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Let’s Drink Champagne And Celebrate With The World’s Most Expensive Sandwich!

August is National Sandwich Month. Let’s celebrate with champagne and sandwiches!

2005 Dom champagne

Facts about the world’s MOST EXPENSIVE SANDWICH:

  1.  In 2014 the Guinness Book of World Records recognized the “Quintessential Grilled Cheese” as the world’s most expensive sandwich.
  2. This sandwich was created by Joe Calderon, Chef at the Serendipity 3 Restaurant, New York City.
  3. This sandwich is made with two pieces of French Pullman champagne bread which is made with Dom Perignon champagne and edible gold flakes, with white truffle butter and the very rare Caciocavallo Podolico cheese. The sandwich is served with South African Lobster Tomato Bisque for dipping.
  4. Price: $214
  5. The Quintessential Grilled Cheese has to be ordered 48 hours in advance in order to source the ingredients needed to make such a fancy-dancy sandwich.
  6. The Serendipity 3 Restaurant has been the scene of several films, including one of my favorite romantic comedies that came out in  2001: Serendipity.

Here’s a link with cool photos of this expensive sandwich:

The most expensive sandwich in the world!

sandwich

My favorite summer sandwiches which pair perfectly with bubbly are fresh tomato and cucumber sandwiches. If you live in the South as I do, then you know the elements of these sandwiches are extremely important…just sayin’

Pepperidge Farm Very Thin White Bread

Thinly Sliced Garden Fresh Tomatoes

Thinly Sliced (sliced on a mandoline) peeled cucumbers

Fresh dill, chopped (for the cucumber sandwiches)

Duke’s Mayonnaise

Freshly ground black pepper

Spread each piece of bread liberally with mayonnaise.  Top mayonnaise with a good sprinkling of black pepper and either tomato slices or cucumber slices. Top the cucumber slices with chopped fresh dill. Top the tomato slices and cucumber slices with another slice of mayonnaise slathered bread.  Cut each sandwich in half to make two triangles, then cut the triangles in half to make small triangle sandwiches. Place sandwiches on a chilled platter.   Serve immediately.

Champagne is a perfect pairing for potato chips and potato chips are the perfect accompaniment to sandwiches. This was one of Marilyn Monroe’s favorite flavor combinations.

potato chip

I recommend Baron-Fuénte Grands Cepages Chardonnay Champagne NV to pair with these summery sandwiches.   This champagne is composed of 100% chardonnay grapes. I love the shape of this bubbly bottle.  $45 range.  Notes of citrus (lemon zest), creamy, nice tiny bubbles dancing around the flute, finishing with a touch of toasted almond. Dill pairs very well with chardonnay so the cucumber dill sandwiches will be a treat paired with this champagne.  Cheers!

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Champagne Day, August 4 ~ Celebrate With Frozen Champagne Raspberry Peach Grape Pops!

“Men are like wine ~ some  turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age.” 

Pope John XXIII

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veuve-top

ice-veuve-champagne

August 4 is celebrated as “Champagne Day” because on this day in 1693, Dom Pérignon exclaimed  “Come quickly, I am drinking the stars!” when he “invented” champagne.   Dom Pérignon was only 19 when he became a monk and moved to the Abbey of Hautvillers near the town of Épernay (within Champagne, France), where he served as cellarmaster. It was popular at the time to try to get rid of any bubbles in wine. As hard as he tried Dom Pérignon could not get rid of the bubbles and instead embraced them which was an important step in the evolution of champagne.

DON’T WAIT TO CELEBRATE!

“Have you thrown up your hands in despair and confusion with too many choices? In that case, just remember one word:

CHAMPAGNE

It’s refreshing, relatively low in alcohol and sufficiently neutral to go with a myriad of foods. One minor tweak might be to have  more full-bodied vintage champagne with red meats and non-vintage champagne with everything else.  That’s a lot easier to remember than what wine goes with yak.”

~ Sam Gugino, contributing editor to Wine Spectator and author of Cooking to Beat the Clock

veuve-rose

 Rosé Champagne with BBQ!  Ray Isle, Executive Wine Editor, Food and Wine Magazine, paired  Rosé Champagne with BBQ Brisket with surprisingly pleasant results:

http://www.foodandwine.com/blogs/champagne-barbecue

veuve-clicquot-tasting-roomveuve-champagne-in-the-snow-use-this-one

Refreshing Summer Treat!  Champagne Raspberry Peach Grape Pops!

Skewer large black grapes on fancy picks. Place in a container so that the picks lay flat.  Mix 1 cup champagne (or sparkling wine) with 1/2 cup Raspberry Peach Grand Marnier.  Pour the champagne/raspberry peach mixture over the grapes, cover and refrigerate overnight.  Pour the champagne/raspberry peach liquid off of the grapes and make more grapes or discard liquid.   Cover the container and place in freezer.  Freeze grapes for two hours or more. Serve ice-cold.

These icy treats are perfect to pop in your mouth straight from the freezer or pop them in a glass of champagne!

veuve-champagnechampagne-veuve-richveuve-champagne-1998

Happy Champagne Day!

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These potatoes are on FIRE! Sparkling Wine Quenches The Heat

This morning I decided to include Potatoes Picante on my Sunday brunch menu.  This spicy Spanish red sauce on top of crispy potatoes is on FIRE with the addition of cayenne pepper.  It can be as spicy as you like it depending on how much cayenne pepper you add…and a tiny pinch of this spice goes a long way! 

Potatoes Picante

For the Picante Sauce:

2 large tomatoes (preferably fresh out of the garden for the best flavor)

12 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained, chopped into very small pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 pinches cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon Smoked Spanish Paprika

2 tablespoons butter

For the potatoes:

3 Russet potatoes, peeled.

2 cups Vegetable oil

To prepare the sauce:  Cut the tomatoes in half.  Place a box grater in a bowl.  Grate the cut side of each tomato so that the tomato pulp falls into the bowl.   Discard the tomato skin.

Place the olive oil in a pan and warm it gently over low heat. Add the tomato pulp, chopped red peppers, sugar, salt, paprika and cayenne pepper to the olive oil.  Stir to combine all ingredients.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and add butter. Stir until butter is melted. Return sauce to heat and keep warm over very low heat while preparing the potatoes.

Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut each half in half again, making 4 strips of potato. Cut each strip into 4 pieces which will make cubes of approximately one inch.  Put the vegetable oil in a deep frypan and heat until sizzling. Carefully add potatoes in one layer and fry over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes. Check to make sure the potatoes are tender and continue to fry for 5 more minutes until potatoes are crispy and lightly browned.  Remove potatoes from oil with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain the oil off the potatoes.  Sprinkle with a little salt if desired.

Serve warm potatoes on small plates drizzled with the picante sauce. Buen Provecho!

bubbly

I paired the potatoes with Charles Bove Sparkling Wine…tiny bubbles dancing in the flute, the pairing tasted “buttery” to me which was quite pleasing to the palate. The bubbles are created by  long-aging on its yeast via methode traditionnelle practice of secondary fermentation in the bottle.  This dry and festive wine is made from grapes primarily grown in he superb white chalk soils of the central Loire Valley.  Nothing fancy, just light and refreshing. $15 range.

Later I will quench the summer heat at Blue Cow Ice Cream Shop. Homemade ice cream in Roanoke Virginia! bluecowicecream.com

Blue Cow Ice Cream Flight…flavors (front to back) Chocolate Cayenne, Peanut Butter Fudge Swirl, Peach Ginger, Banana Pudding.

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My Favorite Recipe For Baba Ganoush

My wonderful husband presented a champagne tasting as a surprise for me this week…Champagne Dautel-Cadot Grande Tradition Brut NV and Dautel-Cadot Champagne Cuvee Prestige Brut NV.

I love it when I walk in the kitchen and find this sitting on the island which means we are about to commence to tastin’…

My favorite was the Champagne Dautel-Cadot Grande Tradition Brut NV.  Consists of 100% pinot noir grapes. $25 range.  We tasted notes of lemon meringue and green apple.  Bright without being too acidic.  Fresh and crisp. After my first sip I exclaimed:  “I love this!”

champagne tasting 1

The Dautel-Cadot Champagne Cuvee Prestige Brut NV was also delightful. 50% chardonnay and 50% pinot noir grapes.  $28 range.  We tasted orange blossom and meyer lemon flavors in this champagne.  Lots of fun bubbles dancing in the flute!

champagne tasting 2

Eggplant is in season!  This is my husband’s favorite appetizer, much like a  Baba Ganoush with some fun taste twists that enhance the flavor of the eggplant:

Eggplant Paté

Note:  I puree the ingredients in my blender. A food processor may also be used.

1 cup pureed eggplant (cut eggplant in half and roast in oven, scoop out eggplant pulp with spoon and discard eggplant shell. For one cup pureed eggplant you will need 2 eggplants)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 red bell pepper, cored, roasted and peeled, pureed (place cored pepper under the oven broiler and blacken all sides of the pepper. Place pepper in a paper bag, close the bag and allow the pepper to cool.  Remove the pepper from the bag and scrape off the peel with a sharp knife.

1 tablespoon butter

2.25 ounces pine nuts

1 tablespoon fresh oregano

12 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 ½ teaspoons medium peri-peri sauce

1 tablespoon tomato paste

3 ounces goat‘s milk cheese (little log)

Firehook Mediterranean Baked Crackers – sea salt variety (or serve with your favorite flatbread cracker)

  1. Melt butter in small sauté pan. Add pine nuts and sauté over medium-low heat, stirring constantly (monitor carefully because pine nuts will burn quickly) until pine nuts just begin to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Place the eggplant puree, red pepper puree, oregano, basil leaves, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, peri-peri sauce, tomato paste in a blender or food processor . Blend until all ingredients are combined and the mixture has a relatively smooth consistency.  If the mixture is too thick to blend a little more olive oil can be added.
  3. Place half of the eggplant mixture in a small serving dish. Crumble the goat cheese over the eggplant mixture. Top the goat cheese with the other half of the eggplant mixture. Top the eggplant mixture with the pine nuts.
  4. Serve with crisp flatbread crackers.

tim tam packagetim tams

Love these irresistable chocolaty happiness in a biscuit Tim Tams!  Dark mint is my favorite. 

limenchello

sparkle

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The Best Things About Summer…Tomatoes and Champagne!

It’s been a busy summer.  We finished our kitchen remodel, yeah! And I’ve been having so much fun cooking up a storm!

sign bollinger kelly

My bubbly sister-in-law gave us this lovely “new kitchen warming gift” that she had made for us by our local Appalachian Press ~ I love Madame Lilly Bollinger’s quote:

sign Kelly

And I’m always happy because this is pretty much me on the lazy hazy days of summer…

Next week I will be on our local NBC Affiliate show “Daytime Blue Ridge” preparing my favorite Sangria recipes:               http://www.wsls.com/daytime

Peachy Rosé Sangria

Sandy’s Peach Mango Sangria

I would love to hear from my readers…What is your favorite Sangria…Do you prefer the traditional red wine/fruit sangria or the lighter white wine/summer fruit sangria? 

Sangria

beer painting

During the summer we enjoy lots of outdoor festivals.  At the Deschutes Brewery Street Pub in Downtown Roanoke Virginia we met Karen Eland, an artist that paints with coffee and beer. http://www.karenelandart.com

Now on to the TOMATOES…On Saturday I visited our local farmer’s market and enjoyed a fresh tomato tasting. After tasting the tomatoes we put a toothpick in our favorite tomato. The tomato with the most toothpicks won the tomato tasting competition.

tomato sign

tomato table

Mr. Stripey Tomato, beautiful yellow and red striped beefsteak tomato, with its pleasantly sweet taste,  was the crowd favorite that day.

tomato mr stripey

big tomatoes

Our market offered up huge tomatoes, but none as heavy as this:  The heaviest tomato weighs 3.906 kg (8.61 lb), was grown by Dan Sutherland (USA) and weighed in Walla Walla, Washington, USA, on 30 August 2016. The achievement was authenticated by the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth (GPC).  Source:  http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/heaviest-tomato

 I will be using some of my juicy ripe tomatoes to make  Tomato Water Martinis.  Here’s a link to a yummy recipe for said martini:  http://drinkwire.liquor.com/post/spicy-tomato-water-martini.   

tomato martini sign

Surprise! A green tomato can be ripe if it is a green tomato variety. The Green Zebra Tomato is yellow with dark green stripes. Sweet and tangy.  If a green tomato is soft to the touch and the bottom of the yellow stripes begin to turn a light reddish color then the tomato is ripe. Green tomatoes come in cherry tomato size too!

zebra tomato

I love purple tomatoes!   This Cherokee Purple Tomato has a slightly smoky taste, rich and sweet.   This purple tomato, originating from Tennessee,  was thought to have been passed down from Native Americans of the Cherokee tribe.

purple tomato

rose bottle

Rosé is a delicious accompaniment to fresh tomatoes.  One of my favorites is  La Chapelle Brut Rosé Nuance Premier Cru Champagne.  $40 range. Crisp and elegant with notes of framboise (raspberry) and fraise des bois (tiny wild French strawberries). 

Don’t forget to stay cool and hydrated this summer…

drink champagne sign

frexnet cava

party trained

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Champagne Baron-Fuénte ~ Perfect Food Pairings For Champagne

Where there is no wine there is no love.

                        …Euripides

On a warm summer evening my husband treated me to a tasting of Baron Fuénte Champagne.

It is always tons of fun to delve into food pairings to match champagnes. I use the book WHAT to DRINK with WHAT you EAT by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page to help get my creative food pairing juices going.

I decided on these champagne and food pairings for our champagne tasting:

Pan Fried Rainbow Trout with Fresh Dill Butter / Baron-Fuénte Grands Cepages Chardonnay Champagne NV

Black Currant Glazed Pork Barbecue on Brioche Buns / Baron-Fuénte Esprit Champagne Grand Cru Brut NV

Saint-André Triple Crème Cheese with Flatbread Crackers / Baron Fuénte Baron S Champagne NV

Baron-Fuénte Grands Cepages Chardonnay Champagne NV served with Pan Fried Rainbow Trout with Fresh Dill Butter.  This champagne is composed of 100% chardonnay grapes. I love the shape of this bubbly bottle.  $45 range.  Notes of citrus (lemon zest), creamy, nice tiny bubbles dancing around the flute, finishing with a touch of toasted almond.

The butter sauce made the champagne taste even more buttery…yum!  Dill pairs very well with chardonnay.

The Baron- Fuénte Grands Cepages Chardonnay Champagne NV was my favorite champagne of the three champagnes we tasted that evening.

porkchampagne baron

Our next pairing was our favorite pairing of the evening.   Baron-Fuénte Esprit Champagne Grand Cru Brut NV ($35 range) served with Black Currant Glazed Pork Barbecue on Brioche Buns.  This champagne had red currant flavors and consists of 55% chardonnay and 45% pinot noir grapes.  Pork is a good pairing for chardonnay, so I set out to create a recipe that would showcase the pork and red currant flavors.

I’ve found that the quality of ingredients in making a sandwich is of utmost importance. Purchase the best quality pork loin available for this sandwich.

I could not find red currant jam, but I did find a delicious black currant jam at our local Fresh Market. I glazed very thin slices of pork with the jam, added a few “secret” ingredients and served on toasted brioche buns. The brioche buns are where it’s at baby!  This pairing was over the top yummilish!

As I was cooking the pork I noticed that someone else was very interested in the aroma of the pork:

cat cat

champagne flightcheese

The final pairing of the evening was Baron Fuénte Baron S Champagne NV served with Saint-André Triple Crème Cheese with Flatbread Crackers.  The Baron S ($30 range) is composed of 60% pinot meunier and 40% chardonnay grapes.  Lots of tiny bubbles with a fine mousse.  The pinot meunier grapes give this bubbly a bit of earthiness which pairs well with the cheese.

I enjoyed finding this website that has tasting notes and fun photos from Baron Fuénte vineyard:  https://baronfuente.com/en/

Each of these champagnes could serve as an aperitif (alcoholic drink served just prior to a meal to stimulate the appetite) as well as a pairing with food.

fiancier boxfinancier

For dessert I served “Financiers”, tiny pound cakes that a bubbly friend of mine sent me from France.  They are the perfect little buttery bite after a rich meal.

champagne napkin

kitty cat

Relaxing after the champagne tasting…

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Make Summer Sparkle With Sparkling Wine!

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Summer Sparkles!

Wolfberger cremant d alsace

NV Wolfberger Cremant d’Alsace Rose Brut

Pale salmon color with lots of tiny bubbles and a fine mousse.   100% Pinot Noir grapes. Hints of red cherry and raspberry.  A Crémant Rosé bubbly that is fun to sip with a fun price… $17 range.

bugey champagneBugsey champange

Montagnieu NV Bugey, France

Montagnieu is a beautiful village of Bugey dominating the Rhône River in the eastern Alpine mountains.

Montagnieu sparkling is made using the traditional method (like Champagne) ; wine after a first fermentation is kept almost 12 month on its lees before final corking of the bottle.

This lovely bubbly is made from a minimum of 70% of Altesse, Chardonnay and Mondeuse Noire grapes, with Jacquère, Pinot Noir, Gamay and Molette allowed as accessory grapes. Balanced with notes of toasted almond and brioche.  $50 range (restaurant price).

My bubbly friend and I enjoyed a bottle of Montagnieu Bugey with a local cheese plate at River and Rail Restaurant.  http://riverandrailrestaurant.com  I love the little pickled mushrooms, carrot jam and honey that they serve with the Farmstead Cheese Selection.

mushrooms

cheese

prosecco butterfly

Tocco Prosecco D.O.C.

Tocco Prosecco has nice little bubbles…Tocco has more effervescence than other Prosecco  I’ve tasted recently. Notes of baked apple, a touch of citrus and a creamy finish.  $14 range.

cider

Domaine du Verger Rosé Cidre Bouche

So pretty in the glass…cider made from red-fleshed French cider apples which gives it a delicate rosy color.   Just enough effervescence to tickle your nose.   This cider is fairly sweet with lots of fruit (notes of raspberry and red currant) and just a hint of ginger.  I found it to be a delightful sippin’ cider on a hot summer day. $10 range (750 ml bottle).   Here’s a link to an interesting article about rosé ciders and red flesh apples:

http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2013/08/rose-cider-how-it-gets-pink-what-to-try-uncle-johns-lukeluk-traditions.html

rose sign

peaches 1

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