Tag Archives: appetizer recipes

Sparkling Holiday Champagne Dinner

man wearing black dress shirt holding a flute glass and black wine bottle

Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS on Pexels.com

Champagne Thought Of The Day ~ The Whisper Of Love

The sound of air slowly releasing from the Champagne bottle when de-corked is called ‘the whisper of love’. To hear this noise, place your thumb on the muselet, the wire cage that fits over a bottle of Champagne, and gently turn the bottle left. (Under pressure, the longer a cork stays in the bottle, the smaller and more narrow it becomes.)

Sparkling Holiday Champagne Dinner

I love small plate dinners especially during the holidays. Wine pairing is easy with tiny bites of flavorful foods and no one gets overstuffed with huge portions. Here’s my recent menu from a festive champagne small plate dinner with friends.

We greeted our guests with Charles de Cazanove 2000 Stradivarius Brut Champagne. I served the champagne with delicate Boursin cheese palmliers. These cheese pastries are easy to make, light and airy that compliment champagne.

Boursin Cheese Palmiers

The palmiers can be prepared a day ahead of the party.  Prepare the palmiers, do not bake,  place them on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with vegetable spray, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Bake them just before service.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

1/2 (5.2 ounce package) package Boursin herb and garlic cheese

1/2 cup Italian blend shredded cheese (Mozzarella and Provolone, Parmesan,Fontina, Romano and Asiago)

Melted butter

Place puff pastry sheet on a cutting board that has been dusted with flour. With a rolling pin, roll the dough until it’s 13 by 13-inches square. Spread the puff pastry sheet evenly with the Boursin cheese.  Sprinkle the Italian blend cheese over the Boursin cheese. Roll each short end to the center of the pastry, making sure to roll tightly and evenly. Freeze rolled log for 20 minutes, until very firm but not frozen. Slice crosswise into 3/8-inch slices. Place the palmiers on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with vegetable spray. Brush tops of palmiers with melted butter. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 6 to 10 minutes or until nicely browned. (Watch carefully so that they do not burn.)

champagne lobster

Our first course was Lobster Mashed Potatoes in a cocktail spoon paired with Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne. The lobster mash is super easy to prepare. Marinate lobster tails in Sprite or ginger ale and sprinkle the meat side of the lobster generously with Old Bay seasoning in the refrigerator for two hours or overnight. Broil or grill the lobster until the meat starts to pull away from the shell. Cool the lobster the remove the lobster meat from the shells and chop it into little pieces. Mix a little whipping cream into deli mashed potatoes, place a dollop of the mashed potatoes in appetizer spoon, top with chopped lobster meat, melted butter and chopped fresh chives. Broil until bubbly. Let the spoons cool a little before serving so they will not be too hot to handle. I bought two small lobster tails to serve 14 spoons (2 for each guest) along with 1/2 pound mashed potatoes from the Fresh Market deli.

theroanoker.com

Our second course was Braised Pork Ragout With Pearl Onions And Mushrooms.  The recipe is in the Roanoker Magazine Blog and here’s the link:

https://theroanoker.com/blogging/behind-the-page/how-the-french-warm-up-in-winter-ragout/

We paired the ragout with Isiri Barolo.

Our third course was mini shrimp and grits and fourth course was mini cheeseburger sliders with caramelized onions paired with Silver Oak Alexander Valley.

Pre-dessert is to dessert as amuse bouche is to hors d’oeuvre.  A small dessert-like course served before the main dessert. I served a tiny almond cake with espresso topped with sweetened whipped cream. I found both the cakes and the espresso coffee beans at Fresh Market.
The presentation is a metal electrical box I bought at Lowes covered with decoupage paper.

dessert

And the grand finale…Flourless Chocolate Cake with Sweetened Whipped Cream and Amarena cherries paired with 2004 Haut Charmes Sauternes. Here’s the recipe for this lovely cake. The cherries are available at Tinnell’s Finer Foods in Roanoke or on-line. 

https://bakerbynature.com/flourless-chocolate-fudge-cake/

The next day we had a 14 inch snow. Our cats were fascinated when snow fell off the roof!

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Summer Time Sparkles … Sangria + Rosé + Dragon Fruit Salsa

Visit Roanoker Magazine to find Fun Summer Appetizer Recipes

including Dragon Fruit Salsa with Baked Wonton Chips Sprinkled with Sea Salt and Pink Peppercorns

Here’s the link:

https://theroanoker.com/magazine/features/healthy-summer-appetizers-with-an-asian-flair/

Happy Summertime Sippin’!

 Peachy Rosé Sangria

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.

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

First Press Blood Orange Rosé is a fun little summer wine.  I think it’s perfectly OK to put ice in my wine glass when the temperature outside is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  So pretty in the glass, this rosé is made in France with blood orange and other natural flavors.  $15 range. Available at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar locally or on-line.  http://mrbillswinecellar.com/

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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.

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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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Supernatural Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Paired With Raclette

smoked-trout

Saturday night was full of bubbly fun.  Our small plates dinner began with one of my favorite appetizers: Smoked Trout Dip With Sweet Onion Vinaigrette…here’s the recipe from Food and Wine Magazine:

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/smoked-trout-dip-sweet-onion-vinaigrette

We paired the smoked trout dip with a rosé champagne ~ Champagne Louis De Sacy Brut Rosé Grand Cru and served the dip with rustic potato chips. This champagne is in the $60 range. Lovely salmon pink color. Notes of toasted almond and brioche. Creamy and balanced with the freshness of rich ripe fruit.

louis-champagne

 

And then a  pleasant surprise..Supernatural Sauvignon Blanc 2014…so different than traditional New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc…

Traditional New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc…wine aficionados either love it or hate it. Personally I hate it.  I usually find New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to be grassy and green bell peppery and why would anyone put that in a glass?

But, the  Supernatural wine had such a cool label…I just had to try it!

supernatural-wine

supernatural-wine-label

The Supernatural (the name refers to the estate’s viticultural practices) is farmed organically, vinified naturally and estate grown in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Hawke’s Bay is one of New Zealand’s warmest, driest regions and this has made it one of the country’s leading producers of wine. $25 – $30 range.

 The smoky and spicy notes of this wine are characteristic of the sun-drenched south sea days Hawke’s Bay is famous for. The Supernatural is complex with layers of citrus, passion fruit and honeysuckle.

This lovely wine was a fabulous pairing with Raclette cheese melted over buttered “one bite” tiny Yukon Gold potatoes.

raclette-machine

 Pictured above ~ Raclette cheese melting in a Raclette broiler.

Raclette is an ancient Swiss dish that dates back to the time when Herdsmen would pasture their cows high in the Swiss Alps. Once they had set up camp they would cut open their wheels of cheese and warm them on a rock by the campfire, scraping the edge of the cheese as it melted over cooked potatoes, sour pickles and baked ham to create a hearty meal.  Raclette comes from the French verb racler, to scrape.

raclette

Accompaniments to Raclette included tiny Yukon Gold “one bite” potatoes, cornichons, watermelon radish pickles and pickled pearl onions, homemade hot sauce,  artichokes with sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese.  Served with my favorite Bok Choy Salad:  http://www.food.com/recipe/bok-choy-salad-184840

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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

 virginiabloggers11

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