foodie

Time To Tailgate With Bloody Marys ~ Yellow and Red!

It’s Time To Tailgate!

…and that means it’s time for Bloody Marys! 

River and Rail bloody mary

A Virginia Favorite! 

Texas Beach Bloody Mary Mix

Available locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar

$7.99 a bottle

For Real Bloody Mary Drinkers!

I love this Bloody Mary mix, tastes like a fresh tomato with just the right amount of spice.

https://www.texasbeachbloodymary.com/

Texas Bloody Mary Mix was created by three friends from Richmond, Virginia. While Working in the industry as bartenders, they realized there was an immediate need for a mix with all the good stuff already in the bottle. So we set out on the long journey to create the tasty, authentic and responsibly produced Texas Beach Bloody Mary Mix.

The name Texas Beach comes from our favorite part of the James River located in lovely Richmond, Virginia at the end of Texas Avenue. Cheers!

bloody mary

Yellow Tomato Bloody Mary

Yellow Tomato Bloody Mary

I found this recipe for Yellow Tomato Bloody Mary in Bon Appétit Magazine. Fresh and delicious.  It’s always fun to garnish Bloody Mary cocktails ~ I chose celery stalks, golden cherry tomatoes, pimiento stuffed olives, crispy bacon and pickled green and purple beans.

Recipe from the August, 2018 issue of Bon Appétit. Recipe by Molly Baz.

Bruised tomatoes dripping with juice are tailor-made for a fresh Bloody Mary. They might not be on display at the farmers’ market—beauty queens, they’re not—but they’re often there if you ask.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lb. very ripe yellow tomatoes, cored, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped, plus celery heart stalks with leaves for serving
  • 6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup Castelvetrano olive brine, plus olives for serving
  • ¼ cup finely grated peeled horseradish
  • 3 Tbsp. hot sauce (preferably Cholula)
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 4 tsp. kosher salt, divided, plus more
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 6 oz. gin
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. mild red pepper flakes
  • Sun Gold tomatoes (for serving)

RECIPE PREPARATION

  • Blend yellow tomatoes and chopped celery in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute. Strain through a medium-mesh sieve into a large pitcher, pressing on solids to extract as much juice as possible. Whisk in lemon juice, olive brine, horseradish, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, and 3 tsp. salt. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Cover and chill at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.

  • Combine black pepper, red pepper flakes, and remaining 1 tsp. salt in a shallow bowl.

  • To make each cocktail, rub the rim of a 12-oz. glass with a lemon wedge, then dip into spicy salt. Fill glass with ice and pour in 1½ oz. gin. Top with 5 oz. Bloody Mary mix; garnish with cherry tomatoes, celery heart stalks, and olives.

    If you are not a gin fan, try making this cocktail with Plymouth Gin. Plymouth does not have a strong juniper flavor. It is smooth with just the right amount of floral notes.

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National Champagne Day ~ August 4, 2018 ~ Insanely Good Reasons To Have Cold Champagne In Your Refrigerator

August 4, 2018 is National Champagne Day!

chocolate close up cookies delicious

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Pexels.com

It’s also National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day ~ Can it get any better than that?!  

I’ve noticed August 4 has been mentioned on the internet as “National Champagne Day” but I have no idea why…of course I think every day should be National Champagne Day and I don’t want to wait to celebrate so on we go!!!

This article originally appeared on TablogUS.com:

10 Insanely Good Reasons To Always Have A Cold Bottle Of Champagne In Your Refrigerator *

When was the last time you popped the cork of a champagne bottle? Most likely it was for a special occasion..a wedding, graduation, ringing in the New Year?

But why wait to celebrate?!

There have been many wise men and women who have advised whole-heartedly that we drink champagne every day:

sea sunset beach couple

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“In a perfect world, everyone would have a glass of Champagne every evening.”

~ Willie Gluckstern, author “The Wine Avenger”

“Three be the things I shall never attain: envy, content and sufficient champagne.”
~ Dorothy Parker American poet and short story writer

Napoleon Bonaparte said, ” I drink Champagne when I win, to celebrate…and I drink Champagne when I lose, to console myself.”  Having a cold bottle of champagne in your refrigerator (or 2, or 3) is always good for a celebration and will lift your spirits during more dismal times. So pop a cork and enjoy these 10 insanely good reasons to keep a stock of cold bubbly on hand:

  1. As Charles Dickens said, “Champagne is one of the elegant extras in life.”  With champagne chilling in your fridge you will be ready at a moment’s notice to celebrate anything and everything…

Champagne =Celebration!

Just the sound of the “Pop!” of a champagne cork sends a message to your brain ~ it’s time to party!  Once reserved only for royalty and the upper crust of society, now everyone can enjoy this celebratory drink because…

champagne does not have to be expensive to be an enjoyable aperitif.  Trending now…more inexpensive pairings…champagne and pizza, scrambled eggs and champagne…but if you  pop some Beluga caviar on top of either one then you’ve got a pricey snack!

The best way to find delicious champagne that will fit your budget is to get to know your local wine merchant. That’s the guy who owns the local wine store that’s been in the business forever and you can trust.  Visit his store often and he will steer you in the right direction because…

  1. …he knows that champagne will not disappoint.  A glass of champagne makes guests feel special.  Before venturing out to dinner with friends, invite them over for a champagne toast and serve a little toast because…

champagne pairs with caviar which should be served with little toast points or blinis. And it pairs equally as well with simple potato chips which Marilyn Monroe loved in the movie The Seven Year Itch (“Hey, did you ever try dunking a potato chip in Champagne. It’s real crazy!” Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch ~1955) because…

  1. Marilyn knew that champagne is a good conversation starter which is helpful on a date or evening out when you don’t know your company very well.  Most everyone has an opinion about champagne whether they love it or not and most everyone has a champagne experience to share because…
  2. this fanciful beverage will tickle your nose with 100 million bubbles in each 3.4 ounce glass and…
  3. serving champagne can be classy without being pretentious…or go ahead and be pretentious by serving a magnum (equals 2 standard bottles) or jeroboam (equals 4 standard bottles) or cutesy by serving a huitième (equals 1/8th standard bottle) with a straw because…
  4. your good crystal is gathering dust in the china cabinet and you really need an excuse to use your Waterford crystal flutes and…
  5. they will look so beautiful filled with rosé champagne ~ which is perfect for Valentine’s Day or any other day you want to say “I love you” because…
  6. if for no other reason, as you are running out the door to a party, champagne makes a wonderful last-minute hostess gift.  Or when you arrive home to crawl into an inviting bubble bath, take it literally, just like Marilyn Monroe and sip on a cold glass of bubbly while soaking in a bathtub filled with the contents of 350 bottles of champagne!

Pop your cork with these bubbly recommendations (all champagnes listed here are non-vintage unless otherwise noted and prices are approximate and listed in USD):

for a toast…Veuve-Clicquot~ renowned “yellow” label is instantly recognized as fine bubbles worthy of a special toast to friends and family. Tasting notes:  Fine bubbles with an elegant mousse. Citrus notes with flavors of pear, toasty brioche ($65)

http://www.veuve-clicquot.com/

for a good value

  1. Besserat de Bellefon Cuvee des Moines Brut. Tasting notes: Fine, consistent bubbles in the glass. White peaches a touch of earthiness with hazelnut undertones. http://besseratdebellefon.com/en
  2. Charles de Cazanova Brut. Tasting notes: Toasted brioche, gala apple, lemon zest, graphite and ginger with a hint of honey. ($35 – $45 range) http://www.champagnedecazanove.com/uk/home/index.php

for fancy bubbles to pair with simple potato chips…  2006 Perrier-Jouet Fleur de Champagne Brut Cuvee Belle Epoque 2006.  Fabulous bubbles in a hand-painted bottle.  Princess Grace of Monaco declared Perrier-Jouet Fleur de Champagne with the iconic anemone to be her favorite champagne.  Tasting notes: Delicate and beautiful with aromas of white fruits – white peach, pear and lemon with a hint of pineapple.  give way to hints of pineapple. Notes of rich marzipan, nuts and buttered toast. Balanced in silkiness with a long fine finish. ($150.00)

http://www.perrier-jouet.com/

for a prestigious presentation…Piper Heidsick Brut magnum. 1 million bubbles in a flute of champagne equates to 12 million bubbles in this magnum bottle (magnum = 2 standard bottles = 12 flutes of champagne). Tasting notes:  Rich and rounded, creamy mousse, citrus notes with butter and caramel.  ($80)

http://piper-heidsieck.com/en/

for your love on Valentine’s Day…rosé champagne… Cuvée Rosé Laurent-Perrier ~ beautiful salmon pink color, soft bead, fresh berry on the nose. ($70)

http://www.laurent-perrier.com/en/

Veuve Clicquot Rosé. Tasting notes: silky on the tongue, beautiful fine bubbles, lively black cherry and raspberry fruit and rich brioche. ($70)

Piper-Heidsieck Rosé SauvageTasting notes:  Fine, satiny bubbles, this vibrant, deep-hued rosé layers rich accents of lightly buttered toast and walnut with lively flavors of raspberry puree, wild cherry, blood orange zest and ginger.

“I wish I’d drunk more Champagne.”
The dying words of LORD KEYNES

Santé!

photo of liquid pouring

Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS on Pexels.com

*TablogUS.com, February 5, 2016

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Celebrating Summer’s Bounty ~ PAN CON TOMATE ~ Spanish Tomato Toast

PAN CON TOMATE ~ SPANISH TOAST WITH TOMATO

Tomorrow I am going to a Tomato Fest at our local farmers market and I will share photos from that event in a future blog post.  Today I am sharing one of my favorite snack recipes…Pan Con Tomate ~ crusty grilled or toasted bread rubbed with garlic and fresh tomato pulp.  It is absolutely delicious. In Spain they often serve Pan Con Tomate for breakfast along with cured ham and fresh fruit.

Pan Con Tomate

Ingredients:
1 Crusty Bakery Fresh baguette, halved lengthwise and then cut into quarters horizontally.
2 cloves  garlic
6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (Spanish olive oil is preferred for this recipe)
2 very ripe large tomatoes, cut in half
Coarse sea salt
Directions:
 Preheat broiler to high. Place bread, cut side up, on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Broil until crisp and starting to char around the edges, 2 to 3 minutes.
 Rub garlic cloves over cut surface of bread.
Put a box grater into a large bowl and grate tomatoes over largest holes, discarding skin. Spoon grated tomato onto toast and sprinkle with sea salt.

“a” Restaurant

In a restaurant we enjoyed Barcelona’s cuisine with a fun touch, with influences from around the world and a lot of flavor thought to be shared. And all with chef Alain Guiard’s special signature. Their tomato toast was the BEST!

Gazpacho is another tasty way to use the bounty of summer garden tomatoes. I like mine garnished with a little jumbo lump crab, burratta cheese and chopped red pepper.

I found this lovely summer recipe for Cherry Gazpacho in one of our neighborhood magazines The South Roanoke Circle in an article by David Lake Cook’s Nook, Liquid Pleasure = Liquid Salad. The cherries add a surprising zing to this Spanish chilled soup.  Don’t forget to chill your serving bowls and soup spoons in the freezer before service which will help to keep the soup nice and chilly as your guests enjoy it.  The tomatoes, peppers and herbs in the photo above were freshly picked out of my garden.

Cherry Gazpacho

Three 1-inch-thick slices of a rustic white sandwich-style bread

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

3 garlic cloves, 1 thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 seedless cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 pound fresh bing or sweet cherries, pitted, set aside 12 cherries and finely dice them

3 ounces tomato juice

1 1/2 ounces red wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 thyme sprig

Tabasco sauce (I used Peri-Peri medium hot sauce)

4 basil leaves, torn, for garnish

Cherry gazpacho mixture:  Drizzle 1 bread slice with olive oil on both sides – do not cut it up yet.  In a medium skillet, fry the bread over moderate heat, turning once or twice, until golden, about 4 minutes. Rub the bread on one side with 1 whole garlic clove. Cut the bread int 1-inch cubes and transfer to a bowl. Add the sliced garlic, red and yellow bell peppers, cucumber, whole pitted cherries, tomato juice, vinegar, and 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

Croutons:  Meanwhile, cut the remaining bread into 1/2 -inch cubes and toss with the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the bread cubes to the skillet along with the thyme and the remaining garlic clove and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently until the croutons are browned and crisp, about 4 minutes.  Transfer the croutons to paper towels to drain. Discard the garlic and thyme and season the croutons with salt.

Working in batches, puree the cherry mixture in a blender until smooth.  Strain the gazpacho through a fine sieve.  Season with salt, pepper and Tabasco.

Ladle the gazpacho into shallow bowls. Garnish with diced cherries, croutons and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Please visit the Roanoker Magazine Blog to find recipes for Insanely Simple Summer Snacks:

https://theroanoker.com/blogging/behind-the-page/insanely-simple-summer-snacks/

 

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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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Today Is A Caviar And Champagne Kinda Day!

Zen Sauces are the flavor bomb!  Find out more about these fabulous local pepper sauces on the Roanoker Magazine blog. Here’s the link:

https://theroanoker.com/blogs/behind/the-secrets-in-the-sauce/

Caviar and Champagne…the perfect pairing!

On a trip to Madrid, Spain this summer, we found a gourmet store that was filled with delicacies. My eyes were big as saucers when I saw row after row of unusually large bottles of my favorite beverage – champagne!

This bottle of Taittinger champagne is a Nebuchadnezzar which equals 20 regular bottles of champagne! Nebuchadnezzar is named after the greatest, most powerful of all Babylonian kings, who ruled from the late 7th to the middle 6th century BC. (The bottle next to it is a magnum which equals 2 standard bottles of champagne.)

While shopping in this glorious gourmet store we happened upon a caviar tasting!  The gentleman that was serving the caviar paired it with a lovely Russian vodka and champagne.  The caviar was a delicious surprise!

I was happy to see the pasta displayed behind him…Capriani pasta that we can purchase at Fresh Market – the closest thing to fresh pasta I’ve found in Roanoke.  https://shop.cipriani.com

Caviar served with toast points or blini, pickled onions or capers, crème fraîche, egg yolk and egg white that has been pushed through a sieve. Add lemon wedges for squeezing over top of the caviar once you’ve compiled it on your toast or blini.

Always serve caviar with a non-metal spoon. Metal gives the delicate caviar a metallic taste. A mother-of-pearl spoon is perfect for caviar service (available locally at Provisions/RSVP or on-line).

Photo by Megapixie

http://megapixie.com

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Carrabba’s Sausage And Lentil Soup Recipe For Father’s Day

Potatoes Picante, Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Peaches, Charred Corn Burrata Salad…find fabulous tapas recipes on the Roanoker Magazine blog. Here’s the link:

https://theroanoker.com/blogs/behind/it%E2%80%99s-time-for-tapas/

Did someone say SOUP?!

Here’s the most delicious soup you can serve Dad on his special day.  Tastes like a yummy chili with the spicy addition of Italian sausage.  Our bubbly friends Judy and Bill served this to us for an Italian themed dinner and I loved it so much I made it for dinner the very next evening!  Bill found the recipe on Copykat.com:

Carrabba’s Sausage and Lentil Soup

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 48 ounce package low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (I used Cavender’s Greek Seasoning)
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup brown lentils (I used red lentils)

Directions

In a large pot add onions, carrots, garlic, and celery and either butter or vegetable oil. Saute until the onions are transparent. Add sausage, and cook until browned. If the sausage is fairly lean drain the excess oil.

Add chicken broth, Italian seasoning, diced tomatoes and brown lentils. Cover with lid. And simmer for about 1 hour. You may want to add some additional water if too much water cooks out during the cooking process.

We found this 2016 Izadi Blanco Rioja to be an excellent pairing with the sausage and lentil soup. A blend of 80% Viura and 20% Malvasía grapes. Creamy texture with a fruit-driven freshness that balances well with the spicy flavors in the soup. Available on-line or locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar.

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National Cheese Day ~ Comeback Cow!

Cheese Glorious Cheese!

In celebration of National Cheese Day – June 4, 2018 – I am tasting a new cheese and it is delicious!

Dorothy’s Comeback Cow Soft Ripened Cheese

A pleasant surprise!

Dorothy was known to work tirelessly or, as they say, until the cows came home, perfecting her soft-ripened cheeses. Comeback Cow is one of her most unusual cheese –– a true creation. Nestled in the shape of freshly sprung flowers—this bloomy rind cheese is tinged orange with age. It’s made from cow’s milk with rustic, fragrant notes in every bite.

Behold, a tasteful artisan brie that surprises A lovely blend crafted with sheer love Flavor with a kick (that just keeps kicking) And creaminess that will keep you coming back… Until the cows come home!

I paired the Comeback Cow Cheese with Runamok Maple Syrups.  Made in northern Vermont these maple syrups are fabulous drizzled over soft-ripened cheese, in cocktails, and in many sweet and savory recipes. Here’s a link to Runamok’s recipes on-line: https://runamokmaple.com/recipes/

We found the Smoked with Pecan Wood Maple Syrup to be especially delicious.

Holmsted Fines Peach Chutney was another amazing pairing with the Comeback Cow cheese. It tastes so much like my mom’s homemade peach chutney, yum!

 

Holmsted Fines Chutney is uniquely different from other chutneys on the market. It is an English based recipe that Owner and Creator Rebecca Williamson developed after graduating  Le Cordon Bleu. The balance between sweetness and acidity make Holmsted Fines the perfect condiment for any meats, cheese and vegetables even can be added to cocktails or desserts.  https://holmstedfines.com/

I am always looking for quick and delicious appetizers to serve with wine and these syrups and chutneys paired with cheese was the perfect combination ~ so easy to prepare and serve.

Comeback Cow!

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