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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!

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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

You are invited to visit my Facebook page: Bubblybee

 

 

We’re Toasting: Rosé On KXAS-TV/NBC DFW

Spring Time is Rosé Time! Lots of yummy Rosé wines to choose from…

Red Wine with Breakfast

Happy Easter! To toast the season of spring, and celebrate the holiday I once again was able to join the 11 am News team at KXAS/NBC DFW to celebrate the perfect wine for spring and summer, Rosé. But this is dry Rosé, not the sweet and sticky stuff we all drank back in the day. These Rosé wines are juicy and fresh, with fresh acidity, brightness and balance. A link to the segment is here.


Though in our home we like to drink Rosé all year long, now is a great time to start enjoying the thirst quenching wine as the 2016 vintage wines are available now from wineries around the world, as a key part of Rosé is to enjoy it young and fresh.
There are so many options out there though, how do you know what will fit your palate and preferred wine style?  Here are a few…

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How to Open Champagne?

Love the quotes in this champagne post! Cheers!

VIKAS RAJPAL

Celebrating Champagne!

“Come quickly, I’m drinking stars”
— Dom Perignon

Champagne is the wine of celebration, or if you were Marilyn Monroe it’s just bath water.

To help with your particular celebration here’s a 10-step primer for mastering those bottles of bubbly. (at least it’s not a 12-step program!)

“I get no kick from champagne.
Mere alcohol doesn’t thrill me at all,
So tell me why should it be true
That I get a kick out of you.”

 — Cole Albert Porter (1891 – 1964)

“I get a kick out of you”
from “Anything Goes”, 1934

The Night They Invented Champagne!

champagne glass and bottleOnly French wine from the Champagne region is truly considered champagne.

Champagne is sparkling wine produced by a traditional method named for the Champagne region of France.

True “Champagne” only comes from this region near Reims, Epernay and Ayers in northeastern France, and accounts for 20 percent of all French wine and spirits production.

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Sunshine In A Flute! Enjoy This Mimosa Bar Guide From Shari’s Berries!

Happy Mimosa Season!

Champagne is always a great idea. But, sometimes you need it for an extra special day, whether it be a bridal shower, birthday, Easter gathering or even just a get-together with the girls. Cue the mimosa bar!

If you want to know how to get one started, check out this guide from Shari’s Berries. It has everything you need to know about a mimosa bar — essential ingredients needed,  unique recipes, set-up tips and a super easy backdrop idea, perfect for any occasion.

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.
Looking forward to lots of occasions to serve Shari’s Berries sparkly sugar-shimmered champagne berries this Spring!  Perfect with strawberry mimosas!
In-season fresh strawberries from the local farmer’s market make the perfect Strawberry Mimosa!  Simply puree fresh strawberries (about 5 fresh berries per mimosa), add 1/2 teaspoon simple syrup (make your own syrup or several bottled versions are readily available at the supermarket), stir well.  Pour the strawberry puree mixture into a champagne flute, slowly add champagne or sparkling wine (Cava and Prosecco are delicious too!) to fill the flute. Garnish with a fresh strawberry and a small sprig of fresh rosemary.
Fresh rosemary complements many the flavor of many fresh fruits.  I consider rosemary to be a very special garnish because my mother, an avid herb gardener always said “Rosemary for remembrance” . The rosemary in my garden makes me smile thinking about my mom.
Champagne is an excellent choice when making mimosas, but if you are having an informal gathering or serving a large crowd you may want to find a less expensive alternative. I’ve listed some bubbly alternatives here:
Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut is a Spanish Cava.  Crisp and dry with fine consistent bubbles which make a very happy mimosa!  $9 range.
 Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut. This is my “go to” sparkling wine that is always in my refrigerator. Nice and bubbly, fresh with a bit of fruitiness that complements the fruit juice in the mimosas. $26 range.
If you prefer a sparkling wine that is a little more fruit forward  MASfi Cava is delightful…100% Trepat grapes.  Bright and clean. Cherry and strawberry are the predominant flavors in this Cava.  Lively pink color. $12 range.
Cheers!
You are invited to visit my Facebook page:  Bubblybee

Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

Elegant Spring Beet Salad with a lovely Spanish wine pairing…compliments of fourthgenerationfarmgirl.com

fourth generation farmgirl

With a sweet, earthy flavor, juicy texture, and beautiful ruby-red hue, beets make a salad into something sensational.  The key to making them the highlight of a simple yet elegant salad is roasting, making the beets juicy and tender with a concentrated sweetness.  Peeling is easier when the beets are still warm.  Also, tossing the sliced beets with the dressing while they’re warm is a must.  This allows them to absorb maximum flavor.  Goat cheese, baby arugula, and toasted pistachios round out the dish, adding tang, peppery notes, and nuttiness.  These flavors help to balance the beets’ sweetness.  It’s important to look for bunches that contain beets of similar size so that the beets will roast evenly.  If the beets are different sizes, remove the smaller ones from the oven as they become tender.  You can use red or golden beets in this recipe, or a mix of both.

I…

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Lovin’ Local Spring Greens and Rosé Champagne!

Christina Nifong, Culinary Instructor, Food Writer and Blogger Extraordinaire!

Local For Lunch: Welcoming Spring!

Christina’s culinary classes include lunch she creates out of local ingredients, many of them right out of her own garden!

Please visit Christina’s website and subscribe to her newsletter where she shares lots of her cooking and gardening expertise and fabulous recipes:  http://christinanifong.com

Christina’s Local For Lunch classes at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op are always colorful!  Pictured above Radicchio (a type leaf chicory, sometimes known as Italian chicory.  It is grown as a leaf vegetable which usually has white-veined red leaves. It has a slightly bitter and spicy taste, which mellows when it is grilled or roasted) that is sold at the Co-op.  Rainbow carrots mixed with radishes (from Christina’s garden) are in the middle photo and fresh mint from Christina’s garden is pictured at the right.

Christina introduced us to kale flowers for salad.  The kale in her garden had bolted and bloomed so she cut the flowers and chopped them up to add to the lovely green salad she made for us.

Another delicious salad ingredient that Christina introduced us to is Black Rice sometimes known as “Forbidden Rice”.  I love Christina’s recipe. She cooked the rice in vegetable broth and added about 1 tablespoon (to one cup uncooked rice) coconut oil to the rice while it was cooking. These flavors made the rice taste rich and yummy. She served the rice cold to serve alongside our salad greens.

Black rice is an ancient grain that was once reserved for only Chinese royalty.  It contains many healthy elements including disease-fighting antioxidants.

After attending Christina’s classes I have gained more respect and love for fresh seasonal produce, but I must admit, I still LOVE the dressing!  My favorite part of this class was Christina’s Poppy Seed Dressing.

Poppy Seed Dressing

by christinanifong

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sweet onion (about a quarter of a large onion)
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup honey (local if you can get it)
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup canola or avocado oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. poppy seeds

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, using the knife blade, chop onion, with salt, until ingredients are ground into a liquidy paste.
  2. Add vinegar, honey and mustard. Process until all is well-mixed.
  3. Mix two oils together in a pitcher or measuring cup with a spout. Slowly (so slowly!) pour oil into the food processor while processing. The slower you go, the better incorporated the oil will be with the other ingredients.
  4. Add poppy seeds and mix gently. Pour salad dressing into an air-tight container (such as a Mason jar) and keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. If dressing separates, shake to recombine.

Another fun find at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op:  Lacinato Kale or “black cabbage” in Italian is well-known in Italian cuisine. Slightly sweeter and more delicate than curly kale. This is the green that we see so often in Italian soups and pastas.

It’s always nice to celebrate Spring with a little rosé bubbly.  We popped open a bottle of Paul Déthune Brut Rosé this weekend. 80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay grapes.  Absolutely delightful with notes of wild strawberry, peach and Meyer lemon. Very fine mousse. $50 range.

We also had the opportunity to taste Lagard Altas Cumbres Extra Brut 2013 from Mendoza, Argentina this weekend.  Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sémillon blend prepared under the Charmat (tank) method. Young, fresh and fruity with light citrus and apricot flavors. A fun little sparkling wine for casual sipping in the $10 range.

We toasted our kitchen remodel (kitchen and dining room demolition completed, next step is plumbing and electrical) with Champagne Lelarge-Pugeot Les Meuniers de Clemence NV.  Look what we found in the wall ~ Garst Brothers Dairy paper milk container.  This container has probably been in the wall since our house was built in 1952.

You are invited to visit my Facebook page:  Bubblybee

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