at the River and Rail Restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia?!

Find out and enjoy some of Shane Lumpp’s fabulous cocktail recipes 

on the Roanoker Magazine’s Blog:  

 

https://theroanoker.com/blogs/behind/cocktails-with-shane/

 

This year the Kentucky Derby is on May 5, the same day as Cinco de Mayo.  So let’s make “Cinco de Mayo Kentucky Lemonade”!  with Kentucky bourbon of course!

Fire and Ice Kentucky Lemonade 

Makes 8 cups

  • cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice (from approximately 6 lemons ~ don’t worry about the seeds, they will be strained out later)
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves + a few mint sprigs for garnish
  • 2/3 cup Bourbon
  • cups ginger ale
  • large ice cubes
  • 12 slices fresh Mandarin oranges, cut slices in half
  • Maker’s Mark Bourbon Cherries for garnish
  • 8 very thin slices (adjust the number of slices to taste ~  these are hot, so be careful!) Serrano peppers, seeds and membrane removed
  • Fine sugar for cocktail glass rim (fine sugar is available at Fresh Market)
  1. In a small saucepan, combine granulated sugar and water and heat over medium heat.  Heat until sugar dissolves into water and mixture is clear.  Simmer 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat.

  2. Add lemon juice, mint leaves, Serrano pepper slices and Bourbon, then let mixture cool.

  3. Pour mixture through a fine strainer into a pitcher to remove solid particles and mint leaves.  Rim cocktail glasses with fine sugar.  To rim glasses place fine sugar on a small plate.  Rub the edge of each cocktail glass with a lemon wedge.  Roll the edge of the glass in the fine sugar.  For each lemonade cocktail mix 1/2 cup lemonade mixture to 1/2 cup ginger ale and stir to combine.  Add 2 or more large ice cubes and 2 mandarin orange slices.  Garnish with Maker’s Mark Bourbon Cherries and a sprig of mint.

    April was a happy month of celebrations for our family.  We enjoyed a special food and wine pairing dinner at River and Rail Restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia.  My bubbly sister-in-law Kelly is pictured above with a jeroboam of Billecart-Salmon “Brut Réserve” Champagne. (Jeroboam = 4 standard bottles of champagne).  We enjoyed pairing this champagne with a spectacular seafood display…Lobster, American Sturgeon Caviar service, oysters, shrimp, smoked trout rillette. 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Champagne And Beef Tenderloin…Yes Please!

Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather, and a little music played out of doors by someone I do not know…

                                                                                                                                                                 ~ John Keats

I love champagne and I love beef tenderloin, but up until now I did not pair the two.  Recently I was happy to find that Philippe Fourrier Rosé pairs extraordinarily well with beef tenderloin. Since it is made of 90 percent pinot noir grapes (and 10 percent chardonnay grapes), with notes of red cherry and juicy raspberry,  it can stand up to the bold flavors of the beef.

Champagne Moussé Fils 

Blanc De Noirs Noire Reserve

This lovely champagne is primarily made from Pinot Meunier grapes.  80% pinot meunier, 16% pinot noir and 4% chardonnay.  With notes of black currant, brioche and lemon curd and a long sustained finish, this champagne is a wonderful compliment to beef tenderloin.

Thinking about delightful pairings…my bubbly friend Mary Ellen gave me some festive shot glasses.  I filled them with a lobster salad served with a chilled cocktail fork so that guests could get every last piece of yummy lobster out of the glass.  Frozen lobster meat (for us locals it is available at Tanglewood Kroger) is perfect for this salad recipe. Chop the lobster meat and mix with a little sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Old Bay Seasoning and chopped fresh dill. Don’t add too much of any of the creamy ingredients ~ remember you can always add more but you can’t take any out once it’s mixed in.  Chill and serve icy cold.  (Put shot glasses and cocktail forks in the freezer to chill before service.)

We paired the lobster salad appetizer with Laurent Perrier Rosé.  The mid-March snow on my flowering quince tree made the perfect perch for our rosé champagne bottle. 100 percent Pinot Noir grapes.  Notes of strawberry, hazelnut and brioche. We call this champagne “Easter Wine” because a bubbly friend of ours told us that her mother always wanted a “pink wine” to match her dining room drapes for Easter dinner.  $76 range.

My bubbly sister-in-law Gwen sent me this…“My doctor told me that because of my age I should install a bar in my shower…done!”

 I recently found some Roka Cheese Crispies at a local store ~ some of my favorite “Cheesie Poofs” as I call them. I bought 40 boxes!

On Sunday, this little critter, Ziggy, somehow got out of our front door (he is an indoor cat) and was out “catting around the neighborhood” all day. We looked everywhere and said lots of prayers, especially with a snowstorm on it’s way and finally around 5 o’clock that evening he came walking up on our back deck. We were so happy to see him!  He ate a big dinner and fell asleep in front of the fire.

 

Ziggy’s brother Artie Shaw was so happy to see him!

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Bloody Leprechaun Cocktail! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day brunch…Bloody Leprechaun Cocktail made with Green Peppercorn Vodka…

Green Peppercorn Vodka

1 cup vodka

2 tablespoons green peppercorns

1 tablespoon pink peppercorns

1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns

Place vodka in a mason jar.  Put peppercorns in a mortar and pestle.  Grind peppercorns with pestle until most of the peppercorns are broken apart.

Place mashed peppercorns in the vodka. Seal the jar with a secure lid. Shake jar and place in refrigerator.  Keep the jar in the refrigerator for a couple of days (or longer), shake jar every day for the first couple of days.  After the vodka is infused with the pepper flavor which takes a couple of days, strain the peppercorns out of the vodka and return the vodka to the jar and refrigerate (I like to keep a few peppercorns in my vodka just to spice up my Bloody Leprechaun Cocktail).

Bloody Leprechaun Ice Cubes 

Place olives and cornichons in various size ice cube trays (I like the oversize square ice cube trays because extra-large ice cubes last longer in my cocktail).  Cover with water and add a drop or two of green food coloring. Give the water a little stir and freeze the cubes.

Bloody Leprechaun Cocktail

1.5 ounces green peppercorn vodka

11 ounces tomato juice

1 teaspoon prepared horseradish

6 splashes Worcestershire sauce

3 drops hot sauce (green hot sauce is perfect for this recipe!)

Squeeze one wedge of fresh lime

2 Bloody Leprechaun Ice Cubes

Garnish with green ~ celery, cornichons, green pimento stuffed olives, lime slices.

Place ice in cocktail shaker, filling halfway full.  Pour green pepper vodka and tomato juice to shaker then add horseradish,  Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. (Add more horseradish, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce to taste.) Cover with lid, and shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled. Strain into a highball glass over Bloody Leprechaun ice cubes. Add a few of the peppercorns from the vodka to the cocktail if desired. Garnish with celery stalk, cornichons, green olives and lime slices.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Enjoy Special Club Champagne With Chili-Lime Crab Salad

One of my favorite Spring recipes by Sue Zemanick, Food and Wine Magazine (with a few little twists that I enjoy with this salad).

I chill appetizer bowls and appetizer forks in the freezer for serving this salad.

Chile-Lime Crab Salad With Tomato And Avacado

4 servings

5 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon very finely chopped jalapeno

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, plus cilantro leaves for garnish

1/2 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

salt and freshly ground black pepper (I substitute the black pepper with ground pink peppercorns for an extra kick)

1/2 pound lump crabmeat, picked over

1 1/2 Hass avocados, diced (1/2 inch)

1/3 cup minced red onion

1 large heirloom tomato , cut into four 1/2-inch-thick slices (if tomatoes are not in season I omit the tomatoes)

Tortilla chips, for serving (I substitute lime tortilla chips)

I add these two garnishes for the top of the salad ~ 1/2 cup cooked fresh corn kernels off the cob and 1/3 cup finely diced red radishes.

  1. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice with the olive oil, vegetable oil, jalapeno, chopped cilantro, honey and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper (a good grind of pink peppercorns).
  2. In a small bowl, toss the crab with 3 tablespoons of the dressing and season with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, gently toss the avocado with the red onion and 2 tablespoons of the dressing.
  3. Place a tomato slice on each plate and season with salt. Top with the avocado and the crab and garnish with the cilantro.   Garnish with fresh corn kernels, finely diced radishes. Drizzle the remaining dressing on top and serve with lime tortilla chips.

A fabulous pairing with the Chili-Lime Crab Salad ~

2011 Roland Special Club Blanc de Blancs Champagne

I purchased this lovely champagne locally at Tinnell’s Finer Foods, Roanoke, Virginia.  tinnells.com  It is also available on-line.

100% Chardonnay grapes.   One of the consummate symbols of quality in Champagne, the “Special Club” label is allowed only on the best wines from top vintages if they pass muster after a series of blind tastings and all the other producer-members of “The Club”  (an elite group of growers formed in 1971) unanimously agree. Roland Champion’s 2011 Special Club Blanc des Blancs earned that distinction. $65 range.  Beautifully balanced and buttery with lovely bubbles.  Excellent with lobster and crabmeat.

Information about the “Special Club” from timelesswines.com:

To be a member of this Club, Champagne producers have to elaborate their Cuvées in their own facility, meaning the pressing, bottling, ridding, disgorging, etc., have to be done at the domaine/estate. Then, only the Recoltants-Manipulants are accepted. Everybody has to respect the Club’s rules to ensure the quality. These rules include: * Only vintages * Two tastings to control the quality: the first one after the blending, when the wine is still “Vin Clair” (juice) and another after the 3 years (or more) of ageing “sur lattes”. There are 26 members, each of whom can produce his Special Club with his own techniques: * blending or “monocru” (only one grape variety) * “blanc de blancs” or “blanc de noirs”; ageing from 3 to 10 years, brut or extra-brut. 4 year ageing minimum Strict selection of plots only made out of our old vineyards.

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