Category Archives: recipe

Summertime Is Sangriatime … Try These Fun Sangria Recipes!

Fresh Strawberry Blackberry Sangria

This fresh berry sangria is very sweet and refreshing…perfect to sip on a summer evening.

Prepare sangria the day before serving. Place sangria glasses in freezer the day of service to chill glasses.

1 pound fresh strawberries, stemmed and cut in fourths

6 ounces fresh blackberries

10 ounces Bacardi frozen Strawberry Daiquiri mix

Fill empty Daiquiri mix can 1/2 full with Blackberry Flavored Brandy

1 bottle Broadbent Rosé Vinho Verde

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons simple syrup

1 33.8 ounce bottle Lime Perrier Sparkling Water

Make a day ahead to allow the fruit to macerate. Place the strawberries, blackberries, strawberry daiquiri mix, blackberry flavored brandy, Rosé Vinho Verde and simple syrup together in a large glass pitcher.  Mix lightly to combine all ingredients.  Place in refrigerator for 24 hours.  When ready to serve, stir lightly before pouring into chilled glasses.

Pour Lime Perrier Sparkling Water into chilled glass until 1/3 full and then fill the rest of the glass with Strawberry Blackberry Sangria. (More or less water can be used to taste.) Stir very lightly. Dip a few of the berries out of the pitcher and into each glass of sangria.

Note: Traditional sangria pitchers have a pinched lip so that the fruit and other solids do not plop into the glass and splash.

Peachy Rosé Sangria

This recipe was originally published in the South Roanoke Living Magazine, July 2016 issue.

This Peachy Rosé Sangria is a lighter, fruity version of classic Sangria. The Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach is a blend of the natural flavors of succulent European raspberries and rare red peaches from Ardèche in the south of France, combined with the world-renowned Grand Marnier…makes any get together a FIESTA!

1 bottle Rosé

5 ounces Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach

6 ounces fresh raspberries

12 fresh strawberries, capped and sliced

2 tablespoons sugar

3 small fresh peaches, pitted and chopped

1 cup seltzer water

Ice for service

Place strawberries in a small bowl, sprinkle with sugar, stir to combine. Set aside.

Place Rosé in sangria pitcher.  Add Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach, raspberries, sugared strawberries and peaches. Stir to combine. Place in refrigerator overnight.  When ready to serve, add seltzer water and stir lightly to combine with other ingredients.  Serve in glasses over ice.

Authentic Sangria Recipe from my Bubbly Friend who is a native of Spain.  Traditional Sangria tends to have more “perfume” from the fruit and red wine and can be an aquired taste.  It is enjoyable on a very hot summer day. I especially enjoy it with Tortas De Aceite – pictured below ( a light, crisp,  flaky and slightly sweet biscuit in the shape of a torta – available on-line or locally at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op), Spanish cheeses and Chorizo Salame.

Sangria

1 orange

1 lemon

1 Lime

1 medium apple (I used an Ambrosia apple), pared, cored and sliced

18 pitted fresh cherries cut in half or frozen sweet red cherries

3/4 cup brandy. (I used blackberry brandy.  Do not use an expensive brandy for this recipe.)

1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry red wine.  Use Rioja to get the authentic Spanish flavor, but definitely choose a wine you like.

1 (12 ounce) can lemon-lime soda to taste. Some people use orange  soda, it depends on how you like it.

1 cup orange juice to taste

Directions

  1. Slice the orange, lemon, and lime into thin rounds. Place the citrus in a pitcher with the apples and cherries. Pour in the brandy and refrigerate for 2 hours of more. Chill the bottle of red wine, lemon-lime soda, and orange juice at the same time.
  2. Gently crush the fruits with a spoon, and then stir in the red wine, lemon-lime soda, and orange juice. Add additional brandy or orange juice to taste.

You can leave it in the refrigerator until you need it  or you can add ice. The problem with the ice is that it waters down the mixture.

Sandy’s Peach Mango Sangria

In the south of Spain Sangria is often called Zurracapote or abbreviated as Zurra. This version of sangria is created with peach or nectarine.

In a large pitcher mix together:

10 oz. Bacardi frozen peach daiquiri mix

2 cups sparkling water (I like S.Pellegrino sparkling mineral water for this recipe)

1/2 cup triple sec

1 ripe mango, pitted and chopped into small pieces

1 large ripe peach, pitted and chopped into small pieces

After all ingredients are mixed together, add:

1 bottle chilled (750 ml) rosé Korbel sparkling wine or cava

Garnish with fresh raspberries.

 Serve well chilled.

I enjoy Korbel Sweet Rosé “California Champagne” for this recipe.

Refreshing Sangria From Paso Robles, California
Glunz Family Winery And Cellars

Delicious served over ice with a garnish of fresh white or red fruits…

de la costa SANGRIA ~ White

Made with Sauvignon Blanc grapes.  Bursting with ripe citrus flavors and a bit of sweetness to balance it out. Available on-line or locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar.  $12 range.

de la costa SANGRIA ~ Red

Made with a blend of Zinfandel and Merlot grapes.  Intensely flavored with cherry and berry flavors finishing with a dash of citrus and sweetness.  Available on-line or locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar.  $12 range.

“A smile starts on the lips, A grin spreads to the eyes, A chuckle comes from the belly; But a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, Overflows, and bubbles all around.”

~ Carolyn Birmingham

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Discover The Secret In The Sauce ~ Herb and Cheese Parisienne Gnocchi

Herb and Cheese Parisienne Gnocchi

Zoe Campbell, Pastry Chef, demonstrates preparation of Herb and Cheese Parisienne Gnocchi during the  Center Stage Catering Country French Culinary Workshop.

from: http://www.ouichefnetwork.com

from Thomas Keller’s cookbook –  “Bouchon”

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chervil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
  • 1 cup loosely packed shredded Emmentaler cheese
  • 5 to 6 large eggs

Method:

  1. Set up a heavy-duty mixer with the paddle attachment. Have all the ingredients ready before you begin cooking.
  2. Combine the water, butter, and the 1 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add the flour all at once, and stir rapidly with a stiff heatproof or wooden spoon until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and the bottom of the pan is clean, with no dough sticking to it. The dough should be glossy and smooth but still moist.
  3. Enough moisture must evaporate from the dough to allow it to absorb more fat when the eggs are added: Continue to stir for about 5 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent the dough from coloring. A thin coating will form on the bottom and sides of the pan. When enough moisture has evaporated, steam will rise from the dough and the aroma of cooked flour will be noticeable. Immediately transfer the dough to the mixer bowl. Add the mustard, herbs, and the 1 tablespoon salt. Mix for a few seconds to incorporate the ingredients and release some of the heat, then add the cheese. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating until each egg is completely incorporated before adding the next one. Increase the speed to medium and add another 2 eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Turn off the machine. Lift some of the dough on a rubber spatula, then turn the spatula to let it run off: It should move down the spatula very slowly; if it doesn’t move at all or is very dry and just falls off in a clump, beat in the additional egg.
  4. Place the dough in a large pastry bag fitted with a 5/8-inch plain tip and let it rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature. (If you have only a small pastry bag, fill it with half the dough two times.) Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a simmer. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Because this recipe makes such a large quantity of gnocchi, your arm may get tired: An easy way to pipe the gnocchi is to place a large inverted pot, canister, or other container that is slightly higher than the pot on the right side of the pot (left side if you are left-handed) and set the filled pastry bag on it so that the tip extends over the side and the container serves as a resting place for the bag. Twist the end of the pastry bag to push the dough into the tip. (From time to time, as the bag empties, you will need to twist the end again.) As you squeeze the back of the bag with your right hand, hold a small knife in your left hand and cut off 1-inch lengths of dough, allowing the gnocchi to drop into the pot. Pipe about 24 gnocchi per batch. First, the gnocchi will sink in the pot. Keep the water temperature hot, but do not boil. Once the gnocchi float to the top, poach them for another 1 to 2 minutes, then remove them with a slotted spoon or skimmer and drain on the paper towel–lined baking sheet. Taste one to test the timing; it may still seem slightly undercooked in the center, but it will be cooked again. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  6. When all the gnocchi have drained, place them in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to a day. Or, for longer storage, place the baking sheet in the freezer. Once the gnocchi have frozen solid, remove them from the baking sheet and place in a freezer bag in the freezer. Before using frozen gnocchi, spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and defrost in the refrigerator for several hours.

Beurre Blanc
The “secret” to this sauce is 2 pounds of butter!

source:  Larousse Gastronomic

Yield:  1 quart

1 fl. oz. white wine vinegar

4 fl. oz. white wine

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. white pepper

1 oz. shallot, minced

2 lb. whole butter, chilled

  1. Combine the white wine, white wine vinegar, salt, white pepper and shallot in a small saucepan.  Reduce the mixture until approximately 2 tablespoons of liquid remain. If more than 2 tablespoons of liquid are allowed to remain, the resulting sauce will be too thin.
  2. Cut the butter into pieces approximately 1 ounce in weight. Over low heat, whisk the butter a few pieces at a time, using the chilled butter to keep the sauce between 100 degrees Fahrenheit  and 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, remove the saucepan from the heat. Strain through a chinois (or fine-meshed sieve) and hold the sauce at a temperature between 100 degrees Fahrenheit and 130 degrees Fahrenheit for service.

 

To serve:  toss the Herb and Cheese Parisienne Gnocchi with the warm Beurre Blanc.

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Lovin’ Avocado Toast ~ Happy Healthy New Year!

avacado-toast

Lately I’ve been craving Avocado Toast…rich ripe mashed avocado on toasted baguette…it’s like butter baby!

Here’s “the rules” for making Avocado Toast which is an easy and healthy way to make dinner in a hurry:

  1.  Purchase a good quality baguette from your local bakery (Big box store baguette won’t give you the yummy toasty goodness required for this recipe).  Slice the baguette diagonally into 1/2 slices and place on baking sheet.  Broil the baguette slices in the oven until lightly toasted.  Remove from oven.  (No butter or oil required!)
  2. Spread toasted baguette slices with ripe avocado.  Keep avocado, tomatoes, red onion and other Avocado Toast ingredients in your refrigerator along with a baguette or two in your freezer so  you will always be ready to make Avocado Toast.
  3. Have fun being creative with toppings ~ my personal favorites are chopped fresh tomato, finely chopped red onion, arugula and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Many more ideas for toppings include balsamic vinegar drizzle, crumbled bacon, finely chopped hard boiled egg, chiffonade of fresh basil, squirt of lime juice, fresh corn off the cob, chopped green onion, crumbled goat cheese and toasted pine nuts.  There are hundreds of ideas to top Avocado Toast on Pinterest too. https://www.pinterest.com/
  5. The important thing about the toppings for Avocado Toast is that they are fresh. I tried topping the avocado with a pre-made bruschetta topping instead of fresh tomatoes and it just tasted mushy. Embrace fresh for this toasty treat!
  6. Avocado Toast is easy to pair too…equally delicious with a chilled bubbly, red wine or fruity Sangria.

CHEERS TO A HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR!

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Spicy Bacon Butter Recipe For The Holidays!

bacon-butter-on-rock

I am always looking for a fun delicious spread to serve on crackers or spread on hearty ridged potato chips during the holidays.  As a Chef friend of mine says…”Just add bacon and everyone will love it!”…so I added bacon to one of my favorite spreads to create “Spicy Bacon Butter”.

Spicy Bacon Butter

2 (2.52 ounces) packages pre-cooked bacon (microwave bacon until crisp), crumbled

8 ounces cream cheese

2 tablespoons butter

1 ounce ranch dressing and dip mix

2 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 bunch green onions, white and some of the green part, chopped

2 ounce jar pimentos, drained

1 tablespoon medium peri-peri hot sauce (add a little more if you like super spicy!)

Cracker assortment for serving

Place cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl and bring to room temperature to soften.  Add ranch dressing and dip mix and mix until well combined.  Add cheddar cheese, green onions, bacon, pimentos and peri-peri sauce and mix until well combined. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve on assorted crackers.

As we get ready to greet a new year…

 thought I would share some of my favorite signs from the past twelve months…Happy New Year!

cat-signkittycatcat with champagne

champagne-sign-dancestart-celebrating-sign

wag-more-sign

wine sign

chocolate-sign

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Homemade Maraschino Cherries

Cherry in bottle

Fabulously quick way to pit cherries…Remove stem from fresh cherry.  Place cherry on top of the opening of an empty wine bottle, stem side down.  Take a chop stick and poke a hole through the cherry knocking the cherry pit into the empty bottle.

cherries

cherries1

cherries-outside

Homemade Maraschino Cherries

Homemade Maraschino Cherries are yummy and boozy with fresh cherry flavor,  just not as colorful as the bright red ones we purchase in the grocery store. Delicious addition to bourbon cocktails…here’s a link to lots of Maraschino Cherry cocktails.  I will plop a couple in a glass of bubbly Cava: http://www.barnonedrinks.com/drinks/by_ingredient/m/maraschino-liqueur-9.html

  • 1 pound sweet Bing cherries, washed and pitted
  • 1/4 cup fine granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped, pod and seeds reserved
  • 1/2  cup maraschino liqueur
  1.  Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place pitted cherries on a baking sheet. Bake cherries in preheated oven for 2 hours. Increase oven temperature to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.  Sprinkle the cherries with a little bit of fine granulated sugar.  Bake the cherries for 1 and 3/4 hours more.
  2. Place sugar, water, vanilla bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Add the maraschino liqueur to the syrup and stir to combine.
  3. Place cherries in a 1-quart glass container with a tight-fitting lid and place the vanilla bean pod in the center. Pour the maraschino syrup over the cherries, cover tightly, and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

cherries-on-baking-sheet

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Grilled Romaine With Bacon, Fresh Corn Aioli And Ricotta Salata + Cider!

romaine-4

The perfect entrée salad recipe for autumn…grilled romaine and charred fresh corn… yummy smokey taste…like a happy little picnic in your mouth.

For an entree size portion:

1 head romaine lettuce. Wash and trim off any brown spots on the romaine lettuce. Leave the end of the romaine intact.

romaine-grill-1

4 pieces black pepper thick cut bacon, fried crisp and crumbled, reserve the bacon fat.

1 ear fresh corn, grill until tender and lightly charred.  Take the ear of corn off the grill and remove kernels of corn from the cob with a sharp knife.

Roasted corn aioli  for garnish.

Heat the grill.  Brush romaine lettuce with bacon fat on both sides.

Place romaine on hot grill and grill until it is slightly wilted and charred (approximately 5 minutes over medium heat).  Turn romaine over and char on the opposite side.  Remove from heat and place on a serving plate.  Cut off the stem end of the romaine and discard.

Heat the corn kernels in the remaining bacon fat. Heat over high heat so that the corn browns just a bit. Pile the corn on either end of the grilled romaine on the serving plate.  Sprinkle the grilled romaine with crumbled bacon and finely grate Ricotta Salata cheese over the bacon. Dollop a small spoonful of corn aoili on top of the salad. (I used Private Selection brand Roasted Corn Aioli but you can make your own…here’s a link to a recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aioli-recipe.html)   Serve immediately.

romaine-3aoili-1

cider-week-1

Virginia Cider Week is right around the corner!  November 11 – 20, 2016.

On Saturday we visited Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar for a  Foggy Ridge Cider Tasting.

http://mrbillswinecellar.com

The lovely Devon Steiner, representing Foggy Ridge Cider provided tastings of their cider…here’s the lineup:

cider-line-up-1

Devon explained that their cider contains apple juice, yeast and Co2 and no other additives.  I enjoy the light effervesce of this cider that tickles my nose and I love the rich apple flavors that are so unique in each cider.

stayman-cider-1

If you want a cider that’s fruit forward and has a tang of fresh apples this is the cider for you. Although it is perfectly lovely on its own, I prefer a tiny bit of sweetness to my “sippin’ cider” so I would tend to pair this cider with food. Foggy Ridge suggests pairing their Stayman Winesap with spicy foods.

first-fruit-cider-1

The First Fruit Foggy Ridge cider was sweeter than the Stayman Winesap.  I declare it just fine for sippin’! Foggy Ridge website suggests browning a pork roast in bacon then roast in First Fruit cider and stock, with apples and onions…yum!

handmade-cider-1

The Foggy Ridge Handmade Cider is bottled in baby champagne bottles…adorable! Devon explained that this cider is dry like champagne…crisp with a smooth finish.

Here’s a link to a lovely article including an interview with Diane Flynt, the orchardist (as well as picker, presser, and cidermaker) at Foggy Ridge:

http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2011/03/the-cider-press-foggy-ridge-cider-in-dugspur-virginia.html

And a link to  the Foggy Ridge newsletter sign-up:

http://foggyridgecider.com/category/inspiration/

Devon shared with us that there is a lot to look forward to during Virginia Cider Week including:

Annual Roanoke Foggy Ridge Cider Cocktail Competition
The gloves are off as local restaurants and bars vie to see who can make the best cocktail using Foggy Ridge Cider brands. Joining the competition once again is Local Roots, Lucky, Fortunato,  River and Rail, and the newest competitor added this year Blue Apron.  The public votes by purchasing cider cocktails from any or all of the Cider Cocktail locations. At the end of Cider Week, we see who sold the most cocktails and they are named the winner. Many of these cocktails have gone on to further fame in other competitions across the state and country. It’s a great way to see how versatile cider really is in the masterful hands of our participants. Come out and “vote” for your favorite.

Foggy Ridge’s website…http://foggyridgecider.com/events

And for dessert? Here’s a recipe for Apple Cider Doughnuts from Food and Wine Magazine:

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/apple-cider-doughnuts?xid=NL_DAILY103116

And Foggy Ridge Pippin Gold Cider… made with apple brandy…a dessert style cider with a higher alcohol content (18%). Delicious and perfectly fabulous with dessert.  Foggy Ridge recommends  peaches soaked in Pippin Gold served with homemade pound cake.

pippin-cider-1

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Christina Nifong Presents ~ Fabulous Fall Recipes

apple-cake-1

Life is short…eat dessert first…Christina’s  fabulous apple cake…so moist…the secret ingredient is cream cheese!

This past weekend my bubbly friend and I enjoyed Christina Nifong’s (local writer and gardener extraordinaire in Roanoke, Virginia) Local For Lunch, Featuring Fall cooking class at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-Op.

It’s easy to find out more about the Co-Op’s cooking and health classes, just sign-up for their newsletter using this link:

Co-op Classes and Events

Here’s the link to Christina Nifong’s Fabulous Fall Recipes:

https://christinanifong.com/category/recipes

blog-dip-1

Christina prepared her delicious recipes with ingredients from the Co-Op and her own garden. The appetizer she served was a yummy Blue Cheese Herb Spread.  (Goat cheese or feta cheese can be substituted for the blue cheese.)

beet-salad-mix-1beet-salad-1

We enjoyed a roasted beet salad that was as colorful, crunchy and delicious!  It lived up to it’s name Beautiful Beet Salad. Most beet salads have the goat cheese sprinkled on top of the beets but this salad mixes the cheese with the other ingredients resulting in a creamy dressing.

mushroom-1soup-1

Christina served us Thai Butternut Squash Soup for our second course. One of the ingredients in the soup was “Hen of the Woods Mushroom”, known as a Maitake mushroom in Japan which translates to “Dancing Mushroom”. These mushrooms grow at the base of trees (particularly fond of oak trees).

Chistina recommended using a grapefruit spoon to scoop out the seeds out of the butternut squash. The fresh ginger, jalapeno, lime juice and Thai basil give this soup a pleasant spiciness.

muffin-1

We gobbled up these Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins (Gluten-free)!

spices-1

I enjoy buying my dried herbs and spices at the Co-op because they sell them by the pound. I purchase just what I need. I no longer have to throw away herb and spice cans that have gone out of date.  These items seem to be more fresh than the grocery store dried herbs and spices…especially the vanilla bean! Honey is also available by the pound.

squash-in-pile

I was so inspired by Christina’s class that I purchased some Delicata squash (pictured above) at the Co-op. This squash lives up to it’s name…delicate taste, easy to roast…here’s a lovely recipe to try:

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/250176/roasted-delicata-squash-onions/

milk-street-magazine-1

I picked up a copy of Christopher Kimball’s MILK STREET magazine at the Roanoke Co Op. They have a nice selection of culinary magazines.  MILK STREET  may remind the reader of Cook’s Illustrated magazine which is more than a coincidence…Kimball founded Cook’s Illustrated magazine.  The charter issue, Fall 2016 includes an article about champagne glasses, which of course caught my eye:  The Trouble with Champagne Flutes.  

They recommend not the classic coupe or traditional flute, but the sturdy wine glass:

The classic red or white wine glass – with its broad, stable foot and a bulbous-bottomed bowl – is just about perfect.  The bowl allows the wine to be agitated and aerated with a motion of the wrist (swirling!)…the pros ditch them (flutes) when tasting and judging sparkling wines. They know flutes are for orchestras, not fine wine.

Sounds good to me except that I have dozens of champagne flutes that I can’t bear to toss out. I do look forward to tasting some finer champagnes in a chardonnay glass just for the taste experience.

Quinoa?

One of our fellow guests shared this website:  http://www.simplyquinoa.com/

I shared with the group that the liquid that is drained off canned garbanzo beans can be whipped like egg whites to use in recipes such as this began meringue:

http://www.thekitchn.com/this-gorgeous-vegan-meringue-is-made-from-the-most-surprising-ingredient-220651

pumpkin-latte-1

Since we’re celebrating local and Fall today, I am happy to shard a very happy occurrence at Sweet Donkey Coffee a local coffee shop in Roanoke, Virginia.  The Pumpkin Latte is back!  They make their own fresh pumpkin puree for the lattes.  Fabulousity!!!

Happy Fall!

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