Category Archives: foodie

Roasted Red Pepper And Artichoke Tapenade Toast Rounds

I was recently asked to try some Wisconsin Cheese recipes and write a review on the results.  The first recipe that caught my eye was a Tapenade recipe that I knew would be perfect for one-bite hors d’oeuvres.

The original Recipe for the Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade can be found on the Eat Wisconsin Cheese website:

http://www.eatwisconsincheese.com/recipes/3062/roasted-red-pepper-and-artichoke-tapenade

Here’s the review I wrote for the Wisconsin Cheese website that explains how I made the tapenade toast rounds.  Delicious!

I love to serve one-bite hors d’oeuvres that my guests can pop into their mouths without having to put down their glass of wine. When I found this recipe for Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade I knew it would be delightful on little toast rounds as the perfect one-bite. I made the tapenade according to the recipe instructions, then I made little 1 ½ inch bread rounds out of ordinary white sandwich bread (cut rounds with a cookie cutter). I put the bread rounds on a cookie sheet and brushed them with a little melted butter.

toast rounds

Then I toasted the bread rounds in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 8 minutes (until they were brown and toasted on the bottom). After removing the toast rounds from the oven I topped each round with a teaspoon of the tapenade and sprinkled them with Wisconsin parmesan cheese. I put them back in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 more minutes and then I broiled them for 1 minute to make sure the cheese was melted and beginning to brown.   Serve warm. Cheesie perfection in one bite!

The red peppers and garlic make this recipe zesty and the capers, green olives and lemon juice give the tapenade a citrusy tang. And cheese, glorious cheese, such a welcome ingredient in tapenade. Love this recipe. It will be one of my “go to” recipes for my cocktail parties. 5 Stars! Fabulous served with champagne!!!

sign sparkle like champagne

lizard

I surprised this little gecko when I started digging around in my potted plants last evening.

sign enthusiast

Over-the-Moon-Link-Party-200virginiabloggers

 

River And Rail’s Spanish Wine Dinner Featuring Pares Balta Winery And CAVA!

River and rail sign

Spanish Dinner…Deliciousa!

http://riverandrailrestaurant.com

shirt river and rail

A very nice gentleman let me take a photo of his Veuve Clicquot Champagne Shirt!

champagne river and rail

We began our lovely Spanish dinner experience with a glass of Parés Baltà Cava Blanca Cusiné.

https://paresbalta.com/

Parés Baltà is a family owned traditional winery that goes back to 1790.  We produce high quality wines and cavas with grapes from our 5 estates, situated around the winery and in the mountains of Penedès. The altitude varies from 170 to 750m and offers a diverse mixture of soils and microclimates. That gives a special personality to our wines by bringing the essence of the Mediterranean ecosystem to our grapes.  At Parés Baltà, the winemaking is in the hands of Mª Elena Jiménez and Marta Casas, oenologists and wives of Joan and Josep. Two skilled young women whose efforts are reflected in the quality of the wines, showing fine character and concentration yet with elegance and balance.

Cava Blanca Cusiné ~ Xarel·lo, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir grapes.  Light golden color with fine consistent bubbles.  Delicate notes of almonds, hazelnuts, and honey.  Long and complex finish.

Served with artfully created passed hors d’ oeuvresountry Ham & VA Ramp C

Country Ham and VA Ramp Croquettes appetizer river and rail
try Ham & VA Ramp Croquettes
BBQ Octopus Skewers & Espelette Glazeoctopus
 Manchango Cheese Crispscrackers

 

Sneads Ferry Clam Linguine, Fingerling Potatoes, Lamb Prosciutto, English Peas, Paddlefish Roe & Breadcrumb

Paired with 2016 Calcari White Blend

river and rail linguine

So happy to see Black Garlic incorporated into this dish…

Duck Morcilla Sausage/Red Beets, Yellow Corn Grits, Cherry Marmalade

Paired with Balta Rose de Pacs 2016

Beef River and Rail

Aged Rib Eye/Ferro Verde, Charred Onion, Morel Mushrooms, Black Garlic

Paired with Gratavinum Priorat 2piR 2011

River and Rail Beefriver and rail wine

And for dessert…NC Goat Cheese Cake/Virginia Raspberries, Port Wine, Black Sesame Seed

dessert

Spanish wine chocolate

Txakoli Mokoroa Cosecha 2015

 

At home later, we continued the Spanish theme through the weekend…  Hondarrabi Zuri  is by far the dominant white grape variety of Spain’s Basque Country, making the region’s slightly spritzy Txacoli wines. These are crisp, light citrus-tinged wines, meant to be enjoyed while young and fresh, with a tiny bit of carbonation.  I’ve heard that in order to really appreciate this wine, it needs to be poured from a certain height into a flat bottom glass It needs air to express itself.  A delicious accompaniment to seafood, fish and poultry.  $15 range.

 

cava

LLOPART LEOPARDI GRVA BRUT NATURE

A very special Cava in a decorative box, perfect for a gift for a friend…or yourself! Delicate bubbles dancing in the glass. Dry with elegant spicy notes and a creamy mousse.  $25 range.

cava

Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad

My favorite Cava!  With the pewter base and family crest on the bottle…so pretty in a gift basket.  And now I’ve made the connection…the producer, Segura Viudas, is part of the Freixenet family of wines that includes Gloria Ferrer in Sonoma which is one of my favorite California sparkling wines.  The non-vintage Reserva Heredad is the label’s top offering, made only from 67% Macabeo and 33% Parellada grapes.  Aromas of smoke and honey and flavors of apples, dried fruit, and nuts. Creamy and crisp, it finishes clean and bright. Perfect pairing with almonds and walnuts to begin the meal. $30 range.  http://www.seguraviudas.es/en/producte_en/reserva-heredad

tomato

My first tomato this year….thank you Gwen and Mike!

Friday

living in a bubble

signd

s Ferry Clam Linquini, virginiabloggersover-the-moon-link-party-600x600fiesta-friday-2016

 

Arugula Strawberry Spring Rolls With Honey Lime Dipping Sauce ~ Vegetarian Delight!

kobari

Its Spring signOn Saturday I popped by our local Grandin Village Farmer’s Market and picked up some Kohlrabi.  One of the farmers offered the purple variety of this vegetable that looks like a turnip with a nice crunch and a little bit of a peppery flavor.  Kohlrabi is German for “cabbage turnip” and it’s a member of the cabbage family.  To make a yummy Kohlrabi Slaw, peel Kohlrabi then cut it in matchstick pieces, toss with julienne strips of peeled apple and carrot and a bit of coleslaw dressing, then sprinkle with crispy crumbled bacon or sunflower seeds (or both!)  Cover and chill until ready to serve.

What do you call a sad strawberry? ….A blueberry!

Why was the little strawberry sad? … His mom was in a jam!

Christina with salad

Culinary Teacher Extraordinaire Christina Nifong

Displays Her Greens and Berries Salad

Spring rolls on plate

Christina Nifong is a food writer well known in our region for the stories she’s written about the Virginia food scene and the recipes she creates and shares during the culinary classes she teaches. The class I attended on Saturday at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op was Local For Lunch: Berry Bonanza. I always walk away from Christina’s class with a new favorite. This time my new FAV is Arugula Strawberry Spring Rolls.  So easy to make and as Christina explains , “These are basically a fresh and delicious handheld salad.”   Here’s her recipe:

Makes 10 – 12 spring rolls

Ingredients

Brown Rice Wrappers (available on-line or at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op)

4 cups lettuce, spinach or other green, torn or chopped into bites-sized pieces

4 cups arugula, washed and chopped into bite-sized pieces

4 ounces plain chevre (Curtin Dairy is a good choice), softened

2 pints ripe strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced

Mint leaves for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat large bowl of water. Dip one brown rice wrapper into hot water. Hold it there for 30 seconds.
  2. Set damp wrapper onto cold, dry, flat surface. (Make sure the surface is non-porous, granite is a good choice; do not use wood because it is porous.) Add row of lettuce in the center of the wrapper.
  3. Top with arugula, then a slight smear  of goat cheese. Then stack a row of strawberries.
  4. Fold top of wrapper down. Then fold bottom of wrapper up (about an inch). Then roll from the left, tucking and rolling until spring roll is closed.

spring rolls roll upspring rolls

  1. Set onto serving dish. Repeat until all ingredients are gone.  Make sure not to let spring rolls touch on serving plate as they will tear.
  2. Refrigerate until time to eat. Garnish with mint. Serve with honey-lime dipping sauce.

Honey Lime Dipping Sauce ~ Juice of one lime, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 garlic clove minced, salt and black pepper to taste, dash of red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon finely chopped mint. Place all ingredients into a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Here’s another spring roll recipe with a yummy peanut dipping sauce on Christina’s website…christinanifong.com

http://christinanifong.com/2017/05/vegetarian-spring-rolls/

The  brown rice wrappers are more sturdy (gives the spring roll a nice bite) than the white rice wrappers and they have a lovely nutty flavor.

Rosalee

My bubbly friend made some awesome spring rolls!

VA sign

spring rolls granitaLooking for the perfect palate cleanser between courses or a light dessert to serve al fresco? Raspberry Lime Granita!

Christinas raspberries

Christina made the granita with fresh raspberries from her garden!

Makes 12-15 servings

Ingredients

3/4 cup organic granulated sugar

1 3/4 cup water

Juice and zest of 2 limes

2 Tablespoons chopped, fresh mint leaves

2 pints (4 cups) fresh, ripe raspberries, pureed (force raspberry puree through a fine sieve to remove seeds, discard seeds).

Instructions

  1. Bring sugar, water, lime zest and juice and mint to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat. Let the mixture boil for 1 minute.
  3. Let the syrup cool. Strain out mint leaves (optional). Mix together syrup and berry puree.
  4. Pour into 9 x 13 freezer-safe baking dish. Freeze overnight or up to 24 hours.
  5. To serve, remove from freezer and let thaw for 10-20 minutes. Scrape with cold ice cream scoop into serving dishes.

Thank you Christina! Looking forward to your next class!

Christinas blueberry salad

GREENS AND BERRIES SALAD

carrotsturnips

 

lettuce

Iceberg Lettuce Fresh From The Garden

You are invited to visit my Facebook Page: Bubblybee

virginiabloggersover-the-moon-link-party-600x600fiesta-friday-2016

 

Black Garlic And Champagne

cat

Under the watchful eye of Maxine AndrewsTHE CAT

These days we are enjoying dining al fresco on our backyard deck…in 80 degree Fahrenheit weather with a slight breeze…

“Champagne makes you feel like it’s Sunday and better days are just around the corner.” ~ Marlene Dietrich

champagne bottlechampagne top

 Pascal Lallement Champagne À Chamery Premier Cru Brut 

  This artisanal small batch farmer produced cuvee is 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier, and 20% Chardonnay.  This vineyard sits on the mountain of Rheims where the grapes receive plenty of sunshine as they grow on the vines.
  I love the top of this bottle…Champange! Champagne! Champagne!  Notes of apple, honey and toast.  Fresh and creamy with a long mineral driven finish.   $35-$40 range.

My  brother is always discovering fun ingredients for me to try.  He and his lovely bubbly wife live near Blacksburg, Virginia where they found this black garlic.

http://www.obisone.com/

black garlic

black garlic on plate

ObisOne is a family owned business associated with the Virginia Tech Research Center.  Here’s a link to their story:  http://www.obisone.com/about-us

Some fun facts about black garlic from the ObisOne website and some of my notes:

  1.  Nothing is added when we make artisanal batches of organic black garlic. Heat, humidity and vacuum create an environment that lets the natural sugars and enzymes within the garlic do its own thing. 
  2. Black garlic adds a smokiness with just a tiny bit of sweetness and underlying notes of molasses to recipes, all the while maintaining the rich garlic flavor.
  3. The shelf life of our black garlic bulbs and cloves is a minimum of 6 months at room temperature.
  4. Twice the Antioxidants of Raw Garlic.  All natural, no additives.
  5. No Garlic Breath!

Their website includes some fabulous recipes using black garlic.  Black Garlic Recipes link:  http://www.obisone.com/Recipes

Deviled Eggs Black Garlic

Black Garlic Deviled Eggs

Makes 18 deviled eggs

9 fresh eggs (I enjoy getting my eggs from a friend who has chickens…these eggs taste so rich and delicious compared to run-of-the-mill grocery store eggs), hard-boiled, cooled and peeled.

5 cloves black garlic, minced

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Duke’s (brand) mayonnaise

1 tablespoon chunky sweet pickle relish + 1 tablespoon pickle relish juice

1 tablespoon stone ground mustard

Garnish: crumbled crispy bacon and chopped fresh chives

Here’s a link with a recipe for perfectly cooked hard-boiled eggs….it works every time and the eggs are easy to peel!  http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_perfect_hard_boiled_eggs/

  1. Cut eggs in half lengthwise; place egg yolks in a bowl. Mash yolks with a fork; stir in  mayonnaise, mustard, black garlic,  pickle relish and juice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place in a food processor or blender and blend until black garlic is incorporated into the mixture.  Add more pickle relish juice if needed to blend, being careful not to add too much juice.
  2. Arrange egg white halves on a serving platter; spoon yolk mixture into egg whites. Cover and refrigerate. When ready to serve, garnish with crumbled crispy bacon and chopped chives.

 Italian Rose

Lady Lola Rosé. I admit, I bought this Italian rosé for it’s pretty bottle.   $12 range.   The Lady Lola Rose NV is a wine that’s begging to be brought to a garden party.  Inexpensive, perfectly drinkable (not remarkable) wine.  Peach, raspberry and strawberry notes. Crisp and fresh.  It’s peachy pink color told me it would be light and the grape blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Indigenous Veneto varietals promised a not too sweet wine.

cava with cheese wafers

Whisps!  Cheddar Cheese Crisps (like the parmesan crisps, but these are made with cheddar cheese). Delicious and yummy with champagne! Available at Walmart in the deli section or on-line.

You are invited to visit my Facebook Page: Bubblybee

virginiabloggers11over-the-moon-link-party-600x600

fiesta-friday-2016

 

 

 

Shishito Peppers Stuffed With Fontina And Prosciutto

Shishito Peppers ~ local Farmer’s Market, fresh from the garden or Fresh Market

15 Shishito Peppers

6 ounces Fontina cheese, cut into 5 slices and then cut each slice into 3 strips

3 ounces prosciutto, cut horizontally into 15 pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Rinse and dry Shishito Peppers. Cut a slit in the side of each pepper (lengthwise – keeping the stem end in-tact) and remove the ribs and seeds.  Wrap the cheese with prosciutto and stuff into peppers (wrapping the proscuitto around the end of the cheese will help the cheese to stay in the pepper as the cheese melts).  Arrange the stuffed peppers on a baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and lightly with sea salt. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the peppers start to brown and the cheese is bubbly. Serve warm.

To stuff peppers: Rinse and dry peppers. Slice peppers lengthwise to split open (leaving stem end intact).

pepper

snack sign

Alfred champagne

Alfred Basely – Champagne Brut

  Alfred Basely is a smaller producer based near Epernay.  Ripe lemony citrus with notes of white flower, mineral and freshly baked bread. Fine bubbles with a long, clean finish.  $30 range.

corn on grillfeta mayo

Grilled corn is one of my favorite summer treats.  Here are links to two of the most yummy spreads to top grilled corn on the cob…Spicy Taco Butter and Feta Lime Mayonnaise:

https://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/grilled-corn-on-the-cob-with-spicy-butter/45ecbca2-a940-441a-bcd1-9ace22a2090c

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/patrick-and-gina-neely/grilled-corn-with-feta-cheese-recipe-1918855

squash

Scenes along the Greenway…Squash Blossom

senda verde alberino wine in glass

You are invited to visit my Facebook Page: Bubblybee

over-the-moon-link-party-600x600virginiabloggers

 

Lemony Herbed Fresh Ricotta Recipe + Dhondt-Grellet Brut Grand Cru Champagne

Tōgarashi is the Japanese name for chili peppers. The Nanami Tōgarashi that I purchased at a local Asian food market is a combination of chili peppers, white and black sesame seeds, ginger, orange peel and seaweed. It has a nice little kick of spiciness to it.

To serve my fresh ricotta I generously sprinkled the serving plate with freshly ground gourmet peppercorns (pink, black, white and green) and Nanami Tōgarashi so that the cheese would pick up the little bits of pepper and spice as each guest spread the cheese on toasted baguette slices.

Fresh Ricotta is super easy to make. I tried several recipes made with lemon juice (that did not have enough acidity to make the milk curdle) that failed before I found Ina Garten’s recipe (uses vinegar, not lemon juice) which works perfectly.

Here’s the link to Ina Garten’s Fresh Ricotta recipe:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/homemade-ricotta-recipe-1923290

I like to mix into to the ricotta:

8 large fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

4 green onions, white part only, thinly sliced into tiny rounds

10 chives, chopped fine

Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon + 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Serve on toasted baguette rounds that have been brushed with melted butter. Garnish with tiny basil leaves and (if in season) chive blossoms.

 

Dhondt-Grellet Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Prestige du Moulin — N.V.

A perfect pairing for my lemony herbed fresh ricotta.  100 % of Chardonnay from two Grand Crus villages (Cramant & Chouilly).  $55 range.   Golden color with delicate consistent bubbles in the flute. Elegant with notes of white flowers, quince paste and freshly baked pastry.  A grower champagne, only a handful of cases are brought into the United States each year.

You are invited to visit my Facebook Page: Bubblybee

Summer Snacks ~ Chive Blossom Dip

In the “good-ole summertime” I love creating recipes that are simple to prepare and will hold up in the heat when we entertain outside.  Here’s one of my new favorites Chive Blossom Dip:

Pink rose blooming next to chive blossoms in my herb garden.

Chive blossoms in bloom in my herb garden.

Chive Blossom Dip

Easy prepare in two minutes!  In a small bowl, combine 5.2 ounce package Boursin Shallot and Chive Cheese with 3 to 4 tablespoons milk. Mix each tablespoon of milk into the cheese and add more milk as needed to make the dip smooth and dip consistency. Put dip in a pretty serving bowl.  Garnish with fresh chopped chives and a chive blossom in the middle of the bowl. Serve with Terra Exotic Potato Chips or your favorite kettle cooked potato chips (kettle cooked potato chips are usually heartier and stand up to the humidity in  the summer better than other types of potato chips).

Boursin Cheese

Creamy, spreadable cheese flavored with garlic and herbs.  Other flavors are now available:  shallot and chive, pepper and cranberry and spice.  (You can make dip out of these flavors too – just change the garnish to crumbled crisp bacon for the pepper boursin and chopped toasted pecans or walnuts for the cranberry and spice boursin.)

To learn more about Boursin Cheese, please visit:  http://www.cheese.com/boursin

Easy recipes that do not require cooking are especially important to me right now…our kitchen/dining room remodel is about half-way completed. Granite countertops are being installed today. Can’t wait to get back in the kitchen and start cooking again!

You are invited to visit my Facebook page:  Bubblybee.net

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