Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

Poutine Poppers, Butter Chicken Spring Rolls…Appetizers In 10 Minutes!

As we head towards the lazy days of summer,  I am always looking for ways to get out of the kitchen and outside to the deck to visit with my guests.  Trade in my spatula for a glass of wine and reeeeelax. I have always been a proponent of homemade appetizers since frozen appetizers are usually tasteless and boring. So I was pleasantly surprised to find Private Selection frozen appetizers at Kroger that are actually quite delicious.  http://www.privateselection.com/about-us/

The Poutine Poppers are cheese curds, shredded potato and rich gravy in a deliciously crispy potato breading.  These little pops of yummyness are inspired by the rich flavors of Quebec cuisine.

So what the heck is “Quebec Cuisine”? From Wikipedia:

In Quebec, Poutine are French Fries topped with gravy and cheese curds.

Quebec’s traditional cuisine is as rich and diverse as the province of Quebec itself. The historical context of ‘traditional’ Quebec cuisine is from the fur trade period, and many dishes have a high fat content. The strongest influences on traditional Quebec cuisine come from the cuisines of France and Ireland.  

Crispy without frying!

Butter Chicken Spring Rolls are inspired by the fragrant flavors of India and East Asia.  Beginning with chicken, vegetables and sweet and creamy Butter Chicken Sauce, this unexpected twist on the classic spring roll is a perfect way to add global flavor to your entertaining.

The Hatch Chili and Cheese Puffs (16 count) came in their own little bake-able tray (to help keep their shape) and took 25 minutes to bake. Buttery puff pastries filled with rich cream cheese and Monterrey Jack cheese blended with hot Hatch chilies and green chilies.  These little puffs do have a little bit of a bite to them!

This Notorious Pink Rosé wine was a very nice compliment to the Hatch Chili and Cheese Puffs.   The Notorious Pink is a Grenache Rosé with lovely strawberry notes.  I love the pink glass top and the wine has a very light pink tint as it is poured into the glass. $19 range.

And the Swan Song for the oven in my current kitchen before starting remodeling tomorrow…will it be Duck à l’Orange, Beef Wellington perhaps?  No…Tater Tots!  ( Alexia Garlic and Black Pepper Potato Puffs from Fresh Market which are actually yummy for a quick treat.)  http://www.alexiafoods.com/products/potatoes/crispy-seasoned-potato-puffs

Photo of the inside of a ruby-red tulip that greeted me on my walk this morning.

You are invited to visit my Facebook page: Bubblybee.

 

A piece of paradise in Barcelona

Freixenet is made by the same family that makes Gloria Ferrer Sparkling Wine, so I know it will be delightful! Can’t wait to taste the Freixenet Ice Rosé…hope it’s available in our area…will keep my readers posted.

Vicky Wine Barcelona

If you always thought that paradise in Barcelona🇪🇸 was the beach 🌊 or a cool tapa bar🍳, I’m sorry to disappoint you, because there is something MUCH better, something which you won’t be able to forget. Yes, I’m talking about cava-chocolate pairing. 🍩🍫🍫

 So far we have already seen some cavas (and there are more to come) but one of the most exciting ways to drink it is with chocolate. On Thursday, we were invited to such a pairing to Tannic by Freixeneta wine boutique.

IMG_5842

I guess everyone has heard of Freixenet at least once, it is one of the most well-known cava producers. Their range of cavas (which needs another post) is crazy and on Thursday we paired many of them with the best chocolates by Chocolate Amatller, one of the oldest Spanish chocolate producers:

IMG_5848 I just adore these pretty little metal boxes! It’s a…

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Reims, France: a Travel Dream Fulfilled

Pop open a bottle of your favorite bubbly and enjoy these sparkling photos!

Girl With Glass

Photo Mar 09, 8 33 47 PM Blanc de Blancs ready to be tasted at G.H. Martel

As a lover of wine and the finer things in life, my love for Champagne was unavoidable. Having just blown out the candles on my 24th birthday, I couldn’t think of a more fitting place to celebrate than in the region where luxury is bottled.

Early on a Saturday morning, my Finnish friend and I boarded a north-bound train from Bordeaux to spend a fabulous weekend in Reims, the capital and largest city of the Champagne Region. Home to some of the largest Champagne Houses and an iconic Gothic art cathedral, Reims is a fine base for exploring what the region has to offer.

Photo Mar 24, 6 41 01 PM

Cloudy skies may not have been the most welcoming site, but the town’s plethora of golden bubble offerings made all things bright. With umbrellas in hand and rubber boots on our feet, we started for…

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Sour grapes: you will be my son

Love wine themed movies and this looks like a good one. I also recommend the documentary “Sour Grapes”: Here’s the premise: Rudy Kirniawan, a young artist emerges on the wealthy wine scene after selling rare bottles at auction for millions. Low and behold, every bottle that he sold was fake – making this the world’s largest haul of counterfeit wines. Rudy even made up wine’s from Thomas Jefferson personal collection!

A year in Périgord

Wine is thicker than blood – that’s the message in Gilles Legrand’s You Will Be My Son. The film won’t boost sales of Bordeaux wines in that way Sideways did for Californian Pinot Noir but, arguably, Bordeaux doesn’t need the help.

The film, released in 2011, begins with a funeral. As the story unfolds, we see the steps that led to it.

At first glance, the film may seem a simple family drama set in the vineyards of Saint-Émilion, but it gradually transforms into something much darker.

Winemaker Paul de Marseul, played by Niels Arestrup, is planning for the future of his estate. His son, Martin, has all the qualifications needed to be his logical successor – on paper, at least. However, Paul has no respect for him and leaves him relegated to office duties.

With a harsh cruelty, the father never misses an opportunity to undermine his son, while…

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The Sparkling Maraschino Cherry “Cobbler” ~ The Drink of 1928!

The Sparkling Maraschino Cherry “Cobbler”

One of my favorite books is “The Bon Vivant’s Companion or How To Mix Drinks” by Professor Jerry Thomas, Formerly Principal Bartender at the Metropolitan Hotel, New York, and at the Planters’ House, St. Louis. This book was published in 1928.

This book bubbles over with fun…lovely cocktails that have all but disappeared from our 21st century cocktail lexicon as well as our palates…juleps, flips, fizzes, shrubs, daisies, toddies and YES COBBLERS!!!

As the weather gets warmer and Spring is getting ready to SPRING…I am falling in love with Cobblers:

Like the julep, this delicious potation is an American invention, although it is now a favorite in all warm climates.  The cobbler does not require much skill in compounding, but to make it acceptable to the eye, as well as to the palate, it is necessary to display some taste in ornamenting the glass after the beverage is made. (source:  “The Bon Vivant’s Companion”)

 Champagne Cobbler!

Up to 2 or 3 days prior to making the cobbler:  Place 12 frozen dark sweet cherries in 1/4 cup Maraschino Cherry Liqueur in a covered container in the refrigerator.  (Use pitted fresh sweet cherries when in season.)

For the cocktail:

In a martini glass combine 1 teaspoon Maraschino Cherry Liqueur and 1/2 teaspoon Triple Sec. Stir lightly to combine.  Add a few crushed ice cubes. Pour sparkling wine (or champagne) over the liqueur. Garnish with Maraschino Liqueur soaked cherries and a few fresh blackberries.  

Traditionally the Cobbler is served in a tumbler with shaved ice and sipped through a straw. Here’s “The Bon Vivant’s Companion” recipe for Champagne Cobbler:

Champagne Cobbler

One bottle of wine to four large bar glasses

 One tablespoon of sugar

One piece each of orange and lemon peel

Fill the tumbler one-third full with shaved ice, and fill balance with wine; ornament in a tasty manner with berries in season.  This beverage should be sipped through a straw.

 

You are invited to visit my Facebook page: Bubblybee

Sips

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A year in Périgord

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The Boozy Newsie

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Got Legs

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Once Upon a Spice

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